Last week you sent me an email asking me to join you in marching for peace on the 15th in Center City Philadelphia. I explained to you about the leadership of these protests. I explained that these people were communists and anti-Americans who have an axe to grind. I explained that my research about them leads me to believe that their cause has more to do with discrediting and destroying capitalism, democracy, and the United States than peace.
I told you I would be more than happy to express my desire for peace. However, peace is not what these leaders want. You started spouting specious arguments comparing Iraq to North Korea and about oil-the usual canards and fallacies that this crowd spouts. You replied that the leadership did not matter. It did not make a difference they were communists. The ultimate objective was peace.
You told me that you were at a forum the week before at the White Dog Café. Medea Benjamin was the guest speaker. You said Medea fascinated you. You remarked about how compassionate her speech was. You told me that she went to Iraq and met nice Iraqis.
My reply was that I did not think she was invited to Iraq to meet members of the secret police and the Republican Guard. Of course, there are nice Iraqis, I said. I know some Iraqis. They are the salt of the earth. So what? Saddam Hussein has murdered many nice Iraqis lately. Then again, a lot Iraqis have been murdering other people.
Once again, I reiterated that these pacifists were really Communists. You said that Communism was no longer a threat and reiterated that the leadership of the rallies did not matter only what their objective was. You proffered a sort of ends “justifies the means” thesis.
My rejoinder was that the rally leadership did matter and that these rally leaders deceive. These rally leaders idolize those who kill and enslave.
Well Kathie, here is a concrete example of why the leadership is important. These are excerpts from a Sunday, February 16, 2003, Washington Post article written by Evelyn Nieves. Even you will believe the Washington Post Kathie. I know normally you do not believe me when I tell you something. You did not believe me when I told you that ANSWER was affiliated with a Stalininst/Kimist organization. You did not believe me when I told you that Not In Our Name was affiliated with a Maoist group. You learned I was correct. However, I do not believe that you will question the Washington Post.
In her article entitled Antiwar Organizer's Politics Cause Rift, Nieves wrote, “. . . few of the tens of thousands of marchers had even heard of International ANSWER., one of the main organizers.. ANSWER's politics seemed moot…(ANSWER) has defended dictators such as Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and North Korea's Kim Jong Il and decried the state of Israel…the last several days, ANSWER's politics have created a rift within the leadership of the antiwar movement…Rabbi Michael Lerner, one of the nation's most prominent liberal Jewish leaders and editor of the San Francisco-based magazine Tikkun, went public to complain that he was "banned" from speaking at the Sunday rally here, because ANSWER objected to his positions on Israel.”
According to Nieves’ article, ANSWER and other rally organizers, said Lerner was not invited to speak because he had previously "attacked" ANSWER's positions. Lerner had criticized ANSWER for allowing too many speakers who believe that the United States is threatening to attack Iraq because Israel wants the war. Nieves quoted Lerner as saying "There are good reasons to oppose the war and Saddam. Still, it feels that we are being manipulated when subjected to mindless speeches and slogans whose knee-jerk anti-imperialism rarely articulates the deep reasons we should oppose corporate globalization."
Nieves then quoted a news release by the four coalitions organizing the antiwar demonstrations -- Bay Area United Against War, Not In Our Name project, United for Peace and Justice and International ANSWER. The communication stated, "When members of the Tikkun community, who have actively participated in the organizing meetings for Feb. 16, suggested to Bay Area United for Peace and Justice, that it propose Michael Lerner as a speaker, it was explained by members of UFPJ that since he had publicly attacked ANSWER in both the New York Times and Tikkun community e-mail newsletters, his inclusion in the program would violate the agreement among the Feb. 16 organizing groups."
Then Nieves states what is the crux of the issue-why leadership matters. In one sentence Nieves expressed the Orwellian world of the organizers when she wrote, “In other words, dissent among dissenters was not allowed.”
See what I mean Kathie.
You and your colleagues say it does not matter who the leaders are. Yet it does. Here is a perfect example. The anti-war leadership who organized the February 15 rally would not permit a particular anti-war activist to speak because they do not like his politics and because he criticized them.
The people who believe in free speech really do not think speech is free.
These are your associates Kathie, deny it though you may. They are as every bit as ruthless, despotic, and deceitful as the genocidal totalitarians they admire. Remember Medea Benjamin was originally Susie Benjamin and chose the name of an infanticidal character of Greek mythology. These are not the people who will bring peace on earth.
You want peace Kathie? Join me in a rally. My march will be to protest the real villain in this drama -Saddam Hussein. Join me in telling him to destroy his WMD’s. Then there will be peace AND FREEDOM.