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Interview :: Organizing
Tony Van Der Meer Interviews Nick Giannone
21 Mar 2006
Tony Van Der Meer Interviews Nick Giannone
While wading through the inevitable criticisms that follow every major action I noticed a comment posted by Tony Van Der Meer that attacked a critic of March 18th in an extremely unprincipled and disgusting manner. It was so bad that before repeating it I felt that I should contact Tony and verify that he actually wrote it. Below is the text of my email to Tony and his barrage of questions that was his response.

Hey Tony,
I saw the following comment on the Boston Indymedia coverage of March 18th:

You are either the police and a coward or a crackhead who has an altered reality. You have become an internet political character assassin. Someone who takes a victory and turns it into a defeat is an enemy of the people! The Bushwackers couldn't have done a better job themselves. Karl Rove must be your father and the best part of you must have dripped down your mothers leg. Stop hiding behind a no verified email address you Bushwacking flunky."

The person who posted it used your name and email and I sincerely hope it was an imposter because it would be really fucked up if you've already sunk to the level of accusing critics of being cops or enemies of the people.

If you didn't post this then I would suggest that you contact an Indymedia moderator and have them remove the comment.

1. Are you supporting the so called critic Liam?

Liam Wrote on Boston Indymedia:

At today’s demonstration in Boston the Workers World Party brought Democratic Party City Councilors to the microphone to address the crowd. But since this was a radical/liberal crowd….they had to leave off the fact that these men were in the Democratic Party.

Just as Workers World Party members leave out the fact that they are WWP members when they address a crowd, so do the people who they assembled the crowd for. So much deception for such a small party….

If Chuck Turner, and Tony Van Der Meer, are recognized leaders of the black community how come they can’t seem to motivate many black people to come to anti-war rallies? The rally started in Roxbury with an overwhelmingly white crowd. Does Democratic Party member Chuck Turner ask any black people to come to these rallies? Or is it just another stop for him on the speaking circuit. Workers World Party assembles the crowd and Chuck Turner arrives alone and seeks more votes for the Democratic Party.

As usual the speeches droned on and on, when the march got going it went in circles as the Workers World Party shouted inane lowest common denominator slogans. “Stop the Violence” Who claims to be violent? US Imperialism is the world’s biggest terrorist and they claim to be “peacekeepers.” “Stop the violence” as a slogan offends no one, and challenges no one.

After crawling through the city when the Workers World Party truck came upon activists sitting on the street in front of the Recruiting Station on Tremont Street they drove their truck through the protesters forcing them to break up their action. Who needs cops to clear protesters off the streets when Worker World Party will do it for them.

Then the Workers World driven trucks made their way up the hill through the Common, but some of the crowd wanted to stay in front of the Recruiting Station. Workers World people were not happy with this. They had a lot more speeches to give at the top of the hill. They urged people to get behind the truck, to get back in line, to listen to a carefully selected set of speakers who are friendly with Workers World, but the crowd kept melting away.

After waiting for ten, fifteen minutes, the Workers World drivers had to sadly drive their trucks away, some of the speakers had practiced their speeches for nothing. The demonstration was over, and it had not gone the way Workers World Party had planned it. But don’t expect to see any of these facts reported in the WWP press or web sites. Stalinists only report glowing victories.

I support anybody’s right to make what seems to be a principled criticism.

2. Why are you interested in the post - you too have been slandering the leadership of Rosa Parks because you or your coalition could control our process and that we rejected you as a speaker.

I am interested in the post because:

a. It pertains to an action that I was involved in.

b. It is common knowledge that comments on Indymedia can easily be forged and I would not want to quote a forged post.

I think it’s defamation to accuse me of slander. Please list any false statements that I have made in any of my criticisms of the Rosa Parks leadership.

Main Entry: slander
Function: noun
Etymology: Anglo-French esclandre, from Old French escandle esclandre scandal, from Late Latin scandalum moral stumbling block, disgrace, from Greek skandalon, literally, snare, trap
1 : defamation of a person by unprivileged oral communication made to a third party; also : defamatory oral statements
2 : the tort of oral defamation <sued his former employer for slander> —compare DEFAMATION, FALSE LIGHT, LIBEL
NOTE: An action for slander may be brought without alleging and proving special damages if the statements in question have a plainly harmful character, as by imputing to the plaintiff criminal guilt, serious sexual misconduct, or conduct or a characteristic affecting his or her business or profession. —slan·der·ous /'slan-d&-r&s/ adjective —slan·der·ous·ly adverb —slan·der·ous·ness noun

Main Entry: de·fa·ma·tion
Pronunciation: "de-f&-'mA-sh&n
Function: noun
1 : communication to third parties of false statements about a person that injure the reputation of or deter others from associating with that person —see also LIBEL, SLANDER New York Times Company v. Sullivan in the IMPORTANT CASES section —compare DISPARAGEMENT, FALSE LIGHT, SLANDER OF TITLE
2 : a defamatory communication <every repetition of the defamation is a publication —W. L. Prosser and W. Pacific Reporter Keeton>

Yes, I’m pissed off the Rosa Parks would get to choose who gets to speak for a separate organization. That’s just totally fucked up.

