Blacks take leadership roles in the growing anti-war movement, the
more comfortable corners of the Left are busy generating schisms,
for no reason other than to assure the War Party of their patriotism.
Privileged people are like that. They insist on having their way
and deciding who is and who is not good company, even when the stakes
are life and death - possibly for the whole planet.
could take the safe, diplomatic course and pronounce
that the emergence of rival umbrellas among those who claim to lead
the opposition to Bush's war agenda is actually a positive development,
signaling maturity and the prospect of a healthy division of labor.
But that's nonsense. The truth is, there is Anti-war Hardcore and
Anti-War Lite. African Americans are involved in both camps.
are glad that there is resistance of any serious variety,
since it is clear to the clear-headed that George Bush and his pirates
are preparing to jail the opposition, or worse, as soon as a domestic
emergency can be justified as part of the War on Terror. When and
if that time comes, safety will be found only in huge numbers. Hardcore
and Lite alike, all on the same roundup list. What a country!
made the proper, nonsectarian noises, we will come clean to express
the most extreme irritation at the nasty little people who, not
content to simply do something useful by organizing as many folks
as they can against Bush, feel it necessary to badmouth the organizers
of October 26's demonstrations. At minimum, 100,000 and 50,000 people
protested in Washington and San Francisco, respectively, against
the wishes of the corporate media, which virtually boycotted the
events. By proving that the opposition was capable of mounting an
effective popular response to the Bush administration's war hysteria,
the organizers may well have changed the course of history and saved
the center of the October mobilization and the follow-up demonstrations
set for January 18 is A.N.S.W.E.R., Act Now to Stop War & End
Racism. Had it not been for the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition's efforts,
Bush and his media would have announced to the world that the American
people were solidly behind his war plans. A.N.S.W.E.R. achieved
what no one on the "comfortable" Left would or could:
they made Bush think about the domestic consequences of his military
actions, by mounting demonstrations before the onset of war
on a scale that the Sixties movement did not equal until at least
30,000 Americans and several million Vietnamese were already dead.
brings the crowd
to its acronym, A.N.S.W.E.R. has had some success in darkening their
coalition. One thousand people turned out at Rev. Herbert Daughtry's
Brooklyn church for a November 21 rally. Daughtry's partner in the
National Action Network, Rev. Al Sharpton, spoke at the October
demonstration in Washington, as did Rev. Jesse Jackson. The movement
is still disproportionately white, drawn largely from already existing
anti-corporate globalism groups, but A.N.S.W.E.R.'s tireless efforts
have been anything but "narrow" or "sectarian."
Heroic is a better word.
comes the nattering from places such as The Nation magazine - people
like columnist David Corn who wouldn't lift a finger to stop the
entire world from going up in smoke if it meant associating with
the Workers World Party, the grouplet at the heart of A.N.S.W.E.R.
For a tiny outfit, the WWP has accomplished a great deal, apparently
having learned well the lesson that you can't mobilize hundreds
of thousands of people simply by waving the Little Red Book of Chairman
Mao's quotations. Corn and other sideliners complain that the WWP
uses control of the microphones to make "outrageous" demands
(like freedom for the man formerly known as H. Rap Brown).
and his crowd are the "sectarian" brats. We at
judge activists by their abilities to set people in motion. We are
most concerned that a bunch of middle-aged white children are injecting
their petty disputes, which originate in political turf too small
for anybody else to care about, into a struggle to save what's left
of American democracy - a commodity that is worth more to us
because we have less of it. Human existence, itself, is in jeopardy.
Yet the destructive little brats want to throw out the people who
set the resistance in motion.
have enough sectarian problems of our own, which we somehow manage
to keep in check, if barely. If the white Left finds that its ranks
remain racially anemic, they will have only themselves to blame.
African Americans will not be part of any tantrum-throwing spectacles
among the privileged.
are real differences between what we will call Anti-War Hardcore
and Anti-War Lite, although not necessarily irreconcilable ones.
