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See Arrrgh



Joined: 08 Feb 2009
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@ Alan

Thanks for the breakdown. I skimmed it since I'm on my phone, but you make a lot of good points. Still nothing more than what most of us already know, but good points nonetheless. My only disagreement thus far lies in your declaration that the answer to "Will us staying fix things?" is a "resounding no." That can only be the answer if the people looking for change (you, Jared, and other anti-war protesters) continue to only demand one thing ("Get out now!"). Of course you and them want the answer to be "no" because then we don't have to acknowledge the fact that our protesting and other political actions are, and have been, a failure targeted at the wrong demand. Of course the answer will be a "resounding no" if we continue to pretend like the only thing we can protest for is an immediate withdrawal. My point, which seems to be overlooked time and again, is that the last 10 years of the same demand has earned us NOTHING, and that perhaps a change of approach--as well as a more concentrated effort of developing ideas and presenting them as alternatives, or demanding actual responsibility from the people making the policies none of us agree with--might bring about the real change you and your ilk seem unwilling to try for.

Your Gallup Pakistan poll, as well as the RAWA.org website, lay it all out for us to see. The drone attacks need to stop, at least until there can be a 100% certainty that innocent civilians will not be dying on bad information (if that's possible). That's something to demand. There are people we can demand responsibility from in regards to these decisions of policy. The US needs to stop allowing civilians to be treated as badly as they were under the corrupt government of the Taliban (as well as by other fundamentalist groups in the region). This is something we can demand, and there are people to be held responsible for these decisions of policy. The Karzai regime is no better than the corrupt government of the Taliban, and the US--through foreign policy--needs to do a much, much better job of cracking down on the corruption. The warlords who continue to have power in that region need to be dealt with in some way in order to disperse some of the corrupt factors that Karzai and his people involve themselves in. These are things to bring to the table. As a concentrated effort, these are the demands we can strive for, fight for, and protest about that can deliver a better chance at change in the policies of our government, as well as an improvement in the lives of the people who will CONTINUE to suffer if we just pick up and leave.

That's my point, expanded for who knows how many times now.
Post Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:05 pm
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See Arrrgh



Joined: 08 Feb 2009
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@ Jared

If wars are fought to keep the rich rich, and that capitalism is the sole driving factor behind these wars, then why do you think that shouting the same tired slogan for the past ten years is going to accomplish anything? Obviously they've ignored you and everyone like you. Why could that be? Back to my main point: Perhaps a change of tactics is necessary after ten years of FAILURE to achieve something that can benefit the people who are actually suffering instead of the "activists" looking to make a name for themselves? Focusing less on ourselves, and more on what can really be done over there--as well as here at home in regards to the policies that allow the things we disagree with to happen--might provide a better social situation for improvement in a multitude of areas that seem to have been ignored thus far for the sake of being able to scream "End the wars!" 
Post Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:17 pm
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Jared Paul



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crash wrote:
@alan - the problem is, the taliban don't need to take over afghanistan. they just need to establish unchallenged rule over their little sliver of pashtunstan. left undisturbed they will certainly provide sanctuary to al-qaida and other groups that wish to attack the US.

@jared - if war is a necessary element of capitalism, why aren't other capitalist countries in a constant state of war? the ussr was in a constant state of war for most of it's existence and it was a communist economy. i think the constant state of war has more to do with being a superpower and trying to maintain that position.

of course, the military industrial complex certainly helps things along. but it's not the only factor here.


I'm gonna take a deep breath here, consider Reggie's advice, and try to monitor my tone. When the Oscar the fucking Grouch of the forum starts commenting on your manners, maybe it's time to take a step back. I will admit that I tried to keep things friendly with See Arghhh, till he started actively trying to talk people out of going to our event, in a thread that was made to let like minded folks know that we were meeting up- not for a 10 page argument before the event even happened.

It's still think it was uncool. Not the end of the world, though.

If we weren't the ones invading, wouldn't it be the next major Capitalist country in line? Aren't the other Capitalist countries still reeling or on a different course from having been the dominant Capitalist imperial powers before us? Or having been devastated by the effects of war between major capitalist nations? Haven't the people in those countries, as a result, been able to use those situations to at least fight for some kind of multi-party system which keeps some aspects of Capitalism more in check then it is here?

