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(DV) Silver: United For Peace and Justice Has Become Part of the Problem







United for Peace and Justice Has become Part of the Problem: Opportunist, Favors Democrats While Rejecting Anti-Imperialism
by David Silver
December 20, 2005

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Even prior to the March 20, 2003 invasion of Iraq, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) was telling us that connecting any other issues, and in particular the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, would “dilute the anti-war message” of stopping the war and ending the Occupation. I witnessed this political position as a former member of Vets for Peace, that also encouraged and urged us to vote for Kerry.

On Dec. 12, 2005 Leslie Cagan, speaking for the UFPJ Steering Committee posted to the website that they will “not coordinate work with ANSWER again on a national level.” However when she says that UFPJ wants to send a “focused message” on the Iraq war, she now states that the war is indeed part of empire building and may be related to such issues as the “occupation of Palestinian land, racism, repression and injustice at home.” So now UFPJ embraces the politics that ANSWER had from the very beginning.

Cagan argues that while these issues are “articulated in creative and accessible ways,” ANSWER does not. They use “labels” such as racism that “mischaracterizes” the views of others. Proof? She offers none.

The Steering Committee also tells us they now want to build a durable peace and justice movement that connects “domestic and international issues.” However, at the UFPJ National Assembly in February 2005 in St. Louis, I submitted just such a Proposal in behalf of the member group I represent (The Coalition to Free the Angola3) to use its outreach to help build an independent political movement which was rejected outright and not even discussed. Instead I got a phone reply from Judy LeBlanc telling me that UFPJ “doesn’t engage in electoral activities,” as though the Proposal was asking to form a new Party and endorse candidates. No. The response of UFPJ was prompted by the words “independent politics” which wouldn’t sit well with the politics of trailing after Any Body But a Republican and support a Democrat in a liberal disguise like for instance a Working Families Party.

How else can an effective Resistance be forged without having an anti-corporate consciousness of the common enemy of transnationals, banks, the IMF and WTO? Aren’t they the ruling class that alone unites all of the issues of justice and peace of oppression and exploitation? Any movement is as effective as the consciousness that informs it. The UFPJ’s opportunism and its opposition to an anti-imperialist politics becomes very evident for instance when it rejected recent statements as well as proposals for action of the groups The World Can’t Wait and the Mobilization for Global Justice (MGJ). Too militant. When Historians Against the War posted a totally false and rather vicious attack on MGJ saying they favored halting opposition to the war in Iraq and wanted to focus on late capitalist society, UFPJ was silent. The Ultra-Left label was the code word used to demonize the anti-imperialist militants that gave us Seattle and Genoa.

UFPJ’s support earlier this year of the Iraq Federation of Trade Unions and its mentor the so-called Iraq Communist Party went beyond opportunism. Both groups support the invasion, support the occupation, support the puppet government in Baghdad, and want U.S. troops to remain there indefinitely. UFPJ’s theory and practice, especially in the past year has become an obstacle to forging an effective anti-war and anti-imperialist people’s movement. It has become part of the problem.

One Humanity, One Struggle.

David Silver has a 50-year membership in the class, anti-imperialist, and anti-racist struggles. Among them are The Coalition to Free the Angola 3, the American Labor Party (with Vito Marcantonio and Dr. DuBois in the late '40s), the Freedom and Peace Party in the '60s, and Hands off Cuba Coalition in the '80s.