[Marxism] Seymour/Ayers

John Obrien causecollector at msn.com
Wed Dec 3 16:26:41 MST 2008

Sorry to disagree with those who say this protest was not of large numbers of people - but I took part in the Nov. 15, 1969 protest in front of the Justice Department - and I was not alone - that protest and the numbers that took part, that went over there from the main rally at the Washington Monument was definitely large numbers of people.  (Tens of thousands of people took part in that protest and I consider that a large turnout).
Martha Mitchell was quoted as looking down from the roof of the Injustice Department Building and stating that it looked like the Russian Revolution. It certainly had that feel down below with the government repressive forces that met us there, trying to secure their building. 
I also remember the government response which was to tear gas all those at this protest and the large amount of tear gas then drifted (and was aided along by police pumping out more!!) to affect a good deal of those who had remained at the original rally and many residents of that city. The gas spread over a large area of that city.
The SWP/YSA opposed their members taking part in the Justice Department protest.  It was not called by them and the SWP rarely endorsed actions of other Left groups and only took part building ones they had control of or shared control of, with the CP/Liberals and Pacifists.
They also opposed their members taking part in the planned Civil Disobedience of crossing the bridge and marching on the Pentagon at the October 21, 1967 march. As it turned out that CD became massive and over 50,000 people marched across those two bridges, I was in the YSA in October 1967 - and crossed the bridge - and I noticed so did many of the YSA and some SWP members as well - so party discipline was not followed that day (fortunately!!!)  The SWP said they were trying to protect their members - but I believe they were sectarian in not assigning cadre to take part in those actions. The march across the bridges at the Pentagon was a good action.
It was one of the great expereinces of my life to be marching on the first bridge and then look across as we were marching over the Potomac River pushing the police and troops back - that were there to block us from crossing - and see the neaby bridge also filled with people marching across with their protest signs and seeing in addtion NLF flags moving along waving in the breeze across the Potomac towards the Pentagon and the War Machine headquarters.  It was geat symbolism to see people in motion challenging the Pentagon and seeing those Vietnamese people's flag symbol. 
In Dec. 1966, Fred Halstead took part in a civil disobedience protest at the Whitehall Induction Center in lower Manhattan in New York City - to protest the bombings of Hanoi and Haiphong then.  Only 60 people participated and maybe an addtional 20 supporters walked nearby inside a circle of police wooden (horse) barriers.  It was during a work day, so it was never intended to be a mass demonstration.  I was one of the 60 arrested at this protest, in blocking the doorway of that draft board.  I was also a young underage teenager.  If we use the logic that the SWP/YSA only took part in mass demosntrations - then some important events in history, would be ignored around this being the criterion for involvement.
And for some events not being peaceful and legal at all times - I have violated such bourgoeis laws before and am proud of doing so.  Some of these events had people injured and otehrs did not - but it was not to just hassle the police to fight with them, as the events I have in mind.  That is risking and wasting cadre for unserious purpose.
But the Stonewall Rebellion that I took part in - was not encouraged or supported by the SWP.  And the SWP rarely allowed its members to take part in most (except for a couple of times to my knowledge) of the Civil Rights Civil Disobedience protests in the 1960's.  The SWP was wrong about both of these things.  They were sectarian then and used the excuse that they did not want their members being risked in teh Civil Rights protests.  They were openly hostile to the Stonewall Rebellion.  But who can justfy today - that the risks taken by people in opposing Jim Crow in these illegal protests, was not a good thing to do - and most of these protests were small in number (as compared by those in the SWP who weighed only Mass Protests as meaningful would say!!!)   And I do not want to hear that the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969 or the Harlem Rebellion in 1963 that I took part in both - as a resident of Harlem and a Gay militant, were not the correct things to do, because they were not mass protests.  Ironic since the SWP in its publication The Militant, did not lecture those in the Watts, Detroit and Newark riots in the 1960's, about their protests not being enough of mass size and involving more liberals and pacifists.  
It is wrong to have a mentality, or to imply that only mass demosntrations are to be approved, or supported.
Individuals who stand up and speak out to wrong (and do not set movements back, such as anarchist personal assassination attempts in the 19th Century did) - should not be so wrongly judged.  The 1969 Justice Department protest was not bad.  It was just not led by the SWP - and the two things are not the same - unless one only sees things through sectarian eyes.  This sectarianism of ONLY one way of doing things, is why we have such a disunited and ineffective left.  I would like to see us return to when we were all part of The Movement.
The economic crisis calls out that we try and create unity to be effective for what may be haead - and if we do not do this - we will fail the World's Working Class.
John O'Brien
 > From: sartesian at earthlink.net> Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 09:57:21 -0500> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Seymour/Ayers> To: causecollector at msn.com> > Yes, that is correct. Most of those marches were organized by SDS and > others of the "radical contingent," like the demonstration in front of the > Justice Dept. in 1969- and to my recollection no such actions were ever > supported by the YSA-SWP, and in fact the Mobes were diligently to separate > themselves from such efforts.> > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Mark Lause" <markalause at gmail.com>> > Actually there were regular anti-capitalist marches calling for the defeat > of U.S. imperialism.> > They just never got very big.> ML> > > ________________________________________________> YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.> Send list submissions to: Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu> Set your options at: http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/options/marxism/causecollector%40msn.com

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