Rules of the road

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January 08, 2007

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Red Star Mafia

Right on Sunsara!

Who let the grumpies in?

The last thing we need is another excuse to shut up. Christopher is correcto-mundo about the passivism that lets anti-communism stand in for discussion and action.

Daring to change minds? Must be authoritarianism. Daring to resist? must be a dirty red trick.

You say you don't like the "centrality" of the RCP?

What you don't like is centrality period, to the point that the anarchist movement has been in hibernation since September 11, all hype aside. I hope you get over yourselves and unleash that sleeping dragon.

In the meantime, I'm not waiting.

Sunsara is an open communist. Her writing is above. Since you don't have any criticism of her actions or thoughts, just the fact that she's a communist – then what exactly is your beef?

Scratch that. I know your beef, and if you can't rise above your own one-dimensional analysis, it's a shame.

Chuck Morse

Burningman, thanks for the info about the steering committee (etc). ... I know you're having a lot of fun with my comment that the “RCP epitomizes the lunatic fringe of the extreme left and elicits a reaction of bemused revulsion from 99.9% of activists.” I was speaking about the RCP not the WCW but, even if I had been talking about WCW, many numbers wouldn’t been too far off: you say that there were 2000 people at the October 5 demo. Well, that’s .02 of the population of New York City. Sorry to deflate your wittiness balloon, but the numbers don’t serve your argument very well. Surely 2000 is much more than many demos, but it's not exactly earth shaking.

Chuck Morse

sorry, i hit "post" too fast: i meant "MY numbers wouldn’t HAVE been too far off"

the burningman

I would call it a tremor.

And I would question the ways in which your (obviously) sectarian assessment, where prevelant, has handicapped the resistance movements in this country.

This passivist anarchism is a symptom of the problem, not a solution.

By the way, what percentage of the Parisian population stormed the Bastille?

Red Star Mafia

I've worked as a communist, an RCP supporter at that.

Guess what Chuck? Your math is waaaaay off.

One particular group has a "reaction of bemused revulsion." You're in it, so I can't blame you for your own mind. Just don't confuse it for the larger world.

Red Star Mafia

Watch this!

Hey Chuck, I like Bob Avakian.

[Look out!]

the burningman

On topic.

Chuck Morse

I don’t think it was tremor.. . I probably just had a fit of ANTI-COMMUNIST HYSTERIA!! Maybe I should get Dr. Chris Day to diagnose me... Now THAT’S scary! :)

the burningman

Quite possible, bro. Though over the decades it has passed from mandatory, state-sponsored hysteria to the casual, cynical chic that pretends to know something it doesn't.

In any case, I'll ask again:

"what's the most interesting thing you think is happening in terms of resistance in North America?

"Do you think in those terms?"

I know its easier to shit than cook, but I for one am hungry for more than a fresh batch of the same old.

----

I'll also be at Times Square today after work to protest the escalation of the war and check-in with folks showing up.

Hope to see you there.

Red Star Mafia

"I didn’t attack Taylor’s performance on O’Reilly"

No, you didn't attack what she did or said. You attacked her.

Physician heal thyself.

Chuck Morse

You guys are funny. No, I didn’t attack or even criticize Taylor, although I might be casual chic! Don’t hate me because I’m so stylish!

Burningman queries: "what's the most interesting thing you think is happening in terms of resistance in North America?

"Do you think in those terms?"

Yes, I do think in those terms. I find the Zapatistas (and the Other Campaign) the most interesting thing “happening in terms of resistance in North America?” right now.

laughing out loud

"What would happen to UFPJ if it starting organizing things like “Honor Leslie Cagan Day”?

I can't imagine who would want to honor Leslie Cagan. She is a bureaucrat.

Imagine what would happen if an indigenous uprising in Southern Mexico with a non-indigenous "subCommandante" started issuing an endless stream of press releases?

Can you say of "cult of personality?"

Regarding Bob Avakian Day, that was organized by city council reps in BA's hometown Berkeley, not the RCP.

