Forwarded from Anthony (NYT)

bon moun sherrynstan at igc.org
Sun Mar 30 10:21:31 MST 2003


"Patriotism is always the refuge of the scoundrel, although often the
first and last.  And maybe yes, although I don't want to create an
anti-war police force to confiscate American flags.  It should be clear
in everything we do and say that US flags are not welcome, that the
battle is international, class, in character and the flag of the
imperial flagship is not a flag that serves anything but the ruling
class."

With respect, comrade, this is plainly wrong.  Patriotism is not simply
the refuge of scoundrels, it is a powerful operational mystification
among our own (white... another post perhaps) working class.  I would
never call for pandering to patriotism, and I think the "Peace is
Patriotic" slogan is idiotic.  But the broad movement that said simply
"No War" before the latest onslaught has become a pragmatic, material
force on the battlefield in Iraq, and it included people and slogans
that were deeply confused.  If we had warred thus against the "Peace is
Patriotic" crowd, we would have thinned out own ranks dangerously... a
kind of Rumsfeldian error (-:

The flag is an abstraction, and not one we should get overly tangled up
in.  It is a hot-button with the very (white) working class we must
remain connected with, and the lesson yet to be learned will be learned
through a combination of trauma and struggle, not from our erudition or
polemical prowess.  Certainly not by eliciting irrational reactions
around flags.

In our own practical antiwar work here, where legalistic liberals and
religious pacifists work side-by-side with a very assertive
anti-imperialist pole [including my own group NC Labor Against War] that
consistently ties the war to US racism (among other things), we have
learned to tolerate each others' sometimes contradictory messages
without surrendering either our identity or our class
struggle/anti-imperialist message. If I'm offered stars and stripes, in
stickers or cloth, I politely decline.  But the practical, tactical goal
remains, for now, to undermine the legitimacy of the regime.  Conditions
will take care of the rest in due time, and what was unclear to some
about how we interpret this period shall become clearer through their
own experience... trauma most shall have to experience, unfortunately,
on their skins.  Then we can begin to think of capturing political
power.

As Frost, I think, said... miles to go before we sleep.





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