[Marxism] Precipitous withdrawal?

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 23 12:15:09 MDT 2005

This is another area where we need to look at these matters
differently than we did in the Sixties and we cannot make
"immediate withdrawal" a splitting issue for the struggle
against the war. Otherwise we will end up as we did at the
NCC convention in 1965, in the thirteenth workshop. Would
Louis or someone else scan the section on the 13th workshop
and share it with readers under 40 or 50 who don't catch the
reference. (I was present at the 13th workshop, and later on
distributed the Bring The Troops Home Now NEWSLETTER.)

I favor immediate withdrawal. Anything less than that still
signifies accepting, abstractly, the right of the US to
occupy whatever country we're favoring immediate withdrawal
from. Arguing the logic of that position is necessary and
appropriate. From Iraq, from Guantanamo, from Gaza, etc.
This is a fine subject for analytic and discussion articles.
We used to have them in THE MILITANT all the time and that
is a fine way to spend time. I'm for it. 

But making "immediate withdrawal" a splitting issue is as
foolish as making supporting the Palestinians or any other
issue which can mobilize less people than opposition to
the war in Iraq a splitting issue. That is what some here
are arguing. Their quotes can be found appended below.

Tom Hayden's article is too long to post here, and I know
that by posting links to it here there will be those who,
echoing what we used to argue in the sixties, that they
really "in Principle", favor the occupation of Iraq, but
that's simply a posture and that's why the written demand,
the "program" of "immediate withdrawal" simply cannot be 
a guide to building a mass and effective protest movement.




Walter Lippmann

A Turning Point
Organizers say that September's massive gathering 
in D.C. will crystallize antiwar sentiment
By Phoebe Connelly
August 23, 2005

United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) is coordinating a
three-day antiwar mobilization on September 24-26 in
Washington, D.C. In mid-August, In These Times spoke with
mobilizing coordinator L.A. Kauffman about preparations for
what promises to be an historic event.

How did the September "Anti-War Mobilization" come about?

We've been planning this since the spring. Then, in June,
there was major motion in Congress around the war, and a
real feeling that the years of antiwar mobilization were
finally having an effect in the legislative arena.

Congress has been complicit in this war since day one, and
a lot of politicians have not been held to account for
their support of Bush's policies. So one key part of the
mobilization is a grassroots lobbying day on Monday the
26th, where people will be meeting with their senators and
representatives and urging them to speak out against the
war. Of course, Bush is ultimately responsible for the war,
and as a reflection of that, we will also be holding, on
that same day, a large-scale nonviolent direction action at
the White House.

You're calling it a "mobilization" not a "march." What's

When we say "mobilization" we are talking about the entire
package: three days of action. On Saturday the 24th, there
will be a short rally, then a massive march at midday, and
in the late afternoon a concert, "Operation Ceasefire."
Throughout the entire day, there will be an antiwar
festival on the Washington Monument grounds with tents
filled with tables with resources and materials-it's a way
for people to plug into campaigns like those countering
military recruitment, protesting the use of depleted
uranium, and defending immigrant rights and civil

You know, you often go to marches excited; it's powerful,
and inspiring. But it's often not clear what the next step
is. We're working to be very integrated with local
grassroots organizing, to help those who are outraged plug
into the wide range of campaigns they could be a part of on
a longer term basis, and give them tools to intensify their
local organizing.

In your position paper on the mobilization you say you hope
to "go outside our comfort zones and speak to people our
movements don't typically reach." How have you done this?

For too long the Bush administration has tried to hold the
moral high ground while waging an immoral war. With Clergy
and Laity Concerned About Iraq, we're bringing an antiwar
message into churches, synagogues, mosques. Response has
been tremendous, has reached a lot of folks who aren't the
usual suspects, aren't the classic long-term left-wing
activists who attend protests on a regular basis.

We also have massive leafleting operations underway in New
York City and Washington, D.C. We're attending summer
festivals and street fairs, leafleting at shopping centers,
you name it. More than 175,000 leaflets have already been
distributed that way, enabling organizers to have
one-to-one conversations with people and build grassroots
buzz about the mobilization.

Cindy Sheehan has stepped forward as a strong, important
antiwar figure. Who else should we be watching?

Cindy Sheehan's grief and emotion are very powerful, but
even she will be the first to say that she is only one of
many who have lost loved ones in this war. There are
numerous other military families and family members of
those killed in action who have been speaking out publicly.

A lot of the heroes of this movement are not visible:
They're high school students resisting predatory military
recruiters, or communities holding weekly antiwar vigils,
individuals holding signs and bearing witness. That kind of
work is not captured in the media spotlight, but it's been
extremely important in steadily building a base of

There is a real sense that this could be the turning point,
that popular opinion has turned so strongly against the
war. This mobilization has the potential to take the
antiwar movement to the next level, the power to force the
administration to bring the troops home.


TOM HAYDEN (snippets)
August 23, 2005
Exiting Iraq
By Tom Hayden

Iraqi antiwar groups rise

The most significant factor on the ground is the rise of an
Iraqi movement calling for U.S. withdrawal and the end of
the occupation. Rather than welcoming such a development,
the administration and a media blinded by its own paradigms
have ignored the possibility of a peace process among
The rumblings within America's client regime reflect a
widespread consensus on the ground. Surveys taken at the
beginning of 2005 show that 82 percent of Sunnis and 69
percent of Shiites favored a near-term U.S. withdrawal.
According to the State Department's own internal surveys,
at least half of Iraqis interviewed say they feel unsafe
because of the presence of American troops.

But the issue is not being "for" or "against" the war. 
It is over immediate withdrawal. No leading Democrat,
including Kucinich, favors immediate withdrawal. The
article you cite above does not even address this question.
It simply documents the willingness of some Democrats to
back Cindy Sheehan's right to protest, just as Elizabeth
Edwards did.

Sorry, Walter, you are wrong. Those "Dovish" democrats
certainly do support occupation of Iraq. Read the Woolsey
resolution. Pay attention to the signers and especially to
number 3 at the end. They may support bringing US troops
home but they are not against a US-controlled occupation
under the UN/Arab League banner. That is not
antiwar--sounds pretty much what Bush is trying to do
without any success.

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