Embracing a New Antiwar Movement

A Response to Left Turn

To the Editors of Left Turn Magazine regarding Max Uhlenbeck’s recent essay “The Anti-War Movement and the 2008 Elections“:

I take offense to much of your essay; mainly your inability to recognize that the movement to end the war is larger than the “Left” in the United States. Also, you paint with a broad brush in your simple critique of CounterPunch, one that is not referenced, let alone accurate.

We cannot step back and effectively analyze the failures of the antiwar movement without looking at what happened in 2004 with Kerry’s campaign. In essence, and I think Left Turn made a huge mistake on this issue by not opposing Kerry (your essay seems to be a call to move back in the right direction); the antiwar movement supported a pro-war candidate. There was no pressure on Kerry to alter his position on the war. No bird-dogging protests along the campaign trail. No outrage over his flip-flopping-let’s-send-more-troops-into-battle rhetoric. Silence during election season is complicity.

So let’s be loud.

Dennis Kucinich failed us four years ago as well by abandoning his antiwar platform in favor of Kerry’s pro-war campaign. There is little reason to believe ol’ Dennis won’t do the same thing again this year if Hillary is the nominee. It was party politics before issues. Kucinich wasn’t an activist but a pawn in the Democrat’s game. And the antiwar movement, or at least those who supported his bid, felt the damaging tremors for months afterward.

I think your largest, and perhaps most telling mistake is your unwillingness to move beyond an appraisal of the usual suspects of failing movements: mainly UFPJ and the like. The antiwar sentiment in this country is large, yet, as you correctly point out, there is no real visible “moving” movement on the ground. In many ways this is the so-called Left’s fault, as they are not willing to actually reach out to antiwar folks across the lines. A movement will never move forward with sectarian factions.

Case in point being the most visible and enthusiastic antiwar candidate in the country, which you completely ignore: Rep. Ron Paul. Whether we agree or disagree with Paul’s privatize the world solution to every problem, we cannot ignore that his campaign is literally exploding owing to a broad coalition (some racist, others loony) of people who oppose the war in Iraq. Paul, for whatever reason, has built a real campaign, one I hope moves beyond the Republican primaries and in to the general election, despite who it may attract. The more independent antiwar voices we have the better we’ll all be.

Why won’t Left Turn embrace this new reality? As a movement that was allegedly born out of WTO protests in Seattle, which was an unimaginable coalition of interests (labor/environmental/protectionist), one would think the Left Turn editorial staff would be at the forefront in calling for such a coalition again today.

And this is where CounterPunch and Antiwar.com come in. Unlike the typical left-leaning newsletters (CounterPunch is not purely a leftwing site, and Antiwar.com is libertarian) their voices represent a genuine call for on the ground collaboration among all who oppose this war and the potential foray on Iran.

Whether we’re beer swilling rednecks from Knoxville or mushroom eatin’ hippies from Eugene, we need to come together. And working to keep the movement away from supporting a pro-war candidate like Hillary Clinton is an important endeavor. One I hope Left Turn won’t shy away from over the course of the next 11 months.

Cindy Sheehan’s campaign against Pelosi and CODEPINK’s relentless attacks on Hillary’s war position are examples of the work that needs to be supported. I’m hoping there will be a similar independent campaign in the presidential election. We need to monkeywrench this issue so the media and the big party candidates cannot ignore it. There is a lot of work, some of which you mention, that must be done. We cannot be locked in the logic of old. Vietnam was a different era. We agree on that.

So let’s move away from a purely leftist critique of the war machine and its Left opposition and embrace this new reality: The antiwar movement is larger than the Left. In fact, so much so that the Left may be at the whim of a real grassroots resistance instead of at its forefront.

In hope,

Joshua Frank

Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, published by AK Press in June 2008. Check out the Red State Rebels site. Read other articles by Joshua.

51 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Jeanette Doney said on December 4th, 2007 at 6:44am #

    Bravo Joshua! I wrote to you when Ron Paul annouced his presidential run and at that time, you weren’t ready to climb on the GOP bus. And I can’t blame you, because like you, I believe THE DUOPOLY is a huge problem in American politics and joining Ron Paul is pumping blood and money into the GOP, keeping the DUOPOLY dragon alive. I personally can’t bring myself to register GOP. Too many years of supporting Ralph Nader to join any corprate party. And despite the differences I have with Ron Paul, more than privatizing the world (which is not an issue for me because I understand Paul’s position on privatization and here in CA when I compare, for example, state parks to private parks, private parks which don’t collect nearly the revenue as state parks, are better maintained and preserved/conserved. I find there is room for me in Paul’s campaign, and as you point out, no room, at the ANSWER and others war protests because they have made the grave mistake of grouping and attacking everyone on the right as if there were no differences. I took a Ron Paul sign to a protest and was nearly neated to death with peace signs when someone pointed at me and said: REPUBLICAN!. Great article Mr. Frank. I hope to see more of your writing on Dr. Know.

  2. Tim_Ohio said on December 4th, 2007 at 7:35am #

    Hello. As a Ron Paul supporter I urgently ask you to join us. We do not all agree on every issue — I for example am not racist, so I must be looney :-).

    Actually, I am a strongly anti-war Republican. Want another shocker? I don’t agree with Dr. Paul on all the issues either. BUT, he will return our troops from overseas and stop the empire building. Another thing I know about Dr. Paul is that he is a man of integrity and principals — principals which are backed up by an un-swaying record of practicing what he preaches.

    What he says he means and he will not be swayed by money nor coerced by cronyism. I for one, find that refreshing in a politician.

    Again, won’t you join us in taking our country back?

  3. Chris said on December 4th, 2007 at 7:56am #

    Kucinich has shown some signs of embracing a different candidate after he drops out. He and Ron Paul are friends, both have said so. Kucinich, at least through his wife, recently talked of considering Ron Paul as a running mate. I don’t think that will happen but I would not be altogether surprised if Kucinich urged his fans to take a serious look at Ron Paul and explain to them that in order for much of the social progress they’d like to see to take place that the size of gov’t must shrink and the wars must stop. Kucinich, if I’m not mistaken, is also in opposition to the War on Drugs, just like Paul. If you are anti-war, home or abroad, regardless of Paul’s other stances, you gotta take a look at him and consider casting a vote in his direction. It’s Unity ’08 without being on the ticket.

  4. Eric Franz said on December 4th, 2007 at 8:48am #

    Liberal support for Paul largely shies away because of his strict constitutionalism, handing over many nationally debated topics to the states’ to decide, which I find unfortunate, as while the focus is given to what might happen in a few of the more morally conservative states, what should be looked at is that the Pacific Northwest and California as well as much of the Northeast, Illinois, Minnesota, etc- will all be able to make huge strides in personal freedoms. The all-or-nothing top-down attitude never works out well in the end.
    The other major problem is his fiscal conservatism, eyeing to phase out many social programs over time, not abandoning those who have become reliant on them, but still enacting a plan that could allow young people to disengage from them. It’s a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the role of government.

    What’s important to remember through all this, though, is that while Paul may be president, he is as mentioned a strict constitutionalist, and likely the only one with even a remote chance of being elected that would immediately seek to roll back all the executive expansions of power that Bush has enacted. This would return the office of president to a more traditional role, balanced by the congress, which will almost surely still be have a Democrat majority after the 2008 election… thus meaning the major objective Paul holds- ending the war in Iraq- will really be the only thing he’s able to do without the authorization of the congress, balancing out some of his more libertarian fiscal views.

  5. sadie said on December 4th, 2007 at 10:11am #

    oh for fucks sake. Why would Left Turn, or for that matter, anyone who is committed to racial and economic justice, “embrace” Ron Paul? The war is a huge issue, but no racial and/or economic justice activist or organizer is going to abandon everything for a hard right candidate even if he is against the war.

    Ron Paul is the favored candidate of folks like the john birch society and stormfront (can’t bring myself to go to their webpage but folks who have tell me that the majority of posters on their forums have ron paul proaganda in their signatures). and you think folks ought to embrace that? disgusting.

