In the latest chapter in the nearly 20 year bicker fest between the dueling bureaucracies of Workers World Party and the Communist Party/Committees of Correspondence group behind United for Peace and Justice, UFPJ now rejects future work with ANSWER.

It gets a little complicated, but not too much. Both groups are Stalinistic in their Popular Front methodology. The difference lies in which kind of opportunism they embrace.

Workers World, and their recent (incomprehensible) splinter led by ANSWER leader Brian Becker that formed the Party for Socialism and Liberation, are followers of Sam Marcy's Global Class War theory. This argues, essentially, that anything opposed to US imperialism is ipso facto "revolutionary" and that oppressed nations (including the capitalists of such nations), in the era of imperialism, stand in for the "proletariat." Instead of class struggle, we are to ally ourselves with even the most reactionary third world regimes and movements against the "common enemy" that is US imperialism. The more grotesque implications of this theory has been upholding the Tienanmen Square massacre, defending the autocratic monarchy of "socialist" North Korea and pretending that Slobodan Milosevic is anything but a racist thug. The good side of it is their consistent opposition to ALL manifestations of US imperialism, even when the victims are none too sympathetic.

On the other hand, UFPJ plays itself off as a more "democratic" coalition -- when in fact they are just more Democratic. The two key players in the UFPJ national office are the CoC co-chair Leslie Cagan and Judith LeBlanc, a ranking member of the Communist Party, USA. While they are comfortable letting WW get baited for "Stalinism," it is no secret that the CPUSA not only took direction directly from the Soviet state well past its glory years, but they were the most enthusiastic defenders of every Soviet crime. Today, as Red Flags has noted before, the CP's leader Sam Webb upholds not just the current police state of China as a literal model (a position even worse than WW's if that were possible), but advocates that parties out of power follow the path of Salvador Allende... because we all know how great that turned out.

PeaceFor her part, Leslie Cagan will forever be infamous for upholding the sanctions against Iraq during the first Gulf War that went on to kill over 500,000 children. Her logic was simple: whatever the Democratic Party's imperial leadership demanded, the left is supposed to tow. She also urged the left to embrace the yellow ribbon "support the troops" nonsense -- while those very troops were killing tens of thousands of Arabs.

Today the CP backs organizations such as the Iraqi Communist Party, a pro-occupation grouplet that actively connives with the US military. UFPJ tends not to engage in open polemics, but lets proxy authors such as right-wing liberal Marc Cooper, plain-old liberal David Corn and the indefatigable, pro-occupation Bill Weinberg (2002, 2003, 2005) pen attacks on their behalf.

What is most shocking about this is that Weinberg and Cooper actually support the occupation. Here's what Weinberg has to say about the continuing occupation of Iraq -- the current hot-button issue for the antiwar movement:

Sound-bite pseudo-analysis is an inherent danger of activism, which must be guarded against at all times. 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.

We must be clear that US imperialism will never act in the interests of the Iraqi people, whatever rhetoric about "freedom" and "democracy" is cynically employed. Empires act in the interests of empire: they always have and always will. But a unilateral withdrawal which allows genuinely freedom-hating jihadis to take power would not be in the interests of the Iraqi people either. "US out of Iraq" only works as a demand if we have some kind alternative to offer. [read]

No, no it doesn't. What a load of imperial chauvinist crap. If anyone is "supporting" Islamic fundamentalists, it's the Saudis and Gulf emirates -- with a long history of CIA assistance. But apparently Kuwaiti elections will have to wait... along with the whole concept of the self-determination of nations. In other words, Woodrow Wilson's rhetoric, at least, was to the left of Bill "you break it, you bought it" Weinberg. Ed Herman takes Weinberg's sleazy and dishonest writing to task on Znet. The implication of Weinberg's politic is consistent: imperialism may suck, but you can't trust the wogs to govern themselves.

What does all this mean for the antiwar movement? This might be provocative, but I don't think it means a damn thing. Neither of these bureaucracies has much to offer besides getting permits for marches in DC. Both are as bereft of ideas as they have been for decades. While it was good when they could unite for protest in DC, mass marches aren't going to end the war. And 40s-vintage Popular Frontism in either variety won't stop the war any more than it will usher in socialism. It destroyed the left for a generation when Stalin first imposed it on the international left, and after decades of defeat it's amazing anyone still believes it (even if most don't know where it comes from!).

Now that the majority of Americans are against the war, at least the losing part of it, more radical and direct-action oriented forces need to pick up direct opposition to the Bush regime, building the student movment and counter-recruiting to sap the ability of the armed forces to wage war.

It's going to take everything that is -- including the supreme lameness of UFPJ and ANSWER -- plus a whole lot more to stop the real enemy. For those who don't like the current trends available -- show us how it's done!