[Marxism] Re: Thoughts On the US and UK Antiwar Movements

David McDonald dbmcdonald at comcast.net
Sat Jan 28 07:30:51 MST 2006

> -----Original Message-----
> From: marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu
> [mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu]On Behalf Of Steffie Brooks
> Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2006 2:35 AM
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> Subject: [Marxism] Re: Thoughts On the US and UK Antiwar Movements
> Could you, or anyone else, please refresh my memory on how the Feb.
> 15, 2003 mobilization was initiated and organized. All i can remember
> is the masses of people in the freezing weather in NYC. But maybe we
> should reexamine that high tide mark. How did it spread so fast around
> the world? Where did it start?

David McDonald:

Started at the World Social Forum in Genoa, if I am remembering correctly,
call went out about 11/2002.

The big deal is that since it was before the war and the splits, there was
actual unity in building the demonstration, though of an uneasy kind. Very
broad forces united in Seattle. People thought they were going to affect
whether there was a war or not, and they did affect it mightily, though not
enough to stop it.

I think the a/w movement is going to have to start over. I think UfPJ is
politically exhausted and ANSWER/TONC have shown no signs of ability to
transcend prior political norms of capturing themselves in the leadership of
whatever coalitions they participate in. That leaves us with nothing on a
national level except for USLAW, which is not truly national. Looking back
at Vietnam, I see that organizational forms often exhausted themselves when
unable to respond to new events, or were replaced by greater unities.

I'm betting on, and working on the emergence of forces within communities of
color to break the logjam. The inability to reach out to and mobilize people
of color is the biggest obstacle to the growth and accrual of power by the
a/w movement. It is not because Black people support the war that they are
vastly underrepresented in a/w work. The fault, dear Brutus, lies in our

It gets down to the Democratic Party in the last instance. First, the DP
does not oppose the war and it shows in UfPJ circles. They are already
demobilizing to concentrate on winning back Congress. Check out my post on
"Parody-Proof Proposal from UfPJ." We need leadership that can cut through
the DP stranglehold of the Black community and other communities of color
and mobilize people from underneath them, so to speak, which will then
readily galvanize whatever is left in the DP, insofar as their legs still
are capable of jerking.

In my opinion, only a movement led by the oppressed can reach into the
layers of the population that are politically unresponsive today, meaning
people who don't march, don't vote, and don't generally give a shit, the
folks Joaquin talks about, even though they may have very radical political
ideas. I understand that this sounds pretty jargonistic, but the practical
application is to find ways into communities of the poor and oppressed,
where there are lots of people who hate the war with all their being. I am
currently working on a political project which I will report to the list in
a few weeks, when it is ready for prime time.

Finally, everyone who is not paying attention to Cindy Sheehan is missing a
big opportunity. People respond readily and immediately to the idea that "I
won't vote for any prowar candidate." She is what we have in the way of a
home-grown national leader of the a/w movement committed to immediate
withdrawal, the most radical message there is today. She goes everywhere,
she is her own person. I am about to print up a thousand "No prowar
candidate gets my vote" buttons as soon as I get the slogan down. I think
they're gonna go like hotcakes.

More information about the Marxism mailing list