Ward Churchill characterized World Trade Center workers as "Technicians of Empire". And, as we have heard ad nauseum, that made them little Nazis. But most employees - dare we call them Proletarians? - did not ever work for in such a militaristic capacity as Ward Churchill himself. He worked for Robert K. Brown's Soldier of Fortune, a magazine dedicated, outright, to the cause of mercenaries. [This fact is not disputed; Churchill's coterie of fans plead he was "only following orders" for the graphics department of SOF. Sea Apr 6] Moreover, Churchill led the charge to repudiate the Sandinistas, on the sketchy basis that their emergency evacuation of North East Nicargua constituted genocidal intent, which it clearly was not. While the FSLN measure may have been a human rights wrong, it was by no means intended as genocide. [The sole intention of the Sandino's was to defend from incursions by the contras who were bristling with CIA-provided weapons. 4/6/05] but as Chuchill joined with Steadman Fagoth and others on the side of t he CIA, the left opposition whithered. The Sandinistas were ousted, and Reagan is celebrated as the man who keep Fidel contained and the Kremlin out of the Western hemisphere. Perhaps Professor Churchill's analysis is correct, and the Sandinista project is, as would thus then be any Marxist or socialist project, doomed to repeat the horrors of Stalinist purges. Some anarchists would agree, and reluctantly allowed the CIA contra forces to do their dirty work to outst the revolutionaries. Personally, I am not so sure [the Sandinistas should be put in the same light as Pol Pot, but that is exactly what is done in the famed "Cultural Survival" article, which a foundation for the view of the indigenous exception to FSLN. That article seems to have recently disappeared from the CS website. 4/6/05] It is difficult to imagine that Professor Churchill has not brought his problems on himself. He rejects nonviolence; he rejects Ghandi; he rejects Martin Luther King. He belittles nonviolent activists. And now he wonders why we don't have his back, at least, not all of us. Ward's karma ran over his dogma. He authored an attack on the core concepts of nonviolent activism: Pacifism as Pathology. The vast majority of activists endorse non-violence. Chruchill does not. Given that distinction, is Ward Churchill a First Domino worthy of support, or is he an ultra-leftist who discredits the nonviolent left? Churchill may be a special case of intellectual negligence, and in fact recklessness. Few speak so [thoughtlessly as he when justifying or explaining the motivations of terrorists. Is anyone surprised that right wingers like O Reilley have honed in on his statements? It would seem like Churchill is manna from heaven for the talk show circuit.4/05] Perhaps we should not worry too much about proliferation of the chill-take-down-model. An early rebutal to my argument contended: It is extremely dangerous to ignore churchill's, or anyone's for that matter, allegations by appealling to an ad hominim logical fallacy ("He's so far out there.. his allegations certainly can't be true.") This is not however an ad hominen. It is a criticism of his views. Neither is it an attack on the man. Undoubtedly though, this criticism of him will unleash a torrent of vituperation from ultraleftists who can't stand debate. Is it a coincidence that those who are fascinated by the rhteetoric of revolutionary violence do not countenance free debate on the left? Be sure of this: supporting the Sandinistas does not make me a freeper or a troll. The ad hominen is however the usual way of silencing dissent on the left. I am ready for it. But at the end of the day, the left will have to evaluate its own internal censorship and its own priorities. Are we to allow the right wingers to pick our battles and pour all of our resources into defending our left flank, or are we to let people like Ward take the rap for their errors. All he ever really had to do would have been to admit he was wrong, and the whole controversy would have collapsed. How many of his avid defenders are willing to fess up that his "little Eichmann's" remark was just downright wrong? There is no defending those statements. The measure of a man may be his ability to admit to a mistake. I don't see Ward doing that, and I don't see those misguided individuals who have advocated violence and gotten into trouble acknowledging their errors. The measure of a man may well lie in how well he handles criticism, and the measure of a movement may be in how well it handles dissent and debate. This view - that Churchill simply messed up and should have admitted it - will be unpopular in certain circles that should know better. The tone of the critique of these remarks will be a litmus test: are we really any better than the righties? Copyright2005 by the author. All rights reserved.