Antiwar Rally Sponsored by Radical Groups

This weekend’s “anti-war” rally in Washington is co-sponsored by ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice, groups on the radical fringe. As Glenn Reynolds notes, though, the press converage mostly treats it as a gathering of schoolteachers and grandmothers.

Antiwar Rally Will Be a First for Many (WaPo, B1)

The seasoned protesters who organized tomorrow’s antiwar demonstration are well-versed in many other causes. They have marched and rallied against police brutality, racism, colonialism and the policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. But their message on the Mall tomorrow will be singular: “End the war in Iraq.”

Because of that sharp focus, they will be joined by novice protesters such as Patrice Cuddy, 56. Interviewed by phone yesterday, the former public school teacher in Olathe, Kan., said she had to pull off her gardening gloves each time a neighbor interrupted her yardwork to ask about joining the bus she had chartered to go to the nation’s capital. “It’s small and it’s quiet here in Johnson County, but more and more people are becoming part of the group that doesn’t agree with this war,” said Cuddy, who was planning to load about 45 people onto the bus in a Home Depot parking lot this morning for the 20-hour ride to Washington.

Organizers say that similar busloads of teachers, nurses, housewives and others with little experience in mass protest are coming from Wisconsin, New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, Ohio and many other states.

“This demonstration will reflect, by far, the most diverse group of antiwar protesters since before the war began,” said Brian Becker, national coordinator for the ANSWER Coalition, one of the event’s sponsors. “We have people coming from all political persuasions, including a very large number of people who have never before been part of the antiwar movement or protest activity.”

[…]

The two primary organizers of the march, for which planning began in May, are ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice. Both groups have sponsored other major demonstrations against the war in Iraq but also protested U.S. foreign policy in places ranging from Haiti to the Gaza Strip. Another sponsor is Code Pink, a women’s antiwar group that is widely criticized by war supporters for undertaking a humanitarian mission on behalf of refugees from the Iraqi city of Fallujah, an action that some said was helping the Iraqi insurgency.

To be sure, the WaPo peace notes the connection. Unfortunately, that connection is glossed over, without context to explain where they’re coming from. Even David Corn finds ANSWER despicable. Describing ANSWER’s role in a 2002 protest,

Officially, the organizer of the Washington demonstration was International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism). But ANSWER is run by WWP [“Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956.”] activists, to such an extent that it seems fair to dub it a WWP front. Several key ANSWER officials — including spokesperson Brian Becker — are WWP members. Many local offices for ANSWER’s protest were housed in WWP offices. Earlier this year, when ANSWER conducted a press briefing, at least five of the 13 speakers were WWP activists. They were each identified, though, in other ways, including as members of the International Action Center.

[…]

The WWP does have the shock troops and talent needed to construct a quasi mass demonstration. But the bodies have to come from elsewhere. So WWPers create fronts and trim their message, and anti-war Americans, who presumably don’t share WWP sentiments, have an opportunity to assemble and register their stand against the war. At the same time, WWP activists, hiding their true colors, gain a forum where thousands of people listen to their exhortations. Is this a good deal — or a dangerous one? Who’s using whom?

The same is, undoubtedly, true of this rally. The organizers are mostly from the radical, America-hating fringe while the overwhelming majority of the crowd are surely either hippie wannabes or honorable citizens simply gathering in peaceful protest against a very controversial war. One wonders, though, how the Post would cover a pro-war event sponsored by similarly radical groups?

Indeed, as best as I can tell, the Post hasn’t even bothered to cover the Support the Troops counter-protest, which has none of that taint.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jim Henley says:

    What’s the over-under on the Red-State event attendance?

    I remember in January 2003 there was a lot of p;ssing and moaning by Glenn et al about lack of coverage of the counter-protest on the Washington Monument grounds. I saw that protest – there was hardly anyone there.

    Now, the jingos had an excuse back then for not bothering to show up: the reality was that their side was in power and they were going to get the war they wanted whether they demonstrated or not, so why should they freeze their @sses off on a cold January Saturday? I’d have stayed home myself if I could’ve found an excuse (and might as well have in any case).

    Since enthusiasm for the war and the administration is getting down to “BTKWB levels” these days, though, do you think hawks will feel any more urgency about displaying their enthusiasm on the streets, or do you think it’ll be another dozens-to-hundreds of hecklers like in antebellum times?

  2. capt joe says:

    Jingos, wow henley, guess you guys were getting tired of the chickenhawk phrase.

    So hows that Sheehan thing going for you. Down to 50 supporters these days, I hear.

    But I guess groups like ANSWER who support Kim Il Jong genocide of his own people are more your taste.

    nice.

  3. Herb says:

    Shades of the Vietnam protesters.

    These pinko commie anti war horses rear ends are at it again. Most of the sheep who will attend this Anti American, Anti Troop, gathering most likely don’t know why they are there other than to get high on drugs just like in the 60,s and when it is over, they won’t know where they have been.

    Perhaps the Ohio National Guard should be there to keep them in line. It would serve them right.

    For all those of you that will take part in this charade, be sure to bring the necessities you will need, POT, COKE, ECSTASY, and METH, so you can be just like your fellow sheep of the 60,s

  4. leelu says:

    …spent the day bicycling around DC. Saw a small flotilla of Pink Ladies(?) in the Tidal Basin at the Jefferson Memorial. Rode by Camp Casey II… ‘press conference’ happening, maybe 70 people (just a SWAG). The faux graveyard was there along w/ some row of boots.