The upstart, Lite camp is gathered under the banner of the Win Without
War coalition. The core of the coalition employed the slogan, "Keep
America Safe: Win Without War." Essentially, these groups are
concerned that everyone
know how much they, like Bush, hate Saddam Hussein, but feel that
war is not the best way to deal with him. Members include the National
Council of Churches, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, the
Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Leadership Conference
of Women Religious, Move On, the National Organization for Women,
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Rainbow Push Coalition, Sojourners,
Women's Action for New Directions, Working Assets, the NAACP, and
Artists Against War.
order to disassociate themselves from A.N.S.W.E.R., the Win Without
War umbrella feels it is necessary to declare, "We are patriotic
Americans who share the belief that Saddam Hussein cannot be allowed
to possess weapons of mass destruction." The implication is
that some people in the other camp are not sufficiently patriotic.
"We support rigorous UN weapons inspections to assure Iraq's
effective disarmament," said the Anti-War Lite statement. It
continued, less defensively:
believe that a preemptive military invasion of Iraq will harm
American national interests. Unprovoked war will increase human
suffering, arouse animosity toward our country, increase the likelihood
of terrorist attacks, damage the economy and undermine our moral
standing in the world. It will make us less, not more, secure."
that will get them to the protests on time and in large numbers,
fine. The problem is, Win Without War has not endorsed the January
18 A.N.S.W.E.R. demonstrations, although some affiliated groups
and individuals will doubtless take part. Since most of the coalition
didn't have anything to do with the October protests, their absence
in January shouldn't be of much concern. If they would be satisfied
with staging actions on their own schedules, such as the small,
scattered demonstrations that took place on December 10, that too
would be useful. But the brats and dilettantes in their ranks are
certain to grab corporate media microphones to smear A.N.S.W.E.R.,
rather than tend to their own business.
believes that, in the end, it's going to require that serious Black
activists smack the spoilers upside the head, so to speak, and teach
them how to be adult. Bush is deadly serious. The resistance must
be even more disciplined.
justice and good wages
labor, at their best moments, understands the value of solidarity,
and dare anyone to challenge their patriotism. The following resolution
by the San Francisco Labor Council is definitely not Anti-War
since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we have seen the
beginning of a relentless new assault on labor - from the employers,
and from the government acting on their behalf; and
using the so-called "war on terrorism" and "national
security" as a pretext, the Bush Administration has spearheaded
a renewed assault on organized labor, starting with the use of
Taft-Hartley (and threats to militarize the ports) against West
Coast dockworkers...wholesale threats to the job security and
union rights of 170,000 federal workers...the racist firings of
experienced airport screeners...threats to curtail the right to
strike and organize; and the impending contracting out of hundreds
of thousands of federal jobs. On more than one occasion, government
spokespersons have referred to union actions defending our jobs,
working conditions and living standards as akin to terrorism,
or as "aiding and abetting terrorists", or as a "threat
to national security"; and
Bush's war (on Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia, the Philippines, where
next?) has become the main engine for the repression of labor.
"National security", in the hands of a thoroughly anti-labor
Bush Administration, is being used as a bludgeon against labor,
with the intent of rolling back all the gains workers have won
since the 1930s, including collective bargaining itself, and including
social programs championed by the labor movement like welfare,
social security, unemployment insurance; and
a strong fight-back requires that labor make it a priority to
stake out a clear, forthright and fighting stance against Bush's
war, and see the anti-war and anti-globalization movements as
our strategic allies, needed if we are to defeat the assault on
labor and move to the offensive. We got a glimpse of the potential
power of this combination during the 1999 showdown in Seattle;
the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. embodied the coming together
of the labor, anti-war and civil rights movements during the tremendous
upsurge of the mass movement in the 1960s, and we need to revive
this powerful combination of the people's forces to defeat Bush's
war and the racism that underlies it and that it promotes; and
our opposition to the Bush Administration's war on the Iraqi people,
and to their attacks or threats against other smaller, sovereign
countries around the globe, fits hand in glove with labor's fighting
defense of the interests of the working people of all races and
nationalities here at home; therefore be it
That the San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO, endorse the Martin
Luther King weekend anti-war activities - the January 18, 2003
marches in San Francisco and Washington, DC in opposition to the
war on Iraq, and the Grassroots Peace Congress being held in Washington,
as well as the People's Anti-War Referendum ["VoteNoWar"]
by which millions of Americans are casting their "votes"
against this war; and be it further
That this council work to ensure that organized labor and the
national AFL-CIO take a clear and early stand against Bush's war.