I would respectfully submit that very few socialists, or scholars who study the field outside of the U.S., consider the U.S.S.R. to have been "communist" at all. It was a military dictatorship, masquerading as socialism. Communism is something that can't even be planned, it has to develop- that fact alone nullifies any State's claim to "communism." There is no State in communism. It's an oxymoron in an of itself.

Anybody can call anything, anything they want: Operation Iraqi Freedom, for instance. Or, calling the U.S. a "Democracy" when it is clearly an Oligarchy: In the vast majority of elections people can only vote for the candidates chosen by the rich. And then, they wage war, funnel the people's money to bankers who crash the economy, and support corporations as they exploit labor, resources, and laws for personal gain. And nobody gets a vote on any of it. I'm pretty sure we're all in agreement on that.

@ See Arrghh - Protesting is a small part of what we do. Education is most important. But it's a lot of things altogether: Lobbying legislators (with phone calls, emails, and meetings), packing courtrooms for human rights related hearings, packing the City Hall meetings (for divestment from Arizona for instance), occupying the State Reps chamber over SB 1070, teach-ins, public documentary night, various types of civil disobedience, tabling, hosting teach-ins and expert speakers (like the journalist we just brought in who was expelled from Turkey or our city councilman who had just returned from Honduras), fliering, letters to editors, supporting indy media, becoming journalists ourselves, supporting other groups that work for environmental/civil/human/labor rights in their specific campaigns, benefit shows, using PFA / Jared Paul shows as open community action events, supporting third party candidates, fighting and winning against bullshit charges that are clearly in violation of the Constitution/Bill of Rights, pushing for run-offs or IRV, and picketing with the janitors union, with the hotel service workers union, etc, as they negotiate for better contracts, etc.

We have seen victories in all these areas. We learn and add what we can, but these are all tactics employed by the effective movements before us, and we recognize that.

Rallying is a small but necessary part of building the movement. Again, as I laid out in this thread and in the other. ANSWER and UFPJ, the mass org's who led the anti-war movement up till 2006, failed us. They didn't use those mass actions for civil disobedience or civil rights/labor rights/women's era grassroots trainings that were necessary to building mass action/national change- like they IVAW and groups like Code Pink are doing now. Further, UFPJ has been actively working to dismantle the anti-war movement from within so that "it can't hurt the democrats." Ever wonder why the mass national actions on the anniversary of the invasion stopped happening in 2006? UFPJ.

You can't really stop the Capitalists from going to war till enough people are educated.

If the Military Industrial Complex and the international banking/investment elite (who's members are frequently Vice Presidents, Secretaries of Defense, and Secretaries of Treasury) decide that it's time to go to war then that's what's going to happen.

You can make it harder for them, and perhaps make the length of the war shorter, but most importantly, you stand in resistance and show that Capitalism will always lead to war. Every 10 years or less. You can set your watch by it. And that until we get a multi-party system, and eventually break Capitalism altogether, War for profit/resources/military dominance/diversion from financial depression at home, will never end.


Last edited by Jared Paul on Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:23 pm; edited 2 times in total
Post Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:14 pm
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Alan Hague



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crash wrote:
@alan - the problem is, the taliban don't need to take over afghanistan. they just need to establish unchallenged rule over their little sliver of pashtunstan. left undisturbed they will certainly provide sanctuary to al-qaida and other groups that wish to attack the US.


I didn't touch on the al-Qaeda question in my last post only so I could maintain focus on the Taliban, but I'm glad you brought this up, as it's also a very important point. Again, I quote the Afghanistan Study Group's report:

"And even if the Taliban were to regain power in some of Afghanistan, it would likely not invite Al Qaeda to re-establish a significant presence there. The Taliban may be reluctant to risk renewed U.S. attacks by welcoming Al Qaeda onto Afghan soil. Bin Laden and his associates may well prefer to remain in Pakistan, which is both safer and a better base from which to operate than isolated and land-locked Afghanistan.

Most importantly, no matter what happens in Afghanistan in the future, Al Qaeda will not be able to build large training camps of the sort it employed prior to the 9/11 attacks. Simply put, the U.S. would remain vigilant and could use air power to eliminate any Al Qaeda facility that the group might attempt to establish. Bin Laden and his associates will likely have to remain in hiding for the rest of their lives, which means Al Qaeda will have to rely on clandestine cells instead of large encampments. Covert cells can be located virtually anywhere, which is why the outcome in Afghanistan is not critical to addressing the threat from Al Qaeda."
[/quote]
Post Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:26 pm
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Alan Hague



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See Arrgh - I can speak on a personal level (and I think there are plenty of others to whom my statements apply) and say that, while I wouldn't regard the past however-many years of protest as having accomplished nothing, you're right as far as the necessity of a change in tactics goes.

