A new Sane?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Dec 12 07:57:24 MST 2002

(It should come as no surprise that Marc Cooper has hooked up with the
Win Without War coalition. Yesterday I mentioned this coalition has the
same kind of relationship to the impending war with Iraq that SANE did
with respect to the war in Vietnam in 1965 or so. This groups began as a
mainstream anti-nuclear outfit in the 1950s and eventually took a rather
limp stance against the Vietnam war when it broke out. Today I learn
from Cooper's article that the similarity is not accidental. The founder
of Win Without War was the leader of SANE.)

LA Weekly, Dec. 13-19, 2002

Our Peace Movement — Not Theirs
by Marc Cooper

FUNDAMENTALISTS ALL AROUND US. Certainly to our right. And also to our
left. For fundamentalist is the most polite and diplomatic
characterization I can attach to a small choir of leftists who as much
as declared jihad on me and a couple of other writers when we suggested
that at least a tad of critical thought should be applied in building a
peace movement.

With the Bushies blindly pushing for conflict with Iraq, we had argued,
it's going to take a very big, a very broad and — yes — a very
mainstream anti-war movement to maintain the peace. That's what The
Nation magazine's Washington editor David Corn wrote in these pages when
he publicly worried that the organization that ran this season's major
national peace rallies was dominated by a cultish sect of Stalinists in
the minuscule Workers World Party. Todd Gitlin, a former Students for a
Democratic Society leader and now a writer and academic, made similar
arguments in Mother Jones. I did the same in an L.A. Times opinion
column. We were heartened that so many tens of thousands had turned out
for the demonstrations. But we were concerned that just as the peace
movement failed to gain traction during the first Gulf War, the new
anti-war movement would be similarly doomed if the shrill rhetoric of
the Workers World and the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party loonies
would dominate. Fronting for Saddam Hussein (and Slobodan Milosevic) as
self-appointed peace leader Ramsey Clark has and exhorting the peace
protesters to defend convicted cop killers like Mumia Abu-Jamal and H.
Rap Brown as Workers World does, we said, was hardly the way to win over
the millions we need to stop Bush.


NOW HERE COMES THE GOOD NEWS. Corn, Gitlin and I were not the only
longtime peaceniks concerned about the movement leadership. For the past
couple of months some veteran anti-war organizers — some who privately
say they had an "Oh shit . . ." reaction when they heard the superheated
rhetoric coming out of the October 26 rally in Washington — have forged
a new, broad-based coalition being unveiled this week. Headed up by
former SANE leader David Cortright, the new Win Without War alliance
includes the National Council of Churches, the NAACP, the National
Organ-ization for Women and several other politically substantial
groups. And far from being soft on Saddam, the new coalition supports
the U.N. weapons-inspection regime and calls for all reasonable
measures, short of war, to disarm the Iraqi dictator.



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