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by Steve Hampton
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2003 at 10:14 PM
Radical elements of the anti-war movement have used "breakway marches," in which a smaller group breaks away from the main (peaceful and legal) march, and engages in "direct action" of some sort, to good effect in SF, LA, & NYC. At this early stage of the movement, that is probably a good idea. However, once war with Iraq actually breaks out in earnest, radical anti-capitalists should seek to seize control of the main marches themselves, wresting them away from the reformist misleaders, and taking the streets in a massive showing of the power of the people.
The anti-war movement has grown impressively in just a short time, far faster than it did in the 1960's. In large part, that is due to the internet as a tool of communication, but there are doubtless other factors involved as well. Besides the truly massive main demonstrations, which have been completely peaceful and legal, there have also been smaller, more militant and radical, demonstrations, which have broken away from the main march, and engaged in some kind of "direct action": blocking traffic, breaking windows, etc. At this still relatively early stage of the movement, that is probably a good tactic. But it would be much more effective if the entire march could be led into overflowing the bounds of bourgeois legality, and taking the streets in a massive showing of the power of the people. In order to do this, radical anti-capitalists (anarchists and communists), instead of separating themselves from the main demo, must make judicious use of bullhorns to take control of the crowds away from the reformist misleaders. Already the rank and file at the demonstrations show little enthusiasm for the limp, pathetic messages emanating from the speakers' platforms, from Democratic politicians, "men of God," and the like. People have become fed up with the whole contemptible sell-out reformist crowd, which seeks to channel their anger and outrage back into the system, and in particular into support for the Democratic Party. They can be won over to chanting radical slogans, instead of the namby pamby, milquetoast, virtually content-free slogans of the reformist misleaders. Slogans such as: "Strike, strike, strike-- strike against the war!", "Bring the war home!", "Two, three, many Vietnams!", "Defeat U.S. Imperialism!", "Down With Fascist Pigs!" (this one especially when police attacks occur or are threatened), "Soldiers-- Turn the Guns Around!", and others in that vein, can galvanize the protesters to truly militant action-- especially right after the attack on Iraq occurs, when feelings will be running high.
Take the movement to the next level! Bush and the ruling class are stepping up police state terror and repression: we need to step up our resistance also.
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