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Commentary :: Organizing
International ANSWER/Workers World Party: what activists should know
01 Jun 2004
Modified: 05:05:49 PM
What activists should know about one of the shadiest, powerful, and well-known activist organization.
(originally posted as an unedited response to a Workers World post a few days ago)
The Workers World Party is one of the most ridiculous & hypocritical organizations around. Just look at their history; WWP was formed in the 1959 when it broke away from a larger Trotskyite organization to pursue a pro-Stalin agenda. Their views are to the extreme Left, if you want to call it that, and their relentless support for some of the worst dictatorships allow them to actually fit the image of what many hard right-wingers wish they could pin on normal leftists and activists. WWP’s views fall along the same extremist lines as groups like the Sparticist League, though their influence is far greater. After it’s leadership invaded Ramsey Clark’s International Action Center many then helped to form the well-known organization International A.N.S.W.E.R., which has grown into one of the largest anti-war coalitions in the world. Though a large majority of people both involved and aligned with ANSWER have nothing to do with WWP or their views, many among the leadership of ANSWER also hold leadership roles in WWP. (just go to both their sites and match up the names) It also no coincidence that the Boston ANSWER office and the Boston WWP office are at the same address where they actually share the same fax number! As exhibited below:
31 Germania St., Boston, Mass. 02130
(Enter at 284 Amory St.)
(617) 983-3835- (WWP)
(617) 522-6626- (ANSWER)
Fax (617) 983-3836
Now if one goes to the ANSWER’s website they will find an exhausted list of organizations and people whom they claim to affiliate with yet there is absolutely no mention anywhere of the WWP whom many of ANSWER’s senior members are apart of and who share a space and fax number in Boston as well other cities. Doesn’t that seem a bit strange? Not if they were trying to appeal to a wide audience most of whom would never support the outlandish views put forth by WWP. This is just another example of ANSWER/WWP’s deliberate deceitfulness which is why many other more credible anti-war groups despise working with them but are torn over the fact that they have grown to be so big and and are able to put together such large-scale events. Nonetheless those who are really concerned with social justice and peace should break away from ANSWER/WWP and here are some reasons why:
I’ve listed below some links to articles straight from the WWP website some of which were provided by International RESPONSE’s website: http://authoritarianopportunistswhocozyuptogenocidaldictators-forpeace.o/
And some I found myself which cleary exhibit how crazy they are:
» supported the Chinese government's 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre
» supports the "socialist" North Korean dictatorship of Kim Jong Il
» and views Iraq's Saddam Hussein as a beacon of anti-imperialist resistance
» defends the genocidal Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic
>> their view of the Dalai Lama as an evil adversary that wants to destroy the Peoples Utopia of China
>> their complimentary view of Fidel Castro, the “democratically elected” dictator of Cuba.
>>>They also have repeated called for the release of five Cubans jailed in the US whom they describe as political prisoners decrying the event as a racist civil rights violation yet they view last year’s instance when Castro rounded up 75 dissidents slamming them with sentences ranging from 6 to 28 years which caused Amnesty Intl. to put out the statement that “the Cuban government has no respect for the free and peaceful expression of one's political or religious beliefs” as the foiling of a “plot against revolution”
>>>here they explain that how “the Rose Revolution” in Georgia which just recently took place was actually a Washington based coup that duped the majority of Georgians into electing the opposition leader who is chided for not wanting to return it’s health care system to what it had been back when it was a Soviet republic.

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War Is Not The Answer, and Niether Is ANSWER
01 Jun 2004

War Is Not the Answer – and Neither is ANSWER
by Tanya Mejer

Imagine organizing a benefit show with three killer bands. You’ve picked a venue, date and time. A “friend,” who happens to have more connections and financial backing than you, has known about your show since you started putting it together. But a few days before the show, your “friend” gets the club to make a change – and he takes the venue out from under your show. Your “friend” then approaches you with an ultimatum: You must give up the venue, all your hard work in vain, or forego the benefit, let him run the show and hope your bands get to play. Not wanting to throw away the effort you put into booking bands, organizing and promoting your show, you let this “friend” take charge. Afterwards, he takes credit for your efforts and claims success to the media, even though you see otherwise: His last-minute hijacking diverted the show from its original purpose.

