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Posted by Tony from ( on Monday, February 03, 2003 at 11:15PM :

In Reply to: ANSWER COALITION RESPONDS TO RED BAITING posted by Tony from ( on Monday, February 03, 2003 at 11:10PM :



: Unable to contend with the historic and constitutional
: right of the people to control their own government and
: the direction of their country, the Bush Administration
: has now launched an assault on the anti-war movement. As
: the clock ticks down and the administration rushes to wage
: war against Iraq, it is starting another war here at home
: against the people of the United States.
: On January 18 half a million people marched in Washington,
: D.C. in a true democratic expression of their opposition
: to an illegal and immoral war of aggression being driven
: by a tiny few who hold the reigns of military and economic
: might. Another 200,000 marched in San Francisco. Around
: the world people in over 35 countries held solidarity
: demonstrations. Now we are all mobilizing for the February
: 15/16 mass actions against the war that have been
: initiated by the European peace movement. The people of
: conscience who are taking to the streets represent the
: sentiments of so many millions more. This is a powerful
: rejection of the Bush administration's attempt to drag us
: all into war and global conflagration.
: On January 28, ten days after the historic January 18
: march, the Free Congress Foundation, the Center for
: Security Policy and other ultra-right wing members of the
: U.S. political establishment, including former officials
: of the Heritage Foundation and the Reagan administration,
: began promoting the creation of a new version of the House
: Un-American Activities Committee to investigate not only
: the organizers but the demonstrators themselves who came
: to Washington to protest Bush's march to war.
: On January 30, the New York Daily News published the Bush
: administration's latest smear -- a purportedly leaked
: intelligence report from his Homeland Security department
: claiming that "Iraqi spies" came to the U.S. from Canada
: to carry out the anti-war demonstrations.
: This first act for Bush's Homeland Security department --
: which had officially opened a mere six days earlier --
: speaks volumes about what Bush's view of "homeland
: security" is: using the power of the government to lie, to
: discredit, to disrupt and to try to shut down the
: opposition of the people of the U.S. to his program of
: violent domination and empire.
: The Center for Security Policy is a group funded by arms
: manufacturers and big business who are being given the
: U.S. taxpayer's money looted from programs that would
: otherwise fund education, healthcare and jobs in America.
: The Free Congress Foundation is a haven for extremists so
: out of step with social justice that they pay staff
: members who have written that we in the U.S. might be
: better off if the confederacy had won the civil war, who
: advocate that the racist Trent Lott should have remained
: in his leadership position, who push anti-Semitic
: conspiracy theories and who spoke at a neo-Nazi conference
: last summer. These groups both work with and are received
: by the Bush Administration.
: We call on all people of conscience to rally together and
: defend our movement for justice and peace. The red-baiting
: and demonization of certain leading anti-war organizations
: has one purpose -- to weaken the whole peace movement.
: These efforts are the apex of a repugnant red-baiting
: campaign against the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition because of its
: role as a principal organizer of the mass grassroots
: movement of opposition to war throughout the United
: States. It is not only A.N.S.W.E.R. that is the target of
: these attacks. The Not In Our Name Project (NION) and
: others who have been organizing for peace have also been
: subject to virulent red-baiting.
: The point of the associational red-baiting and smear
: campaign is to warn all of us who are coming out into the
: streets, many who have found public voice for the first
: time and are empowered by the strength of their actions,
: that what we think we experienced is tainted, that we are
: dupes of some hidden hand and should go back inside. These
: are the identical mechanisms that were used by the
: government to try to destroy the labor movement of the
: thirties and forties and the civil rights and anti-war
: movements of the fifties, sixties and seventies. (Dr.
: Martin Luther King, Jr. was labeled a "communist
: sympathizer.")
: All of us who have been involved with the Coalition have
: been subjected to an intensive associational red-baiting
: attack that emanates from pro-war supporters. It often
: gets carried by others who claim to be from the
: progressive community but who unfortunately are more
: focused on engaging in sectarian factionalization than, on
: the eve of war, stopping a needless slaughter.
