December 6, 2005

ASSUME THE POSITION (via Robert Schwartz):

THE POLITICS OF THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT: And the Intractable Dilemma of International ANSWER (Bill Weinberg, Info Shop)

Since the prelude to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the large, visible anti-war protests in the US—especially the marches in Washington, New York and San Francisco—have been led by two organizations, which have at times cooperated but have frequently been at odds: United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and International ANSWER (for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism). In the Sept. 24 march, they agreed to cooperate; they divided the stage time equally, with different speakers and different banners, although ANSWER actually held the permit.

Both UFPJ and ANSWER have been criticized by some activists as top-down and insufficiently democratic. But concerns are growing over ANSWER's links to a doctrinaire neo-Stalinist organization called the Workers World Party (WWP), which has a history of seeking to dominate coalitions, and has some embarrassing ultra-hardline positions.

Steve Ault, a gay activist in New York City since 1970, served as UFPJ's logistics coordinator for the historic pre-war mobilization of Feb. 15, 2003, last summer's Republican National Convention protests and the May 1, 2005 march for nuclear disarmament. He charges that ANSWER is a front group for the WWP. Speaking as an individual—not on behalf of UFPJ—he decries what he sees as an imbalance between the two major anti-war formations: "One small sectarian group has equal power with a genuine coalition. We aren't going to be able to have a real movement until they are called out on the carpet for it."

Ault says he has for 20 years witnessed WWP use "stacking meetings and undemocratic tactics" to control left coalitions. "When Workers World forms a so-called coalition, its not a coalition at all, its a vehicle to attempt to amplify their power and control. Its not a genuine coalition like UFPJ which has no controlling faction—it has communists, Greens, pacifists, anarchists."

So he's been a Stalinist tool for twenty years?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 6, 2005 9:15 AM

Another question is, "How freaking naive do you have to be to expect a Stalinist organization to be run in a democratic fashion?" Blessed saints preserve us, these guys are more willfully stupid than the American Stalinists of the 1930's.

Posted by: Bryan at December 6, 2005 9:47 AM

I think what he's saying is, his group (representing Trotskyites, Greens, pacifists and anarchists) is superior to the competition (representing Stalinists), because his group wants the Left to be on top, whereas the other group wants the Stalinists specifically to be on top.

Posted by: pj at December 6, 2005 9:50 AM

I thought A.N.S.W.E.R. was the ragtail remnants of the CPUSA and along with their ugly twin, the DU, were newly flush with Soros et al infusions of cash.

All the leftwing moonbats serve the same master no matter if they were set up to appeal to naifs hungering for racial equality, gay rights, women's rights, environmental purity, animal equality, world peace, etc. In the end, they're all just cogs in the great wheel that strives for world socialism.

I wonder how many people in any of these movements have even heard of Stalin.

Posted by: erp at December 6, 2005 10:12 AM

So, a Stalinist organization seeks to dominate others and control them. Color me unsurprised.

erp: What I have heard was that WWP and its front group, ANSWER split from CPUSA because the CPUSA wasn't hardline enough. Telling, eh?

Posted by: Mikey at December 6, 2005 10:18 AM

Some pigs are more equal than others.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 6, 2005 10:43 AM

Average age in the CPUSA must be about 82.3 years. Gotta give them credit, they're true believers. Facts and figures never daunted them. They'll go to their reward as convinced they're right now as they were fifty, sixty years ago. Blockhead then, blockheads forever!

Posted by: erp at December 6, 2005 11:44 AM

I'm sure Harry could enlighten us on this, if he were here.

Posted by: Dave W. at December 6, 2005 12:35 PM

Harry wouldn't understand someone complaining about Stalinism.

Posted by: oj at December 6, 2005 12:38 PM

Everyone who cared knew what ANSWER was as soon as it surfaced. It's disingenuous for its allies now to start distancing themselves from the Stalinists.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 6, 2005 1:27 PM

erp: CPUSA has a website. You can buy stainless steel travel mugs. Amongst other dreck.

Posted by: Mikey at December 6, 2005 1:30 PM

Communists are as silly and pathetic as the guy with the horse.

They are almost not worth shooting any more. Sure, they are driven by shameful lusts and impulses such as envy, covetousness, and race hatred, but in totality they are a plus. They provide a negative example of virtue and help the rest of us see these issues more clearly.

Just remember, no more draft, no more "antiwar" movement: cowardice is no longer in service of treason..

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 6, 2005 1:54 PM

CPUSA has a website. You can buy stainless steel travel mugs.

Those would be fellow traveller travel mugs, wouldn't they?

Posted by: Mike Morley at December 6, 2005 4:34 PM