Monday, May 30, 2011

Protesting Doesn't Work! Here is Why and Some Exceptions to the Rule.

As the title suggest I will be addressing the issue of protesting. I hope here to point out the flaws and boundaries that protesting has as well as the good effect it can have and why/how some protest are more effective than others. I doubt this post will have any major break throughs as most of what can be said about protesting has already been said, but I think it is important to bring this issue to light because the US masses seem to be split on rather protesting matters or is generally helpful in any way.

Regular readers of this blog know that I subjectively do not see protesting as a legit form of struggle. I will try to point out objective reasons for why most protest are a waste of time and why some are successful.

I would like to start with why some protest are successful. Hopefully I can point out at the same time why most protest are not successful. If we look back to the 2006 pro-immigrant rights protest we can see easily why they were a huge success.

  • they were on point
  • they were organized by the groups who's interest was being represented
  • they had national media coverage
  • they knew how to use the images that the media were showing to their advantage

1) They were on point: The reason for having these protest were two fold, one was to raise awareness to the issue. Second reason was to show that these immigrants wanted to be apart of the US not tear it apart like some conservative pundits had suggested. As anyone who paid attention would know, these protest were huge, getting half a million protesters in LA (1) and other cites getting large numbers as well (2) (look for protest numbers under the timeline in the article) These protest were not your average 30 issue protest that are thrown in LA and DC every year attracting 50,000 people. These protest were organized around one issue; immigration reform! One short, sweet message.

About the annual anti-war, pro-jobs, pro-education, pro-immigration, pro-Palestine, anti-imperialist, pro-universal healthcare etc etc etc march that attracts about 50,000 protesters and gets no coverage from the media? Lets be clear here, if you have 50,000 reasons and slogans for your protest it is not an accomplishment to get one person to show up for each cause. Let alone the fact that having "large" protest in one or two cities isn't going to get you media coverage. It isn't media censorship and it isn't that the media is ignoring you. The media wants new news, these protest have happened so many times, over and over and over again that the media has no reason to covers these annual played out protest. There is nothing new or exciting about them. But these immigration reform protest were different, they were nation wide and had one united cause. And another reason they were successful leads right into my next point.

2) They were organized by the groups who's interest was being represented: It is no secret to people who have been inside of the protesting organizing circles that only about 2-3 groups organize the average DC protest. What these groups tend to do (even if it is unintentional) is highjack the cause from the people who are actually in the struggle and try to 'lead the struggle'. But these protest were organized by the immigrant population for the immigrant community. The Spanish speaking radio stations took up the cause calling people into the streets. They were organic they were spontaneous they were exciting and they were not full of side-pet issues.

3) They had national media coverage: In order for a protest to be successful is for it to achieve something. Sure they are fun and it is cool to yell things but at the end of the day they need to accomplish something or else it was a waste of time and effort. These 2006 protest got the whole nation talking about immigration reform and they helped sway public opinion. How did they do this? They got coverage on the national news channels. The uniqueness of the protest happening during the heated debates that were taking place in DC over immigration reform created an event and atmosphere that the news stations couldn't stay away from. Thus the protesters were given a voice in the national debate as millions and millions of people watched millions of people marching all across the country.

4) They knew how to use the images that the media were showing to their advantage: Another reason why these protest were successful was because they paid attention to their image that was being shown to the nation. Spanish radio stations called for the protesters to leave their Mexican flags at home so as to not fuel xenophobic fear. It was a success! What the whole country saw wasn't a large number of immigrants carrying their respective nations flags, but instead they saw immigrants carrying American flags which spoke 'we are Americans to and we are proud to be in America'. No matter how the right wanted to screw these protest they couldn't use their covenanted "un-American" attack thus killing their voice and striking a winning blow for the protesters.

Now that we have discussed why some protest are successful and a little bit about why some are not I'd like to move on to why most protest are unsuccessful.

