From firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Feb 5 11:00:21 2003
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 10:28:19 -0600 (CST)
Subject: [EMMAS] Fwd: [IAC] Unite to Fight the Warmakers
----- Forwarded message from ActionCenter.email@example.com -----
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2003 20:02:20 -0500
Subject: [IAC] Unite to Fight the Warmakers
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 smeara purportedly leaked
intelligence report from his Homeland Security department claiming
Iraqi spies came to the U.S. from Canada to carry out the
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 purposeto 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
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
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.
MAINSTREAMAMERICA: THE POWER OF REAL DEMOCRACY
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 warTodd Gitlin, Marc Cooper, Christopher Hitchens, David
Corn and a few othershave been feverishly exposing
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
America. They wrongly insist that A.N.S.W.E.R.'s linking issues of
war, racism and economic justiceinclusion 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-determinationthat 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
Americaall 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
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
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.
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
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.