From Stan Goff about what he & his friends are doing

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at
Fri Jul 25 19:07:44 MDT 2003

As people may have guessed, Stan Goff hasn't been on the Marxism List
recently; I did write him to let him now this brou-ha-ha was going on
here. He sent back these comments about what he's up to:

*  *  *

There is some mixed consciousness, but the original ad hoc steering
committee is extremely sensitive to the potential to exercise a mass
line strategy within military communities, who are our target - families
and troops alike.  There is a great reservoir of resentment and doubt
there, and failing to unite with that would be a colossal missed
opportunity.  We are reaching to the freshly-teachable center with the
intent to move them left, and undercut the very institution upon which
GWB & Co depend to carry forward their neocon scheme.

The first rank will be women from military communities, and the second
rank vets, for strategic reasons I won't go into here, but that may be
pretty self-evident.  Those (mostly women) family members communicate
with troops and can facilitate their 'education.'  Our job, as we see
it, is to provide a vehicle for self-organization.  The vets provide
legitimation to troops and tacit permission.  We are not going to let
this get swallowed by white middle class faith-based peace activists.

For the record, when 800 military spouses were brought together for a
post commander's cheerleading session a couple of weeks ago, he found
himself faced with a rebellion that quickly turned into a mobilization -
which he then had to issue threats a week later to suppress.  The
consciousness was very mixed, but this is the reality of organizing, ALL
organizing.  They will learn in the struggle, and not because someone is
thumping them over the head with the holy texts or pushing party
newspapers in their faces.

The tempest at marxmail, which I haven't had time to check for a while,
is an indication that there are still a few hair triggers thereabouts,
and a couple of folks need to get out more.  The vast majority of those
comrades, however, will always be the recipients of my affection and

You are welcome to send this short explanation along to them.

*  *  *

That was, again, Stan Goff's comment, not mine.

By the way, if you've been reading his columns, you'll know his son
Jessie is in the 82nd Airborne, which, it has just been announced, is
being sent to Iraq.

Details on the Pentagon deployment plans are here:

In considering the work Stan and others have embarked on, I would
suggest people take into account that it has a very personal dimension
for those involved. 

I think those are some of the most valuable things that Stan has
written, where he explores that side of it, as his did last March in his
column on "Jessie's Role":

*  *  *

I fear he will soon be issued his desert camouflage uniforms, and that
in short order he will be sent apart from his now eight-week-old child,
Jadin, for so long that by the time our grandson walks, he will not know
his father.

Now, flying in the face of my sometimes self-assured facade, Jessie has
not done as I said, but as I did, and I am feeling somewhat helpless....

I wrote something to a list about my emotional reaction to Jessie's
military service recently, and a self-righteous shit wrote me back that
Jessie had chosen his course of action, he had made his decision, and if
he is lost in this gangster's project of international plunder, oh
fucking well....

I didn't bother to tell him that I was as concerned with the possibility
that Jessie would learn xenophobia, that Jessie would be called upon to
kill, that Jessie would have his human trust buried, as I was with the
prospect of Jessie being killed in action – a dreadful possibility to be
sure, but one I consider more remote than the others. Things are just
never simple enough for an ideologue who still believes that soldiers
are all robot killers, and that the world is divided into good and

I don't need to get off the hook, to be morally absolved. I figured out
a long time ago that we can't rewind and re-record life. But the role of
soldier existed long before I took it, and it exists now, as Jessie
occupies it. I reproduced that role in my time, and now I am
transforming that role in the context of a politics of resistance. Hope,
as Brecht said, is hidden in contradictions.

There is hope for Jessie. It's the same hope we have to hold for
humanity, that we can transform our roles, roles constructed like so
many doors for us to go through by history, and by-and-by transform the
whole edifice of human relations.

Meanwhile, I will love my son. I will wish as fervently and vainly as
anyone else. And I will continue to fight for the political destruction
of these posturing, caviar-and-cocktail-fed Washington thugs.

If we want simple, we'd best avoid life. 

*  *  *

More information about the Marxism mailing list