Sunday, November 04, 2007

Breaking with the 'Left Bloc' Mentality

The Oct. 27 Debates, Round One

Note from CarlD:

What follows is the opening round in a series of sharp debates over how best to organize mass mobilizations against the Iraq war, in this case, the Oct 27 rallies and mass march in Chicago. It starts with a posting on Chicago Indymedia of an article from the People's Weekly World, newspaper of the Communist Party USA, supporting the upcoming events and quoting me as the project's director. Naturally, on Indymedia, it drew criticism from points further to the left, as well as from the anarchist movement. Stay tuned for more later...

"Every elected official, including Mayor Richard M. Daley and state and congressional representatives, will be invited to speak, along with presidential candidates," says Oct.27 Mobilization Committee project director Carl Davidson. "We are nonpartisan, but we're not anti-partisan. We want the program to reflect the range of politics that actually exists on the ground."

To End Iraq War, People Power Organizes
-by Susan Webb, People's Weekly World - Sept. 22, 2007
[ ]

Now, Chicago's October 27 Mobilization Committee is working to do just that. The key, said Davidson, the committee's project director, is building new organizations and involving neighborhoods that aren't organized.

For example, he reported recently, "There has been a second meeting of Black churches, community groups and others on the South Side. They are starting with 50 church buses to bring their members to the rallies and back." The broad outreach "will also approach both Orthodox and Black Muslim communities, and should be seen not simply as a Black effort, but as an interfaith network throughout the area," he said.

"The question is, what will the unions do?" he said in a phone interview. Union endorsements are important, but the key is what the unions will do to bring out their members, he said. The committee is counting on labor activists to spur membership involvement.

The Chicago demonstration Oct. 27 is one of several regional actions United for Peace and Justice is organizing around the country to end the Iraq war, under the heading "Peace is possible."

The core of the Chicago mobilizing is focused on the local area, but two peace trains will bring hundreds from St. Louis and Detroit, along with scores of busloads from surrounding states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio.

Every elected official, including Mayor Richard M. Daley and state and congressional representatives, will be invited to speak, along with presidential candidates. "We are nonpartisan, but we're not anti-partisan," Davidson said. "We want the program to reflect the range of politics that actually exists on the ground."

A poll conducted for FOX News - hardly a liberal-biased organization - indicates that the congressional testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crockett did not change American public dissatisfaction with the Iraq war. The Sept. 11-12 FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll showed 64 percent think the U.S. should pull all troops out of Iraq either immediately or over the next year.

"The president just had the most credible spokesperson he could have had," a congressional aide told the World. "I don't think he got much out of that. The American people aren't buying it."

President Bush's Sept. 13 speech, with the peculiar theme of "return on success," made clearer than ever that he plans to pass the war on to the next administration. The speech drew wide criticism and was seen as unlikely to budge the majority antiwar sentiment.

Calling Bush's remarks a "path to 10 more years of war," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "The American people reject the president's 10-year war in Iraq and want a responsible redeployment to end this war."

Democrats are pressing a variety of measures. Some call for specific withdrawal timetables or funding restrictions. Their supporters say these measures are long overdue and are the only way to change the dynamics in Congress, compel meaningful action and make Republicans take responsibility for the war. Other measures are less binding or involve partial steps but, their advocates say, can draw sufficient Republican votes to make them veto-proof and move toward the U.S. exiting Iraq.

While the Democrats won control of Congress last fall, their majorities are not veto-proof. Senate Democrats in particular are grappling with their razor-thin majority, which gives Republicans the power to block progressive legislation of any kind. And overriding a Bush veto requires a 67-vote Senate supermajority.

The key to breaking the gridlock in Congress is "for us to break our gridlock," Davidson told the World. So far, only the "militant minority" is involved in organized actions, he said. "We have to find a way to enable the antiwar majority to take action. We have to take away every obstacle to them participating. That's what Oct. 27 is all about."

Chicago has 120 neighborhoods, but only 15 have peace and justice groups, Davidson noted. "Even if we organized 40 neighborhood groups, that would be a huge step. That's what gets the politicians' attention. When the antiwar majority is independently organized at the base, then you have popular power. That's what we need."

When people complain about Democrats, he suggested, "Ask them how well their neighborhood is organized."



Anti-War Rally or Democratic Party Rally?

Friday, 21 September 2007
by Lev

Is this an anti-war event or a Democratic Party campaign rally?

After all, if you're going to invite an "anti-war" presidential candidate who won't take first strike use of nuclear weapons off of the table (Clinton), or an "anti-war" candidate who advocated bombing Iran and invading Pakistan (Obama), why not just round out the picture and invite John McCain too?

Opps, I forgot. This is a DEMOCRATIC Party campaign rally.


Friday, 21 September 2007
by cliff

where do bush and rice fit in during the kick off speeches? will cheney get 5 minutes or 10?


Friday, 21 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

This is a nonpartisan antiwar rally, and it's going to be an important one.

But as the article above says, it is not anti-partisan.

Those of you who think everything political reduces to pro-Democratic party or anti-Democratic party, well, you can cling to that if you like, but some of us have a view of strategy and tactics that's a bit more complex, like life itself.

We will have Greens and even elected GOPers who oppose the war, too. And people who don't vote for any of them.

But I'd guess fewer the a third of the speakers will be elected officials of any sort, and I'd bet good money that Daley, even with an invite, will find something else to do that day. Most speakers will be labor, community, faith, and other constituency and issue-oriented activists.

But you're right on the heart of the matter.

This is a left-center coalition, and will have speakers from the left, the liberals and even the center who oppose the war. The whole range, from hard-line anti-imperialists to some who are less steadfast, to say the least.

But they will do it--or not, if they stay away--under the banner, 'Stop the war now, bring all our troops home.'

Everyone is welcome to take part, but this is the basic orientation. I agree it's different. Maybe it will pay off, maybe it won't. We'll see.

I'd also guess that 90 percent of those who show up, who have ever voted, will have voted for a Democrat recently. Perhaps a few for a Green.

Shall we tell those who consider themselves Democrats that they're not welcome? Shall we exclude the PDA chapters that have endorsed, or the antiwar candidates running in the Dem primaries? Or Aldermen who have voted down the war twice?

I think not.

I guarantee you that the busloads coming from the South Side are ordinary folks who regularly vote Democratic, for better or worse. But we are not putting up any unnecessary obstacles or hurdles to their participation.

We suffer from the lack of these people, and others even less 'on the left,' not from too many of them.

Especially if we want to stop this horrible war. The left cannot do it alone.

You don't have to agree with this, or even march with us.

If you don't care for our approach, organize your own. But do something this Fall to stop the war.


Friday, 21 September 2007
by hmm

Speaking of elected officials, I had the opportunity to attend a Cook County Board press availibity meeting around the cutbacks at County Hospital and heard Cook County Board President Todd Stroger state that Cook County government could pay for quality health care and staff at Cook County if federal dollars weren't being wasted on bankrolling the Iraq war. Clearly Stroger opposes the war as well and wasn't shy about saying so in public.

Are you going to invite him on stage on Oct. 27?

Friday, 21 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

No, I think we have better speakers on that issue in mind.

But we are organizing a 'Health Care, Not Warfare' contingent of doctors, nurses and all others involved in health care who oppose the war. Stroger is certainly welcome to join its ranks, and help in whatever other way he can. He may have to put up with some criticism from others involved in the health system, but that's only natural.

He's not the first, and not likely the last, public official to assert the war in Iraq is destroying their programs. That's because it's true.

And we have Chicago Faculty for Peace and Justice, Chicago Lawyers and Legal Workers for Peace and Justice, and other similar contingents also in the works.

All are welcome to join in and lend a hand...


Friday, 21 September 2007
by hmm

Excuse me, but are you implying that internal political considerations might trump inviting a senior black Chicago elected official who has publicly stated his opposition to the war? But inviting Daley -- a politician who has yet to condemn the war and is as corrupt and anti-labor as they come -- is ok? Too bad. This news may be received with some consternation by those African American ministers and others on the South Side who might otherwise be inclined to encourage their congregations to attend.

