[Marxism] October 27th demos

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Wed Oct 3 16:02:38 MDT 2007

On 10/2/07, David McDonald <dbmcdonald at comcast.net> wrote:
   . . .
> 7. The fact that my posts about the unity of the movement in practice
> have elicited almost no response from anyone on this list is quite
> disheartening, leading me once again in the direction of thinking that
> the "activists" in the title of the list is mostly bullshit, at least as
> far as mass politics is concerned. . . 

Hi David,
    i'm sure that there are other activists on this list who don't have much time, who don't have jobs where they use the internet, computers.  partly because a large portion of my discretionary time is taken up with activism, i don't find much opportunity to readily participate and contribute to this list. 

i don't have time to even look at, what's more carefully read, the majority of messages on the list - but i find it to be a valuable resource for my activism.  i think i'm able to guess fairly well which contributors and which messages are of interest to me (although i always wonder about gems i've probably missed).  i've found your messages to be interesting and worthwhile.

   i think we all owe the Workers World Party a debt of political gratitude for being the great "into-the-streets" activist organizers they were at the time of 9/11.  It was International ANSWER which provided organizational leadership nationally across the U.S. for the mass action wing of the antiwar movement from September 2001 up through early 2003.  We might be able to imagine a better mass-action, politically-independent, working class oriented, united front, movement-building antiwar leadership (particularly those who were part of the U.S. SWP during the Vietnam war) - but WWP was out there leading the way at the time.

  i think the opportunity to get mass response to antiwar initiatives in late 2002 and especially early 2003 (up until the U.S. invasion of Iraq) was so overwhelmingly obvious to political activists that  left-wing political organizations which compete with WWP, especially those less "revolutionary" than WWP (and who were uncomfortable with WWP's straightforward anti-imperialism) moved to compete for leadership of the antiwar movement. 
   i think that there was definitely a sectarian element - 'join us because we're not ANSWER, WWP' - involved in the creation of UFPJ which set a course of sectarian competition between UFPJ and ANSWER.  that may have been unavoidable in any case because of WWP's own sectarian, controlling methods of movement building.   imo, partly because of ANSWER/WWP's own failure to be a genuinely open, democratic united front and its tendency to always push movement coalition politics too far in an ultraleft direction, UFPJ was successful in becoming the nationally stronger, more influential, more productive and promising of the two antiwar coalitions (even if UFPJ's own tendency is to be too reformist oriented).

   meanwhile, my *impression* is that the split in the WWP which developed in 2004 was based somewhat on differences between a wing of the WWP involved in building the antiwar movement/ANSWER and a wing of WWP completely committed to the sectarian routine of running WWP candidates in the  quadrennial U.S. presidential election campaign.  it's not a complete surprise, then, to see ANSWER apparently now working in a constructive way for unity in the antiwar movement.  (and i agree with your evaluation of the typically sectarian recent exercise by the WWP's new Troops Out Now antiwar movement organization)

   in terms of real clout in the antiwar movement, i think that US Labor Against the War has been one of the most positive influences (along with veterans, soldier and soldiers families' organizations [Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star - something qualitatively new and important in this 'all-volunteer' war]).  USLAW is part of UFPJ but also pushes UFPJ toward building antiwar unity.  USLAW participated in UFPJ's national convention last June which called for October 27 regional mobilizations, but then USLAW also got behind September 15 and urged (unfortunately without full success) UFPJ to do the same. 

  hopefully October 27 will show that there is 'wide and deep' opposition to this war coming from the grass roots, one result being increased pressure, motivation and work toward antiwar movement unity (_a la_ the latter part of your point #4).

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