  6. Max uhlenbeck said on December 4th, 2007 at 10:21am #

    Joshua,

    I think we have some fundamental disagreements about what it means to
    build the anti-war movement, but mostly i think that you have not read my
    article carefully and that you are being defensive because i mentioned
    that a website that you write for (counterpunch.org) has unfortunately
    made an editorial decision over the past year to increasingly start
    bashing the anti-war movement–something which is sad but true. I am
    including an extensive series of links below for those who are interested
    at the historical record (and believe me it would have been a longer list
    if i spent more then 15 minutes searching), but im assuming for those that
    follow commentary on the anti-war movement that this is fairly
    uncontroversial.

    My favorite recent example, in the true Counterpunch fashion, was a
    travesty of an article commenting on this summers SDS convention in
    Detroit. This convention, which brought out over 200 young organizers from
    over 45 high schools and campuses throughout the country, was by all
    accounts a tremendously important (some would say inspiring) event. Lets
    take a minute to compare movement veteran and co-founder of Z Magazine and
    South End Press, Michael Alberts’ reflection from his weekend in Detroit:

    SDS Convention Report
    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13488

    To James Neshewats’ (a student at the University of Central Florida)
    report that counterpunch ran:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/neshewat08062007.html

    You gotta really have it in for these young activists and the larger
    anti-war movement in general to post this kind of hack-job on a website
    which gets tens of thousands of hits. SDS actually wrote an official
    letter to Alexander Cockburn and Counterpunch to retract the decision to
    post the article which unfortunately received only a condescending note in
    return.

    But like i said, you can judge for yourself from the links at the end of
    this response — on to your other criticisms of my article.

    1. You say that you take offense at my inability (a word you use several
    times in your response, i guess the condescending apple does not fall far
    from the tree?) “to recognize that the movement to end the is larger than
    the left.”

    Im not sure what your even talking about here. The two examples of
    inspiring anti-war organizing that i clearly mention are; military family
    organizations, specifically IVAW and MFSO, and SDS chapters in high
    schools and colleges around the country. I personally do not consider
    military families or high school and college campuses making up a large
    part of the “official left.” Maybe thats just a disagreement that we have,
    but again i suspect that this vague point was secondary to other concerns.

    2. “One cannot step back and analyze the failures of the antiwar movement
    without looking at what happened in 2004 with Kerry�s campaign. In
    essence, and I think Left Turn made a huge mistake on this issue…”

    What position did Left Turn take that was a big mistake? Please send out
    the links that support this ridiculous statement (talk about half-assed,
    let alone accurate), i would love to see your evidence of this. Left Turn
    actually published a series of articles as an open forum on the 2004
    elections, running a whole bunch of varying perspectives. A look at our
    March/April 2004 issue (Left Turn #12) for example will find the following
    articles:

    * Election 2004: Why The Left is Behind? By Joshua Frank & Sunil K. Sharma
    (yes thats right, it was co-written by you. It actually had an interesting
    lead paragraph which read: “Our position is not that third parties in
    principle do not have a right to take part in the political process and
    field a presidential contender; but that in the present lousy situation,
    such an effort would do more harm than good.” — im sorry if that was
    embarrassing for me to bring up Joshua)

    * The Avocado Declaration: By Peter Miguel Camejo

    * Running on Empty: By Norman Solomon

    * Why I am Running as a Green: By David Cobb

    * The Matt Gonzalez Insurgency: By James Tracy

    Not sure if this really supports your attack on Left Turn, I dont think it
    does.

    3. Almost daring me to point it out, you write “Back to Dennis Kucinich,
    who failed us miserably four years ago by abandoning his antiwar platform
    in favor of Kerry�s pro-war campaign. There is little reason to believe he
    won�t do the same thing again this year if Hillary�s the nominee. It was
    party politics before issues. Kucinich wasn�t an activist but a pawn, and
    the antiwar movement, or at least those who supported him, felt the
    damaging tremors for months after.”

    Do you not remember writing several pro-Kucinich articles in 2003/2004
    during the lead up to the election? You wrote a big one for us that
    (fortunately for you) is not up in our back issue archives yet (i checked
    to see if your blog had old articles but it seems like its down). I
    personally could not care that much about Kucinich, but you must have a
    short memory to make a statement like this given you used to “drink the
    cool-aid” as they say here in New York. I guess when you say that “those
    who supported him, felt the damaging tremors for months after,” you are
    speaking from a very personal experience?

    4. You go on to put forward your latest candidate (so much for political
    consistency) Ron Paul: “Case in point being the most visible and
    enthusiastic antiwar candidate in the country, which you completely
    ignore: Rep. Ron Paul. Whether we agree or disagree with Paul�s privatize
    the world approach to every fucking problem, we cannot ignore that his
    campaign is literally exploding due to a broad coalition (some racist,
    most loony)…”

    Then you ask “Why can�t Left Turn embrace this new reality?”

    Let me get this straight, you want Left Turn to embrace this new reality
    of a racist, neo-liberal, borderline facist Republican pulling together a
    coalition around the war issue? Im almost at a loss for words…

    *for more info on Ron Paul see:
    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=14282

    ————————-

    I can keep running through these fairly weak arguments if you want me to,
    but at the end of the day Joshua, i think that we just have different
    political priorities. You spend your days hopping from one candidate to
    the next, allying yourself with people who will sell out the anti-war
    movement if only for its shock value. I spend my days organizing inside
    the movement, trying to figure out ways to genuinely support a new layer
    of young activists and organizers who are tired of aligning themselves
    with the Democrats, much less the likes of Ron Paul.

    I suggest you go back and think about what kind of world you are really
    fighting for…

    In solidarity,

    -max

    Counterpunch articles:

    A Splintered Antiwar Movement
    http://www.counterpunch.org/walsh02122007.html

    A Fractured Anti-War Movement
    http://www.counterpunch.org/walsh11172005.html

    The War Within the Antiwar Movement
    http://www.counterpunch.org/brenner01102006.html

    Weak, Passive, Distracted: What Next for the American Antiwar Movement?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/chretien08152006.html

    The Anti-War Movement and the Iraqi Resistance
    http://www.counterpunch.org/smith01212005.html

    War? What War?: A Report from the New SDS Confab in Detroit
    http://www.counterpunch.org/neshewat08062007.html

    Alexander Cockburn articles:

    Why So Few Protests Against a Hated Invasion?
    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13240

    Support Their Troops
    http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn07142007.html

  7. Deadbeat said on December 4th, 2007 at 11:42am #

    Silence and deliberately distorting the data is a crime against science, truth, and all humanity.

    This observation by spezio identifies why the anti-war movement is in shambles. The left has been very active trying to distort and misdirect people about the motivation of the Iraq War. This leads to distrust and is the reason why there is no solidarity.

    I find it interest the attacks on ANSWER who directly speaks out about RACISM and especially the racism directed toward Palestinians. Their outspokenness against racism has labeled them as “secularists” and “ultra-leftists” by the “left”! This same “left” who spreads the “War for Oil” fallacy because they are too cowardly to confront Zionism (racism).

    Ron Paul looks attractive to these brands of “faux” leftists because they want to end the war without openly confronting racism. Which really means these “white” leftist are UNWILLING to broaden their coalition by reaching out to people of color who are mostly affected by Zionism (racism) because Zionism demands a huge military budgets which ironically INCREASE the DEMAND for OIL!

    As spezio implies, only the TRUTH will end the war because when you FACE THE TRUTH can you HONESTLY build solidarity.

  8. gerald spezio said on December 4th, 2007 at 12:10pm #

    Truth is good, but just try to find some.

    A good start is to consider the possibility that truth exists.

    Then, you can at least hope to find some.

    No guarantees, especially if you live in a world of yuppie communications geniuses.

  9. Michael Dawson said on December 4th, 2007 at 12:30pm #

    I disagree with your view that we should broadly collaborate with Ron Paul. To do so is to lend aid and comfort to his 18th-century delusions about human beings and economic institutions, and to his state-fascist immigration policy. We should praise him for opposing the war, but that’s it. We should kindly but strongly explain to his followers why one issue is not enough, especially when it’s a complete gesture, with no chance of affecting anything. Do you really think there’s a sea of reactionaries getting ready to pour out and oppose the war in the streets? I don’t. They’ll vote for Paul, then return to their weird-ass lives and 911 conspiracy sites.

