[Marxism] Seymour/Ayers

Tom Cod tcod at hotmail.com
Wed Dec 3 11:31:40 MST 2008

No, actually these mass demonstrations and the mass movement played 
a very important role in ending the war, second only to the military struggle of 
the Vietnamese people.  While it is entirely proper and appropriate for vanguard
groups to raise anti-imperialist slogans and whatever, it was crucial to mobilize
the masses of folks in the streets which counterposing vanguard actions, slogans
and tactics would have obstructed.  Rather, those actions should be properly 
viewed as juxtaposed to that, within a mass basis or context, like say the excellent Catonsville 9 protest, 
for example.   It seems fundamentally an ultraleft, elitist and idealist conception to think otherwise because
ideas alone, slogans by themselves, change little.

An excellent example of how the mass antiwar movement did deter the warmongers
was offered by Daniel Ellsberg who stated that "Operation Duck Hoop" scheduled
for November 1969 in which Nixon planned a massive operation to bomb the dikes
in Vietnam was called off because of the monster mass protests occuring in at that time.
Moreover, Kissinger himself admitted that a primary reason the U.S. pulled out of
Vietnam, in addition to the military gains of the Vietnamese, was the anti-war movement
and radicalization at home which both made pursuing the war in a viable way military
difficult and which posed a broader political threat to stability at home which needed
to be neutralized.

Although overstated and not entirely correct in all its examples (chicago 1968), Peter Camejo's
pamphlet, "Liberalism, Ultraleftism and Mass Action" is an excellent statement of this 
view, with Fred Halstead's book "Out Now" being a good history of the anti-war movement
from this perspective.

> The anti-war demonstrations as organized by the various incarnations of  The 
> Mobe were rigidly single issue, lowest common denominator, and with even its 
> rhetoric reduced below that of a common denominator, changing Stop The War, 
> to "Bring the Troops Home Now," which, as Nixon proved, wasn't stopping the 
> war at all.

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