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Scott Ritter Waging Peace
September 7, 2007 11:23 PM   Subscribe

Scott Ritter on Book TV: "Opposing this war is the easiest thing in the world to do, because it's the right thing to do. And yet, the anti-war movement can't get it's act together. That's why I wrote this book. The anti-war movement thinks that a strategy is holding a demonstration on a street corner, holding hands, lighting candles and singing Kumbia... No, that's not a strategy. That may qualify as a tactic. But a tactic divorced from strategy is just the 'noise before defeat.' ...That's why when I say, 'Waging Peace: The Art of War for the anti-war movement,' I use that terminology. I know there are some people in the anti-war movement that are against it. They say, 'There's no way we can support something like that.' Well then you will continue to get your butts kicked." [Previously]
posted by McLir (95 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
The anti-war movement thinks that a strategy is holding a demonstration on a street corner, holding hands, lighting candles and singing Kumbia...

And getting charged by cops...
posted by homunculus at 11:41 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like scott - lets start getting serious... how can we not get intense about our government basically tipping the rock off the cliff that has cost the lives of up to a million people (anyone remember pol-pot?) and created 2 million refugee?

what have i done to protest this criminal war? not enough... what have you done?
posted by specialk420 at 12:06 AM on September 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


The lack of effectiveness of this generation's opposition to the war in Iraq makes the events of the sixties - Civil Rights and the anti-War movement - seem all the more impressive. Say what you want about the boomers, they were part of an amazing thing in the sixties, and they risked getting clubbed, gassed and even shot by the police.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:06 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


... what have you done?

I've avoided having sex with underage girls, for one.

Do we really need Ritter as the voice of the anti-war movement?
posted by Avenger at 12:19 AM on September 8, 2007


The only place I can find that story are WorldNet Daily and UPI, which is similar to the classic UPI news service in name only: The former was financed by right-wing financier Richard Mellon Scaife. UPI is owned by News World Communications, which is associated with arch-conservative Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. Please find a reliable news site that has said anything about this case or series of cases in more detail, or otherwise they're presumed to be BS in my book. Thanks.
posted by raysmj at 12:38 AM on September 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can't get to that UPI link, but I did notice that Ritter's Wikipedia entry contains the following tidbit:

"In 2001, Ritter was arrested near Albany, NY. News reports state that Ritter had brushes with police on two occasions, both involving allegations of intent to meet underage girls after chatting on the Internet.[26] Per an agreement with Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Preiser, the charges were suspended for six months, and were dropped after no further allegations arose. All court records from this matter were sealed. The District Attorney fired Preiser for her handling of the matter.[27] According to WTEN-TV, Ritter underwent court-ordered sex offender counseling from an Albany psychologist.[28]"

I think this is completely irrelevant to this discussion, but I'm just trying to provide raysmj with some more substantive information.

Although, as I'm only inferring what you're talking about in the first place, I could be way off the mark.
posted by kbanas at 12:58 AM on September 8, 2007


Again, all the citations come from WorldNet Daily and UPI--on the Wikipedia entry.
posted by raysmj at 1:07 AM on September 8, 2007


Avenger, kindly produce evidence that he had sex with an underage girl. Even the Moonie rag doesn't claim that. All it has to say is that he was arrested in an undercover sting, the charge was dismissed and the records sealed. Assuming it occurred at all, this only suggests that he tried to meet up with someone who turned out to be an undercover cop, who claimed that he thought he was talking to an underage girl. This doesn't approach your insinuation, even if it had gone to trial and he'd lost. No one, credible or otherwise, has even suggested that he actually had sex with an underage girl. Except you.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:13 AM on September 8, 2007


Tim Kreider's The Pain has a good take on this as well.

This cartoon illustrates my greatest complaint about the Left in this country: that they're completely fucking useless. We've been playing drums and building giant puppets and "adbusting" while the Right has taken control of all three branches of the government and the media. As regular readers know, I went to my share of protests before the war in Iraq. History has shown that they accomplished jack shit. Protests are an obsolete tactic, routine and impotent now, and the media renders them invisible by pretending they never happened, anyway. ...


Regarding Ritter, we'll make better use of our time discussing his message than his character, fascinating though the dirty squidgy bits may be.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:14 AM on September 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


I personally couldn't care less if Ritter is a child sex offender. In the grand scheme of things it means nothing, it's probably bullshit anyway, and certainly doesn't undermine any of his arguments against the war in Iraq or his suggestions for building a successful movement to oppose it. "Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds discuss ideas". Who cares about Scott Ritter the person? What about Scott Ritter's ideas?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 1:16 AM on September 8, 2007


Please find a reliable news site that has said anything about this case or series of cases in more detail, or otherwise they're presumed to be BS in my book. Thanks.

*sigh*

OK.

Of course, CNN was founded by Ted Turner, a notorious Republican.

Look, Ritter was right about some things in Iraq and wrong about a few others. He was really wrong in his choice of personal conduct, it seems. He's certainly not the right person to hold up as some paragon of anti-war cred.

Your attitude here is apart of the problem why the anti-war side can't get any traction in this country. These flight-of-fancy conspiracy theories (theories about what, exactly? That Scott Ritter was framed for trying to hook up with underage girls -- twice -- and didn't tell anybody about him being framed until it was leaked? That sounds like a conspiracy on Ritter's part, not MKUltra or whatever. Speaking of which, he never said that he was framed, which, you would suppose, someone being framed would want to do. ) -- anyway, it's almost as if we're putting up a looser like Ritter so he can just be knocked down by the Right-wing noise machine.

Can we have an anti-war leader with integrity who hasn't been arrested for pedastry and/or doesn't launch into strange, Lyndon Larouche-ian rants about 9/11 theories, Zionists, Skull & Bones, etc?
posted by Avenger at 1:17 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Question: If you were a leader in the anti-war movement, how would you approach a strategy for 1) ending the Iraq occupation 2) deterring a war with Iran

I have a couple ideas on this but I'd like to hear what more strategically-minded people think.
posted by McLir at 1:23 AM on September 8, 2007


Build a really big puppet, a 48 hour drum circle, and maybe smash in a window or two of your local starbucks?
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:28 AM on September 8, 2007


Avenger, kindly produce evidence that he had sex with an underage girl.

Must.....obey.......Frank .... Fontaine.....

No one, credible or otherwise, has even suggested that he actually had sex with an underage girl. Except you.

