Thursday, September 20, 2007

In Reply: "You act where you stand the most chance of doing the most good."

Burkean Reflections: The Big Picture on Iraq Antiwar Protests (From the comments, which have no permalinks in the ECHO system.)

Jim again makes sense, but I take it further.

ANSWER is insignificant. Almost no one who attends their rallies & marches buys into the communist agenda, or has a single anti-American thought. No one who was there is cheering US defeat, or looking for America to lose, as you claim.

Those are just silly talking points.

The real issue is this specific occupation in Iraq, and what to do about it. And like it or not, much of America is questioning pretty much all aspects of it, from how we got in to what to do now...

While I'm kinda on the fence--I neither support continued occupation or immediate withdrawal, and see no good answers--I'd like to see the conversation move toward finding a way out with as little damage to us, Iraq, or the region as possible, and therefore support demonstrations that keep the issue from being a foregone conclusion in favor of seemingly endless occupation & continued death all around.

Commies & anti-Americanism are boogiemen made of straw. (I'm not saying there is no such thing, but both put together are to the peace movement what Fred Phelps is to religious thought.) There are far too many people from all walks of life opposing this occupation (either in polls, or in representation at these marches) for you to credibly attribute it to be "anti-American Reds."

I understand that some of the groups have socialist or commie ties. If that were grounds for automatic dismissal, you folks would have to give up the eight-hour work day (along with many other labor laws), and The Pledge of Allegiance. Even followers of bad political theories can have good ideas, occasionally. Fixing what Mr. Bush broke (more slowly & carefully than we broke it, I hope) is one of them.
September 17, 2007, 1:22:11 PM EDT

It is also not true that American public opinion is clamoring for an immediate withdrawal.
I agree... That must be why I never made any such claim.
but I recently posted on the WSJ poll that found the public opposed to a quick cut-and-run.
And while I wasn't polled by WSJ, I oppose a quick cut & run, too. But that doesn't make me a stay the course guy, either. I want the US to find its way back out, as carefully as possible, to minnimize the damage this occupation created. (And no, I'm not saying we're responsible for all the troubles in the Middle East, or that Saddam wasn't a bad guy who created a whole lotta damage of his own, or that now that AQ is in Iraq (which I do blame on our not securing the borders), we don't need to respond to that.)
ANSWER folks are relentlessly anti-U.S.
Some of 'em are. And, like the black bloc asses who follow peace protests areound (& are also anti-American in my opinion, based on their violent tactics), I denounce them. My point is, they are an insignificant part of the movement, idealistically. The myriad of folks attending are not parroting actual anti-American slogans (by which I don't mean opposing the President or his policies, which is a very American trait and is done all the time by whatever party isn't in office), arming themselves (you tend to find that kinda anti-government militia stuff on the right fringes) or trying to overthrow anyone, violently or otherwise. At worst, they try to get you to read stuff or pay attention to rambling speeches. Not all that scary, and occasionally, even fun to debate against, as a rhetorical excersize...
The NYT piece in fact calls them an umbrella group for the movement.
That'd be because that's exactly what they are. ANSWER really isn't it's own group, but a coalition of all kinds of left o' center groups, from commies to environmentalists to human rights groups. So whatever your bugaboo, there's probably an affiliated group that you're able to point to & say "They're bad because___" The fact is, they came together to oppose the war, and that's all most folks give a hoot about. Freeing Mumia & saving the rainforest, & celebrating the life of Che may or may not be on some folk's individual agendas, but that's not why we attend ANSWER rallies, even if there are some speeches & signs that suggest otherwise. The minute an ANSWER rally becomes about communism (or much of any interest of any other coalition member group), the streets will be almost empty.
How many of the peaceniks have denounced ANSWER?
I only know of a few, mostly based on a foolish anti-Jewish stance they took in 2002 or so. (They barred Rabbi Lerner from speaking as a rally, after he denounced their support for a single Palistinian state, rather than a two state solution. I considered not attending the next ANSWER function in NY, but even Rabbi Lerner himself suggested continuing to support the anti-war movement, even if ANSWER was involved.)

Few peaceniks have denounced ANSWER, because few take their ideas seriously in the first place, or see them as any kinda threat to our American way of life. Yes, the ANSWER coalition has commies (& palastinians, & pro-muslim groups, & socialists, and vegetarians, & religious groups) in it. They (the individual organizations) are no more of a threat to the US way of life than any other fringe group is. And together as ANSWER, they spend very little time (though still far too much, according to many of us) selling anything but opposition to the occupation.
September 17, 2007, 4:10:14 PM EDT

Well it was Anarchists that spearheaded the campaign for the 8-hour workday...
It was both anarchists and socialists, here in the US. (The first MayDay parades here were in support of the 8 hour work day.) In England, it was socialists.
...and they were no threat to America. They only bombed it a bit and assassinated a president. It was just an international terror campaign. No biggie… I can see the parallels…
You're making my point, FN... Even otherwise bad folks can have good ideas... Or would you prefer to scrap all the labor laws?
Anyways it wasn’t Anarchists or Socialists that are responsible for the 8-hour day, it was President Roosevelt in his New Deal, which was passed decades after Anarchist Unions campaigned for the 8-hour day in the 1870s and 80s. They had nothing to do with it. It was a great American president who saw the benefits of moderate Socialist policies and how it could compliment Capitalist ideals.

