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Thursday, September 12, 2013

What's Going On With Clay Claiborne?

For more than a year Clay Claiborne has been waging a relentless crusade calling on the American left to support US military action in Syria, to assist those in armed rebellion against the Assad regime. This campaign includes writing what appears to be a single issue blog, calling for US military action in Syria. Issues such as massive unemployment, poverty, homelessness, evictions, and crippling student debt appear to be of little interest to this self described Marxist.

 Claiborne's single issue campaign, includes denouncing all who oppose the US going to war with Syria as supporters of the Assad government. He has even  denounced Veterans for Peace, for not suppporting US military action in Syria. This would be difficult for the anti war veterans group, since one of the points in their Statement of Purpose is "to restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations". He also denounced an anti war demonstration in Los Angeles, which occured, July 11, 2013, as a pro Assad rally. The rally was endorsed by over a dozen organizations, whose point of unity was no US military intervention in Syria, NOT support for the Assad government.

Claiborne had been a member of the October League, a Maoist aka New Communist Movement organization, which later changed it's name to the Communist Party Marxist Leninist during the 1970's. During that period he appears to have been a dedicated leftist and anti war activist. He served several months in jail as a result of his opposition to the war in Vietnam.

In the early 1980's about the time CPML dissolves, he becomes somewhat of an enigma. He went into business for himself as a computer repair technician. He basically drops off the political map during the 1980's and 1990's.

 In 2008 , he produced a documentary about the Vietnam War, narrated by actor Martin Sheen, Vietnam: American Holocaust. The documentary is available for viewing on YouTube. He next shows up with Occupy LA, during the height of the Occupy Movement.

Leftist blogger and part time film critic, Louis Proyect, after seeing the documentary makes contact with Claiborne, and next thing we know Claiborne is posting on the Proyect moderated online discussion list, Marxmail. Claiborne next shows up commenting at The North Star. Consistent with his blog entries, his comments, on both sites, are exclusively about events in Syria.

While doing an online search, I found that Claiborne was elected to the State Central Committee, of the California Peace and Freedom Party, from Los Angeles county, where he lives. For the benefit of those not familiar with Peace and Freedom Party, this is a political party that describes itself as socialist, has ballot status in Califronia, and has consistently opposed U.S. military intervention abroad. My sources in Peace and Freedom inform me that although he was also elected  to the Los Angeles County Central Committee, he has never attended a single meeting of either of these leadership committees. Honesty would have required Claiborne's election platform to have been, if nominated I will run, and if elected I will not serve.

In a recent posting on Marxmail, Claiborne submitted a post calling for support of a pro war rally, supporting US military intervention in Syria. The rally was held in Washington, DC, September 9. The moderator of the list, who does not support direct US military action in Syria, responded with a post expressing his disappointment, that anyone would advocate support of a pro war rally on a Marxist discussion list. Good call there, Moderator.

Claiborne's conduct raises some questions. If he is so pro war, why hasn't he made a serious effort to build a pro war movement. If his intentions were serious, by now he would have reached out to forces beyond the left, where he is becoming even more isolated. Potential allies on the right of the political spectrum, who are supportive of Claiborne's pro war stance, include Senator John McCain. McCain, who is so wealthy, that he isn't even sure how many houses he owns, could certainly assist in raising money for such a venture.

Claiborne drops out of the picture, politcally speaking, for almost three decades. Then after the Occupy movement he goes on a single issue campaign, for US military intervention in Syria. He wins election to not one, but two leadership bodies in Peace and Freedom Party, than apparantly blows it off. His only real political accomplishment thus far, has been to serve as a divisive force within the left. This raises the question, what is Claiborne's real agenda. Who or what is Clay Claiborne?

Clay Claiborne's blog:


  1. I tried to discuss some of Claiborne's absurdly inaccurate posts with him by e-mail a couple of months ago, but he said I was obviously pro-Assad whether I knew it or not, and I dropped it. Obviously, he is not interested in logic or reason. I am the State Chair of the Peace and Freedom Party, and I can verify that he has not participated at all in any party body during this millennium. (One small point - candidates are simultaneously elected to both the state central committee and to their county central committees, using just one line on the ballot. So he only qualified as a candidate a single time, rather than filing for two offices.) For the Peace and Freedom Party's strong opposition to proposed attacks on Syria, see the party's website at
    -Kevin Akin, PFP State Chair 2012-2014.

    1. Thank you for your correction as to election procedure to P&F State and County Central Committees. Discussing P&F brings back fond memories of Tom Condit.

  2. It's interesting to see the trajectory of Claiborne's stance on war, and find no logical dot connection for the change. What does he have to gain, and why is actively supporting war intervention under the auspice of an anti-war political party?

    1. He doesn't appear to be supporting this position under the auspices of Peace and Freedom Party, even though he was elected to the State Central Committee. Peace and Freedom is on record being opposed to US military intervention in Syria. Claiborne has yet to comment on a recent poll, showing 75% of active duty military personnel are opposed to any US military action in Syria.