[Marxism] Re: Anti-imperialism

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Sat May 7 18:00:35 MDT 2005

 >>I’ll try again. When one group looks “radical” (or insert epithet 
here) it’s  because other groups all have less “radical” stances; what 
makes a movement  strong is all the wings of it. The Black Panthers, 
whatever your analysis of  them, could not exist in the context of a 
civil rights movement that did not  exist either; when they were 
around, and people like MLK were there, it  provided a political space 
for him to move more leftward.

 >>Frankly, responding to a call for anti-imperialist to join together 
with  “you should all just say out now” is simple idealism. When you 
have 200 000  in the streets pushing strollers and demanding an 
immediate withdrawl at a  demonstration that includes next to no 
confrontation and has a bland list of  speakers who tell you that you 
most surredly must come back to the next  demonstration, at the same 
time that arrives you have several thousand who  want to try something 
more provocative and hundreds who are willing to do  something to risk 
arrest and all that comes with.

This is completely abstract. You are trying to get away with vague 
“radical” or “militant” actions, but when Louis describes actions that 
actually happened, you try to wriggle out of it by saying you didn’t 
mean that particular action, but another action that existed neither in 
the past nor in the future. You apparently have a picture of a perfect 
“more provocative” action that “hundreds” (elsewhere you simply throw 
out 5,000 as a figure) are to “risk arrest and all that comes with” it.

Louis describes particular mistakes. You get upset and say that he uses 
an “epithet.” No, he was just stating the facts.

On the other hand, you denigrate large demonstrations as candlelight 
marches and 200,000 pushing strollers and calling for immediate 
withdrawal. “Out Now” was a political demand that was won by struggle. 
However, all of the demonstrations against the war also encouraged 
other demands from a multitude of constituencies. The main focus was 
the war, but it was never the sole demand or issue.

You throw out a reference to the Black Panther Party. Their 10-point 
program was very good, and they showed that young urban black men and 
women could be organized into a political organization opposed to the 
U.S. government. However, you seem to think that by connecting to them 
in the ether that you have succeeded in wrapping yourself in their 
iconic mantle for the future, but you fail to say anything about their 
documented well-criticized mistakes.

Vague and abstract references work in the arts and can evoke strong 
feelings in poetry, dance, painting, etc. However, a revolutionary 
politician has the responsibility to the people that he or she 
influences. It is known as leadership. Not the leadership of a 
revolutionary party, but your affect on millions of people that hope 
for a change in the conditions. You have to tell us what you want to do 
and why. You have to describe its purpose of your actions beyond 
providing some sort of space for making people like Martin Luther King 
appear more reasonable. BTW, this is a reformist program, but that's 
beyond this criticism.

Nothing that you have said amounts to more than saying that there are a 
bunch of us that would like to do something really, really militant.

Brian Shannon

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