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Re: [smygo] The Obama Boomerang

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  • dean tuckerman
    I hate to do this on a non-discussion list like this, but some of this history is truthiness of the top order in order for Raimando to make fun of the left.
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 4, 2010
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      I hate to do this on a non-discussion list like this, but some of
      this "history" is truthiness of the top order in order for Raimando
      to make fun of the left. A note: I am an anarchist and am not a
      Marxist but believe it is the duty of a revolutionary to tell the truth.

      Raimondo reminds us that most Marxists or is it former Marxists have
      either entered real estate or the Obama administration. This is an
      interesting pejorative coming from someone who does not have to
      "enter" the world of buying and selling. He and his propertarian
      (sometimes called libertarian) friends have always had a bill of
      goods or some
      property to sell you.

      Both "Freedom Road"s do come out out of the New Communist milieu JR
      talks about. The split between them had to do with Tianamen Square
      and the nature of China. Both Freedom Roads criticize Obama. Many
      somewhat leftists and left-overs supported Obama, but Progressive for
      Obama was founded and populated by people in other former New
      Communist tendencies but not Freedom Road. (Sometimes one does need a
      scorecard to tell the players).

      At the end of this piece, the lady does protesteth too much as JR
      gets a dig in at leftists while denouncing one Freedom Road (the one
      headquartered in New York City) for matter-of-factly stating that it
      was there group but the other Freedom Road that was under attack (at
      the moment). Only a propertarian or other purveyor of gossip would
      think that a simple disclaimer was trying to get a competitive edge.
      In fact, as someone who has studied the left for many years, i would
      note that this attack has brought many groups together agaisnt FBI
      attacks which i consider a good thing.

      On Sep 26, 2010, at 9:43 PM, Dan Clore wrote:

