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Saturday, January 01, 2005


John  Moore

Clarke is a certified idiot. Conservatives use him as a contrary indicator.

I predict that we are unlikely to see a significant anti-war movement in this country even if it has competent leadership (and of course the fawning attention and support of the MSM).

We don't have a draft. When the threat of being drafted and sent to Vietnam ended, so did the anti-war movement, leaving only the most violent radicals to raise hell.

However, for those who choose to exercise their right to demonstrate against the war, don't for one second fool yourselves into the idea that you support the troops but oppose the war. In practice, it doesn't work that way. See how many of the troops would want you out there marching against the war. Then look at their opposition. Protesting the war tends to aid the enemy, who are truly foul people.

It's your choice. It's a free country.


"However, for those who choose to exercise their right to demonstrate against the war, don't for one second fool yourselves into the idea that you support the troops but oppose the war."

You confuse an important issue, namely who is the target of the protest, namely those who make policy. The troops don't make the policies and, indeed as numerous reports have now made eminently clear, many troops have expressed considerable doubts about what they're doing in Iraq--but that's neither here nor there. The protests are directed at the policy makers, something that is not only right, but important in any democracy. In Mussolini's Italy it wasn't acceptable, but this isn't Mussolini's Italy. If anything, we're in a situation much like, though obviously not the same as, Vietnam. And we know full well from that experience that both civilians and vets from the Vietnam War were actively participating in all sorts of anti-war activism directed at the most powerful of policy makers in the Johnson and Nixon administrations. That took about 5 years to develop into a movement that couldn't be ignored and one that changed the press coverage of the war from generally favorable to largely unfavorable.

In the current anti-war movement, we're at about 1965 with already numerous marches that outdid much of what we saw in the best moments of the anti-Vietnam War movement. Marc's assessment of the 'invisible' state of the movement is static at best and even he acknowledges that more is to come. Will Clarke likely be at the forefront of the movement? No. He hasn't been and is unlikely to be at the forefront. That his presence is an excuse for the media attacks to come on the antiwar movement is also no big deal. If he weren't involved in the movement, the media would find other ways to slander, misrepresent, underreport, mock, and distort the aims and results of the antiwar movement that has emerged in response to the invasion and current US occupation of Iraq. That Ramsey Clarke's decision to be on Sodom's defense team is going to be a big deal for the movement or that he will be a prominent actor in the antiwar movement is hyperbole at best.


Frankly, I think it's beneath you, Marc, to engage in this kind of petty name calling and told-you-so blogging. Why is it that such a thoughtful, polite and respectful interviewer like yourself becomes such a high pitched weisel on your cite? I've noticed this contrast every since I've been readng your page, but it's reached a point where I think it's taking away from your more insightful commentary. If you think Clark and ANSWER are jeoprodizing the effectiveness of the antiwar movement, why not just explain why and let your readership decide on the merits of your case? (which is what you tell bloggers you're doing when criticized for your soft touch interviews with Hitchens. The political company he's been keeping these days isn't exactly bloodless) Calling people "dimwits", "wacky" and "cadavers" might be ok after a few too many beers in a bar or living room, but on a cite that's trying to engage people with serious issues? Frankly, I don't get it. I have no affiliation with or lost love for Ramsey Clark or ANSWER, but how about affording your readers the same courtesy you offer your guests on radio nation: the marc cooper that is calm, reasoned, often insightful, always respectful of even the most fringy elements of our side of the political line of scrimmage. Just a thought.

Michael Turner

Edward Herman, back in 2002: "Marc Cooper recently published a second article in the Los Angeles Times that focused on the recent failures of the peace movement, attributed to the influence of a left faction "steeped in four decades’ worth of crude anti-Americanism," although why he and the "decent left" haven’t successfully stepped into the breach and revitalized the movement, Cooper never makes clear ("Protest: A Smart Peace Movement is MIA," LAT, September 29, 2002).

Marc's response to that: "Setting himself up as the Ayatollah of Political Correctness, academic Ed Herman called us critics the "Cruise Missile Left" and officially excommunicated us out of the "real left" - whatever that is."

Actually, a close look at Herman's article refers only to "a real left" - which could be hypothetical, and in the future. Chomsky himself has been baited by self-styled "real leftists" from splinter-faction nutgroups while on speaking tours, responding in exasperation at one of them, "who is the 'real Left'? The Left is not a membership organization!" I doubt Herman's sentiments differ much from Chomsky's on this issue, so the idea that he "officially excommunicated" anybody seems pretty over the top.

That said, Herman's "CML" ("Cruise Missile Left") was obviously name-calling. In fact, it's name-calling somewhere near the level of calling Herman a "doddering cadaver". Gee, I wonder if all this might have something to do with a question Edward Herman raises: why some "decent left" has yet to "successfully step into the breach and revitalize the movement," instead of leaving all that protest march organization to a bunch of wingnuts who can carry it off because ... well, because they have party discipline, if nothing else, and they absolutely agree with each other all the time on very important issues like who we should all egregiously insult THIS week.

Marc Cooper

Vince.... first of all the correct spelling is weasel. So let's get that straight. The radio show and the blog are two different media. In the first case, it is an intstitutional representation I am making and it is not my personal show and does NOT reflect exclusively my views. The blog by contrast is mine and and say what I feel. Calling Clarke a wingbat I think is polite. Ed Herman is intellectually mort and therefore a cadaver. The WWP is wacky...sorry. Cant think of a more appropriate term.

