---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 13:54:27 -0800
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Return of the Radical Left?
FYI: Right wing anti-antiwar screed...
Return of the Radical Left? Protesters Organize Against the War on Terrorism
by Jack Tierney
Summary: In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the American
people have demonstrated overwhelming support for President Bush's military
campaign against the perpetrators. However, small but determined radical
left-wing groups are already mobilizing to protest the war on terrorism.
These groups are diverse, drawing support from the anti-globalization
movement, veteran anti-war organizations and certain members of academia
and the entertainment industry. Although a fringe movement with little
credibility in mainstream public opinion, this nascent protest movement
must be carefully monitored for it has demonstrated success in the past.
The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 has transformed American society
politically and psychologically. The destruction inflicted on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon has taken at
least twice the number of lives almost all civilian that were lost on
December 7, 1941.
And just as an enraged American public solidly backed President Franklin D.
Roosevelt's declaration of war 60 years ago, so has public opinion
overwhelmingly backed President George W. Bush's vow to rid the world of
terrorism. Polls show as much as 90 percent of the American people support
the military campaign to eradicate Osama bin Laden and his international
network of terrorists.
But one small segment of U.S. society is strongly opposed to the war.
Predictably, it's the radical Left. Standing apart from a strongly unified
American public are hundreds of well-organized, well-led, and well-funded
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) ready to sow dissension. We first
glimpsed the movement in a September demonstration in Washington, D.C. that
was attended by thousands of protestors. Hundreds of college campuses also
have been sites of anti-war protest. This nascent anti-war movement is
still very small and represents but a fringe element, but we know the
history of radical movements and the sorts of tactics they use. As long as
the U.S. war on terrorism lasts, radical anti-war groups will take every
opportunity to generate and aggravate conflict at home and appeasement abroad.
And their cause will be buttressed by well-meaning groups that refuse to
accept the necessity of retaliation.
On December 8 1941, President Roosevelt delivered his famous "day of
infamy" speech requesting a declaration of war on Japan.
There was but one dissenting vote, and it was cast by a pacifist
representative from Montana, Jeanette Rankin. When President Bush asked
Congress last month to authorize the use of military force against the
terrorist network Al-Qaeda, there was also one dissenter: Barbara Lee, a
left-wing Democrat from Oakland, California.
Representative Lee is a radical activist with a long record of support for
revolutionary causes. A former chief of staff to long-time leftist
congressman Ronald Dellums, Lee won Dellums' seat when he retired in 1998.
Although a dissenter against war, Lee, unlike Rankin, is no pacifist. In
1992, she was elected to the ruling body of the Committees of
Correspondence, an offshoot of the American Communist Party. That group was
organizing demonstrations against the war on terror less than two weeks
after the attacks.
Lee's dissenting vote is striking, but other members of Congress have also
spoken out against the war. Representatives Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) and Jim
McDermott (D-WA) have spoken out against U.S. military action. McKinney
even invited a Saudi prince who criticized U.S. policies toward the
Palestinians to discuss philanthropy with her. The prince's $10 million
gift to the Trade Center victims had been rejected by New York Mayor
More significant perhaps are the actions of Senator Joe Biden, Chairman of
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In an October 22 speech to the
Council on Foreign Relations, Biden warned that the U.S. might be
considered a "high-tech bully" as it conducted an air war against
Afghanistan. Biden said, "I hope to God it ends sooner rather than later
because every moment it goes on, it makes the aftermath problems more severe."
Senator Biden was roundly criticized for remarks that sullied an otherwise
overwhelming spirit of bipartisan unity. Insisting his remarks were taken
out of context, Biden has emphatically restated his strong support for the
war. But radical leftist groups are immune to the clubby spirit of the
Senate. Nothing has stopped them from organizing a campaign to undermine
the public's support for the war effort.
The Protest Movement: Anti-Globalization to Anti-War
A November 2 Nexis search of news stories during the past twelve months
using the words "anti-war protest" and "students" turned up just 174
entries. That total is sure to escalate. Within days after the
terrorist attack, over 100 American university campuses were beset by
"teach-ins" against so-called American "imperialism" and "racism," the
principal allegations the Left levels at U.S. foreign policy.
