Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Debate over Antiwar Coalition-Building


A Fall Campaign
to Mobilize Millions to

Stop the War in Iraq

[The following discussion took place on chicago.indymedia.org recently over how best to implement a regional mobilization in Chicago October 27, and a diverse campaign over several months leading up to it.]

Troops Out Now Coalition
offers Unity Proposal

for National September Action

By Chicago IAC

19 Jul 2007 TONC offers to resolve divisions in the movement by putting its Sept. 29 march in the hands of a broad antiwar unity coalition Numerous organizations have called for national anti-war actions in Washington, DC in the fall. Since the spring, the NY-based Troops Out Now Coalition has been planning and obtaining permits for an encampment at the US Capitol from Sept. 22-28 and a mass antiwar march on Sept. 29. Three weeks ago, the ANSWER coalition issued their own call for a national march on Sept. 15. Other fall actions have also been scheduled or proposed. Some in the movement here in Chicago have expressed concerns about the situation of different coalitions trying to organize bus transportation for separate demonstrations as little as two weeks apart.

In an effort to resolve this situation, the Troops Out Now Coalition has now proposed that a unity coalition - or coalition of coalitions - be formed to conduct the Sept. 29 demonstration as a truly united mass action.

The full statement is available at the newly created website www.sept29.org . It reads in part, "When Unity is paramount, no one coalition should seek domination over a serious or decisive mass mobilization. Groups have critical political differences, but there are occasions when it necessary to reduce barriers to collaboration. Ultimately, the various antiwar coalitions should serve the needs of the movement and not merely their own organization.

"In order to facilitate the participation of other major coalitions on an equal basis in all aspects of mobilization, TONC proposes the formation of a September 29 Unity coalition for a national antiwar march on Wash. D.C. Through a coalition, all forces should be able to work out the basis for everyone making a serious commitment to the mobilization. No one or even two coalitions will "own" the march, the whole movement, from the grassroots up will have collective ownership of the mobilization."

The TONC statement argues that of the proposed dates, September 29 is the best. A date much earlier would negate the opportunity to reach many students. In the Chicago are, for example, fall registration does not begin at Northwestern until September 18, or at the U of C until September 19. On the other hand, to wait until much later would "diminish the sense of urgency for action that will be overwhelming by September".

********

Comments

19 Jul 2007
by Carl Davidson

I have no problem with supporting anything that opposes the war--15th, 29 or whatever.

But I do have a problem with thinking that if we do things the same old way, we're going to get different results.

'The same old way' is something like this:

All the hard left and anti-imperialists call a meeting--one person, one vote, no matter what they represent size-wise or constituency-wise. They then decide the slogans, theme and key elements of the day. They may also decide who they want to keep away, such as 'capitalists' or elected officials who won't sign a pledge or antiwar Jews with wrong line on Palestine (take your pick), then set up an outreach committee to make visits and calls to get other people to come to the party and help put up the additional trimmings, besides what's already done.

This produces a few more names, but the demo still ends up basically the same old militant minority.--sometimes large, sometimes smaller.

Don't get me wrong. I'll do this any day over doing nothing.

But this Fall we want something different.

We don't want the hard left as the core of the leadership. We want the left-center and the center-left, through their organizations, to be the core leadership and core initiators. That's churches, unions, civil rights groups, elected officials, ward organizations--people to our right.

The first meeting or two are to include organizations, by invitation, to get the best balance to start, and to get the the best people from these groups so they actually take ownership of it, and actually deliver their troops. Some will, some won't. Later on, a few circles outwards, we want everyone involved, including the usual suspects of the militant minority. And their room for them to express themselves and a piece of the program. Everybody gets something--that's how it works best.

Of course, there is a clear difference in politics here.

The first approach, whatever the slogans, produces an anti-imperialist bloc against the war and the two parties, but doesn't get much beyond it.

The second approach, assuming it works, produces a left center coalition vs Bush, the war and the war's defenders.