Also, I have said before and will now repeat... this blog is an entertainment that is meant to rile, provoke and piss off. So it looks like I am achieving that much ;)

As to ANSWER, I provided a link where people can indeed read my entire argument and reasoning.

Eurocommunists had a great put down of the WWP type, "Tankie." Think it was ban allusion to the Herbert Aptheker'esque defense of the tanks in Budapest in '56.
Much on WWP below by Kevin Coogan, who wrote a great book on neo-fascist intellectual, Francis Parker Yockey, an influence on Willis Carto of The American Free Press/The Spotlight, a noxious far right "populist"anti-semitic rag that I've seen the nuttier of anti-Zionists on the hard left cite. Cynthia McKinney praised their "reportage" on 9-11.

One of the IAC's best-known campaigns is aimed at lifting all economic sanctions against Iraq. By raising this issue, the IAC is trying to appeal to many people who have no sympathy for Iraq but who are rightly concerned that the way sanctions are currently imposed only ends up punishing ordinary Iraqis, particularly children, who are deprived of food and medicine while the ruling elite remains unharmed. UN agencies involved with Iraq believe that as a result of the way the sanctions policy has been implemented, thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians are needlessly dying every month. The sanctions policy has also been seized upon by Saddam Husayn to generate sympathy for Iraq, both in the West and especially within the Muslim world. Husayn, of course, wants an end to all sanctions so that he can go about rebuilding his war machine. From his point of view, humanitarian concerns about sanctions serve as a perfect "wedge" issue to force an end to any UN-imposed restrictions on Iraq's sovereignty, restrictions that were heightened after he violated his promise to allow UN inspectors to freely examine potential nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare sites on Iraqi soil.

In an attempt to rectify the injustices caused by sanctions, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on March 7th, 2001 before the House International Relations Committee to argue for "humane, smart sanctions" that "target Saddam Hussein not the Iraqi people." A similar view was reflected in a report on Iraq from the Fourth Freedom Foundation authored by David Cortright, a former executive director of the anti-war group SANE. Cortright proposes a revised sanctions policy that specifically targets Husayn's ability to use Iraqi oil revenue to either build or import weapons and "duel use" goods while letting commercial companies, not the UN, be responsible for certifying and providing notification of civilian imports into Iraq. The proposal would also permit the ordering and contracting of civilian goods on an "as-required basis" to overcome cumbersome UN regulations.

While by no means perfect, Powell’s support for "smart sanctions" met with enormous resistance from both Congress and the Pentagon, both of whom fear being seen as overly "soft" on Iraq. Given this political reality, one would have thought that the IAC might have given at least some of Powell's or Cortright's proposals a degree of critical support, since they would materially improve the conditions of ordinary Iraqis -- something the IAC itself claims to be so concerned about -- as well as open up a broader discussion of the sanctions issue. Yet in a March 20th statement, Richard Becker, the IAC's "Western Regional Coordinator" (and a leading member of the WWP), denounced smart sanctions as a "poisonous fraud," claimed that smart sanctions were a form of colonialism, and renewed the IAC's demand "to unconditionally lift the genocidal sanctions against Iraq" which, coincidently enough, is exactly what Saddam Husayn himself would like so that he can rebuild his military machine.

The manipulation of the Iraq sanctions issue by the far left for its own political goals may have hurt the campaign against sanctions, according to Scott Ritter. Ritter, a former Marine Captain who led the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) disarmament team in Iraq for seven years, is today a leading advocate of ending the type of sanctions that only hurt the Iraqi people. In an interview with Ali Asadullah (available from iviews.com) that appeared on February 2nd, 2000, Ritter stated that one of the problems which genuine sanction critics have being taken seriously is that the issue "has been embraced by, I would say, the fringe left of the United States. . .Because the issue has been embraced by the left -- including radical elements of the left -- it's lost a little bit of its political credibility." Due to the fringe left's radical beliefs, "virtually all of what they say [about Iraq] is wrong, factually; or heavily slanted with a political ideology that most of Americans don't find attractive." When one fringe left group claimed that American policy in Iraq was equivalent to Auschwitz, Ritter told them that such a statemenot not only alienated people, but that "[it was] about as grossly an irresponsible statement as I can imagine. This isn't Auschwitz, this isn't genocide. . .This is a horrible policy that's resulting in hundreds of thousands of dead kids. But there's a big difference between the two." Ritter also said that it was almost impossible to get a legitimate debate in the U.S. about sanctions because while one side "demonizes" Iraq, the opposition views "the regime as some sort of nice little genteel Middle East nation."

When specifically asked about Ramsey Clark, Ritter replied: "I wouldn't be in touch with Ramsey Clark. . .I fought in the Gulf War. I was in that war. I know what went on during that war, and we're not war criminals. I'm not a war criminal. And none of the people I served with are war criminals. And yet he's accusing the U.S. of committing war crimes because A-10 aircraft fired depleted uranium shells at Iraqi tanks. That's horribly irresponsible. I don't want to be associated with that man. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. He may have a point when it comes to economic sanctions, but he hasn't a clue of what's involved in modern warfare and why we targeted certain targets. . .He's grossly irresponsible in some of the things he says." Apparently, Saddam Husayn disagrees with Ritter's assessment of Clark. Otherwise why would he continue to welcome Ramsey Clark-led IAC delegations to Baghdad year after year with open arms?