Unrest at the City University of New York (CUNY) typified the political
climate. On October 3, City College was the site of a demonstration against
the Bush Administration's decision to use armed force against the terrorist
network. Hundreds of protesters led by radical faculty rallied around
slogans that echoed those of a generation ago. The crowd at one forum,
"Threats of War, Challenges to Peace," referred repeatedly to the attack on
the World Trade Center as "the incident." Terrorists were described as
"freedom fighters." "American imperialism is responsible for this terrorist
attack," shouted Trotskyite math professor Walter Daum. His voice was
joined by a chorus of agreement.
The first major non-campus anti-war protest occurred on September 21 in New
York City, where 10,000 activists marched up Broadway from Union Square to
Times Square. A smaller anti-war march and rally occurred in Washington,
D.C. on September 29. Originally intended to protest globalization and
disrupt meetings of the IMF and World Bank, the activists simply re-wrote
their placards when the meetings were cancelled after September 11.
The new anti-war movement is an outgrowth of the anti-globalization
movement that disrupted the financial summits in Seattle and Genoa. Those
protests demonstrated that the movement is international in scope. On
September 23, thousands marched in London, Berlin and Budapest. In Liege,
Belgium, over 1,000
protestors marched under banners with the old Vietnam-era slogan, "Make
Love, Not War." In London, four thousand dressed in black and carried
placards reading, "Stand shoulder to shoulder for peace and justice. No
more violence." The next major demonstration in Europe is being organized
by a broad coalition of left-wing activists called D14. They plan to
protest a European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium on December 14.
The leaders of America's anti-war protests come from the hard core of the
ideological Left, those who harbor a permanent hatred of our society,
market capitalism and Western democracy. The media tend to obscure the
character of these groups when describing them as an amorphous "broad
coalition" or as "various political, social and religious organizations."
In fact, the demonstrations in New York were organized by the very
Committees of Correspondence that claimed Barbara Lee as a ranking member.
The organization was formed after the fall of the Soviet Union and it
represents a splinter group of the Communist Party, USA. Its socialist
political agenda reflects these roots and its leadership has spent the
better part of a decade working, in their words, for "the struggle against
ANSWER Takes The Lead In Organizing Protests
The demonstrations in Washington, D.C. were sponsored by a new anti-war
umbrella organization called Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER).
ANSWER was formed by the International Action Center (IAC) before September
11 and was originally intended to protest globalization. But ANSWER is
really the IAC with a different name and mission. The IAC was founded by
former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Its chief spokesmen Brian
Becker and Larry Holmes - are ranking officials of the Worker's World Party
(WWP), a splinter group from the Socialist Workers party and a supporter of
Cuba and North Korea. The party's founder, Sam Marcy (1911-1998), was an
American communist and follower of Leon Trotsky.
A September 27 WWP newsletter says the sole purpose of ANSWER is to "stop
war and end racism." But look how it defines these missions: "Racism
includes the xenophobic attacks on Middle Eastern and South Asian people
that have accompanied the drive to war." Describing the Bush
Administration's response to terror as "frenzied," ANSWER spokesmen have
tried to broaden their appeal to attract civil libertarians who fear an
erosion of domestic liberties. The group accuses President Bush of
attempting to create a police state: "The capitalist government and media
minimize this anti-war sentiment. Instead, since September 11, the Bush
Administration has moved swiftly to strengthen its war machine and police
apparatus, assaulting civil rights at home."
With its deceptively innocent name, the Middle East Children's Alliance
(MECA) is a typical left-wing group marching under the ANSWER banner. In an
open letter dated September 27 the Berkeley, California-based MECA thanks
Congresswoman Lee for opposing to the war. MECA doesn't condone September
11, but finds it understandable "why so many people in the world are angry
at the United States." It explains that U.S. policies on the environment
and weapons testing and the U.S. walk-out from the anti-Semitic U.N.
conference on racism are causes of terrorist rage. According to MECA, the
problem is even deeper:
"Until we discard policies that result in suffering, oppression and misery
and embrace practices rooted in justice, humanity and real opportunity for
all, we will not be able to eradicate terrorism."