That's why an increasing number of people are turning not just to protest against the war(s), but to protest of capitalism itself. I believe that my previous analyses were faulty, in that I considered the wars, environmental concerns, labor concerns, and human rights concerns as distinct and separate spheres of struggle.

However, I've since come to the conclusion that they are all related, in that they are all exacerbated, if not caused by, capitalism itself and in our society's blind faith in capitalism's internal mechanisms to somehow "set things right." We've come to accept the boom-and-bust cycles of capitalism as "just another part of life" and regard as merely unfortunate that the lives of millions of working people have their jobs and livelihoods undermined or ruined in the process - even though they themselves are neither bankers nor stockbrokers. And still the idea pervades that "well, there's just nothing better."

The time has definitely come to challenge that idea; that's why I'm a socialist.

As for the various demands you point to that we can effectively put out there - concerning drone attacks, the corruption of the Karzai government, etc. - those are all particular criticisms that are encapsulated in the slogan "END THE WARS NOW." At any rally, there are multiple signs/placards which focus on the particulars of the issue, but the effectiveness of one 4-word slogan is much greater than that of several dozen (though important) particular arguments.

On top of that, I think that people are more aware of what's going on with the war(s) than we give them credit for. I think that at a rally, it's more important to put forth the grand argument (again, with important focus on the details via multiple signs, etc.). This will provoke debate/conversation, in which the particular points can be incorporated and discussed.

I'm kind of in a rush at the moment, but I hope that sheds light on some of the points you raised!
Post Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:44 pm
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crash



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alan - if we can't keep the pakistani taliban in check by air, what makes you think we could do it in afghanistan? i imagine that would result in a similar number of civilian casualties. i also think they would be happy to welcome al-qaida for the same reasons as the TTP.

it is a good point that al-qaida would probably mostly stay in pakistan. also the situation is far different than it was in 2000. however, i think seceding a large chunk of territory to the taliban (most of the south and south east) would not help us combat al-qaida.

jared - do you really think the UK would be invading countries if we weren't? germany? chile? no one else has the military capacity to do what we do. constant war is not a problem of capitalism it's a problem of empires (which can be magnified by capitalism). my point wasn't that the USSR was properly communist (whatever that is) but that you don't need to be capitalist to have a hyper-militant foreign policy.

also, i don't think you can say the US isn't a democracy, unless your concept of democracy is so extremely limited and specific that no country in the world qualifies. there are serious flaws in the system of course but this happens everywhere.
Post Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:10 pm
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See Arrrgh



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Jared Paul wrote:

I'm gonna take a deep breath here, consider Reggie's advice, and try to monitor my tone. When the Oscar the fucking Grouch of the forum starts commenting on your manners, maybe it's time to take a step back. I will admit that I tried to keep things friendly with See Arghhh, till he started actively trying to talk people out of going to our event, in a thread that was made to let like minded folks know that we were meeting up- not for a 10 page argument before the event even happened.

[I] still think it was uncool. Not the end of the world, though.


I feel like I spend more time correcting your nonsense than actually responding to the real discussion that is happening around it. I wasn't going to address your claims, but I felt like I couldn't ignore it due to the obvious slant you're attempting to take to make yourself look "innocent" in some fashion.

When did I attempt to "actively [try] to talk people out of going to [your] event"? All I did was ask questions. Your first response was "friendly," but your responses afterward, when I responded with more questions to add to the questions that have still been unanswered, were condescending and smug to the point of nausea. You can continue to cry about how I attempted to "actively [try]" blah blah blah, but the truth of the matter is that I asked serious questions that I have about a group seeking the support of the public--which I am a part of--on issues of the war.

I won't go into further detail about how I feel about your flawed logic. Instead, I feel like we should stick to the truth, not your twisted version of reality where you think far too highly of yourself.


Jared Paul wrote:

@ See Arrghh - Protesting is a small part of what we do. Education is most important.