    And how will helping him elect Killary Klinton ever matter?

    I will be writing in Cindy Sheehan in November, unless she beats Pelosi. If so, I’ll write in somebody else. Paul is a backwards creep whose ideology would make the world worse, not better, as hard as that is to fathom.

  10. Sam Bostaph said on December 4th, 2007 at 2:25pm #

    Progressives and self-described leftists need to do some serious thinking about the benefits of supporting Ron Paul. He’s the only candidate who, if elected, would almost immediately end the occupation in Iraq (and most other places) and bring the troops home. That only requires a presidential order and he would give it. So far as the rest of his platform is concerned, it has a flea’s chance of ever getting through Congress. Too many pigs at the trough to repeal any programs. He would be that great gift to the American people–a domestically ineffective president opposed to imperialism. Then, we could get on with our lives without worrying about future invasions, a possible return of the draft, the $2 trillion wasted on foreign conquests since we were all Bushwhacked, and someone as evil as Hillary (Rodham–she seems to have dropped this “I am woman, hear my maiden name” feminist pose since she started running for prez) Clinton.

  11. Eric Kirk said on December 4th, 2007 at 6:24pm #

    Coalition, fine. I’m glad Ron Paul opposes the war. But it’s not the only issue of importance in a presidential election. No way I’m voting for somebody who would exacerbate poverty as the economy is tanking.

  12. dan elliott said on December 4th, 2007 at 6:42pm #

    Oh boy. Well, when I was a young smartass I was lucky enough to get to hang around some old guys who’d fought in Spain, one guy who’d been a Comintern flunkey assigned to Berlin in 1937 — imagine, being in Adolph’s town, under Joe Stalin’s orders —

    Anyway, these guys took care to teach me a couple of basics which have stood the test of the decades. A lot of what they talked about has gone under the bridge, stuff about “you’re a Trotskyite” & “Okay, yo mamma is a Stalinist” etc etc — but two pts are solid gold:
    1. Don’t Talk To The FBI. Tell them “I have nothing to say to you” and gently close the door in they faces.

    2. The Petit-Bourgeoisie Will Vacillate.

    For a relatively up-to-date definition of the P-Bs, cf. Nikos Poulantzas, then Erik Olin Wright of the U of Wisc Madison.

    But that’s been my general experience: Professionals, Bidnessmen, Lawyers, Pro Journalists, Doctors, Professors, Labor Piecards: here today & gone tomorrow.

    & here we have these folks advising us to invest in some antideluvian repuglican crackpot? hehe, sorry bout that, see ya later termenater:)

  13. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 4th, 2007 at 7:02pm #

    I’m sick to hear anyone with experience and good intentions be supportive of Ron Paul…whatever the rationalization. And I wish that the editors at DVoice would reconsider the matter of publishing my article…which focuses on why we shouldn’t spend too much energy supporting the Sheehan effort and/or Code Pink type shenanigans. Without readers having the benefit at this juncture of my article on this business (The Dance Party: Soulful Bedfellows, Anyone?), I should underscore that I’m not saying that such activity has no value whatsoever. The article gets a bit into the relative worth of doing this or that. And it puts an option on the table…which we’re not able to discuss here…because the door has been shut on it. I do think it’s VERY relevant to this discussion…and, again, I trust that the editors will reconsider posting. Also, one cannot “monkeywrench” the media following the paradigm put forth here; I propose a different paradigm for doing so in the article. Finally, what is the big deal about a “relentless attack” on Hillary. Isn’t all that CodePink blah blah already on the books ‘cross the board? And why is there a “suggestion” here that significant headway can be made by someone other than the “strawmen” and “strawwomen”…who are easy to attack, which attacks will not do much. The “viable” options are a horror to behold. So why are the “relentless attacks” directed at The Group of THEM? Best, MC

  14. Carl Webb said on December 4th, 2007 at 7:10pm #

    “The more independent antiwar voices we have the better we’ll all be. ”

    That could be the case if some of those voices(such as that of UFPJ) wasn’t trying to silence those of others(such as myself).

    Carl Webb
    Iraq Veterans Against War

  15. Carl Webb said on December 4th, 2007 at 7:16pm #

    “A movement will never move forward with sectarian factions.” And wouldn’t the UFPJ be described as sectarian? Or how you you defining the word?

    Carl Webb
    http://carlwebb.net

  16. Deadbeat said on December 4th, 2007 at 7:32pm #

    It bears repeating that every activist and organizer today also operates in the context of a 30-year neoliberal backlash ushered in by the Reagan administration, which was largely a response to many of the gains won by social movements during the previous two decades. Without being defeatist, we need to acknowledge that we are not in the same position of strength as previous movements. The US ruling class—learning their lessons from the Vietnam War—has shifted their strategy in an effort to fight “quicker, cleaner wars,” aided as always by the increasingly obedient corporate media systems.

    The anti-war movement will not overcome these conditions on its own and should not be blamed for failing to do so. A significant cultural and political shift will have to take place within the US, moving larger and more diverse communities into the political arena together, as we saw in previous decades. It is important to remember that underlying many of the social and political relationships that formed into a mass movement to stop the war in Vietnam was the power and vision of the Black Freedom movement coming out of the 1950s and the 1960s, which set the tone for the next two decades. Over the past 16 months we have seen some hopeful signs of larger movement, articulated most clearly by the massive (predominantly Latin@) immigrant rights mobilizations of 2006 and the impressive Black-led marches in the heart of Jena, Louisiana, over the summer.

    This part of Mr. Uhlenbeck’s article is absolutely correct and also why confronting Zionism (racism) head on is vital in order to build solidarity. The “left” as exemplified by writes who promote the “War for Oil” mantra seem unwilling to build a cohesive left movement in the U.S. The want to war to end “immaculately” — devoid of the uncomfortable context of Zionism (racism).

    Racism played a huge role in the rise of Ronald Reagan and the so-called “Reagan” Democrats. This is the reaction Uhlenbeck speaks of that led to the neoliberal backlash.

    Clearly the primary reason to support Ron Paul is to “opportunistically” end the war because the “left” is so fractured. But clearly that is not only defeatist but reactionary and placates those members on the “left” who are too cowardly to confront Zionism (this virulent form of racism) and its effects on U.S. culture and policy.

    Whites (and the middle class generally) who are left-leaning are small in actual numbers. The best way for them to increase their ranks is not to bolt to the right but to ORGANIZE and generate SOLIDARITY with OPPRESSED groups who tend to be leftist in their orientation. Whether that happens or not is another issue. There is very little confidence that this will occur based on the reactionary perspective coming from so-called “left” writers especially when it comes to confronting Zionism and the War in Iraq.

  17. Deadbeat said on December 4th, 2007 at 7:37pm #

    Ms. Cendrars is absolutely right about Code Pink. Not only does Medea Benjamin gets money from Billionaire George Soros but she did everything possible to disrupt the Green Party in 2004. She was a “Demo-Green” that saw David Cobb lose the Green Party ballot lines after his terrible run. Her role was to see to it that the aspirations of the MAJORITY of the Green were undemocratically neutered.

    Code Pink is nothing more than street theater used to distract “progressives”.

  18. Les Evenchick said on December 4th, 2007 at 7:55pm #

    First of all there is no way a single anti-war “movement”. There are a wide range of national and local groups. Our major local group C3 (Community, Concern, Compassion” is an independent group that was founded by a green pacifist and then taken over by an assortment of local activists of every political stripe. Before the invasion of Iraq it organised a demonstration of about 1000 which was extremely large for new orleans. It was affiliated with UFPJ mainly to have a national connection but its politics are mostly independent of the democratic or republican parties.

    I mention our local group because such groups exist all over the US and they are not led by any national group.

