[Marxism] Marxism Digest, Vol 81, Issue 3

Dena Barbara dbarbara1 at nyc.rr.com
Thu Jul 1 13:07:22 MDT 2010


Please take me off your list.
Thank you.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu>
To: <dbarbara1 at nyc.rr.com>
Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2010 1:00 PM
Subject: Marxism Digest, Vol 81, Issue 3


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> Today's Topics:
>
>   1. Re:  [Pen-l] An analysis of the G20 protest and the black
>      bloc (Joseph Catron)
>   2.  Climate & Capitalism, July 1, 2010 (Ian Angus)
>   3.  Armenian genocide recognition, but at what cost? (Louis Proyect)
>   4. Re:  An analysis of the G20 protest and the black bloc
>      (Nathan Weinstein)
>   5. Re:  An analysis of the G20 protest and the black bloc
>      (Louis Proyect)
>   6. Re:  [Pen-l] An analysis of the G20 protest and the black
>      bloc (Patrick Bond)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2010 12:12:30 -0400
> From: Joseph Catron <jncatron at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] [Pen-l] An analysis of the G20 protest and the
> black bloc
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID:
> <AANLkTimEf17CO_YLbF7H-VRPOBvW4Ox99Miks2P1vqVu at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>
> Nothing in that Wikipedia excerpt substantiates your synopsis, which, in
> turn, bears little resemblance to my recollection of events. There were no
> specifically "anarchist dust-ups"; every group which marched or 
> demonstrated
> in the vicinity of the fence knew that the goal was to bring it down,
> whether they brought their own ropes and grappling hooks or not. (The
> anarchists were far from the only groups which did.) In fact, very few
> aspects of the summit action could be politically pigeonholed, aside from
> some graffiti (which was as likely to be communistic as anarchistic).
>
> On Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
>
> The cops used that ridiculous fight as an excuse to tear gas
>> people with zero interest in anarchist dust-ups.
>>
>
> -- 
> "Hige sceal ?e heardra, heorte ?e cenre, mod sceal ?e mare, ?e ure m?gen
> lytla?."
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2010 12:33:39 -0400
> From: Ian Angus <ecosocialism at gmail.com>
> Subject: [Marxism] Climate & Capitalism, July 1, 2010
> To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> Message-ID:
> <AANLkTikz_e16XglQLTt3QKb1aiiXBRuuHF9I4QvGlBcr at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
>
> CLIMATE AND CAPITALISM
> An online journal focusing on capitalism, climate change, and the
> ecosocialist alternative.
> http://climateandcapitalism.com
> On Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/CandC-FaceBook
>
> July 1, 2010
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>
> ECOSOCIALIST RESOURCES, 17
> http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=2693
> More essential current resources for left greens and green lefts on
> capitalism, climate change, and the ecosocialist alternative continued
>
> DECLARATION OF THE US ECOJUSTICE PEOPLE?S MOVEMENT ASSEMBLY
> http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=2689
> ?We support the conclusion that only by ?living well,? in harmony with
> each other and with Mother Earth, rather than ?living better,? based
> on an economic system of unlimited growth, dominance and exploitation,
> will the people of this planet not only survive but thrive.?
>
> GUATEMALA: CANADIAN-OWNED MINE SUSPENDED FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS,
> HEALTH HAZARDS
> http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=2685
> Indigenous anti-mine activists face death threats
>
> A MISTAKEN CRITICISM OF COCHABAMBA
> http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=2677
> International Viewpoint, the ?English-language magazine of the Fourth
> International,? recently published a criticism of the Peoples
> Agreement adopted by the World People?s Conference on Climate Change
> held in Cochabamba, Bolivia in April. This article, by Australian
> Socialist Alliance member Ben Courtice, responds to those criticisms:
> we encourage C&C readers to add their comments on this important
> international discussion
>
> FOOD CRISIS: CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES AND ALTERNATIVES
> http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=2670
> Governments and international institutions have become accomplices,
> when not co-profiteers, in a productivist, unsustainable and
> privatized food system. Their  ?concern? about the increase in the
> price of the staple foods and its impact on the most disadvantaged
> populations only reveals their deep hypocrisy
>
> FAILURE AND FRAUD AT UN CLIMATE TALKS
> http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=2647
> Bonn meeting opts for inadequate voluntary targets, big loopholes, and
> market scams
>
> GREENWASHING THE PENTAGON
> http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=2640
> The Pentagon must be the central focus of efforts to protect the
> biosphere by challenging war and militarism. More than ever,
> humanity?and Mother Earth?can no long afford them.
