[Marxism] msnbc on anti-war protests...

Juan Fajardo fajardos at ix.netcom.com
Sun Mar 20 16:59:40 MST 2005

> "Carlos A. Rivera" wrote:
>> It appears that more people marched in a single 
 >> demonstration in London in Feb. 2003 than all
 >> of those who marched world-wide in March 2005.
>> If that is not a defeat, I don't know the meaning
 >> of the word.
> Your basis of comparison is false. Compare M19 not with
 > Feb 2003 but with October 2004. The number of demonstrators
 > at the latter was ZERO: it didn't happen. In the US the
 > UFPJ, et al. had successfully killed the anti-war movement
> at the beginning of 2004 in order to absorb its
> energies into the DP presidential campaign. Hence that M19
 > happed AT ALL was a victory.
> Carrol

The mobilization for February 15, 2003 was so unprecedented and simply 
so massive that it lead to false hopes and expectations, even among 
longtime organizers.  However, anyone with a historical perspective 
would have recognized the seminal nature of it, but also its exceptional 
nature.  We knew, from experience, that when the war started in earnest 
(recall that military operations had been taking place on and off for 12 
years) much of that opposition would be drained away by the perceived 
need to "support the troops" or "pull together for the country", and 
that many others would be disillusioned or confused by the movement's 
frankly inevitable failure to stop the war.

Was F15 a failure because the war happened anyway?  In a word: no.

It belied the notion that the war was a popular cause or that its 
opponents were just "the usual suspects" and brought antiwar sentiment 
and organizing to hundreds of communities where there had been none. 
The worldwide mobilization strengthened the hands of opponents to the US 
course in the United Nations and in the Turkish parliament, and in so 
doing delayed the start of the war by at least 2 weeks and denied it a 
counted on northern front via Turkey.

I remember trying to explain this to my children.  They finally 
understood when asked them to think about how many people used those 
extra days to get out of Baghdad, get more food and water put away, or 
make themselves shelters.  By delaying the war we saved the lives of 
maybe hundreds, perhaps thousands of ordinary Iraqis, including children 
like them.

As for M19, we must take a similar perspective.  Was it smaller than 
F15?  Well...yeah, but NOTHING has ever been like F15.

But consider for a moment that, two years into the war and into a second 
Bush presidency, the anti-war movement is active, more varied, and 
growing.  Last year, according to UFPJ there were 319 cities in the US 
which held events around the war's 1st anniversary.  This year there 
were approx. 765 cities, distributed accross all 50 states, which 
scheduled events.

By my own count, there were 793 locations worldwide which held antiwar 
actions on the weekend of Feb. 15, 2003.  Yet, this year the number of 
locales in the US alone nearly equals that.

True, absent were the huge marches of two years ago, but in their place 
were more grassroots, local efforts by people who have not sat back, 
have not gone home and stayed there, but who have continued fighting and 
reaching out, and drawing new sectors into the movement, changing its 
composition in important ways.  This, even the bourgeois media cannot 
escape, as even they have taken pause to note the growing involvement of 
veterans, and military families, and the movement's spread accross the 
South and into military communities.

If that's not a success, I don't know the meaning of the word.

- Juan Fajardo

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