the world working class

David McDonald dbmcdonald at comcast.net
Sun Aug 10 09:59:30 MDT 2003


Daru wrote:

I can't think of any marxists
anywhere who would support a Green-as-least-worst or
say BTTHN), it needs to be explained beyond your
local politics.  No one has done that.<<

And I don't think anyone will, Richard. Note, first,
BTTHN didn't seem to seem to activate anyone until
there was a war on (notwithstanding the fact that a
large portion of the US military is permanently
deployed overseas and the US government extracts
payments from countries like Germany and Japan for
their quartering). Note, second, how much of a
fantasy it is for anyone to believe that the
situation (with no draft at that) is going to be
affected by calling for the troops to come home and
somehow hoping that this is an appeal to the troops
to do something as well. It's pure fantasy of a
people who can not affect what their federal
government actually does and nothing else. As Stan
Goff might say, it's not about morality and ideals.

David McDonald responds:

I have not read that ANYONE on this list supports a "Green-as-least-worst"
approach. If you find yourself needing to put words in others people's
mouths to make an argument, you may wish to consider whether you are
creating a straw man and thus an argument that is of no interest to anyone
except yourself.

What has been said by many is that Peter Camejo's Green Party run for
governor of California last year demonstrated some movement away from
two-party politics on the part of the masses of voters in California, and
that we need to take note of this, support it, be a part of it, and mix it
up with the people who are turning away from the Democrats, because the old
ideas of demanding programmatic agreement from electoral formations as a
condition of support has just led to vain attempts to grow various parties
(like the SWP, but by no means just the SWP) into mass organizations, and we
think another road to a mass revolutionary party must be found. I am not
judging the Green Party of California in any other way; I am not accepting
its program; I am noting that others, up to 5-10% of the voting population
of California, were moved by Camejo's campaign to abandon the Democratic
Party at least for that election, and I am trying to figure out how to help
that phenomenon move forward, become larger, and so forth. Many have noted
that Camejo's exceptional skills as a speaker play an important part in
this. Anyone who has seen Camejo hold an audience in the palm of his hand
for an hour, ought to rejoice that such a popularizer of socialist ideas has
the chance to speak to millions. That is, anyone with a pulse.

Now, what is this silliness about BTTHN didn't seem to activate anyone until
there was a war on? OF COURSE it didn't. I spent an entire decade not
holding Bring The Troops Home Now signs on streetcorners and do not thereby
in the least feel like a worm. There are many terrible things about
capitalism that are terrible all the time; that does not make them
appropriate as slogans to try to crystallize sentiment into motion against
the policies of the US government. I seek to organize people around the
issues that concern THEM, and right now that issue is of the occupation of
Iraq (or so I judge).

Another of course: BTTHN is a demand on the government, not the troops
themselves. I am opposed to making demands on the troops. You state

>>Note, second, how much of a
fantasy it is for anyone to believe that the
situation (with no draft at that) is going to be
affected by calling for the troops to come home and
somehow hoping that this is an appeal to the troops
to do something as well.<<

I hope the troops will think about their situation, and I believe many are
doing just that, under the impact of a situation that turning out to be the
opposite of what they were told by their commanders. Insofar as the troops
are moved by the BTTHN slogan and its popularization among ordinary people
in the US, it operates as a wedge between their mission (subdue Iraq into
terrorized complaince with US occupation) and their willingness to carry out
that mission. That is to say, the slogan is based on the fundamental
contradiction: the troops are individually OUR people, but it is THEIR war.
Secondly, just what is the evidence that nothing can be done by advancing
this slogan now? Reaction from the military brass to families of soldiers
advancing this slogan has been immediate and harsh. If the slogan were as
stupid and counterrevolutionary and confusing as you believe, surely the
brass would ignore it if not attempt to exploit it for their own gain, as,
for instance, they will the slogan to replace US troops with UN troops. And
what slogan do you propose? Desert? If so, I know of at least one
organization you would feel at home in.

We are talking about ways to get people's attention now that their interest
has been aroused, to get a hearing for our ideas, and trying to assess
developments in reality that indicate HOW best to get that hearing. You seem
to have no interest in this whatsoever.

>>It's pure fantasy of a
people who can not affect what their federal
government actually does and nothing else.<<

If this is meant as written, "a people" must refer to the people living in
the US collectively. It is profoundly defeatist. It may explain why you show
no interest in developments of the thinking of people in the United States.
But are we, the people of the US, unable to affect what the federal
government does BECAUSE we hold these mistaken ideas or DESPITE them? If the
latter, why do you bother? If the former, slogans, please.

David McDonald




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