• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Beyond Protest

I attended my first protest when I was fourteen years old. It was a mild-mannered affair in the suburban Maryland town I lived in. The date was October 15, 1969—the first Vietnam Moratorium—and it involved about twenty-five of us standing on a street corner with signs calling for an end to the US war in Vietnam. We read the names of the US war dead. I was one of perhaps a half dozen high school students at the protest. The rest of the attendees were college students from nearby College Park, nuns from the local Catholic high school and a couple World War veterans. Most people driving by had no idea what was going on and ignored us. A few people flashed us peace signs in support and many more yelled what they considered to be epithets at us. As the years went by, I attended many, many more protests. Some were peaceful, some involved pushing and shoving with the police and right-wing protesters and some involved fairly pitched battles that included rock throwing, barricades, tear gas, truncheons and rubber bullets.

However, the question of the effectiveness of these protests is still something I wonder about. I genuinely believe that there is no one way to protest and that the question of total nonviolence is primarily a tactical, not moral, question. At the same time, nothing is as simple as it seems when it comes to effective resistance to the ruling powers. Numerous factors are always in play when groups consider how they will express their opposition to some facet of the ruling class program or to the ruling class itself. The challenge, as any organizer will tell you, is to come up with the most effective means at any particular moment. The process involved in coming up with that means involves an understanding of the situation, the opposition and the desired outcome. Sometimes, the process fails and other time it succeeds. In other words, sometimes the disparate individuals and groups hoping to work together as an opposition manage to come up with strategies that allow a united and effective campaign. Other times, no genuine hope of unity exists.

This is the general topic of a new book by Canadian activist and writer Aric McBay. Titled Full Spectrum Resistance (vol. 1): Building Movements and Fighting to Win, the text is a twenty-first century take on what it will take to halt the madness of the capitalist class as it steps up its destruction of the planet and those who inhabit it. Part organizing manual and part philosophical discussion, McBay’s text intersperses those discussions with historical anecdotes from street protests and radical history that illustrate the long-term nature of the struggle and the debates about how to wage it. Simultaneously a call to move away from liberal activism towards direct action and an invitation to liberal activists to go beyond their comfort zone in order to have a real chance at stopping the approaching cataclysm, Full Spectrum Resistance uses historical examples as varied as the US Black freedom fighters Deacons of Defense and 1980s HIV activists ACT UP to make his point.

That point, to put it succinctly, is that liberal activism has not only proven to be ineffective, it actually strengthens the very system it pretends to oppose. While this point of view is not new to leftist radicals and revolutionaries, it bears being repeated and its truth proven once again. In this historical moment, a strategic manual for the Left that is based on radical anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist principles seems quite useful. McBay’s clearly written book is one tract that serves that exact purpose. As noted above, the discussions range from purely practical ones regarding organizational structure and security to grander conversations regarding tactics and moral philosophies. It is clear from the text that McBay has not just been involved in various activist organizations and protests, he has experienced many of the situations he comments on. From interpersonal relations within groups to relationships between groups with different politics and approaches, this book does a decent job of covering them all.

The title of the first chapter of Full Spectrum Resistance is “Fighting to Win.” That is the reason for and the purpose of this text: to build a multidimensional movement dedicated to creating revolutionary social change in the world. Most people who care about such things understand that the time to do this seems to be growing ever shorter, no matter how much we pretend otherwise. If we are going to win this battle against those who seem intent on destroying the world for profit, not only must we fight, but we must fight to win. To do so, we need the appropriate tools and the desire. Aric McBay’s book provides us with at least one of those.

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
David Schultz
Trump isn’t the Pope and This Ain’t the Middle Ages
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
Charles Pierson
Who are the “Wrong Hands” in Yemen?
Andrew Levine
Trump Is Unbeatable in the Race to the Bottom and So Is the GOP
Ramzy Baroud
Political Ambiguity or a Doomsday Weapon: Why Abbas Abandoned Oslo
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
A Growing Wave of Bankruptcies Threatens U.S. Recovery
Joseph Natoli
Conditions Close at Hand
N.D. Jayaprakash
No Lessons Learned From Bhopal: the Toxic Chemical Leak at LG Polymers India 
Ron Jacobs
The Odyssey of Elias Demetracopoulos
J.P. Linstroth
Arundhati Roy on Indian Migrant-Worker Oppression and India’s Fateful COVID Crisis
Melvin Goodman
Goodness Gracious, David Ignatius!!
Roger Harris
Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans:  a Critique of Overpopulation Ideology
Sonali Kolhatkar
For America’s Wealthiest, the Pandemic is a Time to Profit
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the Telecom Crisis
Paul Buhle
Why Does W.E.B. Du Bois Matter Today?
Mike Bader
The Only Way to Save Grizzlies: Connect Their Habitats
Dave Lindorff
Pandemic Crisis and Recession Can Spark a Fight for Real Change in the US
Nyla Ali Khan
The Sociopolitical and Historical Context That Shaped Kashmiri Women Like My Grandmother in the 1940s
Louis Proyect
Does Neo-Feudalism Define Our Current Epoch?
Ralph Nader
S. David Freeman: Seven Decades of Participating in Power for All of Us
Norman Solomon
Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Police and Her VP Quest
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuela in the 2020 Pandemic
Ron Mitchell
Defending Our Public Lands: One Man’s Legacy
Nomi Prins 
The Great Depression, Coronavirus Style: Crashes, Then and Now
Richard C. Gross
About That City on A Hill
Kathleen Wallace
An Oath for Hypocrites
Eve Ottenberg
Common Preservation or Extinction?
Graham Peebles
Air Pollution Mental Illness and Covid-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Unearned Income for All
Evan Jones
The Machine Stops
Nicky Reid
Proudhon v. Facebook: A Mutualist Solution to Cyber Tyranny
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What is a “Native” Plant in a Changing World?
Shailly Gupta Barnes
Why are Our Leaders Still Putting Their Faith in the Rich?
John Kendall Hawkins
In Search of the Chosŏn People of Lost Korea
Nick Licata
How Hydroxychloroquine Could Help Trump…Politically
Jill Richardson
Tens of Millions of Are Out of Work, Why on Earth is Trump Trying to Cut Food Aid?
Susan Block
Incel Terrorism
Mitchel Cohen
Masks and COVID-19: an Open Letter to Robert Kennedy Jr and Children’s Health Defense
May 28, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War on Arms Control and Disarmament
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail