[Marxism] The WWP... Splits -- from Frontlines

DHE cuibono at rcip.com
Thu Jun 24 09:43:56 MDT 2004

The WWP, main force behind the Antiwar ANSWER, Splits
Date: Tuesday, June 22 @ 20:29:00
Topic What's Left?

By Simon Morales

It is secretly being screamed all over left circles. The Workers' World
Party (WWP) has splintered. This will have no importance in the news if it
wasn't for the fact that for a long time the WWP - a formation of about 300
militants nationwide -- allegedly dominated ANSWER, one of the main antiwar
coalitions in the US.
According to unofficial reports, the entire West Coast membership of the WWP
left the organization following the discussions about the Presidential
ticket of the organization. According to different sources, some of those
leaving the group opposed the WWP running candidates for President and
Vice-President and pushed for a line of activism rather than electoralism.

They argued that the party was too small and irrelevant to play any role in
the elections and that that would alienate many allies in the antiwar
movement who are supporting John Kerry, the Democratic Party candidate, as
the "lesser of two evils." The WWP have fielded presidential and
vice-presidential candidates in the past, gathering a handful of votes in a
few states.

This group allegedly does not support the Democrats or endorsing John Kerry,
but they simply contend that the party should not oppose the "Anyone but
Bush" trend, which translated into real world terms means "Nobody but

The majority in the leadership disagreed and pushed for the John Parker -
Theresa Gutierrez displacing the Monica Moorehead - Gloria LaRiva team who
represented the party in the last few elections. Gloria La Riva is heading
the splinter group or was pushed out of the Workers World Party as a result
of the crisis.

The Workers World Party (WWP) is allegedly a socialist party which was
founded in 1959 by Sam Marcy after spliting from the Socialist Workers Party
(SWP). While Trotskyists were present in its initial formation, the WWP soon
became pro-Maoist and even flirted briefly with the North Korean regime of
Kim Il Sung. While the leadership of the party denies it vehemently,
opponents characterized it as a neo-stalinist grouping.

Most likely, both characterizations are wrong as the WWP's main
characteristic is not theoretical but activist by nature, although adopting
any "progressive" movement that emerged both domestically and abroad. Thus,
they endorsed and supported the failed candidacies of Jesse Jackson, Cuban
leader Fidel Castro and even Slovodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia. They went so
far as to support the massacre of Tianamen Square by the Chinese Communist
Party, mirroring its explanation that was a CIA-inspired conspiracy.

But the WWP played an important role in providing the infrastructure for the
antiwar movement during both Gulf Wars and lead a coalition, ANSWER, that
many characterize as little more than WWP front groups. Criticisms of their
soft stands towards Saddam Hussein during the last war were also leveled
against the party. They did manage, however, to provide an umbrella for the
first and some of the most significant and massive antiwar demonstrations in
the recent past.

While respected for their antiwar work, the WWP was never able to capitalize
from its leading role in organizing the movement as the party remained small
and its electoral results never amounted to more than a few thousand voters.
Signs of the internal difficulties emerged when the West Coast branches
declined to participate in the primaries of the California Peace & Freedom
Party - something they have done for over a decade and a half - which was
interpreted as a shift away from electoral politics as the P&FP had been in
the past the source of most of the WWP's presidential ticket's votes

In the recent past, the most openly pro-Democratic Party wing of the antiwar
movement launched a number of virulent attacks against the WWP and ANSWER,
many of which were tantamount to red-baiting and reactionary attacks. In
fact, many of those forces split the antiwar movement and formed rival
coalitions like the UFPJ (United for Peace and Justice) which refused to
link the Iraq war with the occupation of Palestine and have a pro-Democratic
Party platform.

So far, neither the newspaper of the WWP or its web page have published
anything about the party crisis, and they are trying to keep it under wraps
as much as possible. We have noticed, however, that the ANSWER webpage has
two URLs, one for the West Coast, and one for the rest of the country,
possibly reflecting the lines of the split. We also noticed that the WWP and
its allies in ANSWER are pushing to support the demonstrations at the
National Conventions of both the Democratic and Republican parties, which
seems to indicate that the WWP's majority was able to impose its more
left-based platform on these campaigns and to discipline its remaining

It is important, however, for the WWP - and for the faction that abandoned
it -- to come up publicly and explain the political reasons behind the split
and how that could affect the antiwar work of ANSWER, not to satisfy a
morbid wish to know the latest gossip gripping a small socialist group, but
to help the rest of the left comprehend how that can affect their common
antiwar activities.

This article comes from Frontlines

The URL for this story is:


More information about the Marxism mailing list