That's nice to say when you're attempting to save whatever credibility you have left, but then there's this:

http://i51.tinypic.com/10muaes.jpg

You failed to educate people who were there to see your protests because you constantly fail to engage the public. You just assume you're automatically correct and then go shout slogans without acknowledging the fact that the vast majority of people are going to disregard what you're protesting because you're declaring they're Obama's wars while most people still consider them to be Bush's wars. I'm not going to debate whose wars they are, but you need to be aware that while you come back to the forum and tell everyone how successful the protest was, there are people NOT part of RIMC who have no idea what the fuck you were trying to get at, or prove, and have disregarded you in favor of talking about Caprio telling Obama to shove it.


Jared Paul wrote:

But it's a lot of things altogether: Lobbying legislators (with phone calls, emails, and meetings), packing courtrooms for human rights related hearings, packing the City Hall meetings (for divestment from Arizona for instance), occupying the State Reps chamber over SB 1070, teach-ins, public documentary night, various types of civil disobedience, tabling, hosting teach-ins and expert speakers (like the journalist we just brought in who was expelled from Turkey or our city councilman who had just returned from Honduras), fliering, letters to editors, supporting indy media, becoming journalists ourselves, supporting other groups that work for environmental/civil/human/labor rights in their specific campaigns, benefit shows, using PFA / Jared Paul shows as open community action events, supporting third party candidates, fighting and winning against bullshit charges that are clearly in violation of the Constitution/Bill of Rights, pushing for run-offs or IRV, and picketing with the janitors union, with the hotel service workers union, etc, as they negotiate for better contracts, etc.

We have seen victories in all these areas. We learn and add what we can, but these are all tactics employed by the effective movements before us, and we recognize that.


That's good. I'm glad that you consider these victories to be important (and some of them are), but... None of this has anything to do with the WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. Why is it so hard for you to stay on topic? You tried this nonsense in the Science thread not too long ago when you stopped engaging the discussion and opted instead to just post up mostly irrelevant articles and videos. You've done it on a number of occasions in other threads about the wars in the Middle East. This is the same tired shit you do, and in regards to the war that matters (Afghanistan), you've accomplished nothing. Congratulations.


Jared Paul wrote:

Rallying is a small but necessary part of building the movement. Again, as I laid out in this thread and in the other. ANSWER and UFPJ, the mass org's who led the anti-war movement up till 2006, failed us. They didn't use those mass actions for civil disobedience or civil rights/labor rights/women's era grassroots trainings that were necessary to building mass action/national change- like they IVAW and groups like Code Pink are doing now. Further, UFPJ has been actively working to dismantle the anti-war movement from within so that "it can't hurt the democrats." Ever wonder why the mass national actions on the anniversary of the invasion stopped happening in 2006? UFPJ.


So now you're blaming everyone else in an attempt to shirk the responsibility for the huge failure that is, and has been, the anti-war movement? Regardless of who has been, or who will be, leading the charge for these actions, you're STILL using the SAME tactics as if these tactics have done anything other than marginalize you into the fringes of the left, just as the Tea Party has marginalized themselves to the fringes of the right. Reality check.


Jared Paul wrote:

You can't really stop the Capitalists from going to war till enough people are educated.

If the Military Industrial Complex and the international banking/investment elite (who's members are frequently Vice Presidents, Secretaries of Defense, and Secretaries of Treasury) decide that it's time to go to war then that's what's going to happen.

You can make it harder for them, and perhaps make the length of the war shorter, but most importantly, you stand in resistance and show that Capitalism will always lead to war. Every 10 years or less. You can set your watch by it. And that until we get a multi-party system, and eventually break Capitalism altogether, War for profit/resources/military dominance/diversion from financial depression at home, will never end.


As for your anti-capitalist schtick. Well, it's clear you're an ideologue who doesn't really get the bigger picture. Crash basically covered this already. You're grasping at straws in your continued attempts to declare "Capitalism" as the evil-doer who we have to strike down. Instead of thinking logically, you're missing the point. And at the end of the day, after ten years of shouting slogans and attempting to garner public support, you've achieved nothing toward your goals (specifically for the war in Afghanistan, which is, and has been, the topic of this discussion) and have gained only a small, small fraction of support from the public. New tactics, please. New goals, please. Real change is possible, just not with you leading the charge.

End of story.
Post Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:28 pm
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See Arrrgh



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@ Alan

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so much better at discussing these things than Jared. I love the fact that you've thoroughly engaged yourself in the things you believe in, and I love the fact you're coherent in your responses to my posts. I will definitely be giving you a thorough response, but I don't think I'll be able to get around to it until the weekend (Sunday at the latest). Sorry to leave you hanging, but I felt like you should know I'm definitely willing to engage you in this discussion because, finally, it's real.
Post Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:31 pm
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Disharmony



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See Arrrgh wrote:
finally, it's real.
Post Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:50 pm
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True School Session



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Jared you believe some crazy shit dude.

