Building a broad mass movement

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at
Sat Jan 4 14:57:11 MST 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Adam Levenstein" <cleon42 at>

> Do you not permit Mumia to speak, or not play the speech for fear of
> scaring the liberals? Ahhhh....Now here, here it gets a little more
> grey, doesn't it? It's not as cut-and-dry. Because if you *do* play it,
> you're being inclusive of the radicals; and if you don't, you're being
> inclusive of the liberals. Principle would dictate that you play it
> (Mumia, being of a Marxist ilk himself, is plainly anti-imperialist),
> but unity would suggest that you don't.
> [..]
> I suppose my own point of view is that a coalition should be as broad
> as possible, but when it does get icky, you side with principle. But
> it's not as easy a question, I don't think, as you and Lou/Walter make
> it out to be.

I think you're using the language of 'principle' when you ought to be using
the language of 'struggle'.  I think the correct answer is that you fight to
get Mumia onto the program and you also fight to win over the liberals and
get them to come anyway - using 'liberals' here to encompass both liberal
speakers and also those elements of the masses who are 'liberal' because of
youth or unfamiliarity with left ideas.  The outcome is the outcome of a
struggle, not of a logical or mathematical formula.  If the struggle goes
well, you may end up with a speakers list that includes Mumia AND a co-chair
of United for Peace (Bill Fletcher) AND a co-chair of Win without War (Mike

Furthermore this counterposition of 'principle' to 'unity' is just not
right.  There is such a thing as 'principled unity', after all.  The
question is not whether you have 'principle' or 'unity', but WHAT principle
should underlie the unity, - given the existing state of things -.  In the
current situation, the correct principle is to admit anyone who is opposed
to the war from the left.  Since Nazis oppose the war from the right, and
moreover are the immediate enemies of everyone who should be in the
coalition, I am not in favor of letting them into the coalition.

Lou Paulsen

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