      > News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
      >
      > http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2010/09/26/the-obama-boomerang/
      > The Obama Boomerang
      > By Justin Raimondo
      > September 26, 2010 @ 11:00 pm
      >
      > FBI raids on six houses in Minneapolis and Chicago, including the
      > office
      > of the Minneapolis Antiwar Committee, have the antiwar movement – and
      > the left in general – in an uproar. Agents came barging into homes
      > guns
      > drawn, kicking down doors and smashing furniture, armed with search
      > warrants. The warrants described, in suitably vague terms, allegations
      > of “material support for terrorism.” No arrests were made, although a
      > number of individual activists were served with subpoenas demanding
      > their appearance before a grand jury. Computers, documents, phones,
      > and
      > other materials were carted away by burly FBI agents, who appeared
      > at 7
      > a.m. sharp, locked and loaded.
      >
      > Let the frame-ups begin!
      >
      > This Palmer raids-style fishing expedition is apparently aimed at
      > members and supporters of an obscure Marxist grouplet, the Freedom
      > Road
      > Socialist Organization (FRSO), a Maoist remnant founded in the 1960s
      > which came out of the “new communist movement” documented in Max
      > Elbaum’s Revolution in the Air. What drew the attention of the
      > authorities to FRSO was apparently their “solidarity” work on
      > behalf of
      > the Palestinians and a Colombian leftist insurgency known as FARC.
      >
      > More about FRSO later, but in the meantime let’s look at the
      > context in
      > which all this is occurring. Why it seems like only yesterday that the
      > Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General issued its report
      > on the illegal surveillance, infiltration, and systematic
      > harassment of
      > antiwar groups, including the Merton Center, in Pittsburgh, the
      > Catholic
      > Worker organization, and Greenpeace. The report has been described by
      > many as “scathing,” but in the process of trying to whitewash FBI
      > Director Robert Mueller, it also succeeds in minimizing the crimes of
      > the political police as they sought evidence to frame up a bunch of
      > pacifists as potential terrorists.
      >
      > In justifying the infiltration and extensive surveillance, FBI agents
      > told the IG that, since the individuals involved were advocates of
      > “direct action,” the activities of the Merton Center/Catholic Worker
      > raised the possibility of “arson attacks” on military facilities.
      > Remember, this is the same FBI that, under J. Edgar Hoover, spied
      > on and
      > tried to destroy Martin Luther King. An arson attack these thugs can
      > understand, and deal with, but the concept of nonviolent resistance
      > is a
      > direct affront to their entire worldview – and a much more potent
      > threat
      > to their power.
      >
      > The surveillance of the Merton Center, and specifically of a 2002
      > protest against the Iraq war, was supposedly initiated in order to
      > garner information about “an ongoing terrorist investigation,” and so
      > Director Mueller testified in hearings before Congress, but that
      > turned
      > out not to be true. A great deal of the IG’s report is taken up with
      > defending Mueller, personally, who supposedly didn’t know there was no
      > ongoing terrorist investigation that required the agent’s presence at
      > the rally, where he took photographs of participants and collected
      > literature. Or, at least, this agent didn’t know there was such an
      > investigation – although there was – but went anyway, because he was a
      > “probationary” pig, and was just trying to please his supervisor: his
      > presence at the antiwar rally, however “ill-conceived” it may have
      > been,
      > wasn’t carried out “because of the Merton Center’s antiwar
      > advocacy,” it
      > was just “make-work.” And if you believe that, then I have a P. T.
      > Barnum quip at the ready I won’t even bother typing out.
      >
      > “Ill-conceived,” but legal – that’s the IG’s verdict on the Merton
      > Center surveillance, because the FBI’s shenanigans fit the very loose
      > legal parameters applicable under the PATRIOT Act. After all, the
      > rationale goes, it’s possible that the subject of an ongoing
      > investigation into al-Qaeda’s Pittsburgh cell might attend a protest
      > against the Iraq war given by Catholic nuns. Just as I suppose it’s
      > possible Osama bin Laden could convert to Christianity and become a
      > Trappist monk.
      >
      > In an editorial, the Boston Globe denounced the FBI’s actions as
      > “red-baiting,” but this is incorrect: A footnote in the report
      > seeks to
      > justify the surveillance, or at least make it more politically
      > palatable, by identifying the Center as an “anarchist” enterprise, one
      > devoted to “mutual aid” as well as fighting war and State oppression.
      > Now that the Soviet Union is gone, there aren’t all that many reds
      > around to be baited – they’ve all either gone into real estate, or
      > else
      > gone to Washington to take jobs in the Obama administration. It’s
      > those
      > darn anarchists who are the new bogeymen, bomb-throwing radicals both
      > Chris Matthews and Rush Limbaugh can vilify in unison.
      >
      > Since the PATRIOT Act and subsequent legislation gave the feds a blank
      > check to spy on us, law enforcement agencies have taken the
      > opportunity
      > to cast as wide a net as possible over the legal activities of
      > American
      > citizens whose only goal is to change American foreign policy. Under
      > Bush, and now under Obama, the government is engaged in a systematic
      > campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat the anti-interventionist
      > movement on the home front, all under the rubric of “anti-terrorism.”
      >
      > The FBI invasion of antiwar activists’ homes and offices is the latest
      > chapter in this ongoing campaign: as our troops take Kandahar, our
      > political police are taking Minneapolis and Chicago.
      >
      > The target of the raids, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, is
      > interesting because its history gives us a capsule summary of what
      > happened to the antiwar movement of the 1960s and 70s – and a
      > lesson in
      > why the current antiwar movement is floundering.
      >
      > FRSO came out of the generational radicalization that created Students
      > for a Democratic Society (SDS) and energized a mass left-wing
      > student-based movement. When SDS splintered into a couple dozen
      > fragments in a frenzy of factional warfare, FRSO emerged from one
      > of the
      > splinters known as the Revolutionary Youth Movement (II) – the
      > Revolutionary Youth Movement (I) being something altogether different,
      > you see. In any case, as more and more of these young radicals
      > began to
      > go into real estate, or take up Zen Buddhism, the dead-enders either
      > joined the Weathermen and went underground, or else joined one of the
      > plonky neo-Stalinist “parties” – i.e. sects – that sprang up like
      > mushrooms on a fallen tree.
      >
      > FRSO was one such grouplet, formed out of the merger of the Maoist
      > Revolutionary Workers’ Headquarters (which had previously split
      > from the
      > Revolutionary Communist Party), and the Proletarian Unity League. Both
      > of these groups had been highly critical of the “ultra-left” doctrine,
      > tactics, and strategy of the Maoist movement, and sought to salvage
      > those activists who survived the flight to bourgeois respectability.
      >
      > The idea was to rebuild the movement by carrying out a holding action,
      > but the result was yet another split, with one faction deciding
      > that the
      > entire basis of Marxist-Leninist theory had to be reexamined with a
      > critical eye – these are the “Left Refoundationists” – against the
