[Marxism] March 17 and ANSWER's Ultraleftism

mlause at cinci.rr.com mlause at cinci.rr.com
Mon Feb 19 09:52:29 MST 2007

Eric Johnson wrote, "my argument is that not taking on Israel and its 
roll in the middle east while talking about the United states and its 
role in the middle east IS unpricipled, and it is not worth 
jettisoning to obtain the lowest-common denominator."

I assumed that you were making an honest argument here--addressing the 
question of principle I raised, that is: how to mobilize people of the 
imperialist nations against the war. 

However, in that light your related questions are simply 
irrelevant: "Would we Not talk about South African aparthied when 
talking about the War in Angola??  Or Chilean death squads when 
talking about the Argentine Junta."  

If you want an honest discussion, the matter is not about "talking" 
but about defining a demonstration.  Nobody here's got any problem 
talking, but mobilization is the subject on the table....

You assert that it is "unprincipled" to march against the Iraq War 
without specifying something for Israel.  There is no reason why 
someone can't make the same assertion requiring us to take a specific 
position for another country in the region.  Each plays its role in 
the maintencer of the status quo and, insofar as they do, the U.S. 
plays ball with them.  I mean, where do you draw the line?  

To me, the line of principle seems very clear in mobilizing against 
the war...you mobilize against that war!  It accomplishes nothing to 
make arbitrary and fuzzy what is really quite clear.  

Let me suggest the following:

1. The bottom line that should concern all of us is weakening U.S. 
imperialism in the region.  The rights and wrongs of positions and 
lines are nice abstractions, but the real world of class relations 
opens an opportunity to do something concretely on this point.  This 
will have a major impact on U.S. relations with all its allies and 
would-be allies in the region.

2. Achieving this is best done by mobilizing the largest numbers, so 
long as they are not taking an overtly dead-end approach.  By that I 
mean a course independent from those institutionally established 
channels that render public opinion meaningless (two-party politics, 
writing letters, etc.)  It's a simple proposition: the more we get in 
the streets against the war, the more you hurt imperialism...and the 
more we weaken its dependencies. 

3. Finally, beginning to move that majority of American opinion into 
independent actions has serious reprecussions for what happens at 
home.  What's important here is that the independent nature of these 
actions creates the most important and dynamic feature of their 

Finally, to repeat again...and again...and again...by all means these 
other questions should be discussed and an ongoing education around 
them should take place at any mass mobilization.  The smart thing to 
do is to aim at bringing five or ten times as many people into the 
streets and then building a contingent to address these issues....  
More people would see the signs, be exposed to anti-Zionist ideas, etc.

Mark L.

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