Chuck Morse

I think the comparison between Avakian and Marcos is instructive: the two are undoubtedly leaders, but their relationship to their groups and the way that they exercise their leadership is very different in many substantive ways.

With respect to the Zapatistas, I don’t think it is fair to say that they have a “cult of personality” around Marcos. Yes, he’s central, but (unlike the RCP) I don’t see the organization trying to get people to pledge their allegiance to him or sing his praises at every opportunity. Indeed, his very identity as “subcommadante” points to the contradiction around his prominence.


yadadamean

Funny how Chuck actually uses the same word that O'Reilly attacks Sunsara with -- "Lunatic!" What the fuck is up with that??? What side of the polarization are you falling out on?

Every time WCW posts something on indymedia where I am, it gets attacked with the most vicious anticommunism you see anywhere... I mean it's in the same league as David Horowitz, but more destructive because it's supposedly coming from the Left. And then on May Day 2006, the S.F. anarchists were burning red flags (I have the pictures to prove it!), and marching around, totally distanced from the main immigrant masses, chanting, "Fuck ANSWER and the RCP, no one tells me what to do but me!"

Seriously what the fuck? It makes me wonder about the historic role of anarchism -- a petty-bourgeois individualistic shadow of communism, that when push comes to shove becomes openly counter-revolutionary? Didn't the Kronstadt folks collude with the White Armies?

It seems that nothing pisses these people off more than the success of communists... like Sparticists that think the primary contradiction is opposing trends on the left (not the Bush Regime). What those anarchists were really pissed off about on May Day was the fact that thousands of immigrants were taking up the red flags, including a contingent of FMLNers. What pisses off Chuck is when the Commies become the pole of opposition and so he tries to marginalize them in the same way that O'Reilly does (a lunatic fringe). Unfortunately for Chuck, in this post-9/11 new world order, Food not Bombs and the Zapatistas are just not gonnna cut it (and aren't cutting it), and that's become increasingly clear. Listen to Dick Morris, he's not worried about Anarchist POC bringing millions to the White House... but he does think WCW has the potential to.

Thanks O'Reilly. This is exactly the type of polarization that we need. To be attacked by the enemy is a good thing. You don't want to go down in history on the same side as the enemy do you Chuck?

Red Star Mafia

You noticed that too?

You must be a lunatic.

shinethepath

Some quick points

On WCW, I definately call to question this whole sale revisionist platform RCP is putting out there to unite with WCW simply because it is a movement with potential. Isn't this the very essence of falling into the "movement is everything" crowd. I believe so. I think it is utterly ridiculous that people are asking others, like Chuck, to join in with WCW action and than hash it out. Firstly, as anyone knows who has ever been at a World Cant Wait meeting...it doesn't work like that. There is nothing to really quite has out when all intitiatives are decided by a top down steering committee and when there is a call that might be out of touch with basic reality.

Yes I am sorry to say, WCW's call doesn't meet with reality. There are some nice poetic flares, and there are certain aspects which are true....but WCW is a grotesque simplification of the current political framework, and now possibly out of date. It is this same aspect of alarmism that set essentially in motion RCP's position on the Nuclear Exchange between USSR and the USA, does anyone else remember that great Soviet War?

"The Coming Civil War," WCW, Nuclear Exchange, all are imbedded in the same mechanicism and methodology in the RCP.

Further the comparison with Marco's popularity to Avakians self-promoted genuis is not apt. Yes there are similarities, many people probably admire Marcos and probably a good many harp on every word he says as gospel. However there is indeed a difference between Marco's tours in Mexico and Avakian's "Culture of Appreciation." The Zapatistas do not promote Marcos' work and thought as solely the only basis of unity. RCP does. If you do not accept Avakian as the 4th flame of MLM, then you can at most engage people on the subject...but it is doubtful if you can significantly voice yourself within the "elastic ball" that is around the RCP. This is probably above all that turns many good hearted people off...it isn't the "centralism" or etc. etc. (insert typical Anarchist criticism here), it is the utter real fact that you merely CAN'T have a voice in an organization that is ideologically shallow and closed around dogma.

WCW activist

What is "grotesque" about the work we are doing?

Over simplification in a call to action?

