[Marxism] Debate over Occupy tactics: an invented controversy

Scott Ritner ritns028 at newschool.edu
Thu Feb 16 13:50:18 MST 2012

You still seem to be operating under the assumption that people who
participate in black blocs don't organize or think. That they don't
propagandize in any way except through matching clothing. I think this is
fundamentally untrue. Of the Anarchists and others that I have worked with
over my many years of involvement in left politics are always organizing
and propagandizing. They seem to be the primary force behind the push for a
"General Strike" call in New York right now.

"I learned about strategy and tactics from Farrell Dobbs who led the
Teamsters' general strike in Minneapolis and from Joe Hansen's, Trotsky's
bodyguard in Coyoacan. Between them and David Graeber, I'll stick with
Farrell and Joe even though they had the "vanguard" question all fucked up."

I hate to say it, but I'm really not interested in your radical genealogy.
As a game of one-upmanship, it's a bit revolting. I won't go with either
Dobbs (a union bureaucrat), Hansen (who, I suppose, wasn't the best of
bodyguards), or Graeber (who seems to find a way to get his name in the
papers more often than anything else). I think they all miss the point. The
point is to build a strong and significant movement toward the negation of
the capitalist organization of society through protracted class warfare. I
think that Dobbs and Hansen would agree with that. I think they would also
agree that like Cuba, the revolution will not be a defensive one.

So, I repeat again, why do we need to constantly couch revolutionary or
rebellious acts of violence in the language of self-defense allowed us by
liberal jurisprudence?

On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 3:27 PM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

> ==============================**==============================**==========
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> ==============================**==============================**==========
> On 2/16/2012 3:19 PM, Scott Ritner wrote:
>> Louis,
>> Despite your blatant attempts to insult me, I think that it shows your own
>> colors as someone who is more prepared to pass judgement than to actually
>> THINK. Additionally, if I may return the favor, your attempt to justify
>> yourself as right because of participation in past movements smacks of an
>> out of touch college professor seeking to maintain relevance while your
>> students intellectually and practically move beyond your tired insights.
> Not really. I learned about strategy and tactics from Farrell Dobbs who
> led the Teamsters' general strike in Minneapolis and from Joe Hansen's,
> Trotsky's bodyguard in Coyoacan. Between them and David Graeber, I'll stick
> with Farrell and Joe even though they had the "vanguard" question all
> fucked up.
>  always context. Would you have supported the propaganda of the deed
>> exacted
>> by Algerian Communists in their fight against the French?
> From my article on "Battle of Algiers":
> With all of the arrogance of the colonial administration staffed by
> socialists or left-leaning Gaullists like Jacques Soustelle (an acclaimed
> authority on the Aztecs), it was virtually impossible for the voice of the
> Algerian resistance to be heard. It came across as "Hitlerism" or religious
> backwardness. One can understand why the epithet Islamofascism is hurled
> about today in the same manner.
> Another charge made against the FLN, and which figures heavily in
> Pontecorvo's film, is that of terrorism and the bombing of civilian
> restaurants and cafés in particular. The war in Algeria was an early
> version of the war on terrorism today. Of course, the outstanding
> contribution that Pontecorvo makes is to debunk these claims by showing
> that the French instigated the terror themselves. In the film, a group of
> cops organize themselves into a death squad, drive into the Casbah late at
> night, and set off a bomb that levels a tenement.
> After several months of rising violence in 1957, a huge explosion rocked a
> building allegedly housing FLN terrorists in the Rue de Thèbes on August
> 10th. Three neighboring houses were also destroyed and the Algerian death
> toll reached seventy. No Frenchman was ever arrested for the Rue de Thèbes
> bombing.
> This prompted Saadi Yacef to organize the bombing campaign that is
> dramatized so effectively in Pontecorvo's film. While it is unstinting in
> its representation of the human toll, the perspective is very much in line
> with that of French leftist supporters of the FLN. Dr. Pierre Chaulet, who
> was sheltering FLN leader Ramdane Abane, observed: "I see hardly any
> difference between the girl who places a bomb in the Milk-Bar and the
> French aviator who bombards a mechta [village] or who drops a napalm on a
> zone interdite."
> full: http://swans.com/library/**art17/lproy67.html<http://swans.com/library/art17/lproy67.html>
>> Vandalism is adventurism, you say, could not vandalism also be propaganda?
>> I'm not talking about smashing windows, but scrawling a message on one,
>> did
>> the Bolsheviks never post flyers?
> Of course the Bolshevik posted flyers. The black bloc might consider the
> same thing if someone could persuade them to take the crayons out of their
> mouths.
>  I do not think that will alienate me from "ordinary working people" I
>> doubt
>> they, most of whom cannot afford to shop at Whole Foods, feel sorry for
>> the
>> corporation either.
> It is not a question of feeling sorry for Whole Foods. It is rather how
> you present yourself to working people. Wearing masks and painting windows
> is for Halloween, just as I did when I was 10 years old. Working people
> will never get involved with a movement led by trick-or-treaters.
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