: Fortunately, the thousands of people organizing around the
: country to stop this war drive have been rejecting these
: efforts, as is evidenced from the success of the
: mobilizations and the outpouring of support received by
: A.N.S.W.E.R. at the grassroots level.
: The demonstrations have been supported by, organized by,
: and attended by persons from all walks of life. For
: January 18, hundreds of thousands of people traveled all
: night by bus and car from communities around the country
: with their children, their grandparents, their friends and
: neighbors, many attending their first demonstration and
: not knowing fully what to expect. Once arriving in the
: freezing cold of D.C. or the streets of San Francisco they
: met others from different backgrounds who shared a simple
: and heartfelt demand: that there be no war of aggression
: launched by the government of the U.S. on the people of
: Iraq. We have heard stories of the veteran from
: Pennsylvania who spent the day with the family from
: Alabama, the mother and her son from Mississippi who made
: new friends with the students from Wisconsin. We all
: listened as speakers representing veterans, labor and
: working people, youth and students, communities of faith,
: members of Congress, artists and writers, and fighters for
: social justice from different struggles all brought
: messages of solidarity in opposition to a war on Iraq. And
: then we all marched together.
: Those who seek to diminish and divide this growing
: movement often dishonestly claim that A.N.S.W.E.R. is a
: "front" group in order to diminish the Coalition and all
: the people from different backgrounds and organizations
: that are part of it, including on its Steering Committee,
: and who have their own honorable independent histories in
: the anti-war and social justice movements. The red-baiters
: have focused on singling out the presence of socialists
: and Marxists, in particular members of the Workers World
: Party (a socialist party in the U.S.), because some people
: in that party have been prominent in supporting the
: anti-war movement and the work of A.N.S.W.E.R. and their
: political positions have been routinely caricatured.
: Those who claim that A.N.S.W.E.R. is a "front" demonstrate
: their own racist and elitist perception of reality. Oddly
: invisible to them is the role of the various communities
: and organizations, including Arab Americans, African
: Americans, Korean Americans, Filipino Americans, Latinos,
: faith-based and solidarity groups who clearly have a
: central leadership role in organizing A.N.S.W.E.R. and
: carrying out the actions of the past year.
: That there are socialists or Marxists in the peace
: movement is neither a shock, nor a matter for repudiation.
: There are also Democrats, Republicans, Greens, anarchists,
: independents, and people with no party affiliation, and
: everyone is welcome. This is a united front of opposition
: that is becoming a big problem for the administration --
: hence the stepped up demonization and red-baiting,
: particularly after successful mass actions.
: While thousands of grassroots activists have worked
: tirelessly organizing their communities, holding
: teach-ins, handing out leaflets, putting up posters, and
: doing all the other necessary tasks to build a movement to
: stop Bush's war against Iraq, it is sad that a few on the
: sidelines claiming to speak for the liberal and
: progressive community have so willingly been partners with
: the right wing and pro-war supporters in their efforts to
: disrupt the growing peace movement. Much of the
: red-baiting and disinformation campaign emanated first
: from the pages of the Nation magazine and its columnists,
: which is now approvingly cited by the new Joe McCarthys in
: the conservative establishment. Some writers who have done
: nothing to organize against the war -- Todd Gitlin, Marc
: Cooper, Christopher Hitchens, David Corn and a few others
: -- have been feverishly exposing "reds" in the anti-war
: movement and demanding purges for months.
: A handful of people who claim to be leaders of the peace
: movement have also supported these attacks and demurred
: that they are not red-baiting but only trying to look out
: for the best interests of the movement. They state that
: the anti-war movement must appeal to "mainstream America"
: and that A.N.S.W.E.R.'s leadership and organizing, despite
: the turnout of hundreds of thousands of people in the
: streets, is a barrier to reaching that "mainstream"
: America. They wrongly insist that A.N.S.W.E.R.'s linking
: issues of war, racism and economic justice -- inclusion of
: the struggle against the death penalty, or presenting a
: taped anti-war message to the demonstration from political
: prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, or supporting Palestinian
: self-determination -- that this bringing together unity of
: different social justice struggles to oppose war on Iraq
: can only "limit" the anti-war movement.