As for non-partisanship, there's always Ron Paul, who will be in Chicago this week for a campaign rally, opposes the war and is a firm member of the GOP


Friday, 21 September 2007
by what hypocrisy

Will Forrest Claypool, aka 'Mr. Privatization' and the prince of pinstripe patronage during his tenure as head of the Chicago Park District be invited to speak? And what, pray tell, will you tell the Black ministers you say are organizing on the south side when they find out the beleaguered County Board President -- who they support and think is getting the royal shaft in the press -- is not invited? Why is it OK for Republican elected officials, notorious for their anti-labor positions, to speak and not an anti-war Democrat like Stroger? It'll be a pleasure passing your comments onto the folks on the south side. You've argued they don't share the political sensibilities of the uninvited left. It will be fascinating to see their response when they learn they don't share yours, either.

Saturday, 22 September 2007
by Lev

'We will have Greens and even elected GOPers who oppose the war, too.'

Yes, very nice Carl, but again, will the Democrats who will undoubtedly be the vast majority of the pols on the stage, be ones who really 'oppose the war'? Richie M. Daley, one of the invitees, has never come out against the war, and has repeatedly used his sock puppet Alderman Balcer in rear-guard actions to torpedo anti-war initiatives in the City Council. He "opposes the war" as much as John McCain ever has (that's irony, boys and girls).

And what about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama? Aside from their boisterous calls for yet more 'pre-emptive' wars, what sort of genuine "opposition" to the Iraq war have they actually demonstrated? Both have voted for EVERY single Bush war appropriation except for the last one. And as for that last one, every serious commentator said that their votes "against" the war funding bill were merely "demonstration votes" made for the benefit of primary voters once they were assured that the measure would pass. So basically, rhetoric aside, they have been staunch supporters of the Iraq war. And by the way, the notion that 60 anti-war Senate votes are necessary to stop funding the Iraq War is nonsense. Forty senators, much less than the Democratic majority, could decide to block any war funding bill if they so chose. But they won't. Watch the Democratic majority crumble once again in the next few weeks over the war funding bill for the next year. Opps, I guess the Oct. 27th "protest" will be a little bit too late to affect that -- how very convenient.

And what about the rest of the Chicago area Congressional delegation, many of whom presumably are among the invitees to address this "anti-war" rally? EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM voted for the last war funding bill. Everyone from Lipinski to Schakowsky.

And so the question remains, what with the "anti-war" notables we've reviewed who already have been invited; why not also invite John McCain to address this "anti-war" rally?

Opps, again I forgot, it's a Democratic Party rally. "Anti-war," aside from rhetoric, has nothing to do with it.

Prepare to be lied to again. It's a farce that the life-blood of the anti-war movement was sucked dry by the 2004 Kerry campaign, the man who said "I voted for the war before I voted against it."

It's a tragedy that those controlling the Oct. 27th action are trying to repeat that dismal history.


Saturday, 22 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

First of all, 'hmm' and others, all elected officials, including Stroger, are invited to support and take part. But obviously, not all are invited to speak, since there are only 25 slots, and roughly a third, at most, will be for elected officials. And we have elected officials from other states to consider as well.

And don't worry, there will be plenty of representation, of various political views, for the African American South Side and West Side on the platform.

So lighten up, and stop playing this silly game.

It's a left center coalition against the war. And we'll find the best speakers we can for the left, center, and points in between. And you don't build a real left-center coalition by assigning all the speakers' slots to the left, and excluding the center.

So if you want to attack something, attack that orientation. That's the substance of the matter, rather than going after one imaginary speaker or another.

Our starting point was that the last election proved Chicago is an antiwar town and Illinois is an antiwar state, having voted on our main slogan, 'Stop the War Now, Bring All Our Troops Home.' So we'll challenge the city and state's top pols to speak under it and to it, but we're not holding our breath for any particular one of them.

It might not be your cup of tea, but it's the way we're proceeding. The old way, the anti-imperialist bloc against the two parties, has got itself in a cul-de-sac. The truth is that left cannot end this war alone, and we need broader alliances.

Whether we get them in an effective way or not, no one can predict. But we, meaning UFPJ and its allies, are going to give it our best shot. We'll see what happens.

Lend a hand if you want to help make it a success.


Saturday, 22 September 2007
by m

Actually, Davidson, it's hardly a 'silly' game - but like the response of much of the white center-liberal milieu toward the Jena 6, LA protest -- one that reflects a much deeper problem. Here's a case in point: [ ]

As pointed out in an earlier post, both Daley and Stroger are corrupt, grifting Democratic politicians with terrible track records on a number of issues. No doubt about it. Still, your avowed strategy pivots on bringing together the broadest possible sectors and voices together exclusively around the war in Iraq, -- irrespective of their positions on other issues. It's a narrow approach I wouldn't take toward antiwar coalition building, I think the broader public is far more capable of connecting the dots and increasingly fed up with being lied to by those in power - but hey, it's your party.

In this case, one politician opposes the war and links it to the crisis in domestic funding for health care. The other has either dodged the issue of the war or has offered explicit support to the Bush Administration's war drive. Inviting Stroger won't be a winning idea with the SEIU or suburban liberals. But publicly inviting Daley may also piss off those myriad grassroots community groups - many in the African American and Latino communities who have been locked in mortal combat with his regime for years.

So who gets the nod here when it comes inviting local elected officials to speak? Beyond Munoz, Moore, Davis or Schakowsky? Da Mare.

Pretty telling choice.

Then there's Obama -- who was also noticeably absent from the Jena protests, along with every other Democratic Presidential candidate. Along with his stated position in favor of preemptive strike against Iran - now a very real possibility in the weeks ahead if the neocons get their way.

Finally, WTF is an "Orthodox" Muslim? Are you referencing the Nation of Islam (NOI)? Or the various independent mosques anchored in the African American community? Or other Sunna and Shia mosques in the Arab and South Asian communities of Chicago?

Saturday, 22 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

FYI, 'm', some of our founding meeting members, Terry Davis for one, has been down in Jena for weeks, building the protests there.

We've also had our members turning out to and leafleting almost every anti-brutality and pro-justice gathering in the Black community. We are meeting regularly with church leaders on the South side to bring buses to the Oct 27 events. And 'orthodox' Muslim was a term they used, referring to the non-NOI mosques in the Black community.

But we are approaching all Imams, of whatever nationality, to make this an interfaith effort.

So I don't know what 'white' milieu you're talking about, but we're doing our best to break with some of the past ones we've known.

Finally, it's going to take working with politicians you and I don't care for to stop this damnable war. We can't do it with the left alone, so get used to it, and lend a hand, unless you just want to stand aside and keep on with the 'same 'ole same ole' stuff you've done up till now.


Saturday, 22 September 2007
by double standard

"Finally, it's going to take working with politicians you and I don't care for to stop this damnable war."

So Daley is OK, and Stroger is not. The white boy is fine, and the black man doesn't pass muster. Are Daley's politics less 'corrupt' than Stroger's? What other litmus test is there here but race?


Saturday, 22 September 2007
by m

Good news that the Oct. 27 Mobilization been leafleting events in the African American community. Your leaflet advertises your invited guest speakers -- including the Mayor?

I didn't think so.

Saturday, 22 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

You're being silly, again, 'M'

First, 'Da Mare' hasn't been invited yet, so how could it be on a flyer printed a few weeks back, starting with the Bilikken parade? BTW, Daley probably endorsed that, too, but I doubt if it dampened the turnout.

Second, when he does get his invite, I'm not holding my breath for a positive response.

Third, when he did appear at the immigrant rights rally, and I heard he gave a more than passable speech, a personal breaththrough for him, did it hurt the immigrant rights movement? Did it turn anyone way? I don't think so.

You're making much ado about little--although the general policy of trying to involve elected officials is important. And the trashing of that policy in the M20 coalition disputes is just one reason why a good number of folks were fed up enough to do things differently this time around.

More interesting would be positive responses from Durbin and Obama, who are being supported by our South Side allies, or Edwards, who the Steelworkers are pushing.

