Monday, March 19, 2007

Dissing A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

Photos of Pentagon March, 3/17/2007
For ANSWER's report on the international protests, click here

Certain purportedly anti-war Virginia bloggers and some of their followers have taken to demonizing the coalition that organized the March on the Pentagon this past March 17, disparaging it as “Marxist-Leninist” and thus evoking all the negative connotations and stereotypes of the Cold War. The term Marxist-Leninism is usually defined as synonymous with the repressive authoritarianism and centrally controlled economy of the old Soviet system. It is thus rather disingenuous to tar a peace and justice organization with such an odious brush, and speaks more about the psychology and ethics of the disparagers then it does about the philosophy of the coalition under attack - ANSWER. Since ANSWER is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals, it has no monolithic ideology to begin with, and even its steering committee is diverse. Here is how this organization describes itself (see and go to the “About Us” link):

"The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition formed on September 14, 2001. It is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and prominent individuals and scores of organizing centers in cities and towns across the country. Its national steering committee represents major national organizations that have campaigned against U.S. intervention in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia, and organizations that have campaigned for civil rights and for social and economic justice for working and poor people inside the United States.

Steering Committee:
IFCO/Pastors for Peace
Free Palestine Alliance - U.S.
Haiti Support Network
Partnership for Civil Justice - LDEF
Nicaragua Network
Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines
Korea Truth Commission
Muslim Student Association - National
Kensington Welfare Rights Union
Mexico Solidarity Network
Party for Socialism and Liberation"

Some of these groups are undoubtedly Left-leaning (and being Leftist has a very wide range, philosophically), at least one is openly Marxist, but others are religion-based or regionally-driven solidarity groups, and they are only a small percentage of the overall coalition to boot, so this is a far cry from propagandizing the entire organization as “Marxist-Leninist”, unless one is so ideologically skewed as to believe anyone on the Left or affiliated with the Left is a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA, which thinking plants us squarely right back in the 1950s. Are those bloggers bandying about this slur betraying an inner intolerance and repressive streak, if not toward others, then toward themselves, because it is a psychological mechanism to externalize that which one cannot tolerate within oneself?

Intuitively, I tend to think the latter, that they can’t accept their own impulses toward international compassion for the vast numbers of victims of traditional, as well as Neocon militarism and imperialism, instead disassociating themsleves from them, and are instead frozen into sitting on the sidelines, waiting for Godot, so to speak, that is, waiting for a pristine, Establishment-blessed, corporate-sponsored version of the anti-war movement to emerge, perhaps with advertising and mortgage-brokering allowed at its rallies and marches. Don’t hold your breath. Either get involved with the existing peace movements and coalitions, thus putting your own imprint upon them, or create your own if you must, but stop hurling insults at those who do take the initiative to confront this horrific war. You are only carrying water for the war mongers otherwise.

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