resolution was approved unanimously. These men and women have seen
the enemy, and it is Bush. They don't waste time and resources in
anguish over the presence of people carrying Little Red Books. And
there is no more fitting activity during the week of Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr's birthday than to march in the interest of peace.
and Belafonte in Cuba
the Black signers of the Artists Against War petition are Diahann
Carroll, Charles S. Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, Robert Guillaume,
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Blair Underwood,
Alfre Woodard, and Danny Glover. Glover joined Harry Belafonte,
who is as hard core a veteran for peace as they come, for a press
conference at Havana's Hotel Nacional, where they generally agreed
on professional and political matters. It was Glover's fourth attendance
at the Havana Film Festival; Belafonte has only "missed four
out of 24 festivals."
deplored the state of Hollywood cinema, saying he found the "highest
movie-making standards at festivals in Havana, Cartagena [Spain]
and Brazil, where cinema is an art
showing more sensitivity than just aiming at the market." Glover
repeated to the international press his stand against Bush's war
plans: "My position on the war is very clear, above all for
the impact that it will have on women and children in Iraq who are
already suffering the consequences of sanctions."
had a ready answer for those who question the propriety of criticizing
the U.S. in a Cuban forum. "Many of my friends are journalists,"
said the singer-actor-activist, "and they tell me that there
has never been as much censorship as now, and if they rebel then
they will just lose their jobs."
Lite Glover and Hard Core Harry were quite compatible. If only the
white folks of the movement could just get along....
cost, no excuse
City Councilman Kwame Abayome got unanimous support for his anti-war
resolution, part of a growing urban peace offensive.
urges our influential readership to consider the language approved
by Baltimore's local legislators:
the purpose of reaffirming the articles of the United Nations
Charter and the principles of international law on the peaceful
resolution of disputes, opposing the United States' continued
and threatened violation of the United Nations Charter and of
international law by the unilateral, preemptive military action
against the nation of Iraq, opposing the continued nonmilitary
sanctions and proposed escalated military action, and urging the
Bush Administration and our federal representatives to work with
and through the United Nations to obtain compliance by Iraq with
the United Nations Security Council resolutions concerning the
development by Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and to support
fully the return of international weapons inspectors to Iraq for
that purpose and to actively support the United Nations' diplomatic
efforts to support and encourage democracy and respect for human
rights in Iraq and all nations.
$200 billion cost of the war - for starters - will wreak immediate
disaster in every city of the nation. The least that city councils
can do is go on the record with their non-binding opinions.
industrial and mostly Black and Hispanic Elizabeth, New Jersey,
Councilwoman Pat Perkins Aguste convinced her colleagues to pass
a "Culture of Peace" resolution that, she said, "we
take to mean no aggressive war with Iraq."
is a role for us to play," said the Black lawmaker. "If
we are asked to play a role we should step up."
$2 trillion war
the United States conquers Iraq and
sticks around for ten years, the total cost to the economy could
rise to $2 trillion dollars. That's one-fifth of the value of the
nation's yearly goods and services, 40 times the annual value of
all U.S. agricultural exports to the world, the whole federal budget
for one year... it is unfathomable to all but the war profiteers
who are even now dividing contracts.
when confronted with an earlier, $200 billion estimated cost of
several years' involvement in Iraq, the White House called the discussion
"premature," since "we're hoping for a peaceful solution."
and peacekeeping could cost $500 billion, according to the report
of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Most of the rest of
the damage would result from economic recession, caused by disruption
in oil markets.
a best-case scenario, the benefits to the U.S. economy of Iraq's
oil resources would amount to only about $40 billion.
figures tell the tale. The pirates are in charge. Only they stand
Anti-War Lite crowd doesn't understand who they're up against.