I'd be glad to see all three of them on the platform, but I'd guess you wouldn't, even though both Obama and Edward like to use the 'connect the dots' phrase, not that they mean what you mean by it.

Again, if you want to defend or attack something, get to the heart of the matter. Speakers come and go, but a strategic and tactical line on alliances needed to end this war sooner rather than later, endures a lot longer, don't you think?

And is there anyone else out there who wants to jump in on this? 'M' and 'hmm' and I have crossed swords for nearly a decade now. Let's get some new voices here.


Saturday, 22 September 2007
by what the hell

I have to say I'm flabbergasted by this strategy -- inviting a sitting mayor who arrested more than 800 peaceful antiwar protesters the night the war began, and who spent the next three years doing everything he could to continue to trash our right to free speech and public protest. Maybe, MAYBE I could see it if Daley’s completely reversed his positions, but he hasn't, and he sure hasn't renounced his support for a raft of other Bush polices. What the hell?

Democratic voters across the country are disgusted with the Democratic leadership in Washington for failing to take a strong and serious stand against the war. People are also plenty disgusted locally with the crookedness in ward and city hall politics. How will bringing those same politicians that have been ripping us off and taking us for granted for years build the grassroots movement against the war?

And how the hell can we expect people of color anywhere to take the white liberals organizing this seriously, when we invite a politician like Daley who isn't antiwar, turned a blind eye to police torture when he was state's attorney, has yet to reign in a police force that functions like an occupying army in many of our neighborhoods, and is gentrifying thousands of us out of the city we were born in?

We are in deep shit with this kind of strategy.

Sunday, 23 September 2007
by Stan Smith

I do not agree with Carl Davidson's orientation, but he makes some good points. (But, Carl, while it is true that Daley gave an ok speak at the anti-immigrant rally, it did give the illusion that he was some sort of reliable ally - and helped to conceal what he was: an opponent forced to give lip-service).

And I do notice that Carl Davidson can sign his name to his articles, while nobody else does. Maybe that in itself says something: the alternative to Carl Davidson's political strategy is nameless and faceless, and consists of faceless people complaining about his UFPJ views but not creating an alternative. Until there is a anti-imperialist alternative to trying to stop Democrats kow-towing to the right, the UFPJ strategy will control the field. After 6 years of the anti-war movement, UFPJ and the Democrats have been pretty discredited. But the anti-imperialist anti-war movement has been discredited by in-fighting, both locally and nationally. It has fractured into little groups bickering with each other over who wants to be No. 1.

After 6 years of war, there is no evidence this is going to change at all. Of all the anti-imperialist anti-war organizations, locally and nationally, I know of none who would disagree with this perspective: I prefer to be No. 1 in my little marginalized corner than be mainstream and not be No. 1.


Sunday, 23 September 2007
by n.

I was thinking about the same thing about Cuba. The Cuba support movement has fragmented as well...which is why there isn't more support for the Cuban 5 in this town. Stan know whereof he speaks


Sunday, 23 September 2007
by n.?

More lynch mobs at the workplace?

Sunday, 23 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

We'll soon see, won't we, 'What the Hell?'

The way things are going, I'd hazard a guess that we'll have a significant increase in African American participation over past events of this type, some of it organized by people you're in agreement with, but quite a few others being organized by people you might be more critical of.

I wouldn't worry about 'Da Mare' if I were you. In the outside chance he does accept and appear under our banner, it would be a shift.

Besides, if we're to bring this war to an end, well need alliances with forces with more crimes on their hands than Daley, for sure. As I keep repeating, the left can't end this war alone, and if you think we can end it, sooner rather than later, by only forming alliances with angels, I'd love to hear you make your case. I'm all ears.

Otherwise, it's time to get serious about serious things.


Sunday, 23 September 2007
by ?

I don't know which kills me more, the progressive Dem's calling the imperialistic occupation in Iraq "war" or the elected Dem's calling the U.S. service people and mercenaries in Iraq as the "coalition forces."

Ending "this war" is not saying much, again.


Sunday, 23 September 2007
by carol

"We can't just leave the Middle East. If we leave the Middle East, just let's just forget about the Middle East and just walk away from the Middle East. I don't think anybody wants that."

"What I think we are trying to do, some way, is trying to slowly allow Iraq to take full control of their country," the mayor said. "No one likes war because it's the death of someone's son or daughter, father, mother or son. . . . No one was for the Revolutionary War. . . . Maybe today they would doubt the Civil War - - whether or not slavery was worth fighting for. I think it was."

"I don't think it's a quick fix."

- Chicago Tribune, December, 2005

The mayor's comments came in the wake of a call for an American troop withdrawal by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) and Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and followed by one day a speech by Bush defending his Iraq strategy.


Sunday, 23 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

Well, Anon', 'ending this war' may 'not be saying much' to you, but I'd love to hear you make that case to Iraqi mothers burying there children or US parents burying their sons and daughters.

Set your 'left' blinders aside for a moment, and listen to yourself...Good grief.

And 'carol,' the most important thing in your quote from Daley is the date, '2005'

A lot changes in two years.

I'm not saying he's made any changes, but many of his cohorts have. The mayor of Salt Lake City is leading the Oct 27 mobilizations there, along with a new group, 'Mormons for Equality and Justice,' and many others. Who woulda' thunk it?...

What we have to say to our city elected officials is that we voted, 800,000 of us, by a margin of 81-to-19, to stop this war now. IF YOU WON'T JOIN IN THE LEADERSHIP TO DO IT, AND REPRESENT US, WHO WILL? Because if you won't, we'll have to take you down, and replace you with someone who'll get the job done.

Then put the ball in their court by offering them an opportunity to do so.

Some will pick it up, some won't. Some come to this movement early, some late, and some not at all.

But we should make as much of it happen as we can, for the simple reason that there's a dynamic relationship between these people and their base, and we're primarily interested in moving their base more solidly into our camp.

Learn to play Chess or 'Go' here, rather than checkers...

Carl, why not demand that the Democratic leadership filibuster war funding bill?

Sunday, 23 September 2007
by Bob Schwartz

John V. Walsh has challenged UFPJ leaders to demand that the Democrats filibuster the war funding bill when the criminal Bush asks for $2 billions more for carnage.

writes Walsh, "UFPJ has explicitly refused to do this. Why? Because, according to the UFPJ "leadership," their friends on the Hill (read Dems) say it does not have a chance? Of course that could be said of any of the antiwar measures. No, the truth is that the filibuster and the vote that would follow in its wake would expose each and every Dem Senator for what they are. And that is a no-no for the UFPJ leadership which more or less shares a bed with the Dems."

There is one way to push this forward. At [ ]

Correction in war funding request. Its $200 billion.


Sunday, 23 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

Well, I'm one UFPJer in favor of filibusters over the war. And impeachment to boot, starting with Cheney.

I've been a fan of Mike Gravel, former Senator from Alaska, for a long time, especially when he pushed his recent notion of a bill--not a resolution--with four words, 'End The War Now,' to pass into law, thus making the war's continuation illegal and impeachable.

Let the GOP filibuster, he said, and call for cloture every day, so more and more learn who's really killing the troops and the people of Iraq.

But I'm wise enough to know that you don't win at the top what you haven't already won and organized at the base.

So my answer is, if you really want to see these things happen at the top, organize the base. I can name at least 60 Chicago neighborhoods with no peace and justice group, or antiwar group of any sort, despite the fact that a majority in each voted against the war.

I'd say much of our hard core anti-imperialists are a bunch of lazy bones; they can carry on at great length about one analysis or another, but I challenge them to take up these neighborhoods, hold a coffee to call together a core, build some lists and allies, and launch some new groups.

Then we'll have something to do politics WITH.

Otherwise, it's cafe chatter...

If you want some names to get started, come and see me.


Sunday, 23 September 2007
by ?

Stroger didn't arrest 800 protesters, Daley did. Stroger didn't cover up police torture, Daley did. Stroger opposes the war, Daley has never said so publicly at least. Why wont you answer questions Carl that are put to you, or do you only want to answer the questions you like any politician. Why is Daley OK and not Stroger? Why the white elected official and not the Black elected official?


Monday, 24 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

Why Daley?

