the world working class

dms dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 10 13:00:14 MDT 2003


I didn't want to get back into this issue of BTTHN again, for many reasons,
not the least of which is the toll that it takes on some who wind up
reliving some terrible past experiences, but, as the Four Tops sang, "I
Can't Help Myself."

So sugarpie, honeybunch--

One thing and one thing only.  Three decades ago BTTHN failed. It failed to
end the war.  It failed to shorten the war.  It failed to reduce the
savagery of the war.  The troops were brought home.  The war continued.
That's a failure.  That's a failure of the leadership that argued BTTHN was
the "right" "non-sectarian" slogan.



----- Original Message -----
From: "David McDonald" <dbmcdonald at comcast.net>
To: "marxmail" <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2003 8:59 AM
Subject: Re: the world working class


> 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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