That's why ANSWER, at least those on the West Coast, was so off-base. The day after UFPJ named Oct 27 as a regional target date, but wanted some time to do this alternate style of putting it together, ANSWER gets the permits in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and calls the planning meeting, whereby everyone had to join THEM.

If your main objective is making sure your cluster of alphabet soup vanguards has 'proletarian hegemony' in a little coalition, it makes perfect sense. You get to be a big fish in a small pond.

But at the moment, there's gridlock at the top over the war, as well as gridlock at the base over how to expand the active antiwar forces withing a passive antiwar majority.

The key to breaking the gridlock at the top is breaking the gridlock below-- and 'same 'ole, same 'ole' isn't going to do it.

********

19 Jul 2007
by Oh yeah, I forgot

We don't want little people, hard-left or otherwise, engaging in bottom-up decision making. We want self-appointed movement leaders putting their wise heads together and making decisions behind closed doors, then telling the rest of us how it's gonna be - all in the name of reaching the mythical middle.

Which would be dandy on principle, except the middle has been nominally against the war for a while. What it lacks is the fortitude to get off its collective ass.

If Carl thinks putting on a moderate facade will induce these folks to take to the streets, fine by me. But I bet it'll be mainly the regulars marching.

I would actually be happy to be proven wrong on this one.

********

19 Jul 2007
by Carl Davidson

First, 'Oh Yeah.' The middle is hardly mythical. 800,000 of them voted 'Yes' to end the war last Novemenber. Even majorities in counties where being in the center gets you called a lefty.

The challenge to us is to find the venues and ways to encourage them to become more active, to take the next step.

Nor would I consider the reform group leaders I have in mind 'self-appointed'. Most have won an election in their ward or union, or were elected by Church elders to run a church, among other things.

I would agree with the problem of getting many of them off their butts. But to do it, I think we have to engage them, often on their terms, not ours, to get things started.

Generally, I divide these folks into two camps--those who will advise, speak and lend their names, but otherwise sit on their butt. And those who will do more, who will assign resources, organization and deliver results.

We know they can, at least some of them. I've seen SEIU turn out 10,000 or more for immigrant rights, before it was popular, on a few days notice. When they have the will, and are part of the core from they beginning, they find a way.

How many will be in which camp remains to be seen. But the way things are moving, it's more and more in our favor.

Also, there's more than one way to have a 'closed meeting.' You can have an 'open meeting' like our usual practice will all the usuall suspects we know and love, but very few of the folks we often want to reach actually show up, or if they do, they rarely come back. So what good is that kind of 'open meeting' if many of the people, even rainbow-wise, not to mention politics or positions, stay away?

I've made it my business to ask a good number of these folks who have come to one meeting why they don't persist. I get several answers, but the most common is they don't like one 'equal' vote for everyone in the room, making no distinction between small avant-gardes, self-appointed or otherwise, and, say, the leader of a union of 10,000 workers. They think it disrespectful. You don't have to agree, but you don't do anyone any good by simply rejecting the concern, come what may.

Cynicism about these folks, and other matters as well, is just another way of saying you feel powerless, but giving it a different veneer.

I may be subjective here, but I don't feel cynical or powerless these days. I think we have a window of opportunity to actually end this war in the next six months. but to do it, we're going to have to solve the challenge of mobilizing and organizing the antiwar majority, many of who are 'center' patriots, and we will have to break with some old habits in the process to do it.

So let's get on with it. They're will be plenty of meetings, open and otherwise, before we see this through. But remember that liberals don't have a monopoly on butt-sitting, by any means.

********

Carl's prescription for "Same 'ole, Same 'ole"

19 Jul 2007
by Eye on the Prize

Carl writes:

"We don't want the hard left as the core of the leadership. We want the left-center and the center-left, through their organizations, to be the core leadership and core initiators. That's churches, unions, civil rights groups, elected officials, ward organizations--people to our right."

