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News ::
Marching with Stalinists (english)
02 Oct 2003
Modified: 03 Oct 2003

Marching With Stalinists

By Michael Kelly
Wednesday, January 22, 2003; Page A15

"International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) is a front group for the communist Workers World Party. The Workers World Party is, literally, a Stalinist organization. It rose out of a split within the old Socialist Workers Party over the Soviet Union's 1956 invasion of Hungary -- the breakaway Workers World Party was all for the invasion. International ANSWER today unquestioningly supports any despotic regime that lays any claim to socialism, or simply to anti-Americanism. It supported the butchers of Beijing after the slaughter of Tiananmen Square. It supports Saddam Hussein and his Baathist torture-state. It supports the last official Stalinist state, North Korea, in the mass starvation of its citizens. It supported Slobodan Milosevic after the massacre at Srebrenica. It supports the mullahs of Iran, and the narco-gangsters of Colombia and the bus-bombers of Hamas. "
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You may be right (english)
02 Oct 2003
You might be right--who knows with whom A.N.S.W.E.R. higher-ups associate. But they certainly don't support ALL Stalinist governments. For example, they oppose the Bush/Rove government. It is for this reason I will continue to march with A.N.S.W.E.R. when they speak out against Bush's wars.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. (english)
02 Oct 2003
We are at war with the Neo-Con coup. ANSWER opposes the Neo-Cons and is effective in that roll. I have no problem with marching along side them.
yes, well (english)
02 Oct 2003
at least SOMEONE is organizing a march on washington. i prefer these guys over UJP any day.
well (english)
02 Oct 2003
Why don't you organize somthing, or create a group that will? It's not very affective when everyone sits around until ANSWER or UJP come along....and if somthing does get planned... DO NOT let answer or UJP take it over.
MIchael's propaganda (english)
02 Oct 2003
is propaganda. Anyone interested in knowing what ANSWER really stands for should go to the ANSWER site and get the info firsthand.

I am willing to march against wars with anyone--even if they are Nazis or war neocons or whatever. Anyone who is against wars is better than anyone who favor of wars, is a good general rule. Wars are the worst form of terrorism ever invented by the human race.

Why don't you organize somthing, or create a (english)
02 Oct 2003
"Why don't you organize somthing, or create a group that will? It's not very affective when everyone sits around until ANSWER or UJP come along....and if somthing does get planned... DO NOT let answer or UJP take it over."

it's very hard to organize something on such a massive scale as they have. answer, a shoot off from the international action center, which is a shoot off from the workers world party, already have core groups all over the continent. ujp already has strong membership all over the country. these groups are highly centrally organized. it would take a very strong and hard concerted effort to rally support of mass marches on washington as they have.

what more people need to do, is just go to these damned rallies. if enough people go, with the clear knowledge of answer and ujp not being the best of groups, those people can shift the rallies and marches into a different direction. more militant, and more vocal.

we saw it in the day after the war march that happened, the day after the war in iraq started.

the march started in harvard, and only had a permit to march into boston on the sidewalks. as the march started, people just all collectively and unanticipatedly, ignored ujp's "peace marshalls" (police collaborators), and took the protests directly into the streets, marching unpermitted along mass ave.

so go to the rallies and marches, and try and make your presense there change the march or rally into something better then it is.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME AS I SAY THAT i completely agree with you. more people need to start take the antiwar power away from answer and ujp, and put the power back into the hand's of the people. i just think one of the ways of doing that is attending their events, with the idea of trying to take back the the power.
Its shameful that Somoene is Quoting Kelly. . (english)
03 Oct 2003
Its really pathetic that someone on indymedia is quoting such a rabid, bloodthirsty neconservative as the recent michael kelly. Yes, some of what he said about ANSWER certainly is true: blind support of China, N. Korea etc. But most of his allegations (Hamas, Milosevic etc.) are ridiculous.

I point you to this article, written last year in response to Kelly's article, before he was killed covering the Iraq War. It's is from a Trotskyist group: the World Socialist Web Site.

Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly red-baits the Workers World Party
By David Walsh
24 January 2003
Back to screen version | Send this link by email | Email the author

The witch-hunting attack by columnist Michael Kelly on the Workers World Party in the Washington Post (“Marching with Stalinists,” January 22, 2003) was entirely predictable. One right-wing hack or another was bound to get around to the task.

Kelly, perpetually outraged and perpetually ignorant, takes the occasion of last week’s massive demonstrations in Washington and San Francisco against the imminent war on Iraq to denounce one of the protests’ principal organizers, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), as “a front group for the communist Workers World Party.”

The columnist goes on to identify Workers World with the Chinese and North Korean regimes, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, “the mullahs of Iran, and the narco-gangsters of Colombia and the bus-bombers of Hamas.” The principal device employed here, one long favored by witch-hunters, is the amalgam: throw everything together in the hope of creating the maximum fear and disorientation.

Reflected in this vicious attack on Workers World is a great deal of nervousness within the media and political elite about the mass opposition that has emerged to war against Iraq, revealed in the recent demonstrations and underscored by opinion polls. Kelly senses the isolation of the political establishment and the growth of popular discontent over the Bush administration’s war-mongering abroad and its assault on democratic rights and working class living standards at home. Reflecting the intellectual and political degeneracy of his milieu, he lashes out, resorting to the time-tested refuge of the distinctly American scoundrel: red-baiting.

When a Marxist uses the term Stalinism it has a specific meaning. It refers to the theory and practice of the national-opportunist bureaucracy that emerged in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and usurped political power from the workers and peasants who carried out the 1917 October Revolution. In the final analysis, this bureaucracy—which played a counterrevolutionary role internationally—reflected the pressure of world imperialism on the isolated and economically deprived workers’ state. Its strangling of the fledgling Soviet democracy expressed a degeneration whose culmination was the dismantling of the historic conquests of the October Revolution and the restoration of capitalism.

