Pat Buchanan's new magazine, The American Conservative, has published an article by Justin Raimondo about a Left-Right alliance against war with Iraq. I don't really care what position he takes on the war, but Raimondo's changing view on working with communists and leftists against the Bush policy deserves scrutiny.
Raimondo, a libertarian writer for antiwar.com who has appeared on MSNBC with Pat Buchanan and Bill Press, said last October that he was sick and tired of the communist Workers World Party (WWP) dominating the anti-war movement. After attending the rally in San Francisco last October, he wrote a column that ran under the headline, "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore." Raimondo called the WWP "kooky leftists" who had an affinity for North Korea. Then, one day before the January 18 rallies in San Francisco and Washington, he flip-flopped and wrote a column under the headline, "Stand Up for Peace - All Out on January18."
Raimondo acknowledged making "some criticisms of the left-wing leadership of the antiwar movement" but added, "...January 18 is a day to put polemics on the shelf, and unite behind a common goal: stopping this rotten war before it starts."
Raimondo says in his American Conservative article that he was "proud" to march in San Francisco on January 18. He claimed his fellow protesters were mostly "middle class" and they didn't wave the WWP-supplied banners. Although he claimed to be there, he had to quote another observer as saying that she saw "American flags in abundance." The WWP, he claims, has been eclipsed by "United for Peace," a new coalition of presumably non-communist leftists, "moderate" peace groups and "faith based" anti-war groups such as the National Council of Churches (NCC).
In fact, the NCC is so left-wing that "60 Minutes" exposed the group's pro-communist agenda back in 1983. At that time, during the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the NCC and/or its sister organization, the World Council of Churches, had supported a communist-run conference on "liberation struggles" in southern Africa, economic aid to communist Vietnam, a group that distributed a forged State Department document, and an indoctrination program in then-Marxist Nicaragua masquerading as a "literacy" campaign.
Nothing much has changed. Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy cites a recent statement by the NCC General Assembly that decries a "rise of militarism" under President Bush and asserts that the war on terrorism has "sacrificed" principles of "justice, fairness and accountability." The group attacks increased U.S. military spending overall, saying it jeopardizes "economic, social and cultural rights at home and abroad."
Tooley reports that the NCC is going broke financially, and that its decline is linked to its continued preference for left-leaning political causes over traditional Christian evangelism and missions. So the NCC's involvement in Raimondo's "new" anti-war movement is not a good sign.
I covered the January 18 rally in Washington, D.C. and saw perhaps three American flags, and one of them had a crude peace sign marked through it. There were just as many United Nations flags. There were even more communist signs and banners, and I took photos of them. Some are posted at www.aim.org. The WWP organized and ran the event, and it was obvious that the WWP picked most of the speakers, since so many were "anti-imperialist." One speaker, a Muslim "Holy Man," said it was "revolution time." Besides the WWP, communist and socialist groups included the Communist Party USA, Socialist Workers Party, and Spartacist League. I saw the same groups when I covered demonstrations in Washington against President Reagan's anti-communist foreign policy.
Nevertheless, Raimondo believes the anti-war movement is undergoing a "transformation" and that the WWP influence is being reduced. He wants more changes, such as junking the speeches in favor of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal, because the "ideological baggage" has got to go.
Raimondo will fail. He won't succeed because the communists are hard workers and started this movement. Their alliance with radical American Muslims is strong, firm, impressive and obviously dangerous. Another problem for Raimondo is that there's just not that many right-wing opponents of the war willing to overlook the crazies, kooks and hate-America zealots. I don't know how many libertarians and anti-war "conservatives" marched in San Francisco, but I saw less than ten identified as such who were at the Washington event. One poor fellow held up a hand-made sign that said, "right-wing and anti-war." His associate, another anti-war right-winger, didn't want to talk about it "on the record." He seemed embarrassed, and rightly so.
Cliff Kincaid is the Editor of the AIM Report and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org