Appendix 2


The IAC/WWP's new group, International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), coordinated the September 29th protests in Washington and San Francisco that drew close to 20,000 participants. ANSWER is now calling for renewed nationwide anti-war actions on October 27th.

There can be little doubt about ANSWER’s ties to the WWP. ANSWER's September 23rd press release, for example, listed as "press contacts" Richard Becker and Sarah Sloan. A director of the West Coast IAC, Becker was one of the WWP leaders chosen to give a presentation honoring the memory of the WWP’s founder, Sam Marcy. As for Sarah Sloan, "Youth Coordinator for ANSWER," she is also the "Youth Coordinator" for the IAC. Wearing her WWP hat, Sloan gave a presentation on the evils of capitalism at a WWP conference held at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology on December 2nd and 3rd, 2000. Teresa Gutierrez, another ANSWER leader, a speaker at the September 29th Washington demo and the "Co-Director, IAC," is further described in an ANSWER press release as the "co-chairperson of the National Committee to Return Elian Gonzalez to Cuba, and [as] a coordinator of the International Peace for Cuba Appeal." Unmentioned in the press release is the fact that Gutierrez is also a long-standing WWP leader who, in her March 14th, 1998 speech at a WWP memorial to Sam Marcy held in New York, gushed, "As a lesbian, as a Latina, as a woman and as a worker, I feel compelled today to express my utmost gratitude to this man [Marcy]." Yet another ANWER statement came from one Brian Becker (not to be confused with Richard Becker), a "Co-Director of the International Action Center," national coordinator of the January 20th, 2001 "Counter-Inaugural Protest" in Washington, D.C., and "a frequent commentator on Fox TV." In the WWP paper Workers World, Brian Becker is identified as a member of the WWP's Secretariat.

The WWP/IAC/ANSWER network is now pushing its own paranoid Marxoid line on the war by claiming that U.S.-led military actions against "Usamah ibn Ladin and other Islamist terrorists is really part of a U.S. imperialist plot." An IAC statement on the current crisis begins: "As the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the people of Afghanistan continues and civilian casualties mount, the International Action Center condemns in the strongest terms this latest terror bombing of a civilian population." Of course, only the most hardened leftist ideologue (or Muslim extremist) could believe that the U.S. attack in Afghanistan is a "terror bombing" campaign that is intentionally directed at Afghanistan's "civilian population" and not at the Taliban. The IAC statement then calls for opposition to "this imperialist war" and concocts a conspiracy theory blaming the "U.S. military-oil complex" for using the 9/11 attack as "a cynical opportunity" to beat its "rivals in Germany and Russia, for the oil resources of the former Soviet Union," thereby ignoring the obvious fact that both Germany and Russia completely support U.S. actions against Islamist terrorist fanatics.

Given the sheer crudeness of the WWP and its allied organizations, one would have thought that the "capitalist imperialist" press would play a key role in exposing the WWP's central role in both the IAC and ANSWER. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, ANSWER itself reprints reports from both Reuters and the Washington Post about the Washington protests that treat both the IAC and ANSWER as if they were perfectly legitimate groups. CNN's C-SPAN even covered the September 29th Washington demonstration in its entirety. Until now, virtually nothing has been written about the IAC/WWP, even in the upscale left/liberal press -- with two notable exceptions. The first was John Judis' article on Ramsey Clark for the April 22th, 1991 issue of the New Republic. More recently, The Nation magazine's UN correspondent, Ian Williams, wrote a June 21st, 1999 article for Salon entitled "Ramsey Clark, the war criminal’s best friend," which comments on the IAC/WWP. Outside of these two articles, in order to find any real commentary on the IAC and WWP, one has to turn to the left sectarian and anarchist press. Perhaps the most detailed article dealing with Ramsey Clark, the IAC, and the WWP appeared in the Lower East Side New York-anarchist journal The Shadow a few years ago, in an article by Manny Goldstein entitled "The Mysterious Ramsey Clark: Stalinist Dupe or Ruling-Class Spook?"(to which one is tempted to add "or Flat-Out Kook"). This article has recently been widely circulated on the Internet. Self-described "council communist" Lefty Hooligan has also exposed the WWP/IAC in the punk rock publication Maximum RocknRoll. In his February 1998 MRR column, for example, Hooligan commented on longtime WWP honcho Gloria LaRiva, whose "handcuffs-and-nightstick Leftism is also evident in her unapologetic support for Saddam Hussein's brutality." (This is the same Gloria LaRiva who, according to a report in the August 9th, 1990 Workers World, told a San Francisco audience that "Cuba is far more democratic than the U.S.") Hooligan’s remarks, however, did not prevent MRR from later running a virtual press release from the IAC attacking American perfidy in its misnamed "News" section. The WWP/IAC connection has also been repeatedly exposed by the WWP's rivals in the fringe Trotskyist movement, most notably in the Spartacist League paper Workers Vanguard, which in its September 28th, 2001 issue casually refers to the "Stalinoid Workers World Party" as well as the "WWP's International Action Center" without further elaboration, presumably since the WWP's role in the IAC is already so well known to fringe leftists. The April-May 1999 issue of The Internationalist (from yet another Trotskyist splinter group) devotes an entire page to attacking the WWP and "its creation the International Action Center" for serving as a "leftist front for reactionary Serbian nationalist politics." The WWP's presence inside the IAC is equally transparent to European leftists like Max Bohnel, a writer for the German Communist paper Neues Deutschland. In describing the IAC in a June 23rd, 1999 article, he wrote: "Hinter dem IAC steht die 'Workers World Party' (WWP), die den langsamen Zusammenbruch der US-Restlinken bemerkenswert gut überstanden hat." ["Behind the IAC stands the Workers World Party, which has withstood the gradual collapse of the remaining US left remarkably well."] Neues Deutschland then points out that both Ramsey Clark and the WWP have even come under criticism from other leftists because of their lack of criticism ["wegen mangelnder Kritik"] for the governments of Iraq and Yugoslavia.