Isn't this why we're still at square one over thirty years following US defeat in Vietnam?

********

20 Jul 2007
by sabate

So Davidson disparages organizing efforts that depend on that 'democracy thing' -- "one person, one vote, no matter what they represent size-wise or constituency-wise"

Alrighty. It's worth noting that a similar complaint was once lodged by PW Botha about the ANC's seditious demand for one person, one vote in apartheid South Africa. A process Botha was afraid would unduly marginalize 'significant forces' in S. African society who had been used to setting the terms. Oddly enough, Botha was also concerned about flanking to his right. Strange company you keep, Carl.

CAWI, Davidson's outfit, hopes to organize a major "Midwest antiwar mobilization" in Chicago on behalf of UFPJ on October 27th -- a decision taken during UFPJ's national assembly this summer, using the formula he's outlined above.

From the sound of it, I doubt Davidson will have to worry about those pesky ultraleftists with their multiple demands -- say like the Occupation Project with their unrealistic demand for a written pledge from politicians to defund the war which Carl objected to. (ironically 70 members of Congress just signed a letter to Bush pledging to do exactly that, after months of taking just that kind of street heat from their antiwar consitutents across the country, thanks to projects like the Occupation Project and CodePINK )

Then there those reps from the Arab American community of Chicago who are vitally concerned about US policy toward Iraq and Palestine, despite having to contend daily with a climate of increased racism and repression at home. ( with 180,000 plus in that community - how's that for a weighted vote? ) Or those concerned about immigrant workers rights. Much less those antiwar activists who utilize direct action to pressure rather than pander to the politicians who have helped to enable this war.

This time, there's no need for even the pretense of an open citywide democratically run, potentially messy organizing meeting to establish even minimal points of unity, since the political context has already been framed in advance by UFPJ's leadership. ( a fact omitted in Carl's post ) A couple of calls and behind the scene meets with Jessie, Jan, Danny, Tom Balinoff of SEIU, and Joe Moore should secure a 'centered' speakers roster, a snappy press release from MK Communications and an online endorsement from MoveOn.org and it's a done deal, folks. Crank up the loudspeakers and line up for those porta potties in Grant Park in late October. ( although it's more likely to be Daley Plaza with this outreach strategy )

And if the volunteer thing doesn't pan out, there's always the option of hiring staff to do the logistical and outreach scut work that dozens of unpaid volunteers from different grassroots groups across the city undertook for March 20th.

Still, Davidson could at least spare us the travesty of trying to pass off this type of top down, leadership focused, politican schmoozing, thinly disguised Democratic campaign rally as a 'different direction' for the antiwar movement.

********

20 Jul 2007
by Carl Davidson

Well, 'sabate,' we could try to do things just like we always have, over and over, many times, but expect different results.

But we know what that's a good working definition of, don't we?

But your disdain for what you call a 'thinly disguised Democratic campaign rally' tips your hand.

I'm arguing that our movement, if its truly to come to scale, suffers from the LACK of Democratic VOTERS and even Republican VOTERS opposed to the war, or those inclined that way, at its rallies, not from their presence.

Even if they did it independently of us, a massive rally of the Democratic Party, with everyone from 'Da Mare' to Hillary speaking, demanding, say, all troops home within 8 months, would be something we'd welcome, wouldn't it? Not that we wouldn't be critical, and not that this is what I'm suggesting; I'm not. I think a left center coalition is better than just an expression of the center.

Besides, as to methods of work, there's more than one way to be democratic, not just your way of calling a meeting and giving one vote equally to whatever individuals show up, then requiring some form of consensus, modified or otherwise, no matter who they are or what they represent. Why is it less democratic to invite people to a meeting representing groups, and then weight the vote according to what the groups represent?

With some years behind me, I can guarantee you, that whatever rules you adopt, from Robert's Rules leftwards, I can find a way to undemocratically manipulate them. Not that I'd want to, since it's often self-defeating, producing worthless Pyhrric victories. Read Jo Freeman's 'Tyranny of Structurelessness' for a few ideas.

