Re: There is No Wisdom in Pretending that Ukraine

Dave Lindorff

John, I am an ardent long-time defender and advocate of LGBTQ rights, Guilt by association is a piss-poor intellectual argument, but in any case, I have no knowledge of Medea being anti LGBTQ rights.

In matters of war and peace, however, I have to say that it's important to focus on issues with a sense of priorities. For example, it is a fundamental concern that Russia and the US both have thousands of nuclear warheads and bombs, and are both run by military leaders ready to use those weapons of catastrophic power. To suggest that peace activists in the US should not be pressing the US to stop arming Ukraine with ever more lethal weapons to continue the carnage in that country, rather than pushing for a de-escalation of the fighting, a cease-fire and negotiations to end the war, because Russia treats LGBTQ people inside its borders worse than Ukraine does is misguided, to put it simply.  

I would say the same thing regarding Iran. There is an agreement that the US pulled out of between Iran and six other nations that would bar it from further refining uranium and making atomic bomb-grade U-235. After dropping out, the US put severe sanctions on Iran's economy, and Iran stepped up its uranium refining. It is critically important to press for the US to reach agreement with Iran on a return to the nuclear fuel deal, including dropping sanctions on Iran, even though Iran is, as I said, a Medieval theocracy with a democratic veneer, and even though it executes  critics and oppresses women and LGBTQ people. That's just setting priorities.  Are you suggesting that there can be no peace treaties between nations when one is a fascist dictatorship, or a repressor of LGBTQ people and the other less so, or is an apartheid state like Israel (with whom I might add the US has all kinds of treaties and arms supply arrangements?  

That I submit is ludicrous and nonsense. 

It also doesn't mean that a person advocating what I am saying here is "anti-LGBTQ people." 

There are two great issues facing humankind at the moment:  one is the threat of nuclear war, and the other is the threat of climate catastrophe. Other issues, from women's rights, LGBTQ rights, ending racism, overthrowing capitalism and creating a socialist society, etc., are decidedly second to those two when it comes to international relations because the first two if not solved, there will be no human society, and we are perilously close to disaster with both these issues. 

You're free to disagree of course, but you can't call me a racist, a sexist, anti LGBTQ, or a Stalinist for making this argument. 

Dave Lindorff

On Mon, Mar 21, 2022, 2:48 AM John Obrien <causecollector@...> wrote:
David ,

You state that in my reply to your disagreeing with John Reiman and I stated that I agreed with John on criticizing Medea Benjamin  
I somehow described you personally as a stalinist - because I said this about those as Medea Benjain who does not care about LGBT lives,  
in what I actually wrote - and place here in shaded color: 

But hey, I hold the view that LGBT lives matter, which clearly is a "controversial view" among fossilized stalinists.

Seems your defensive in not wanting to be accused of being a stalinist.  Sounds good your not wanting to identify with Stalin
and his supporters policies and practices.   As you must be aware, many actual stalinists carry out such policies and deny being.
Glad you hold and practice different views.

While,  I express being glad that you do not identify or like stalin and his supporters politics, that you then might consider my legitimate 
criticism of those claiming to be leftists - and have no concern about LGBT workers being harmed. And that harm happens often.  Your
stating that the Iran leadership were not reactionary and then your use of the word democratic related to the Iran Regime murderers, 
was a immediate response by me.  I contend that a government can be described as reactionary, for torturing and murdering both
LGBT workers and leftists.   

The term I used to describe those who for decades spent their years serving loyally stalinist thinking - as "fossilized stalinists"  
Do you have an objection for me to use that descriptive term, for such thinking and practice?

This and a prior email were responses to my view and interpretation - as those giving cover and support that justified some 
defense of Putin for his years of crimes - and this brown-red "anti-imperisalist" position that those as the Marcyites have
peddled to justify defending many dictators and wrongs.

I apologize to you - if you oppose the Iran leadership for their torture and murder of LGBT and leftists = and I read and
did not understand what you meant by.   I will continue to criticize Medea Benjamin around homophobia. I was at the
UFPJ National Conference in St. Louis years ago,  when she voted to oppose the proposal of establishing a LGBT Outreach 
under UFPJ , as UFPJ then had such a Religious Outreach.  This was what I was referring to about those claiming to not be
bigots, but their actual practice was silence and acceptance of not wanting changes to what was occurring.   

As for the U. S. Vietnam Antiwar Movement, we disagree when you state that it was Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin
that brought (positive) media attention to represent the views of those who opposed the U.S. War on Vietnam. I was 
much involved in that movement and hold a very different view of what built that movement and had positive results.
The U. S. corporate media was promoting the U. S. government and Pentagon views and the right wing. It was rare
to have anti-war movement representatives given a fair and needed discussion of that war. It was the body count of
dead U. S. military (and that often the falsified Pentagon numbers) and ending of military cohesion among the many
drafted and the heroic resistance of Vietnamese resisting U. S. militarism - that seems to resemble the Ukranians
current resistance to Putin's militarism and invasion.  