I'm shocked. I even heard there is gambling at Rick's.

Hope to see you this weekend, too, ShineThePath.

Red Star Mafia

Wholesale revisionism? Grotesque?

Dude.

Perspective.

shinethepath

I never said the work that is being done is grotesque, I said the analysis is a groteque simplification.

There is a difference.

The analysis of WCW and its vision is shallow and wrong. It is the same analysis of course that drives the whole perspective of "Coming Civil War."

And calling the tactics of merely having "unity" is the basis for revisionism. One splits into Two, not Two into One right? I can see there being unity with people like Chuck (who comes from an Anarchist perspevtive) or myself (who is a Maoist independent of an organization) however when the analysis itself is not correct and you believe it not to be so, how can you? I mean I am sorry...I don't think that Christian 'Fascists' are the sole source of this direction...nor that we are moving there.

Now if we talk about unity on an Anti-Imperialist level, or on a Woman's Choice level, etc..this is different because it is wrapped around real world conditions that manifest itself in a Capitalist society. But to give a fuzzy analysis about what we have to do, otherwise we have Christian Fascism...yes I have a problem with this.

I am sorry I am one of those prisoners who asks what the plan is if we escape and after we escape. It would be logical to do so

shinethepath

Oh and I might attend the WCW convention, as a observer...probably not as much as a participant...if that is allowed.

Fordham Law is just cross town from my school.

ZACK

I should be there, too. Hope to see many of you.

JJ

Christopher Day wrote-

"1968 was a HUGE success. It radically shook up the whole world and frankly redefined what it meant to be a human being on this planet. Does that mean that everything that was fought for then was won?"

The sixties were a unique historical situation that was unlike any one that came before it and will be unlike anything that has come and will come after it. The movements of the sixties radically changed views about gender, race and personal freedom; mostly for the positive. But if you have to say who the future belonged to in terms of real power post 1968-SDS or YAF-it was the latter. Considering that a large part of conservative success was due to white backlash, there was little the left could do without giving in to racism to stop it. But to continue to glorify the world of “The Year of the Heroic Guerilla” is to ignore the actual world of 2006. It’s like Trots talking about workers militias to fight fascists as if we were in 1936 Spain.

Any of you all remember “No Business As Usual”? I guess we didn’t have a nuclear war, so maybe the RCYB’s various flag burnings and disruptions of high schools had their effect.

“The fight for public opinion is critical and actions like those carried out at he Dems press conference are something we need to see a lot more of. The majority of the people in this country oppose this war, but that opposition is impotent unless it is expressed in a manner that implies a threat to social peace for the powers that be. The action at the Capitol reached millions and undoubtedly inspired others to consider similar actions where they live.”

That’s just it. A lot of people in power were scared by SDS, SNCC, the Black Panthers etc. More than they should have as we now know in hindsight. They are not scared by WCW. They have other things on their mind like the war in Iraq and voter dissatisfaction. To think actions like yelling at Pelosi in public threatens social peace is insane. The fact that anti-Iraq war Dems like Webb and Tester came out of no where to knock out two entrenched Republican Senators in Red states did a lot more to affect public opinion than the comical “Bush Step Down Rallies”. I’m not knocking direct action and demos when they can have a real world effect. President Kennedy and Johnson could be swayed by the civil rights movement in the South. Not always for altruistic reasons, but because they had pragmatic reasons for doing so. That made the civil rights movement produce results. Obviously Bush could care less about WCW, but no one else, including most Americans besides Bill O’ Reily seems to care either.

In response to Burningman, I support resistance to injustice but if small time stunts which are only covered by Fox News is the best we can do, we might as well pack it in.

“If so this is a textbook example of how anarchists embracing red-baiting leads them into the arms of liberals.”


