The Real Movement And The Media Movement: A Touch Of Lerneritis

Gilles d'Aymery aymery at
Mon Feb 17 09:06:12 MST 2003

The Real Movement And The Media Movement
A Touch Of Lerneritis
by Lou Paulsen
February 17, 2003

The U.S. anti-war movement that appears in the headlines and feature
stories of the corporate media is not the same thing as the U.S. anti-
war movement that actually exists in real life.

The real-life movement is composed of hundreds of thousands of
people across this country, women and men of all nationalities and
backgrounds and sexual orientations, of the working class and the
middle class and even a few bourgeoisie, and of all political
backgrounds to the left of Dick Cheney's.

We organize rallies, we charter buses and ride on them together, we
talk with each other like civilized people. We do the mundane
ordinary things of movement-doing. We make signs, we copy leaflets,
we put up unskilled-looking websites or even good-looking ones if
there is somebody on hand with some skills. We appreciate each
other's work. And we get together at the same time and place and
shout down the war.

We do these things rather unhindered by the fact that some of us are
churchgoers and others are long-time Marxists and others are Al
Gore Democrats, by the fact that some of us are anti-imperialists and
others are pacifists and others are merely horrified by this particular
illegal war of conquest. Some of us recognize the need to oppose war
and occupation and sanctions in all their forms; others have not gotten
to that stage. But is not a secret to any sector of us that the other
sectors are on the bus. It is not a tremendous sacrifice for us to get
along with each other. We get along with our relatives at holiday
dinners, even the irritating ones; we get along with our co-workers;
we can get along with the other people in our unions, our churches,
our college classes. And we get along with the rest of the people on
the bus, or in the meeting, or at the demonstration, who share with us
a sincere opposition to this war.

In some places we organize ourselves in a single coalition, and in other
places in several. Our coalitions are generally at peace with other, and
co-operate as much as we compete. We often publicize and support
each other's events, and our representatives speak on each other's
podia; and we co-operate to stage larger and more successful events.
When our political differences emerge, we do not allow them to
ascend to the level of divisive acrimony, because we all know very
well that our real opponent is the U.S. war machine, and when all is
said and done we have to work together against it.

In fact, the truth is that most people in the real-life movement are not
"in" any one coalition. They are "wise participants" in anti-war activity.
They are aware of the activities of several organizations,
neighborhood, metropolitan, and national. They will participate in the
campaigns that they see as effective, exciting, knowledgeable, and
non-sectarian. They have a sound, common-sense bias toward unity
and away from divisiveness. Therefore, no organization or coalition
which wants to exercise influence or leadership can possibly get it
through divisive or sectarian means, by bare denunciations, trickery,
or quarrelsomeness. People just don't want to hear that. This clear
and correct preference on the part of the independent masses has
generally been listened to by leaders of the real-life movement.
Political differences are important, and must and will be discussed, but
it will be a matter of persuasion, not of busting up the movement.

The media-story movement is quite different. For one thing, it's about
one tenth the size of the real movement. Where the real movement
brings out hundreds of thousands, the media-story movement brings
out 'tens of thousands' or even 'thousands'.

Furthermore, the media-story movement is always divided, racked by
rifts, seeking for its soul. In the media stories the coalitions are at war
with each other like the ancient Greek city-states. The media are at
pains to pick out which are the "extremists" and which are the
"mainstream" and to speculate on the outcomes of the supposed wars
among the coalitions, just as they speculate about the threatened
holocaust in Iraq, or on a football game.

Full text:

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list