    On the national scene both UFPJ and ANSWER as well as the original Workers World group all suport either directly or indirrvtly the “progressive” wing of the democratic Party. This comes out of the Communist party anmcestry of many of their “leaders”.
    Even those behind the scenes leaders of the new SDS either support “progressive” dems or support anarchist type abstention from all elections.

    The move to some direct action by some SDS and anarchist groups is positive in my opinion but the lack of a clear national anti-war candidate who also supports social justice issues is a major problem.

    I think the field is still open to organise a national anti-war coordinating committee that does not have the drawbacks of any of the existing national groups that are tied to the democratic Party. But it will only work if it is organised on a non sectarian basis with support for just getting out of Iraq now the sole common issue with the understanding that neither major party will end the wat unless they are forced to by either being defeated in elections of fear of losing power.

    The way to organise a national coordinating committee is to gve each member committee the right to distribute its own literature at all committee sponsored meetings, demos, and other events , and for each organization to have equal rights to speak at rallies and other public events.

    I organised an anti Vietnam war organising committee in Baltimore on such a basis and we had reps from every socialist, civil rights, and peace group in Baltimore as members. It functioned sucessfully and brought a contingent of 800 persons to the spring 1967 demo which was about 1/3 black.

    BUt whatever one does one must continue to organise and act and vote against the Iraq occupation.

  19. Gary Lapon said on December 4th, 2007 at 11:48pm #

    Joshua Frank writes:

    “I certainly don’t expect the entire Left Turn crowd to embrace a new movement that doesn’t fit perfectly into their idea of revolutionary structures (talk about sectarianism, and ya’ll split from the ISO for their’s?). Ron Paul’s is. And it’s a powerful one. It has many flaws, certainly, but to me the war is the number one issue right now. Imperialism tops the list. All else falls in line. No other national campaign is drawing more attention to this than Paul’s. Fortunately this is a reality, despite your unwillingness to accept it as such.”

    I’m not sure what orientation to Ron Paul’s campaign and supporters Frank suggests taking, but I do agree that his campaign should not be ignored. However (and I’m not suggesting Frank is arguing for this, but it seems that many respondents have taken his argument this way), there is no way anyone on the left, “official” or “unofficial”, whatever that means, should support his campaign.

    People who support withdrawal from Iraq have many different reasons for doing so and definitions of what that means. Some do so out of opposition to imperialism, others support withdrawing troops from Iraq to send more to Afghanistan. Some oppose Islamophobia, some see Islam as an enemy and support the War on Terror. Some oppose the war because a withdrawal from Iraq would weaken US imperialism, others because it’s weakening the US’s ability to intervene elsewhere. From what I have seen, many of Ron Paul’s hardcore supporters do not oppose racism. That said, it’s important to understand what “coming together” means for those who oppose imperialism on principle. There is the Popular Front strategy, which UFPJ takes, a brilliant idea handed down to us from Stalin, which calls for revolutionaries to censor themselves in the interests of “unity.” There is the sectarian approach, which ANSWER seems to have down, which actively seeks to “rule or ruin” the movement.

    Then there is the United Front strategy, which Trotsky came up with. This, to me, is the way to go. Those who oppose imperialism on principle should not ignore Ron Paul supporters who seek to build an anti-war movement. [It’s important here to differentiate between those who seek to get involved in building the anti-war movement, and those who see electing Paul as a “magic bullet.” If Paul does win (which he won’t…at least, I’d bet what few earthly possessions I have on that), the US ruling class is not going to let him end this war, considering that their continued world hegemony depends on control of Middle East energy resources, and the Iraq war is a central component of ensuring that.] Those who oppose imperialism on principle should work with Paul supporters in coalitions, but we need to be vocal about our views and seek to convince others to oppose racism, and imperialism. We need to argue against Zionism, but in a context that relates to the struggle at hand. We can’t just tack it on like ANSWER does; we need to convince those who oppose the Iraq war that they should oppose US imperialism in the Middle East, then argue that Zionism is a form of this and that stopping US imperialism requires opposing Zionism. The Iraq war might end without a movement that consciously rejects imperialism, but this does not mean there won’t be more wars that are just as bad.

    Ultimately, we need a movement that not only rejects imperialism, but capitalism (which cannot exist without imperialism, or, if you agree with Lenin, you might say that imperialism is a stage of capitalism), and the only way we’re going to get that to that point is by maintaining our independence so that we can convince others to get to the root of the problem.

    In short, we should work with Ron Paul supporters who are a part of the anti-war movement, because we all agree that we need to work towards ending the war in Iraq. That by no means requires that we ignore the reactionary nature of Paul’s politics, nor does it mean that Paul supporters agree with all of them or will not change their minds. In fact, it is our responsibility to try and change their minds, and we can’t do that if we exclude them out of hand.

  20. Gary Lapon said on December 5th, 2007 at 12:01am #

    P.S.
    Frank writes:

    “We need to organize outside the movement. We must bring new blood in to the fold. In fact, it won’t be the Left that ends this ugly war. It’s going to be regular folks who aren’t aligned with any sectarian political ideology. It’s going be stopped by new voters enticed by Ron Paul’s ideas (Max might want to take a few organizing tips from the Paul crowd!). It’s going to stopped by people who have never read Bakunin or Engels.”

    I couldn’t disagree more with this statement. Yes, if the anti-war movement is going to be successful in ending the war, it will have to grow by leaps and bounds, to the point where those currently involved will be a small minority, and those who as of today have read revolutionary theory will be an even smaller minority. That said, unless you’re a Stalinist historian writing a biography of Lenin, you must agree that nobody is born with a grasp of revolutionary political ideas. Are you suggesting that these ideas are irrelevant? If so, we’re never going to change the system that creates wars like Iraq and Vietnam. Are you suggesting that most people cannot or will not be willing to read Bakunin, Engels (or Marx, etc.)? If so, that seems pretty elitist. Ideas change; people change, especially after they’re exposed to new experiences and new perspectives. I hope you’re not suggesting that the anti-war movement needs to ignore theory in order to draw people in. The anti-war movement can only be strengthened by the study of theory, as long as its applied non-dogmatically in order to change things for the better.

  21. lawrence said on December 5th, 2007 at 12:17am #

    … sniff, sniff… I smell Karl Rove all over this silly assed Orwellian nightmare that purports to marry Dennis Kucinich with the ultra right wing candidate, Ron Paul -and it surprises the hell out of me that a huge block of the organized left is being sucked into this bad dream like compliant sheep…

    … Also -for those who were only hearing what they wanted to hear- Dennis Kucinich did ‘not’ tell all of his constituency to vote for Kerry back in 2004. Dennis Kucinich told all his friends to ‘vote their conscience’ instead… And -if you were a chickenshit, like I was- you did ‘not’ vote your conscience -but instead, you voted out of your ‘fear’ of George W. Bush… I will not make that same mistake twice!…

    … And I will not sell my damn soul for any ultra, right wing conservative -no matter how passionate the arguement!… Let’s get real. and let’s get real progressive -and Dennis Kucinich is that Real Progressive!…

    … Enough with Ron Paul already!…

  22. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 5th, 2007 at 8:04am #

    Let’s focus in on a digestible morsel here. Ok? Too much gets lost in…too many words. How does the politically opportunistic stance re “End Iraq+” blend well with the John Birch Society supporting Paul 100%? What kind of scenario –re our overall situation– can one expect with that “pregnant” endorsement? What world? Amazing that well-read, experienced souls can rationalize support of someone with such horrid holes…as if the historical record doesn’t make clear what would come down from putting such a crowd-pleaser in office. Of course, go for someone who is against our invovlement in Mesopotamia…BUT not just anyone who is. No-brainer. Face the fact that if you don’t want “another Iraq” blooming soon you’re going to have to get down with following a different paradigm than buying into the notion that you have to pick from among those put on our plate…for us. Again, I ask Joshua to post my submitted article focusing on (The Dream Party: Soulful Bedfellows, Anyone?) a way to create one’s own table selections. It’s not a prescription for an immediates solution…which will simply bring about another similar overseas abomination before long…but, rather, moves along the lines of what some above have delineated as the need to build deeply and long. The diff between my proposal and theirs, however, is that my approach follows a new model, not the paradigm of building within traditional paradigms for creating solidarity. — Marcelle