Most smaller protesting groups tend to have one pet issue (free mumia, police brutality, anti-imperialist etc). While the nation wide protesting organizations tend to try to take on all issues and have a tendency to take over peoples struggles. Sometimes a smaller group will set up a protest and ask a larger group to co-coordinate a protest with them and what will happen is that the original reason for the protest will be hijacked by everyone try to push their own pet issue. The news won't cover a story about an anti-war protest that has ten to twenty other side issues, it isn't news anymore it has been happening for over 30 years and it is boring.

There is always that group that discredits the integrity of the protest because instead of participating in it they are running around selling news papers or asking for donations or trying to recruit new people to their groups (so that they can donate regularly). Sometimes by the end of a protest you feel like you had been used, or that many small groups were using the protest to further their cause.

Another reason why a lot of protest fail is that they are not organized by the people who are suppose to be represented. I was even upset when I went to a pro-immigration rights march/protest and I saw maybe 5 immigrants. There was apparently about 10-15,000 people at this protest according to local news sources and it wasn't taken seriously because there were no immigrants at the protest. Not to mention it became awkward when the marchers started singing Christian songs (it was organized by a huge church who was having their international convention in our city)

I'm sick of people who say 'what else can we do' when I raise my critique of the chances of success in protesting something. What else can you do? Well you could organize along non-sectarian (I mean that you organize for revolution and not just for money and members, not that trots and stalinoids should unite necessarily) lines to grow revolutionary consciousness is one thing I can think of. You could stop wasting time and money on proven old and tried and failed tactics.

We should be weary of any socialist who is a pacifist and who thinks that protesting is going to somehow take down the system. These fakes are the ones who point to Egypt and claim that these protest took down the government and they claim that there was no violence, no looting, no riots, no destruction of police offices. Peaceful protest rarely accomplish anything, only in very rare instances does it have any effect at all. Even when they do accomplish anything they are usually accompanied with strikes, national actions etc.

The left really needs to reconsider their tactics and evaluate the effectiveness of their tactics. Useless, old, failure proven tactics are still being used and tried and true tactics are being cast aside. We all need to become theoretical contributes and come up with new tactics to help advance the slogan of communism.



Monday, May 9, 2011

What Does the Death of Osama Mean for US Politics?

First I would like to distance myself from the "deathers" (people who think the US government is lying about the death of Bin Laden) I do believe Osama to be dead even if the way they buried him was fishy (lol get it.) I think all stories from all sides point to the real death of Osama(1)(2).

Any one who watched the news the night that this news broke saw video of people celebrating in the streets. It was a block party styled celebration with people chanting national slogans and singing the national anthem and singing America the beautiful. I don't really want to call this nationalism as it is an insult to real nationalism (left-wing nationalism).

What we saw that night was the birth of a new feeling in the US, a more patriotic jingoism that has already existed in the US. Only now the people of the USA will have a excuse to express that jingoist patriotism more publicly and more forcefully. Ive heard the statement "Now that we have killed Osama we can end the war." while these comrades have the best of intentions and I agree that the war is now at a quagmire if it is not ended. We should know from the past, and the fact we live in an imperialist nation with a majority pro-imperialist population. The US government is not going to leave Afghanistan. The trade routes that Afghanistan hold is too valuable to the imperialist for them to let it go. Why else would imperialist powers through out history seek to conquer Afghanistan?

In fact the death of Osama, if anything will allow the Obama regime to muster enough support from the people to justify the invasion of say Libya or Syria or any number of other nations.

Ive also heard things said like "this patriotism over the death of Osama won't last with all of the budget cuts happening"(I'm paraphrasing) If you are a normal reader you already know I don't agree with this statement. If anything, Osama's death will pacify the people enough to allow the budget cuts to pass. Not that the people of the US were going to revolt to stop the budget cuts anyway.