My most sincere and heartfelt apologies. That was a poor choice of words, hm? Allow me to rephrase:

"I've avoided being arrested twice for attempting to have sex with underage girls, for one -- and then refusing to explain the events in question when called on it later."
posted by Avenger at 1:34 AM on September 8, 2007


If I wanted to discredit a person the first thing I would do is set them for a child porn charge. I'm not saying that's what happened to Ritter, but anyone with a modicum of knowledge could set someone up. The great thing about child->anything is you are guilty and carry that mark the rest of your life. Prosecution or not, it's always there.
posted by ryoshu at 1:44 AM on September 8, 2007


It's about ideas, not the person? Right. Would you say the same if, say, Little Green Footballs quotes and discusses something posted from a known neo-Nazi, even if the subject matter doesn't relate?

The same people who decry character assassination absolutely skewer right wing politicians when they get involved in a "sex scandal." Yeah, yeah, I know -- it's the hypocrisy, not the deed.

But you know what? People care about this crap. Pointing out hypocrisy is just a rationalization. The fact is: it is fantastically effective ammunition for dismissing ideas and attaching negative connotations with whole belief systems. The concept of a Liberal is now so completely corrupted that it really isn't about ideas anymore. All your ideas are discarded automatically because being a Liberal means a bunch of really bad things to many people.

I swear, it's like the left wants to lose this.
posted by cj_ at 1:48 AM on September 8, 2007


Matt Taibbi had it right when he wrote:
We all know where this stuff comes from. Anyone who’s ever been to a lefty political meeting knows the deal – the problem is the “spirit of inclusiveness” stretched to the limits of absurdity. The post-sixties dogma that everyone’s viewpoint is legitimate, everyone‘s choice about anything (lifestyle, gender, ethnicity, even class) is valid, that’s now so totally ingrained that at every single meeting, every time some yutz gets up and starts rambling about anything, no matter how ridiculous, no one ever tells him to shut the fuck up. Next thing you know, you’ve got guys on stilts wearing mime makeup and Cat-in-the-Hat striped top-hats leading a half-million people at an anti-war rally. Why is that guy there? Because no one told him that war is a matter of life and death and that he should leave his fucking stilts at home. [emphasis mine]
As long as the anti-war movement continues to behave like a herd of cats, it will be no more effective than said felines.


posted by moonbiter at 2:13 AM on September 8, 2007 [8 favorites]


Right. Would you say the same if, say, Little Green Footballs quotes and discusses something posted from a known neo-Nazi, even if the subject matter doesn't relate?

I sure would, although in practise the reverse is more likely to be the case, i.e. a neo-Nazi criticises the war and the LGF-types immediately accuse the anti-war left of being in collusion with neo-Nazis (as they already insinuate that the left are in collusion with "Islamofascists").

The same people who decry character assassination absolutely skewer right wing politicians when they get involved in a "sex scandal."

Likewise. I don't care a fig about the sexual peccadilloes of politicians.

But you know what? People care about this crap.

Therein lies the problem. I understand where you're coming from - if I was organizing some kind of political protest I would be careful not to associate it with individuals that would permit my opponents to smear it by association (no matter how dubious and yellow the insinuation) because pragmatically you have to accept that people will fall for it, no matter how silly it is. What I object to is actually internalizing these bogus associations and respecting these stigmas as if they are real. It's fine to say that Ritter is a bad guy to front the anti-war movement, since he'll expose it to smears due to his (alleged) sex offenses, but don't let that stop you from reading his stuff, or agreeing with it in semi-private.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 2:48 AM on September 8, 2007


Too little, too late.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 3:00 AM on September 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think it's pretty apt that the topic of sexual mores comes up with relation to a would be antiwar movement. So for that reason great, we've found Scott Ritter, perfect for this thread, the two, only, hurdles of our time bundled together into one person. Or not. I agree more with what was said above about finding someone with more integrity
Can we have an anti-war leader with integrity who hasn't been arrested for pedastry
and I agree less once it's taken away from the leadership point, which really just leverages the issues, which although part of humanity at large, makes everyone really uncomfortable, but again less with this
Would you say the same if, say, Little Green Footballs quotes and discusses something posted from a known neo-Nazi
and very much less with this
The concept of a Liberal is now so completely corrupted that it really isn't about ideas anymore. All your ideas are discarded automatically because being a Liberal means a bunch of really bad things to many people.
I mean, really, they can't find anyone building bombs and wearing turbans on the home front, thank God, and regardless, they will not find that at this rate, but, they can find plenty of people who took internet freedom too far in the nineties, and they have stuck some number of these people into little Guantanamo extrajudicial blackholes, which as was said above, it appears they will carry that mark the rest of [their] life.

So as long as they can find an issue which completely suppresses all those little schoolyard adventurers they will, all those who would do whatever the hell they were doing without regard for anyone else, and those I guess are the same people who did all the drugs in the nineties and went nutso with the internet, including reliving their sick little childhoods online while the getting was good.

Hey, I plead the fifth. I'm hypothesizing man.

And if the answer to the question, can't we live peacefully, is, let's consider again the perverts out there, (a) that's not a rational discussion and (b) as long as we have hormones growing up, ok, there will never be peace?

So I know I'm no leader, that's a given. But this, Liberal means a bunch of really bad things to many people. as far as I can tell is a simple trick of conjuring, and it can be used whichever way you want to use it.

Just as an example, and I remind you, this is coming from a old member of the Wehrmacht, a former doctor in the prison camps, it would be just as easy to say the following:

The American people are ready for a change. They are ready for coherent, responsible leadership which takes seriously the imperatives of the governance of our military power. As people who have inherited these strengths, it falls upon us to use them wisely. Wisdom and understanding of the human condition are nearly indiscernible. People get angry, they let their emotions rule them. Sometimes ideas make people angry, and sometimes the actions of others make them angry. But we have to invest in the institutions of peaceful existence in order that that very peaceful existence might become more a reality tomorrow. By continuing to focus on the worst and most terrible of our problems, while at the same time fostering a culture of reactionary violence and intentional misunderstanding, we greatly increase the risks of developing a less stable, less enjoyable and less prosperous world for future generations, and, frankly, for ourselves. Many people think that life is a gift, and that it is something to be enjoyed. However, we can, as we have proven, deny that joy to people when we choose to do so. We have to follow the example which bore us into this world, to give the gifts which are free, and which are easy to give, when we decide to live well together.
posted by nervousfritz at 3:12 AM on September 8, 2007


If only "successfully killing teenagers" was as politically damaging as "unsuccessfully fucking them" is.
posted by Optamystic at 3:17 AM on September 8, 2007 [11 favorites]


L.P. Hatecraft: and who is un-smearable? Obama and his Islamic school upbringing, John Kerry with his fake purple hearts? Foot tappin' Senator Craig?
posted by romanb at 3:21 AM on September 8, 2007


I've avoided having sex with underage girls, for one.