    Saw a couple of the protesters in the Sackler. Aging hippy granmas. Not a protest babe in sight. Got pix if you want ’em.

  5. Jim Henley says:

    capt joe: you, uh, didn’t actually say anything in all that, so there really isn’t any response to make.

    Herb, your post makes it pretty clear who’s really stuck in the 60s. “It’s like goldy and bronzey, only made of iron!”

    leelu: It says here that the protest will draw 50 times as many people as the counterprotest. (And how lame is a counter-protest, anyway? Couldn’t Krempasky have come up with the idea of having an event of his own, without having to have the dreaded ANSWER do his thinking for him?) e.g. the breakdown will be something like 100K:2K. I’d offer a site-appropriate wager – frex, if I’m wrong I write a sonnet praising thunderbird’s intellect, while if I’m right you . . . but I can’t really think what your side of the bet would be. Feel free to suggest.

  6. leelu says:

    Jim:

    Not sure if you’re offering me a bet, but no thanx. I’m just reporting what I saw. Seemed as the day wore on, more hippy grannies and wannabes were heading towards Camp Cindy, but I’m outta here tomorrow morning, and I don’t really care too much.

  7. Herb says:

    Jim Henley:

    First, I don’t need any of your sarcastic remarks, It only shows where you come from and just how dumb you are about the 60’s. I have seen first hand the drugies and the hippies, yuppies and the flower children who were UN American draft dodgers and I seen the results of their so called anti war protests like spitting on and jeering our troops when they returned home. Or only you know about all that because maybe you were a part of that anti-US group. Those were the dark days of American History and a historical part that were a huge black mark on America. I don’t give a damn about what you think or better still “Don’t Think” and by what I have seen in your comment, the latter surely fits you best.

    So Jim Hunley, you know what you can do with sarcastic comment. And it will probably fit without even touching the inside.

    By the way Hunley, where were you in the 60’s, you young whipper snapper.

  8. DL says:

    The number of protesters that show up won’t make this war one teenie iota more, or less, right.

    When you lack answers to difficult real-life problems – protest against those that do and to hell with the consequences.

    This protest game is such a childish carry over from the sixties.

  9. Jim Henley says:

    Herb: [stream of consciousness proving my point about him being stuck in the 60s.]

    DL: The number of protesters that show up won’t make this war one teenie iota more, or less, right.

    Here I completely agree.

    This protest game is such a childish carry over from the sixties.

    So the counterprotest is a childish game carried over from when, then?

    General interest note: Downgrade whatever attendance expectations you did have – apparently the trains out of NYC were stopped last night due to a power failure along the line in Jersey. Conspiracy theorists will have a field day; me, I figure it’s just par for the course for Amtrak.

  10. Jack Ehrlich says:

    It once again shows the “ends justifies the means” thinking prevalent on the left. The enemy of my enemy is my friend (be careful who that is). The obverse is also true. The friend of my enemy is my enemy. Wesley Clark, Phil Donohue and all those who see this as a protest against the war are willing to join en league with those who’s purpose is diametrically opposed to that for which this country stands. I hope the public is made aware of these alliances and remembers at the next election who stood for what, and why.

  11. Herb says:

    You know hunley, i saw you on TV the other night.

    You were the 3rd place contestant on Jay Leno’s
    “Battle of the Jaywalker All stars”

    Congratulations

    And why don’t have the guts to answer the questions I posed to you.

    You have to be a typical sore loser Dem that can’t get over it and don’t have the capacity to do anything but spread your lies, hate, and discontent.
    Have some more drugs, it helps you.

  12. CheckingIn says:

    I thought I would check out this site to be enlightened by those who support the war. Unfortunately, the uneducated, simple-minded attitudes expressed in these comments [supporting the war] would better serve as support for the left-wing. Are people just this ignorant?

    I have never before been to this site, and will certainly not be returning. Any retaliatory remarks will fall on deaf ears. Have a great day!

  13. Jim Henley says:

    Uh, Herb? What questions? I just reread your, let’s be generous and call them “contributions” to this thread. I can’t see a single question in either of your posts. Insults and what you apparently think is a humorous misspelling of my name, yes. Questions, no. So I guess I “don’t have the guts” to answer unasked questions.

    General note: Looks like I won my 50:1 ratio “bet” with a factor of 2-4 to spare!

    FWIW, I never did go. I actually don’t like ANSWER much and had low hopes for the march. I appear to have undersold its potential.

  14. Herb says:

    Jim Hunley:

    You don’t read to well of just maybe you don’t comprehend.

    I ask you,

    Where were you in the 60’s?

    Is that clear enough for you now.

  15. Jim Henley says:

    Oh you did have one buried in all that verbiage, didn’t you? How could I miss it? (Weirdly, you said “the questions” in your follow-up post, but there appears to have been only one.)

    I was in Montoursville PA and Pittbsburgh most of the time. Whyever that’s important to you.

  16. Amazed says:

    Wow – I couldn’t agree with checkingin more.

    You guys are just so out of touch with reality, it’s scary.