I can't imagine going through life thinking pretty much every aspect of the world was out to get me. Even if it's the truth you aren't going to change anything with the tactics you employ.
Post Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:16 am
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Alan Hague



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crash wrote:
do you really think the UK would be invading countries if we weren't? germany? chile? no one else has the military capacity to do what we do. constant war is not a problem of capitalism it's a problem of empires (which can be magnified by capitalism). my point wasn't that the USSR was properly communist (whatever that is) but that you don't need to be capitalist to have a hyper-militant foreign policy.

also, i don't think you can say the US isn't a democracy, unless your concept of democracy is so extremely limited and specific that no country in the world qualifies. there are serious flaws in the system of course but this happens everywhere.


It's a good point that you don't have to be capitalist to have a hyper-militant foreign policy (case in point, the USSR, although I would still definitely stress that they weren't socialist by any means in terms of democracy), but the overarching goal of the left should be to eliminate any form of domination, be it military or financial.

It's important to consider that war isn't the only way to control other countries and their resources, etc. The World Bank and IMF do just as good of a job at controlling other countries through structural adjustment programs, for example. The IMF will impose a program on any given country (usually third-world) completely undemocratically, telling them how their governments will be run, what their economic policies will be (always deregulation and privatization), and what to do about their labor forces (weaken them). They force them to make their country suitable to the conduct of business and capital.

Then, foreign countries can come in and make use of the host country's cheap labor force, thereby undercutting the competition at home; meanwhile, they take advantage of lower tariffs also imposed by the IMF. And the profits made are largely kept for the corporations themselves or are sent back to the corporation's country, not the host country. Granted, the people in the developing country are paid, but they're paid at rates that workers in developed countries would never accept. (Forgive me if you're already familiar with all this; I figure it's still important to really discuss all this.)

Also, the countries that can contribute the most money to the World Bank have the greatest voting power in that body; the top 5 most influential members are the U.S., Japan, China, Germany, and the U.K. (although the U.S. has by far the greatest influence).

Financial control is simply a more sophisticated form of imperialism.
Post Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:08 pm
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Charlie Foxtrot



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Alan Hague wrote:


Financial control is simply a more sophisticated form of imperialism.


But isn't it a better system? Financial control, even if it entails overthrowing governments (Iran, Guatemala, etc.) is surely better than the kind of control we had before capitalism, which usually involved directly conquering other countries and then occupying them in perpetuity. I think of America as the first capitalist empire, which began after the Spanish-American war (the last time I can think of that we really made a grab for actual land). The dominance entailed by capitalism is incredibly horrible and destructive, but it seems better than the dominance entailed by other systems.
Post Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:11 pm
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breakreep
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This thread looks interesting. I wish I had the time to read it.
Post Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:23 pm
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Alan Hague



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Charlie Foxtrot wrote:
But isn't it a better system? Financial control, even if it entails overthrowing governments (Iran, Guatemala, etc.) is surely better than the kind of control we had before capitalism, which usually involved directly conquering other countries and then occupying them in perpetuity. I think of America as the first capitalist empire, which began after the Spanish-American war (the last time I can think of that we really made a grab for actual land). The dominance entailed by capitalism is incredibly horrible and destructive, but it seems better than the dominance entailed by other systems.



If it's better, it's better only to the extent that the destruction of societies and cultures due to warfare means that at least the conquered won't be around to have to experience it!

America definitely wasn't the first capitalist empire; all of Europe of the 16th century initiated the age of colonization to extract wealth from the conquered lands/peoples (Marx called this the "primitive accumulation of capital").

In any case, we're certainly the most developed and dangerous of the empires (for many reasons - not the least of which is our monopoly on nuclear stockpiles).
Post Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:11 am
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Jared Paul



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1.) "If democracy were to be given any meaning, if it were to go beyond the limits of capitalism and nationalism, this would not come, if history were any guide, from the top. It would come through citizen's movements, educating, organizing, agitating, striking, boycotting, demonstrating, threatening those in power with disruption of the stability they needed." -Howard Zinn.


