[Marxism] Re: Anti-imperialism?
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat May 7 10:49:03 MDT 2005
>On college campuses, where presumably everybody was privileged, sit-ins
>and take-overs of administration buildings, ROTC buildings, corporate
>and military recruiter spaces were opposed then as "ultra-left"
>throughout the anti-Vietnam War struggle, although they grew and grew
>and brought more and more into the struggle against the war.
The SWP never attacked such protests. In fact, they participated in them.
Right now if a thousand or so NYU or Columbia students decided to sit-in to
protest the US occupation of Iraq, it would be a great thing. What
Macdonald is talking about is something different. He is for what he calls
"provocative" actions, such as fighting with the cops. This would be a very
>Lest we forget, getting arrested, confronting police is not the choice,
>not usually the initiative, of demonstrators. It is usually the
>initiative of the police.
Well, yes and no. When cops attack peaceful mass demonstrations, it is
understandable that people fight back. But when you stage confrontations
with the cops on the basis that you will not allow some WTO meeting to take
place, it is much harder to win sympathy for your action. This is all about
what is called "defensive formulations". In fact the Bolsheviks seized
power as a "defensive" measure against attacks on Soviet democracy.
Fortunately, no significant sector of the antiwar movement advocates "black
block" adventurism. Macdonald seems nostalgic for this ill-considered
behavior but the rest of the movement understands how much of a disaster it
would be right now to adopt this kind self-defeating tactic.
>Lest we forget, those arrested in NYC during the Republican Convention
>were not acting in an "ultra-left" fashion, as official and unofficial
Tactics must be judged on the basis of whether they advance the movement or
not. Frankly, the August actions were marred by an implicit pro-Democratic
Party dynamic. Although I was not on hand to observe the civil
disobedience, part of them, I am relatively sure that they were cut from
the same cloth as the 1968 Chicago protests. Outraged young people put
their bodies on the line to indicate an electoral choice. Getting arrested
to show that you prefer Eugene McCarthy or John Kerry is a mixed message at
>Macdonald, to my reading, was not advocating actions, a la a "black
>flag" contingent, placing everyone at one time and one place at risk of
Yes, this shows signs of growth as compared to the discussions we had with
him when the black block was a big deal.
>Two years ago, Out Now, was an ultra-left slogan.
I don't think so.
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