WWW, Answer, Redabaiting and Political Differences

John Paramo albatrosrojo2000 at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 26 18:18:48 MST 2003


Some thoughts about the ongoing discussion:

Antiwar demonstrations:

What explains the large turnouts in antiwar
demonstrations are the policies of the Bush
administration and his gung-ho approach to his
declared worldwide military/political offensive and
the work of myriads of local groups opposing the war.

The enourmous polarization caused by the US post 9/11
actions around the world are coming home to roost so
to speak ...

The WWP has the merit and deserve the credit for
giving the organizational minimum structure for these
two things to coverge at specifics places and dates.

They owe their role to long years of "specializing" in
these kind of antiwar and anti-inteventionist
activities and for being consistently there to do
something about it.

It is a fact that the demonstrations on January 18 in
Washington, DC and San Francisco, and those taken part
in other parts of the world played a fundamental role
in the revulsion now felt from most people in the
world against the US plans.

Redbaiting:

There is a distinction between legitimate political
disagreements with WWP/ANSWER/IAC or whoever is doing
practical a legitimate work against the war and
redbaiting.

Namely, attacking the movement for following communist
organizers; or dismissing the movement as "communist
inspired" or stating, as it was done to nauseum that
everyone not a member of the WWP or IAC/ANSWER had
been duped into following "communist" leaderships and
line, etc constitute a truly disgusting and low level
anticommunism and red-baiting and is a question of
principple for anyone in the movement, particularly
Marxists, to reject and expose such attacks.

Of course, there is another, more subtle set of
anti-communism and redbaiting going on which consist
in elevating political differences from liberal and
not so liberal "opponents" of the war who would
support a war with Iraq PROVIDED that the UN would
support it, or that the US will uncover an "smoking
gun" etcetera...

In order to make this vision or notion of an antiwar
movement, some sectors are saying that such an opinion
is not heard during demonstrations because the
"communists" are blocking those views from being
presented, etc

This, of course is false, since that position is
almost the only one opposing the war that have some
hearing in the media, both here and in Europe...As a
matter of fact Jesse Jackson who spoke in Washington,
DC and the Democrats who spoke in SF clearly presented
this position. This "redbaiting" is not used to be
able to present their point of view, but to further
pressure the organizers of the antiwar movement to
allow THEIR point of view to predominate or be the
ONLY one to be heard.

These liberals should be exposed both as
anticommunists AND PRO-WAR.  Much in the same way we
need to expose the like of John Kerry or Hillary
Clinton that some people believe they now oppose the
war (after having voted for evey resolution and money
appropriation introduced in Congress).

I think a common and public declaration signed by
every conceivable organization now organizing against
the war rejecting these attacks could go a long way to
put them to rest.  It is a good question why such an
initiative is not being undertaken by IAC/WWP?ANSER,
NIAN and United for Peace publicly and broadly...

Legitimate differences

There are other people who may believe they have or
actually have legitimate differences with WWP/ANSWER
on a number of issues and they must have the right to
present them publicly provided that they clearly
differentiate themselves from the redbaiters and
anti-communists of all stripes.

These differences cannot involve, for example the
positions of WWP about the Soviet Union, the smashing
of the Hungarian revolution or their alleged support
for the massacre at Tianamen Square. Of course, those
in the left who would like to debate the WWP on those
issues or any other should and must do that, but
cannot be done in the framework of invalidating their
antiwar movement.  Why not?  Because with that
criteria we should exclude from the antiwar movement
anyone either to the left of the liberals (that is one
position, the anticommunist position) or anyone to the
right, including the liberals (that's other position,
the ultraleftist position.)  Both need to be rejected,
IMO

1. WWP has done some efforts since the October
mobilizations to include more organizations and people
into some channels of decision-making and the platform
to speak and give their side of the story,
particularly these efforst were directed towards
liberals and to a lesser degree to Greens, but no to
the socialist left.  But, IMO, both the WWW/IAC/ANSWER
and other antiwar coalitions must come to terms with
the fact that, so far, decision making process is not
good and that speakers at the platforms are not only
bad speakers, but also do little or nothing to educate
on the main political issues. WWP/IAC/ANSWER approach
to "inclusiveness" had been formalistic at best.

