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Anti-War Protests

by Alex Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 5:52 AM

Are anti-war activities appropriate tactics? The author's thoughts.

I've seen several recent posts on various Indymedia sites advocating that anti-war protests take place. While I agree with the moral stance of these posts, the authors are basically fighting the last war, and that's bad tactics. When we were at war in Vietnam, the anti-war stance was appropriate. We simply had no business being there. All the little wars since then - Grenada, Panama, etc. were appropriate targets for an anti-war protest.

During the Gulf War there was a little more moral wiggle room - Saddam had tanks poised on the Saudi border, and there's some validity for the argument that our intervention kept him from crossing into Saudi Arabia. Just to point at just one of the many worst case scenarios in the days immediately before the Gulf War, if Saddam had taken the Muslim holy city of Mecca every country in the area would have gone to war immediately. There might have been millions of dead. Nonetheless, opposition to our entering the Gulf War was morally sound and tactically acceptable.

However, there's no way to keep this war from happening. That battle is already lost. Consider a few things:

First, there's just been too much blood spilled. Somewhere in the neighborhood of five thousand people died in these attacks. That's twice as many as died when Tojo attacked Pearl Harbor, and MOST OF THEM ARE CIVILIANS. By now, every American has watched them being killed on television at least once, and they would be REALLY REALLY angry about it even without the constant propaganda.

Second, the target of the first attack was a major financial center. The TV news drones keep telling us that this was an attack not just on America, but on our economy. While that's an oversimplified position pushed by whorish propagandists, it's also halfway true. Dozens of major and minor economic players had offices in or near the WTC, and even the one's who didn't actually have offices in the buildings that collapsed have had their business at least temporarily interrupted. You do realize that when everything is said and done several more buildings in the area will be declared write-offs and torn down - if they don't collapse first.

Third, the Pentagon was attacked. That's a real and serious military attack on THE military target, and the corporate propagandists are driving the point home to everyone who hasn't already figured it out. Every officer in every branch of our armed forces is currently watching CNN and thinking, "That could have been me. That might be me next time. I think I'll advocate bombing the hell out of everyone who might have done this." Most senators and congressmen are thinking the same thing.

Fourth, most people in America want a war now. I'm not talking about a small majority. At this point I suspect that ninety percent of the country wants to see at least some kind of violent action taken.

What these factors mean, taken together, is that WAR WILL HAPPEN. There's nothing that can stop it now. Since that battle is already lost, an anti-war stance is not tactically sound. Not only will people taking an anti-war stance look foolish, there are also hordes of corporate shills who are ready to pounce on anyone with an anti-war sign and shrilly denounce them as traitors, and there are dozens of right wing politicos who would happily take advantage of anti-war demonstrations as an excuse to curb our civil liberties. These fascists would be extremely happy to have a chance to link the anti-globalization movement, which is making slow but steady progress, to a (heavily propagandized as traitorous) anti-war movement.

Please don't play into their hands.

This doesn't mean that you have to take a pro-war stance. It just means that you need to keep you eye on the important issues and take action on them.

Issue One: Globalization. Continue to protest the FTAA, World Bank, WTO, etc. If you end up speaking to a reporter, simply tell them that these are important issues regardless of war, and that the social justice you're asking for is a fair, appropriate way to keep others from being hostile to the United States - not by appeasing them, but by granting common people everywhere the same civil rights and economic advantages which Americans enjoy.

Issue Two: Civil Liberties. Obviously the right wing politicos and corporate leaders would love to use the coming conflict to restrict civil liberties. Portray yourselves as a watchdog whose job it is to "make sure that necessary wartime restrictions are kept within constitutional limits." (or some similar phrasing) then fight each restriction tooth and nail.

Issue Three: The right wing looks upon this coming conflict as a chance to spread neo-colonialism, corporate control, and religious extremism even further into the third world. Spend some of your political capital on what happens after the war. Push for carefull controls over our behavior toward defeated people. Work to make sure that conquered nations (and there WILL BE conquered nations) get to have fair and free elections, full restoration of water, gas and electrical services under government control, rebuilding of schools, full civil liberties, etc.

Let me repeat my opinion. There is no way to stop this war. However, if you avoid a reflexive anti-war stance, you'll probably be able to operate more or less freely during the war, and you'll get big points for political maturity.


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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 17 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
This is immoral Peacenik Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 7:31 AM
big points for supporting murder anti-imperialist Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 8:21 AM
I Don't Like It, But... Alex Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 9:03 AM
Two Wrongs Don't Make Right!!! Anti-Fascist Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 10:19 AM
Comrade alex Freedom Fighter Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 10:42 AM
And the winnner is.... Outsider Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 10:51 AM
Alex is a snitch Freedom Fighter Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 10:57 AM
Alex is a snitch Freedom Fighter Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 11:41 AM
This is a recruiters wet dream ravah Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 11:46 AM
Question for ravi Just Say No to US Totalitarism Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 11:56 AM
whose rules? Michael Balliro Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 12:49 PM
Lefty split Outsider Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 12:58 PM
Seig Heil, Outsider! Anti-Fascist Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 2:03 PM
Who's a facist Outsider Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 2:40 PM
Outsider enlists Freedom Fighter Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 2:52 PM
You're Probably Right About That. Alex Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 3:52 PM
Anti-War Movement Marconi Saturday, Sep. 15, 2001 at 5:52 PM

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