: A.N.S.W.E.R. has mobilized the largest demonstrations
: against the Bush administration's policies that have been
: filled not only by radical activists but by broad sections
: of the population reaching across ethnicities, races,
: genders, economic status and many political divides to
: include many who are participating for the first time in
: political protests.
: "Mainstream," when used by those who wish to narrow the
: movement and its outreach, is however, a code word in the
: political lexicon that refers to upper middle-class white
: America. A.N.S.W.E.R. wants to and has reached and
: included all sectors of the society. When we use the term
: mainstream we mean not only the middle class, but the
: broad, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-national working
: population in the United States. History proves that the
: most powerful mass movements are those that give voice to
: sectors of society that are traditionally disenfranchised
: or ignored or demonized. Together we are building
: demonstrations and a movement that reflects the real
: mainstream America -- all of us. This has been echoed by
: the thousands of people from all backgrounds who have
: written about their experiences standing
: shoulder-to-shoulder with people they would never
: otherwise have met, who are from different communities,
: and how for the first time they have felt the power of
: democracy in America.
: "Mainstream" is also used as code for something else. It
: means opposing some tactics of Bush's war while embracing
: the government rationale for its twelve-year quiet war
: against Iraq, including genocidal sanctions that the UN
: admits has killed over one million Iraqi civilians, and
: accepting the fundamental assumption of the Bush
: administration that the U.S. must "do something about
: Iraq." The entirely false characterization and spin
: provided by these pundits, and those who parrot them, is
: that those who oppose the imperial ambitions of the U.S.
: in the Middle East are necessarily political apologists
: for Saddam Hussein. Simply put, if the people in Iraq want
: to carry out regime change, that is one thing. When the
: Pentagon and the CIA attempt to use sanctions and military
: invasion to create a puppet regime, that is something
: altogether different. Counterposed to Bush's doctrine of
: pre-emptive war and forcible regime change, A.N.S.W.E.R.
: supports the right of Iraqi people to determine their own
: destiny. The same can be said about the U.S. conflict with
: North Korea, Cuba or any other Third World country that
: attempts to retain its sovereignty in the face of U.S.
: military aggression and economic blockade.
: In the past week, the red-baiting attacks have been picked
: up and intensified by corporate media such as NPR and the
: New York Times, who also approvingly cite the
: "progressive" publications and enlist other sectarians who
: claim to be part of the peace movement, to give
: credibility to their demonization of the peace movement.
: Below is a link to an audio piece from NPR's Fresh Air
: from last week, which has compelled people from all over
: the country to condemn NPR and send messages of support to
: the anti-war movement.
: The historical link between the current attacks and the
: 1950s McCarthy era is striking. As the social justice
: movement emerged from the 1950s, the result of red-baiting
: was clear for all to see: socialists had been fired from
: their jobs, driven from unions, and also from
: "progressive" organizations who were purging their ranks.
: As the pressure grew, even the ACLU, which purportedly
: defended free speech unconditionally, capitulated and
: purged its ranks of communists and socialists who had
: played an invaluable role in the movement to defend the
: Bill of Rights. It even reported on activists to FBI head
: J. Edgar Hoover and the House Un-American Activities
: Committee. The attacks spread to those who were designated
: as "fellow travelers" and even to those who simply signed
: petitions against the atomic bomb. Actor Paul Robeson and
: renowned scientist Linus Pauling (who won two Nobel
: prizes, including one for peace) had their passports
: lifted by the U.S. government. This is recognized as a
: shameful period of witch-hunting in America.
