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Erasing the Anti-War Movement

What Michael Moore Left Out

by FRANK BARDACKE

I can’t claim to have read everything, and I couldn’t bear to punch it in and hit search, but when I finally saw Fahrenheit 9/11, one enormous omission jumped out that no one I know of has commented on, and which might be worth a few paragraphs of a Counterpuncher s time: where is the anti-war movement?

Remember: before the US invasion of Iraq, we all marched in several enormous demonstrations, the last of which was the largest, world-wide co-ordinated protest in the history of humanity. And then, as the war began, thousands of protesting people were arrested across the United States. Well, there is nothing about any of that in the movie. Not an image, not a word.

Mr. Moore has made an anti-war movie which neglects to mention what was a hugely popular anti-war movement. And add to that curiosity that Moore could easily have used the world-wide protest of millions of people as yet another way of ridiculing George Bush. Again remember: Bush told the press that he ignored the demonstrations because I never pay attention to focus groups. Moore, a master of filmatic juxtaposition, could have done wonders with that.

Why does it matter? Because the absence of the anti-war movement is another way that Moore leaves us we nothing to do but, as the maimed soldier in the movie puts it, go home and work for the Democrats. If he had included some images of protest, we would have been offered another option: resume our independent action against the war.

But Moore is not interested in that. He is only interested in helping the Democrats defeat George Bush. And although his movie effectively tells millions of people about some of the horrors of the war, it simultaneously disarms them, as defeating Bush will have little effect on the war in Iraq, unless we re-build an independent anti-war movement.

And isn t that a main problem with all this election nonsense? Instead of protesting against the war, people are busy working out their various election strategies. But who you vote for has always been less important than what you work for. And voting for Kerry or Nader or the Greens or whomever is much less important than (perhaps even a distraction from) what we used to call our main task: returning to the streets, in massive numbers, against this god-damn war.

FRANK BARDACKE is writing a political biography of Cesar Chavez and lives in Watsonville, California. He the author of Good Liberals and Blue Herons and is co-translator of Shadows of Tender Fury: The Letters and Communiques of Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. He can be reached at: bardacke@cruzio.com