As Cindy Sheehan heads to Washington to march with ANSWER, we should consider who or what ANSWER is. It is one thing to call ANSWER a communist organization. It is another thing entirely to explain that.
To begin with, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) was founded by the International Action Center, which itself was founded by former Lyndon Johnson Attorney General Ramsey Clark, himself a rabidly anti-American lover of all things that stand against us. As if that isn’t enough, ANSWER takes on the rhetoric of Stalinists characterizing itself as biing “anti-imperialist.”
A.N.S.W.E.R. was an outgrowth of another organization headed by Clark, the International Action Center (IAC). Founded in 1990 during the run-up to the First Gulf War, IAC was the successor to the People’s Anti-War Mobilization (PAM), and the Vietnam-era organization Youth Against War & Fascism (YAWF). All of these groups were sponsored by (and served as fronts for) the Worker’s World Party (WWP).
The neo-Stalinist WWP broke away from the Trotskyite Socialist Worker’s Party (SWP) in 1959 over a “difference of opinion” concerning the Tibetan Uprising (the SWP sided with the Tibetan Buddhists, while the WWP supported the Chinese military action to crush the revolt). The WWP later distinguished themselves from other Marxist groups by opposing popular uprisings in Czechoslovakia (1968) and Poland (1981). They defended the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in China, and would side with the KGB in the failed coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991.
So, while ANSWER is in favor of dissent in America, its founders are decidedly in favor of China’s crackdown of dissidents.
LA Weekly has a good summation here.
It is not redbaiting to note the WWP’s not-too-hidden hand in the nascent anti-war movement. It explains the tone and message of Saturday’s rally. Take the question of inspections. According to Workers World, at a party conference in September, Sara Flounders, a WWP activist, reported war opponents were using the slogan “inspections, not war.” Flounders, the paper says, “pointed out that ‘inspections ARE war’ in another form,” and that she had “prepared party activists to struggle within the movement on this question.” Translation: The WWP would do whatever it could to smother the “inspections, not war” cry. Inspections-before-invasion is an effective argument against the dash to war. But it conflicts with WWP support for opponents of U.S. imperialism.
Lastly, as Ryan Anderson O’Donnell noted back in 2003,
ANSWER’s steering committee reads like a “Who’s Who” of radical political organizations. The most influential member of ANSWER’s steering committee, Ramsey Clark’s pet project known as the International Action Center (IAC), is considered by many observers to be little more than a communist front organization for an obscure Stalinist organization known as the World Workers Party (WWP). Yet, the IAC is not the only member of ANSWER’s steering committee committed to extremist causes. The Korean Truth Commission and Pastors for Peace are staunch allies of Kim Jong Il and Fidel Castro, respectively, and both groups continue to support these murderous regimes’ violation of International law. In addition to its role as a front for the support of totalitarian/communist governments in North Korea and Cuba, members of ANSWER’s steering committee such as the Muslim Student Association and the Free Palestine Alliance continue to provide ideological, logistical and financial support for organizations devoted to the destruction of the state of Israel, including the terrorist group, Hamas. A comprehensive investigation of the members of ANSWER’s steering committee make it clear that the organization is in actuality one of Peace’s greatest enemies.
When Cindy Sheehan goes off to march this weekend, remember — she is not just marching with the “hate America first” crowd, she is marching with the enemies of peace.