[Marxism] Sleepwalking? Hey, Comrade, do you even know where you are at?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 1 12:18:04 MST 2004

Tony Abdo wrote:
> One of the impressions I have about having lived as a US Leftist through 
> the late '70s and all the '80s, was the impression that the entire US 
> population sleptwalk throughout almost this entire period of time. 
> Almost everybody in the US Left was into cheerleading 'solidarity' 
> campaigns, but almost nobody seemed to think about, or even know much 
> about, the even more real, major US military battlegrounds of that time, 
> those of the Afghanistan and the Iran/ Iraq conflicts. Instead, almost 
> all Left attention was given to opposing US interventionism in El 
> Salvador and Nicaragua.

With its limited forces, the left has to pick and choose its battles 
carefully. The civil war in Biafra occurred between 1967 and 1969. I 
think the left chose wisely to focus on Vietnam rather than Biafra, 
where the class/ethnic conflict did not have revolutionary implications. 
By the same token, solidarity with Nicaragua (I have no idea why Abdo 
puts this word in quotes) or El Salvador might have made a difference in 
whether socialism could move forward.

> Part of the reason for this was the abandonment of the antiwar movement 
> by the US SWP. This left the antiwar movement arena of political 
> activism in the hands of Left religious activists, to a great degree. 
> And this favored 'solidarity' activism and pacifism, as oppsed to 
> mobilizing people with demos and non-ecclesiastical teach-ins. So the 
> more major areas of US military interventionism outside of Liberation 
> influenced Latin America, went by greatly unnoticed, and unreported 
> upon.   The nuns and priests weren't interested, so most none of the 
> rest of us were, either.

This is typical Abdo. Sweeping generalizations without any solid 
documentation. In reality the movement rallied to Central America not 
because nuns and priests were involved, but because people like Tomas 
Borge and Shafik Handal were involved.

> Let's forget about Africa and other spots for a bit now. And 
> even forget about the north of South America. Just pick up that globe 
> and kind of stare at it directly at Armenia for a minute or two.  Do you 
> even know where you are at right now?

120th street and Broadway.

> Whatever.. we don't want the people learning about Iraq/ Iran and 
> Afghanistan on another Sept 11 the hard way again. The time to educate 
> is now, not later. Get the US Out of Southwest Asia Now! Has kind of a 
> funny ring to it though.

Thank you for your sublime insights.


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