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RI antiwar group staged a protest at Obama's fundraiser
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See Arrrgh

Joined: 08 Feb 2009
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Sorry for taking so long to get back to this discussion. I feel like I keep saying the same things again and again without getting any real response to the questions I've asked or the statements I've made. Hopefully this response isn't as redundant as it feels.

Alan Hague wrote:
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."

I think the big confusion I'm seeing between you and Jared is that you're identifying "capitalism" as a cause for the things you see as wrong in the world, and therefore that's the "enemy" that needs to be brought down (through whatever means). Capitalism's faults, in my opinion, are in the people who hold all of the power within the system (economic or political, however you wish to define it). The system isn't inherently evil. The people who operate within the system and influence it the most make it "evil."

To rally against capitalism is really to rally against greed. If you fail to get rid of greed (which I don't see much of a possibility of), you're going to fail to achieve all of the things you're trying to do, especially if your approach is just that "socialism is better." Those're my comments on "Capitalism v. Socialism". That conversation, however, is really off-topic considering we're nowhere near being close enough to the point to talk about replacing capitalism with socialism. In the end, with greed still present, all we're going to be doing is dressing up the same dead horse with a different pair of horse-pants in order to beat it.

Alan Hague wrote:

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

It's my opinion that a citizen experiencing as many freedoms as we do can challenge the idea of capitalism, democracy, war, child labor, or any other ideas without having to identify as anything (ie: socialist, communist, democrat, republican, etc). Being a socialist isn't what allows you to challenge these ideas (and any others), being a free human being does.

Alan Hague wrote:

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.

I agree with the last bit of your statement, but disagree with the rest. Please explain how "End the wars now" encapsulates fixing the corruption present in the Karzai government and stopping or otherwise perfecting the drone operations so that innocent civilians aren't dying (and if this can't be accomplished, ending the drone attacks altogether). To me, the average citizen, reciting chants about Obama not being anti-war (he actually made it pretty obvious in his campaign that he most certainly is not anti-war) and holding signs saying "End Obama's Wars" completely misses the point. Mainly, you're going to immediately alienate supporters by referring to the wars as "Obama's wars" because they're not going to be educated to the insider information you and Jared are privy to, and shouting slogans and waving your signs at them isn't going to help with any of that. To an educated citizen, it comes across as sloppy because ending the wars outright doesn't actually fix anything (or only fixes a small amount of the real problems that exist). All that is really gained from an anti-war group like RIMC is that the people involved are more than willing to subject the citizens of Afghanistan and the Pashtunstan region to the horrors of the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups like it in exchange for American and ISAF forces withdrawing. This, as I've stated, is where my issue lies. This course of action doesn't a) leave the people in these regions in a guaranteed better position (which may not even be a possibility), b) fix the problems in the policies of our government (and particularly our military) that leads to the violations of basic human rights that we have been seeing, or c) stop the threat of groups like al-Qaeda from operating within a region that has a history of being "friendly" toward them.

Unfortunately, on the topic of anti-war protesting, RIMC isn't in the position of having an easy slogan to chant. To try and simplify the real issues that have arose in the last 10 years (or longer, depending on your scope) into a neat four-word slogan ignores how important change in this area is. RIMC is not an equal of QARI, in that while QARI's message simplifies nicely as "Equality now!", RIMC's cannot be simplified as "End the wars now!" If this hasn't been made clear already, perhaps a look at all of the unanswered (and possibly unanswerable) questions on the first few pages of this thread might highlight my point.

Alan Hague wrote:

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!

I'm not going to get into the nitty-gritty about what you said in this last bit. Simply, do you think that the debates/conversations provoked by simplified slogans have translated into actual support for the movement? Over the course of the past ten years, would you say that support for the anti-war movement has grown, stayed the same, or shrunk? With all of the questions I've asked, and all of the responses that have been made in this thread, why are we still at the point where no questions have been answered, and the only thing provided by those involved in the anti-war movement is tired information that 90% of this board is already aware of (or should be aware of)? How exactly does telling me drone attacks are bad fix the problems that are the result of bad policies? How exactly does "End the war!" answer any of the questions asked on the first few pages of this thread? To me, it seems like you and Jared have no issue with the real problems being swept under the proverbial rug just so that a withdrawal from Afghanistan can be chalked up as an anti-capitalist victory. I would hope that this isn't the case, which is why I've been trying to have an in-depth discussion about the bigger picture and the smaller issues that comprise it.
Post Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:44 am
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