More grounds for optimism
wwchi at enteract.com
Wed Sep 19 03:13:16 MDT 2001
There was a citywide antiwar organizing meeting tonight in Chicago which
brought out 300 people. This is not a 'soft number'. I had copied 200
September 29 flyers, and we ran out and we had to give out about 100 of a
different flyer. I stress that this was not a lecture by some "big name",
it was a planning meeting. It was the biggest antiwar organizing meeting
that I can remember since I moved to Chicago in 1976. They had to move the
meeting from the original location to one of the largest meeting rooms at
the activities center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The tone
was very militant, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist for the most part,
and there was a really high level of understanding of the issues,
considering everything. People seemed to have got past the stage of "shock"
and to be ready to take on the state. I would say the turnout was about 25%
African-American, Latino, Arab and Asian.
It is somewhat hard to get much planning done in a meeting of that size, and
there were some other organizational issues, but things will improve.
Anyone who has been listening only to the corporate media and their polls
would believe that the whole country is ready for indiscriminate violence
and that it cannot be possible to do anti-war organizing now because we will
get beat up by patriots. But that's not the reality.
Every awful thing has positive aspects, and one positive aspect of the Sept.
11 disaster and the war drive is that workers are -discussing politics-.
People who normally would be entirely concerned with sports, music, culture,
etc. are now talking about what is going on in the Middle East and Asia. Of
course at first they have not much to talk about except what the media has
been feeding them, but there are plenty of opportunities for us to get in on
Many of the USENET groups are now arenas for debate, as the 'communities'
which normally discuss chess, television shows, etc., now argue the war. My
own beloved companion has been fighting the good fight in one of the
television show groups. She tends to be more cynical about the masses than
I am, and she didn't expect any support when she started responding to some
of the bloodthirsty posts with her own jeremiads about people being led off
to war like sheep. But she has actually gotten some very appreciative fan
mail out of it.
In fact, I am starting to think that some of the work that we have been
doing through this whole unpleasant decade is actually paying off now. We
have given out a lot of leaflets over the years about the sanctions on Iraq
and Palestine and the Yugoslavia war, and sometimes it seemed as if they
were having no effect. But now I think that some people were actually
reading the leaflets at the time, even if they weren't moved at the time to
come out to protests; because now that people actually ARE alarmed enough to
spend time discussing the situation, you sometimes hear progressive ideas
come up in the discussion as if people were remembering something they read
Considering the amount and intensity of their propaganda drive, I think the
bourgeoisie has no reason to be very happy with the level of war hysteria
among the working class.
member, WWP, Chicago
Our national website is www.workers.org
Come to DC on Sept. 29! See www.iacenter.org
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