Because Chicago is on record as a 'City for Peace,' one of 301 similar cities.

Its City Council voted overwhelmingly against the invasion before it happened, and by a solid majority against it in the middle. (And Daley made himself not present during those votes.) And the City's electorate voted 81-19 percent for 'out now,' with 800,000 votes, carrying every Ward.

We're asking Daley, (and Obama and Durbin, for that matter) to speak to and represent the City's position, and the position of its voters, not primarily his personal position. If he's moved on the war, so much the better, but we'll put the ball in his court, and see what he does. I'll be surprised if he accepts the offer. But if he does, it'll work mainly to our advantage and to his in a secondary way.

The County Board has taken no position on the war, at least not yet. Stroger is welcome to endorse and help out as an individual, but we have far better speakers on 'Health Care, Not Warfare' in mind.

But since you probably don't want either of them speaking anyway, and are likely to have it that way, why is this such a big deal to you?

As I said earlier, we're going to need alliances with people far worse than Daley to stop this war, unless you think the left can do it--ending the war sooner rather than later--alone. If that's so, make your case.

If not, and you're still confused, my personal advice, not our coalition's, is to dig out some old copies of Gramsci, Mao, Dimitrov and Truong Chinh on the strategy and tactics of the united front, and learn a thing or two. From Truong Chinh, read the section on 'alliances aimed at neutralization.'


Monday, 24 September 2007
by puhleeze

Give us a break, CD. Your choice of Daley over Stroger was a tactical decision dictated by internal political considerations ( like not alienating the usual North Shore and suburban white liberals who supported Claypool, and SEIU's leadership whom you are courting ) Those considerations clearly trumped your professed strategic outlook -- which should have welcomed a African American politician - albeit a Dem. machine hack -- who has spoken out publicly against the war and has a significant base of electoral support in the Black and Latino communities, including from 22nd Ward Alderman Rick Munoz among others.

As for Daley speaking out on behalf of the City Council resolution, fat chance. That resolution was non-binding, didn't mandate the City of Chicago do anything and no more represents the executive branch of City government - where policy decisions are actually implemented than my Aunt Hattie. (who btw, is available to speak)

My hunch is we'll see the same calculus applied with other figures -- say like the Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Organizing Network whom might make some of your core supporters a little uncomfortable. Prove me wrong. Invite him to speak.

At this point it's pretty clear who your target audience is, and it isn't the majority of this city. But as was said before, it's your party.


Monday, 24 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

"...was a tactical decision dictated by internal political considerations ( like not alienating the usual North Shore and suburban white liberals who supported Claypool, and SEIU's leadership whom you are courting )"

Really? You have got to be kidding.

Believe me, I was in the room when this decision was made, and absolutely NONE of these considerations were in play.

Besides, SEIU is already on board, no courting required, and they could care less about 'Da Mare.'

Second, 'Northshore liberals,' whoever that is, but if you mean some of the neighborhood-based P&J groups, they didn't care one way or another, or were even dubious about 'Da Mare.'.

Third, Stroger's name never even came up, in any context, although we did mention Maldonado from the Board. Our 'Healthcare, not Warfare' contingent and speakers mentioned were all from mass organizations, and we have some excellent people to choose from.

Our South Side community allies were mainly interested in Durbin and Obama as possibilities, as well as an interfaith alliance including Jews and Muslims. They never mentioned Stroger in any context either.

Daley's came up in the context of Cities for Peace, Chicago as the more powerful among them, and building a contingent of elected city officials from around the region, and the need to involve them all. So we decided to invite him in the same context of all the other cities and majors we would invite, but no one would be holding their breath for a positive reply, although, who knows, we might be surprised.

We also decided to try to get Cardinal George and the Archdiocese on board.

That was the actual discussion. You can fantasize about reading the minds of various individuals all you want, and make up whatever 'theories' or 'explanations' you want, but those plus $2.00 will get you on the CTA.


Monday, 24 September 2007
by oneofthe800

Maybe Carl can convince Ritchie to announce a settlement of the civil liberties lawsuit underway in favor of those 800 folks who got to see the Mayor's response to the attack on Iraq up close and personal? After his impending change of heart?

As a bonus, maybe Cardinal George can offer mass absolution from the stage to all of us who support choice?


Monday, 24 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

Naaah, "800," mass absolution only works if you make a sincere 'Act of Contrition.' Check your Baltimore Catechism, if you have one lying around from bygone days. In any case, on that matter, the church should make one.

But 'Holy Mother Church' has also been rather clear in opposing this war. The Cardinal's blessing would spur a great number of new participants and allies from among the faithful.

Say a prayer, make a wish, or do a good new age 'creative visualization' to help such a development along...

But I doubt if Andy's Pope and Cardinal outfits will fill the bill...


Monday, 24 September 2007
by couple observations

Invited to speak:

>Daley, who has not come out against the war and arrested 800 of us the day the war started.

>Durbin, who has consistently voted to fund the war, although he's been willing to publicly call the war the greatest U.S. mistake 'ever' -- while still bankrolling this mistake.

>Obama, who has yet to retract his assertion that it's okey dokey with him to preemptively bomb Iran.

Not invited to speak:

>Todd Stroger, who's publicly opposed the war and whose political track record is certainly no less stellar than Mr. Daley's.

This, to me, doesn't look like it's just about race, bur rather about more broadly backing certain local political factions over others. If nothing else, that puts the lie to Mr. Davidson's avowed 'big tent' approach to organizing.

That said, there's also no question that the politics of race also play a role here, particularly considering the lovefest some organizers and backers of this action have with County commissioner and uber privatizing libertarian County commissioner Forrest Claypool. Perhaps they should review Claypool's track record as head of the Park District and as Daley's chief of staff before they embrace him as a screaming reformer. By the way, has Claypool been invited to speak? Has he tried to invite himself to speak -- as he has at past local antiwar mobilizations?

Of course, we won't see any strong statements from the stage condemning Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians in the occupied territories, either, despite the critical role this conflict plays in U.S. policy in the region. Why is this issue kicked to the curb? Because that might piss off congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a 'proud Zionist woman' in her own words, along with many of her supporters -- who are also central players in backing this mobilization under these narrow terms.

Any mention of Palestine as a critical component of the U.S. backed occupation strategy for unruly and unsubmissive non-western peoples might also create some discomfort for people like labor heavyweight Tom Balanoff of SEIU, who joined SEIU International President Andy Stern at an awards ceremony this past February held by the Anti-Defamation League that presented Mr. Balanoff with the Distinguished Community Service Lifetime Achievement Award. [ ]

Why raise these points? Because it's important to understand that local politics -- including political allegiances and interests that are shaped through the lens of race and ethnic politics right here on the ground -- have an impact on how this event is being organized.

I expect that the 5,000-odd anti-war protesters who come together every year to oppose the war will attend this event, particularly since groups like ANSWER have agreed to participate WITHOUT ghettoizing issues like Palestine.

But will this demonstrate some sort of political 'breakthrough', as Mr. Davidson asserts? Nope. It simply represents an action whose organizers are prepared to ensure that the voices and sensibilities of Zionists and white liberals are not discomfited by the appearance of Black politicians they don't like, or uppity anti-occupation forces like progressive Palestinians who oppose the U.S. bankrolled Israeli oppression of millions of Palestinian people.

Occupation is occupation. Until we stop insulting the intelligence of our base and call out all occupation for what it is -- whether it's Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iran or whatever -- people will continue to hold the anti-war leadership and their agenda as suspect as the lying Republocrat leadership that backs our bogus foreign policy.


Monday, 24 September 2007
by where are we

For those who weren't there, Friday's kickoff for the 10/27 mobilization included NO women speakers. Zero. Nada. It did look like the majority of those who attended and were doing the work were women, however. I hope the Oct. 27 organizers remember that we need to be represented on the stage as speakers, and don't make this kind of mistake again.

Monday, 24 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

We had several women lined up for the events in Fed Plaza on 9/21, 'where we are'--Ald. Kyle, who got detained on another matter, Linda Beckstrom, Peace Pledge, who attended, but had to leave early. But Catherine Buntin, of the North Suburban Interfaith Peace Initiative, did speak at the press conference--not to mention the three women taking turns chanting the names and ages of the Iraqi dead.