Even activists on the libertarian/isolationist right like Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com have noticed the heavy hand of the WWP. In a July 2nd, 2001 column, Raimondo pointed out that Ramsey Clark "is nothing if not a walking stereotype, ever since he joined up with the Workers World Party cult that runs his 'International Action Center'." Raimondo then continues: "The WWP pod people, having taken over the body of an ex-U.S. Attorney General, use Clark as a front to push their own zealous defense of virtually every tyrant on earth, from Saddam Hussein to the black 'anti-imperialist' militias of Rwanda, to Slobadan Milosevic." After describing Clark as "positively spooky," Raimondo notes that the IAC "not only defends tyrants against US intervention -- it glorifies them as heroic fighters for 'socialism'."

Of course it should be pointed out that the WWP's radical critics themselves often promote views that are almost as wacky as those of the WWP. Nonetheless, up until now it has primarily been voices from the fringe Left that have pointed out the ties between the IAC and WWP, ties that are utterly transparent to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the Left, but which appear to be utterly opaque to big "capitalist" media outlets like Reuters, the Washington Post, and CNN.

Appendix 3


The Orwellian absurdity that is the WWP reaches its summit with the group's well-known love for that well-known bastion of human rights and free thought, North Korea. Longtime WWP leader Deirdre Griswold captured the sect's admiration for the world's last remaining Stalinist state when she wrote as follows in the April 20th, 2000 Workers World: "In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- the socialist north of the divided land -- no date is more important than April 15, the birthday of Kim Il Sung. . .this year as Koreans celebrate Kim Il Sung's birthday -- and in the U.S.-occupied south, where such actions must be taken in secret because of repressive 'national security' laws -- they will also be telling the world that they are proud of and confident in their new leader, Kim Jong Il [Kim Il Sung's son and heir -- KC], who is following in the socialist footsteps of Kim Il Sung." A frequent visitor to North Korea, Griswold regularly goes into fits of literary rapture when relating her experiences in the North. Her December 22nd, 1986 WW report on her visit to Pyongyang (entitled "A visit to People's Korea where there is housing for all") begins "What a success story!" She then describes a nation where there is "no homelessness, no hunger, no poverty." The fact that North Korea is one of the poorest countries in the world and that North Korea's population faces the threat of famine on a regular basis has somehow escaped Griswold's notice.

Ever since its beginnings as the Global Class War tendency inside the SWP, Sam Marcy's clique has regularly singled out North Korea for special admiration. The WWP's direct "party to party" relations with the North, however, only began to blossom fully after the WWP started attacking Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The WWP's big break came in May 1990, when the first official WWP delegation headed by Marcy visited North Korea "for 12 days in May" at the invitation of the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea. While in Pyongyang, the WWP delegates "had the great honor of meeting and exchanging views with Kim Il Sung." The June 7th, 1990 issue of WW even included a photo op of the WWP delegates with their North Korean friends, including Kim Il Sung, who stood in the center of the photo flanked by Marcy and Griswold.

In April 1992 another U.S. delegation led by Marcy that included Sue Bailey (a WWP'er who heads the "U.S. Out of South Korea Committee"), as well as delegates from the CPUSA, the SWP, and the American Democratic Lawyers Association, again visited North Korea to attend a "Joint Meeting of Parties, Governments, National and International Organizations" organized by CILRECO, an organization that "promotes solidarity with the Korean people." (As the official leader of the U.S. group, Marcy received the North Korean equivalent of a papal blessing.) The Americans, along with delegates from 130 other countries, traveled to the North "to attend mass public celebrations of the 80th birthday" of Kim Il Sung, according to a report in an April 1992 issue of WW by Sue Bailey and Key Martin datelined Pyongyang.

While in the North for Kim's birthday party, the WWP entered into discussions with other hardline Communist groups, including a Stalin-worshipping sect called the Russian Communist Workers Party (RCWP) (Rossiskaia Kommunisticheskaia Rabochaia Partiia, or RKRP), which emerged from the anti-Gorbachev, "anti-revisionist" Movement of Communist Initiative in November 1991. On September 3rd, 1992, WW ran an article by Viktor Tyulkin, the group's top leader and the Secretary of its Central Committee. The introduction to the article explained that Tyulkin and Marcy had first met in Pyongyang during the April festivities for Kim "and [had] discussed the political situation in the USSR and the U.S." They remained in contact, and on Marcy's 85th birthday Tyulkin sent him a "message of solidarity" from the RCWP that was reprinted in the October 17th, 1996 WW. Tyulkin's comrade Victor Anpilov from the Executive Committee of Working Russia also enclosed his own message of solidarity.

