[Marxism] [Fwd: For United Anti-War Action]]

Bonnie Weinstein giobon at sbcglobal.net
Fri May 27 12:49:44 MDT 2005

Dear Jon,

The problem with this solution, i.e., no solution and no unity, is that it
has been going on since the war began. Feb. 15/16, 2002 "The World Says No
to War" was the last "unified day" of protest. The problem with that unity
was that it wasn't democratic. While there was a "liaison committee" with
representatives--four from each group--that voted on various motions and
proposals regarding such things as date, time, place of assembly, music,
speakers, MC',financial matters and a myriad of other questions--and it was
a majority rule vote, it did not involve the rank and file of the movement
in the planning and decision-making.

Strange things happened, at least here in San Francisco, in the Liaison
Committee. Decisions that were made democratically at one point were
overturned in the end. The details are not important since this kind of
structure itself leads to behind the scene deals and pacts--things that
would never go over if the vast majority of activists were involved in the
democratic process. It's sort of like bourgeois democracy. Each group (think
Party) elects it's representatives to the Liaison Committee (think
Congress). Those representatives are supposed to represent the wishes of the
majority of the members in the group. And here is where it gets compounded.
Many of the groups themselves that "elect" their representatives are not
democratic. So, not only do we have a decision-making body that doesn't
allow the ranks of the antiwar movement to participate in democratic
decision making, those very representatives themselves were not chosen
democratically and they like it that way. It's no different than voting for
a Democrat expecting that they will carry out the wishes of the majority of
the voters. If that were so our troops would be coming home right now
instead of being forced to stay way beyond their time. What if the troops
had a right to vote on whether they should go home? How do you think they
would vote?

Unfortunately this continued lack of grass roots democracy shows a profound
lack of faith in the intelligence of the masses. They look at any group of
people as a people that need "gentle to strong guidance and control by a
strong leadership of those in the know. Those that favor democracy--that
involves the rank and file people in the decision-making process--believes
that the best decisions will come from a full and rounded discussion of
ideas and a fully democratic vote--one person, one vote and majority
rule--that involves the most number of people as possible.

Just after nine-eleven, the Town Hall Committee to End the War was formed
from a call at a demonstration against the War on Terror at Precita Park
that was organized by a coalition of groups including Global Exchange,
ANSWER, ISO and others. The rally called for a mass meeting at a church.
Over 500 people came. The meeting voted on forming the group. An open
discussion from the floor went on. There was ample time to discuss issues
and the feeling of all these people together made the room electrified.

Decisions were made and the job was getting done of organizing a movement in
opposition to the War on Terror and the War on the World by the U. S.
Government in response to the tragedy of nine-eleven.

The unity began to fall apart for reasons that we should examine and study
in an open and free atmosphere of educational discussions and debates on a
myriad of issues even if we only have to agree on a few of the basic ones to
continue in a united relationship.

To lead we are obligated to set an example. If we are socialists, the
example is to show that democratic decision making by the majority after a
full and open discussion that allows minority and/or opposition opinions to
be presented and discussed is the best way to come up with the best
decisions. History can show this over and over again. You can't have reason
without democracy. That's why we humans are in the state we are in today. We
are being ruled by a tiny minority of people who say they have our best
interests in heart as they cut our hearts out and plunder the earth.

Working class solidarity must be based on rank and file participation to the
fullest. We are nothing without all of us together and, only after a
thorough discussion and democratically arrived at program of ideas and
courses of action that will bring about the wishes of the majority.

What are we for if we are not for this?

The irony here is that the rank and file are participating democratically on
many levels. The counter-military recruitment movement has been working
together on many activities such as counter-recruitment tables and workshops
at the high schools, demonstrations such as the Mother's Day demonstration
organized by Code Pink and at School Board meetings around this issue. And
this Saturday, May 28th at 10:30 a.m. at 16th and Mission Streets in San
Francisco (at the BART station plaza) there will be a kick-off rally for a
petition campaign to get an initiative on the November 2005 ballot that
says, "the people of San Francisco oppose U.S. Military recruiters using
public school, college and university facilities to recruit young people
into the armed forces. Furthermore, San Francisco should oppose the
military's "economic draft" by investigating means by which to fund and
grant scholarships for college and job training to low-income students so
they are not economically compelled to join the military!"

Many groups are joining in on this issue and we are meeting together on some
levels in order to gather signatures, etc.. We want to build the antiwar
movement into a mass movement. We can't do that if we won't let the masses
speak and act democratically in their own self-interests which we, as
Marxists and socialists agree, is in the interests of all of us and the
planet itself.

Democracy really works. Allowing open discussion of ideas and tolerance for
debate will paint the best overall picture of the problem for all to see.
That means we can find the most efficient means to solving those problems.
But first you have to have faith in the heart, mind, soul and will of the
majority to act in the interests of the majority.

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein, Socialist Viewpoint


On 5/27/05 8:05 AM, "Carrol Cox" <cbcox at ilstu.edu> wrote:

> Jon Flanders wrote:
>> Just sent this message to both UFPJ and Troops Out Now
>> The text was the same for both, just changed the group.
>> Jon F
>> [clip]
>> At this critical juncture, the last thing we need is two dueling
>> anti-war actions in Washington, DC.
> Why does it make a difference. Whether there are 2 marches or 10 or one
> on Sept. 24, as long as they all demand "Out Now" (whatever else they
> demand), local organizing can be the same.
> There is no political unity within the anti-war movement, and a neater
> nominal agreement for Sept. 24 might well be more of a barrier than a
> contribution to creating greater unity in the future.
> This time around political discussion and debate must go on within the
> larger anti-war movement itself rather than be confined within a few
> 'leninist' organizations. The degree of unity achieved by having demos
> on the same day with different slogans and different starting points
> offers a better basis for further development than would a paper unity
> on the spot of ground we start on.
> Carrol
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> Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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