Besides, all the the events of the Fall offensive can be joined or shaped by any group or grouping however they like, with whatever politics or points of unity they like. There's room for everyone to do whatever they like.

UFPJ has put out its national orientation, which is rather all-inclusive and minimalist. ANSWER and TONIC have done the same, with their own 'unity' and spin.

But no one has defined anything yet for Chicago, other than something with happen here on Oct 27.

CAWI wants to see that 'defining' done by a 'ground floor' meeting of representatives of those organizations, with large mass bases, who don't usually show up at our usual meetings. If they don't take the core ownership of it, they are far less likely to deliver the goods. Some of them may not anyway, given their nature. We'll see.

I wouldn't worry about 'points of unity', though. The AFL-CIO's text, which we put on the ballot, is more than likely to be the starting point. Once this is set in motion, I'm sure everyone who's opposed to this war will be welcome to join in, either directly or through their own independent contingents. We'd even welcome contingents of workers and supporters from all the Presidential campaigns who want to end this war, wouldn't you?

One thing I wouldn't expect to be entertained seriously though, are silly notions that politicians not signing a pledge, or antiwar Jews with the wrong line regarding peace in the Middle East, be told they're not welcome and to go off and do their own thing elsewhere.

As I said, to produce something different, I'm open to trying something different. But I've made it a point to listen not only to those who took part in our earlier efforts, but also to those who didn't, to those who weren't in the room, so to speak, but want this war over now nonetheless.

If you have better ideas, I'm all ears.

If you think a regional mobilization in Chicago, of, say, 80,000, most of whom never attended such a thing before, is not in the cards, make your case.

If you do think it's possible, then what do we do DIFFERENTLY to make it so.

********

22 Jul 2007
by Pete

I posted this article, and as a member of WWP my "hard left"* credentials are as good as anyone's, so I suppose I might as well make some comments.

First off, then, let me say some of the things that I think Carl is right about. Anybody who thinks that the anti-war movement should be or could possibly be composed entirely of socialists, or radical anti-imperialists, or that people failing some litmus test (who are not overtly pro-war, racist, bigoted, etc.) should be escorted out of the rally, is not thinking straight. In fact during the run-up to the war the old ANSWER took heat from ultra-leftists all the time for inviting people with relatively moderate, pro-sanctions views, quite at variance with ANSWER's own, onto the podium.

Furthermore, Carl is right when he says that we need hundreds of thousands of ordinary people - he characterizes them as "Democrats and Republicans", which is not exactly what I would say, but we're talking about the same people - to participate in anti-war activity.

Where I disagree, though, is where he seems to be claiming that if anti-imperialists are leading things or participating in things this is detrimental on the above scores. I think the big demonstrations in the run-up to the war in 2002 and 2003 disprove this.

There are a lot of reasons why ordinary poor, working- and middle-class people don't go to anti-war marches and rallies. One is that they think, WITH GOOD REASON, that these actions won't actually prevent or end wars. (And it really is true that the Bush administration has posed us all the question: "why go to demonstrations at all, since the administration will do exactly as it pleases no matter what the majority of the country says?" There are answers to this, but we would all do well to have them ready.) Another is that they think that the "right way", or a more effective way, to get what they want is to vote out the bad leaders and vote in good leaders. (Of course the 2004 elections and their aftermath show what's wrong with this view.)

But very few "ordinary people" ever came up to me during 2002 and 2003, when we were organizing for ANSWER, and said, "I'm very much against the war, and I want to march and demonstrate and voice my opinion, but I won't do it at your demonstration because there are too many left-wingers raising too many issues."

It's true that an awful lot of LEADERS WITH A MODERATE LINE did say that, people expressing deep concern for the ordinary people whose political interests they claimed to represent, but as for the actual people, they were pretty tolerant of the things that Carl apparently thinks they won't tolerate. There were an awful lot of people at those big national actions who were not radical at all, just very angry at the stupid and illegal and dishonest actions of the government.

