[Marxism] Re: Student Walkout on Nov. 2 to Protest the War

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Fri Oct 28 08:07:40 MDT 2005

An action of this type, which does not involve any illegality that will 
subject the actors to penalties except of the mildest sort--where 
tactical mistakes may be made regarding leafleting, etc., should not be 
opposed. It should be actively supported as much as possible. If it is 
a small action, there is nothing lost and those who initiated it will 
appreciate whatever aid came from you. If it is a big action, you will 
be in a better position to keep it or something like it going if you 
are in on the ground floor. And obviously being on the ground floor 
will help you.

If it were in the middle of an on-going mass struggle involving an 
escalating series of demands, where groups had already come together 
for planning or where there were large meetings including both 
organizations and independents, that might be entirely different. The 
question of alternatives might come up. But that doesn’t seem to be the 

Rather than worrying about the RCP or other left organizations 
involved, help out in a way that brings your own organization to the 
fore. Here’s a warning based on past experience. Don’t allow yourself 
to be shunted exclusively into some narrow help such as printing the 
leaflets or making phone contact with organizations. Of course, doing 
this is necessary as well; my emphasis is on exclusively. Do things 
that involve other people and that help you get your contacts involved 
with you. Making posters, handing out leaflets as opposed to printing 
them, going to defense guard meetings and volunteering to participate, 
etc., are some examples.

If you issue a leaflet or broadside, don’t criticize any of the radical 
organizations. Hitting the major parties is different, of course. But I 
would not single out those individuals, with whom you disagree, who may 
be speaking at your own rally(s). This can best be done implicitly by 
the right slogans and statements of your own.

If there are people around your organization, depending on the 
logistics, you might want to set up a table, with help from your 
contacts as volunteers. If you have a good speaker and the mechanics of 
the day make it possible you may even want to have a forum or talk. 
Obviously, that would be in any leaflet that you would design. Don’t 
forget to have a mailing address, phone numbers, other forms of contact 
on the leaflet.

If it develops really well and you feel swamped and in later weeks 
wonder why your organization didn’t recruit immediately and feel 
nervous about others succeeding where you are treading water, have 
patience. In the medium and long run, it is your program that counts.

Brian Shannon

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