I have the opportunity of hearing most speeches
delivered at the Washington opening rally and I heard
the tapes of the speeches in San Francisco.

With very few exceptions, the speeches were bad, too
many, delivered by bad speakers and with little
substance in terms of educating those listening on the
political issues.

IMO, should be much fewer speakers, given more time
and balancing out the different positions in the
antiwar movement: liberal, general leftist and
anti-imperialists.

Speakers should be negotiated for what they represent
and for what they can deliver on stage.  This is a
difficult task, I know, but need to be done.

Speakers, under no circumstances, can be candidates of
the Democratic Party who are running for office.

Candidates should be selected for what they represent
in terms of ideas, constituencies and ability to
educate, not just for their ideological affinity with
whoever happens to control the mike.

I have no idea why liberals, pacifists and socialists
cannot agree in three sets of the best speakers from
all three tendencies in order to have this public
discussion at the same time that everyone works in the
antiwar movement.

WWWP/IAC/ANSWER in my opinion mixed very pragmatically
the speakers and came out with a mish-mash,
overstuffed list of speakers, mostly completely
useless.  It strongly suggested that couple leaders of
the WWP, Holmes and Becker were selecting the speakers
to the degree they have some affinity or ongoing work
relations with their party.

2. WWP/IAC/ANSWER has used their organizational
position to exclude or minimize or block the
activities of other left wing and socialists groups. 
There is something the WWP/IAC/ANSWER must come to
terms and is the fact that they should use their
position to do the opposite.  In fact, in terms of the
antiwar work, they should ally more closely with the
socialist groups and the Greens, more as a block which
will not exclude the liberals, pacifists and religious
groups but rather balancing them with an alliance with
the left so the divergent messages and educational
work could take the form of both unity in action and
an educational debate.

3. There is an underlining need for the antiwar
movement to come to grips with the political issues
related to the Democratic Party and the war, the
Patriot Act and so on.  The present structure of the
antiwar movement does not allow this debate to
proceed.

4. There are attempts to link IAC/WWP/ANSWER initiated
demonstrations with those organized by other
coalitions but it should be further attempts to unify
the movement or at least to clarify further the
differences as well as the points of coincidence and
mutual support.  The present situation is not clear to
most antiwar activists and to their supporters and
thus create confusion and false polemics: what are the
differences, so to speak, between IAC/ANSWER/WWP, NIAN
or the mos recently formed United Against the War?  In
all three formations the most dedicated elements are
from the left, they are left wing organizations so,
what are the differences between them . Possibly the
differences in program and methodology are so
important as to justify their separation, but that
should be crystal clear for eveyone taking part of
those movements.

5. What kind of collaboration exist o can exist
between the different organizations beyond the
formality of endorsing each others' activities?  Do
they share resources, money, lawyers, sound
equipments, permit specialists, common monitors to
guard the demonstrations ... what do they share even
recognizing that they could not function together
after clarifying their differences?

6. Resources, money, leadership of coalitions,
decisions ... must be taken by all formations as
public and accountable as possible.  The movement must
know who take the decisions, when those decisions are
taken, why are they taken, who holds the strings of
the purse and how the money is administered, etc

These clarifications will go a long way in developing
the movement and making it the center of politics at
the present conjuncture.  Very often WWP, and not only
them, rejected these kind of approach.  Having the
organizational upper hand today in the movement,
however, does not guarantee anything for tomorrow. 
One need only to look at the SWP who "managed" an
important part of the antiwar movement in the Vietnam
days and is now an irrelevant sect.

Comradely,

JP

PS:  By the way, remember Wednesday's January 29 demos
against the war, follwoing Tuesday's Bush speech





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