      > upholders of orthodoxy, who called themselves FRSO-(Fight Back). There
      > are, today, two organizations which call themselves the Freedom Road
      > Socialist Organization, with the orthodox faction winding up in the
      > sights of the FBI, and the Left Refoundationists winding up in …
      > “Progressives for Obama.”
      >
      > One comic side note of the raids is the Left Refoundationist
      > denunciation of the FBI’s attack on their ex-comrades, which, after
      > decrying the incident as “part of a growing governmental trend
      > targeting
      > the left,” and pointing out that “the [African National Congress,
      > which
      > currently governs South Africa] was on the ‘terrorist’ list right up
      > until they won electoral victory in South Africa,” is careful to point
      > out, in bold print:
      >
      > “Although the organization in question has a similar name to ours, we
      > are different organizations. (We are officially Freedom Road Socialist
      > Organization/Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad
      > (FRSO/OSCL).) We were not targets in these raids.”
      >
      > In other words: it ain’t us! It’s those guys over there:
      >
      > “These raids and arrests have the effect of stifling dissent and
      > foreclosing democratic rights of minority viewpoints. We should be
      > concerned, whether or not we agree with the politics of the targeted
      > organization.”
      >
      > The Left Refoundationists went into the Democratic party, and were
      > active in “Progressives for Obama,” an outfit cooked up by Tom Hayden,
      > FRSO-“Left Refoundationist” and AFL-CIO bureaucrat Bill Fletcher,
      > Barbara Ehrenreich, and Danny Glover, whose job it was to get these
      > former militant commies to the polls on behalf of the Great Change.
      > The
      > orthodox FRSO-ers, on the other hand, continued along the
      > “Marxist-Leninist” path, meeting with leftist insurgents in South
      > America and occupied Palestine, but still feeling the pull of the
      > Great
      > Change. As their “Main Political Report” on the domestic situation for
      > 2010 puts it:
      >
      > “The election of Barack Obama as the first African American
      > President of
      > the United States is a contradictory event. In part the election of
      > Obama was a referendum on race in the United States, a referendum that
      > came out surprisingly positive … Obama’s election represents a
      > rejection
      > of the Bush administration policies and a desire amongst the people
      > for
      > a progressive agenda from the government. Immediately following his
      > election there was a sense of optimism and a feeling that change is
      > possible. This is a very good development after so many years of
      > Bush. ”
      >
      > I wonder if they’ll revise that last sentence in light of recent
      > developments.
      >
      > I think it’s safe to say the antiwar movement was unprepared for this
      > kind of attack from an administration they hailed as “a very good
      > development,” and I’m not just talking about FRSO. The idea that the
      > election of a black man whose resume reads “community organizer” is
      > going to change the face of US imperialism even slightly is an
      > illusion
      > brought on by the identity politics that have long since replaced
      > Marxism (or any coherent ‘ism) in the canons of the left. If many have
      > wondered who let the air out of the antiwar movement, it was precisely
      > those “radical” leftists who, like the “orthodox” Marxists of FRSO,
      > signed on as the “left” wing of the Obama cult. That’s why they didn’t
      > see the mailed fist of the State coming even when it was a few inches
      > from their faces.
      >
      > The Minneapolis and Chicago raids are just the beginning. The logic of
      > the “war on terrorism,” and its legal machinery here on the home
      > front,
      > is an ever-expanding campaign to associate political dissent – and,
      > specifically, dissent from our interventionist foreign policy – with
      > violence and treason. And it will be a lot easier to pull this off
      > under
      > a “progressive” veneer. Remember, Bush’s political police just spied
      > covertly, as well as targeting Islamic charities and shutting several
      > down: Obama’s KGB is conducting open raids on the offices of domestic
      > antiwar organizations. Anybody who gave a dime, or an hour of their
      > time, to the Minneapolis and Chicago antiwar groups in which FRSO
      > involved itself is now apt to be on an FBI “terrorist watch list.”
      > Under
      > this “progressive” President, the FBI isn’t just taking photos of
      > us at
      > antiwar events and following us to the grocery store: it’s kicking
      > down
      > the front door and taking our stuff.
      >
      > The escalation of Obama’s wars abroad is being matched, and more,
      > by an
      > escalation of the war on dissent at home – and the antiwar movement is
      > caught unprepared, in shock that this “community organizer” and his
      > buddies in the Justice Department would go after them. So watch out,
      > comrades: that FBI agent at your door may be a “Left
      > Refoundationist” of
      > a particular type.
      >
      > Okay, aside from the ideological lesson we can draw from this, what
      > can
      > the antiwar movement do, concretely, to defend itself from attack?
      > What’s needed is a legal defense organization, one narrowly devoted to
      > providing assistance to those who find themselves targeted on
      > account of
      > their anti-imperialist views. The network that’s grown up around the
      > defense of Bradley Manning ought to be expanded to include not only
      > the
      > FRSO activists but all future targets of state repression – and,
      > believe
      > you me, there will be more.
      >
      > The ruling elite has never been more nervous, because their rule has
      > never been more brittle: the economic collapse foreshadows a political
      > collapse that can only be prevented by a crackdown and general
      > tightening of the rules of the American “democratic” system. They’re
      > making up these new rules as they go along, and the process is still
      > ongoing, but of one thing we can be certain: the Constitution is a
      > dead
      > letter. It no longer exists except as a document kept under glass,
      > venerated but never obeyed.
      >
      > In an atmosphere like this, anything is possible: repression, mass
      > raids, and, yes, even dictatorship (in the name of “preserving
      > democracy,” naturally). We are in for some hard times, and certainly
      > some tumultuous times: if we’re going to survive, we must shed any
      > illusions that the State is going to back off, or give us a break,
      > because, after all, “our” guy is in the White House. The Obama
      > administration is the enemy of freedom at home and the main danger to
      > peace abroad – and progressive opponents of war and domestic
      > repression
      > need to either acknowledge that, or else give up the fight. The Obama
      > boomerang has hit them squarely upside their heads: now they need to
      > pick themselves up off the ground and face reality.
      >
      > --
      > Dan Clore
      >
      > New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      > http://tinyurl.com/yd3bxkw
      > My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      > http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0035LTS0O
      > Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      > http://tinyurl.com/292yz9
      > News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
      >
      > Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      > in charge on this island?
      > Professor: Why, no one.
      > Skipper: No one?
      > Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      > -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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      > ------------------------------------
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