There are various other points that Carl made that I could take issue with, but I want to get back to the Sept. 29 proposal. If I understand Carl he is saying that he really doesn't care much about it because the real important stuff will begin with the UFPJ-called regional actions in late October. There are two reasons for dismissing the Sept. 29 action as unimportant; one might be that it's no good trying to work with anti-imperialists, and the other might be that it's in DC and we should concentrate on actions in Chicago, which is of course an ancient issue.

As to the first, although Carl and I are political opponents in a great many ways, still, in my opinion, on a deep level, assuming we both want there to BE a movement, we need each other and have a duty to cooperate. A healthy progressive movement has a left wing and a more moderate wing, that is, it covers a wide political front and includes people who really actually are in strong disagreement about things but are held together by the necessity of pursuing a common purpose.

My point to Carl is that, although you may think that things would go much better and you would end the war much faster if I and all of my fellow socialists and anti-imperialists were to disappear through a hole into the fourth dimension and let you do your job in peace, I don't think that's true, and similarly I wouldn't want to push CAWI into the other dimension either.

So in fact rather than treating Sept. 29 like the plague, I think it would be good if some people like Carl were to take up the challenge and broaden it out and strengthen it and speak from the stage and so on. As to the Chicago/DC issue, I firmly believe that national actions in DC and local/regional actions in Chicago are symbiotic unless they are actually on the same day. Local actions in Chicago between now and September 28, including the Sept. 21 Moratorium, will build the September 29 march in DC. The September 29 action in DC will definitely be a support for any regional action that happens in late October. This means that with the interests of the October action in mind Carl ought to want as powerful a Sept. 29 action as possible, really, and should go to www.sept29.org and endorse the unity proposal.

Pete
* I'm not sure what this term connotes to people exactly... but I know exactly how my feminist profs would have critiqued it, and probably they would have been right.

********

22 Jul 2007
by Carl Davidson

Thanks, Pete, for a reply that's a cut about what I usually have to deal with.

First, I don't know about UFPJ, but CAWI doesn't take the 9/29 lightly. We voted for a much earlier date, and lost out to 10/27. I like to give the whole fall offensive a 'rolling thunder' character, where each helps and builds a tsunami, of sorts, and we help each other. So I'm endorsing all actions, including yours. I don't know what UFPJ will do. I told them to talk to you guys, although I'm pissed at the West Coast antics.

Second, I charactered the masses to be reached as Dem and GOP VOTERs, not quite the same as party members, though there's nothing wring with breaking them lose either.

If you don't think a good number of ordinary folks have a hard time with the culture of our events, you need to get out more. I'm not saying they're right, or that we should capitulate completely to flags and yellow ribbons, but we can think over how we might change our ways.

Finally, I want anti-imperialists and the left to be part of the leadership on this. Everyone has to have a piece of the ownership of it for it to work. But there's nothing chiseled in stone that says they have to be the first ones on board, and hopefully the others show up later. I want a genuine left-liberal-center coalition. But I'm gambling that it's most likely to happen if we get some decent antiwar liberals to be the initiators, then work toward both the left and the center as the second, third, fourth circles outwards, and so on.

It might not work. But the past formula hasn't worked too well either.

We'll see what happens. But a number of people are signing on to make the initial call, and I don't think you'll be too unhappy with them or the results.

********

22 Jul 2007
by tj

Sorry, Pete, but IAC-TONC's appeal for a unified demo on Sept. 29 is proving to be a non-starter. Too little, too late, I'm afraid - although the call for a unified fall offensive has resonance for many of us.

