Followup to complaint post: how can we build an anti war movement in North America?

Submitted by celebratedrecluse in Anarchism (edited )

I complained a little while ago about the abysmal state of the antiwar movement in the united states & Canada. But so what can we do about it? What would be effective?

I think a campaign against the gun manufacturers would be effective. This would not demand any criminal penalties for gun possession, but just seek to limit the production of new guns for profit.

Additionally, a prohibition on the exportation of firearms & weapons of war would be a good goal to agitate for.

I think these policies would directly challenge powerful capitalist interests, but would have a solid basis of popular support in the US & Canada. It would also challenge the foundational aspects of power in the imperial system.

What do you all think? Good morning Europe & Africa

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ziq wrote

What do you all think? Good morning Europe & Africa

Ha, you kinda posted it when N. America is asleep so don't expect a reply for a while.

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conseil wrote

Additionally, a prohibition on the exportation of firearms & weapons of war would be a good goal to agitate for.

Ultimately, I think that's a goal that would be effective and appeal to almost everyone - except for the capitalist counter-propaganda campaigns that would come, at least. I imagine most people supporting it depending on the wording.

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Mango wrote

You can't. The anti-war 'movement' never achieved anything.

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bloodrose wrote

I have been looking this up. It seems you are very right. And this makes me sad.

It looks like opposition to the Vietnam war faded as the military went to voluntary troops. So, the antiwar movement was a more or less selfish movement of people who did not want to be drafted. And as we have a fully volunteer military in the US, we won't have that level of antiwar movement - and the antiwar movement didn't even do anything... ugh.

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ziq wrote

Yeah, people only really care when it affects them directly.

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celebratedrecluse OP wrote (edited )

it was partly responsible for the end of the draft, and the limitation of the political viability of full-scale military invasions & occupations, which eventually resulted in the retreat from Vietnam. you can't tell that story without talking about radical POC, or really the whole revolutionary context of the late 60s, the free speech movement, all of this is important...but young people were shot and killed for demonstrating against vietnam as part of the anti-war movement, and i think that contributed partly to the achievement of some limited goals.

edit: what contributed more, of course, is the suffering and sacrifice of millions of vietnamese anti imperialists

sure it was coopted, people tuned out and lost sight of the issues, and now we have a perpetual war state. so you could say it was ultimately a failure, and dismiss these limited accomplishments. but you could say the same of the civil rights movement: the voting rights act has been gutted, everything's gerrymandered to hell in favor of white reactionaries, and the current administration demolished most of the progressive legacy of the last one in the course of just a few months. You could say the same about the labor movements, who were systematically destroyed by neoliberalism in the 1980s, or by police-state level repression in the 1950s, the 1920s, the 1880s...

obviously, no movement has been successful. In fact, all these painfully won gains are often lost, usually quickly. But i don't think that means you can dismiss the entire impact of a social force working against deeply stacked odds, just because they didn't win everything. That's a recipe for becoming incredibly cynical about anything, don't you think? Or worse...for becoming incredibly cynical about cherrypicked issues, while focusing only on a few pet causes. A favorite pastime of mine of course, and one of the whole left really...

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Mango wrote

American on both sides love to bullshit that they retreated because of their mercy. That's far from truth, it was the NVA drained US military and their resources after over a decade of fighting.

I don't give a fuck about draft or American politics, or your half ass attempt to save the world. It never did anything.

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celebratedrecluse OP wrote

I'm not making the argument it was out of "mercy", not in the slightest. The way you are wording this, it makes it sound like you think that's my position.

I'm saying the domestic political situation deteriorated because of the wars, and that was the result of a long-term political effort in the US over the course of a decade, supplementing the bulk of the work which was done by the Vietnamese people literally fighting for their lives against the invasion. You say that's irrelevant, but I'm saying that the political decision to remove the troops came from more than just one factor. socialists in the US were unifying POC and allies to oppose the war through strikes, demonstrations ending with dead students, the radicalization of millions of young people, the (temporary) breakdown of Jim Crow, the whole internal conflict in the US is definitely relevant to the decision to pull out, or at least to end the practice of using the law to force 18 year olds to pick up rifles and kill people.

