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Friday, January 17, 2003

Three faces of the antiwar movement.

As thousands converge on Washington for tomorrow's antiwar rally, the media starts looking at the goals — and factions — of the antiwar movement.

The Chicago Tribune notes that there are three major antiwar organizations in the U.S.:

As the situation unfolds, one challenge may be in simply holding together disparate organizations with widely varying, and sometimes opposing, political aims that so far have created not one cohesive coalition but at least three—Win Without War, International Act Now to Stop War & Racism (ANSWER), and United for Peace.

Win Without War's founder, David Cortwright, tells the Tribune, "We want to convey the message that the concern about a war against Iraq is very broad and reaches out to mainstream organizations." The paper doesn't mention, however, that Cortwright launched his media-focused group, which is affiliated with, after seeing the rabid left dominate the October 26 mass protests sponsored by International ANSWER.

Religious organizations in particular might help prepare their members for the way-out causes they are likely to encounter at an ANSWER event, because many mainstream Americans are likely to be horrified by much of it. (The left-liberal Nation's Washington editor, David Corn, condemns ANSWER's agenda in an article for LA Weekly.)

The San Jose Mercury-News also highlights ANSWER's hard-left associations:

Many of A.N.S.W.E.R.'s lead organizers have close ties to the International Action Center, formed by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and to the Workers World Party (WWP), a socialist sect whose politics often are criticized as too left, too doctrinaire, even for Bay Area liberals. Some of the WWP's more controversial positions are its support for the governments of Iraq and North Korea; its backing of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic; its claims that reports of Serbian atrocities against Muslims and Croats were overblown; and its defense as recently as 2000 of the Chinese government's deadly crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Every antiwar activist must confront this fact: Most Americans recognize Saddam, Milosevic, and Jong-Il as brutal dictators. Americans may not want to go to war, but they're definitely not going to sign up for the pro-despot radicalism of ANSWER.

(United for Peace, by the way, is doing its own thing, too. The Washington-based coalition plans a candlelight vigil at the Lincoln Memorial after Saturday's ANSWER protest and plans acts of civil disobedience for Sunday.)

So, if you're going to Washington or San Francisco this weekend, identify your key issue and look for ways to reach normal Americans with it. ANSWER is not the answer to your questions about the war. (Click here, here, and here for my proposals.)

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 17 January 2003 at 5:32 PM

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