Antiwar demonstrations

I was there, Lou, [a comment on L. Proyect's report on the antiwar demonstration in Washington] but without a Chicago banner (such as I had earlier indicated I would be near), for reasons having to do with the fact that there was no Chicago bus. Partly this was because people opted for the $160 plane fare that had been arranged by the Serbian Unity Congress. And some preferred cars, etc. And a lot of people from Chicago are concentrating on the demonstrations here against Clinton (June 12) and Albright (June 18). (We had a coalition meeting this evening.)

On top of that, though, a lot of people from Chicago and elsewhere canceled their plans because they believed - mistakenly, as it turned out - that the war was over. There would have been thousands more there without the confusion around the ultimatum. Of course my position would be that even if the bombing had stopped, a U.S./NATO occupation is not 'peace,' it is imperialist conquest and should be fought without letup. Some of the more conspiracy-minded people opined that the "peace scare" of June 3 and the resumption of full-scale bombing on June 7 were not independent of the June 5 demonstration.

In any case ... it seems that we are likely to be on the stage for a while longer, rather than in the wings.

Louis P: "To our left were a group of four people who seemed to hold simple pacifist beliefs. ... The simple fact of the matter is that if and when a mass antiwar movement comes into existence, it will have to reflect the inchoate pacifist yearnings of millions of young people, who have not been trained in Marxist dialectics on the national question."

This is largely true and challenging, at least with regard to the type of war we are now dealing with - a low-casualty massacre from the air, in a period of economic boom. Of course there eventually will be casualties - if not in this war, then in a future war - and there really are economic costs now - and the boom is temporary, but until these costs really hit home, and being really starts to determine consciousness with respect to the war itself, a large number of the young people who are ready to come and actually organize against it will be young pacifists, motivated by moral fervor.

Furthermore, when we bring people to a demonstration who are really new to anti-war demonstrations, left politics, etc., especially young white people, we do indeed run into the fact that they bring with them all the unchallenged mainstream ideas and prejudices which they have developed throughout their lives up until the day when the educational horror of the war tore away a corner of the veil and shocked them into protest. They may believe in the United Nations, in what they read in the papers, in capitalism,