I’m not giving the RCP a hard time because they are “traitors”, anti-capitalist, agents of a foreign power etc. And at least they don’t apologize for hideous dictators like Hussein and Milosevic. I criticize them because they are a goofy sect-cult that pastes thirty year old photos of their chairman over most of their literature. Up until recently, Taylor appeared on Fox News with a RCYB T-shirt that had a picture of a guy with a rifle. They are a cartoon parody of communists, which could explain their current size. There inherent sectarian weirdness make it impossible that they will ever organize a mass movement. Rallies of a couple hundred don’t count. I think the Black Bloc can be as goofy, but I don’t hear about them anymore. The last time Communists had mass influence in America was when a guy named Earl Browder was the big red in charge; and he is not a very popular guy among the ultra-left Leninists still around today.

Christopher Day

Does yelling at Congressional Dems threaten social peace?

In and of itself, of course not really. But the point is not to limit ourselves to a single action but rather to take actions that expand the realm of possibilities. Writing letters to members of congress is mistaken not because they don't listen (in a limited sense I think sometimes they do), but because its a dead end, it leads to nothing qualitatively different in our relationship with power.

Disrupting a press conference, in contrast, is an embryonic expression of possible greater acts of disruption. These sorts of little skirmishes are how we obtain experience, how we grow our groups from six people to twenty, how we prepare peoples consciousness as best we can for bigger challenges. Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow. Or, it takes a single spark to light a prairie fire, or whatever.

There are many things that are different now than from the 60s, but the basic necessity of a willingness to resist even when the odds seem poor at the moment is a constant.

Was the 60s followed by a backlash? Sure it was. Was that backlash the fault of revolutionaries who crossed lines they shouldn't have? I don't think so, even if such events were used as grist for the mill by the powers that be intent on discrediting the left.

Revolutionary movements are very messy things involving all sorts of forces acting, often in contradiction to each other. When the possibility of revolution seems to be on the table all sorts of people step up with their ideas and projects. This is neccesary, but it inevitably involves mistakes that, if things turn out badly, will be used to (mis)represent the movement in the minds of people who weren't there or who were but for whom it is convenient to forget.

If this war is going to be stopped it is going to have to involve some sort of fundamental rupture in the passivity of progressive-minded but essentially demobilized forces. That won't happen without smaller forces like WCW or Code Pink who are willing to risk looking foolish in the process. Even if these groups never succeed in rallying millions under their banners they can play a critical catalytic role in getting things moving. Sometimes goofy sects have an important role to play in the larger ecology of social change. Sometimes what looks like a goofy sect evolves into or converges with or contributes personnel to something bigger and healthier when conditions make such an organism viable.

I've already stated elsewhere that I think the RCP is a self-limiting formation as it presently conducts itself. But when we consider their initiative vis a vis the war we need to always ask "compared to what?" And in the context of the larger anti-war movement dominated by UFPJ and ANSWER it seems clear to me that WCW is playing a salutory role of popularizing the idea of resistance and promoting the idea of the need to challenge the whole present regime (which in turn opens the discussion of the possible need for more systemic change). When someone else steps up and starts doing this better I won't hesitate to support them. But until then I can't help but regard most of these criticisms as destructive sectarian sniping.

the non-leftist

"I'll resist saying that it's a natural outcome of anarchism, but it does reflect the roots of anarchism in bourgeois liberalism."

If I may ask leftclick...what leftwing ideology does not have its roots in bourgeois liberalism?

There has been a recent strain of anarchist thought to get beyond this into a more post-ideological framwork that does not involve the nonsense of justice and equality. Last I checked, leftists still generally believe in those mantras.

"This passivist anarchism is a symptom of the problem, not a solution."

Passive B? It was the anarchos who laid the ground work for Seattle while the leftovers were still choking off to when the next historical even will happen. It all happened under the radar of course devoud of any big 'national' campains. Many think those currents have fizzled out. But just you watch. There's more anarchist activity on a local level in North America then ever before. And local is what matters.

not time for fear

http://counterpunch.org/jacobs04122006.html

This is a great article about fear and passivity by Ron Jacobs on CounterPunch.

I wish the anarchists luck on their "local" efforts. I also hope they raise their heads up a bit and realize that there's more to life than consensus of a dozen people in one room.

Big cheers to Sunsara for raising the flag, so to speak.

Let's look to the March protests for a big turnout and a spirit of resitance in place of complaint.

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