Saturday, January 19, 2008


Anti-war groups retreat on funding fight:
After a series of legislative defeats in 2007 that saw the year end with more U.S. troops in Iraq than when it began, a coalition of anti-war groups is backing away from its multimillion-dollar drive to cut funding for the war and force Congress to pass timelines for bringing U.S. troops home.

The groups believe this switch in strategy can draw contrasts with Republicans that will help Democrats gain ground in November and bring the votes to pass more dramatic measures. But it is a long way from the early months of 2007, when Democrats were freshly in power and momentum for a dramatic shift in Iraq policy seemed overpowering.
“There was a consensus that last year was not productive,” John Isaacs, executive director of Council for a Livable World, said of a meeting attended by a coalition of anti-war groups last week. “Our expectations were dashed.”
The meeting, held at an office on K Street, was attended by around 20 representatives of influential anti-war groups, including and Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, which spent $12 million last year opposing the war.
Isaacs said he thought the meeting would be a difficult one, with an adamant faction pressing for continued focus on timelines and funding. It wasn’t to be.

“We got our heads together and decided to go a different way,” Isaacs said. “The consensus was not to keep beating our heads against the wall trying to block every funding bill — not because we don’t agree with it, but because we don’t have the votes.”
Moira Mack, a spokeswoman for AAEI, was also at the meeting. “There was a lot of agreement that this is really the way that we can best get our message across about endless war versus end-the-war and draw clear distinctions between anti-war Democrats and pro-war Republicans. They really don’t want to end the war. This is the perfect legislative opportunity.”
For the anti-war folks to tie their fortunes to the Democrat party is truly a fool's game. Do you not get it yet? The Dems generally groove on war and empire as much as their GOP counterparts. Look at your presidential presidential prosepects. The three front-runners, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards (the first two with the neoliberal DLC seal of approval) have a reputation of being quite hawkish. The Dem party has done everything it can to eliminate the only two legitimately anti-war candidates from the process. The most brazen critic of the status quo - Mike Gravel - was the first to go. Kucinich, who's a bit more willing to go along to get along than Gravel, is well on his way out. Your three front-runners all are very adamant about forcing universities and colleges to accept the presence of recruiters and ROTC on their campuses. They will not end the war on terra. Look at the Democrat leadership in Congress. Pelosi? Reid? They're both jokes when it comes to ending the Iraq War. There are Democrats in Congress who want to bring back the fucking draft (e.g. Charles Rangel)! Get the picture?

I'd strongly suggest that the only thing that the anti-war movement, to the extent that it actually exists in this country - has to lose by cutting its ties to the Dems is its chains. Until then, you'll have a "leadership" among the movement that is conflicted (and I'm being generous in using this term) between its mission and its obligation to prop up the Democrats. As for those allegedly anti-war organizations that have wimped out, they deserve to wither away. Move on from That bunch wasn't especially trustworthy to begin with.

Or as I noted a few months ago in So Where's The Change?
As time has moved on, I've witnessed a lot of people come and go. They always seem to have good intentions, but, for one reason or another, the commitment just isn't there. It's no use asking where they went because they probably weren't there in the first place. How can one possibly be "aware" when he/she is out of it 99% of the time? If anarchy's nothing more than an excuse to get wasted and fall over, I'll have no part of it.

Beware of the person who would rather listen to records instead of thinking for him/her self. The bombs will be dropping and they'll be listening to their stereo.

Music is one of the greatest forms of free expression in the world today, and a powerful inspirational tool, but music, in itself, will never change a thing. The real change lies within you. Working for change requires thinking, creating, acting, writing, reading, learning, and, most of all, living.

If you aren't right with yourself about what you're doing, you're wasting your time. The contradictions are endless. Don't talk to me about unity if you're not willing to join hands. Don't talk to me about peace while you're bashing heads. And please don't bore me with half-witted statements about how things could be, if you're not prepared to give 'em a fight.

That was the intro to an old friend's zine, Pressure #4, from around 1986. A couple more issues would come out before Jon folded it for good in 1988 (his zine ended up being the first place to publish any of my work; an act of kindness on his part for which I am eternally grateful). I lost touch with that friend (Jon) about a decade ago, and was thinking about him recently and decided to dust off some old zines from back in the day (for the kids out there, zines were the precursor to today's blogs, and as a form of communication seem to have plenty of life left in them). A lot has changed in the last couple decades (we'd no longer be talking about records and stereos but rather mp3s and Ipods, for example), but a lot has remained constant. Folks with good intentions continue to come and go, giving plenty of half-witted statements about how things might be if only we vote for their candidate or donate before splitting for the greener pastures of exurbia.

Whether we're talking about some dope lyrics from an aware band, or the words on a blog, keep in mind that these are tools that will hopefully inspire you to look at the world in a different way, or to make a difference in you particular corner of our aching planet. They do no good if you try to be a passive recipient - you have to think, feel, create, improvise on whatever you're reading or listening to in order to get anywhere. That much, my friends, has not changed one bit since the days when an old friend was giving me a copy of his zine to check out.

The good news is that even in these dark days, there are many more good people than I could ever begin to count who are doing what they can to increase the pressure today. My old friend was on to something, as tomorrow we will explode.
When some idiot starts babbling about "change" ask them where it is. When they inevitably prove incapable of doing so, tell 'em where to get off and do something more productive, that will actually increase the pressure TODAY.

Hat tip to Lenin's Tomb.

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