So has he, apparently. In your link, the first case was dismissed, and there was no charge in the second. So what's your point? That you can post some accusations on weblog and pass them off like convictions?
posted by psmealey at 3:22 AM on September 8, 2007


So, um, has anyone read the book?
Or even just a summary?

Because I don't give a shit whether Ritter has been smeared, but I am interested in whether there are the seeds of an evolution in the opposition to war here.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:41 AM on September 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


(It kind of strikes me as silly that in nearly every political thread, there is wailing and gnashing of teeth about "what can we do?!" "everything has failed - we are powerless!", then as if someone heard and decided to act, along comes a guy saying "Here's what you did wrong, and here's how you fix it", and the thread discussing it is somehow all about allegations of attempted teen sex. WTF?)

If you'll excuse me, I'm off to eat my cake while at the same time keeping it for later. :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 3:47 AM on September 8, 2007


as if someone heard and decided to act, along comes a guy saying "Here's what you did wrong, and here's how you fix it", and the thread discussing it is somehow all about allegations of attempted teen sex. WTF?

Anti-war demos and their ilk are obviously prime territory for pederasts. Easily iimpressionable and idealistic teenagers will inevitably feel as though they're old enoigh to make their own decisions about who they sex with, and fully expect to have those decisions respected.

Now point me to the nearest meeting of Young CDN, plz.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:03 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


The problem I see with his solution, the laserlike focus with real leadership at the top: many or most people would agree that you can't just stop the war. There has to be a plan. And everyone has to sign on to the same plan. We see how Vietnam ended; there was no anti-Vietnam czar, but it took a long time to change how people thought. Real bottom-up democracy is the only longterm solution, but it's very slow. All leaders are corrupt. I wouldn't mind trading up to a less corrupt set, but everyone has their own favorite.
posted by rikschell at 5:26 AM on September 8, 2007


I detect a whiff of the ideological purity problem that infects the left. In the Alternet article, Ritter attacks Jack Murtha and others for not opposing the war early enough and "never retract(ing) their pro-war stance."

If you exclude everyone who supported the war early on from opposing it now, you are stuck with the same old choir, and you will lose, preaching all the way.

By the way, Murtha was one of the few who does regret his early pro-war stance. He is also chairman of the house appropriations armed services subcommittee, and well respected in military circles. And you DON'T want him on your side? But Ritter questions Murtha's thought processes, demanding not only ideological purity, but historical ideological purity. No one need apply who has changed their mind.

There are right-wingers, libertarians, old-school isolationists, activist Catholics, and frightened mothers and wives, all opposing this war. Can you launch a mass movement without them? Does it matter if some of them wear furs, smoke cigarettes, oppose abortion?

The left, alone, cannot successfully stop this war.
posted by tommyD at 5:28 AM on September 8, 2007


L.P. Hatecraft: and who is un-smearable?

Yeah, but some smears are going to stick more than others. The taint of underage sex allegations is difficult to overcome, whereas Obama's Muslim background isn't (or shouldn't be).

(It kind of strikes me as silly that in nearly every political thread, there is wailing and gnashing of teeth about "what can we do?!" "everything has failed - we are powerless!", then as if someone heard and decided to act, along comes a guy saying "Here's what you did wrong, and here's how you fix it", and the thread discussing it is somehow all about allegations of attempted teen sex. WTF?)

I think it's related, in a roundabout way. The ability to successfully smear opponents of the war is a big weapon in the pro-war arsenal that hamstrings the anti-war movement. IMHO counter-smears (a la Republican sex scandals) are the wrong way to go about it as it just drags down the level of discourse. There just has to be a way to get people to stop caring about this kind of superficial BS and pay attention to "the issues".
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 5:39 AM on September 8, 2007


Of course the sex charge was a setup. Someone that dangerous to the Bush administration's future just *happened* to be accused (and not convicted) of the most heinous crime evah (according to cable teevee)? Sure. And Paul Wellstone's plane just happened to crash.

These motherfuckers *kill* their enemies. Ritter got off easy. But look, some people still hear "Ritter" and think "child molester." Good work, Dick Cheney. Your little plot did the trick.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:45 AM on September 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


The post-sixties dogma that everyone’s viewpoint is legitimate, everyone‘s choice about anything (lifestyle, gender, ethnicity, even class) is valid, that’s now so totally ingrained that at every single meeting, every time some yutz gets up and starts rambling about anything, no matter how ridiculous, no one ever tells him to shut the fuck up.

It was always like this, even in the early 1960s and anti-war and civil rights meetings. By the late 1960s, the yutz so predominated, that the anti-war people said, "Oh hell, let's just get high," and the civil rights people said, "Oh hell, let's just get guns (and shoot ourselves in the foot)." The yutz won. The yutz always wins.
posted by Faze at 5:51 AM on September 8, 2007


Oh for fucks sake, who cares if the sex charge was a setup or not. We're talking about fucking WAR here. People are dying every day.
posted by empath at 6:40 AM on September 8, 2007


he anti-war movement thinks that a strategy is holding a demonstration on a street corner, holding hands, lighting candles and singing Kumbia.

Cumbia is most excellently danceable Colombian folk music, but point taken.

When I see the war protests of the past few years, I often remark similarities to today's skater punk kids, who seem to have borrowed their code of dress and behavior from largely fictitious accounts like Sid & Nancy, that totally missed out on presenting the flavor of what the original time was like, and can only manage a perfunctory, crude and half-hearted approximation of what it was.

Ritter is 100% right. Unless tactics are changed to adapt to our times (jesus, it was 40 fucking years since those methods worked, and they only worked because they had massive numbers, and a media-clueless adversary in local police and the national guard), the anti-war "movement" will continue to be flaccid and ineffective.
posted by Gervais Brooke-Hamster at 7:24 AM on September 8, 2007


198 methods of non-violent action
posted by empath at 7:29 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Avenger: CNN isn't owned or associated with Ted Turner in any way anymore. UPI was not founded by the sort of people running it now. CNN is still more reliable than the above sources, but it's far cheesier, far less substantive and groundbreaking than it was during its Turner heyday. In any case, I'm not convinced from the link that he did anything wrong.

I'd love to hear what he has to say about the anti-war movement, regardless, for he's at least right in saying that it has no real strategy.
posted by raysmj at 7:47 AM on September 8, 2007


The way in which this thread was derailed from its original meritorious topic reminds me strongly of the way in which any anti-war protestors or ideas are handled these days, e.g. find something personal about the speaker that is unrelated to the topic and somewhat prurient and/or illegal, no matter how far back in the past it happened, no matter how unsubstantiated it is, and talk about that instead.

