[Marxism] Why is 'Out Now!' weak?

Lou Paulsen loupaulsen at sbcglobal.net
Tue Aug 15 17:36:50 MDT 2006

----- Original Message ----
From: M. Junaid Alam <junaidalam1 at gmail.com>

In summary, an 'out now' position in Iraq demands a level of political
consciousness that is leaps and bounds above an 'out now' position in
Vietnam. It would entail an acceptance of (1) breaking with Israel, (2)
breaking with Arab puppet regimes, (3) accepting the likelihood of
pan-Islamist movements coming to power, (4) relinquishing control over Arab
- - - - -
In other words, "US out of the Middle East."  That is, if I understand you
right, in this situation, "US out of the Middle East" is not really any more
extreme than "Out now".
That is why the case for immediate withdrawal will, in my opinion,
never gain traction among a majority of Americans *until and unless* (1-4)
are already very clearly on the horizon regardless of what we do, and our
intervention causes enormous American casualties.
Probably, but it depends somewhat on how the question is put.  We were out
doing some street agitation the other day, and this is what I came away with:
- When we started talking about the details of the war, Hezbollah's role, and so
on, people's eyes glazed over a bit.  There is a lot of brainwashing out there
about "terrorists" and Israel "defending itself" and so on, and between that and
disinterest in "geography" we have a long way to go.
- But when we said "All these wars in the Middle East are really about oil profits",
people knew we were right.  People already know, on some level, what the capitalists
are capable of.
Unfortunately this does not mean that they are ready to come into the streets
yet, because they don't see the war as intolerable yet, and also because I think
people are still feeling burned about the "failure" of the movement to stop the
war in 2003; if we couldn't stop it then, it means we can't really do anything 
about war.  And that's not a stupid conclusion to draw.  We are in the dictatorship
of the bourgeoisie, and the bourgeoisie apparently really want this war of
world domination, and so when people come up to us and say "Why should I
protest, because they are going to have the war whatever the hell we say",
what do we say?  This by the way is why the radical Christian pacifists are
so consistent: they will protest because it's the right thing to do regardless
of whether it does any good.  But what do WE say?  We have things to say, of
course, but it's hard to present a strong case that anti-war demonstrations will bring
a material benefit in the short run.  Naturally, that's not why we do them.
(Of course, the other way to go about it is to mobilize the workers and oppressed
on other issues, and then bring them out against the war.)
Lou Paulsen

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