I don't give a fuck about draft or American politics, or your half ass attempt to save the world. It never did anything.

I'm not trying to "save the world", I assure you. But: "half assed"? Surely you don't want us to try, right??? lol

Anyway, if you don't care about American politics, that's understandable, but realize that what happens in the middle of a giant capitalist empire is inevitably going to affect you. I prefer to look for ways I can actually stand with people who are resisting the invasions my country is doing, and develop analyses that highlight the effective and ineffective elements of past efforts. Shitting on americans and their failed movements is easy, no doubt lol, but what's difficult imo is trying to apply principles of solidarity that can actually work, at least in limited ways.

I'm more interested in that than I am winning you over, I guess, but I really do hope you'll come to see Americans who are trying to figure out a way to contest imperialism as a (small) part of an internationalist solution to the American empire. If we can build solidarity across these nationalist lines, I think that's totally crucial to building a different international order. But then again, not everyone has to see things one way, and you're certainly not wrong to disdain this degenerating empire and its benefactors.

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Mango wrote

The white left never did anything that useful for anyone else but themselves

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celebratedrecluse OP wrote

fair enough, but to be fair the anti-war movement wasn't only white people, nor does it have to be predominantly so in the future. There are a lot of different kinds of people in the US, and the most likely parts of the population to resist US imperialism (and those that are most actively doing so rn) are POC, especially black communities. For example, the links formed between BLM & Palestinian liberation organizations was a great thing, and will form the basis for closer future relationships between anti-police struggles in North America & anti-colonial efforts in Palestine.

I mean, you're right, it's not happening fast enough, whiteness and other forms of privilege in politics are to blame. But there's another dimension here to look at, i stand by that

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betterletter wrote

we could just ask ctuyed to handle all of our enemies with his massive biceps and cognitive abilities.

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ctuyed wrote

I think a campaign against the gun manufacturers would be effective. This would not demand any criminal penalties for gun possession, but just seek to limit the production of new guns for profit.

How is stopping gun production any different than liberal gun control? How are we going to fight a revolution if we can only buy antique guns that cost a fortune?

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celebratedrecluse OP wrote

well, for one thing, antique guns are unregulated (in the US), so you can get a gun that was patented before 1898 and carry them with no license, which is pretty cool. They are also somewhat cheaper than modern firearms. For purposes of self defense, the "antiques" are actually pretty useful.

Moreover, and more pertinently, in the US there are already more guns than people. I am not sure that it is particularly helpful to a revolutionary cause to make even more? Because the problem is that the right wing and government is stockpiling the brand new hot-from-the-assembly-line guns anyway, and the best way to purvey a gun for anyone with a criminal record (read: a lot of marginalized/left people) is a person-to-person sale of a used firearm, anyway

Plus, the arms manufacturers in the US are making most of the guns for exporting them around the world, which is pretty terrible of course -shrug-

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ctuyed wrote

So what happens in 40 years when all the guns have broken and the next generation can't start a revolution because you let them ban gun manufacturing?

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celebratedrecluse OP wrote

Well, I also support comrades finding ways to make guns for ourselves. I think there can be a push to attack commercial arms traders, while simultaneously creating a leftist gun counterculture.

For example, even within a legalistic framework of regulation, one could ban corporations from selling arms, while preserving the right of person to person sales; another idea is to ban the manufacturing & export of military grade arms (fighter jets, missiles, other things economically inaccessible to the average revolutionary) while allowing for small scale rifle production.

Additionally, it is not difficult to replace broken parts on a firearm, and if you keep it in good condition & maintain them properly it should last more than a few decades, even! But my point is, I'm not arguing for banning all production...just that of our enemies, you know?

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