I think that the death of Osama will spark patriotism in the liberals, much how 9/11 sparked patriot jingoism in the conservatives. The moderates may fall for this jingoist patriotism as well for the time being. The American people have waited a long time for revenge on Osama and it is only natural that this will spark patriotism.

But to someone who pays attention to the real situation in the US and doesn't live in their own world where the average citizen here doesn't trust the government. They would know that jingoist patriotism is a rampant disease in the USA that has been around for generations. The average person is generally proud to be an American even if they don't understand all that entitles.

The fact is that we should be vigilant as the government could use this patriotism to attack militant opposition groups. The government was already bold enough to attack the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the FRSO (FB) for supporting oppressed people of Colombia and Palestine. This could give them the public support they need to crack down on any group advocating for revolution as terrorist.



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Obama's re-election?

It has been a moot statement that I have been hearing people say for the last week or so. That because Osama was killed while Obama was in office that he will get re-elected.

But a few of these people are the same kind of people that would think that Trump would actually have a shot at winning the presidential race.

While it is no secret that Osama being killed on Obama's watch will win him some votes, I doubt it is the grain of rice that is going to tip the scales. There are many factors that will ensure his re-election baring he announces that he is an Islamic, communist, fascist.

A large factor to his re-election will be that liberals see his presidency as an improvement economically and morally from the bush administration. Though there is no basis for this thinking they will file back into the voting booths out of fear of the republicans getting back into office. Logic does not matter to these people, that is clear by the fact that we are still in a recession, unemployment is still too high, he gave us a corporate sell out health care bill, he gave the big banks billions of dollars while his people are going homeless because the banks who got billions of dollars are still kicking people out of their houses. All these facts aside, liberals still defend their capitalist-imperialist leader. Not to mention their great love for Obama as a politician and as a compromiser will drive them to vote for him again.

The biggest reason why Obama will win his re-election? Is that the republicans do not have a viable opponent to go up against Obama. It is no secret that swing voters in the US are the biggest idiot voters and will only vote for the best speech giver with the shortest answers at the debates. The republican party doesn't have any one with real charisma or even someone who anyone should want to hear speak.

Donald Trump is not a viable option, if he did get the republican nomination, all the liberals would have to do is a google search on trump to come up with enough dirt on him to ensure he doesn't get elected. The biggest scandal I can think of off the top of my head is the miss USA kissing another girl and Trump didn't strip her of her title. This small stupid scandal would be enough for the right wingers to label him a "gay lover" or something reactionary like that and he would lose by a land slide.

Mitt Romney didn't win the last nomination for the same reason he wouldn't win the national election. I know it sounds silly but he is a Mormon. Which means that to a large population of non-republican conservatives he is not a "real Christian" and won't be able to count on the conservative Christian votes like Bush and McCain did. I should point out however that right now Mitt Romney is the likely choice for the nomination of the republican party. Unless some random person comes from no where to steal the nomination I think it is fairly obvious that Romney will win the republican nomination and lose the national election.

Written by: Dustin Slagle

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My March Forward to Maoism! (updated and revised)

My path towards socialism started when I was 18. I had grown up in a poor family, my parents were working multiple jobs but we were still living in poor housing and unable to ever get ahead financially. Growing up I had always heard that here in the USA the hardest workers were rewarded by their hard work by moving up the "ladder" and thus achieving "the American dream".

Before I even became a teenager I knew the American dream was a lie. My dad never was home except to sleep, then he was off to another job. By the standards of "the American dream" we would have been millionaires, but we weren't and we never got our heads above the water. We never even made it to the "middle class". This helped me come to the realization that capitalism was a system of exploitation and inequality at a very young age.

I became a socialist after a trip I took to the south west. While down there I saw things that I never would have believed existed in the US. I went to lunch lines where I ended up giving all the food I had with me in my back pack to a guy who was living out of his car with his 9 year old child. This touched me deep down in a place I didn't know exited inside myself and I had to help them even if all I could offer was some deer jerky. I cried later that night because there was not more I could do for these people.