  23. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 5th, 2007 at 8:45am #

    J says “cannot be locked into the logic of old”…but that’s exactly what’s being recommended here. It is “old” to try and wrest sane policy out of a fundamentally trickster setting, designed to keep the old game going. The powers that be just love to see the likes of well-intentioned souls spending their precious heartbeats screaming about how it’s only just to impeach war criminals. And watching electoral energy being devoted to campaigns that will not make a serious, ongoing dent in anything. Momentary “victories” from our quarter can be tolerated. Vietnam ends, other abominations emerge. There is no potential in “grassroots” anything as things stand because the “grass” has been thoroughly toxified and burnt to a crisp. Jump outside each of your private little activity boxes…and check out just how deep the lack of potential solidarity is…. And keep in mind that these words are coming from a very “hopeful” soul…who wrote the recently DVoice piece on REVIVAL. Solidarity must be achieved in a new way. And part of that is contingent upon building unity with the element of surprise. Even if one has someone one can be proud of (to vote for)…that shining light will get nipped in the bud via media spin, etc. That’s one main reason why a “typical” additional party movement will never have a chance. Beyond that there’s the very clear track record of seeds planted in the past not culminating in much to speak of vis-a-vis third parties. Again, my The Dream Party piece attempts to lay the groundwork for thinking of electoral politics outside of the box, as they say, and making stuff happen which the powers that be can’t F with…quite so easily. It involves one on one bonding in lieu of approaching this all with the usual broad strokes…involving meetings, fundraising and the like. It’s quiet and low-profile for a very good set of reasons…and it requires that people not demand the spotlight (or credit for their work) AND that one accept the absolutely horrid notion (granted) that –as things stand– neither someone like Paul or anyone else is going to get us out of IraqS (plural) in short order. That’s not the same as resigning oneself to our staying in Iraq, btw. Or accepting the notion that something can’t be done sooner rather than later. The candidates who will get in office, as things stand, however, guarantee that ongoing abomination. So…don’t play the game that’s been put on the table for you. Make your own meal. — Marcelle P.S. Write to me at moc.oohaynull@ardnecb and I’ll send your my article, if you like. I’d prefer it to be posted, however, to get everyone in on the discussion simultaneously.

  24. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 5th, 2007 at 9:29am #

    “A significant cultural and political shift will have to take place within the US, moving larger and more diverse communities into the political arena together, as we saw in previous decades.” These are Max’s words…from the Left Turn article. Well, this is a good example of addressing our situation in BROAD STROKES. In the real world…let me share with you what my recent experience was with the SDS group –which Max cites as a shining example of people building solidarity appropriately– in trying to dialogue re my ideas. I picked four SDS members at random…listed on their cite…choosing people residing in California…and emailed them, asking for a meeting…so as to share a proposal for action. To get feedback. To date, not a word. No response. In general, this is VERY typical. Activists are too busy jamming so as to contribute to large gatherings and brainstorming re huge means for dissemination of information, etc. BUT…there’s virtually no time made for getting together one on one. Yes, the cultural/political shift must be created, but it won’t be done with such an overly busy agenda that precludes intimate gatherings…which allow for nurturing interested parties, discussing “new” ideas in person. Even posting the article I’ve been pushing certainly won’t do the trick. Fresh ideas that have a shot at working are going to demand that activists jump outside of their particular organization’s framework…and open up to getting down with individual citizens who are excited from their particular vantage point. Conferences, summits (like Cindy Sheehan’s proposed one for January) and the like are slated to retread old ground. I ask for readers of this to put me or my colleagues in a rendezvous with someone in person or to discuss what I’m babbling about here in detail…in California, for starters. One on one, without all the habitual language and concepts dominating the discussion. Making it possible for something truly fresh to emerge. Something that will make much more of a difference in our lives than jabbering away incessantly about the relative merits of candidates who may or may not give a crap about this or that…once they get into office. There are honest, incorruptible (electable) people out there who would love to push OUR AGENDA (re Iraq and other issues)…but they won’t be found (or allowed) in the narrow parameters permitted. Writers here, for the most part, are not acknowledging what’s rotten to the core. The huge challenge of changing things in the political/cultural realm requires a different approach than what’s being used. The relative merits of CPunch, UFPJ et. al. are beside the point.– MC

  25. Joshua Frank said on December 5th, 2007 at 9:47am #

    Gary,

    My comment that the Iraq war (or the War on Terror for that matter) will not be stopped by people who read revolutionary theory was not in any way meant to come across as elitist, or meant to say that these people shouldn’t or are unable to read such texts. My point, I thought, was pretty simple: people not associated with Left politics will end this war. They, whether we like it or not, legitimize the antiwar movement. We are still on the fringe to the majority of people in this country. This is not to say that people shouldn’t be exposed to anti-imperialist theories and ideas, rather it is to suggest that we need to embrace all political philosophies in to the antiwar movement. In fact, I think the Left is already a minority, and has been for quite some time. Ron Paul’s uproar is an example of this. The fact that the majority of Americans oppose this war is an example of this (not all are involved in the antiwar movement of course).

    I hope this helps clarify.

  26. Gary Lapon said on December 5th, 2007 at 11:01am #

    Josh,

    It does help clarify. But don’t you think it’s possible, given the increasing inequality in the US, the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a shrinking minority, and the fact that the majority has seen a decline in living standards in any number of categories (health care, access to quality education, wages, job security, community and workplace safety, access to quality food, housing, etc.), and a general shift left in political attitudes (towards support for unions, against the war, for a path to citizenship for immigrants, etc.) that the Left can grow to the point where a significant percentage of people, if not a majority, are a part of it? Of course, this would require a major shift in strategy and outlook (and I do think theory has an important role to play in this, particularly in terms of who the Left looks to and appeals to as agents for change); it’s still unclear to me whether or not you see this as possible, from what you’re saying.

    I think this is important, because I don’t think it can be taken as a given that the war in Iraq will end without such growth on the Left. I think that the bipartisan support for the wars in the Middle East, including the fact that the Democrats have sacrificed much of their support by ignoring the anti-war referendum of the 2006 mid-term elections, is an indication of the importance of the war in Iraq (and US intervention in the Middle East more generally) to the US ruling class. The stakes here are qualitatively higher for them than they were in Vietnam. Losing the struggle for hegemony in the Middle East could undermine the US’s position as the lone superpower in the world. That said, I think it will require a qualitatively higher level of activism and resistance on the part of the anti-war movement, both at home and within the military, to end the war in Iraq. As we have seen from wars where the stakes are global domination (the two World Wars), the ruling classes of imperialist powers will risk the very collapse of their societies in order to secure such control. For example, it took two revolutions in Russia to end their participation in World War I, and Germany saw failed revolutions (but their failure was not a given at the time) in the wake of its participation in that war. Both World War I and II witnessed the destruction of much of the civilian infrastructure of the primary actors and the slaughter of tens of millions.

    It seems highly unlikely to me that it will be possible to end the war in Iraq, let alone the War on Terror (US imperialism’s quest for control of energy resources in the Middle East and Central Asia), without massive, organized struggle on the home front (among other things, of course). This will require sustained, exponential growth of the Left. The left is in such disarray at this point that the first step needs to be a consolidation, a revival of the idea that left-wing politics matter because they can improve peoples’ lives and create positive change, not the moralism that is so common these days. Embracing people like Ron Paul might attract certain people in the short term, but I don’t think it will end the war. Also, we will alienate large numbers of women, immigrants, and other potential allies who Ron Paul targets with his bigotry. This can only limit the effectiveness of the anti-war movement in the long term.

    I think the fact that Ron Paul has attracted so much support, particularly from some people on the left, is due to his image as the only (well, maybe Kucinich as well) relatively viable anti-war alternative to politics-as-usual, (which a majority of people feel alienated and excluded from). We need to build a movement that is a competing pole of attraction, one that is truly inclusive of the largest numbers of people, and has a level of democracy that will enable the creation of political clarity by the participation of many in discussion and debate. We need to build a truly viable alternative. We can do that much more effectively without staunch racists like Paul.

