[Marxism] Tom Hayden on Obama

Craig Brozefsky craig at red-bean.com
Sat Jul 5 14:43:31 MDT 2008

Eli Stephens <elishastephens at hotmail.com> writes:

> Fairly interesting reading:
> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/no-retreat-if-you-want-to_b_110916.ht

I wrote the following to this post on a local anti-war organizing

Tom Hayden wrote in his "Barack At Risk" post:
> Grass-roots people power is the only force that can keep alive the astute
> sense of pragmatism that led Obama to criticize the coming war in 2002. The
> stakes are higher now, and the enemies far more shrewd, wishing to rip
> asunder the Obama coalition.

What bargaining power does a grass-roots movement have when it has
pledged itself and its votes to Obama and its leadership is seeking to
demobilize its mass demonstrations during the election year?

None of consequence.

When we have no bargaining power, we are begging.

I appreciate the voter-registration and education work that is being
carried out by Peace and Justice Voters.  However, you can't organize
voters for peace and justice, when you have no peace and justice
candidate on the ballot, or when there is one, you shun them as

Any threat to withold votes or support from a campaign is undermined
if we don't have another candidate, another choice, a champion of our
demands.  This is especially so, when the leadership of your
organization is also leading a group explicitely supporting a
candidate who you are trying to bargain with.

We should not be putting off a national demonstration until 2009.  The
anti-war movement needs to attack the "things are going better" myth
that has been cultivated by the media.  This myth enables Obama to
back away from withdrawal demands, by legitimizing the continuation of
the occupation.

If our grass-roots movement is to make demands upon power, then it
needs to develop the levers it has: our votes, our organizing, and our
ability to get people into the streets and express mass support for
withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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