There’s criticism to build & criticism to destroy unity

No one would call me a slouch when it comes to criticism but there’s a difference in explaining, even in sharp terms, where you disagree with others on an issue & denouncing those who disagree with you as a fascist or the source of all evil in the world.

The first is a movement building approach, a belief that in the process of debate you & those you disagree with will come to better understand complicated political issues. The second is the politics of scapegoating, of hating on someone, of lashing out because you don’t want to reveal your politics or because you can’t elaborate them coherently.

The scapegoats now for the US elections are the “Dem-libs.” After 50 years in politics, I have no idea who the hell they are or why we all should hate on them. But I do know that if you want to build a movement in this country, liberals, including those who vote Democrat, are central to the process–from church to campus organizations they make up the majority of activists.

The scapegoats for right-wing social democrats who oppose Assad’s dictatorship & Russian intervention but promote US intervention are “leftists” or “antiwar leftists.” The fall of Aleppo to the Syrian regime is a tragedy of the greatest political consequence but the entire responsibility for that monstrous crime is Syrian & Russian bombing along with the sub rosa roles of the US, Iran, Hezbollah, & other forces. Trying to stick that on “leftists” is vindictive rubbish.

As an antiwar activist since Vietnam, I have struggled, as other antiwar activists have, to understand the vagaries of the antiwar movement from millions around the world to uncoordinated actions in a handful of major cities. I have repeatedly argued that the fragmentation & often sectarian character of antiwar forces has not allowed sufficient analysis of the dramatic fluxes in antiwar activity. If we do not understand why the millions of people who oppose wars are not mobilized against them we will not know how to approach effecting change in that–including the factional way left groups operate within the antiwar movement.

It’s time for the denunciation period to end. It’s time for debate to take the place of condemnations. They’re wearing thin & serve no useful purpose except to divide.