[Marxism] Opportunism, ANSWER and Palestine
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 4 07:22:24 MDT 2005
Los Angeles Independent Media Center
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
dont support UFPJs 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 isnt 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 Bushs speech. It had a big red
Donate buttons. But in this whole long message praising ANSWER, analyzing
Bushs 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 ANSWERs 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 doesnt 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
ANSWERs June 28 and June 30 giant e-mails to the movement are listed
below. Look for the word Palestine
. It is not there.
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