Little chance that ANSWER will shift to that date, they are already in the final stages of arranging transportation and selling bus tickets for Sept. 15 -- a date that actually may more appeal for many antiwar groups- and just regular folks pissed off about the war - since this is when Petraeus will be on Capitol Hill to deliver his vaunted 'progress report' on Iraq. [ chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/78637/index.php ] Few Chicagoans are able to stay in DC for the entire period, much less climb back on a bus to return to DC for the 29th.

A follow up action in Chicago on that date, however might be doable.

********

22 Jul 2007
by Pete

tj, it's a bit early to write off TONC's unity call as a "non-starter", isn't it, since the call went out THREE DAYS AGO. Let's see how people in the movement actually react to it.

As for ANSWER's "final stages of arranging bus transportation", I have arranged bus transportation for these things myself, and I cannot believe they are as locked in to the 9/15 date as you apparently think they are. I am 98% certain that they have not completely paid for any buses yet. The buses can't be paid for until they sell the tickets. I am 98% certain that the most they have done is put down a few hundred dollars per bus to reserve the bus. I am 90% certain that the bus companies involved would have no trouble switching them from 9/15 to 9/29 if they want to do that.

By comparison, TONC has been publicizing the 9/22-9/29 actions for two months now and has permits for putting up tents at the Capitol site. Those permits are a hundred times more inflexible than ANSWER's bus schedule. All of this was public knowledge at the time ANSWER issued its 9/15 call (on June 29).

As to the question of which date is best, I still don't understand ANSWER's position that September 15 is such a great date that it merits having a second demonstration instead of uniting. Petraeus is *scheduled* to give the report BY the 15th. On the other hand, just this week the generals were saying that the REAL report might not come till November! But let's pretend that we know that Petraeus will deliver the report on Friday, September 14. It seems to me that the optimal time for a demonstration would be not 18 hours after the report gets plopped in the hands of Congress, but at some time after Congress starts arguing about it and public attention gets focused on it, and before the war funding deadline on October 1.

But the lesson of the last five months is that these schedules get moved all around by the various factions' own political maneuvers and by events on the ground in Iraq and for that matter in the whole oppressed region from Pakistan to Egypt. Back in March everyone was doing a lot of figuring about when the war funding bill would be up for a vote, and it turned out to be weeks later than anyone predicted. At any time there could be a victory by the resistance, a mutiny, a rebellion, a military adventure by the U.S., which can completely upset our current ideas about what the "best date" will be. This is not just conceivable, it is LIKELY.

But we DO know about what is best from an organizing perspective. And what do we know about that? We know that nine weeks is easier than seven week. We know that leafleting on campuses is easier when the students are actually there. We know that local and regional building actions help create the momentum for national actions. Suppose that ANSWER is not as inflexible as you predict and actually switches their schedule, which would win them great respect for a real commitment to unity. Sept. 15 could then be a great day to hold local and regional actions to build for the united national action on the 29th. Why give up hope for something like that?

********

22 Jul 2007
by Jan

Carl, went to the Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice website (www.ilcpj.org) and couldn't find anything about this action. ICPJ includes many of the liberal/centrist groups you've expressed your intention to include on the ground floor in organizing the October event. When will you be posting info?

********

22 Jul 2007
by Carl Davidson

The point, Jan, is not for me to make the Call and post it, but for a core group of leaders of labor, civil rights, religious, community groups, and elected officials, to not only make the call, but write it.

Really, nothing specific, other than something will happen here 10/27, is planned for Chicago yet, which would defeat the point of having these folks in on the ground floor-- although a general national perspective is on the UFPJ web site.

As I've indicated earlier, the first meeting is not public and open to anyone, but to those I am inviting, as a rep of CAWI and UFPJ. I hope the first round will be all done in a week, before the end of the month.

Then I'll post it far and wide, hold more open meetings, and try to recruit hundreds of groups of all sorts into the ongoing process.

If you know someone in these first categories you think should be there, writing and making the call 'ground floor' session, and would really want to do it, let me know. I'll follow through.

I know it's not how things are 'usually' done, but that's what we're arguing about here. The 'usual' means aren't doing well enough, and we want to try a different approach. It may or may not be fruitful, but we'll see.