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2010 13:06:02 -0400
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Subject: [Marxism] Armenian genocide recognition, but at what cost?
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID: <4C2CCAFA.5050201 at panix.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>
> http://www.counterpunch.org/grigorian07012010.html
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 4
> Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2010 10:14:05 -0700
> From: Nathan Weinstein <nat at socialistviewpoint.org>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] An analysis of the G20 protest and the black
> bloc
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID:
> <6226E27F-E9A5-438E-848A-01A8F608E756 at socialistviewpoint.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
>
> Louis,
> If you didn't write this well-thought out polemic in support of the 
> Marxist
> strategy of class struggle and the tactics consistent with it, who did?
>
> Without quibbling over this or that formulation, I can  endorse the
> general line of the message below and I hope help revive the principle
> of class solidarity and  the tactic of the workers  united front. Which 
> by
> the way, is a tactic that can rise to the level of a principle-- all 
> proportions
> guarded.
>
> Comradely,
> Nat Weinstein
>
>
>
> On Jul 1, 2010, at 6:39 AM, Louis Proyect wrote:
>
>> ======================================================================
>> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
>> ======================================================================
>>
>>
>> (This appeared as a comment on my own article about the black
>> bloc. It is powerfully argued.)
>>
>> The events at the G20 demonstration on Saturday have provoked a
>> series of responses already. This article is not meant to review
>> the events of the day itself but to look at the questions raised
>> by the demonstrations.
>>
>> Suffice to say the reaction of the police in arresting, detaining,
>> and brutalizing nearly 1,000 people in the largest mass arrests in
>> Canadian history exposes the serious attacks on civil liberties we
>> face.
>>
>> On Friday before the demonstration I was having a beer with a
>> comrade in Halifax and of course discussion turned to the G20, we
>> both agreed that this would be the perfect demonstration to go off
>> without any property damage. If at the end of the day tens of
>> thousands marched, thousands did sit-ins by the fence but the
>> tactic of smashing windows was not employed then the summit would
>> be a defeat for Harper.
>>
>> We drew this analysis based on the fact that every where you went
>> there was anger at the billion dollar price tag for security. At a
>> time when thousands are struggling to make ends meet and see the
>> cost of the Summits as exorbitant. Many, consciously or not,
>> recognize that this money is being spent to the architects of the
>> crisis; protecting those who gave billions to the bank while
>> leaving workers and the poor to pay for it. Furthermore, in the
>> lead-up, there was a growing polarisation with many being angry or
>> frustrated with Harper?s attacks on civil liberties, on women?s
>> rights, on the climate, on the economy, and more.
>>
>> To have had a day of mass demonstrations and militant but non-
>> violent action would have left Harper with egg on his face and
>> given more confidence to those want to find ways to challenge
>> Harper and the market.
>>
>> Instead, the day went just like clock work?much like other
>> summits. There?s a mass demonstration. A layer of people do a
>> split from that march and then some engage in expressing their
>> rage against the system by smashing windows and other acts. Given
>> the world we live in, it is surprising that more of this doesn?t
>> happen more often.
>>
>> In response, the police hold back until the main march disperses.
>> They wait for some damage to be done, and then they go on the
>> offensive. They round-up and brutalize everyone left on the
>> streets, including passers-by, peaceful protesters and those
>> engaged in property damage. In Seattle, Quebec, Genoa, etc. this
>> script has played out over and over again. The police wait until
>> the mass organisations leave, then go after the rest. This
>> strategy suggests that the police and the state are keenly aware
>> of who they want?and don?t want?to provoke.
>>
>> Within this the ?black bloc? and their supporters utilise the
>> larger rally and split marches to launch attacks on property and
>> the police. Usually the police wait long enough for damage to be
>> created before they respond. In these situations it is one of the
>> few times the police wait to crack down.
>>
>> Then, when the cops attack, the ?bloc? usually retreats and tries
>> to merge with others. In Genoa, the black bloc ran through a group
>> of nuns engaged in a sit-in which resulted in the police attacking
>> the nuns. In New York City, at a demonstration against WEF, the
>> black bloc ended up running from the police and trampling down
>> women Steelworkers from Toronto, who were then attacked by the
>> police as the black bloc hid behind the Steelworkers.