  27. Joshua Frank said on December 5th, 2007 at 12:04pm #

    Gary,

    I don’t think Paul is an overt racist (he claims to have not authored the piece from years ago). And there is nothing in his campaign that I would call racist — protectionist yes, but not racist. Paul also is most certainly not a neoliberal as Max says, in fact Paul has been on the frontlines opposing the NAFTA Superhighway that’s set to be cut through his home state of Texas all the way to Canada. I don’t agree with many of his stances; immigration, choice etc. But I do agree with his views on the war and US Empire.

    I think we have a fundamental disagreement here. First and foremost, I don’t consider myself a traditional lefty. I’ve been more influenced by Ed Abbey, Bob Marshall and the like than Marxist philosophy. I’m damn skeptical of so-called revolutions (even the one in Venezuela, as it’s fueled by oil). This could be due to the fact my German-Russian ancestors were shipped off to the first Gulags by the Bolsheviks. Many of them were in Siberia until a few decades ago. Trotsky himself led violent assaults on their homes. Many of them were not even armed. And these folks had lived in Russia for almost a century. Poor working farmers who didn’t even own land. So, perhaps I’m biased.

    Anyway, the war to me is beyond a left critique of US imperialism. At least at the onset. The war may open people’s eyes to the fact that this is just one battle in a long string of imperial crusades, geopolitical conflicts and corporate exploitation waged by the US government. If this motivates people to become left-oriented, read Marx, fabulous — but I don’t think that should be the motivation for getting them involved in the movement. They should get involved in ending this war to stop the bloodshed of innocent Iraqis.

    I think the Left has a big problem when it comes to collaboration and collective organizing. We tend to put leftwing politics above other issues. And it can be a distraction to many. Ron Paul supporters, at least the traditional libertarians among them that I talk to, see the Left as unwilling to come together in solidarity. I’d like to do my small part to change that. They won’t become lefties and we won’t become classic libertarians in the Rothbard tradition. Fine. But we can, together, put substantial pressure on the government to end this war and curb American imperialism.

    Paul’s campaign could be all for naught, however, if it dies after the primaries end. I hope it continues in to the general election.

  28. Michael Dawson said on December 5th, 2007 at 3:58pm #

    Josh, you are simply wrong about what ended Vietnam. The opposition to the war never seriously penetrated conservative upper and middle-class populations, who did NOTHING to end the war.

    What ended the war, in descending order, was a) military defeat, clear after Tet ’68, b) fragging, desertion, and other US troop resistance, and c) leftist resistance and its creation of the excellent “Vietnam Syndrome.”

    Ron Paul’s people will never attend a rally, except perhaps to support the state-fascist anti-immigration policies that Paul embraces. Ron Paul’s candidacy is the ultimate black hole for our energy. By what possible scenario can you imagine it will help us get bigger and stronger?

  29. Michael Dawson said on December 5th, 2007 at 4:00pm #

    P.S. to Josh: When did middle-class kids start coming home in body bags? Vietnam was fought almost exclusively by the working class.

  30. gerald spezio said on December 5th, 2007 at 4:31pm #

    Joshua, how about following Israeli hack Andrew Revkin and the NY Times.

    Chris Mooney of framing fame jumped right on the buzz wagon.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/26/holocausts/#comment-2761

    Let’s give a good bashing to a wonderful man like James Hansen for what he didn’t say.

    The dispicable world-wide Zionist propaganda campaign has been so successful that you can make buzz out of not saying HOLOCAUST.

    Does Dershowitz have an action at law?

    You can tell that Jimmy Cater hates black people because he used the word apartied.

  31. Joshua Frank said on December 5th, 2007 at 5:07pm #

    Michael,

    Nixon gave a rather famous speech on the “silent majority” in late 1969, I think it was, and was later recorded on tape chatting about how this was a turning point for the larger antiwar movement — at least in how it had affected him and his administration’s framing of their policies. His speech was meant to rally conservatives behind the war as he knew (and admitted privately) many had begun to turn. It was one thing when young college kids protested in Washington, he said, and quite another all together when his own base began to turn. Look for Roger Morris’ great Nixon biography for more on the subject.

    Of course I am not saying young radicals, vets etc, didn’t play a huge role in bringing the war to an end. They most certainly did. They were the backbone.

  32. Joshua Frank said on December 5th, 2007 at 5:39pm #

    PS: The Vietnam war, despite what many people think, was not fought by poor blacks. This was true, experts say, between 1965 and 1966, but changed with the draft. Most were, however, middle-lower class white kids.

  33. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 5th, 2007 at 9:02pm #

    At this point in U.S. history it’s very strange for anyone to be drawing parallels between Vietnam and Iraq in terms of what ended one and what will end another. Society has become much too militarized for that, military-type mentality much more institutionalised (in a blatant way). Gen’l “fear factor” has risen radically high, way above where what the “communist marker” created…which had been a constant for a long time in the U.S. And that’s just citing a few significant diffs between then and now. Chomsky’s take, btw, puts much more emphasis on Big Biz turning against the war…it having become…not in their interests to continue the atrocities. Now much of Big Biz and related cousins are making fortunes…with fortunes at stake re our “staying the course” no matter what. BUT to discuss how to end the war by going blah blah over the Prez Election is very misguided anyway. With all else in place, obviously…ending one particular way accomplishes too little. No viable candidate is slated to end the war…as was indicated by someone else above, and The Executive Office Job is not the place to be putting our energies…in such a lopsided fashion…with so little left for other angles of attack. I’m going to rewrite the article I made reference to earlier…in the hopes that DVoice editors will see fit to put one of those “other” angles on the table for discussion here. One really has to shoot for ending war generally…not one particular one. And that has nothing to do with traditional pacifism. For all practical purposes, virtually none of the U.S. wars…was the way to go…in retrospect. One must embrace that take and run with it, urging that we have to bring the troops home from a lot of places. But, as some of the readers have indicated above, that must be done without Ron Paul. In fact, it must be accomplished without focusing primarily on Iraq. Or we will all be back ad infinitum on the same track, spending sooooooooo much time blabbering about the niceties of this and that. The political/cultural change that most seem to agree is necessary cannot be addressed by debating pros and cons of this or that potential leader. Tricks and surprises must be employed. New ones. I don’t see people believing in that in the above dialogue. I see a simple forging ahead. “Habit is the great deadener,” said Beckett. — Marcelle

  34. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 5th, 2007 at 9:19pm #

    Also…on Ron Paul…as I remember…his website…doesn’t even have a statement respecting climate change concerns. And although the military is certainly a VERY HUGE contributor to so much that’s negative in that realm, ending the war in Iraq and closing lots of bases isn’t nearly enough to head off the immiment danger to Iraqis and all others from environmental issues. A legit candidate needs to think enough of what we’re going through environmentally to address that separately. All activists do. It would be easy enough to blend them in conversation, in talking points which are focused primarily on demilitarizing the U.S. — Marcelle

  35. Gary Corseri said on December 5th, 2007 at 11:27pm #

    May I suggest that Max Uhlenbeck and Joshua Frank both make valid points that are worth expatiating, but that their “anger within the family” manner of engagement undermines their arguments.

    The Left is divided–fragmented–and has been for a long time. Much ground has been lost and the consolidation of the media in the hands of neocons and racists has vastly complicated the struggle.

    It is not ill-conceived for the Left to re-define itself in the post-9/11 era. What goals? What alliances? What strategies? How and where to draw the lines?

    If these are the questions Messrs Uhlenbeck and Frank are posing, they merit serious consideration and reflection. Proper formatting and scaffolding will help.

  36. vanessa vail said on December 6th, 2007 at 4:55am #

    joshua,
    i’m shocked you would point to a person’s voting record rather than the REASON for why he/she votes a certain way. there are many folks who may vote similarly on an issue but for very very different reasons..adn that can have horrific impacts down the road. motive is as important as anything…if not more. it depicts where this person will head next with his/her country.
    just keep in mind w/ron paul…who would like to undue everything FDR put in place, that he has not only supported but proposed a litany of legislation that is based on the far right conspiracy theory and new world order thought and against human welfare.