I'm sure we could do better, but 'zero nada' is not quite right.

As for 'couple observations,' I'll wager that Palestine and other matters you point to will be heard from the stages. The difference is that we won't just hear from the left, but from the center and points in between as well. It won't just be an anti-imperialist bloc that's heard, but a wider range of voices and perspectives. That's because we're seeking to mobilize all trends of the antiwar majority, not just the 'anti-imperialist, pro-solidarity with liberation struggles' left sector of that majority.

That's the whole point. We make no apologies for it, because we need to do it to end the war sooner rather than later.

There seems to be no end to the complaints about this in this forum, but none of you have explained how the left is going to accomplish this task on its own, without broader alliances among progressive and middle forces, both at the top and at the base.

Frankly, I don't think you can. But I'm all ears.

Meanwhile, this effort is generating considerable enthusiasm and wide support, here and elsewhere. But we still need all the help we can get, so lend a hand...


Monday, 24 September 2007
by alliances and comments

In Chicago, "couple observations" misses a key alliance: David Axelrod, the Dems' version of Karl Rove (OK, maybe he can only fill those shoes if he steps into them in conjunction with the equally tiny-footed Rahm Emanuel) and the principle political architect of Barack Obama's runs in 2004 and now, is thisclose to Forrest Claypool, who helped him start his business, AKP Message & Media. Under those terms, and given the allegiances that many of our friends in CAWI have with players in the Democratic party, Mr. Stroger will never, ever be allowed to speak at a venue like this. Carl Davidson's one big tent approach to speakers just doesn't have a tent big enough for Todd.

In addition, while Axelrod may have been successfully trumping against Stroger with the race card for the last 18 months among white liberals, his campaign on behalf of his pal Forrest (who occasionally holds his press conferences in Axelrod's office ... think about the message THAT sends to political beat reporters) is all about political power -- namely Claypool's, in what is shaping up as another run at the Cook County board presidency.

That Mr. Claypool has been no friend to labor over the years has been largely lost on the consciousness of the Anglos that have blindly rushed to support him over the son of John. Then again, how many of these alert ... not ... white people know that Forrest Claypool kept a photo of Ayn Rand in his office during his last run for county board president?

Don't take my word for it, either. See the Sun-Times article by Steve Patterson on March 6, 2006. Note that the other picture in Claypool's office -- that of Martin Luther King Jr. -- hangs there because Claypool apparently thinks Dr. King was some sort of rugged individualist. Perhaps someone should give Forrest a copy of Dr. King's essay, "A New Sense of Direction" (1968), where he calls for mass civil disobedience to advance the cause of racial and economic justice. Note that mass civil disobedience is hardly a solitary venture, a point apparently lost on the staunchly libertarian Forrest, who also opposed County legislation that would have banned cigarette smoking in County businesses because it is, after all, a person's 'choice' (his word, not mine) to smoke, and government should not be making that more difficult, the public health consequences be damned. I suppose that portrait in Forrest's office serves to prove he's not a cracker like some of the folks who reflexively support him.

But I digress. The real issue at hand in this thread is a vigorous disagreement about the best way forward. I'd have more faith in Carl's analysis if his assessment were rooted in fact. He asserts repeatedly that this 'appeal to the center' strategy is bound to bring the minions and stand on its own merits but he forgets an important point. Under his formulation, the mainstream projects he's lined up to support this effort have vastly deeper pockets than the left in this town that has largely shouldered the brunt of the work in organizing previous mass anti-war mobilizations.

So Carl's formulation starts out from jump with a vastly deeper well in which to dip, both financially and in other practical material ways, like large databases of union members and petition signers, for example. Bear in mind that all of us, no matter how lame and insulting to the base we think Carl's frame is, will show up at this action, as well. So they should be expected to pull at least 15,000 people to this action -- the six to nine that show up for annual anniversary mobilizations in Chicago, for example, and who will support virtually any public expression against the war, PLUS the additional 5-15 thousand CAWI should be able to organize via the unions that have signed on and the metro faith projects like AFSC.

I think it also bears noting that for previous mobilizations largely organized by those entirely too democratic anti-imperialist types that so stick in Carl's craw, these sorts of mainstream groups -- including Balanoff's SEIU locals and the AFSC -- have actively boycotted these efforts.

I think the deeper question is this: where would we really be at in terms of mass mobilizations if our friends in projects like AFSC and SEIU would play well with others and support the anti-war actions Carl now wants the rest of us to embrace? We will, Carl, we will, because it's the right thing to do, not because it's being organized in the right way. But who's really sectarian here? Who's really exclusionary? When will we get a flyer with details about this mobilization? When will we get a list of speakers that assuages the concerns that many of have about inclusiveness and diversity?

Or do we have to bring our own speakers and swap them out on stage on the fly?


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by DR

Out of curiosity, I scanned the Midwest antiwar links listed on the Oct. 27 webpage, looking for Oct. 27 announcements, but found only several promos for this regional mobilization. What gives?

Apparently to date, Madison organizers have rented two buses, and sold aprox 40 tickets. Milwaukee also has 12 school buses reserved, according to the WNPJ website. Racine reserved a bus, and the Lakeshore has a bus, starting in Green Bay going though Manitowoc and Sheboygan. St. Louis activists are promoting a peace train -- which they've done before for the March anniversary protests in Chicago - but no hard numbers.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul antiwar coalition organizing around the RNC appears to be planning their own Oct. 27 event. And despite the report of a 'trainload from Detroit', nothing has popped on anti-war websites there. Granted, this still may happen in the next three weeks and more organizing might be going on behind the scenes. But it increasingly looks like the Midwest turn out for this action will be far smaller than the organizers originally projected. Indeed, many of the endorsers listed on the Oct. 27 website have yet to advertise it on their home sites.

So do the CAWI organizers still expect tens of thousands to pour into Chicago? Because unless this regional march breaks 20 K or so in Chicago, it can't be reasonably projected as any type of real major advance, no matter what 'qualitative' spin organizers try to put on it.


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

You certainly do digress...Claypool? His name has never come in a single meeting. We're trying to stop a war, not pick the next county board. You've wandered off to some other ballpark.

Lists of speakers? They haven't been picked yet. We're delegating it around, Telling military families to find their best choices, the unions to find their best, and so on, not only in Chicago, but around the region.

And I even argue that the most important thing is not the numbers, but the organizing drive. Hell, it may snow or rain that day, perish the thought. That's why we're focusing on building news groups and new working relationships that will last beyond Oct 27.

Big bucks? I haven't seen much of it yet, but we'll surely go after it, especially if we're serious enough to want to bring this movement to scale.

The details? Believe me, as soon as we get them, they'll be posted. The Fed Plaza permit was obtained yesterday as the end point, the application is in for the streets and Union Park, but we're wrangling over fees, street blockoffs, and parking for a hundred or so buses.

The basic plan is feeder marches to union park up to noon or so. Rally in Union Park promptly at 1:30pm. Head for Federal Plaza no later than 3pm. Rally at the Plaza 4-6pm. Return to buses along Columbus drive at 6pm. All pending our discussions with the park district and the police, and the moment it's finalized, believe me, it'll be posted everywhere.

Same goes for the speakers. We have to reduce a potential pool of 200 or so down to 25 or so. If you know any great speakers in town, send a suggestion, and we'll put it in the hopper, but at this point, we have no big bucks to bring in outside folks, unless they have their own money.

So far, AFSC promises us a major, prominent Iraqi, whose name I don't have at the moment. That's the only firm commitment.

Yes, it is the right thing to do, and we want the entire range of voices heard--left, progressive, liberal and center-moderate, that want to stop this war now.


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by gigo

CD writes "And I even argue that the most important thing is not the numbers, but the organizing drive."

Planning on taking a survey of who attends? Because if you do, you may be in for a big surprise, one that just may compel a serious rethink about some basic political assumptions you've been operating on about how to 'broaden' support for the antiwar movement by titrating the message.