>>
>> Then the media and police trot out the usual line ?We are ok with
>> protests, but a small minority of criminals can?t be tolerated?.
>> Those innocents that were arrested were an unfortunate by-product
>> of protecting the city and its inhabitants. The police and
>> politicians then justify the violence against protestors as
>> necessary to stop any further violence.
>>
>> In the process, hundreds get arrested while the media spends the
>> next several days reducing the estimated numbers of demonstrators,
>> erasing on-site reports of police brutality, critiquing the police
>> as being too passive. Then the police say they weren?t able to
>> protect property at the start because they were committed to
>> facilitating the peaceful protest. Afterward they ?did everything
>> possible to restore order?. Throughout all this, stories begin to
>> emerge about undercover officers mingling with crowd, engaging in
>> and trying to stir up ?action?. Eventually a handful get charged
>> with some serious offences and the majority arrested get released
>> with few or no charges.
>>
>> Despite the media hype there was nothing new about the events in
>> Toronto. The question for militants is: what are the lessons? How
>> do we interpret events and what do they mean for the left?
>>
>> To answer, we need to look at what the mobilisations can achieve
>> and why they are important. This is the critical starting point.
>> Since the rise of the anti-globalisation movement, this has been a
>> point of debate.
>>
>> The mobilisations around summits are important because they
>> provide an opportunity to mobilise people beyond the ranks of
>> those already active. It is more possible because the media builds
>> the events far beyond the reach of the left. The fact that the
>> summits raise a broad set of issues, mean that they unite in
>> opposition broad sets of movements. The demonstrations that result
>> can often be greater than the sum of the parts of movements. They
>> unite various movements ? labour and environment for example. They
>> provide an opportunity to bring wider layers into the.movement.
>>
>> Some have argued that these demonstrations are pointless one-off
>> events and that those who go to them are ?summit-hoppers?.
>> Strangely these critiques are often raised by people who
>> themselves go to the events.
>>
>> But this misses the point that while the mobilisations are
>> one-off?s they are important in the sense that they pull struggles
>> together and allow those not plugged into activism to find a space
>> to join the movement. Secondly the protests show to millions of
>> others that there is mass opposition to the system.
>>
>> Of course the idea that the protests themselves will change the
>> agenda of the rulers is mistaken and naive. But the more important
>> point of the protests is to galvanise and mobilise opposition to
>> the system. For the left, the demonstrations offer a crucial
>> opportunity to grow and sink deeper roots in new areas. These
>> mobilizations also help maintain momentum and break down barriers
>> between struggles that often go on in their own silos. In short,
>> these protests forge new bonds of solidarity.
>>
>> So it is important to mobilise against these summits, not because
>> we can change the agenda or that capitalism will grind to a halt
>> if the summit is shut down. Some thought because of the collapse
>> of the Doha round or the inability to get a deal at the FTAA
>> Qu?bec City round, that capitalism would be forced into a retreat.
>> But the reality is that these summits are attempts to overcome
>> divisions between various ruling classes in various nation states.
>> What they can?t get through global agreements, they will try
>> through regional agreements. What isn?t accomplished regionally is
>> taken up bi-laterally. Basically, summits are where the world?s
>> largest economies jockey with each other for a better deal for
>> their own ruling classes.
>>
>> This doesn?t mean we can?t wrestle reforms from these leaders, and
>> without the demonstrations it would be even harder to win reforms
>> or prevent even more damaging policies from being implemented.
>> Even NGO?s who aren?t committed to the revolutionary overthrow of
>> capitalism, understand that mobilising is vital to back their call
>> for reforms.
>>
>> In this context, the object of mobilising for the summits should
>> be to try and take advantage of the moment presented to broaden
>> and deepen the left and build the movements.
>>
>> This is the objective from which our tactics flow. It is not the
>> summit itself that matters but the ability to draw larger numbers
>> onto the streets and into action. It offers the potential to
>> increase people?s confidence and consciousness.
>>
>> To establish tactics before determining the larger strategic
>> objectives, raises tactics to a point of principle and robs the
>> working class of the tactical flexibility that will maximize
>> success. It is juvenile and creates the quixotic adventures we saw
>> on June 26.