Funny how you dismiss the socialists right out of the picture, because they don't fit your meme, and deny that the early calls for an 8 hour day had anything to do with Roosevelt's later decision.
Eight-hour day - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The United Mine Workers won an eight-hour work day in 1898.

The Building Trades Council (BTC) of San Francisco, under the leadership of P.H. McCarthy, won the eight-hour day in 1900 when the BTC unilaterally declared that its members would work only eight hours a day for $3 a day.

By 1905 the Eight-hour day is widely installed in the printing trades.

On January 5, 1914, the Ford Motor Company took the radical step of doubling pay to $5 a day, and cut shifts from nine hours to an eight hour day, moves that were not popular with rival companies, although seeing the increase in Ford's productivity, most soon followed suit.

The Adamson Act was a United States law passed in 1916 that established an eight-hour workday, with additional pay for overtime work, for railroad workers. This was the first federal law that regulated the hours of workers in private companies. The United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Act in 1917.

The eight-hour day was realized for many working people in the U.S. in 1938, when the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S. Code Chapter 8) under the New Deal made it a legal day's work throughout the nation.
And if RepSac claims that ANSWER are anything like Christian Socialists then he is mistaken. They are atheist revolutionaries, of which Bellamy was neither.
Straw man. repsac makes no such claim. repsac repeats what he said originally; even bad actors can have good ideas, and that one can do or support the same thing a commie or a socialist does or supports--like opposing the occupation of a foreign country, appreciating US labor laws, or pledging to the US flag--without being or becoming a commie or a socialist.

There are times when guilt by association makes sense. This isn't one of those times, unless doing so supports the position you came in with, and prefer to leave with.
September 17, 2007, 5:41:25 PM EDT

I have read many articles and blogs, and I can see the pictures for myself (see Malkin, for example). I think these people would destroy the nation and enslave the people in a reign of terror if they got their way.
I feel the same about Malkin, sometimes... 8>)

But don't forget, Malkin, et al. has an agenda, as well. The pictures & experiences they relate are there to sell a particular version of events, to back up a particular ideology.

Go to youtube & search out "ant-war Protest" or "Gathering of Eagles" videos for yourself, and look at all the people involved in the marches. (I recommend hitting a variety of videographers, because they too, have an agenda.)

There are some crazies, there are some truthers, & there are some anarchists... And then there are ordinary folks of all ages, genders, & races, dressed like you or I would be on a late summer day, participating in the marches & making their voices heard.
That's just my opinion, but nothing you've said rebuts my basic points on ANSWER.
Your basic point about ANSWER seems to be that the coalition contains commies. It does.

You allege that ANSWER & the like cheer US defeat, hate everything for which the US stands, & would storm the barricades against a US government under seige, in hopes of imposing a reign of totolitarian terror, but you fail to offer much of anything to support the allegations.

If you see no reason or need to support them, I see no reason or need to refute them, other than to say I've not seen anything that supports your allegations (aside other folks of your bent making the same allegations, also without proof.) I even took a quick look for anything about ANSWER's support for overthrowing the British State, but found nothing.

You're free to maintain your opinion. Until I see a reason or two to change it, I will maintain mine, as well.
September 17, 2007, 6:11:33 PM EDT


The strawman to which I refer was FN's...

Not quite sure what Rich is saying, except that he thinks ANSWER is dangerous, as well.

Lending credibility to the truthers?
That's like the blind leading the blind. Few take either group seriously. I don't even think ANSWER takes truthers seriously (or vise versa). In fact, I'd venture to say it's only the right (some of it, anyway) who cares about either/both of them.

And as for protesting in/near where the wars are, some (though not many) are. Remeber the human shields?

The fact is, we protest here against what this government is doing because this is the government that is supposed to represent us, and this is the government doing what we'd prefer they didn't. It's all well & good--though dangerous--to yell at Tehran (in Tehran, even), but why should Tehran care what a portion--even a big portion--of American citizens think, especially when our own government doesn't seem to?

I didn't see rightwing Americans standing in Tienamen square... But I would never take that to mean the right does not oppose communism. (The same cannot be said for granting Communist China the trading status we have, without insisting on more attention to human rights abuses, however.)

The US government is of the American people, by the American people, for the American people. There is no other government where that is the case, and that is the reason we address our grievences where we do, rather than somewhere else. (For the most part, that's true, regardless. Even when some other government is misbehaving, many Americans petition OUR government to put pressure on that other one to stop what they're doing, because it is our government that stands the most chance of listening to what we say.)

When I see the protests that are mounted in other countries against US actions, I sometimes wonder how effective they are... ...and at the same time wish ordinary Americans were as involved in world as the citizens of other countries seem to be.

The idea that protesting for peace is illegitamate unless anti-war Americans take it to the other countries involved is a charge I never understood. (I think it's some kinda chickendove argument...)