How Meta of you all.

I wonder if Ritter has a chapter on dealing with shit like this in his book.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:02 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Great link, pathetic derail. What times: we can't discuss anything serious, like life and death, seriously; we have to start panting about sealed charges that may or may not be valid and in any case didn't involve any actual deeds but it's about sex huh huh huh!!! Sad.

This Ritter quote is spot-on:
I have yet to observe an anti-war demonstration that has a focus on anti-war. It often seemed that every left-wing cause took advantage of the event to promote its own particular agenda, so that "No War in Iraq" shared the stage with the environment, ecology, animal rights, pro-choice, and numerous other causes which not only diluted the anti-war message which was supposed to be sent, but also guaranteed that the demonstration itself would be seen as something hijacked by the left, inclusive of only progressive ideologues, and exclusive of the vast majority of moderate (and even conservative) Americans who might have wanted to share the stage with their fellow Americans from the left when it comes to opposing war with Iraq (or even Iran), but do not want to be associated with any other theme.
I remember back in Vietnam days I tried to get my fellow protesters to focus, to coordinate with other colleges, to set up lines of communication and strategies... Forget it. Getting high, singing songs, taunting cops, and feeling righteous was much more fun. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed feeling righteous too, but I thought there might be more involved in actually stopping the war.)

Nice post, thanks.
posted by languagehat at 8:12 AM on September 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


Fercryinoutloud! I don't care if Ritter fucks baby seals on YouTube! His basic point is spot-on: the anti-war movement needs to "wise up" tactically.
posted by jonp72 at 8:13 AM on September 8, 2007


He's dead on about war demonstrations. I went to two of the ANSWER ones in DC, and the speeches made me want to leave.

Far too much Free Mumia and Down With Israel for my taste.
posted by empath at 8:24 AM on September 8, 2007


God I hated demonstrations. It's like they couldn't even conceive of how the people they were supposed to be communicating with thought. Total lack of empathy and understanding. Hey, extreme hippy guy: Shrub doesn't care what you think, because you're already voting against him. You need to be organized, magnify, and look like you're saying something meaningful to mainstream voters. One million people in tie dyes all looking wierd and different and saying something unique: obviously powerless mob. One hundred thousand all dressed the same, behaving conscientiously: incredibly frightening to those in power.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 8:58 AM on September 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think the first thing progressives need to come to grips with is that if your only contribution to anti-war, social justice or any other movement is posting about it online your contribution is nil.

Old school leftists had very real day-to-day contact with the poor and the working class and that has been largely lost. I mean, there are liberals who cannot claim to have ever had a substantive conversation with someone who is poor and it shows in their contributions to social justice. For example, it never ceased to amaze me how off the mark well intentioned liberals were in their donations to my last job.

A frequent donation that came from well-off, young professional women was hair and beauty products. Now, I think the idea and the intent was good; the women my agency supported lived very close to the edge, financially, and rarely had much to spare for luxury items like beauty products. It's nice to want to help poor women feel better about themselves. But we would get grocery bags full of these products that my co-worker would look at bottle by bottle and then push the whole bag at me and say, "Give that stuff to your girlfriend. Ain't no black woman gonna put that mess in her hair. Avocados and pears...we got our own hair products."

It was the same with kitchen products. People would donate their favorite piece of cooking minutae, microplanes and hand juicers and shit, when the clients didn't even have pots and pans to cook in. One big donation was these huge welcome mats from Home Depot that said, "Welcome Home" on them. The donator was like, "Isn't that great? It says 'home.' You know, like they used to be homeless and now they have a home."

And we were like, yeah, that's awesome. Where are they going to put it? On the sidewalk in front of their North Philly rowhome? How long do you think it's going to be there before it disappears?

Augh, don't get me started.

Contemporary liberals are spectacularly distanced at this point from the people who used to make up the most active branches of their movement.
posted by The Straightener at 9:03 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


a robot made of meat: One hundred thousand all dressed the same, behaving conscientiously: incredibly frightening to those in power.

Yeah, but that's frightening to me, too. You won't exactly win my anti-military sympathies by dressing and acting like an authoritarian military organization.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:07 AM on September 8, 2007


Anti-war warfare? I like it. Okay, here's phase one of my basic plan that can be applied to all confrontations with the enemy.

The hippies and granolas will be the front lines, armed only with the powerful scent of patchouli. They should be able to make the enemy waste a lot of ammunition. Even if the enemy realizes that it's tactically wasteful to shoot the hippies, they will anyway. It's just too hard to resist.

This should be followed up by the Socialist Workers Party. They will be armed with their vast array of pamphlets. The enemy might begin to feel sympathy for the hippies after a while as they react to getting slaughtered by gathering in power circles to focus the energy of Gaia and Peace, but this definitely won't happen with the SWP. We don't even need that many of the SWP since the enemy should relish in littering their corpses with as much ammo as they can pump into them.

This should draw the enemy into closer quarters since they will want to go onto the slaughter fields to kick and piss on the bodies. That's when we send in the waves of punks, metal heads, hip hop aficionados, environmentalists, PETA members, and trust funders. This wave may actually have a small chance at disabling of killing one or two of the enemy. There's even a possibility of the enemy dying by their own hand in the confusion. Maybe we can even train a wave of ski bums and surfer dudes to operate on dry land and add that to the assault. This would have the added benefit of giving the enemy a contact high from all the pot that will inevitably be smoked during the attack.

All the while, the edges of the theater will be manned with all our loose Pro-Choice women, sex workers, and enthusiastic gay men, tempting the enemy to abandon their posts and have a little fun instead. This of course is a trap. They will actually just take their money and leave them unsatisfied, thus depleting the enemy's morale. To make it even more demoralizing, we'll seed the crowd with a bunch of radical feminists who will viciously denigrate those of the enemy who fall prey.

Next will be the couch potato bombing. Now I realize that couch potato bombing is one of those borderline tactics, like using depleted uranium ordnance, and we don't know what the adverse health effects on the enemy will be, but I think we need to tread this line in order to have a chance in this Anti-War War.

This will be immediately followed by the Golden Paratrooper Brigade who will drop onto the battle field with their checkbooks and employment contracts. By this time, the enemy will be out of ammo, out of cash, blue-balled, and covered in blood, guts and recently eaten Cheetos. So we should be able to bring a lot of the enemy over to our side with this wave.

