Left apologists for US imperialism
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Feb 5 06:38:24 MST 2003
Left apologists for US imperialism red-bait the anti-war movement
By David Walsh and Barry Grey
5 February 2003
The emergence of a broad-based movement of opposition to the Bush
administration’s war against Iraq caught the American political and
media establishment unawares. In the response of the various factions of
the ruling elite there has been one common theme: the need to purge the
anti-war movement of its left-wing elements and render it politically
The instinctive response of the extreme right is to red-bait, denouncing
the demonstrations as the organizational work of “communists” and other
outside agitators. The establishment “liberals” of the New York Times
variety intervene more subtly in an effort to isolate and discredit
socialist tendencies and bring the protests under the control of a
section of the Democratic Party.
Both factions have singled out for attack the Workers World Party, which
plays a leading role in ANSWER, a coalition of anti-war groups that has
organized large demonstrations in Washington and elsewhere.
These efforts are aided and abetted by another group—ex-radicals and
former anti-war liberals centered around the Nation magazine. Three
articles in particular, appearing at about the time of the first
significant US protests, held last October, marked the beginning of this
group’s intervention. The articles are: “A Smart Peace Movement is MIA,”
by Marc Cooper, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times of September 29,
2002; “Who Will Lead?” by Todd Gitlin (Mother Jones magazine, October
14, 2002); and “Behind the Placards: The odd and troubling origins of
today’s anti-war movement,” by David Corn (LA Weekly, November 1, 2002).
Cooper, a contributing editor of the Nation, went to Chile in 1971 to
volunteer his services to the Salvador Allende Popular Front regime and
was serving as Allende’s translator at the time of the military coup.
Gitlin was the president of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in
1963-64. After 16 years at the University of California at Berkeley, he
now is a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University in
New York. Corn, the Washington editor of the Nation, formerly worked for
Ralph Nader’s Center for Study of Responsive Law.
The three pieces in question constitute a type of “left” gutter
journalism. Their authors are unable to muster serious arguments,
resorting instead to distortions, amalgams and ad hominem attacks.
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