[Marxism] Does the Anti-War Movement Still Exist? (Who is DavidCobb?)
Jose G. Perez
elgusanorojo at bellsouth.net
Tue Jul 20 21:16:06 MDT 2004
Yoshie writes, "What I see nationwide is an effective absorption of many
(most?) anti-war activists and organizers into the Democratic Party -- a
rather paradoxical outcome given the immense gap between the position of
the John Kerry campaign and rank-and-file Democrats' sentiments."
In their dreams, Yoshie, in their dreams.
For the "leaders", yeah, effective absorption, some we may never hear
from again (until they return like Tom Hayden eventually did, running
for some insignificant post as a Democrat, and after they retire we'll
read all about how Podunk never had a more effective --or righteous!--
people's commissioner of water fountains and bird feeding stations).
But there are ALSO tens or hundreds of thousands of young people out
there who went out for Kucinich or Dean. They'll be back. A little
older, a little wiser, and about 20,000% more pissed off at the swindle
that's been pulled.
Like in 1968 when I was a kid, and went "Clean for Gene," this
generation all went for the (seemingly genuine) antiwar candidates. And
just like we were given Hubert Humphrey, they've been given Kerry. And
you know what -- Kerry is even worse than Humphrey.
Back in 1968 we were mad, we sulked, we cried, some of us went insane
and became Weathermen or some other kind of crazy.
Then about a year later we were back. With all our friends, and
neighbors, and boyfriends and girlfriends.
"It looks like the Russian Revolution out there," is what Martha
Mitchell told her Watergating attorney general husband John Mitchell at
the time, as they were looking out over that crowd on November 15, 1969.
But enough of the past. This is about the future.
Even now some --a minority-- have turned to Nader and Camejo. But a
minority of many, many thousands.
We didn't have that MASS minority in 1968.
The YSA that you write about in the blog reflected that. I wasn't in
yet, and maybe Louis or Fred will correct me if I'm wrong, but in 1968,
it was about 400 people, mostly in their mid-to-late 20's. Three years
later, it was 1200 and you'd be hard pressed to find YSA'ers much past
23. I got "graduated" when I turned 24, that was typical. But that
happened AFTER 1968, and *because* of 1968. And if the YSA had been a
little larger to begin with, and a little smarter, it could easily have
been 10 times bigger, 12,000 in 1971, not the 1200 it had in reality.
The lesson for today is this. Whether Kerry wins, succeeds in throwing
the election to Bush, or allows him to steal it like Gore did last time,
the young people without non-profit jobs and Soros money are going to
react quite differently, I believe, from the crowd of scribblers,
journalists, college teachers and non-profit functionaries --not to
mention labor fakers-- who seem to dominate political discourse today.
We don't know the exact forms, and we had better keep a sharp lookout.
But that their rage will EASILY find an organized expression, of this I
have no doubt.
Remember, the antiwar *movement,* the real one, this time around, did
not depend on broad national coalitions getting the word out through
local affiliates. It was extremely horizontal, ANSWER or some other
group put out a call, and the REAL coalition was the countless informal
networks of friends becoming activists who took it up.
I remember joking that you could tell whether an action was really broad
by the number of ">" characters in front of each line of the forwarded
email telling you to participate.
You can see signs of the gathering storm all around us. The Nader-Camejo
poll numbers, not so much among the professionals and the liberals, but
among the dispossessed. The reaction to Farenheit 911. The Democracy Now
boomlet. What's THAT all about? -- It ain't production values, I can
tell you that.
Maybe the storm won't break. Maybe it will dissipate. But with the U.S.
stuck in a major imperialist war that has turned into a quagmire, I
don't think that's the most likely outcome.
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