The question is: To what extent do you now trust this “friend”? Do you think he will be honest about his intentions in the future? Do you think he will opt to collaborate on the next event? Or do you think he will work behind your back, use his connections, and again undermine your efforts and take the credit?

These are exactly the questions that must be asked within anti-war organizing circles. The “friend” is Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER); and this “friend” is a repeat offender, most recently during the Day-After events in Boston.

You may be asking why this is important or relevant for you; it’s just activist infighting and doesn’t affect the general participants, right?

Wrong. Like other people who have been involved in anti-capitalist and anti-war struggles, I have witnessed first-hand how ANSWER’s behavior foments distrust and puts protesters’ safety at risk. The last thing any organizer should want to do is put people, including families and children, at increased risk of abuse or arrest by police. My friends and I have been surrounded by police because ANSWER organizers singled us out as anarchists; the tension was not only apparent between the police and us, but between us and a group we were theoretically working alongside. That tension can spread to other people at the demonstration who may feel unsafe and choose not to participate in future demonstrations.

ANSWER has also increased risk to protesters by fragmenting large groups of people at demonstrations. A general rule of thumb is that there is safety in numbers at large demos; individuals and people in small groups are more at risk of being snatched up by cops, separated from comrades and arrested on bogus charges. One way activists like myself have seen ANSWER break up large groups of people is to stop parts of a march at an intersection, waiting for traffic or pausing for no apparent reason. One other way people have been separated is when those leading marches take people on routes differing from the original organizers’ plans, which then splits the march in two or leads people somewhere organizers and/or participants don’t consider a “safe space.”

On top of it all, the leadership behind ANSWER has not been open about its politics, politics that alienate the general public as well as most people attending ANSWER events. People have a right to know who they are standing beside and what ideology they are or appear to be supporting.

So let’s do a little Background 101 for those not in the know. ANSWER is generally regarded as a front group for the International Action Center (the groups share office space, phone numbers, leadership and, according to many activists, money). The IAC, in turn, is generally regarded to be yet another front group, but this one for the Stalinist group Worker’s World Party (WWP). These connections have been cited in publications ranging from The Nation to the New York Times – a Google News search for “Workers World Party” can guide you.

The WWP puts out a newspaper in which its politics are made clear: WWP defends Slobodan Milosevic and supports North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il; it denies the massacre in Tienanmen Square, asserting no students were killed; it even supports Saddam Hussein because he is anti-imperialist. Genocidal dictators can count on WWP. But I bet protesters might not be so quick to count on organizers who support Saddam, since most anti-war folks don’t support Hussein or a US occupation but rather the Iraqi people and their right to determine how they live their lives.

So where does that leave us when we go to big demos? Sometimes ANSWER is the only game in town, and sometimes a big turnout is the display of protest that people want at a certain time. Which brings me back to my point about unity.

ANSWER’s behavior is detrimental to the unity many organizations cite as vital to stopping this war. Instead of refuting criticism or explaining where they stand, ANSWER’s leaders have instead resorted to claiming that critics are “red-baiting” or being divisive.

Unless organizations are upfront about where they stand, it makes no sense to work alongside them toward an immediate goal when their long-term goals are so very different. I, for one, do not intend to support an authoritarian group for the sake of “movement-building.” ANSWER/IAC/WWP knows that there is not popular support for its politics, but it can grow its organization by using a popular issue – in this case, anti-war sentiment.

Yes, large demonstrations can show people they are not alone in their beliefs and help voices be heard, but if aligning oneself with ANSWER does more damage than good, then perhaps unity is not the only answer.