I do think religious/spiritual pacifists ought to oppose war & violence wherever it occurs, but I still see the value of starting where one can do the most good. For Americans, that is by petitioning their own government to stop it's own violence, first.
September 17, 2007, 8:57:19 PM EDT

Yes ... what would you think if, say, the KKK (robes, hoods, and all) was standing along Pennsylvania Avenue last Saturday, mixed in among us ... and we didn't move away
Your being with the KKK would not further legitimize either your group or theirs, which is the accusation you purport to be backing up with this argument.
We know how Big Lies get started ... and since distrust of the government is a national pastime that cuts across party lines, it is too easy for such a Big Lie to take root, and tear up the pipeline of sound judgment.
I have more faith in the intelligence of the American people than that.
Bad example ... for they did not protest the actions of the regimes being shielded. The shields ended up being used as dupes by the regimes, instead. The only criticism, was directed at America.
I disagree that it would make much of any sense for Americans to protest the actions of other governments in those countries, particularly when our own government is also acting badly.

Only one government is beholden to and claims to represent the American people.
We act where we can have the greatest (or any) effect, even if the cause is greater elsewhere.

I suspect you know this as well, or you (or yours) would be organizing protests against the enemies abroad, rather than your political enemies here. We talk to the US government & people because they are the ones with whom we have influence.
If you are going to be truly antiwar, but still support justice, life, and liberty, you had better be protesting, with at least equal volume and stridency as you use against our government's misdeeds ... the worse things those other governments do.
First off, many are only opposed to this war, and said nothing when we invaded Afghanistan, believing that was justified.

Second, this illusion of a "fair & balanced" world that FoxNews created is a myth. Some ideas & actions are more worthy than others. One does not need to protest all war equally to credibly be anti-war. You act where you stand the most chance of doing the most good.

If one is a true pacifist (I am not, but I know some are), you don't lose credibility until you advocate in favor of any country's warlike ways, or stop your opposition once your country is no longer engaged in war.
Or better yet, encouraging your government to confront them.
Some do... only they urge them to do so non-violently.
The leaders of these other nations are grown-ups too ... where is ANYONE holding them to account for the proper implementation of governance?
If that is how you feel, and you believe that signs and slogans will do any good, I urge you to marshal your fellow righties & begin protesting against them, rather than against those here who disagree with you.
September 19, 2007, 4:25:57 PM EDT

You made an error. You claimed that without socialists or commies we would have to give up the 8-hour day.
I'm not going back & forth on this again, FN... I put up my links showing the history as I understand it. If you read it differently than I, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Basically, you engage in straw man arguments and then accuse everyone else of throwing around the straw man. The Christian Socialist Bellamy has nothing to do with militant Socialists like ANSWER and has little in common with it.
I wasn't aware we were grading socialism on a curve, and saying some socialism is better than others. I put forth the argument that the pledge was written by a socialist, not that it was written by an ANSWER style socialist. I did so to say that not every word and deed that comes from one's perceived enemy is automatically unacceptable by virtue of where it comes from. Should some "muzzie" find the cure for cancer, I hope we don't refuse to use it because of it's origin.
It is unfortunate that one word can describe both, but that is the reality of the English language.
I believe you dismiss the argument a bit too easily, but so be it.
You once tried to convince me to use an alternative word for jihadists or something like that a long time ago (via Flopping Aces), but I forgot what that word was. Its not in common usage.
One Muslim’s Jihad, is Another Muslim’s Hirabah

As far as the rest, yes, words do hold different connotations for different people, which does make absolute agreement on the meaning of any word impossible. But I don't agree that my use of "rightwing" or "socialist" is so fraught with connotation as make reasonable communication impossible. While you seem to think my use of socialist is overbroad, I think you're defining it down just enough that you don't have to confront my actual point. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere between the two, or maybe we're both flat out wrong... I imagine this won't be the last time the words get in the way...
September 19, 2007, 4:51:45 PM EDT

I find these conversations to be very boring.
The fact that you keep coming back to them says far more than your words...
You really go off on tangents.
You'll have to give an example... ...if you're not too bored.
You missed my point about Socialism so much that I dont even know what you are talking about.
I didn't miss it so much as dismiss it as not being relevant to the point *I* was making when *I* brought the subject of socialism up. (And you talk about going off on tangents... 8)
Anyways, we have many Muslims allies. The Kuwaitis, Kurds, Albanians, Afghanis, Iraqis, etc... I dont think they are my enemies.
I don't either, and that's my point... (To be fair, I was kinda playing a guilt by association thing there... I first learned the term "muzzie" from your friend nanc's blog... Her posts & those of many of her commenters are lousy with the term... But, you are not your sister's keeper and, while I never noticed you making a similar defense of Muslims there, I shouldn't hold you responsible for their sins. I'm sorry for doing so.)

That said, my point is still valid, I think... I hope that on the wildly unlikely chance that the cure for cancer is developed by a member of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Baathists, or JAM, we don't refuse to use it based on where it came from.
Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Baathists, JAM, etc... those are enemies.
Good enemies to have.
You dont even know who you are talking to.
But I learn more every time you speak.
September 20, 2007, 6:52:56 AM EDT

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