[Marxism] National Assembly call for March 21 is important positive step

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Dec 20 07:35:25 MST 2008

An excellent call! I like the bravery and wisdom of not mentioning either the incoming president or the last one.  Foaming at Bush became a legitimized form of protest, without however very many achievements, either in terms of reaching out or in terms of clarifying the political situation for the masses of people,  to its credit. 

Foaming at Obama at this point would be satisfyingly suicidal. I congratulate the organizers for having the cold nerve to order temptation to get behind them. Some on the list think it takes colossal courage to denounce Obama in unbridled terms today. But no left critics of Obama are hanging from lampposts. None are being outlawed or jailed or suppressed in any way. Obamaism is not the new McCarthyism.

This protest deserves strong support and realistic expectations. It will not be a march of hundreds of thousands, and this is not simply because of crazed Obama cultism in the masses or sections of the vanguard. It will be more difficult if the US actually begins to withdraw forces from Iraq. 

A big part of the problem is that it is impossible today to ignore the centrality of Afghanistan in the situation. We have to start from scratch in explaining this in my opinion. The wider US public (including working people) has only begun to really notice it. It is the "good war." The leaderships the US fights have absolutely nothing in common with the historical goals of oppressed humanity. It is hard to explain why people should oppose Afghanistan without either explaining imperialism (which can be done without using the word) or slipping toward isolationist myths of an "America" that does not need to care about what happens in far-off countries.

This was the "anti-neocon" philosophy which gained a lot of ground on the left (conquering Counterpunch, for instance, and forming the basis for the  far libertarian right-far left liberal coalition that drives all of the magazine's core political positions.

At any rate this is a great statement and the resulting demonstration, if managed on this basis and not turned into simply an excuse for crude anti-Obama exposes (and the leaders seem to have the willpower to avoid this),

This will be a propaganda action, and many such will be needed, I think, before we come out on the other end of the tube we have been passing through.
Fred Feldman

March on the Pentagon!

March 21, 2009

The National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations is joining with other coalitions, organizations, and networks to organize a united MARCH 21 NATIONAL COALITION to mobilize people across the United States to take part in a March on the Pentagon on Saturday, March 21, marking six years of war and occupation of Iraq.

Demonstrations will also be held on that date in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other cities across the U.S.

These actions will remind the nation that all U.S. military forces must be brought home from Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the U.S. antiwar movement – marching behind a banner demanding “Out Now!” -- will intensify its struggle to make it happen.

The actions are needed to assure the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries threatened by Washington’s expansionist policies that tens of millions of people in this country support their right to settle their own destinies without U.S. interventions, occupations and murderous wars. International law recognizes and we demand that the U.S. respect the right to self-determination. We reject any notion that the U.S. is the world’s self-appointed cop. 

The March 21 united mass actions are also needed at this time of economic meltdown to demand jobs for all; a moratorium on foreclosures; rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure; guaranteed quality education and health care for all; an end to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and deportations; and funding for sorely needed social programs. So long as trillions of dollars continue to be spent on wars, occupations, and bailouts to the banks and corporate elite, the domestic needs of people in the U.S. can never be met.

The So-called Status of Forces Agreement

As for Iraq, regardless of what is in the so-called “Status of Forces Agreement,” the war makers in Washington plan to continue the occupation indefinitely. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops and mercenary soldiers will be maintained to carry out a number of missions that are listed, but in reality their aim is to carry out the one mission that is not mentioned: ensure the U.S. subjugation of Iraq to exploit its oil resources and dominate the Middle East.

Any doubt about Washington’s intentions should be dispelled by the statement by Gen. Raymond Odierno, who said on December 13, 2008 that U.S. forces would remain indefinitely in dozens of bases in Iraq cities, despite language in the Status of Forces Agreement that appeared to require a withdrawal from urban areas by next summer. (Wall Street Journal 12/15/08)

As for Afghanistan, it is not the “good war” claimed by the Obama administration and the power structure, which plans to increase the number of U.S. troops in that country by 20,000. Afghanistan will prove to be another U.S. Vietnam. The U.S. war will only result in a continuation of the slaughter that has been the hallmark of all previous occupations by foreign powers.

The daily U.S. bombing and killing of Afghanis attending weddings, classes, funerals, or simply trying to survive shows how cruel and deadly this war is. It is directed against the same forces that the U.S. armed, financed, and helped bring to power.

Why is the U.S. at war against Afghanistan? Its primary purpose is to secure control of a pipeline across that country. (See the 1998 statement submitted to Congress by the Union Oil Company of California, which later merged with Chevron, stressing the need to build a natural gas pipeline across Afghanistan. And note Dick Cheney’s 1998 statement made when he was chief executive of a major oil services company: “I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian,” which led the Guardian newspaper to remark, “But the oil and gas there is worthless until it is moved. The only route that would make both political and economic sense is through Afghanistan.”) 

The March 21 demonstration will also denounce the expansion of the war into Pakistan and the sanctions and threats of military action against Iran. It will also call for the end to U.S. support for the continued occupation of Palestine.

The National Assembly

>From its inception, the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations has called for united antiwar demonstrations this spring. We urge the entire movement to unite now around the March 21 actions and we will do everything possible to make this unity a reality. The civil rights, union, anti-Vietnam War, women’s liberation and gay rights movements would not have achieved victories without having built truly massive movements that were able to organize repeated and powerful independent mobilizations in the streets.

Why the demonstration in Washington? Because it is the seat of power, where foreign and domestic policies are decided, where money for war is allocated, and bailouts of the banking industry and corporate rich are given away.

Join us in mobilizing the largest possible outpouring of antiwar opposition built by a united movement on March 21. Let’s march and continue to march until all U.S. forces come home, U.S. bases are dismantled, and the sovereign people of the world have the right to control their own resources and determine their own futures.

To endorse the March 21 March on the Pentagon, please click here.
To send a contribution to support the National Assembly’s work, please click here.

For more information, please visit the National Assembly’s website at www.natassembly.org or write natassembly at aol.com or call 216-736-4704.

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