I have noted how convenient it is for the Shrubbyists and
rightist, neo fascist co conspirators that the most public face of the
anti war movement is extremist and collectivist. This face
is not the face of the broad mass of people who oppose the
strategy of perpetual war. This element of anti war movement
is as contra enlightenment at its heart as is the Shrubbyist religious
Re: Who's anti war movement is it, anyway?
Thu, 06 Feb 2003 12:59:16 -0800
William Mandel <email@example.com>
is quite the opposite. When I was an activist kid and then teen-ager
then in my early twenties between the onset of mass unemployment at the
very beginning of the Great Depression and the start of World War Two,
the Communist Party led the movement for welfare when there was no
safety net whatever (1929-1933). Although it entered that period with
than 10,000 members, primarily foreign-born and speaking poor English,
it brought over a million people into the streets to demand welfare and
unemployment insurance. Those people were obviously not Communists, any
more than the huge outpourings in Washington and San Francisco last
organized by ANSWER's leftists. Welfare was won quickly, and
insurance was won under Roosevelt, who came into office in 1933. The
bill was drafted by the Communists and introduced into the Senate by a
Farmer-Labor senator from the midwest.
When Communist leadership resulted in a noticeable upsurge in union
in the early 30s, President Roosevelt, knowing what the consequence
be in workers' minds, said: "If I were a working man, I would join a
union." The reaction was: "The President said so! I'll join!" Millions
joined. Obviously the vast majority of them were not and never became
But when the Cold War began under Truman, immediately after World War
and Philip Murray, head of the CIO (Congress of Industrial
later merged with the AFofL) and of the Association of Catholic Trade
had the Communist organizers fired and the unions that refused to
the Cold War kicked out of the CIO. That was helped along by the
Act, one of the "Patriot-ACt" type laws passed in the Truman-McCarthy
Today's labor leadership freely admits that the precipitous decline in
union membership and the resulting drop in workers' living standards of
subsequent years was greatly assisted by the expulsion of the members
unions that had been the spark-plugs of earlier growth.
During the Vietnam War, the prime organizers of opposition, the "Mobe"
or Mobilization against the war, were members of a tiny Trotskyist
When the people turned against the war, they followed the leadership of
the Mobe, as with the Communists forty years earlier, that was the
that offered leadership, and the war was brought to an end. That done,
the Trotskyists remained, and remain, tiny grouplets.
The same thing is occurring today. ANSWER quite literally provided the
answer to dissatisfaction with the drive toward war on Iraq. It is
doing so. If the war is prevented, the examples cited in the past
that ANSWER will disappear from the scene unless the times bring an
in popular opposition to racism, which is what the "R" in that acronym
At all events, trying to expel the leftists will only damage the
as that expulsion from organized labor in the late 40s continues to be
reflected in the sluggishness and lack of initiative of most union
Although the foregoing was written from memory, I was able to do so
because of the research recently required to fill out the recollections
of my personal participation, and constitutes a summary of several
in my autobiography.
SAYING NO TO POWER (Introduction by Howard Zinn), includes 200 pages on
the Truman-McCarthy era, 1946-1960. I was called before all three witch
hunt committees. Those pages describe how we nullified the laws of that
day corresponding to the PATRIOT ACT and HOMELAND SECURITY operations
You may hear/see my testimony before the witch hunters (used in six
and a play) on my website, http://www.billmandel.net
book is available through all normal sources. For an autographed copy,
send me $24 at 4466 View Pl.,#106, Oakland, CA. 94611
Re: Who's anti war movement is it, anyway?
Thu, 06 Feb 2003 15:56:38 -0800
Jim Pivonka <firstname.lastname@example.org>
you very much for your response to my email.
between what I see as mainstream progressive activity and more
groups exists not only with respect to 'collectivist' leftist groups,
also frequently with respect to 'populist' groups like those supporting
William Jennings Bryan, Father Coughlin, Sockless Jerry Simpson, and
Long - though I have not much confidence in placing Huey in with the
two. Both tendencies have contributed to political and
reforms in this country.
tension, I think, and the passions of the more extreme groups clearly
provide energies and impetus that is important to the growth of a mass
movement. And not only progressive movements. We are,
in fact, in the grip of a mass movement, the 'Bush base' that has been
and is still driven by rightist extremists like Fallwell, Robertson,
and many more extremist religious right and social/economic fascist
of when and how a movement shifts from a narrowly based to a broad and
popularily supported one is difficult to answer. The 'civil war'
between the rightist and leftist popular movements of Columbia, which
at that nation for most of a century, are a caution to me though, about
the need to temper, eventually, the character of political action.
not appropriate to "purge" the members and adherents of the radical
organizations from the movement fighting against Bush's perpetual war
It may be appropriate to de-emphasize some of the issues not directly
to that fight, so as to focus more squarely on anti war
seem appropriate to me to have the fight against the 'perpetual war'
converted into, or to seem to be strongly associated with other
- especially collectivist economic objectives - of the most radical of
these leftist organizations. I can imagine that the
and leadership of these organizations see an opportunity to
and even radicalize many of those who are facing up to the Bush
character and plans. I think they must be modest in their goals
in the actions they take to achieve them, however.
about racism, its place in the structure of the problem that has led us
to the point we are in, and the need to raise it strongly as an issue
future activist focus is unanswerable. Yet, if I had my
as I do not, dealing with racism and with the need for action to
the effects of centuries of racist policies and oppression would not be
presented as requiring or justifying collectivist economic organization.
clarification: I use the term 'collectivist' to make space for a
discrimination between Marxist analytical tools and collectivist
to economic problems. I don't think useful analysis of economic
is possible if not informed by Marx's insights, and those of people
him who built on his work. But I am personally persuaded that the
collectivist solutions which seem to flow so inexorably from Marxist
in many minds do not in fact do so, and are a instead a snare and a
I know not now I came to be such a hardshell pluralist, but there you
and gratitude for your lifetime of work and dedication to justice,
and liberty for all people, my best wishes to you.