  37. Ron Jacobs said on December 6th, 2007 at 6:11am #

    Hello,
    Good to see this debate taking plce. While I am one of those writers on Counterpunch, my pieces on the antiwar movement are usually critical encouragements of antiwar folks to forget about the nature of the national “leadership” and to work with all those (except for fascists) that oppose the war. In my mind, this includes everybody! I do not think it is our role to endorse candidates, but to push them to take a clear stand so that the voters know whether or not they are for or against the war and occupation. Then, one decides whether or not to vote for them based on that info and gets back into the streets the next day. Left Turn has posed some false questions in their essay, but in general seem to be looking for a dialogue to move the left and the antiwar movement forward. That’s a good thing. Let’s take it from there. But don’t forget the past–there are lessons to be learned from it, no matter what one thinks about it.

  38. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 6th, 2007 at 9:17am #

    Gary’s main point is excellent. Ditto for that of Vanessa. But this focus on “not forgetting the past” — which many aside from just Ron are concerned with– is not being honored. One can only end the war in Iraq if one addresses ending virtually all U.S. wars. Look at the past, if you will, and tell me that there’s a significant distinction between our “wars” since WWII. Isn’t there a thread that runs through them all? And isn’t it clear by now that being “successful” on that count –after a lot more anguish passes, way down the road, btw– will only provide a slight superficial respite, if that, from the next full-on abomination? One doesn’t have to be a full-on pacifist to acknowledge that The Left needs to step away from the relatively easy road of attacking The Iraq Dilemma…and step out on to the much more challenging Horror which is our Militarized Mentality…seen not only in the form of recruitment on campuses, but in clothes, in Hummers, and a vast number of other manifestations. That can’t be addressed, obviously, by the old traditional means ’cause they’ve been totally co-opted at this juncture. New approaches are called for, but that’s not on the table for discussion apparently. Go through this site or CPunch or others regularly and you’ll see one of the great diseases of The Left: Redundancy. I’ve offered to meet with readers of this site (who live in California) to get something new started, but…no takers…or those who inquire a tiny little bit seem to have no imagination whatsoever. DVoice may post soon my The Dream Party article…which proposes working with the electoral system in a new way…taking chances with a new paradigm…which puts all the blah blah bout presidential elections and impeachment effort into a different perspective. Sure, go ahead and vote for someone to be The Executive of the Land. But don’t make so much fuss, take so many heartbeats up with debating the uneding pros and cons…the glorious outcome that will be had through impeachment. Get war criminals impeached…if it doesn’t take up ALL your time. As long as you leave some significant time for meeting in person, in small groups, without recognition, to dialogue about truly NEW PARADIGMS. If I am finally posted on this please don’t be prematurely dismissive. Ask some questions…or better yet…ask some Qs in a private meeting with me. Surprise is necessary to our salvation, and that’s why the article is going to be (if seen at all) gen’l, vague. Blessings in solidarity, Marcelle

  39. Joel Henderson said on December 6th, 2007 at 11:05am #

    Interesting article, and certainly interesting commentary…however, as someone who has actively supported Congressman Paul’s campaign for the last 5-6 months, I have to take a bit of umbrage with a few points:

    I’ve done quite a bit of reading/research on Dr. Paul’s voting record, writings, speeches, etc. and cannot find (when using an open and un-biased mind) ANY suggestion of racism/bigotry, with the exception of the piece which was written in the his newsletter in the mid-90’s.
    From what I’ve read & heard from the man himself, that piece was written by a staffer who was fired as soon as the piece came out…the writing style doesn’t seem to match the numerous other Paul-authored pieces that I’ve read (nor does the spirit match the behavior that I’ve seen) so I personally don’t feel that the 1 piece is enough evidence to claim that ‘Ron Paul supporters are racist’ or that the man himself is a ‘staunch racist’.
    Again, this is just my opinion – take from it what you will.

    I’ve met the man 2 times, seen him interact with crowds of people from many ethnic backgrounds, etc – he doesn’t seem to act/look/behave differently depending upon a person’s ethnicity or gender.

    Again, this is just my opinion from my own personal observations…

    I’ve probably met over 100 fellow supporters in the last few months; again, we’re talking about various ethnicities as well as a typical cross-section of American demographics…nowhere did I see any evidence of ‘staunch racism’ or bigotry…all that I saw were many passionate individuals who mostly wanted to end the war, stop American imperialism, protect civil liberties, etc etc.

    Obviously, each supporter has their own ‘pet’ issues and certainly they don’t all agree with each other on all of them…however, I think most of them understand that by supporting a person who appears to have an extensive record of integrity who seems to stick to a known rule of law (ie: U.S. Constitution) these supporters probably feel like they will at least know what they are getting, and know the methodology with which they can have an impact on the system (again, ie: the U.S. Constitution and the system of local, state & federal governance).

    In regards to the claims of rabid anti-immigrant/anti-immigration…I’m not sure that I’ve heard of any evidence to support this – I’ve heard Dr. Paul talk about protecting the borders (which personally seems like a fair idea to me). I’ve also heard him mention a few times about his respect for all of the people who have emigrated to the U.S. legally.

    Again, these are just my opinions based on what I’ve heard, read & seen.

    I have never been all that interested in politics – mostly due to the sleazy, used-car-salesman nature of most politicians (regardless of which ‘side’ they claimed to represent) but also due to the divisive qualities that it seemed to bring out in people.

    However, I’ve become fairly passionate about Ron Paul’s campaign for precisely those reasons; from the involvement that I’ve had, I’ve seen nothing but respect for all individuals (as opposed to rabid collectivism) and apparent consistency to a set of ethics over an extended period of time.

    While I certainly do not agree with every single one of Ron Paul’s stances, I feel that I can at the very least trust him to continue his adherence to the system of governance and rule of law that we have in the U.S. – something that I’m not can be said of most other candidates (though I really do like Dennis Kucinich, even if I don’t think some of his policies would be all that sustainable from an economic standpoint).

    Anyways, thanks for reading and sorry for the length – I just wanted to ask people to do their own research and not blindly accept the soundbites that you may hear on the mainstream media (nor am I asking you to accept anything that I’ve written – there’s quite a lot of material out there; please do the research before throwing serious accusations around).

    Thanks and peace
    Joel

  40. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 6th, 2007 at 4:31pm #

    Solid contribution, Joel. However, my direct experience with the Paul campaign is that a John Bircher was repping him in California. That begs the question WHY? And that fellow was very vague when pressed on the question of WHY the John Birchers backed Paul 100%…something I don’t think others here addressed here either…in spite of my having raised the point above. Beyond that, please note that if one’s running for almost any office…it behooves one to put on a good face with brown babies as well as white. That’s a ref to something you suggested above. FINALLY, why do you think there’s no category for “Environment” on his site; that’s another question I raised above which I don’t believe was addressed. Best with your best intentions, Marcelle

  41. gerald spezio said on December 8th, 2007 at 7:12am #

    Yup, no way out of it.

    In order to stop the war and the murdering, you first have to identify the murderers and the murderers’ raw material.

    The Mericans are murdering the Iraqis for Israel.

    The Israelis are murdering the Palestinians for the dreams of Zion in the sky forever.

    The University of Chicago trained Wolfie to seek, destroy, and murder for Zionism.

  42. gerald spezio said on December 8th, 2007 at 8:25am #

    The Univ. of Chicago did NOT train Wolfie in the details of murdering for Zionism.

    Wolfie only learned the “Philosophy of Murder for Zionism” as a highest calling – higher than anything else.

    Wolfie is still working on the details of murdering in order to get the Palestinians’ land for eternal goodness and mercy for all Zionists.

  43. Mike McNiven said on December 8th, 2007 at 5:18pm #

    Thank you Mr.Frank for outing the imperialist Kerry so well!!

