[Marxism] Reply to Jack "Bluesong" Vogel:

Dan Elliott cuibono at rcip.com
Sun Aug 22 11:12:18 MDT 2004

Jack wrote:

>>You know, what is it lately with
people that get all stressed and
hostile to others on the list.

I'd rather listen to Carrol's
"opinions" any day than the mere
regugitated 'facts' of someone
that's read a few books. Or
maybe 30 years of experience doesnt
impress you, well too bad if not
Okay, Jack, how about forty years of experience?

My personal acquaintance with something beyond the "Exodus" fairytale version of the M-E conflict began in Berkeley in 1962, when I got dragged to a lecture/booksigning by Mohamad Mehdi, talking about his then new book "A Nation of Lions -- Chained". Like many others in those days, my attention was primarily focussed on the war in Southeast Asia. Next on my political priority list was the "Sino-Soviet Split" & the class struggle in China, followed by Cuba & Latin America. So I didn't really focus on the Middle East until much later. I did try to follow developments as best I could; succeeded in learning enough that when the IOF invaded Lebanon in 1982 I looked for others who wanted to organize protests. 

Which led to my joining a now-defunct org then called the November 29 Coalition, which I helped morph into the Palestine Solidarity Committee at SF State in 1985. It was as Co-Chair of our local PSC chapter that I first had a chance to visit scenic Morningside Heights, for the 1987 National Conference. 

Or if you meant years of experience of left politics, I learned to read decyphering the headlines on the People's World it was my chore to fish out of the mailbox every Tuesday. Even before I could read the headlines, I was fascinated by the maps showing the "front line" between the Red Army & the Nazis.
I have to confess, though, that reading bullshit "opinions" about the Crime Against Humanity some call "isreal" does tend to make me impatient. 

 "Hostile"? "Stressed"? Of course I'm stressed. Anybody contending with what I've got on my plate every day is gonna be stressed. I'm an activist -- stress goes with the job description. 

I'm not sitting up in any leafy campus, in any booklined ivory tower professor's office, with the latest IT goodies & a university library ready to deliver any book I want right to my door. I'm sitting up here in this converted garage behind my landlord's house & his new Lincoln, in this "integrated" ghetto-barrio-redneck slum-undergoing gentrification, looking out the window at a crackhouse, with this cheapo PC, trying to figure out why I can't email or print out a jaypeg of this flyer for the MWM event I'm trying to organize.

 "Read a few books"? Lissen, Jack, I've read innumerable books, journals, magazines, essays, monographs & letters to the editor. I just cited those I believe to be the very most important as well as the most readable. 

But I don't depend solely on the printed word: I know personally many of the leading figures in various wings of the movement to defend Palestine. Some of them I helped train when they first started showing up at the meetings. 

And don't give me this crap about "regurgitating" -- my present views on these matters, being the product of more than two decades of study, activity & reflection, do not echo any "line" put forth by any single author or organization. My main political project these last cpl yrs has been to push (primarily via personal communication with influential figures; also on various websites) the idea that these "Martyr Missions", these suicide attacks targetting persons considered by international law & public opinion to be "civilians", have been harming the Palestinian cause far more than they have the Zionist Enterprise.

 Need I add that this view is decidely unpopular with many Palestinians & Palestinian-American activists, as well as with the WWP and their recently-departed westcoast honchae?  

It may come as a shock to you, Jack, but I don't care what you'd "rather read". I'm not subbing & posting to this list for the entertainment values, & it's my impression that most of the readers aren't either.

I happen to be looking for ways to affect, if only in a very minor way, the balance of class power on the planet. It's a big problem; my capacities are very limited -- but I'm still looking for ways to get a handle on it. Looking for a crack in the walls of the Imperial Edifice. 

The Middle East is clearly a key area, and Palestine is the key to the conflict in that area. So if you want to chart a course for a mass movement attempting to resist the activities of the Imperial War Machine, you need -- along with other requisite knowledge -- to have the best grasp of the Isreal Problem you can achieve. Which means you have to understand both roots of the problem -- the one centered in Palestine itself, with its history going back to the Basel Conference and beyond to the Lovers of Zion, even to Moses Hess; and the one in North America with its history going back to 1654, to the special accomodations the Christian Establishment made to enable them to make use of the specialized skills possessed by the immigrant Jewish refugee community. 

I don't claim to be a scholar, but I have encountered a good deal of knowledge & information that will be of use to anyone who shares these objectives. 

Like I said, if you aren't acquainted with the sources I've provided, you don't know what you're talking about, & you ought to keep quiet. 

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