"A slow bleed strategy is amazingly immoral and the people who are doing the actual bleeding don't have the last names of Clinton, McCain, Pelosi, Reed, Parisier or Mazzie." --Cindy Sheehan
THE SO-CALLED ANTIWAR MOVEMENT--More like a bowel-movement with Moveon.org in-charge--wha? In-charge? Yup, they're the only antiwar group that Congress will meet with. So, they believe in defunding the war in Iraq, right? Wrong. Not-even-close. Not even an immediate drawdown of troops. Cindy wrote a piece that's being featured on Michael Moore's website, and it seems nowhere else. Not Huffingtonpost.com, zippo.
Cindy--and people like myself--are the real movement, the grass-roots, but if you look at the history of progressive movements in this country, you'll find the all-too-often occurrence of upper middle-class and wealthy individuals hijacking them from the ordinary people who started them. To these establishment-types, people like myself an Cindy are "too firebrand," or "too radical."
MoveOn.org, which I recently learned was the American "anti-war" movement [Ed.-a recent NYT article stated this.], is not calling for an immediate withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, but favors a "slow bleed" strategy. MoveOn will not call for de-funding the war because they don't want to be perceived as "anti-troop" when we all know that the reich-wing has never supported our troops. The 21,500 troops who are going to be surged into Baghdad will not even have body armor until this summer. Hopefully, they can dodge the bullets and shrapnel until summer, or until MoveOn wakes up and realizes that the only way to support our troops in the field is to bring them back to the States so they don't have to worry about body armor, clean water or edible food. (MichaelMoore.com, 02.21.2007)Oh, I still "sign" all of their petitions, but you'll never find me giving a dime to Moveon.org for the aforementioned reasons. But there's another reason. In early-June of 2006, I was invited via email as an ostensible "member" to attend a press ceremony/"protest" in-front of the office building that held the office of now-former 2nd Indiana congressional district representative Chris Chocola.
Chocola was the model for the lockstep GOP congressman, giving Bush the rubber-stamp on basically everything. MPJC had teamed-up with Moveon.org to do this, and the event was not grassroots, and was basically staged as a publicity-stunt. That's fine, but when ordinary people like myself have no say in it, what's the point?
The ostensible antiwar group I was marginally associated-with at that time was--and is--called MPJC, primarily comprised of Notre Dame University and St. Mary's faculty--hardly a shining-example of "grassroots" organizing, and basically a bunch of privileged academics and bourgies who don't have any real convictions.
It's a cold day in hell when students from Notre Dame and St. Mary's attend, and while I Many of them are tenured professors, or insulated in some form, so getting-arrested isn't any skin off of their backs--but they won't do anything.
They've never done any non-violent civil disobedience around here, they just stand on a corner every week, have some impotent meetings, and seem to be accomplishing nothing. Recently, however, they did meet with Democratic Representative Joe Donnelly, a step in the right-direction (they even asked him hard-questions). Anyway, I was willing to risk my last job if necessary, but I realized these folks aren't serious. They wouldn't have your back, and they're cold and unfriendly--not exactly the vanguard of anything.
The Moveon event was pretty lame. I literally left work on my lunch break, speeding to get there on-time. There had been no admonitions on bringing one's own sign to the event whatsoever. Did I mention I was invited by Moveon.org as a member? The event was in an open plaza in-front of the office building that housed Chocola's office, and they had "our" group in the center of the it. It's almost shaped like a stage. I arrived with my own sign--it said "Impeach Bush."
As I walked over to the MPJC folks, I was immediately accosted by a massively-busted (yeah, I know) young woman in her late-20s who told me violently that "You have to leave, this is our event." She even grabbed my arm, and stated, "Your sign is distracting from our message here. We're trying to send a message that Chocola is aiding war profiteering."
That must have been why all the signs--pre-made by Moveon.org, and imposed upon MPJC--had "Halliburton" writ-large on them. This was strange, since Halliburton and Chocola had only a meager-connection with one another. Whatever, but I was so humiliated and angry that I was shaking. The last-time I felt this was when I argued with morons during the Gulf War, and my involvement against that war went so far as to earn me death-threats.
The harpie continued: "You're going to have to leave." "I'm not leaving," I said, and shot-back: "Is this private property that you own?" She wouldn't answer me, and kept invading my personal space. Things continued to get ugly, and it finally ended with her and I agreeing that I wouldn't be in all the group-shots. "You can't stand with them," she said so warmly that I could feel the chill and see my own breath. It lasted no more than a minute, but it was incredibly emotional and ugly.
A journalist from the South Bend Tribune was standing 3-feet from us as it occurred, and asked me, "Are you two on the same side? What was that about?" "Yes, and I don't understand what just happened to me," I replied. He took my name, and I thanked him for his professionalism. "Well, sometimes, a degree in journalism comes-in-handy!" he smiled. I smiled too, but I was still shaking and furious.
MPJC has an email-list for its members and auxiliaries. I sent an email to all of them, and was immediately told that the event both "didn't happen", and "was nothing much." That was from the wife of one of the group's founders, a private physician no-less. The insensitivity was so great that I let them all have a piece of my mind on the issues of what happened, and why they were wrong. I wish I had quit then, but I remained for three-more-months, a regrettable decision. Frankly, groups like MPJC need to dissolve to be replaced by real grassroots ones comprised only of working-class individuals who have come there spontaneously as I had.
These kind of people are the ilk that legends like Rosa Luxembourg, the Knights of Labor, the IWW ("wobblies"), people who fought and died for the 8-hour-day, the unionist movement, anonymous civil rights workers, and all the other grassroots progressives of the last 150-years would have shrugged-off: they are counterrevolutionaries who want to control our movements to preserve their petty-privileges. They are cowards. Whether they know it or not, they're part of the problem and need to be jettisoned from any and all leadership positions in what little there is of an American antiwar and progressive movement. The place that it really shines is the internet, but try telling the bourgies this.
They are basically worthless roadblocks that should be removed, but I personally believe that events will become so desperate that they're going to be rolled-over anyway--a situation of their own making. Radical-actions and ideas are required. Serious inquiries only. If people like the MPJC leadership had been in-charge of the Civil Rights movement, Blacks would still have separate bathrooms, and be riding in the back of the bus. Quit fooling yourselves, and reflect that the main-reason few are joining you on your corners is because they intuitively know bullshit when they see it.
Caveat emptor, another dead hand. And don't give any money to Moveon.org if you believe in grassroots politics that are genuine, because that's not what they're about at all. It would be better spent on porn and beer. God bless Cindy Sheehan. Get out of our movement, you're only fooling yourselves, comfortable people. Now, give me a good-paying goddamned job to-boot.
PS: The South Bend Tribune never covered the incident. Draw your own conclusions.
02.24.2007: I should add that the sign I was carrying ("Impeach Bush") was provided to myself by MPJC . There was nothing in the Moveon emails, or MPJC emails that said, "don't bring a sign, they will be provided." This omission confused a few dummies at the DailyKos. But why should they provide signs? What does that have to do with a "grassroots" movement? That's a top-down approach, which is the core-problem facing this nation. It stinks of stage-managing and authoritarianism. I'd say, "save your money," but I know you will anyway. Let thy conscience be salved, give it directly to Cindy and the Gold Star Mothers.