LP's AntiWar Movement and Ours (was Re:Baghdad bombing...)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 28 06:50:42 MDT 2003

dmschanoes wrote:
> The Brenner remark is facetious I guess but the rest of Lou's remarks are no
> fun at all.   At one and the same time Lou says that only "socialism" can
> permanently end the war, but that is "irrelevant"  to the tasks of the mass
> movement today.  Huh?  What about tomorrow and the day after?  And how do we
> get there?

How do we get to socialism? I have no idea. When you have the following
combination of factors in the USA:

--an organized socialist movement of less than 10,000 people out of a
population verging on 300 million people.

--an economy that bears little relationship to that of the type
encountered by Marx and Engels and described in such works as "Condition
of the Working Class in England".

--almost no class consciousness to speak of.

It makes talk about tomorrow and the day after an academic exercise at
best. I imagine that down the road a combination of imperialist war,
economic hardship and environmental crisis will radicalize the sort of
people living in Harvey Pekar's neighborhood, but when it begins to
happen you will not have to squint to see it. The reason I am leery of
such claims for the present or even tomorrow is that I spent enough time
around people who were colonizing American factories spreading the
message of socialism to see how infertile these seedbeds were. You might
as well try to grow roses in the Sahara.

> In reality, the lack Marxist analysis and program will doom the anti-war
> movement to irrelevancy, just as it did during the Vietnam War era.

I only wish that the new movement can be as "irrelevant" as that one.

> The issue is not that of carrying banners that state "End the War, All Power
> to the Soviets," when no such organs of dual power exist.  That sort of
> argument is the classic example of the straw man argument.  By giving such a
> distorted meaning to the development of a Marxist analysis and program for
> anti-war activity, one is giving back of the hand support to the notion that
> only an immediate "maximalist" program counts as Marxist activity.
> If the source for this war is the needs of capital, then the solution is
> both the short and the long term  opposition to the needs of capital and
> that by definition must become a Marxist, class based opposition to achieve
> the very relevance Lou sees in a mass movement.

Do you seriously mean Marxist in the conscious sense, like understanding
the 18th Brumaire and the labor theory of value? In that case we don't
need to worry about parade permits. We could go single-file down the

> Is there any doubt that the war in Iraq has to do not with blood for oil,
> but blood to offset declining profits, overproduction?  Is there any doubt
> that the loss of jobs in the US, in the manufacturing sectors of Mexico, the
> decimation of the Russian economy,  the attack on Afghanistan, on Palestine,
> the incarceration rate of African-American males, the Ashcroft/Halliburtion
> plan for corporate security are parts of a whole?  Of course not.  Even the
> liberal bourgeoisie, the progressive bourgeoisie that Lou quoted Marx as
> losing faith in 155 years ago recognize that. And because they recognize
> that, they, the bourgeoisie will attach their own program to the anti-war
> movement, filling the political vacuum created in the abnegation of
> responsibility by Marxists.  They, the liberal, progressives of "capitalism
> with a human face," will propose having the UN do its work, voting for Dean
> or Kerry, restoring "our" civil liberties, regulating the warrior
> accountants, etc.  And they will do it from the very platform built by
> Marxists, and socialists, who know better.

If you mean a literal platform like those at the rallies, then I am all
for Howard Dean or whoever getting up there to speak his mind. That will
only bring out more people, just as having Ted Kennedy speak at the
Boston Commons in 1971 brought out the untutored pacifist masses that
had not yet absorbed the lessons of the 18th Brumaire. The only proviso
is that somebody like Peter Camejo or Larry Holmes give a fire-breathing
speech afterwards.


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