As far as “controlling the process”, the process was decided in an undemocratic, top down manner before any organizing had begun. We never sought to control it, just have a voice. I raised the question of democracy early on and was assured that decisions would be voted on and that the main organizers meeting would be the highest decision making body. At that same meeting John Harris proposed creating a discussion listserve. Both of these proposals were agreed upon and immediately reneged upon.

3. Why are you trying to monitor and control my behavior, why aren't you monitoring and controlling your own character?

I do monitor and control my own behavior.

This email was not an attempt to monitor or control your behavior. Like I wrote above, I wanted to ensure that I did not quote a forged post.

4. How is it that you actually have the audacity to approach me directly on my personal email about character when you have distrupted our meeting with your outburst, insulting the Rosa Parks leadership (Dorothea and myself), attacking the Workers World Party, Steve Kirschbaum and Chuck Turner?

Again, this is not about character. Your email was on the post. That usually means that the person posting agrees to receive feedback via email.

I “disrupted” your meeting after being subjected to a tirade by U.N. Steve Kirschbaum because I suggested that you have an agenda that the meeting gets to see and approve before the meeting. I didn’t know that agendas were such a touchy subject.

I don’t remember what I said that could be construed as an insult by either you or Dorothea. I know absolutely nothing about Dorothea and what I knew about you before this meeting only concerned your arrest at UMASS. If I did actually insult either of you at that meeting please specify.

I did attack the Workers World Party and Steve Kirschbaum (actually the same thing). They are a fucked up, top-down, opportunist organization that I regrettably have defended in the past.

I don’t remember exactly what I said about Chuck Turner either but my opinion is that, politically, he is a mixed bag. He’s pretty radical and says lots of good stuff when he’s speaking to other radicals, but he still manages to find time for the so-called Progressive Democrats of America and folks like John Kerry.

5. Why did you attack us on the internet, calling us a club and undemocratic and now you are emailing me to preach character?

I called you a club and undemocratic because you act like and undemocratic club.

I emailed you to verify that the post was yours but this exchange has revealed much about your character. Without directly responding to a single criticism you immediately accused Liam of being a cop or Bush supporter. I can play that game too. You logic rival the Bush team in two ways:

Bush says that criticism of the war undermines the war effort and helps terrorists.
You say that criticizing Rosa Parks undermines the anti-war effort and helps Bush.

Bush says that you’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.
You say that you’re either with us or you’re a cop.

6. Where is the united front in your behavior?

When I said at the Rosa Parks meeting that I would organize where I live (Quincy) you dismissed my efforts and said that Rosa Parks was trying to reach out to communities of color. Someone should probably tell my Brazilian, Chinese, Vietnamese, South Asian, Lebanese, African and African American neighbors that they don’t live in a community of color.

Where is the united front in that?

7. Why aren't you expending your energy attacking u.s. imperialism more?

Where the fuck have you been?

8. Do you mean that being democratic means that white supremacy ideology dominates?

So… democracy equals white supremacy ideology. You do know that democracy means that I could lose every vote, right?

“A racist is someone you are arguing with.”

-Gary Hicks March 27, 2005

9. If the Rosa Parks committee doesn't follow you (a white male) or the Stop the War Coalition then we are going the wrong way?

I never asked anybody to follow me, just to follow basic democratic principles. If you are against democracy in the movement just come out and say so. Then it will be clear exactly where you stand.

Way to race-bait, by the way.

“A goddamn racist is someone you are losing an argument with.”

-Gary Hicks March 27, 2005

10. And if we are not following you or your comrades, we must be follow some other white folk, right?

This is called a straw-man argument. It is done by creating a mischaracterization of your opponent’s position and then easily smashing that mischaracterization. A college professor should know that and it shouldn’t have to be pointed out by a white boy so privileged that he can’t even afford to get his ass into Quincy College.

See the answers to questions 6 and 7.

11. So you believe that an African American male and a African Latina are not capable of leading themselves and others?

Wow, I’m actually choking from all the words you just crammed into my mouth.

12. Is this why you had an outburst and distrupted our meeting?

Question 4 – Paragraph 2.

13. Because we chose to work along with workers world party forces they must be dominating the process?

I do have to admit that it’s not entirely clear who exactly dominated the process because the decisions all seemed to be made before the meeting. It’s not even a debate within the Boston Activist community that WWP knows how to dominate an event. Only a fly on the wall of the steering committee knows who dominates.

14. Why did you red bait them?

I don’t know if a red can red-bait. If I did red-bait then I am truly sorry because I do not consider WWP to be red. It would be an insult to all true reds who have been baited to red-bait opportunists.