>>
>> So what about ?diversity of tactics? and the black bloc?
>>
>> It should be clear that the actions of the black bloc reflect
>> their politics. The actions in Toronto mirror those tactics used
>> elsewhere. The tactics and politics regardless of their intent are
>> inherently elitist and counter-productive. In fact they mirror the
>> critique of reformism many on the left have. The NDP says vote for
>> us and we?ll do it for you, the black bloc says in essence the
>> same thing ? we will make the revolution for you.
>>
>> At best the tactics of the black bloc are based on a mistaken idea
>> that the attacks on property and the police will create a spark to
>> encourage others to resist capitalism, at worst they are based on
>> a rampant individualistic sense of rage and entitlement to express
>> that rage regardless of the consequences to others. The
>> anti-authoritarian politic they follow is imposed on others. Very
>> rarely will you see a black bloc call its own rally, instead the
>> tactic is to play hide and seek with the police under the cover of
>> larger mobilisations.
>>
>> Further as has been noted in many cases, the tactics and politics
>> of the black bloc and some anarchists and some others on the left,
>> leave them prone to being manipulated by the state. In almost
>> every summit protest, police and others (in Genoa it was also
>> fascists), infiltrate or form their own blocs to engage in
>> provocations. The politics of secrecy and unannounced plans and a
>> quasi-military (amateur at best) approach to demonstrations leave
>> the door open to this.
>>
>> The tactics also open the door for the justification of further
>> police repression. This has been debated before, with some arguing
>> that the state doesn?t need justification for repression. The idea
>> that the state doesn?t need justification for further repression
>> exposes the total lack of understanding of both the state and the
>> consciousness of ordinary people.
>>
>> If the state didn?t need justification for repression, then we
>> would all be in jail. Capitalism isn?t a democratic system, but
>> needs the facade of political rights to maintain some buy-in about
>> how free we all are. If the state didn?t need justification for
>> repression, then we accept that people are just automatons who do
>> what they are told.
>>
>> But the reality is that most people oppose police brutality and
>> most people believe we are living in a democracy. Therefore when
>> the police go on a rampage, they have to have an excuse. It is
>> highly naive to think that the police and the state won?t and
>> don?t need a justification to repress people. If they didn?t we
>> wouldn?t have a war on drugs ? it would have just been a war on
>> the poor.
>>
>> Some argue that we have to support some of these tactics because
>> they are ?radical?. But what is indeed ?radical?. Let us put aside
>> the notion of ?economic disruption? caused by a few burning cop
>> cars and broken windows, as some use this to justify so called
>> militant actions. The reality is the Tamil community created much
>> more economic disruption with their non-violent occupation of the
>> Gardiner Expressway in Toronto. Further the workers in Sudbury
>> valiantly fighting Vale Inco are doing much more to disrupt the
>> economy than a thousands black bloc actions ever could.
>>
>> The tactics of the black bloc make it clear that for them, it is
>> more important to smash windows than to try and march with
>> thousands of workers and engage them in arguments about how to
>> move struggles forward or that the problem is capitalism.
>>
>> So how radical is it to trash a few windows? It depends on what
>> one means by radical. Radical is about workers gaining confidence
>> and consciousness to fight back, not just at work, but in
>> solidarity with others. Radical is about developing a sense of
>> mass power, organising based on moving others into struggle,
>> winning others to challenge the power in their workplace or
>> community collectively, beyond the individualisation of our
>> society. Radical is about going to the roots of the system?not
>> trashing its symbols.
>>
>> So it is much more radical organising a Starbucks, or winning
>> co-workers to fight homophobia, or defending women?s rights than
>> it is smashing a window.
>>
>> When the black bloc does its thing, does it move struggles forward
>> or backward? Does it in the eyes of those questioning the system,
>> or moving into struggle, or thinking that something is wrong,
>> radicalise them and give them confidence?
>>
>> The answer is that outside of a small minority, these actions at
>> best can inspire passive support from those who do not like
>> police. But the majority have no confidence to engage in these
>> actions themselves or agree with them. Instead of giving
>> confidence, the tactics generally produce confusion and play into
>> the hands of the state that would prefer it if no one ever
>> protested. They allow the state to justify its repression and
>> expenditures. In essence outside of an already radicalised
>> minority they don?t leave anyone with a deeper sense of confidence
>> about the ability to fight capitalism. Instead at best they leave
>> the impression that the fight against capitalism can only be
>> carried out by a heroic minority at worst they leave people
>> worrying about going to demonstrations. The tactic is far from
>> radical because it does nothing to challenge capitalism in any
>> way; it does nothing to instil confidence in others to resist.