2.)Transcript of Howard Zinn Interview with Bill Moyers - 12/11/2009

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12112009/watch2.html

"BILL MOYERS: You have said elsewhere that if President Obama were listening to Martin Luther King, Jr. he'd be making some different decisions. What do you mean by that?

HOWARD ZINN: Well, first of all, he'd be taking our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and he'd be saying we are no longer going to be a war-making country. We're not going to be a military country. We're going to take our immense resources, our wealth, we're going to use it for the benefit of people. Remember, Martin Luther King started a Poor People's Campaign just before he was assassinated. And if Obama paid attention to the working people of this country, then he would be doing much, much more than he is doing now.

BILL MOYERS: I remember- all of us remember who were around then that 1967 speech that Martin Luther King gave here in New York at the Riverside Church, a year before his assassination. And he said, "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice, a structure, which produces beggars, needs restructuring." I mean, that's pretty fundamental, right? Change the system?

HOWARD ZINN: King had a much more fundamental critique of our economic system. And certainly more fundamental than Obama has because a fundamental critique of our economic system would not simply give hundreds of billions of dollars to the bankers and so on, and give a little bit to the people below. A fundamental change in our system would really create a greater equalization of wealth, would I think give us free medical care. Not the kind of half-baked health reforms that are being now debated in Congress.

BILL MOYERS: This is one reason you are seen as a threat to other people. People at the top, because your message, like King's message, goes to a fundamental allocation of power in America, right?

HOWARD ZINN: Yeah, that is very troublesome for people at the top. They're willing to let people think about mild reforms and little changes, and incremental changes, but they don't want people to think that we could actually transform this country into a peaceful country, that we no longer have to be a super military power. They don't want to think that way because it's profitable for certain interests in this country to carry on war, to have military bases in 100 countries, to have a $600 billion military budget. That makes a lot of money for certain people. But it leaves the rest of the country behind."


3.) I want to make it clear that I did not in any way start this thread with, and have not intended at any point since, an "agree with us or fuck you" type of message. This started with me posting a press release that the anti-war group I've been a part of for many years sent to most local media outlets in our area. The demands of the action, and the logic behind them were, in my opinion, made very clear in that press release. See Argghhh questioned them and I responded at length, in what I thought was an informative and thorough fashion. He replied to say that he'd get back at us when he had time, then came back with more aggressive questions and closed in a fashion that I took to be a general effort to discourage people from attending the event.

I now think that I made it out to be worse than it was, and also definitely missed the closing post script from his first entry on Page 2:

"(I recognize that I may be wrong on any number of things I believe. I welcome people to disagree with me. I want to know the facts on these issues, and I want to know where real change can take place.)"

Both theses factors caused me to respond more sharply than I should have. What I would have said was: "I recognize that we might not be 100% right either, but based on the research we've done, this is what we 99.9% believe, and that's why we're rallying. You're more than welcome to attend, but obviously, no pressure if you don't agree or feel that it's the best way to approach the issue."

I definitely apologize for misreading, and the tone of my following posts.

Things got a little ugly after that but aside from my kind of jerky tone, I stand behind everything I said. I trust the IVAW because they've been to Iraq and Afghanistan, they've seen it with their own eyes, and lived it- not from the eyes or second hand account of an embedded journalist or desk writer reading reports but from the eyes and first hand account of those doing the killing, dying, surviving, kidnapping, bombing, demolishing, stop-lossing, PTSDing, etc; I do not think they have something to "sell" in the same way that USA Today or the Washington Post do. That doesn't sound like a fair comparison to me.

And not only do I not think that Creationism is the opposite of Science, I think it sneakily validates Creationism to frame it that way. I realize that "myth" is the opposite of "fact" in the strictest literal sense, but philosophically, the opposite of Creationism could just as easily be some pagan, poly-theistic or matriarchal religious creation theory- or an existential theory about how nothing is real, only sensory illusion, posing that the Earth was never even created in the first place. The same way that I would think that somebody like Al Sharpton or Bill Clinton would be the opposite of Sarah Palin, and not at all Noam Chomsky. Sure Chomsky makes money off books and speaking, but it's his life's work- and he'd do it without the notoriety or money because he has no choice other than to do it- somebody like Glenn Beck could easily just go be a used car salesman, or mormon televangelist, scam infomercial salesman, drug addict, etc.

