"War Times" (was Re: Merle Haggard.)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Sep 12 16:18:15 MDT 2002


(From Ethan Young)

The War Times milieu comes from three generations of Bay Area left
activists. A bunch were leaders of Line of March (1975-1989), a Leninist
group that began with a critical Maoist stance (ie, 'anti-revisionist' but
pro-Cuba and Vietnam) and ended with one hostile to Maoism and supportive of
Gorbachev. Their histories go back to SDS, SNCC, the Vietnam, women's and
gay movements, etc.

Members of other groups as well as independents were involved in CrossRoads
magazine, the pan-left project that succeeded LOM and the North Star group
identified with Peter Camejo. Others come from the 1990s group STORM, Bay
Area under-30s who wanted to rekindle a revolutionary movement. The majority
are "of color."

The editorial group is led by Bob Wing, who fought for ethnic studies at SF
State U. in the late 60s and for affirmative action (against the Bakke
Decision) in the 70s, led LOM's theoretical school, formulated (with Linda
Burnham) LOM's sophisticated analysis of black oppression and white racial
privilege, and in the 90s founded and edited Color Lines magazine.

In the 70s, a project like War Times would most likely have been organized
by a tight, top-down group. In contrast, War Times was quite consciously
formed as a relatively loose network of colleagues and old friends whose
experience allows them to develop an effective division of labor without
ideological coercion. Their common "line," as I understand it, is agreement
on the need to bring an anti-racist orientation to the peace movement by
speaking directly, but not exclusively, to not-yet-politicized "inner city"
youth.

Much of the earlier history of these tendencies are detailed in Max Elbaum's
book "Revolution in the Air." Back in the day, it was pretty common for
recruits of revolutionary groups to be in awe of their leaders. One must
outgrow this. But these folks still impress me.

Ethan Young



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