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News ::
MIM conducts poll on November 3rd Boston anti-war demonstration (english)
16 Nov 2002
Modified: 20 Nov 2002
A poll of five questions asked only of the demonstrators November 3rd in Boston opposing the war in Iraq.
MIM conducts poll of its own at Boston demo

A poll listed below conducted over some hours at
the Boston rally November 3rd should not be taken
as representative of the country, but rather of
demonstrators in Boston. According to police
estimates, the rally had 15,000 people, so these
percentages probably say something very
approximate about 15,000 people.

November 3, 2002 poll

1. What is the cause of this war in Iraq? Oil,
24/85 = 28%.Preventing other countries from
obtaining weapons of mass destruction like our
own, 5/85 = 6%. Having an excuse to install
fascism here, 3/85 = 4%. Other, 53/85 = 62%.

The vast majority of those stating "other" said
they chose so because "all of the above" was
really true. Some found a combination of reasons
such as two out of the three above reasons.
Another reason given was "Bush's ego." Another was
"Americans' desire for a comfortable life."

MIM would not suggest asking this question again.
It proved that the audience had great ambivalence
on naming the reason for the war, because they
believed multiple reasons were the cause.
Respondents offered in-depth intellectual
responses that are difficult to pin down in a
quick (three hour) poll.

2. How would you rate Bush's intelligence on a
scale of one to seven with one being the lowest?
The average response was 2.5, with 33 of 81 valid
responses rating Bush a one.

There were many giggles about this question, but
also some people grunted before answering. We had
four answers of "negative one" and one of
"negative 22.5 million." All the combined negative
answers were coded as one. Clearly amongst the 33
giving Bush the lowest possible score, there was
some frustration, which led to grunting and amazed
condemnations. The intelligence of Bush is a very
hot issue for our demonstrators, with many
wondering how it is possible for what is happening
to be so far off from what they would imagine
themselves.

Although MIM asked the question, we did so to find
out what the demonstrators think, not because we
believe intelligence is the issue ourselves. This
is another way of saying that MIM's prior
knowledge of the Amerikkkan population gave rise
to the very question we asked. Questions do not
appear out of vacuums. We would rate Bush above-
average in intelligence, although probably much
less intelligent than some other presidents. The
real issue is the politics of money. That's what
determines who gets to the White House. Again, MIM
is out of step with the demonstrators, but it does
not bother us.

3. With one being "hopeful" and 7 being
"hopeless," how do you feel about the Democrats
overall? The average response out of 78 valid
responses was 4.7.

One persyn responded "one" because "I'm hopeful
about all people." Such an answer may frustrate
those individualists who oppose all statistical
knowledge, but we would say such answers average
out, with as many leaning in one direction as in
another. And even if such people were common in
such a way as to cause biased answers, some
imperfect group-level information is better than
none. On the whole, we would not say that a
majority of people were answering the question in
such a way as to make it meaningless.

This was a well-designed question in the sense
that there was a wide variety of answers. It shows
that the crowd was not completely radical and in
fact Shannon O'Brien [Democratic candidate for
Governor] was wise to send people to leaflet
there. It appears that radical internationalism is
contending for the hearts of thousands of
Democrats in Massachusetts. As we point out
elsewhere, it confirms what the pundits are
already talking about, namely the existence of a
question whether pro-war Democrats will stay in
that party while others bolt for the Green Party
that they are already considering in light of
other polls.

4. Using your own definition of "terrorism," would
you say the United States is terrorist? Yes, 59/81
= 73%. No=9/81 = 11%. Don't know=13/81 = 16%.

We had a handful of people say the United States
is not terrorist, because only its government is,
not the people. Another comment among the "no" and
"don't know" respondents was "yes, if they go to
this war." Judging from such comments, there are
some people who are experiencing politics as they
go along and are prepared to alter prior
judgements based on what happens with this
particular war. The answer to this question, even
in the "no" and "don't know" column shows that the
people in this demonstration are close to or ready
to take a very hard-line position on U.$.
terrorism.

