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

Michael Hoover hooverm at scc-fl.edu
Sat Jan 28 08:10:16 MST 2006

>>> steffie.brooks at gmail.com 01/28/06 5:35 AM >>>
I'm incredibly frustrated at the lack of focus and will on the part of
antiwar "leaders" in the U.S. as well as gratified by the number of
local antiwar initiatives. The majority of the U.S. population wants
out of Iraq. Forthcoming economic hits should deepen that sentiment.
Further revelations of government corruption and abridgement of
Constitutional rights will also help. But we are adrift!

use of public opinion date is problematic, while percentage of folks 
opposed to vietnam war was about 2/3rds by 1970 in some polls, in 
others, only about 60% thought war was mistake as late as 1972, it's 
that 'framing' thing, how you ask it influences answer you receive...

moreover, even in '72 when no matter how one asked it, majority  
opposed war, percentage supporting *specific* u.s. actions offers 
contrast: about 60% supported nixon's mining of north vietnamese 
ports and almost 50% approved of continuous bombing in the north...

as for public attitude re. anti-war movement, some data indicated 
sizeable majorities in *agreement* with it about the war (again, 
percentages vary according to ways questions were asked)  even as 
percentage of public *supporting* it maxed at about 50% (no small 
accomplishment given a half century of public opinion data suggesting 
that americans do not care much for demonstrators/protesters, for 
example, while 2/3rds opposed segregated facilities in interstate travel 
& terminals in 1963, 2/3rds also opposed freedom riders)...

almost all movement accounts - whether positive or negative - suggest/
indicate anti-war movement waned following (take your pick) implosion of 
sds, kent state killings, fewer national demos, use of draft lottery, 
'vietnamization' policy of withdrawing some u.s. ground troops...

however, such accounts generally fail to *account* for increasing number of 
local demos, increasing number of arrests stemming from such activities, 
growing resistance in military itself, and overall change in way that war was 
considered/discussed (amongst both public and policymakers)...

johnson/nixon administration insiders have indicated that mass demonstrations 
had restraining effect on way war was prosecuted, but such demos had limited 
longitudinal utility, it was activities (the result, in part, of mass actions) such as 
those noted above that upped ante for political state, making cost of fighting war 
- in terms of domestic disruption, generational conflict, military insubordination, 
taxpayer criticism - increasingly too high... 

don't pretend to know how to 'up the ante' in current circumstance but doubt 
efficacy of going to washington for mass march (or two or three) and sloganizing 
(whether it's one, two or more)...   mh 

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