I don't want to get too into the next phase in this Anti-War battle strategy for security reasons but I can say it involves collecting all the life insurance of those of us who died, forming a powerful lobby, and creating a consumer product tie-in that will be manufactured in China.

posted by effwerd at 9:14 AM on September 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


Do we really need Ritter as the voice of the anti-war movement?

what anti-war movement? there isn't any
posted by matteo at 9:25 AM on September 8, 2007


(at least until a draft is reinstated, which does not seem to be going to happen anytime soon)
posted by matteo at 9:26 AM on September 8, 2007


The Art of Peace (addendum)
(idea stolen from John Kearney)

1. Emphasis your message by striking words, capitalization and bold letters; no FUCKING way!

2. Inhale deeply and pass it along, it is the way of the spliff.

3. Keep your message clean; Drill bush deeply for geysers.

4. Explain in clear terms a bloody dickish error; If you see lube and sand ... don't fuck with it.

5. Confound your enemy with precepts that are totally contradictory and sexually charged. see 3 and 4.

6. Bring bail money to the protest because even though you're only hurling stuffed animals with your catapult, you will still be arrested.

7. All peace is based on seduction. Girls, when the prey draws near to you, reveal a lack of bra. When he looks down the front of your tunic, pounce repeatedly.

8. Demoralize your enemy by not wearing pants. If the gods didn't want a dick measuring contest they wouldn't have endowed me in such magnificent proportion.


On topic ;
One thing Ritter said that I found interesting was the anti war side gaining numbers more out of a dislike for the losing rather than an appreciation of what an abomination this war has been in refuting years of hard fought treaties that strove toward a more peaceful playing field through world agreements on standards and laws.

How the US acts is overtly at odds with the treaties it supposedly holds as supreme law.

John Brady Kiesling, (Book TV no longer has the video) was an impressive voice for a principled notion of peace. He acknowledged human nature and some of its baser instincts, and the role of diplomacy in mitigating this.

War is launched by a select few. It is affecting these few that will bring peace. The USA has lost stature. Other nations deference no longer a given. The leaders may be forced to declare peace.

Yesterdays asking for an end to the Korean War, bluntly and rightly, was a signal that the warring ways are not helpful.

If the trend continues, the few can be shaken.

9. Dip into a diplomat.
posted by phoque at 10:00 AM on September 8, 2007


10. Ignore extraneous number.
posted by phoque at 10:04 AM on September 8, 2007


I don't remember seeing pics of civil rights movement protests in which everyone was dressed the same, a la V for Vendetta, Fight Club or the acknowledged inspiration for scenes in the latter two movies; namely, Triumph of the Will.
posted by raysmj at 10:06 AM on September 8, 2007


Just some four gone awry.
posted by phoque at 10:06 AM on September 8, 2007


I don't remember seeing pics of civil rights movement protests in which everyone was dressed the same

I can't find out just now, but I've seen plenty of picture of marches full of young black men dressed in simple suits. Were they all exactly the same? Perhaps not, but "dressed the same" != "wearing a uniform."
posted by aaronetc at 10:50 AM on September 8, 2007


Old school leftists had very real day-to-day contact with the poor and the working class and that has been largely lost.

Back in the day, old school leftists *were* the poor and the working class.

The left has gotta ask itself why it has lost that capability to come up with an agenda that coincides with the aspirations of those people. Part of it, in my opinion, has been the collapse of traditional blue collar work. As the old industries have collapsed, the working class has been divided into a labour aristocracy -- the highly skilled working class who earn the same kind of wages as the middle classes, and now have similar aspirations, and a huge underclass that largely lack any political values or consciousness.

This is why the only way that the left were able to get back into power in the UK was by that perceptible move to the right. As long as old Labour clung to the old ideologies of things like Clause 4, the Red Flag, etc. they remained politically marginal and unelectable. It was only by coming up with a progressive agenda that appealed to the broad swathes of the middle class -- both new and old -- that they were able to implement any kind of progressive agenda.

I say this as somebody who is traditionally of the old left, who refused to vote for New Labour on the first few elections because I saw them as a party who really didn't give a flying fuck about the poor, and who still has huge reservations about a whole range of their policies. Yet despite these reservations, I find myself unable to argue with a whole range of progressive measures around things like child poverty and the measures to improve the lot of the working poor. Could they do more? Undoubtably. But they certainly did more than the other lot would have done.

Today, in order for the left to be electable, it needs to be able to appeal to that broad band of the population that historically would have been located between upper working/lower middle class. Old fashioned notions of collectivism no longer seem to have any purchase with this group, so we've yet to find a way to engage with them other than by a naked appeal to self interest. And while many of them don't appear to give a shit about how many 'rag heads' or 'sand niggers' get killed, they *do* give a shit about how much this war is costing, because they're the people who will have to shoulder the bulk of the financial burden for it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:54 AM on September 8, 2007


I don't remember seeing pics of civil rights movement protests in which everyone was dressed the same

While the uniformity of their outfits has been exaggerated, the civil rights protestors of the cities really did, by and large, stick to suits and ties during their march. This wasn't entirely universal, but the image that sticks out in everyone's minds, what everyone remembers, was the image of a bunch of people more or less saying, "we can do this here outside, or we can talk this over in a meeting right now. All 200,000 of us."

People forget that the purpose of political organizing and political protests isn't to engage in self-expression, have a good time, or meet like-minded people. It's a show of strength for the purpose of getting power.
posted by deanc at 11:02 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, nobody read the book? This thread went down in flames. :(
posted by tarheelcoxn at 11:04 AM on September 8, 2007


deanc: The Selma-to-Montgomery march, one of the most famous. No one is dressed alike. In none of the pics I've seen of the march on DC, marches in B'ham, etc., are the mass of participants dressed in uniform style. What you're talking about is the dress of the leadership, which is what Ritter is more less saying the anti-war forces of today don't have, regardless of march outfits.
posted by raysmj at 11:23 AM on September 8, 2007


(And many of those leaders were ministers from the South, who to this day are more likely to wear suits to any event remotely perceived as being formal.)
posted by raysmj at 11:25 AM on September 8, 2007


Yeah, but that's frightening to me, too. You won't exactly win my anti-military sympathies by dressing and acting like an authoritarian military organization.

