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Statement from A.N.S.W.E.R. - SHOCK & REVULSION: World Movement Fights Back (english)
22 Mar 2003
Modified: 23 Mar 2003
Statement from International A.N.S.W.E.R.
SHOCK & REVULSION: World Movement Fights Back
Borrowing a page from the nightmare of the Vietnam War when a U.S. commander explained that U.S. soldiers were burning a peasant village in order to save it from communism, the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal have decided to burn Baghdad to save it from the current Iraqi Government. The world is in a state of Shock and Revulsion as the murderous Bush Administration follows through on its promise to "Shock and Awe" the Iraqi people by dropping thousands of bombs and missiles on their capital, a city that is home to 4.5 million human beings.

This horrific unprovoked attack on a dense urban area must be understood as one of the extreme terrorist acts of modern times. Cruise missiles launched from submarines and air craft hundreds of miles away and 3,000 lb. bombs dropped from 30,000 ft. up are the latest example of the Bush administration's criminal resort to limitless violence and terrorism in order to achieve its objectives of conquest and occupation. The hypocrisy of the war against Iraq is extreme: the most powerful military in the world waging first strike war with the most advanced weapons against an impoverished country on the pretext that it someday may possess such weapons.

The world has entered a new phase. The Bush Administration is hell bent on world domination. The war on Iraq was meant to signal that the U.S. use of raw military power will be the means to create a new era of Empire. Iraq was to be a stepping stone on this path of conquest.

To the shock of the warmakers, their plans have ignited a world movement of opposition and solidarity. For months this movement has delayed and restrained the war plans for Iraq. Bush and Co. have lost all legitimacy and they are isolated. The people's movement has deprived them of the any threadbare claim to legality.

Today our hearts are today filled with both anger at the war and sadness for the suffering people of Iraq who are enduring this unprovoked terrorist attack. But sadness and grief should be coupled with a profound understanding that the sudden emergence of a new global movement offers the best and only hope that the U.S. government's plans for militarism, war and domination -- the doctrine of endless war -- can and will be overcome.

In the days ahead we must intensify the struggle against this cruel war. We urge everyone to stay in the streets, and to organize against the lies and propaganda of the death machine. Our movement has shown great energy and strength in the last days. No part of the planet is free from mass protests, including hundreds of cities inside the United States. Now is the time to organize, organize and organize.
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War is not the Answer, neither is ANSWER (english)
22 Mar 2003
Thank goodness we have A.N.S.W.E.R. to tell us that war is a bad thing and that the U.S. is acting like an imperial superpower, and to lead the way in opposing it.

If it weren't for A.N.S.W.E.R. people would not be in the streets opposing it. In fact, I don't know how people got in the streets against the Vietnam War or in the Civil Rights movement or any other movement in history. How would they know what to think without a vanguard issuing statements? I don't know how it happened.

Thank goodness A.N.S.W.E.R. has the forethought to bring a PA system to every rally so that we can listen to their speakers drone on and on, instead of hearing other speakers spontaneously speaking, or people talking to each other. And thank goodness they always bring a huge banner and millions of the same-style unimaginative signs stamped with their brand name. If protests got too imaginative, they might cease to be effective, right?


In all seriousness, however, of course I agree with 99% of your statement. It's just that the very act of putting out this statement is very odd in itself, and it's clearly done in order to "be there" as an entity called A.N.S.W.E.R. for the sake of building up this brand name.

I post this satire because I think that truly popular movements don't need brand names or central organizations. In fact, I think such greedy organizations are counterproductive and alienate people from joining. Sure we need to organize but we can do that in decentralized ways. It happens all the time.

ANSWER is a contradiction. If it represents the true will of people, then it would not need to brand itself.
agree with your sentiment... (english)
22 Mar 2003
but if I have to sit through another series of your organization's long-winded, rhetorical speeches, I think I will lose it.

War is not the answer, and neither is the Workers World Part... er, I mean A.N.S.W.E.R.
Anarchists envy communist organization? (english)
22 Mar 2003
This is simply pathetic red baiting. The WWP has the organizational capabilities to promote the movement through ANSWER and all you can do is whine about. The fact is that ANSWER while run largely by WWP members is not in itself promoting WWP or any other Marxist-Leninist ideology, it is searving mearly as an anti-war, anti-imperialist, and occassonally anti-globilization protesting group. UJP is similarly run largely by CPUSA members, NION is run largely by RCP members, but the only people you see promoting ideological positions are the Anarchists who actually confuse anti-war demonstrations with pro-anarchy demos. This sort of petty, obnoxious reaction against the WWP (the CPUSA and RCP, being less effective seem to be more often ignored) undermines the anti-war movement by injecting sectarianism; anarchists spend more time trying to undermine communist anti-imperialists then the capitalist imperialists they claim to oppose.