Further, Chomsky's work is meticulously researched and he can call up facts and cite references that actually make logical sense and tie them together in real time- debate or interview, and he draws the same conclusions nearly 100% of the time. Sarah Palin, Anne Coulter, Glenn Beck, etc can only stick to talking points based on things they probably never really researched and don't understand- and they constantly, provably, and publicly contradict themselves. Some staff writer from Newsweek or Reuters is usually going to write a story from the angle they were assigned to write it from and Bill Clinton is going to say whatever's best for his faction of the Democratic Party, Democrats in general, and/or his investors/benefactors. Whereas Amy Goodman can and does give critical analysis of anyone regardless of their affiliations; Democrat, Republican, Anarchist, Socialist, Libertarian, "Independent," "Leftist," "liberal," or "conservative," etc. That's why, for me, I see "blue/red" personalities/corporate media and IVAW/Democracy Now/Zinn, etc, not as polar opposites but as two separate classifications altogether. With all that in mind, and after years of reading their essays, hearing them speak live, tracking their sources, and listening to their interviews, I can't in good conscience ever concede that Chomsky, et al are merely "presenting the Left's side."

Now, my tone was definitely dickish in some parts of this discussion, as I misunderstood some things and can be hot tempered, but I can assure anyone reading that I've definitely read every line of this thread (even if I told See Arghhh I didn't in order to get a rise out him.) There were some real low blows taken at me that went way beyond slight condescension and message board sharpness, and I guess that's fine- I've definitely signed on for that by having so much of my life be public but the idea that I run around all day trying to get arrested or maneuvering for photo ops isn't accurate at all.

The times that I've been arrested or detained at rallies/protests/actions I was actively trying not to get arrested and/or was completely unaware that the net was about to come down around me. I think it's bullshit that it's even necessary for us to have to fight for our rights like this in the first place- who wants to live like that? And if I was chronically maneuvering/posing for photos/bullhorn time there'd be a hell of a lot more pics and footage out there because I've been to a many, many actions since 1999 (hundreds.) I also never strove to present my writing/music/speaking at actions, mostly because I was focused on the organizing/promoting aspect of things but also, for years, I was actually hyper sensitive about looking like the political rap/poetry kid trying to get on stage. I have an almost religious reverence for the right to speak in front of any sized crowd during a protest/rally and I've deferred on chances to speak/perform many times in the past. It was actually nice when I wasn't the one doing more of that, but now the national movement has fallen to shit, I'm one of the senior members of my local group, and shit needs to get done regardless of my hang-ups... so when the group decides it's my time lead the chants, or to speak/perform at a rally, I do it. If that leads to me getting my picture taken/interviewed/videoed more often? Then that's what happens. It's not something I focus on.

Protesting is only one small part of what we do. As I've tried to make clear throughout this thread. It's all things I've listed already, and all the things Zinn mentioned in the quotes above.

I don't expect anyone here to agree with me or to "follow" what I do. In all reality, it's awesome getting to mix it up on the SFF with people who are down to disagree and engage in critical dialog (there are many people who take what I say as gold without even questioning, which is not what I want at all) but I whole heartedly disagree that we (RIMC/anti-war groups/me/socialists) are marginalizing ourselves to the point of T-bag fanatics simply because we believe that the best case scenario in regards to Afghanistan is withdrawal.

Howard Zinn lays it out pretty clearly in the PBS article and in our opinion it really feels like the tide of public opinion is turning not only against the occupation and war on Afghanistan, but on all war in general. The anti-war movement was out front on the issue of the Palestine conflict when it was taboo to even talk about. Now, the tide has turned drastically on the subject and people the world over are coming to stand against Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, and it's brutal treatment of the people there. Many of us think it's going to be the same way with Afghanistan, and eventually with Capitalism as well.

In conclusion, I'm a socialist who believes that War is a built in feature of Capitalism and have given up on it as an acceptable economic/political system. I think it was wrong for us to invade and occupy Afghanistan in the first place, and I think it's wrong for us to stay there now. Not only have I not seen any evidence in this thread, or elsewhere, that clearly proves why us leaving would be worse than us staying, I haven't seen anything that legitimately disproves the Chomsky belief that the U.S. has no right to be there and that it should be up to the people of Afghanistan to decide, nor the Zinn/Scahill assertions that we need to continue with aid but pull almost all military out immediately. I realize that this is a minority opinion at the moment, but believe that it is a notion which is rapidly gaining acceptance in the U.S. and around the world.

I will try to be less defensive and sharp for the duration of this discussion and in the future.
Post Sun Oct 31, 2010 1:29 am
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