From: <> on behalf of Dave Lindorff <dlindorff@...>
Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2022 7:23 PM
Subject:There is No Wisdom in Pretending that Ukraine
John there is so much baseless ad hominem and fact-free accusation in your comment I hardly know where to begin. 

First of all, you end up by calling me a Stalinist! That's akin to calling someone a Nazi!  What dark hole did you pull that out of? Not only am I not a Stalinist, I'm not even a Communist, though I admit to being a Marxist (of no party or sect or organization) and of having been attracted to Trotsky's writings at the tender age of 19. Never had any fondness for Stalin though. 

Second, you claim I called Iran a "democracy."  
That is either a deliberate lie written on the assumption that your readers won't have read what I wrote in my note and won't check to see what it really was that you are ostensibly basing that nonsense on. Actually, if you read  it, or if you had any integrity, you'd have noted that I said Iran is a "Medieval theocracy with a democratic veneer," which is a shitload different calling the country a democracy. as you misstated me as saying. You left out a lot of how I characterized the government of Iran dude. That is worse than just unethical behavior, it's misrepresentation and bald-faced lying.

As to Medea Benjamin, I had occasion to interview her for a piece i wrote about those very  liberal foundations you refer to. It was for Salon magazine and was published last year under the title: 

Maybe you did read it,  and got your partial information about the liberal donors there but forgot or didn't realize I was the author. If not, you should read it. You might learn something about those donors, and about me and my thinking about them..

In any case one of the things I learned from talking to a lot of sources in researching that piece was that Medea Benjamin and her organization are largely self-funded by again.ecause she apparently has a lot of inherited money or something like that and doesn't need those big funders' backing. Oh well, that shoots down your theory about her being an activist for the money.  Try again.

As for using her skills at getting anti-war issues into the media, there is no crime in that. In fact, the Peace Movement as I remember during the Vietnam War days suffered for a lack of skill in that regard until the likes of Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies got involved and figured out ways to get the reporters and cameras to rallies that before that used to be completely ignored or minimized, with hundreds of thousands of antiwar activists in Central Park getting misreported as 30,000 in a caption on a misleading photograph in the Times, and  with no actual accompanying story.  Being media savvy is not a valid criticism of activists. One might suspect suggest jealosy on your part, though I don't know if you're a failed organizer, or really anything about you other than that you like to cast aspersions about things you know nothing about, so it would be pure speculation on my part, so I won't.

I thought this group had standards of behavior which would have you cut off for this kind of maligning of other contributors. Maybe you will be.  I'd be satisfied with a mea culpa from you, but absent that, I'll hope for some action by the monitor of the site. 


On Sun, Mar 20, 2022, 9:14 PM John Obrien <causecollector@...> wrote:
John R. I agree with your points about Medea Benjamin.   She was with the Pro-Putin "anti-imperialist" folks before Putin's latest invasion "mis-step"
There was not much (or any) objection to Putin's earlier policies and harms in several nations. 
She has funding to stage events before the television screen, that she is most known for.
Political theater and gets financial support from many liberals who accept that as "activism" .
Instead of her "witnessing", perhaps those funds to build movements that is needed for and led by workers.  

But the orientation of Code Pink appears to be a lobbying group to "pressure" mostly corporate democratic party politicians "for influence"
Of course the capitalist provide the big bucks and those politicians might have some "words of concern" to keep their constituents :believing in them", while they of course actually support the capitalists interests.  All a political theater game, since militarism is supported by the corporate dems -
and the liberal dems.  

Medea Benjamin really likes the media attention.  Seems addicted to it, since she runs after the cameras and "intervenes" where media will be.
She gets financially rewarded for it, from the foundation funds she receives. Perhaps David L. never followed the money funding?
Seems a long awful record of failure, except for getting in front of the media to "witness", always in safe conditions and not imprisoned
for any length of time - to experience actual hardship.  Comfortable and privileged pretending it matters, when it is just theater and "feeling good"
to claim those comfortable liberals, as not part of the system and benefitting from.   Feels Good - Does Nothing to threaten power and wrong.
Her tourist travels to meet with nation's leaders, who murder LGBT people and says nothing about that, says much to me.  
But hey, I hold the view that LGBT lives matter, which clearly is a "controversial view" among fossilized stalinists. 
David L. who is aware of the torture and murder of LGBT people and leftists in Iran, states here it is a "democratic" government.
Who loses credibility with such statements - but consider the source of course!

From: Dave Lindorff <dlindorff@...>
Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2022 3:33 PM
Subject: There is No Wisdom in Pretending that Ukraine's Neo-Nazis Don't Exist | Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies | Common Dreams via Portside

You lose all credibility when you trash Medea Benjamin, one of the most consistent and courageous campaigners for peace in this country of lazy tube-watching consumers, by calling her a "supporter of the reactionary (sic) Iranian regime.  (Iran's government isn't reactionary;


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