[Marxism] Re: About last night's demo
mikedf at amnh.org
Fri Oct 6 13:00:43 MDT 2006
I wasn't at the event and have only second and third-hand information
about what happened. But, it seems to me we shouldn't be so quick to
dismiss the protestors' actions. There are several considerations,
here, and not just whether the action was the product of a mass
movement. A particular tactic can serve to build a movement or raise
awareness, demoralize the enemy, or even be the product of legitimate
outrage by the oppressed, as "ultra" as it may seem to some. Or all
of these. In 1974 or so, if I remember correctly, Milton Friedman
spoke at my "alma mater". Our local solidarity organization (CUSLAR),
organized to picket outside, leaflet at the doors and unfurl banners
and "raise questions" inside, principally directed against U.S. --
and Milton Friedman's -- support for the coup that had taken place in
Chile. Was this "infantile theatrics"? The Chilean refugee community
participated in planning our intervention. Following the
intervention, a lively debate occurred on campus regarding the role
of the CIA in Chile and elsewhere, and student interest in CUSLAR
surged. So, where do you draw the line? The Columbia students weren't
violent. They didn't deny other students' rights to hear Gilchrist --
seems to me his own bodyguards and the YR's did that.
>Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 10:09:30 -0400
>From: "Mark Lause" <MLause at cinci.rr.com>
>Subject: RE: [Marxism] Re: About last night's demo
>To: "'Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition'"
> <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
>Message-ID: <000201c6e951$0d7c98d0$b5ff4347 at downstairspc>
>Franklin Jennings wrote, "You ever consider that maybe the actual students
>-- regardless of politics-- just don't want a bunch of fascists on campus?
>It's pretty basic. Doesn't require a lot of intense analysis."
>Some people might call a swallow reflex "intense analysis." And that's the
>issue here. The fact is that "actual students" had many different views of
>this. The point is to take action that will shift those views. Did the
>action shift those views your direction or not? At this stage, no other
>question ultimately matters.
>In the mid 1970s, the Nazis took to the streets in Chicago. Some wanted to
>attack them. Some wanted to stick their heads as far up their asses as
>possible and pretend it wasn't happening. But tens of thousands of people
>responded with no real organization capable of bringing more than a hundred
>or so. Those people weren't ready to storm the police lines to get at the
>Nazis, but they were ready to show up and make their sentiments felt.
>Most importantly, you want to do what you can to bring those people back to
>the next action and in larger numbers. Again no other question matters at
>My experience has always been that the most consistent advocates of small
>group theatrics are the misguided, the liberal, and the plainclothes.
Doctoral Candidate in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior
City University of New York
Molecular Systematics Laboratory
Department of Invertebrate Zoology
American Museum of Natural History
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New York, NY 10024
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