I also saw things such a shanty towns and people living in 3rd world like conditions. One thing I couldn't help but notice was that I was the only person that was white in that whole shanty town. People living in the worlds most gluttonous country should not be living in houses made out of gardening sheds and trash metal etc. After talking to some of the residents of this place One person told us he works for dollars a day sometimes his whole family only making 10 to 15 dollars a day. But because they were here "illegally" they couldn't report their conditions. Not to mention that there was a whole family (grandpa, grandma, mom, dad, uncle, aunt, sisters brothers all living in the same "house" (more like makeshift sheds.)

Seeing these kind of injustices on the people living in these conditions to me pointed to something very obvious; that there was a problem with the system and not just specifically the US government. After going on an education binge about politics and different kind of economic systems I realized that there were two problems facing the world; capitalism and imperialism. I then set out to find a system (if there was one) that could correct the problems that the world is facing.

From Independent to democratic Socialist to Marxist

I didn't jump right into revolutionary politics. I was a democrat supporter before I was 18 and at the age of 18 I started reading about socialism but still was in the "communism is bad" camp but at this time I saw socialism and communism and two completely different things. After looking different types of socialism up on the internet I became a democratic socialist. Because that is what MLK declared himself and at this time I was deeply inspired by MLK. I stayed in that camp for around a year and a half. Then I started learning about Che Guevara and reading his diaries which helped me compile a reading list which included Capital volume 1 and the Communist Manifesto and these two readings helped convert me to Marxism.

Once again like most of my advances in theory it was because of CHE's writings and speaches that encouraged to read Lenin's main works. Imperialism; the Higher form of Imperialism, What is to be Done etc. These readings struck me as pure common sense.

This is what lead me to eventually through self education and research become a self proclaimed Marxist. As one could imagine it didn't take me long to tie together imperialism and capitalism as soul mates after reading Lenin's works. I soon would come to call myself and uphold Marxist Leninism as the furthest advance in communist theory.

From M-L to M-L-M

When I first stared on the road to socialism, Maoism was still a bad word to me. The way I understood Maoism was that one person took power and exploited the masses to their benefit. I thought it to be a "capitalist state" idea. I also had the influence of some Trotskyist in my ear telling me that Maoism was only Stalinism. Which now I realize that they only wanted to scare me away from Maoism and for me to join their org. Once again it was the way CHE acted during the Cuban revolution and the rules he made for his army that were so close to that of Mao's rules. After reading about how and why he favored Chinese styled socialism I was inspired to read about Maoism. CHE had been in trouble for speaking out against the USSR socialism in favor of the Chinese (at the time Maoist) form of socialism.

About 2008 I tried to learn whatever I could about Chairman Mao. It was very hard to find anything that wasn't severely anti-Mao in my library and or book stores. So I tried to do some self research and asked people not only about Mao but about Maoism as an idea. Then one of my brothers sent me a link to the little red book. I was captivated by the whole book and was appalled that anyone had ever told me that Mao never contributed to the furtherance of socialism. Well that was just the beginning.

I started reading more and more (On New Democracy, Serve the People, on Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party,) then I was sent a link that would change my life forever. It was the most helpful thing I have ever applied to my actions and ideas up til that point. It explained the mass-line and how to apply it to everyday situations. Although this is not the 100% correct way to apply the mass-line, it is a good starting point for any beginner Maoist.

(this is the link I was sent)

Ive since been growing my knowledge about my local population and interjecting revolutionary ideas and actions whenever possible. I have had a great success with this tactic. I now understand the class divisions more clearly then I ever did. My work has been more effective than in the past and Maoism inspires me daily to struggle forward.

I now have the strongest faith in the poor proletarian classes to be the ones to carry the masses to the proletarian revolution. I believe in communal democracy, I am now a Maoist!

By:Dustin Slagle