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Friday, August 31, 2007


How not to stop the war

CounterPunch todays features an article by Jeff Gibbs (one of Michael Moore's associates) entitled "Why I Am Not Going to the Protest." Interestingly, right from the start we note a certain hostility, because he doesn't even mention what protest he's not going to. The perfectly-timed Sept. 15 protest in Washington, D.C., originally called by ANSWER and joined by many others? The Sept. 29 march on Washington called by the Troops Out Now Coalition? The Oct. 27 marches across the country called for by United for Peace & Justice (which still, as was the case two weeks ago, has details posted for only a single one of their ten regional demonstrations posted - the one called by ANSWER in San Francisco)? Hard to say; evidently Gibbs is so hostile to all of them that he doesn't even want to mention them, lest he inadvertently give them publicity. Does he think they're so counter-productive that they promote the war? Probably not, but his avoidance of even mentioning them is curious.

No, marches haven't yet stopped the war. They have, as I have noted before, put limitations on it, most notably at the beginning when the U.S. used far fewer troops than it would have really liked, because it couldn't risk admitting that the people of Iraq would not only need to be conquered but pacified as well. So what does Gibbs propose in its place? The usual ultra-left "shut-er down," a workers and consumers general strike. We can't get several hundred thousand people to a demonstration, but Gibbs (with no organization of his own to actually make this plan a reality, of course) thinks that enough people are going to join a "no business as usual, don't go shopping or go to work" movement to have an impact on the American economy and the warmakers. Well, I'm not opposed to that, but good luck, pal.

In the meantime, I'll be in San Francisco on Oct. 27, and wishing I were in D.C. on Sept. 15, and continuing to agitate on the streets of my town and the letters section of my local paper and everything else I can think of in the meantime.

No one action is going to stop the war, with the possible exception of a massive show before the war starts. Once the war is on, our task is much, much harder. But that doesn't mean you stop. If you're driving from San Francisco to New York, you can't stop after 2000 miles and say, gosh, I've been at this for a long time and it's just not working, I'm never going to make it to New York. Bad analogy probably, because in that case there is an easy way out - stop in Chicago and get on a plane, and you'll be in New York in a few hours (or more, the way things are going). When it comes to stopping the war, there are no short cuts, no "magic bullets," no more than there are when it comes to overturning the whole bloody system. We just have to keep on struggling.

One thing is for sure. Carping at other people's efforts to stop the war is definitely not the way to stop the war.

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