It would be out of the question for a communist to post a message against the NEFAC for leading and organizing a break away march, (despite the fact that the NEFAC and not the WWP was promoting its own ideology in the signs and symbolism it brought to the last Boston protest) because they are also anti-imperialists against the war, but it is somehow acceptable for anarchists to protest other anti-war demonstraters for issues of ideology.

And to think people accuse the reds of being sectarian.
shock and revulsion(surprise)at a.n.s.w.e.r. (english)
22 Mar 2003
so who exactly is it who is divisive and disruptive to the anti-war protests? i'd say taking over other people's events and imposing your idealogies and never-ending speakers without even talking to an events organizers is pretty ridiculous...check out this other thread re: the march from copley square and how answer hijacked it.
The need for vanguards... (english)
22 Mar 2003
I have nothing against whatever other affiliations are held by people in either ANSWER or UJP or any other group.

When you say that "WWP has the organizational capabilities to promote the movement through ANSWER" I don't know exactly what you mean, specifically. A lot of groups have some organizational capabilities but I don't think any one group is so far above the rest in capabilities that they have some inherent superiority. After all, what does it take to have members on an email list and various other trappings of an organization. Every group involved helps. Individuals also help outside of groups.

It's the claim to be "the one" that bothers me about ANSWER, and the constant need to be there with their name. It's a brand. Why have a brand for a popular movement? Why would anyone need a brand like that?

And... here's the crux... ANSWER capitalizes on existing dissent and existing movement potential. It doesn't create it so much as find it and exploit it, from what I have seen. Sure, ANSWER folks do a lot of work and I really appreciate it. Really a lot. But other folx also do a lot of work, not only ANSWER, and they also deserve equal respect for creating this movement. Heck, I do a lot of work to make a better world, day in and day out, without any group affiliation. With no need to be seen and identified as being the one who did it. We're in it to win as a whole, not to be on the top of the movement.

I don't think this is red-baiting, but rather some critical thinking. If you accuse this of being red-baiting, please explain what you mean by this term, since I've heard it used so often in these discussions.
not a cog, but an ass (english)
22 Mar 2003
Phony antiwar assholes seem to have nothing better to do than to spread dissent and slurs against what has been one of the brightest antiwar organization ever. Who among us who are honest antiwar activist really give a shit whether or not ANSWER is self-promotional or not. They have gotten the job done, while most critics who have accomplished nothing whine and cry about ANSWER not being nicey, nicey enough.

Much of this divisive crap has come form people who canŐt decide whether they love or hate Zionism. Whether they love or hate wars. The fight against the powerful pro-war conspirators is difficult enough without this kind of back stabbing.

not any more (english)
22 Mar 2003
you know, despite the long history of infighting between marxist/leninist/maoist groups, and their history of turning legitimate grassroots campaigns into ridiculous ineffective pseudo-movements, i was willing to tolerate ANSWER. i was suspicious about the list of endorsers for the big answer rallies (which never seemed to change from previous rallies), with so many big-name folks who i really like (geronimo pratt likes answer?) but so what? i thought, they're doing good work to bring out people, and as long as they're about the issues at hand, and not just about promoting their group at the expense of others, then, what's the harm?

well, it's become starkly clear that this is exactly what answer has in mind-- find the natural dissent of grassroots groups and smaller orgs, and try to co-opt it for the purposes of increasing their own power on a bigger stage. i never trusted stalinists like wwp, tho some of the local people were cool to me, but there is no way to excuse something like what happened at copley square for the 6 30 demo the other night. months of hard work and flyering and organizing by a totally grassroots crew of local people who banded together without institutional resources or logistical capacities to create a space for folks looking for more direct actions against this crazy war-- and all STOLEN (there's no better word for it) by the absolute assholes running answer. what a fucked up way to show solidarity and stand united. looks like it's not just the capitalists who are capitalizing.

i don't have patience for answer any more, and even if a sincere-sounding apology comes out (very unlikely), i will never have complete trust in this orgazination's motives. it's clear they are only about themselves, and not for real change from the past, and are willing to resort to petty sabotages to get their way.
not a cog but an ass (english)
22 Mar 2003
Phony antiwar assholes seem to have nothing better to do than to spread dissent and slurs against what has been one of the brightest antiwar organization ever. Who among us who are honest antiwar activist really give a shit whether or not ANSWER is self-promotional or not. They have gotten the job done, while most critics who have accomplished nothing whine and cry about ANSWER not being nicey, nicey enough.

