Frontlines and the antiwar movement

John Paramo albatrosrojo2000 at
Wed Mar 12 00:35:50 MST 2003


"If people could follow the argument despite the
absolutely GOOFY idea of posting alternating
two-paragraph sections in English and Spanish"

Yeah, the price they have to pay for having few
thousands regular readers in English, Spanish,
bilinguals and so on.  No system was found yet to
dscriminate who speaks what when they register to
receive the bulletin.

You only heard from many people when they complain
about having first English, then Spanish texts
separately or when they want to receive e-mails in one
language and not the other and so on ...

But, don't worry, is only for a while.  The comrades
are working with a new software to make their web
pages in several different languages and update them
almost daily. At that point they will be publishing in
separate formats, I'm told, and the e-mails will be
only to advise of updates of a daily bulletin in both
languages separately.


"I have a very different view of the new antiwar
movement: I think it is a distributed p2p [peer to
peer] network, and while it is multilevel --with
local, national and (emerging) international
supernodes-- its basic underlying structure is
horizontal and virtual rather than hierarchical and
geographical. Don't think NPAC or PCPJ or the SMC or
New Mobe, think gnutella and Kazaa and texting on
cellphones. Organizing a protest movement of this type
basically involves communication."

Aside from the fact that that method of organizing
leave out about 95% of Latinos and 80% of African
Americans and 70% of working class poor and so on ...
the text actually do not talk against it.  In fact, we
think new technology must play an important role, it
is playing it (and as you commented, we are trying to
use it) but cannot replace nor should the political
personal contact, the debates, the discussions that is
only possible through intensive human inter-action, at
the door to door, in the public meetings and in the
leafleting in neighborhoods and plant gates... 

It is no one method against the other of
"communication" but being able to use all of them. 
Methods of organizing restricted to new technology are
class biased, whether you have that intention or not.

The computer, the e-mail, the cell phone are welcomed,
but the printing press, the leaflet, the poster and
more importantly, the grassroot work in workplaces and
communities, particularly working class and
communities of color are indispensable.


"As materialists, it should not surprise us in the
slightest that this has changed the *forms* of the

Sure thing.  And that is, dialectically both an
advantage and a disadvantage.  Many people active in
the movement tends to cater to the law of the minimum
effort.  We should certainly use the e-mail, but it is
a problem when you try to make it the center of your
organizing, rather than an auxiliary tool.

"This movement is much more *spontaneous* -- people
come to demonstrations on their own, with
their own homemade signs with often humorous and
idiosyncratic expressions of antiwar sentiment."

There is no opposition to that in the text, and that
is certainly a reality.  But Marxists fight to give
the spontaneous a conscious character and informal an
organization to confront the organization in power.

And more importantly, Jose, you seemed not to have an
ultimate goal for the movement to fight for, which is
shared by other people in it, and that is what, at
certain level, the spontaneity and the relying on new
technology seemed to satisfy you.

That is OK if your objective are limited to short term

We do have the aim to try to convince the movement to
go to the next level, in a series of approximations
and to enhance it to embrace the working class and the
oppressed - and yes, we are also old-fashioned on that
too, since we think they should lead it.

We would like to be able to convince the movement to
transform its oppostion to this battle of the US
ruling class, into a movement against the ruling class
itself.  That takes time, organization, multiple level
of methods of organizing (new and old) and yes, the
human contact to debate plans and program.


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