[Marxism] Debate over immediate withdrawal
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 11 07:57:02 MST 2005
Published on Thursday, March 10, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
MoveOn.org: Making Peace With the War in Iraq
by Norman Solomon
Sadly, it has come to this. Two years after the invasion of Iraq, the
online powerhouse MoveOn.org -- which built most of its member base with a
strong antiwar message -- is not pushing for withdrawal of U.S. troops from
With a network of more than 3 million "online activists," the MoveOn
leadership has decided against opposing the American occupation of Iraq.
During the recent bloody months, none of MoveOn's action alerts have
addressed what Americans can do to help get the U.S. military out of that
country. Likewise, the MoveOn.org website has continued to bypass the issue
-- even after Rep. Lynn Woolsey and two dozen cosponsors in the House of
Representatives introduced a resolution in late January calling for swift
removal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.
That resolution would seem to be a natural peg for the kind of kinetic
activism that established MoveOn's reputation. A movement serious about
ending U.S. military activities in Iraq could use the resolution as a way
to cut through political tap dances and pressure members of Congress to
take a stand. Down the road, generating grassroots support for a
get-out-of-Iraq resolution has potential to clear a congressional pathway
for measures cutting off funds for the war.
But, tragically, MoveOn's leadership is having none of it. Over a period of
recent weeks, the word "Iraq" appeared on the MoveOn.org home page only in
a plug for a documentary released last year. Inches away, a blurb has been
telling the website's visitors: "Support Our Troops: Contribute your
frequent-flyer miles so that American troops can get home." (But not stay
home.) Many soldiers are returning to the killing grounds of Iraq, while a
growing number are vocally opposed to this war.
Why won't MoveOn "support our troops" by supporting a pullout of our troops
from Iraq? "We believe that there are no good options in Iraq,"
MoveOn.org's executive director, Eli Pariser, told me. "We're seeing a
broad difference of opinion among our members on how quickly the U.S.
should get out of Iraq. As a grassroots-directed organization, we won't be
taking any position which a large portion of our members disagree with."
Marc Cooper blog:
The anti-war movement is in the crisis of stagnation it finds itself today
precisely because characters like Solomon dominate its leadership. Theres
been a campaign, in fact, over the last handful of weeks to force groups
like MoveOn, some labor unions, and other left-of-center types to sign-on
to the Out Now formula. That, of course, would make the anti-war leaders
feel better about themselves but would do damn little to actually build an
effective counter-movement to the White House war policy.
Whats needed now is the exact opposite of what Solomon is calling for.
Those who favor troop withdrawal need to build bridges with those who are
doubtful but indecisive about what to do. The only two options possible are
not just the status quo or immediate withdrawal. And remember real-life
politics is about building coalitions not purging the impure.
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