Much of this divisive crap has come form people who canŐt decide whether they love or hate Zionism. Whether they love or hate wars. The fight against the powerful pro-war conspirators is difficult enough without this kind of back stabbing.

Sectarianism (english)
22 Mar 2003
Sectarianism : a narrow-minded adherence to a particular sect or party or denomination

If you have criticism of a group's actions or beliefs, make them, but avoid being sectarian. It poisons the atmosphere and makes you look bad.

"Authoritarian-Statist-Stalinist" (ASS) assumes that ANSWER's critics are anarchists. Why? "ASS" also makes some false statements about the Copley square rally and march. First of all, it was not a breakaway march, but a march which had been planned for months. It was ANSWER who held a "breakaway" rally at Copley which took away from the planned action. Second, while NEFAC was involved in the Copley square march we certainly did not lead it.

"Red baiting" is a charge often leveled by Workers World Party and ANSWER whenever they want to dodge criticism. It doesn't stick here folks. Many of ANSWER's critics are themselves communists and reds.

"ASS" writes: "the Anarchists who actually confuse anti-war demonstrations with pro-anarchy demos." If "ASS" could flesh out this point we might actually have a discussion about tactics and strategy instead of just more sectarian mudslinging.
what? (english)
22 Mar 2003
Shit, I hoped we could have a dialogue without name calling. I hope to be productive here, not whiny, not petty, otherwise what the fuck are we doing? We have a world to save. Anyway...

Basically, ANSWER doesn't feel right to me, on an intuitive level. And that is very important to me, because my intuitions have been right on so many things, and when I didn't trust them I made big mistakes.

And it is very important to be able to voice such things, so other people who may feel the same way know that they are not alone. Without being called a "red baiter". No fucking silencing of dissent WITHIN my movement. We have to deal with enough silencing of dissent from our more patent opposition.

If you somehow think I am "Zionist" or "red baiting" then explain what you mean. Otherwise drop those accusations.

Here's my thing about ANSWER... I feel like I know that sort of thing, the egotistic aspect of ANSWER organizing. I have been there in my life, and it gets in the way, it fucks up the positive possibilities, it is not robust, it is way too fragile, and average people who we need in our movement will be turned off by it and its cultish aspects. I don't want this movement fucked up like that.

I can elaborate on what I mean, or read your comments of relevance, but please don't respond with name calling. Please respond with some substance. Please.
a dialog for not a gog (english)
22 Mar 2003
I have a bit of experience also. Divisive crap is divisive. the antiwar movement can't afford that luxury. Goodbye.

"divisive" is coercive (english)
23 Mar 2003
Do you know how disappointed I am in this? You're the one who cannot have a dialogue or talk about the issues. You're the one who is being divisive in this instance by not allowing issues to be dealt with, by silencing what I have to say, which I mean truly. I'm not intending to divide a movement or to be divisive. If I am having that effect, I think it's because the seeds of intolerance are within you. It's evident in this dialogue. Your attitude is the one that will break this movement apart. Talk about divisive.

Sure, cite your 'experience'. I am sure you have experience. So do I. But does it mean it's not worth talking with me? I don't write "I have experience, I know what is true, goodbye."

Anyway I probably will not come back to this page because it's depressing. I will be out on the streets with people who are willing to talk about issues when they arise.

One more blow against ANSWER and the mindset it attracts, in my mind.
Social Justice Activists See Through ANSWER (english)
23 Mar 2003
I have seen very few problems with the anarchist participation at recent anti-war demonstrations in Boston. I may disagree with their tactics and overall politics, but I think they bring a creative militancy often lacking at these events and are genuinely respectful of non-anarchist organizers, and do not high-jack other people's events. The same could generally be said for other radical groups such as the International Socialist Organization or RCP also.

A.N.S.W.E.R. (a thinly-veiled Workers World Party front-group) on the other hand has been highly divisive and opportunistic. They often try and co-opt other people's events, dominate rallies with their own speakers to push, and are highly disrespectful of other peace and justice groups.

If the diversity, creativity and popular appeal of anti-war demonstrations are to broaden, we need to speak out against the narrow sectarianism and opportunism of groups like Workers World Party/A.N.S.W.E.R.