Although the RCWP doesn't receive much press coverage in WW, it seems clear that the WWP has a sympathetic view of its activities. In a January 13th, 2000 WW article on Russian politics, the RCWP was singled out for its leadership role both in the strike movement as well as inside the "Communist Workers of Russia" voting bloc. The RCWP "left" is also contrasted favorably to Gennadi Zyuganov's far larger KPRF. Workers World's reluctance to devote extensive press coverage to the RCWP, however, may stem from the fact that any overt alliance with the RCWP would be rather difficult for the WWP's more naive rank-and-file members to stomach, since the RCWP is a textbook example of a radical "left fascist" group.

The anti-globalization movement was recently confronted with the problem of the RCWP after it was learned that two RCWP members were officially invited to take part in the recent Genoa protests by the international association ATTAC (the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens, which is best known for supporting the proposed "Tobin tax" on speculative transactions.) The leftist International Solidarity with Workers in Russia (ISWoR-SITR-MCPP) group immediately alerted other anti-globalization activists that the RCWP was an extremely racist and homophobic party whose members worship Stalin, campaign against black people in general and rap music in particular, issue material calling for homosexuals to be jailed, and published a party document in 1997 that blamed Russia's economic crisis on "American imperialism and international Zionism." The group also attacked Russian President Vladimir Putin for being so close to "the Jews that he ignores true Russian 'patriots'." According to ISWoR, the RCWP could be best described as "a pseudo-Communist anti-Semitic organization." At the same time that the RCWP appeals to the far right, it maintains a pro-Stalin analysis of Russia that is almost identical to the one promoted by the WWP. According to the RCWP program, for example, "The RCWP completely rejects the revisionist, opportunist, traitorous line that was promoted and adhered to by the CPSU leadership from 1953-1991, which brought about the temporary collapse of the Soviet Union in a counter-revolution. The XX Congress of the CPSU (1956) was the breaking point in the history of our country and the communist movement."

Victor Anpilov, a former Soviet journalist who became co-secretary of the RCWP in 1992 (but who broke with Tyulkin in 1996-1997 over electoral strategy), also sent his greetings of solidarity to Marcy on his 85th birthday in 1996. However, if anything Anpilov is even further to the right than Tyulkin. After leaving the RCWP, he first entered into an alliance with the notorious Eduard Limonov and his Natsionalno-Bolshevistskaia Partiia (National Bolshevik Party). Today, Anpilov is promoting a new party, the CPSU Lenin-Stalin that backs Stalin's grandson as Russia's new leader.

Kevin Coogan is the author of a crucially important study on the postwar right, Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International (New York: Autonomedia, 1999), as well as a regular contributor to Hit List. Among other things, he wrote "How 'Black' is Black Metal? Michael Moynihan, Lords of Chaos, and the 'Countercultural Fascist' Underground," an article which appeared in Hit List 1:1 (February-March 1999), pp. 32-49.

Marc Cooper

Turner.. can it possibley be true that you interpreted my phrase about excommunicated in a literal sense? Or that I thought it literaL???? That's rather shocking. Of course Herman was being rhetorical... who would give a flip anyway about what he or anyone else thinks is the "real left." What a sterile concept. Not to say I wouldnt proudly be drummed out of any formation that gives cover to totalitarian skunks like ANSWER. In any case, Herman is but an ossified brick-tosser, safely ensconsed at the Wharton School and miles and decades removed from any testing of his increasingly cracked theorizing. When and if there is, indeed, a "real left" in the US it will have nothing to do with the likes of Ed Herman.

Josh Legere

I love to read the delusions of the state of the movement. As if the results of the election did not prove that the peace movement is totally ineffective. Not only that, comparing our current situation to 1965 is silly. It is utterly impossible to compare the two wars, and the state of American politics at the time.

Beyond that, the 1960's "movement" was pretty much a failure. The height of it was 1968, the year Nixon got elected. The war continued on for a number of years, doubling the US casualties. So the "movement" couldn't even get an anti-war candidate elected. Not only that, Conservatism has been on the march since that time and has continued to win, win, and win. If you cannot get anyone elected, you are failing.

I don't say this to undermine the sincere efforts of many during the 1960's, but it would be real beneficial to make an honest assessment of the history of the American Left.

Considering the size of the population, 250,000 people or even 500,000 at the RNC protest is really not all that impressive considering the population of the country and the size of the electorate. The Red Sox got 3.5 million.

Yes, it does matter that the movement is dominated by sectarians and groups like ANSWER, UFPJ and all the other sects that organize almost every single rally are a thorn in the side of the peace movement and the left.

I love the fact that Chomsky included some words by Ramsey Clarke (and Edward Said) in Acts of Aggression.


Josh wrote: "Not only that, comparing our current situation to 1965 is silly. It is utterly impossible to compare the two wars, and the state of American politics at the time."