: The red-baiting limited the anti-war movement during the
: Korean War and critically weakened the labor movement in
: the U.S. At the start of growing opposition to the Vietnam
: War in the mid-1960s, the established "peace" groups
: demanded that socialists and Marxists also be purged from
: anti-war groups and organizing, just as Corn, Gitlin and
: their group of armchair activists are demanding now. But
: young people who took the leadership of the anti-war
: movement, the people who took to the streets, rejected
: these demands. Ultimately, because division efforts
: similar to those clamored for now failed, the mass
: movement was built with many voices and the progressive
: community played a leading and decisive role in the
: protracted struggle that brought an end to the Vietnam
: War.
: This new attack is a disgraceful course of conduct, one
: reminiscent of loyalty oaths and one that will not be
: tolerated.
: We in the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition choose to work together
: and choose to stand side by side because we oppose war,
: racism, sexism and homophobia and share a common belief:
: support for the right of people to live decent
: non-exploited lives, in peace and with justice and
: self-determination. As evidenced by the mass
: demonstrations on September 29, 2001, April 20, 2002,
: October 26, 2002, and most recently January 18, 2003, so
: also do hundreds of thousands of people.
: We speak on behalf of many grassroots organizers around
: the country who are building a movement to stop a criminal
: war of aggression that will needlessly endanger the lives
: of U.S. servicepeople and kill thousands of innocent
: Iraqis for Big Oil's interests, and that will loot the
: national Treasury, diverting money from healthcare, jobs
: and education to arms-makers and corporate war profiteers.
: Constructive criticism and dialogue about political
: disagreements is healthy for the movement and a sign of
: maturity. But we categorically reject the demands for
: purging, factionalization, sectarianism, and red-baiting
: that seeks to divide people at the very moment when unity
: is required to stop Bush and company from waging an
: endless war against the people of the world.
: We encourage all to join in as we continue to build a
: potent force of unequaled breadth and diversity, with many
: different voices and viewpoints, united to stop this war
: drive.
: Otherwise the Bush Administration, its warmongering
: supporters, and those who would play directly into their
: hands for their own sectarian purposes, will be able to
: divide a growing movement, shut down powerful dissent and
: scare off and silence people just as happened in the
: McCarthy era to those who then opposed atomic weapons, the
: war in Korea, and the legal Jim Crow apartheid in the U.S.
: It took the progressive movement more than a decade to
: regain its footing. We probably don't have that kind of
: time right now.
: ***************
: Terry Gross' NPR/Fresh Air "revealing" interview with Mara
: Verheyden-Hilliard:
: ***************
: To the Editor:
: "Some War Protesters Uneasy With Others," about the
: A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, the principal organizers of the
: massive peace marches of January 18 and October 26, really
: misses the point. Finding and emphasizing political
: differences in the movement, presenting an inaccurate
: caricature of the political positions of socialists, and
: seeking to smear a successful anti-war coalition because
: there are socialists in it, is not news.
: The real story is the deep-felt antiwar sentiment in the
: country that caused hundreds of thousands of people from
: all walks of life to come together on Jan 18, representing
: millions of Americans, to tell the Bush administration
: that they are angry and feel unspoken for as the
: administration and its media cheerleaders drag the country
: into senseless war. Far from finding the anti-war message
: "tainted," people who participated on January 18 cheered
: the speakers, embraced the unity of different social
: justice struggles coming together to take a stand against
: war, and expressed pride that for the first time there is
: a peace movement of depth and breadth that reflects racial
: diversity and thus genuinely represents real mainstream
: America.
: This demonstration honored Dr. Martin Luther King who we
: remember today as a fighter for civil rights who
: courageously joined hands with the anti-war movement.
: Today as then, it may make some people uneasy to link war,
: racism, and self-determination. If the demonstration had
: been organized by or attended by people who were only
: mirror images of each other it would have been a very
: small demonstration indeed.
: January 24, 2003
: --------------------------------------
: Email circulated by:
: A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
: Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
: New York 212-633-6646
: Washington 202-544-3389
: Los Angeles 213-487-2368
: San Francisco 415-821-6545
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-- Tony
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