To wit: A few months back, Intellectual Affairs reported on the work of a couple of social scientists who were studying the contemporary antiwar movement. They have been showing up at the national demonstrations over the past several years and - with the help of assistants instructed in a method of random sampling - conducting surveys of the participants. The data so harvested was then coded and fed into a computer, and the responses cross-correlated in order to find any patterns hidden in the data.

The researchers, Heaney and Rojas, have kept on gathering their surveys and crunching their numbers, and they recently presented a new paper on their work at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in Chicago. The title, "Coalition Dissolution and Network Dynamics in the American Antiwar Movement," seems straightforward enough - and the abstract explains that their focus was on the rather difficult relationship between United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), the two main coalitions organizing national protests.

The paper delivered at APSA looks at how relations between the two biggest antiwar mesomobilizers have affected participation in the national demonstrations. The differences between ANSWER and UFPJ are in part ideological. The rhetorical style of ANSWER normally runs to denunciations of American imperialism and its running dogs. (I exaggerate, but just barely.) UFPJ is by contrast the "moderate flank" of the antiwar movement, and not prone to tackling all injustice on the planet in the course of one protest. As Heaney and Rojas put it, UFPJ argues that "in order to build the broadest coalition possible, it should focus on the one issue about which the largest number of organizations can agree: ending the war in Iraq."

The groups have a long, complicated history of mutual antagonism that in some ways actually predates even the present organizations. Comparable fault-lines emerged between similar coalitions organizing in 1990 and '91 against the first Gulf War. But UFPJ and ANSWER did manage to mesomobilize together at various points between 2003 and 2005. This honeymoon has been over for a couple of years now, for reasons nobody can quite agree upon - even as public disapproval of president's handling of the war rose from 53 percent in September 2005 (when the UFPJ-ANWER alliance ended) to 58 percent in March 2007.

What this meant for Heaney and Rojas was that they had data from the different phases of the coalitions' relationship. They had gathered surveys from people attending demonstrations that UFPJ and ANSWER organized together, and from people attending demonstrations the groups had scheduled in competition with each other. (They also interviewed leading members of each coalition and gathered material from their listservs.)

The researchers framed a few hypotheses about contrasts that would probably be reflected in their data set.

"We expected that participants in the UFPJ demonstrations would have a stronger connection with mainstream political institutions and a weaker connection to the antiwar movement," they write.

"We expected, given ANSWER's preference for outsider political tactics, that its participants would be more likely to have engaged in civil disobedience in the past, while UFPJ would be more likely to have engaged in civil disobedience in the past."

They also anticipated finding significant demographic differences between each coalition's constituency. "Given the relative prominence of women as leaders in UFPJ," they say, "we expected that it would be more likely to attract women than would ANSWER.

Given that ANSWER explicitly frames its identity as attempting to 'end racism,' we expected that individuals with non-white racial and ethnic backgrounds would be disproportionately drawn to ANSWER. Further, given the relatively radical orientation of ANSWER, we hypothesized that it would more greatly appeal to young people and the working class. In contrast, we expected UFPJ to appeal to individuals with higher incomes and college educations."

These predictions were not, for the most part, all that counterintuitive. And so it is interesting to learn that very few of them squared with the data.

People who showed up at demonstrations under the influence of UFPJ's mesomobilizing framework were "significantly more likely to say they considered themselves to be members of the Democratic Party (54.1 percent) than ANSWER attendees (46.9 percent)." There might be a few Republicans mobilized by either coalition, but most non-Democrats in either case would probably identify as independents or supporters of third parties. And they tended to come for different reasons: "Participants at the ANSWER rally were significantly more likely to cite a policy-specific reason for their attendance (such as stopping the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), while participants at the UFPJ rally were more likely to cite a personal reason for their attendance (such as the death of a friend or a family member)."

But in terms of important distinctions, that was really about it. There was no difference in degree of political involvement, or experience with civil disobedience, or previous attendance at antiwar protests. Nor was there a demographic split: "Despite the stereotypes that many people have of the two coalitions," write Rojas and Heaney, "they are equally likely to attract the participation of women and men, whites and non-whites, the young the old, those with and without college degrees, and people from various economic strata."

The paper also considers how the parting of the ways between ANSWER and UFPJ influenced their mesomobilizing capacities - that is, what effect it had on the networks of organizations making up each coalition.

The various spider-webs of organizational interaction did change a bit. ANSWER began to work more closely with another coalition pledged to denouncing American imperialism and its running dogs. United for Peace and Justice came under stronger influence by MoveOn - a group "much more closely allied with the Democratic Party than either UFPJ or ANSWER" and taking "a more conservative approach to ending the war." (Or not ending it, I suppose, though that is a topic for another day.)

The researchers conclude that the conflict between the groups has not really been the zero-sum game one might have expected - if only because public disapproval of the president has won a hearing for each of them.

"To some extent," write Heaney and Rojas, "ANSWER and UFPJ are vying for the attention, energies, and resources of the same supporters. But to a larger extent, both groups are more urgently attempting to reach out to a mass public that has remained largely quiescent throughout the entire U.S.-Iraq conflict....If public opinion were trending in favor of the president, or even remaining stable, the conflict might have been more detrimental to the movement as its base of support shrank."

The entire tome ""Coalition Dissolution and Network Dynamics in the American Antiwar Movement," can be downloaded here as a PDF file
[ ]


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by carol

Federal Plaza as the march end point and rally site? Whatever happened to Grant Park?


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

What happened to Grant Park?

We deferred to the requests of the South Side ministers, bringing quite a few people in buses, who wanted a more comfortable setting, including seating arrangements for the elderly and parents with small children. Also, given the volatility of weather at the end of October, Grant Park might be too muddy and isolating for some.

Daley Plaza is occupied with a Halloween fest, so Fed Plaza will have to do, with the overflow going into blocked off surrounding blocks, where sound with be projected.

Not the best, but it'll work.


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by Fuck the Democraps!

If these pro-democrap right wing anti-war(?) leaders manage to get some of their politician friends to speak, let's give them the reception they deserve! "Fuck Dick Daley and His Buddy George Bush". Can not believe on a site that advocates for peace and social justice, some fools are defending hack assholes like Daley and stoger. Fuck the Democrapic party, pro-war, pro-imperialist, pro-military, anti-worker, anti-poor people etc. etc. etc.

The people must end this war by everyday militant opposition. Not once a year feel good events where the supporters of the system that makes war are invited to speak.

Another little scope for the fearless leadership, most people at such events pay little or no attention to the leaders who give their "Pat myself on the Back" speeches.


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by when oh when

If prowar Daley is good enough to invite, why not anti-war Stroger, since we're making this a MoveOn Democratic Party rally? When, oh when, will this be answered honestly?


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

We've answered it honestly, CAG.

If the County Board voted against the war, Stroger might be worthy of an invite the same as Daley's.

But somehow, you can't get your brain to digest this, even though I know you’re plenty smart enough.

So I figure you're just looking for ways to yank our chain, and toot a horn for a speakers platform where's everyone's comfortably part of the same 'left bloc' milieu. Especially since it's a very long shot that Daley would even appear.

But I'll stand on my main point. We're going to need people to the right of Daley, both at the top and at the base, to stop this war. We' can't do it alone, and that's why we're getting outside the old box.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by cag

Carl, please: Daley, who arrested 800 of us, is fine to invite. Stroger, who's publicly denounced the war, isn't. Explain it. If you're being truthful about your big tent strategy, explain it. Just answer a direct question with a direct answer. Explain it.


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by speaking of voting

Daley never voted against the war, and his proxy boob 11th ward Ald. Balcer negotiated a pathetically watered down version with Joe Moore -- and still didn't vote for it. So Daley never supported an anti-war ordinance. I'd like to see you answer cag cag's question directly, as well.


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

Sigh...once again, we're invited the mayors and city councils of every 'City for Peace' in the region, to represent the positions taken by their cities and under our 'Stop the War Now!' banner.

Chicago fits that description quite well. As we all know, Daley neither supported nor endorsed our resolution, but it passed twice anyway, and 800,000 voted for it in the election.