Really? Increasingly few observers of the current US occupation of Iraq would agree with you, even supportive ones widely quoted in the media. The comparison of the protest turnouts and RedSox turnouts is hardly relevant, the same could be said about the protests in the 1960's, which you are one of the few to believe was not significant from the vantage of Johnson, McN, Nixon, Agnew,...
And this is a beauty, now even the non-Marxist UFPJ is a 'sectarian' organization! Though what is sectarian these days, it sounds like that other favorite word 'fascist' or 'terrorist', whose meaning is 'anyone I don't like'.
Thank you to Mike P. for the extended long long long quote. I don't think I"ve ever even put out even one long quote that matched even 1/10th that length! wow.

Josh Legere

You don't see it as the least bit unsettling that a professional sports team winning a championship is more inspiring than a war?

Boston was cold with freezing rain. 3.5 million.

NY during the summer (a nice place I think). 250,000 (or 500,000).

Yes it does matter. It means that the anti war is not inspiring regular people to hit the streets.

I think war is a more important issue than a pro sports team winning a championship. Most of those that voted would agree. And if they were staunchly opposed to the war, they would be inspired to march a few blocks.

Yes, the climate in 1965 was much different. Leading up to the movement you had the Civil Rights movement and the Student Free Speech movement (both successful). You had cultural movements like the Folk Revival and emerging counter culture (both resonated). You also had the momentum of the post WWII liberalism, a movement that elected politicians and passed legislation. You also had residual energy from the popular movements of the previous 50 years like the successful labor movement and successful Progressive movement. You also had the benefit of a strong, emerging intellectual movement (the New Left – SDS – Port Heron, etc). You also had the post McCarthy liberation that allowed many left wing figures to emerge from the black list. A LOT different than now.

Must I describe the sorry state of the current intellectual movement and the lack of a populist cultural movement? How about the lack of momentum due to the 30 years of electoral defeat? How about the simple fact that the youth of today are more interested in I Pod’s than politics? 1965 was entirely different than 2005.

Vietnam and Iraq both are unjust wars but not the least bit comparable. North Vietnam had a unified anti-colonialist opposition (NLF and NVA). Iraq does not have that. Vietnam had the USSR and China supporting it. The Iraqi resistance does not have a state supplying it with arms and money. We are not in the middle of the COLD WAR. NO, they are not the same.

You can ignore the ramifications of the 60’s to you are blue in the face. But in the real word, with the good (end of Jim Crow, feminism, etc), came a whole lot of bad (culture war leading to 30 years of conservative victories).

The anti-war movement in the 60’s was led initially by the original leadership of the SDS and religious folk. Now, the religious folk are voting for Bush and the leadership of the movement are good old sectarians. The rise of sectarianism in the late 60’s (the Weather Underground and the Progressive Labor Party) destroyed SDS and greatly damaged the movement and the left. Actually, you can trace the rise of violent radicals to the victory of Nixon and the rise of the cultural war (that the left is loosing badly).

1965 and 2005 ain’t the same.

I will cease any more debating on this thread out of respect for the host.


You don't see it as the least bit unsettling that a professional sports team winning a championship is more inspiring than a war?

--no. it didn't seem to matter during the civil rights movement, which was quite successful, ditto the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War.
You state that by 1965 the environment was so 'different'. Well, in a sense, yes. On the other hand, the antiwar movement was very small at that point and hardly able to draw the kind of dissent and protests that have occurred in the last 2 years.
It's interesting that you state that I said the Vietnam War and the ongoing US occupation of Iraq are one in the same. In fact I have stated quite the contrary. Similar, but hardly the same.

Michael Turner

"Clarke is a certified idiot. Conservatives use him as a contrary indicator."

Actually, the problem is probably a little more complicated than that.

Let's take the man at face value - which I will, for the sake of argument. After all, nobody knows Ramsey Clarke's soul - maybe not even Ramsey.

Ramsey Clarke is in fact very intelligent indeed, but I think he has fallen prey to two fatal temptations:

(1) the existence of so much human-inflicted human suffering makes us yearn strongly for a supportive milieu that offers the simplistic scenario of a Good Us versus an Evil Them;


(2) much time spent in the circles of power and the limelight around those circles makes it hard to retire and work sanely in the shadows for a better world.

Lie down with dogs, get up with their fleas - possibly including fleas infected with bubonic plague. Example: Ramsey Clarke was right, I think, to state forthrightly that the sanctions against Iraq were very inhumane. But then he went to Iraq, as Saddam's guest. Well, that got people's attention, but not in a very productive way. I doubt he got the whirlwind tour of any mass grave sites except those associated with the U.S. bombing. As for his supportive remarks as an invited guest of the Schiller Institute (a LaRouche front group) in Copenhagen ... words fail. I mean, defending LaRouche - yeah, everybody needs a defense lawyer. But supporting his cause?

In the Tsunami thread, I wrote in dealing with people for whom life is cheap, you can end up cheapening life even if that was not your intent. Clarke neatly exemplifies what I was trying to say.

Well, that's all beside the point for any legal defense of Saddam. What Clarke will undoubtedly try to do - and what someone should do - is to highlight the supportive role of Western superpowers in Saddam's career. Clarke is the wrong guy to do it, but I don't think we're spoiled for choice at the moment.

