Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 9, 2005

Bill Weinberg: redbaiter

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 11:51 am
Today Znet features a redbaiting attack on the antiwar movement focused on the ANSWER coalition by Bill Weinberg, a journalist who has written about the Zapatistas. He also hosts a late night talk show on WBAI in NYC and operates a website called World War Four Report, where the Znet article originally appeared. So he has a pretty big megaphone to spread his filth. Despite his self-professed anarchism, Weinberg has much in common with journalist Marc Cooper, who has perfected these sorts of redbaiting attacks.

Weinberg complains:

“International ANSWER formed after 9-11 around the core of the International Action Center (IAC), itself formed by Workers World. ANSWER’s most visible spokespersons have almost invariably been longtime IAC/WWP adherents.

“Many in the movement are both unaware of these organizational connections, as well as WWP’s history of orthodox and problematic political positions. In 1956, WWP supported the Soviet invasion of Hungary, claiming the Hungarian striking workers were ‘counterrevolutionary’; in response to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, WWP charged that protesters had launched ‘violent attacks on the soldiers,’ provoking the military’s actions; during the Bosnian war in the 1990s, WWP portrayed reports of atrocities and mass rape by the Serb forces as ‘imperialist lies,’ and now supports Slobodan Milosevic in his battle against war crimes charges at The Hague.

“Ramsey Clark, the visible leader of the International Action Center, is a founder of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic, and has also provided legal representation for some accused of participating in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He has more recently volunteered for Saddam Hussein’s legal team.”

These are the same talking points you have heard from David Corn, Doug Ireland, Marc Cooper and other contributors to mainstream liberal publications. It differs little from attacks that have appeared in the Washington Post and NY Times.

Weinberg really doesn’t care much for the Iraqi resistance. In the past, he has argued for continued American occupation of Iraq in the same terms as John Kerry (at least Kerry has the decency not to pretend that he is some kind of radical):

“Slogans like ‘Bring the troops home’ and ‘US out of Iraq’ are handy for fitting on a placard, but they inevitably dodge the really tough questions. Having now plunged Iraq into social entropy, destroyed the country’s infrastructure and brought to a boil myriad ethnic and religious conflicts which had been simmering under the Saddam dictatorship, it might be the height of irresponsibility for the US to just unilaterally withdraw. It would, in fact, be a violation of the responsibilities of an occupying power under international law.”

Weinberg just doesn’t care for “extremist” protests of the kind mounted by the antiwar movement. He has a different model entirely:

“Whatever happened to CARDRI, the Committee Against Repression and for Democratic Rights in Iraq , the progressive London-based exile group that opposed both the Saddam dictatorship and US imperialist designs in the 1980s? Does CARDRI still exist? Are any of its members still vocal and active? It is from such voices that we must seek leadership–not from the self-appointed cadre of Workers World, or even the comparatively innocuous Leslie Cagan.”

CARDRI was run by the atrocious Ann Clwyd, a Blairite MP. Speaking in the name of CARDRI, Clywd told the Guardian in 2004 that “Iraq is free at last,” “has a chance for a better future,” and that “a vibrant civil society is emerging from the decades of war and dictatorship.” Ann Clwyd is a pretty good fund-raiser. She got her hands on $3 million under the Iraq Liberation Act passed by the US Congress in 1998. I wonder if she passed some of that dough on to Weinberg to help keep his redbaiting website afloat.

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