The anti-war movement was not designed as an expression of personal identity.
posted by Snyder at 12:38 PM on September 8, 2007


But raysmj, they are all dressed nicely, even if it is relatively casual, or they are wearing working clothes. They did not decide to go all urban guerrilla or otherwise unconventional because they want to express their individuality, show off their street cred, or not distinguish themselves from any organization or grouping, mainstream or otherwise.
posted by Snyder at 12:43 PM on September 8, 2007


Can we have an anti-war leader with integrity who hasn't been arrested for pedastry

i'm sorry to jump on this derail, but it just pisses me off. i recently went thru an absolutely horrible experience in regards to my own past that was sealed by a judge. it was brought up after ten years, judges seal cases for a reason and it's so people can have a life without bullshit following you. i was under the impression that one of the good things about this country was the notion of innocent until proven guilty. so all that needs to be done now is just arrest someone? we can just do away with the courts i guess. i also thought judge dredd was cool, when i was 14. a judge dismisses a case and seals it, hmm, wonder if that's because the case has absolutely no merit and the judge believed the guy should be able to go on in life unmolested.

wonder if fbi tactics in the future will include something like this, i wouldn't doubt it. really effective and cost efficient, someone seems like a possible issue? toss some bullshit charges at him, even ones that a judge would laugh at and the job is done.
posted by andywolf at 12:44 PM on September 8, 2007


mine involved a minor amount of drugs, not pederasty, just wanted to make that clear.
posted by andywolf at 12:45 PM on September 8, 2007


The reason this post is so easily derailed is because the links are so paltry. Really. Where is the link to a substantial article or posting by Ritter that I can read and comment on? Did I miss it? I'll admit I was wrong if I did.
posted by Faze at 1:02 PM on September 8, 2007


Faze: Embedded in the Book TV link is a video presentation by Ritter which lasts upwards of 90 mins. The link for "anti-war movement" is an article by Ritter on AlterNet which hits some of the same points as the talk.
posted by McLir at 1:55 PM on September 8, 2007


I think it's most telling that the left abandoned the word "Liberal" in the face of all the various shades of right-wing slander. "Liberal" was supposed to connote a direction on the political spectrum, like "up" connotes a direction relative to the earth.

Calling yourself a "progressive" is tacitly agreeing that the liberals are crazy, or wrong, or evil, or whatever the Right wants you to think, and we don't want to be associated with them. Basically I think it's evidence that the left, whoever we are, aren't willing to dig in and hold our ground in the face of any kind of real adversity. We'd rather make puppets and effigies etc.
posted by newdaddy at 4:13 PM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with the posters above -- the left just can't get its act together and stay on message. It's one thing to organize an anti-war march. But you're not winning any converts by welcoming the "Communist BDSM Lesbian Wiccans NORML Alliance for the Freedom of Mumia" crowd into the tent.

I mean, I'm sure Mumia has an argument that should be heard. Lesbians are cool. Wiccans are cool. Lesbian Wiccans into BDSM is even cooler. And a spliff every now and again is awesome. But that has zero to do with the war. So, put down the fucking rah-rah Trotsky pamphlets and march with the rest of us, sunshine.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:51 PM on September 8, 2007


effwerd may be jesting, but from my experience that's pretty much how these things are planned to go. There's a few core hard-heads with visions of how their foot soldiers will march forth, wave after wave, each stronger and more dedicated than the last, sweeping change before them.

Unfortunately, the plan always fails. The foot soldiers are not disciplined; they get disillusioned, bored, scared, or distracted by a shiny new lifestyle or ideology. The next wave, and the waves after that, start arguing over whose fault it was that the foot soldiers failed.

And, amongst the core hard-heads at the top, the Judean People's Front turns on the People's Front of Judea...
posted by Pinback at 9:36 PM on September 8, 2007


Following some discussion on proper protest wear, I think that I should say that I didn't mean uniforms, just respectable working clothes. It's not a paramilitary that's the important part, but mainstream organized people. People who vote, speak to the center that can vote, and exercise thought in their actions.

I personally think that an overt sign of unity like wearing shirt-and-tie is pretty cool and not authoritarian bullshit. Nobody thinks that the people in conservative clothes are going to start a riot; the message is that we will work hard for our viewpoint. We deserve respect, and will act through the channels at our disposal.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:44 PM on September 8, 2007


oh for pete's sake

the vietnam war didn't end because people protested it - it ended because we were losing it

the iraq war will end for the same reason, as the so called elected opposition in this country doesn't have the balls to shut the government down over it

your choices

1) suck it up
2) continue to protest uselessly
3) back politicians who may or may not follow through (don't hold your breath)
4) burn and sabotage shit
5) ignore it

as far as scott ritter's ideas are concerned, i notice that he's actually short on real suggestions except telling the freaks to stay home ... (do we hire a goon squad to kneecap them?) ... and it's ridiculous that he would criticize us when he was in a lot better position than any of us to stop this war and ended up getting run over ...

that's right, scott, americans hate losers - that includes you

all he's done is fuck up what should have been a clear rebuttal to the government before the invasion and written a book

thanks, scott
posted by pyramid termite at 10:20 PM on September 8, 2007


Protesting in the 60's was a lot more then just holding a sign or marching down a street. The Weather Underground blew up buildings and robed banks. Students across the country took over college campuses, occupying administrative buildings and burning down ROTC headquarters. Members of AIM took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Black Panthers marched with rifles. During 1968 democratic convention in Chicago, protesters showed up wearing motorcycle helmets and football helmets because they knew they were going to get their heads bashed in. Several bands agreed to play at the pre-march rally but the MC5 were the only ones to show up. And they played for eight hours straight and I guarantee you they didn't play kumbaya. Thirty-five thousand anti-war protesters surrounded the pentagon in October of 1967.

You know what? We need more douches on our team. We need an army of douches. We need a bunch of pricks, a huge number of fucking assholes, and a couple handfuls of absolute cocksuckers. It wouldn't hurt to have a few bitches and cunts distributed throughout the country as well. This is why we've been losing for years, their team has them in spades and we have a bunch of nice guys who can't even use the word "lie" on the record to describe this administration. Fuck that shit evermore.
posted by Sailormom at 9:11 AM on September 9, 2007


Following some discussion on proper protest wear, I think that I should say that I didn't mean uniforms, just respectable working clothes. It's not a paramilitary that's the important part, but mainstream organized people. People who vote, speak to the center that can vote, and exercise thought in their actions.

Well, let me elaborate as well - a formal dress code, shirt-and-tie thing is a very good idea. I'd thought you meant berets and armbands, because protesters often opt for a more militaristic flair, and I think it's largely self-defeating.