********

22 Jul 2007
by zapata vive

Translated, Jan, this means piss off for now, and wait for the memo.

********

23 Jul 2007
by tj

Davidson writes "Really, nothing specific, other than something will happen here 10/27, is planned for Chicago yet, which would defeat the point of having these folks in on the ground floor-- although a general national perspective is on the UFPJ web site."

Carl's dissembling a bit here. Actually his organization, CAWI, a UFPJ affiliate, took on the primary responsibility for organizing a 'massive" regional action in Chicago on this date in a Midwest regional caucus meeting during the UFPJ 3rd National Assembly held in June. This is part and parcel of the overall UFPJ plan for October 27th that envisions 6-8 such regional actions.

********

23 Jul 2007
by Carl Davidson

Well, TJ, unless you see a big difference between 'something will happen here' Oct 27, with a reference to UFPJ's regional call, and a regional 'mass action' will happen here Oct 27, where's the dissembling?

All of this is common knowledge among peace activists here.

What's not decided is the event's nature, theme, slogans, route and/or site(s), initial sponsors, whether or not there are any related events, feeder marches, direct actions, indoor meetings and workshops, and so on.

And I'm not telling anyone to 'piss off'. Just the opposite. I want to see something happen that EVERYONE against the war--left, liberal and center--will take part in.

If you have a better idea, something other than just a repetition of what we've done before, I'm all ears.

********

23 Jul 2007
by question

OK, maybe I'm stupid, but I fail to see what's so bad about past actions. Sure, democracy is messy, but as far as I can tell, it's not like the coalitions that have organized stuff locally against the war have been so bad. Nobody's slogans get banned. Nobody gets locked out. In the meetings I attended for two years ago, you could use whatever flyer you wanted. Nobody told people they could or could not organize a feeder march or whatever. Nothing prevented labor from showing up. Nothing prevented politicians from showing up. I heard that Joe Moore was invited to the last march and did not show up. So why the exclusion at the beginning of the organizing effort?

********

24 Jul 2007
by Carl Davidson

What's so bad about past actions?

First, they were hardly all bad, or even mainly bad. They were good in opposing the war and keeping some of us in the streets, at great effort.

Having said that, the fact remains that there are about 20,000 people here who have taken part, while we know 800,000 voted for 'out now' last November.

In other words, the antiwar population, even the antiwar movement, is much, much bigger than those taking part in our mobilizations.

While obviously only a contingent of those opposed to the war will take action, the scale here is way out of wack.

So what's bad is we're still not breaking through to that 800,000 in ways that we can take the next steps together.

Part of the problem is not who was in the room in our past planning sessions, who think our ways on doing thing was just fine, but who wasn't in the room, or who came once and never returned, and why?

I asked a good sample of them. The bottom line is they felt disrespected, both as organizations, and for their political views. Their thinking like this may or may not be valid, or even important, in your eyes, or the eyes of others in the room. They may be too 'politically incorrect' on too many things for our regular crowd.

But it is important strategically. We have to solve this problem and build ground floor unity with these forces if we are truly to bring this movement to scale and stop this damnable war.

We have gridlock at the top, in Congress, and we have gridlock at the base, in our movement. Breaking our gridlock at the base, and mobilizing millions, is key to breaking gridlock at the top.

So that's what's wrong, and why we want to try something different. It may or may not help, but we'll see.

And I'm not asking people to sit on their hands and wait. ALL OF US share this problem, and all of us need to be working on it NOW, today. If you have better or different ideas, I'm all ears.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fuck you marxist scumbag!
Commies like you make me sick. Get the fuck out of my country and go live in Cuba you jackass!!!

Pam said...

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Felix Dzerzhinsky said...

Carl -- This is a bit off-topic, I know, but is it true (as I read on Pittsburgh Indymedia) that you now live in Raccoon Township, PA?

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