We're well aware of his personal pro-war and waffling-on the-war statements.

That's not the point here.

Our invitation is a challenge to him, as with the other mayors, to represent the antiwar position taken by their city governments and by their electorates. In his case, our challenge, in the form of an invite, puts the ball in his court, and he will rise to it or not.

I'm not taking bets that he will, but I'd love to be wrong. More and more big-time pols are breaking with Bush and the war every day, but I'm not holding my breath for Daley.

It's a form of struggle--an alliance aimed at neutralization--and an effort to bring the antiwar sentiment in Daley's base to bear on him and those like him.

That's the short and direct explanation.

And the point isn't even Daley as one individual, but developing a basic policy to utterly isolate, divide and defeat the warmakers.

In a shorthand formula, the strategic line is unite the progressive forces, win over the middle forces, divide the camp of the adversaries, isolate the worst of the lot, and crush them one by one via by encirclement, by capturing all possible institutions, step by step, fighting, failing, fighting again, until we win.

The tactical line that goes with it is to wage struggle on just grounds, to our advantage and with restraint.

In this case, 'just grounds' is opposing an unjust war, with the majority reflected in the resolutions and referendums passed. 'To our advantage' means asking mayors to appear under our 'Out Now' banner, with tens of thousands assembled. 'With restraint' means we take the high road of a proper invitation.

Does it have risks?

Of course, what fight doesn't?

Will it work to our advantage? We'll see.

But none of YOU and answering MY question: How in the world do expect to end this war, sooner rather than later, without building alliances with the moderate center, both at the top and at the base. Tell me how the left can do it by itself?

If you think this perspective of mine comes from being wishy-washy on Daley and his ilk, you're dead wrong. It comes from forming a very hard core, and having been trained in the work of the united front by some very wise people, in order to be extremely determined to do what it takes to win some very important battles, and come out stronger to win more in the future.

It's serious business for serious people, and, I'll admit, not everyone's cup of tea. But I don't think we can win without it, or something similar along the same lines, but even better.


Wednesday, 26 September 2007
by Lev

Let's see. About 70% of the U.S. populations in polls have said they're against the Iraq war, which means that according to Carl's definition the United States, is an "anti-war" nation, so using Carl's criteria for inviting speakers we therefore should request that George Bush "represent" the nation by speaking at the rally.

The above example just illustrates that the stated reason for inviting Daley is a crass rationalization. Daley, who has done his best to wreck every City Council resolution against the war. Daley, who has sucked up as much federal militarization of the schools and Dept of Homeland Security moneys as he can.

The reason for inviting Daley has nothing to do with his ever making even the mildest anti-war gesture. It has everything to do with the long-standing political alliances of some of the Oct. 27th organizers -- anti-war principles be damned.


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by don't you mean popular front

I thought united front was where everybody brings their own convictions and is not forced to subsume them to a larger 'unity' line, whereas in popular front you toe the line on the main slogan and shut the fuck up about your own differences. I think you mean 'popular' front, Carl...


Tuesday, 25 September 2007
by moderate center?

By moderate center, do you mean ordinary folks, who uniformly oppose the war? Because they're already down with this program. Or do you mean labor bureaucrats and Dem/Repub politicians, who will always put their own political expediency before the aspirations of their rank and file and district constituencies? Seems to me you're going after the 'leadership' instead of focusing on the base, and in selling out the position that ordinary people want to embrace, ending up with nothing -- no additional mobilized base to pressure the 'leaders', and a 'leadership' that remains as unaccountable and indifferent to popular opinion as always.


Wednesday, 26 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

Well, 'moderate center,' your understanding of both the united front and the popular front leaves much to be desired.

And 'shut the fuck up' isn't good for any of them, popular front, united front or counter-hegemonic bloc. Rather, it's a matter of exercising both independence and initiative in whatever alliances you form, and doing it in a way that helps you win the goal. Read Mao on the topic if you like, or Troung Chinh for a more nuanced analysis.

Here's the bottom line: On one hand, the communists are always a minority, even under socialism. On the other hand, history is made by the masses in their millions, most of whom are not communists, leftists, or what have you, at least at any given time.

Individuals from among the masses, of course, can become communists all the time, if they work at it a bit. I and many friends and comrades are examples of that; there's nothing special about us.

But relating to people as they actually are, means you always have to work with, and unite with, people who disagree with you, largely or smally, both at the base and among the leaders of the base. You can't just unite 'from below' or 'from above', because in life, the two are interconnected.

While the base is always most important, as both the motive force and visionaries of change, the others are important, too, both as an opening to the base, and, in some cases, in their own right.

So by 'moderate center,' I mean both the working-class and middle class women who hate the war, but are also fans of Hillary or any number of mainstream pastors, or even the Pope, as well as the leaders of their organizations they look to.

(Yes, there are a good number of working-class women who hold even the Pope in some esteem. We can go up Milwaukee Avenue and knock on a few doors to find out, if you like.)

We have a war to stop, and we can't do it alone, with just leftists.


Wednesday, 26 September 2007
by harry's ghost

Well, you gotta hand it to Carl. I haven't seen such painful contortions in print since seeing this image of the great illusionist himself, Harry Houdini ( )

In his latest update on the Oct. 27 Mobilization website, Davidson writes: "In addition to music, the following speakers will be invited: Mayor Richard Daley, Senator Richard Durbin, Senator Barack Obama from Illinois. (Acknowledging that two city council resolutions and the antiwar ballot referendum in the last election put both this City and State solidly in the 'Out Now' camp, and they will be asked to speak to and represent the views of the antiwar majority.)"

Then he writes "Finally, all presidential candidates and their campaigns, critical of the war and ready to bring it to a rapid end, are encouraged to lend their support and the participation of their activists, but without a commitment to inviting any of them to speak. We are nonpartisan and non-endorsing."

But wait a minute, isn't Barack Obama running for President? Mayor Daley has endorsed him. Dick Durbin is one of his biggest campaign boosters.

Presto. Obama campaign rally on Oct. 27. Spread the word. Harry would be proud.


Wednesday, 26 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

It never ceases to amaze me how little about politics, of any sort, our far left 'politicos' have a handle on.

I'll take the Houdini charge as a backed handed compliment, meaning a degree of skill in dealing with complicated situations.

Obama and Durbin are being invited as the top politicians of a state that voted well over 50 percent against the war, and asked to speak to it.

I think it very unlikely that Obama accepts. His team seems to want only audiences they can control, and where they control the message. Here we control the message: Stop the War Now, Bring ALL Our Troops Home' and the related slogans. If he does, so much the better, because in helps us more than it helps him. If he doesn't, we can still appeal to his supporters that they are welcome, and we set no obstacles.

Durbin, on the other hand, might actually show. He's made a few moves in our direction recently.

Now consider that you're in an alliance, a new one, with a number of major African American churches on the South and West Sides, who are renting buses to bring their people, and they tell you they think it quite important that these two Senators at least be invited, because THEIR base considers it important.

For me and the rest of our committee, it's a no brainer, especially since the main politics of the day are ours, not the Senators.

But in our old coalitions, it would be unthinkable. But that get's to the whole point being debated here, doesn't it?

So we're not seen as unduly partial to Obama, we invite all campaigns critical of the war, opposing Bush and want to bring it to a rapid end, not to speak, but to take part, sent up their tables, and mobilize their volunteers.

The difference between us is that we would see this as a major breakthrough, getting the liberal center to take part in an 'Out Now' rally, where, I suspect from the tone here, you would see it as a horrible setback.

Am I wrong?


Wednesday, 26 September 2007
by What about Stroger

Why can't we invite Stroger, who's on record as being anti-war, to encourage him to push through an anti-war resolution in the County Board?


Wednesday, 26 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

Everyone is invited to take part who opposes the war and will march under our main banner.

Stroger's welcome to join our 'Healthcare, Not Warfare' contingent, or our 'Cities for Peace' contingent of elected officials.

And we do encourage the County Board to pass a resolution against the war. If he got that through, someone might even propose him as a speaker. If you want Stroger to speak for that sector, get a group from that sector to join, and then propose him to the program committee.

