[Marxism] Bill de Blasio's stand against Reagan's contra war on Nicaragua | Stephen Kinzer | Comment is free | theguardian.com

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
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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