[Marxism] Fletcher responds to open letter
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Dec 12 16:39:37 MST 2010
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bill Fletcher Jr <billfletcherjr at gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Dec 12, 2010 at 6:18 PM
Subject: here is the revised letter
To: Carl Davidson <carld717 at gmail.com>, carl davidson <carld717 at aol.com>
Responding to the Letter to the Left Establishment regarding Obama
"A so-called Letter to the Left Establishment critical of the Obama
administration has been circulating for a few days. The letter is a bit
odd because if you do not read it carefully, it appears that the people
named in the first paragraph, including yours truly, are actually asking
people to sign on. In reality the Letter is a criticism of several
individuals who offered varying degrees of support to the candidacy of
President Obama in 2008. On the grounds of confusion alone the Letter
should be withdrawn and the signatories should request that their names
"But what is odder to me is that the Letter has all sorts of
implications. The Letter calls upon those named in the first paragraph
to criticize the policies of the Obama administration, as if we have
not. It implies that we have been silent about major decisions of the
Obama administration that have been wrong. It recites a list of
decisions, approaches, etc., by the Obama administration as if any of
this is new to those of us identified in the first paragraph.
"None of this is new. And the authors of the Letter should know that.
In fact, if they happened to have been in a cave for the last couple of
years and did not keep up with the news, they could have Googled the
names of most of the people listed in the first paragraph and found that
we have been generally outspoken in our criticisms as well as involved
in organizing to put pressure on the administration.
"For these reasons i have been trying to figure out what the intent of
the Letter actually is.
"I am not going to speak for anyone else. In 2008 i reluctantly came to
the conclusion that a position of critical support of Obama was the
correct stand. "Reluctantly" because i had a number of concerns about
Obama, most of which have been realized. Nevertheless i was impressed
by the congealing of forces that i believed had the potential to do
something progressive in the political realm irrespective of the actions
of Obama-the-individual. I actually still believe that this is
impossible and not too late.
"In 2008, i and several others mentioned in the Letter also suggested
that if there was no pressure from the Left and progressives on Obama,
assuming he was elected, that we would find ourselves in deep trouble.
In fact, people used to joke with me immediately before and immediately
after the November 2008 election because i would be asked how much of a
honeymoon period Obama should receive and my answer was always the same:
"24 hours." I insisted, as did many of my colleagues, that we could
not, in effect, give Obama any honeymoon period and that pressure had to
start from the beginning. We were correct.
"The Letter reads as if those named in the first paragraph have been
sitting on their hands or standing at the gates refusing to permit the
masses to pass through and challenge Obama. I am not sure whether the
authors are standing in some parallel universe, but in this one i see no
evidence of that at all. There are differences, some over tactics while
others over strategy, among those named in the first paragraph, but
precisely for that reason it is odd that the names would all be thrown
together as if someone were actually trying to stir up confusion and
promote disinformation. I don't know, but i have actually seen a film
much like this before.
"So, assuming that there is loving intent from the authors--and i am
certainly not critical of the signatories--then i would say, i agree
with many of the criticisms they have offered of the Obama
administration; i have offered many of those criticisms already; i have
been active, as have most of my colleagues, in trying to engage liberal
and progressive social forces in the need to both combat the political
Right as well as put the pressure on the Democrats; and, guess what? I
will continue to, and i am assuming that my colleagues will as well.
"Oh, and while i am at it, one thing that the authors of the Letter did
not address was the question of the African American electorate. I
don't know about you, but how we handle the question of this
administration is particularly dicey when the African American
electorate feels, overwhelmingly, that Obama is under an intense racist
assault from the political Right (which is, as you know, quite correct).
This basic question of the African American electorate and huge
portions of the Latino electorate means that our electoral tactics in
the coming two years will have to be handled very carefully, even while
we put the pressure on this administration and struggle against its
defense of warmed over neo-liberalism.
"It might have been a good idea, and this is only a suggestion, for the
authors of the Letter to have reached out to those mentioned in the
first paragraph rather than trying to embarrass us. It certainly would
have been more principled, but it would have also made them look less
foolish or mis-informed yet well-intentioned individuals (which ever
applies) when one examines the actual record.
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