[Marxism] Bill de Blasio's stand against Reagan's contra war on Nicaragua | Stephen Kinzer | Comment is free | theguardian.com
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Wed Sep 25 10:31:19 MDT 2013
Bill de Blasio's stand against Reagan's contra war on Nicaragua
The would-be New York mayor's pro-Sandinista activism was in America's
finest tradition. Where's that political courage now?
by Stephen Kinzer
Republicans are wrong – though, perhaps, politically clever – to accuse
De Blasio of supporting Marxist dictatorship. De Blasio has played down
the episode, saying only that his life has been devoted to "fighting for
equality". And that may be the politically smart thing for him: since he
looks set to be New York's first Democratic mayor for 20 years, he does
not want to be diverted from his focus on local issues and drawn in to
defending the specifics of his pro-Nicaragua activism.
Yet, there is something disturbing about his reticence: De Blasio did
nothing wrong in Nicaragua. Some would even describe him and other
activists of that period as heroic fighters for peace. He should not run
away from this aspect of his record, when he might very well say:
Yes, I worked against the contra war and I'm proud to have done so
because that war was wrong. Did I turn a blind eye to the excesses of
the Sandinistas? Maybe, and I regret that. But I saw poor people being
killed and made to suffer because of decisions made in Washington, and I
used my rights as an American to oppose that policy in a legal way.
It is never wise to discourage youthful idealism. Nor should former
activists shrink from what they did when, in later life, that may seem
convenient. Republicans are on the wrong side of history when,
implicitly or explicitly, they defend the contras. De Blasio's
reluctance to defend his opposition to the contras places him on the
wrong side of courage.
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