I seriously doubt we can expect a fair trial anyway, so it probably doesn't matter. After all, Cambodia has been run by a former low-level Khmer Rouge, and former Vietnam occupation government puppet, who, on the one hand peddles "autogenocide" figures that are double that of the highest (among many highly improbable) estimates, but on the other, cannily stalls any international war crimes tribunal what would inevitably bring some Americans in for indictment. Better to just wait for all those high-level Khmer Rouge to totter off this mortal coil in due time. He knows which side his bread is buttered on.

Injustice in these sorts of trials is nothing new, of course. In the Far East Asia War Crimes Tribunal, one General Yamashita's case was argued by an American military lawyer who made an excellent case. He presented ample evidence that Yamashita had sternly disciplined his troops when they committed atrocities, and that atrocities continued primarily because of insubordination: the officers reporting to Yamashita had simply stopped supplying him with information about such events. However, only the judge from India ruled against the majority, and Yamashita went to the gallows. Emperor Hirohito had no such defense, but was pardoned by Macarthur because, well, Macarthur was personally moved by Hirohito's shouldering of full responsibility (itself quite inaccurate, given how little control the imperial family had over what the Japanese Army was doing in China), and - misplaced compassion meets cold pragmatism - sparing Hirohito any further indignities happened to be the politically convenient thing to do for the stability of post-war Occupation-era Japan.

I once sat in Macarthur's chair in his former office in an insurance building across the street from the Imperial Palace Grounds. The office is kept as it was the day he left it. (You have to know where it is, and know who to ask, and know how to ask.) Sitting in that worn leather-upholstered swivel chair, I tried to imagine Macarthur's state of mind on that day Hirohito came to visit. And failed.

War tinges even the best of us with insanity. Sometimes it's more than just a tinge. Just as there was a lot of the best of us in Douglas Macarthur, there is also a lot of the best of us in Ramsey Clarke. But there's also the starkly evident fact that - in his own undeniably intelligent way - the man has gone plumb crazy.

It can happen to the best of us. So don't think - NEVER think - it can't happen to you. Especially if things are set to get even worse from here on out. Which I find myself thinking, as the new year dawns.

Michael Turner

First things first, Marc As long as you feel a need to correct somebody's spelling of "weasel" (when it's from someone you disagree with - correcting people's spelling being a time-honored sign that desperate flamage is in progress) I feel must point out that when you said Ramsey Clark is a "wingbat" (twice now, the second time with a defense, so there's no excuse) you MUST have meant "moonbat." In the first page of Google results on "wingbat", I find only one reference to political thought, and it's used for ostensibly-lunatic RIGHT-wing thinking:


A Google search on "moonbat" - well, try it yourself. It's inescapable: "moonbat" is used almost exclusively against those thought to be credulous and stupid left-wingers (including people like me, who aren't leftists, but happen to agree with certain opinions.) It's often modified with "barking," as in "Joe Wilson is a barking moonbat."

Face it, Marc: you have been caught out in a Class A Invective Error. Your career as a blogland purveyor of invective may suffer as a result. You have been warned.

As for the mutual pissing between you and Edward Herman, well, you persist in calling him a "cadaver". Fine. Where I part company with you - since the man is so clearly dead - is in calling him "doddering." He is actually a very spry old zombie, if this recent contribution is any indication:


Pretty sloppy compared to writings past, but unusually energetic compared to the literary output of your average corpse.

OK, OK, I'm being annoyingly literal. I plead guilty to forgetting the first (unwritten) rule of blogging-for-journalists: print media is where where you check your fly to see if it's unzipped, but your blog is where you can piss in public, on any target you fancy. One would think that journalism was still journalism, wherever you find it. But you're a pro, I'm not, so I won't second-guess you on that.

Yours truly on the receiving end of the next golden shower,


Oh, dear, Marc. How depressing.

(By the way, to avoid having to wade through the above Appendices 1, 2 and 3, here's the link to the 1999 Salon article on Ramsey Clark, which sums up much of that same material in a far more...um...readable fashion.)


Michael T. Your analysis of Clark is quite interesting and emotionally generous. Yet in the end, I think you've got it right with your conclusion: "But there's also the starkly evident fact that - in his own undeniably intelligent way - the man has gone plumb crazy."

I think your cautionary note is also right, that all of us who choose to stare hard at some of the human race’s knottier problems risk going a bit round the bend if we're not re-e-eally careful.

And while we're on the subject of the dreadful fallibility of the species in which we all claim membership, I just saw “Hotel Rwanda” tonight. It’s not a flawless film by any means. Don Cheadle is really stunning---a performance of quiet and complex perfection. Nick Nolte seems miscast. Plus it won’t tell any of the commenters on this thread anything all that new. But the totality of the experience is….shattering. I urge everyone to see it. And to urge everyone THEY know to see it.


Just read Michael T's newest post and it's a damned good thing I wasn't sipping late night tea....or any other liquid with staining properties!


Did no else cite Vance's misuse of "cite" when "site "was clearly indicated? I point this out only because I don't want to weasel out of being called a wingbat because I oppose most moonbats.

Oh, and Marc? Thanks for the plug!

Michael Turner

And did anyone notice back on the tsunami thread where I wrote "we're" where I should have written "were"?