But I'm pessimistic about hard and fast uniforms. Once everyone starts dressing exactly the same, the message sent is less an assurance of maturity and civility, and more about creepy group identification. As you point out, marches don't only speak to the powerful, but also to the swing voter, and it's best if the latter can somehow see itself in the participants. Even respectable clothing can be twisted by uniformity into a Nation of Islam caricature, where glasses and bow-ties become more like intimidating mafia tokens than emblems of working-class values. Most people don't see themselves in that, the same way they don't see themselves in a pair of evangelizing Mormons, despite the civil garb.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:54 AM on September 9, 2007


The anti-war movement was not designed as an expression of personal identity.

Absolutely, and it shouldn't look like a circus, I agree. But I also don't think it should look like a cult, which is the other extreme.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:58 AM on September 9, 2007


effwerd may be jesting, but from my experience that's pretty much how these things are planned to go. [...] Unfortunately, the plan always fails. The foot soldiers are not disciplined; they get disillusioned, bored, scared, or distracted by a shiny new lifestyle or ideology.

I've taken that into consideration with the consumer product tie-in. The entire product line will be green! If that can't generate zealotry for the cause, I don't know what will.
posted by effwerd at 9:58 AM on September 9, 2007


Several bands agreed to play at the pre-march rally but the MC5 were the only ones to show up. And they played for eight hours straight and I guarantee you they didn't play kumbaya.

Yeah, exactly what a protest march needs. Unflinching rock n' roll. That'll show 'em. Yeah! Is that freedom rock, man? Well, turn it up!

Dude.

When Martin Luther King stood up and said, "I have a dream," he didn't need a back-up band.

When Gandhi held up a lump of salt and said "With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire," he didn't have theme music.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote, "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor," he didn't need three chords and the truth.

Just the truth. And the courage of his convictions.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:27 PM on September 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just the truth. And the courage of his convictions.

Ah, beautiful words, but what is your point? If you cannot be as eloquent or impassioned a public speaker as Dr. King, then STFU? With all due respect, I think you may have missed sailormom's point.

In their own way and as much as they could, the MC5 carried the torch for change and freedom just as did MLK, Gandhi and Jefferson. Fred Smith, Wayne Kramer, Rob Tyner et al had every reason to believe that they were going to get their skulls bashed in at the protest show at the DNC in 1968. Just by having the courage to show up counts for something.

We can't all be once-in-a-lifetime orators, but everything can bring a little something to the table.
posted by psmealey at 4:32 PM on September 9, 2007


Scott Ritter was never in a better position than any of us to stop the war. Bushco had made up its mind about Iraq long before any inspectors went. He was in a better position than most of us to get anti-war press, though, and if you think that's got nothing to do with the kiddy-fiddling character smear you need to go rent Wag the Dog.
posted by flabdablet at 5:00 PM on September 9, 2007


Far too much Free Mumia and Down With Israel for my taste.

Hear, hear. I cringe at the same shit. And people who seem to be on the left as a matter of style.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:15 PM on September 9, 2007


Ah, beautiful words, but what is your point? If you cannot be as eloquent or impassioned a public speaker as Dr. King, then ...

... try to learn from his example and do our level best?

We can't all be once-in-a-lifetime orators, but everything can bring a little something to the table.

If I bring a lump of shit to your Thanksgiving dinner, are you going to, in the name of being open-minded, put it in a dish, place it next to the turkey and take in the aroma? Or would you kindly ask me to leave it outside?

Look, I'm sure the MC5 are some swell guys, but no one noticed there was a problem with the Montgomery, Alabama, bus system until the black folks stopped riding. The anti-war left consistently fails to get traction with its message because it consistently fails to generate a meaningful message and it consistently fails to stick with a meaningful message.

I mean, is this the best we can do? Dick and Bush are assholes? Communist propaganda? Tattoos of Che Guevara?

Guevara? Seriously? Seriously? The guy executed political prisoners! I mean, Che made the guys running this generations's Evil Cuban Prison look like a bunch of small-timers...

That's it? That's all we've got?

Somewhere in heaven, Martin Luther King just threw up a little in his mouth...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:18 PM on September 9, 2007


The selected imagery from the freaks in street demonstrations are annoying, agreed. And we can agree that they are not representative of the majority of anti-war sentiments in the country. (I doubt street marches are effective anymore, in the first place -- as they are so consistently marginalized and under-reported.)

So how can more wide-speaking messages get crafted and delivered effectively?
posted by McLir at 8:44 PM on September 9, 2007


So how can more wide-speaking messages get crafted and delivered effectively?

think super bowl
posted by pyramid termite at 8:51 PM on September 9, 2007


think super bowl

That's may qualify as a tactic. What's the strategy?
posted by McLir at 8:58 PM on September 9, 2007


think super bowl

That's may qualify as a tactic. What's the strategy?
posted by McLir at 9:05 PM on September 9, 2007


think super bowl

That's may qualify as a tactic. What's the strategy?
posted by McLir at 9:11 PM on September 9, 2007


think super bowl

That's may qualify as a tactic. What's the strategy?
posted by McLir at 9:14 PM on September 9, 2007


think super bowl

That's may qualify as a tactic. What's the strategy?


Repetition. :)
posted by kid ichorous at 9:19 PM on September 9, 2007


you asked a tactical question - the strategy would be totally dependent on what was said during that 1 minute and how it was followed up or reinforced by other tactics

one certainty - it would get people talking - more importantly, followed with other similar feats it might make the media wonder how good their control was over their infrastructure - and whether perhaps it might be wise to give dissidents more voice so people were less prone to do things like that

the networks have been known to refuse to run controversial issue commercials - if they were confronted with the possibility that people will just TAKE the time if they're not sold it, perhaps next time, they'll be more willing to sell it when they're asked

it's certainly not enough by itself, but it's an idea
posted by pyramid termite at 9:23 PM on September 9, 2007


OK, let's assume the opposition is the pro-war GOP. The pro-war GOP is very clear in their question-and-answer TV appearances. The Art of War explains how to attack what is most desirable to the opposition -- in this case, Republican Party control.

It might benefit the Dems to repeat "pro-war Republicans" as a matter of message discipline (a technique, granted, that they have not mastered). The Dems, in contrast, could posture themselves as pro-defense.

The strategic advantage may be to draw attention to the differences between warfare and defense. Warfare always depletes defenses -- just look at New Orleans. Warfare and defense are antithetical, they're not synonymous.

That's just one idea and I don't pretend to any expertise in strategy. But carping on the pitfalls of lefties is not productive. (As artfully as some previous posts may pretend, there is only so much art in throwing peanut shells from the bleachers.)