>>
>> The debate shouldn?t be about violence, per se, but about tactics
>> and strategy. Of course we defend the right of workers and
>> oppressed communities to self-defence. The response from the left
>> to the riots in Toronto after Rodney King is a good example: many
>> defended the justified outrage at both the racism of the justice
>> system and the beating of Rodney King. It was a justifiable rage
>> against a system of racism, but it also wasn?t a strategy to
>> defeat racism.
>>
>> The black bloc however, isn?t an oppressed community resisting
>> oppression and defending itself.
>>
>> Those on the left who see the problems with the black bloc and the
>> cover given to them by those who elevate ?diversity of tactics? to
>> a principle need to organise coherent responses to this.
>>
>> We need to join the battle for interpretation without getting
>> distracted by blanket pronouncements of ?pro? this or ?anti? that.
>> We need to focus on strategy and the tactics that flow from it.
>> This will allow us to regroup those activists who see the
>> centrality of the working class as the key to social change, who
>> recognize that intended or not, ?diversity of tactics? is not
>> radical but a cover for self-aggrandisement by some sections who
>> have no faith in the self-activity of the working class.
>>
>> The need for a bigger stronger socialist movement in Toronto
>> couldn?t be greater. But the role of socialists isn?t to gingerly
>> tail those who support ?diversity of tactics?, but to politically
>> debate and expose the bankruptcy of those ideas for moving
>> struggles forward. And it goes without saying that while we do
>> that, we must also be defending those arrested, exposing the
>> brutality of the police and patiently explaining to co-workers and
>> neighbours what really happened and why people protested.
>>
>> We need this clarity to avoid the sort of splits that occurred
>> after Qu?bec City and after 9/11. We need this clarity and upfront
>> politics to win those pulled by the anger at the system and its
>> barbarism to a more effective?if less sexy?strategy, based on
>> building a mass struggle against capitalism that can pull the
>> system up by its roots.
>>
>> ________________________________________________
>> Send list submissions to: Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
>> Set your options at: 
>> http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/options/marxism/nat%40socialistviewpoint.org
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 5
> Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2010 13:24:54 -0400
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] An analysis of the G20 protest and the black
> bloc
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID: <4C2CCF66.4030809 at panix.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
>
> Nathan Weinstein wrote:
>> Louis,
>> If you didn't write this well-thought out polemic in support of the 
>> Marxist
>> strategy of class struggle and the tactics consistent with it, who did?
>
> I don't know who he is, but he signed it "Ritch", not "Rich".
>
>>
>> Without quibbling over this or that formulation, I can  endorse the
>> general line of the message below and I hope help revive the principle
>> of class solidarity and  the tactic of the workers  united front. Which 
>> by
>> the way, is a tactic that can rise to the level of a principle-- all 
>> proportions
>> guarded.
>>
>
> He made a lot of sense, didn't he?
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 6
> Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2010 19:31:22 +0200
> From: Patrick Bond <pbond at mail.ngo.za>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] [Pen-l] An analysis of the G20 protest and the
> black bloc
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID: <4C2CD0EA.30607 at mail.ngo.za>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>
> Louis Proyect wrote:
>> ... The cops used that ridiculous fight as an excuse to tear gas
>> people with zero interest in anarchist dust-ups.
>>
>
> An excellent radicalizing experience it was, at that. Many a great
> Canadian lefty was born or strengthened at that moment.
>
> I don't have a good sense if the same can be said for TO on the weekend.
> Perhaps that one hardened all sides and pulled the big Canadian middle
> rightwards.
>
> Anyhow, after fairly weak protest in London and Pittsburgh in 2009, it's
> not bad to show nearly 1000 arrests against the G20, given the attempt
> to make it the new committee to rule the world. From South Africa, the
> only African member of the club, it looked good to us. If they do that
> sort of meeting here, they'd better use Kruger Park instead of one of
> the big cities. Lions will deter SA protests, not robocops.
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> _______________________________________________
> Marxism mailing list
> Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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>
>
> End of Marxism Digest, Vol 81, Issue 3
> **************************************
> 






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