The trouble with Corn

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Mon Nov 4 04:28:28 MST 2002


At 03:51 PM 11/3/2002 -0500, you wrote:

Which people on the left "gobbled up" Corn's article? I get the impression
that your response is more than a little bit of a pretense or a "Trojan
Horse" for critiquing October 26 and IAC/ANSWER, yet again.

>I find it troubling that many people on the "left" and involved in
>anti-war work gobbled up the article just because it presented, once
>again, the same critiques of ANSWER that many of us have been making for a
>long time, while at the same time ignoring the slander Corn directs at all
>radicals.  This article was obviously not a piece of constructive
>criticism or friendly advice, but was a broad denunciation by someone on
>the outside looking in.

>for lack of a better term.  And it's pretty disheartening that people
>didn't recognize this for what it was.

Your disparagement of demonstrations as "mass, boring, ineffective marches"
and your preference for "direct action, civil disobedience, talking to your
circle of friends and family, organizing at the workplace, and eventually,
somehow, getting people to refuse to work to supply the war, getting
dockworkers to refuse to load up the ships, getting soldiers to refuse to
serve, getting students to shut down their campuses, etc." is nothing more
than a revisit to the old, ultraleft line of "a general strike to end the
war".  Short of the (for now) pie-in-the-sky general strike, you would have
"civil disobedience, etc." -- in short, small scale, substitutionist
actions, that are, in fact, even more ineffective at this stage, if
effectiveness is measured by movement building and ending the war drive.
Mass demonstrations are and will be more than merely "sure, these have
their time and place." They are and will be important indicators of the
state of the movement, educators and animators for new (or burned out old)
activists and focuses of collective, mass action. This is why it is so
important that they be organized by fully functional, democratic and
inclusive coalitions. October 26 fulfilled this mission in spades. It was
far more than a "prep rally for the convinced." October 26 was one demo
that the mass media couldn't ignore. Would a rally of that size have taken
place in the aftermath of September 11 or even a few months before? And
while one demonstration, unless it is truly massive, may not give pause to
the ruling class, it was years of them (that and the resistance of the
Vietnamese people) that forced Washington out of Vietnam. Strikes, general
or otherwise, played virtually no role in ending that war (unless you
consider resistance by active duty GIs to be a work stoppage), although the
ILWU did stage some stoppages, if memory serves.

>stopping the war, it certainly won't be because we all fall in line behind
>ANSWER.  They're good at doing what they do: organizing mass, boring,
>ineffective marches.  Sure, these have their time and place, but was
>October 26th anything more than a pep rally for the already
>convinced?  October 26th or other similar actions, no matter how big the
>crowd, won't influence the powers that be to change their course of action.
>
>There are many other things that can be done, such as direct action, civil
>disobedicence, talking to your circle of friends and family, organizing at
>the workplace, and eventually, somehow, getting people to refuse to work
>to supply the war, getting dockworkers to refuse to load up the ships,
>getting soldiers to refuse to serve, getting students to shut down their
>campuses, etc.


~~~~~~~
PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.



More information about the Marxism mailing list