    The following is a good example of the minimum components of a “peace with social justice” position:

    http://www.hopoi.org/index.html

  44. Tom Blanton said on December 9th, 2007 at 11:47am #

    I would encourage those on the left to go back and read Thoreau’s “On Civil Disobedience”. In the opening paragraphs, one will find this:

    I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe – “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

    The left can’t have it both ways. If you support the fascist economics of FDR and a nation powerful enough to provide cradle to grave care for all citizens, you will never get a nation that is anything less than an imperialist empire. If you support decentralization and believe that states should be able to allow medical marijuana or gay marriage, then how can you say states should not have the right to enact laws regarding abortion?

    The fact that the left is hysterical about Ron Paul, accusing him of being a right-wing fascist, and the right is equally hysterical – often calling him a leftist – says something about how both the left and right view the role of government. Apparently, that view is that 50.1% of the population should dictate by threat of violence and/or prison how the other 49.9% must live.

    I know that anarchists, and even libertarians, scare the hell out of both the left and right and I know why. Thoreau knew why, too. The lust to rule over others and impose whatever morality they hold trumps everything else.

    Ron Paul is not perfect, nor is the Constitution, but in a world of imperfect choices, they may be the best alternatives at the moment. He will not enact my dream of an anarchist society, but he beats the option of an imperialistic fascist police state with a few crumbs called social programs to keep the poor from rioting.

    Joshua Frank is a pretty smart guy, despite being hung up on the left/right thing – which is largely false these days, anyway.

  45. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 9th, 2007 at 6:44pm #

    This latest contribution by Tom doesn’t address Paul’s lack of a stance vis-a-vis the environment, delineated in my commentary above. That is an example of hands-off government proposed which doesn’t address a danger…which didn’t exist in Thoreau’s time. Also, there’s a false assumption here that Ron Paul is the only viable “imperfect” choice… Again, it’s a no-brainer that the positive aspects of Paul platform are laudable. However, to dismiss the “negatives” (some of which are cited throughout the commentary above…without resorting to hysteria, or mislabeling, etc.) on the premise that the only options we have are to be found within the realm of the major candidates being placed on the table for us once again…is wrong. We have other options. Both in terms of other candidates AND in the notion of not giving the presidential race the energy and importance we seem to…in lieu of pursuing other avenues for our heartbeats. A deeper look into what will have to change to cut into our imperialistic inclinations will make it clear that anyone who attempts to make the kind of reductions that Paul proposes…is a likely candidate for “elimination” in short order. That doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t vote for him…if that’s the vote of one’s conscience. Rather, it means that one should not devote virtually ALL one’s energies to helping to elect a given candidate for The Executive position. It’s too fragile a deal to pin all of one’s hopes on. One can vote for one’s candidate and feel good…as long as one is engaged –simultaneously– in other activity designed to address what has to be done to change all the elements in society that current contribute to that “Elimination Syndrome.” Just about all the people I hear who are raving about this or that presidential candidate are making that pitch their exclusive activity in the political arena. The blah blah is too one-sided for what’s needed in the real world. — Marcelle

  46. Dissident Voice : Why The Left Must Reject Ron Paul said on December 13th, 2007 at 5:00am #

    […] Some antiwar activists and leftists desperate to revitalize a flagging antiwar movement make appeals to the Left to form a Left-Right bloc with Ron Paul supporters. Even environmental activist and left-wing author Joshua Frank, who writes insightful and often scathing attacks on liberal Democrats’ capitulations to reactionary policies, recently penned an article citing–though not endorsing–Paul’s campaign in calling for leftist antiwar activists to reach out to form a sort of Left-Right antiwar alliance. He argues, “Whether we’re beer swilling rednecks from Knoxville or mushroom eatin’ hippies from Eugene, we need to come together,” (”Embracing a New Antiwar Movement“). […]

  47. gerald spezio said on December 13th, 2007 at 3:11pm #

    Israel-first Zionists are the murdering engineers and brains in the ongoing Palestine and Iraq genocides..

    Manipulated US working class kids are bloody and battered as they stumble, grope, and try to kill more innocent Iraqis.

    Disgusting overfed Zionist monster, Richard Perle, wants more murder and death for his Zionist designs.

    Zionist Joe Lieberman preaches for more murder in Iraq and Iran

    Joshua Frank eliminates Zionism as a cause of the murdering.

    The Zionist Lobby has bought all the presidential candidates that they need.

    Why would smiling Joshua Frank tell us to look under the bed for the space aliens in the works?

    Keep checking on that Zionist map from GOD, and you will be less MYSTIFIED about ongoing and unending Zionist murdering!

  48. gerald spezio said on December 13th, 2007 at 3:13pm #

    The Zionist map from GOD.

    http://www.theunjustmedia.com/the%20zionist_plan_for_the_middle_east.htm

  49. Joel Henderson said on December 17th, 2007 at 1:01pm #

    Hi Marcelle,

    Thanks for the reply.
    First of all, I’ve seen mention of the John Birch Society in a few places, and invariably it always seems to be spat out, as if someone was saying a horrible word (and generally seems to be fully equated with violent racism or something similar).

    I don’t pretend to know much about the JBS, however I’ve met a local JBS rep a few times, and have read some of their magazines and checked out the website…also have spent a few minutes looking at some past JBS personalities.

    On the surface, it seems as though the JBS wants to protect the Constitution, fight totalitarianism and insure that civil liberties are protected. Apparently they also are not all that excited about overwhelming collectivism, preferring that people are seen as individuals (with all of the inalienable rights that an individual has) rather than be part of some potentially right-infringing collective.

    None of this sounds all that horrible to me. I’m not saying that I’m joining up (I’m not much of a joiner) but I tend to sympathize with the ideals of protecting the Constitution, our civil liberties as well as the idea that people should be looked at as individuals, not members of a gender or ethnic/religious group.

    As in any group, there have no doubt been JBS members who have had abhorrent views on race, etc. Unfortunately I think you could find that sort of thing in any group…

    So in any case, I’m not sure that having ‘John Birch Society members’ as supporters is necessarily a horrible thing…unless those people were bad people (or you disagreed with the ideals that the JBS supposedly stands for).

    Regarding the environment, I tend to agree with you; from a deep personal level, I wish that a president could do more about keeping the environment clean…however, the more that I learn about our system of government, I don’t think that there is a heck of a lot that the executive branch can do (short of vetoing bills, etc) OTHER THAN stopping needless wars (which are extremely damaging to the environment).

    I think that a combination of ideas, such as removing the collusion between federal government and some of the wealthiest polluters (ie: petroleum industry), supporting/inspiring alternative fuel & green building industries, and personal choice may be the most pragmatic answer. Obviously that’s just my opinion.

    In the meantime, I personally try to FREELY do the things that I think have the least environmental footprint (under the rule of “don’t sh*t where you eat”) – namely, I run my car on recycled vegetable oil (and constantly spread the word about it), there are no incandescent bulbs in my house (and my friend’s houses, if I can help it), I try not to eat much meat, I also try to buy locally-grown food, I try to use my compost pile for everything compostable (yup, I even use my roommate’s composting toilet).

    Eventually I hope to build a sustainable, ‘green’ home that uses only solar for electricity, rainwater catchment for water use, greywater recycling for food growth, passive solar & high-efficiency wood stove for heating, a solar stove & masonry bake oven for cooking and various other permaculture methods for landscaping/food growth.

    Obviously, not everyone has the same passion that I do about the environment, but if 50% of Americans would start to feel the same way, I think we could make a huge difference.

    Giving a large and remote federal government more of our civil liberties (and earnings) to be wasted ineffectively is probably not going to have the same level of results.

    Just my $.02

  50. Dissident Voice : In a Hole? Dig Deeper! said on December 18th, 2007 at 5:04am #

    […] Those who endorse uniting with the Paulites to build a stronger antiwar movement, such as left-wing writer/activist Joshua Frank, ought to know who they’re getting into bed with. Here is a tiny sampling of the responses I’ve […]

  51. urbano said on November 23rd, 2009 at 10:25am #

    Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.