[Marxism] Antiwar movement debate: Unity on what basis?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 3 11:10:13 MDT 2005

Andrew wrote:
>full article at:
>"...But opinion polls show consistent support among Americans for 
>Palestinian rights, which makes it very likely that military families, 
>veterans and rank-and-file members of the labor movement either already 
>support Palestinian rights in some form, or could be convinced to do so if 
>the antiwar movement gave a lead on the question.
>What UFPJ doesn't say is that the people it is more worried about 
>alienating are Zionists in their ranks and Democratic Party politicians, 
>whose support for Israel is a given. UFPJ's leaders would rather sideline 
>thousands of Arabs and Muslims who have been the targets of state 
>repression than a handful of Democrats and their liberal supporters. For a 
>movement that chides itself about the need to attract more people of color 
>into its ranks, this is a curious position to hold.
>A "unity" that leaves Arabs and Muslims on the sidelines is no unity at 

Isn't it remarkable that this complaint has not been heard in England where 
the Stop the War Coalition, led by the ISO's former mother-ship--the SWP, 
has never made "the right of return" a litmus test for the movement.

Isn't it also remarkable that this sort of blatant 
segregationism--obviously related to the British colonial mindset--has not 
dissuaded such individuals from joining the steering committee:

# Saleh Mamoud CAMPACC
# Ibrahim Dogus FEDBIR
# Riad Al Tahrir Friendship Across Frontiers
# Ismael Patel Friends of al- Aqsa
# Ghada Razuki
# Sabah Jawad Iraqi Democrats
# Dr Ghaysuddin Siddiqui Muslim Parliament

Nor has it inhibited leading Arab and Muslim groups and individuals from 
working with the SWP in the Respect Coalition that elected George Galloway 
on a solid anti-occupation and anti-racist platform. I don't remember a hue 
and cry going up about the SWP sweeping Palestinian issues under the rug 
during this campaign.

Nor does this "segregationism" seem to do much to mollify Islamophobes like 
Harry's Place, Norman Geras, Johaan Hari, Daniel Aronowitch, Nick Cohen et 
al who all howl at the SWP for anti-Semitism, wanting to drive Israel into 
the sea, etc.

In fact, this campaign to turn the current American anti-war movement into 
a kind of anti-imperialist hodge-podge is nothing less than a misbegotten 
effort to repudiate the lessons of the anti-war movement of the 1960s, 
which had the same kind of focus on Vietnam that is needed on Iraq today. 
The Workers World Party was aligned with efforts back then to make the 
antiwar demonstrations "anti-imperialist". They were pretty much ignored. 
The ISO, whose leaders were largely uninvolved with the anti-war movement 
and whose ranks were too young to have participated in it, are seduced by 
these calls to be "more radical". How can one not opt to be more radical.

In reality, the most radical thing that can be done today is to get the 
maximum number of people mobilized around the demand of immediate 
withdrawal from Iraq. Everything that gets in the way of that effort hurts 
the radical movement, no matter the bombastic ultraleft verbiage it is 
draped in.



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