So instead of repeating tired old chants and listening to ANSWER’s redundant speaker line-up, we should consider the reality that using a diversity of tactics, including examining and addressing the underlying causes of war, is what will help all anti-war protesters achieve their goal.
For more information on ANSWER/IAC/WWP, including links to articles from the WWP paper on its own Web site, see http://authoritarianopportunistswhocozyuptogenocidaldictators-forpeace.o (note: There really is a hyphen between “dictators” and “forpeace”).
Re: International ANSWER/Workers World Party: what activists should know
01 Jun 2004
Nice Job!
Re: International ANSWER/Workers World Party: what activists should know
01 Jun 2004
what are you offering?
Re: International ANSWER/Workers World Party: what activists should know
01 Jun 2004
>>by so what01 Jun 2004
what are you offering?
Re: International ANSWER/Workers World Party: what activists should know
02 Jun 2004
WWP didn't invade IAC, Ramsey Clark collaborated with them long before the IAC was founded, it wasn't entrism it was just a front group. WWP isn't listed on ANSWER list of endorsments when the WWP itself doesn't endorse ANSWER's line; individuals may be in both organizations but the WWP is to the left of ANSWER so the party itself may not want to endorse all of its actions.

The titles given to the links do not match the content of the WWP articles. Follow the links yourselves and you'll see they are quite reasonable and thought provoking.

I for one, support the enemies of the United States, and if you want peace but you don't support an alternative, alternative regimes, then you are wasting your breath. If it is either Bush or Saddam, I'd prefer Saddam, and that is what it means to oppose the war. You cannot oppose something without supporting an alternative without beint totally empty.
Re: International ANSWER/Workers World Party: what activists should know
02 Jun 2004
Let's clear the air...
ANSWER has WWP members in its organization.
In other words, commies are part of ANSWER.
Tell ya what?
I'll stick to doing my own thing.
I'll march.
Not on ANSWERs terms!
ANSWER call draw followers.
Won't draw leaders!
And most of the writers to Boston Indymedia?
Are Leaders!
Re: International ANSWER/Workers World Party: what activists should know
02 Jun 2004
I for one, support the enemies of the United States, and if you want peace but you don't support an alternative, alternative regimes, then you are wasting your breath. If it is either Bush or Saddam, I'd prefer Saddam, and that is what it means to oppose the war. You cannot oppose something without supporting an alternative without beint totally empty. >>

an "alternative regime" is still a regime. Hussein fucking gassed the Kurds as well as had torture chambers for 'his' own citizens. the conditions in North Korea are somewhere between Nazi germany and communist russia, if not worse. There are plenty of enemies of the US that are crazy genocidal maniacs. I support peaceful, and often more complex, solutions to conflict that benefit EVERYONE, not just rulers. You're "enemy of my enemy is my friend" logic is overly simplistic and weak minded, and invalidates any other points you have made.
Re: International ANSWER/Workers World Party: what activists should know
02 Jun 2004
oh yeah, and how exactly do the given titles of the articles above conflict with the content? they seem spot on to me.
Re: International ANSWER/Workers World Party: what activists should know
08 Jun 2004
First of I'd like to make a correction from my original post just for record i made a mistake-- Idi Amin was the maniac dictator of Uganda not Ethiopia.--- Now as far as I'm concerned I really hope "w/e" was kidding. Do u you support Osama too? How about Sharon? Well Sharon does treat the Isralis rather well rather than gassing them and toruring them. Bush or Saddam? Hmmmm wouldnt want to give Bush any credit believe me but I haven't seen any mass graves filling up and last I heard his daughters weren't going around the country torturing people in front of their families jsut for kicks. If you are serious than well it only proves my point even more that you would think this way and find nothing wrong with those articles. Though you make no sense when you say that those don't match the content of the articles. Aside from the correction I made above they match perfectly except for mabye the fact that what I wrote only concentrates the content to the degree of its real truth while you seem to only be caught up in the ridiculous rhetoric. Nonetheless you post only emphasizes my point even more for those who have somewhat of a sense of reality, so for that I say thanks.