15. Because they have a relationship with us and you and your coalition don't?

Yeah, everybody in Boston is jealous of people who get to work with WWP. I’m green with envy.

16. Are you trying to tell us who are friends should be?

You’re friends are your problem. Jesus, all this ‘cuz I asked if you made an Indymedia comment?

17. You think you can come to our meeting and throw your Mao book and other revolutionary literature on the floor and that is suppose to impress us about your wisdom?

Wow, red-baiting.

I haven’t read much Mao lately but today I did re-read his work on contradictions among the people. While I do not agree with Mao concerning the U.S.S.R. crushing the revolt in Hungary as WWP does, I do agree that unity is only possible with criticism. You should read it sometime.

18. Was Your behavior racist and politically immature?


See Gary Hicks quotes. Questions 6 and 7.

Politically Immature?

Compared to some of the more experienced people out there it’s entirely possible that I could be politically immature. Congratulations, that’s your first somewhat valid point so far.

Stating that “the best part of you must have dripped down your mother’s leg” is definitely not a politically mature statement.

Obviously, age is no sign of political maturity. We have a saying in my union: Some people have 20 years experience. Some people have 1 years experience 20 times.

19. Why did your coalition speak to you about your behavior or is their silence consent?

I don’t think that many members the Stop the Wars Coalition were very happy about my behavior at the meeting. We talked about it and agreed that it would be best if I didn’t attend the Rosa Parks meetings. Should they have crushed me with an iron fist or something?

Consent of what? My being a racist? See questions 6 and 7.

20. Is this about your ego comrade Nick?

Yeah, leggo my ego comrade Tony.

21. Don't you agreee that what we need in this period is political unity among progressive, revolutionary and anti – imperialist forces? There will be differences in our work, but with respect and revolutionary patience there are ways to work those differences out, otherwise behavior like yours can be viewed as objectively uniting with imperialist without being on their payroll.

“Unity is bullshit when it’s under someone’s fat boot” – Jello Biafra

See question 15.

I’m a racist, a red red-baiter and now “objectively” an imperialist. Shit I’ve been in the wrong movement all along. Maybe I should hook up with those Nazis I helped to chase out of town a little while back.

22. If you want to apologize to the Rosa Parks committee and have a constructive conversation with us, let me know and we can set up something and begin a principle dialogue.

You’re kidding, right?

This work is in the public domain


Re: Tony Van Der Meer Interviews Nick Giannone
21 Mar 2006
My condolences Nick. You've done a lot of people a favor by posting this exchange. Yikes!
Re: Tony Van Der Meer Interviews Nick Giannone
21 Mar 2006
Is there anyway to get this fight between two egomaniacs off the indy media posts. Nobody wants to read how someone said something that made someone else wonder if they really said that thing to the other person and how you smell and are ugly.

Childish nonsense. IF you don't like a group or a person, don't associate with them. Don't come on here and whine about it. And please people don't start to take sides and post for or against either, they are both wrong. The problem is with US military imperialism not other groups!
Re: Tony Van Der Meer Interviews Nick Giannone
21 Mar 2006
Well this did confirm that one of Saturday's march's main organizers responded to criticisms of the WWP with this gem:

"You are either the police and a coward or a crackhead who has an altered reality. You have become an internet political character assassin. Someone who takes a victory and turns it into a defeat is an enemy of the people! The Bushwackers couldn't have done a better job themselves. Karl Rove must be your father and the best part of you must have dripped down your mothers leg. Stop hiding behind a no verified email address you Bushwacking flunky."

I'm glad I know that, I'd assumed it was a troll.

And the problem is capitalism. You can't just get rid of imperialism.
Re: Tony Van Der Meer Interviews Nick Giannone
21 Mar 2006
I thought it was a troll too when i first read it. That's how this exchange started. It's disappointing.

Sometimes the problem is with other groups. Many people had serious problems with the organizing structure of the March 18th demo. I decided to withhold critisism in the name of "unity" until after the 18th.
Apparently some people don't like post-event criticisms.

There are sides to take and we're not "both wrong." The fundamental question boils down to this: Should the anti-war movement be democratic or should decisions be made by unelected steering committees in closed meetings with obscure political agendas?
Re: Tony Van Der Meer
21 Mar 2006
you know, i was fully supportive of Tony Van De Meer when the recruitment tabling incident happened. but seeing all this smug, holier-than-thou, accusatory crap that he sent to Nick completely alters my opinion of the man.

nick, old friend, don't waste your time on this lame autocrat, who thinks he is in the people's "vanguard." what the people need is to strip the wealth and power from the oiligarchs and the usurious kingpins of finance...i am LOL to think that any group which barricades itself against the participation of Nick in a fury of righteous indignation is going to lead us to victory!

knee-slapping hilarity!! Go get 'em Tony the Tiger!