This result was perhaps the most encouraging in
that it shows that people who demonstrate against
the war may not be people just seeking a better
strategy of oppression. It appears that there are
at least a few thousand people who despite the
propaganda machine, already find their own
government guilty of terrorism. For those abroad
wondering if it is impossible for Amerikkans to
reach some of the same conclusions that they do,
once again, the answer is the truth is the truth
everywhere. Not only the Third World people see
the truth about U.$. imperialism. The
internationalist Amerikkkans may be in the tiny
minority but they still exist in the thousands,
perhaps even the millions in the u$a as a whole.

5. Do you feel you persynally have the right to
condemn terrorism? No, 5/78 = 6%. Yes, 71/78 =
91%. Don't know, 2/78 = 3%.

Questions 4 and 5 worked both better and worse
than expected. I did not expect so many
demonstrators to say that the United States is
terrorist. I expected a much more even breakdown
and then a breakdown within that breakdown by
question five. As it turns out, a high proportion
of demonstrators condemned the terrorism of the
united $tates and then said they had the right to
condemn it persynally. It would be accurate to say
that most demonstrators accept a verbal level of
engagement on principles. They do not have to see
U.$. terrorism ended before they feel they have
the right to condemn terrorism in general. MIM
disagrees, but unlike many people who believe in
the tactics of lying in all difficult situations,
this is not something MIM believes lies can
successfully overcome. We report the percentages;
even though they are against our own opinion.

We asked these questions in public in the
demonstration in groups ranging in size from one
to six. As the demonstration went on, the more
able-bodied and determined remained in the cold.
The mere launch of the marching part of the rally
left behind most of the demonstrators. We found
that asking more than two people simultaneously
often resulted in people walking away in the midst
of the questions.

As usual there were complaints about the questions
being vague. MIM again states that some
information--even imperfect information--about
groups is better than none at all, so
individualists should stop resisting that
information.

While the U.S. Government Census takers have the
relatively clear-cut job of counting people,
people are being born and dying the whole time of
the census. People living illegally get missed and
so on. That does not mean we do not benefit from
having the approximate count that the U.S.
Government does do. It's the same with all other
statistical information. We have to learn when not
to nitpick and when we are receiving information
that is better than nothing. Even very poorly
constructed information can be useful in some
contexts and synthesized with other information in
others.

For people who would question MIM's analysis of
the Iraq and war situation, we would suggest the
following immediate exercise. The question that
went most smoothly was our question about
"terrorism." The following questions should go
well in any city or town in Amerika and we
recommend that people try it some places in the
South, the West and the countryside before
concluding that the u$a's population is like
Boston demonstrators.

1. Using your own definition of terrorism, would
you say the U.S. Government is a terrorist
organization? Yes; no; don't know.

2. On a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being extreme
disapproval and 7 being extreme approval, do you
approve the way the current government is handling
the Iraq issue?

3. Would you support a war against Iraq if
England, France, Israel and Canada were the only
countries to join with the use of bases in Qatar
(a tiny Arab country)? Yes; no; don't know.



See also:
www.etext.org/Politics/MIM
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Comments

We Don't Need Mao or Stalin (english)
17 Nov 2002
What does Maoism and Stalinism, the ideology MIM, have to do with Indymedia, human rights, or stopping war? Doesn't MIM have it's own news service? Don't we already have to put up with their bullshit fascist authoritarianism in their newspapers that are spread all over the Boston area like pigeon droppings? We don't need this crap.

Down with all authoritarian leaders (like Mao) and organizations (like Mao's "Communist" Party) that kill more workers and peasants than the real class enemy ever did!
OK, we'll just trust you anti-authoritarian (english)
20 Nov 2002
You provide no references for saying Stalin and
Mao killed more workers than anyone else. Maybe we'll
just trust you and your standard where 1 death
under a socialist is worse than 1000 under capitalists.

As MIM showed you, life expectancy doubled under both Mao and Stalin.
http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/faq/stalin.html
http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/wim/mythsofmao.html

What could be more anti-authoritarian than eliminating
the coercion connected to starvation, homelessness
and disease? Or maybe your idea of "freedom" is that people choose to starve to death.