Declaring that terror "can't be defeated by making war on it," MECA's
suggested response typical of all the anti-war groups calls for procedures
to bring bin Laden and the others to trial:
"We believe that every individual who was involved in these attacks should
be found, arrested, tried, and, if convicted, punished in ways that are
consistent with our democratic ideals. To do less reduces us to the level
of the World Trade Center and Pentagon murderers."
The ANSWER movement has had no trouble immediately attracting adherents.
The "Initial Signers" of a statement to mobilize Days of Action Against War
and Racism include IAC founder Ramsey Clark, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas
Gumbleton of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, Reverend Lucius Walker of
Pastors for Peace, MECA executive director Barbara Lubin, writers Howard
Zinn, Michael Parenti and Martin Espada, and Pam Africa of the
International Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Overseas
support comes from groups such as the European Peace Forum, Korea Truth
Commission, Arab Cause Solidarity and the Nino Pasti Foundation.
ANSWER has assembled an international coalition that includes almost all
the traditional anti-war NGOs, plus new ones recruited for the anti-terror
war effort. ANSWER members now include the Green Party USA, Women's
International League for Peace and Freedom, Committee for Indigenous
Solidarity, Left Turn, Women for Mutual Security, Human Rights Center,
Veterans for Peace, LEF Foundation, and Food First. A list of ANSWER
members distributed in October is ten pages long and includes over 500
individuals and NGOs in the U.S. and worldwide.
The Religious Left
By the standards of Christian "just war" doctrine - acting in self-defense
and with a due sense of proportionality - the Bush Administration is
responsibly conducting the war against terrorism.
Yet thousands of clergy and laypeople from all religious denominations
hesitate to support its mission to defeat those who perpetrated and
supported the September 11 attacks.
The church groups, for the most part, distance themselves from radical
political attacks on capitalism, American "imperialism" and U.S. global
"oppression." Many religious protesters act in principled, measured ways
and according to traditional pacifist beliefs. For instance, a September 26
statement, "Deny Them Their Victory, A Religious Response to Terrorism,"
offers a three-point response to international terrorism. The seven
"Initiating Singers" include Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Rabbi David
Saperstein and Dr. Bob Edgar of the National Council of Churches, a
distinct sub-section of American religious opinion. A 72 page print-out
contains (as of early November) the names of 3,758 clergy and laypeople
from all faiths, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim.
Their response to terrorism is rooted in charity but its conclusion shrinks
from the sterner demands of justice. Point one concludes: "Our houses of
worship should become public arenas for common prayer, community
discussion, eventual healing, and forgiveness."
Point two seems anxious to find a judicial, not military, response: "We too
demand that those responsible for these utterly evil acts be brought to
justice^But we must not, out of anger and vengeance, indiscriminately
retaliate in ways that bring on even more loss of innocent life." Point
three tries to accommodate the "root cause" school for understanding terror
by emphasizing humanitarian aid and
political understanding: "Let us rededicate ourselves to global peace,
human dignity, and the eradication of injustice that breeds rage and
vengeance." In other words, let us walk in our enemy's shoes. At best this
attitude leads nowhere. At worst it bolsters the radical Left's explanation
of the war on terrorism.