Oh, good.

reg noted that the UNA-UNSO website material in English that I'd pointed to (see Orange Revolution thread) seemed to have been translated by Babelfish, but he was either nice enough or oblivious enough to not mention that some of what *I* write recently also seems come out Babelfish.

Celeste - thanks for the kind words. I pretty much gave up blogging


when I lost my sense of humor a few months back. I know it's around here somewhere ... friends of mine have urged me to resume blogging, telling me that it's pretty rare to run across that balancing act of combining commentary with humor. I tell them there's a good reason for this: it's really hard to do it right. And I'd rather not do it at all if I can't do it right.

What is the essential ingredient that distinguishes both knock-knock jokes and witty derision from true humor? I think it's what you've called "emotional generosity," above. And maybe that's precisely what makes it so difficult. Ed Herman the "doddering cadaver"? Hey, I got a snicker out of it myself. But half the snicker was in laughing AT Marc, not WITH him. Yeah, it was funny. But it's not humor. That's harder. Much harder.

P.S. GMRoper, you made me laugh too. Good for you.

Michael Turner

Oh, crap, I just realized I got Marc completely wrong about Edward Herman. Marc wrote that Hermans was a "dottering cadaver," not a "doddering cadaver," as I first read it. He meant that Herman was a cadaver who performs a certain kind of angioplasty.


I.e., Herman is not just a zombie, but a zombie practicing medicine - cardiology, even! - without a license. OK, that really IS reprehensible. My God ... how, in any civilized society, can such a ... well, anyway: Sorry, Marc. I take it all back.

Thomas Kelly

"Ed Herman is intellectually mort and therefore a cadaver."
Posted by: Marc Cooper | January 1, 2005 08:40 PM



what is really odd is the idea that a movement can be destroyed because one individual signs onto the defense team of what will be a kangaroo court that is designed to legitimate victors' justice. Even odder is the belief that if Clarke didn't do this the media wouldn't find other reasons to attack the anti-war movement. That before the war even started large numbers were involved in large anti-war activities is already a sign that the movement will not go away because of such a minor minor matter. Marc's predictions of growing irrelevance of the antiwar movement remind me of Todd Gitlin's predictions of mass chaos at the march against the war during the RNC. Gitlin of course is also prone to repeat the myth that Chicago 68 brought down the dems...why a sociologist would buy into that is a mystery to put it mildly.


I would suggest that the most interesting question in Cooper's post is the one he does not ask:

Why has the 'sane/moral/ethical/democratic elements anti-war Left' failed to organize and counter International ANSWER while engaging the U.S. electorate...the electorate that is now supposedly 'anti-war' and ripe for engagement? Marc Cooper is not the only Lefty to have noted the lack of a credible, moderate anti-war coalition in the U.S. or Europe over the past 2+ years, nor has he been the only Lefty to call for the formation of such a coalition. So what gives?

One could almost feel comfortable suggesting that for all the gnashing of teeth and rending of hair of the anti-war Left that is not allied to International ANSWER, it appears they lack something...be it energy or attention span or courage of conviction...to put in the time and effort that ANSWER does. Or perhaps it is simply that opposition to the war in Iraq was and is just another battlefront in the real war waged by the Left and Democrats to recapture domestic political power.

Reading the more prominent of the Lefty/Democratic Blogs since the election (Marshall, Drum, DeLong, etc.), it seems pretty clear that the war in Iraq has fallen well behind partial privatization of Social Security as the issue of the hour. And in the scheme of things, if you can get more excited about Social Security reform than about opposition to the sustained violence of an extended military action, it should be unsurprising that ANSWER dominates the anti-war movement. They didn't capture it, they simply filled a void created by other Leftists.

Given that, just who qualifies as 'doddering'? It's the Edward S. Hermanns of the world they have what they want...not the Marc Coopers.

John Moore (Useful Fools)

Comments on a few posts...

Clark is of course an idiot in the common usage, not the technical meaning of the word. Besides, the technical meaning is un-PC.

I believe that anti-war movement during the Vietnam War was successful (unfortunately). While the war had majority support after 1968 (when the Tet Offensive lie was spread by the media), ultimately the US was forced to withdraw its troops for internal US political reasons, and later forced to abandon all support promised to South Vietnam (again for internal political reasons). The US won the war in the South at least twice (by 1972, the US ambassador drove himself without escort all over the country). It is difficult to separate the various forces leading to our abandonment of Vietnam, but a lot has to go to the anti-war movement.

Right now, the left has suffered a big loss. It isn't surprising that internecine squabbling is happening. It is natural and appropriate. Personally, I'd like the left to stay divided and ineffective, of course. But in order to recover, the left has to understand its problems, and that isn't done just by having civilized conversations over tea, but also by factions fighting it out. The right has been through the same thing. It's just how movements work.

Marc, I think the correct spelling is institutional, not intstitutional.

Brian Siano

I, for one, am extremely _happy_ that Ramsey Clarke has signed onto Saddam's defense team. It means that Saddam's conviction and imprisonment is now a far greater certainty.

In fact, if Ramsey Clarke wanted to make me positively _ecstatic_, he'd offer to defend Henry Kissinger.


"In fact, if Ramsey Clarke wanted to make me positively _ecstatic_, he'd offer to defend Henry Kissinger."

Hey, now THERE's an idea with genuine merit!

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