Response to Katrina Plotz re: RNC March
From: Fred H Olson (fholsoncohousing.org)
Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2008 16:16:28 -0700 (PDT)
The message below is from  Francisco J. Gonzalez <guajataca01 [at] yahoo.com> .
I'm distributing it even tho it not an event which this list normally
announces. It is a response to an article in a Progressive Calendar
redistributed here:
http://lists.justcomm.org/pipermail/mn-prog-events/msg00948.html
Fred, the list manager <fholson [at] cohousing.org>
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------


The comments by Katrina Plotz regarding my criticism of the anarchists'
actions and the failure of the March organizers to focus on the political
activism of the many instead on the antics of the few are clearly
illustrative of the need for serious consideration and thinking about how
to achieve change in our society.

See http://tinyurl.com/42e8lo
original url:
http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/article/2008/09/22/anti-war-rnc-march-organizer-responds-critics.html

First, I want to say that I have a 20 year record of working with the
Latino and immigrant communities in rural Minnesota opposing racism and
discrimination. I have also worked in Minnesota, Arizona, Puerto Rico and
in Spain against colonialism, imperialism and unrestrained globalization.
I am proud of my record not only of words but of real accomplishments on
behalf of the poor, the powerless and the disenfranchised.

The point that I was making on my earlier criticism is that, if you are
engaged in a POLITICAL struggle, then ANY actions taken MUST be calculated
to assist in achieving the POLITICAL AIMS of the struggle. Ms. Plotz
indicates that ?many of us believe that elements of civil disobedience and
direct action are acceptable and necessary for any movement desiring to
mount a serious challenge to the violent, imperialist forces that are
exploiting and destroying the lives of millions?, but fails to explain HOW
would such direct action HELP in changing the system.

The answer clearly is that such actions do not help and rather hinder the
POLITICAL struggle. On September 1st, the media focused on the police and
the anarchists instead of on the massive and peaceful protest against Bush
and the fascists at the Xcel center. The POLITICAL message was diluted,
and this should not surprise anyone since the media would of course focus
its coverage on the clashes as opposed to the march. This was totally
foreseeable and totally preventable. Unless Ms. Plotz is advocating that
we all take arms and launch a revolution, then the ONLY way to achieve our
goals is through the political process, and we must play by the rules of
this process, which includes knowing how to use the media and also be
cognizant of the unfortunate truth that image and perception are
everything.

Direct action definitively has appeal, and may indeed have a place in a
movement?s struggle for social justice IF and WHEN it supports the
POLITICAL goals of the movement. But in the present cultural, historical
and political context of 21st century America, there is absolutely no
doubt that such actions would at best be counterproductive.

I understand perfectly the frustration and the desire to strike at the
oppressive forces arrayed against us. As a Latino male I personally do not
need lessons on resistance to oppression from Ms. Plotz or from any White
middle class anarchist. But what any SUCCESSFUL social justice movement
needs is clarity of message, unity of purpose and consistency in tactics
and strategy.

Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. understood this. Dr. King did
rail against the police after the Selma-to-Montgomery marchers were
assaulted; he was not sidetracked from his main message of demanding
change to the system. The enemy is not the police, the enemy is the system
itself, and ONLY thru smart political action we would be able to prevail.

En la lucha,

Francisco J. Gonzalez
Guajataca01 [at] yahoo.com
Cottage Grove, MN

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