To establish its power fully, the Stalinist caste carried out a blood purge in the 1930s, exterminating the generation of socialists that had led the revolution, first and foremost the Marxists who took their lead from Leon Trotsky.

The World Socialist Web Site criticizes Workers World for its orientation to the trade union bureaucracy and sections of the Democratic Party in the US, and to bureaucratic and bourgeois nationalist regimes internationally. Our differences are deep and principled and involve essential issues in the development of a revolutionary strategy for the American and international working class.

There is a time and place to elaborate and explain these differences. With Kelly and his ilk, however, we are dealing with political scoundrels in the service of reaction. In opposition to Kelly’s red-baiting, our attitude is unconditional and unequivocal defense of the Workers World Party.

In his article Kelly raises September 11, 2001 as a turning point in the history of civilization. “In al Qaeda and in the Taliban and in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, liberal civilization faced an enemy that represented nearly every evil that liberalism has ever stood against. What was the left going to do? A pretty straightforward call, you might say. America has its flaws. But war involves choosing sides, and the American side—which was, after all, the side of liberalism, of progressivism, of democracy, of freedom, of not chucking gays off rooftops and not stoning adulterers and not whipping women in the town square, and not gassing minority populations and not torturing advocates of free speech—was surely preferable to the side of the ‘Islamofascists,’ to borrow a word from the essayist and former man of the left, Christopher Hitchens.”

More amalgams and more lies. By a crude sleight of hand Kelly identifies al Qaeda and the Taliban with the Iraqi Ba’athist regime. The WSWS gives no political support to this bourgeois nationalist regime. But no one has produced any credible evidence linking it to the September 11 attacks. That which has been offered has been exposed as fraudulent.

If Islamic fundamentalism represents “nearly every evil that liberalism has ever stood against,” then perhaps Kelly can explain why it was the policy of both Democratic and Republican administrations for much of the past century, and especially from the late 1970s, to foment, finance and arm these reactionary forces, including Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, for the purpose of opposing secular nationalist forces in the Middle East and destabilizing the Soviet Union.

As for Hussein, no less an authority than the aforementioned “former man of the left” and now the far right, Hitchens, has acknowledged that “The United States had at least a hand in the coup that brought Saddam to power. It encouraged him in his attack on Iran. At the very time of his worst conduct in Kurdistan, Washington was his best friend. When he plotted to straighten the Kuwaiti frontier in his favour, he was given the greenest of lights.”

The US provided the Iraqi regime with the ingredients for its biological weapons program and looked on approvingly when Hussein used chemical weapons against Iranian forces and minority populations in the late 1980s.

Absent from Kelly’s litany is the one word that goes to the heart of the US drive to conquer and dominate Iraq—oil. To mention it would point to the fact that the coming invasion is a war of imperialist plunder, against a historically oppressed former colony.

“Liberalism,” “progressivism,” “democracy,” “freedom”—the invasion of Afghanistan embodied these noble principles? Who is kidding whom? Leaving aside the inconvenient fact that conditions in Afghanistan today are as wretched as they were under the Taliban—essentially one set of warlords has replaced another—and that the Saudi regime, which practices a form of Islamic fundamentalism as reactionary as the Taliban’s, has been kept afloat by the US for decades, there is the matter of American imperialism’s record around the globe.

Washington has been the principal pillar of support for police-state regimes and their hired torturers and murderers for decades, from the CIA-backed governments in South Korea and Taiwan to the monstrous Shah of Iran, to the “death squads” of Central America and the military butchers in Chile and Argentina.

It is the US government and military that introduced “napalm” and “Agent Orange” and “We had to destroy the village to save it” into the modern lexicon, in a war in Southeast Asia that cost some three million lives.

Not satisfied with the destruction caused by the 1991 Gulf War and the death of 500,000 or more children as the result of economic sanctions, Washington now proposes another war against a defenseless Iraq, which will produce untold further misery. The predatory policies of American imperialism—this is the reality behind Kelly’s “democracy” and “progressivism.”

The columnist’s smears against the “left” are an attack on all those who express differences with the policies of the US government and an instinctive response to the threat of a new popular radicalization. They are an attempt to intimidate and silence all dissent. Kelly’s method is similar to that used by racists in the South during the Civil Rights movement: blame all opposition on “outside agitators.”

Kelly is one of many journalistic thugs in the service of the American plutocracy. There are dozens of them—the Krauthammers, Coulters, Sowells, Wills, etc., secreted out of the pores of an elite increasingly insulated from the general population and hostile to democratic rights. Their vocation, for which they are handsomely paid, is pumping out lies and filth on a daily basis. They are incapable of principled or reasoned discussion. There is no dialogue with them. They stand on the opposite side of the political barricades.
principle (english)
03 Oct 2003
Obviously there are big problems with Workers World. Some of their politics are terrible and they have a history of unprincipled behavior to other movement groups. But let's keep some perspective here. Workers World and their affiliated groups (ANSWER etc.) have mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to take to the streets. Are all these people "Stalinists"? Of course not. We should be principled about our political differences, not sectarian.

As for UJP, United for Justice with Peace is a Boston area coalition with dozens of local groups. If you don't like their events there are several good things you could do:
1) Communicate your constructive criticism with someone you know who is in UJP .
2) Bring something to the event which will both enhance it for everyone and make it more to your liking (creative signs and props, music, food, etc.)
3) Join a UJP group in your town or neighborhood and change it from the inside.
4) Organize an event of your own (and don't forget the megaphone).