The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS): Think Tank of the Anti-War Movement
The most prominent left-wing think tank during the Vietnam War era aims to
return to its former glory. The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) was
founded in 1963 by Marcus Raskin and Richard Barnet, prominent members of
the now-old "New Left" radical movement. More than just a haven for
revolutionaries, IPS has
served for almost 40 years as "Frontier Guards" on behalf of world
communism and Soviet "peace offensives." "Frontier Guards," as explained by
former Communist Party member David Horowitz,
was Trotsky's term for the "progressive vanguards which operated in the
democracies of the West":
They thought of themselves, secretly, as a revolutionary cadre; but the
politics they actually espoused were pacifism and liberal reform, because
their real role was as Soviet fifth columnists, and their real objective
was to weaken adversaries of Communist power. The IPS leftists are
'frontier guards' in the same tradition, having long ago betrayed their
revolutionary principles for privileged relationships with revolutionary
Barnet and Raskin established IPS with grants from the now-defunct Stern
Family Fund and the Samuel Rubin Foundation. Rubin, a Russian migr, was a
multimillionaire in the cosmetics business and a member of the Communist
Party. He founded Faberge in 1936 and sold it for $25 million in 1963, the
year of IPS' founding. For many years the chairman of the IPS board of
trustees was Peter Weiss, husband of Cora Weiss, Rubin's daughter.
During the Vietnam war era IPS strategists such as Arthur Waskow, Sidney
Lens, Rennie Davis and David Dellinger masterminded the major anti-war
demonstrations, including the huge one in Washington, D.C. on November 15,
1969 which attracted 500,000 protesters. IPS was also behind the New
Committee to End the War in Vietnam (New Mobe). New Mobe rallied thousands
in front of the White House on May 9, 1970, and served as the catalyst for
a wave of demonstrations which swept the country, closing hundreds of
colleges and universities.
In the 1980s and 90s, IPS lost direction and momentum and fell victim to
financial mismanagement, but now it's back in the fray. An IPS statement,
"Justice Not Vengeance," warns against U.S. military retaliation, echoes
the call for bringing the terrorist network "to justice" rather defeat, and
urges work for "civil liberties and freedoms." The statement is signed by
250 leftist activists, academics and entertainers. (See box on page 3) In
its "New Agenda to Counter Terrorism," IPS advocates "an international legal
and policy framework" to replace the use of force with a world judicial
process and it advocates policies that will attack the socioeconomic and
political root causes of terrorism.
IPS Middle East analyst Phyllis Bennis warns that "George Bush may come to
regret his immediate call for a military reaction ^The coming war will
present far more serious challenges than Junior's father ever dreamed of."
The main speaker at IPS' 25th annual "Letelier-Moffitt" dinner, a Marxist
attorney named Michael E. Tigar, equates bin Laden's terror with the CIA:
"Our leaders' strident vow that terrorism is always illegitimate sounds
cynical and hypocritical. After all, our own CIA has sometimes sought out
practitioners of vengeful extremism." His solution to September 11: Arrest
Henry Kissinger. "Fighting terrorism means stripping state-sponsored
terrorists of their impunity and bringing them to justice Pinochet, and
yes, Henry Kissinger." Tigar's legal clients have included Angela Davis, H.
Rap Brown, Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols and, most recently, the
"Charleston Five" union rioters (see this month's Labor Watch.).
As a 501(3) nonprofit charitable institution, IPS receives tax-deductible
contributions. According to its most recent annual report, IPS has a core
staff of 21 at its Washington, D.C. offices and an annual budget of $1.7
Since the early 1970s the bulk of IPS funding has come from the Rubin
Foundation. But in its 1999 annual report, IPS also lists receiving support
from the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation, and the C. S. Mott Foundation.
The ARCA, Boehm, Nathan Cummings, Heinrich Boll, JKW, Norman Lear Family,
and Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer foundations have also been supporters, as
have the AFL-CIO, Cissy Patterson Trust, actor Paul Newman and the United
The IPS and ANSWER "root cause" approaches to ending international
terrorism evade reality. Afganistan's Taliban will not turn over "to
justice" Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda henchmen.
Middle East despotism is responsible for the social and economic conditions
that breed terrorism, not American prosperity. The United States has been
attacked and does not have to justify its self-defense.
But rational debate cannot persuade the radical Left and much of the
anti-war movement. They blame September 11 on U.S. policy in particular and
American society in general. For now the anti-war
movement remains a fringe movement with little support or credibility. But
it is determined and should not be underestimated.
Jack Tierney is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for World Politics
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Dec 17 2001 - 18:30:14 EST