But for now, no one has. We have far better proposals of people to speak on health care, from the African American community, and from among elected officials.

So enough already. Move on the serious matters.


Wednesday, 26 September 2007
by LOL

"Durbin, on the other hand, might actually show. He's made a few moves in our direction recently."

Funny how breaking developments get in the way of the best laid plans. Sen. Dick Durbin just voted for the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment on Iran which Sen. Webb accurately describes as "Cheney’s fondest pipedream " [ ]

How's that for serious?

You know how to pick em, Carl.


Thursday, 27 September 2007
by Fred M

Once again the fearless leadership is touting their once or twice a year, holy days of obligation. Don't do anything the whole rest of the year, show up Oct. 27, and absolve yourself of the quilt you feel for doing "Nothing" the other 364 days. Ain't going to change shit!

The sad thing is old farts like davidson lived through the Vietnam era and learned nothing. Perhaps because of their years of rubbing elbows with scum like Daley, obomber and durbin, connections to the machine are something not to to be sacrificed. Note davidson's buddies voting on the Iran Resolution this week. Agree with Fuck the Democraps, shout down these phony pigs if they speak at this nearly worthless event.

It is nearly worthless because on a Sat. how many people will actually see it? Most people don't watch the news on weekends. Will the capitalist media give it coverage? How much? Will they give pro-war assholes equal time? It won't be in the Sunday papers. If a few thousand people are downtown that day and the overwhelming number of people in this area don't find out about it, was it really worthwhile?

But worse, there is this terrible illusion, fostered by the fearless leaders, that Oct. 27 will make a difference. Feb. 15, 2003, over 15 million people saying no to war, didn't stop it. What are the leaders screaming about the u. s. attack on Iran? Or is that O. K. because Hilldog, obomber amd the$400 haircut support it. People have to be challenged to do something every week, not once or twice a year. A rally for the other pro-war party next month is not the way to end the wretched wars.

We ended the VietNam war with a mass movement. Not these one or two time a year things. You know movements exist because everyday, people see signs of them and everyday people can do "Something" to sustain or build that Movement. What does the awesome coalition for Oct. 27, offer those thousands, gathered , to do next week, next month, or anytime. Go to their stupid meeting. Where the leaders thump their chests and say how much they are against the war and how much they support impeaching "w" (not going to happen).

My suggestion is getting out on the streets every week. Hold a sign. Bang a drum, scream a little and talk to total strangers about doing more on the street kinds of things. This is how people have always changed things. When was the time you saw a peace button, anti-war shirt or hat, sign in a window or bumper sticker. During Vietnam you couldn't go more than a few blocks in most of this city without seeing one or more anti-war statements. That was a Movement. Until we see Things against the war everywhere, everyday it will not end.



Thursday, 27 September 2007
by Fred M

Got cut off the net, Back. Sorry about the typos at the end of my last post, older people don't always do well under time pressure. Try to keep it short.

Out here on the northwest side there is an explosion of people wearing camouflage pants. An obvious homage to the military. If you are going to fight endless wars for Big Business, people have to honor the goons who will do the fighting. During the VietNam war we didn't love the military. Now days some people claiming to be anti-war, say they love the military more than the republicraps. Hay obermer loves the military soo much, he wants 90 billion more to expand it when he gets elected. Peace candidate, No Way!

There are a number of anti-war weekly events. See the New World calendar under weekly/ongoing events. Please join one of them. We all need help.

Our group is Northside Peace Gathering, started Sept. 2, 2003. Just began our fifth year, Sat Sept. 29 is Gathering #270. The great thing about our events is 270 mini-demos and not one meeting. That is the way it used to be. Yes most people in this country are against the war, but only because they see it as going badly. They are not against war, Only wars that the u. s. is not winning. During VietNam there developed a Movement that opposed not only that War but all wars. Some of us are still around trying to raise hell. But unfortunately too many got suckered into supporting the other war party. We don't!

Let's just look at a few numbers. 269 demos at 2 hours. At a minimum of 1500 sightenings per gathering, that means, we have been seen over 400,00 times! A total of less than a hundred individuals have joined us but nearing half a million people have seen us at least once. We are sure similar numbers can be stated by other weekly events. They do have lots of power but even more if the numbers are larger. Which would be more powerful a dozen protests in neighborhoods of a couple hundred or one downtown? Let's get out on the streets, wear a button put up a sign. Spray paint a wall. But if you want to end these wars, do something in public or on the public every week!

Northside Peace Gathering
every Sat. 2-4 pm
Three Cornered Island of Peace
Milwaukee, Logan and Kedzie Aves.

Thursday, 27 September 2007
by Carl Davidson

I see you guys every Saturday in my hood, 'Fred M', and always wave or give thumbs up. A few times, I've stopped for a while.

Bless your hearts for doing it, but believe me, it's going to take a lot more.

Organization is our main weapon, organization that can manifest, to use a fancy term, as counter-hegemonic popular power on a large scale.

You folks have organized 200 or so over the years, maybe a dozen at any given time, to stand on a given corner with signs and flyers. Good, that's a start. It beats idle cafe or barroom chatter by a mile.

But we have a military to organize from within, an electorate to transform with new insurgencies, streets, courts and jails to fill, and candidates, officials and presidents to take down, so long as the persist in this war. And put others in their places who will end the war.

We have to more to bring this to a far larger scale, sooner rather than later.

As for Durbin, I was referring to his half-step change of position on war funding, not his position on Iran, which simply stinks.

Let's just get on with it. Build a new organization in a new neighborhood. Bring them to Oct 27 if you like, or any other antiwar event if you don't.


Friday, 28 September 2007
by Fred M

Had Countdown with Keith Obermann on last night and there it was. Obomber, Hilldog and the $400 haircut all said they did not think troops would be out of Iraq by 2011 if they got elected. Always said there was next to no difference between the dems and repubs, but that debate proved it. The three top democratic candidates for president agreed with shithead butch, they support troops in Iraq for many years to come!

So do we just forgive them and blindly vote for the other war party. I say fucking no! If I am not at Northside Peace Gathering on Oct. 27, when the fucking pro-capitalist democrapic politicians get up to lie, once again, to people, you will hear a few of us yelling at the creepy assholes. Hope others will join us.

Zapata said, "A strong people needs no leaders". This is the problem in this country. Instead of independent, strong willed, free thinking individuals this country is made up of scared, juvenile-acting, spineless sheep. That includes most anti-war people. They hide behind organizations, afraid to act on their own. A Movement is made up of individuals and the character of those individuals will determine the nature of that movement.

In this country not only are most people weak-willed but also selfish as all hell. Hurray for Me and Fuck everyone else, is the official motto of this damn country. And the real sad thing is these terrible traits, selfishness and sheepishness, have become much more widespread over the last 30 years. Most people don't give a damn about anything but themselves. Always said this is why most people don't protest the fucking war. But it is also why almost no one will give us a hard time about us opposing it. The overwhelming majority of people do not care enough either way to say anything in public about the most important issue of our day.

So 35 years later, we are protesting an evil, wretched war, in a country, were most people lack any moral compass. Saw a great bumpersticker a few months ago,"If You Are Not Angry, You are Not Paying Attention". Really don't have an answer on what it will take to give people in this country a backbone or a sense of what is right and wrong. But know it will take a profound change in the way most amerikkkans think. That is what some of us have been doing for decades, with few people bothering to even listen much less agree.

Christianity is a mass movement. But would it exist solely based upon a few people planning the easter and christmas bullshit and the silent obedient masses going the these event. No! That movement exists because things go on every day, every hour, every minute. The anti-war Movement to be successful must be every day, hour and minute. Complete preoccupation with events (1 or 2 a year) organized by a few is not the answer. As I said before if lots of people go to the thing on Oct. 27 and feel good about themselves and do nothing for the next 10 or 12 months, not only was that event meaningless, it was counter-productive. Finally, once again, What are the fearless leaders organizing the thing next month offering the people attending to do anytime soon? Some people coming out of the thing next month will fell empowered and good, unless they are offered something else to do, that sense of success and good felling will be wasted. Add something about that on the other post, soon.


GoStats web counter