Bring the Troops Home Now/Support the Troops

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Jul 24 09:20:17 MDT 2003

DMS wrote:
> 3. Correct, no official US candidate said OUT NOW, but many
> said, OUT as soon as practical, Bring the Troops Home Real Soon,
> and the similarity was enough so that any number of the officials of recuperation, mayors, reps, wannabe reps, wannabe
> senators, could blur the content of the struggle and channel the
> movement back to the  political organizations of the
> bourgeoisie.

But we are not talking about "real soon". We are talking about *now*.
This was the sort of thing that divided the movement back in the early
1970s, just as it will today. In any case, as long as we agree on
immediate withdrawal, the wording of a particular slogan that expresses
that is secondary. OUT NOW was used by the antiwar movement, as was
"BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW". We refused to accept "phased withdrawal" or
any other such formula. It has been years since I was involved with the
Vietnam antiwar movement, but I seem to recall that a rather sharp
struggle took place with the leaders of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee
over exactly this question. Fortunately, they agreed on "Bring the
Troops Home Now".

> 4. Agree 95% at the start of the struggle had no notion of
> class-- but the start of the struggle wasn't 68 or 70 or
> 71.  The start of the struggle was at least as far back as
> 64, and we don't have to start over from the beginning every
> time the movement expands.  Think of it as uneven and combined
> development, where we have to make the transition, and
> alleviate the "backwardness," through the power of that "class"
> able to transform the mode of production.

I am not sure I understand what you are trying to say. A little less
jargon would help. The antiwar movement and the socialist movement had
different goals. To try to interject socialist politics into the antiwar
movement would have fractured it since American society is deeply

> 5. I think the military history of the war after BTTHN says
> a lot about the weakness of that program.

I am not sure which military history you are talking about. The
Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia? As I told Charles, this is not the sort
of thing you can organize mass protests around. Why would the average
American march in a demonstration favoring a Vietnamese incursion into
Cambodia, as worthy as it was?

> 6. Yes we can make a difference, and to do that, we have to
> be different, really make the difference.  We are not
> "pro-military" but anti-war.  We are not about
> saving "one American life" at the cost of one or a hundred
> Iraqi lives.   As Richard Harris pointed out, Pat Buchanan
> is saying support our troops, bring them home now.  He's
> even talking about imperialism and imperialist overreach.
> So let's make the difference, and use language that makes
> it clear that Buchanan serves a ruling class, and a real
> anti-war movement will not.

We are not in the business of putting a minus where the ruling class, or
elements of the ruling class, put a plus. Pat Buchanan also denounced
NAFTA, making lots of good points (as well as some awful ones). Finally,
"language" is the last thing that I'd expect from an antiwar movement.
It has to be focused on clear and principled slogans that can unite the
maximum number of people around *action*. The antiwar movement is a form
of the united front that Bolsheviks proposed in the early 1920s. It was
expressed in terms of "march separately, strike together" at the time.
Obviously, times have changed drastically since the early 1920s when the
united front was proposed as a tactic for working class parties that no
longer exist. Today the united front has to include all the radical,
pacifist, trade union, religious, student and civic organizations that
agree that the US troops have to be removed immediately. Anything that
gets in the way of that goal is counter-productive, if not


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