[Marxism] Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 4 07:22:24 MDT 2005


Los Angeles Independent Media Center
Author: Lana

Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine

It is so important that the movement against the war in Iraq draw the 
connection to all the wars the U.S. government is waging around the world. 
Inclusion of Palestine is a vital issue and an important part of building 
solidarity. But solidarity with Palestine should not be used as just a 
maneuver in an organizational struggle between ANSWER and UFPJ.

I attended a long, painful and vitriolic meeting in Washington DC on 
Monday, June 27, called by Rev. Graylan Hagler and local community 
activists to discuss unity in the efforts for Sept 24th demonstration. 
Mahdi Bray of Muslim American Freedom Foundation co-chaired. About 100 
activists turned out. Inclusion of Palestine and support of the Palestinian 
Right of Return was the dividing line. Politically I agree with this. I 
don’t support UFPJ’s narrow approach that seeks to exclude the 
anti-imperialist wing of the movement and the struggles of oppressed people 
world wide. But always arrogant Brian Becker of ANSWER turned this into an 
organizational demand that the whole movement should just get on board a so 
called coalition for September 24 that is a recreation of the ANSWER 
steering committee. This isn’t about unity or solidarity with Palestine or 
unity against the war.

I was further disheartened and then outraged when the very next day after 
this heated demand for the inclusion of Palestine, I received an e-mail 
sent out far and wide by ANSWER, analyzing Bush’s speech. It had a big red 
Donate buttons. But in this whole long message praising ANSWER, analyzing 
Bush’s speech, the war, and the historic importance of the September 24 
demonstration there was not one mention of the centrality of including 
Palestine. There was no mention of the Palestinian Right of Return. I could 
not even find the word PALESTINE.

Two days later I received another e-mail from ANSWER - another long fund 
appeal. But again there was NO mention of even the word Palestine. Where is 
this central slogan?

ANSWER increasingly has a dual personality. If ANSWER supports the 
Palestinian struggle and demands its inclusion than they should themselves 
include Palestine ALL the time, including when they are fundraising.

I just saw ANSWER’s September 24th leaflet. After all the grand polemics on 
the centrality of Palestine I see that Stop the War on Iraq is in giant 36 
or 40 point type while Support the Palestinian Right of Return is in about 
6 point type. I needed a magnifying glass. It sure doesn’t look like a 
central slogan to me.

It was the same thing in all the big demonstrations ANSWER organized before 
the Iraq war in 2003. Palestine was never mentioned once - not even in the 
text of one piece of literature or in one slogan. The first time ANSWER 
included Palestine in ANY anti Iraq war literature was when UFPJ got the 
jump on ANSWER by calling a demonstration in NY on March 20, 2004, a year 
after the war. That is when ANSWER opened a struggle to demand that 
Palestine - and therefore ANSWER - be included in the demonstration. That 
was an important struggle that so many of us put our hearts into 
supporting, because we do support Palestine.

This year I called the ANSWER office for bus information to attend the 
March 19th Demonstration in NYC, which strongly raised Palestine. I was 
told that ANSWER was organizing buses to attend the UFPJ supported 
demonstration in Fayetteville NC, which did not mention Palestine or any of 
the other anti-imperialist struggles. I went to NYC to attend the 
demonstration that marched from Harlem to Central Park. The majority of 
speakers raised Palestine. Brian Becker spoke for ANSWER. He did not 
mention Palestine once.

Palestine should not be picked up and dropped again and again in 
increasingly cynical maneuvers.

For decades the heroic Palestinian resistance has inspired millions of 
people around the world. Here in the U.S. it can arouse enthusiasm and 
educate the movement. But if it is used as a cynical maneuver for short 
term organizational gains it hurts the Palestinian cause rather than 
advancing it in a principaled way. It can disrupt and divide the movement 
and demoralize those who so want to build broad anti-imperialist unity.

Why not call ANSWER and ask why they are again dropping support for the 
Palestinian struggle in their literature while raising Palestine to justify 
dividing the movement? Ask them to revise their leaflet. Why SHRINK support 
for Palestine?

ANSWER’s June 28 and June 30 giant e-mails to the movement are listed 
below. Look for the word Palestine
. It is not there.

full: http://la.indymedia.org/news/2005/07/131706.php

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