I re-read the Art of War yesterday and I thought chapter XI on the nine situations was particularly interesting regarding the various dimensions of delivering messages.
posted by McLir at 9:48 PM on September 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


McLir: It might benefit the Dems to repeat "pro-war Republicans" as a matter of message discipline (a technique, granted, that they have not mastered). The Dems, in contrast, could posture themselves as pro-defense.

McLir, I think the real problem is not that correct ideas aren't being packaged, processed, soundbited, homogenized, and disseminated effectively. It's that the American people are not rising to the level of distinguishing good ideas from bad, and are choosing largely based on packaging, on simplified marketing aesthetics - omens, appeals to irrational fears, child-like rhetoric, image and posturing. Participating in the same sort of black magic con-job may benefit one's platform in the short term, but in the long run it further transforms the political process into nothing more than a game of selling toys to children. When packaging is the only decisive factor, people are as likely to choose wrong as right.

Educated consumers don't need insulting viral ad strategies attacking their every waking thought, and educated electorates don't need to be hypnotized through the stupefying oversimplification of reality. I think this battle is fought and won in the classroom, long before the soundbites ever reach our ears.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:18 PM on September 9, 2007


And so my strategic recommendation is that we teach more classics, rhetoric, and argumentation in school. The surest defense against magic tricks is to know how they're performed - the coin in the ear doesn't surprise anyone but a baby.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:24 PM on September 9, 2007


kid ichorous, I completely agree with you in principle. Unfortunately, most of the American public is too busy to pay that much attention to the Iraq occupation. News junkies (like myself and, clearly, you) know that this is an extremely complex situation.

But if any of us are going to help make a change, part of the strategy has to be to connect with people who are busy raising kids. I don't think what I proposed was especially dishonest. In fact, I think it's an accurate (though not precise) description of differences.

Again, I am not a strategist. But I do hope to encourage others' ideas that might help to end this national disaster which most of the population opposes. How can ending the occupation, in purely practical terms, happen?
posted by McLir at 10:56 PM on September 9, 2007


Cool Papa Bell writes "Yeah, exactly what a protest march needs. Unflinching rock n' roll. That'll show 'em. Yeah! Is that freedom rock, man? Well, turn it up!"

Don't underestimate the power of music in politics. Think of Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Lee Greenwood (seriously).
posted by krinklyfig at 11:30 PM on September 9, 2007


McLir, that's a very appropriate and difficult question, and I'm frustrated that I can't answer it well. I don't think your line of reasoning is wrong. We do need to connect with people who are too busy for much more than soundbites. All of us are, an awful lot of the time. However, I think the long-term effect of this strategy is a race to the bottom, in which both sides of the debate invest in tricking the audience, because the side that plays the highground operates at a comparative disadvantage and loses the short term battles. In the end, it overthrows whatever is good about democracy, because it's not an enlightened populace calling the shots, but spin masters and ad execs.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:32 PM on September 9, 2007


kid ichorous, I understand your "race to the bottom" argument. But the Iraq issue is too urgent to make a policy initiative that would revamp schools. (By the time it got through, how many of today's 12-year-olds will end up in the Iraq mess?)

The point is not to hoodwink people. The point is to attack a decidedly pro-war opposition. And hit them where it hurts -- party control. There are other strategies available. I'm just trying to initiate some ideas. In light of the Art of War how can this be done well?
posted by McLir at 12:34 AM on September 10, 2007


I understand and share some of your frustration, cool papa bell, but I don't think you can deny that what happened in Chicago in 1968 and that that particular MC5 show was historically significant.

I wasn't talking about protest groups in general, which I agree have limited value overall today, but MC5, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, etc. all played significant roles in calling attention to the injustices of that time, your "turn it up, man, it's freedom rock" derision notwithstanding.
posted by psmealey at 3:37 AM on September 10, 2007


I mean, is this the best we can do?

That link is utterly ridiculous. Just posting it here, intentionally or not, carries water for the pro-war cause.

Yes, obviously, you can go to any protest in San Francisco and snap two dozen shots of protest retards, freaks and other wannabes, but to paint "the anti-war left" with the same broad brush as these other people is false, misleading and wrong (firstly, a lot of people on the right are against the war). I have been to large and focused protests in Chicago and DC in 2003, that barely got any notice in the media, except where there was an opportunity to take photographs like the one in your link.
posted by psmealey at 3:51 AM on September 10, 2007


sebastienbailard: "Tim Kreider's The Pain has a good take on this as well."

This is pretty much ripped off from Derrick Jensen (who is pretty much in support of extreme miltancy in his work -- specifically "Endgame"). Derrick is also friends with everyones favorite discredited radical Ward Churchill. Both argue that pacifist politics are the reason we lose.

Derrick has this whole little scene where he's got the original script of Star Wars written by a bunch of Liberals... He tells it all the time, so you get sick of it, but it's good the first time you hear it.

Anyways...

I think Ritter's "We're not anti-war, we're pro-constitution" is a false solution, because, once more, now you're putting the ball in the right-wingers court. You're not uniting, you're framing it in the right-wing way. That's not to say that the right shouldn't oppose the war for their own reasons...

I used to think, after moving to madison, that the left and libertarians should unite in opposition to war (i.e. Kosovo at the time), but after seeing both the left in (f)action... I see how absurd trying to get them working with anyone besides their own little click is.

When the pacifists are snitching on the black bloc, because they want to present a good face, well, you're just going to do exactly what massah wants, and never accomplish a damn thing.

The 60s had direct targetting of military recruitment centers and supply line disruptions. Don't know if that's a valid tactic, but it's certainly got more oomph behind it than the shit going on now.

Also, lots of liberals around here fly their flags and shit, and they're anti-war. It's folly to say "If only you had a flag on your bumper sticker" as Ritter says, because that IS what happens. Sure, there's the extreme... But the moderate/liberals already do such a thing, but the right-wing media caricaturization of the anti-war movement as all commies (and admittedly, these fucking people actually think Clinton was a communist), you're never going to reach them.

The goal is to get the majority who agree with you (and probably ARE waving their US flags) to take ACTION. Once that happens, then maybe there's a shot.

But be wary of the extremes on either end.
posted by symbioid at 11:11 AM on September 10, 2007


but MC5, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, etc. all played significant roles in calling attention to the injustices of that time

In his memoirs, Lyndon Johnson remarked that inside the White House, he could hear the protesters outside the White House grounds chanting, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"

In a late night jaunt, Nixon was said to have visited protesters on the Mall, where he talked directly to them.

No mention of whether either guy was listening to "Blowin' in the Wind" at the time.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:11 PM on September 10, 2007


["note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site." Take the "fuck you" hijinx elsewhere, please.]
posted by cortex at 1:26 PM on September 10, 2007


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