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The WWP, main force behind the Antiwar ANSWER, Splits

by : Simon Morales
Thursday June 24, 2004 - 16:41
1 comment

It is secretly being screamed all over left circles. The Workers’ World Party (WWP) has splintered. This will have no importance in the news if it wasn’t for the fact that for a long time the WWP – a formation of about 300 militants nationwide — allegedly dominated ANSWER, one of the main antiwar coalitions in the US.

According to unofficial reports, the entire West Coast membership of the WWP left the organization following the discussions about the Presidential ticket of the organization. According to different sources, some of those leaving the group opposed the WWP running candidates for President and Vice-President and pushed for a line of activism rather than electoralism.

They argued that the party was too small and irrelevant to play any role in the elections and that that would alienate many allies in the antiwar movement who are supporting John Kerry, the Democratic Party candidate, as the “lesser of two evils.” The WWP have fielded presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the past, gathering a handful of votes in a few states.

This group allegedly does not support the Democrats or endorsing John Kerry, but they simply contend that the party should not oppose the “Anyone but Bush” trend, which translated into real world terms means “Nobody but Kerry.”

The majority in the leadership disagreed and pushed for the John Parker – Theresa Gutierrez displacing the Monica Moorehead – Gloria LaRiva team who represented the party in the last few elections. Gloria La Riva is heading the splinter group or was pushed out of the Workers World Party as a result of the crisis.

The Workers World Party (WWP) is allegedly a socialist party which was founded in 1959 by Sam Marcy after spliting from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). While Trotskyists were present in its initial formation, the WWP soon became pro-Maoist and even flirted briefly with the North Korean regime of Kim Il Sung. While the leadership of the party denies it vehemently, opponents characterized it as a neo-stalinist grouping.

Most likely, both characterizations are wrong as the WWP’s main characteristic is not theoretical but activist by nature, although adopting any “progressive” movement that emerged both domestically and abroad. Thus, they endorsed and supported the failed candidacies of Jesse Jackson, Cuban leader Fidel Castro and even Slovodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia. They went so far as to support the massacre of Tianamen Square by the Chinese Communist Party, mirroring its explanation that was a CIA-inspired conspiracy.

But the WWP played an important role in providing the infrastructure for the antiwar movement during both Gulf Wars and lead a coalition, ANSWER, that many characterize as little more than WWP front groups. Criticisms of their soft stands towards Saddam Hussein during the last war were also leveled against the party. They did manage, however, to provide an umbrella for the first and some of the most significant and massive antiwar demonstrations in the recent past.

While respected for their antiwar work, the WWP was never able to capitalize from its leading role in organizing the movement as the party remained small and its electoral results never amounted to more than a few thousand voters. Signs of the internal difficulties emerged when the West Coast branches declined to participate in the primaries of the California Peace & Freedom Party – something they have done for over a decade and a half – which was interpreted as a shift away from electoral politics as the P&FP had been in the past the source of most of the WWP’s presidential ticket’s votes nationwide.

In the recent past, the most openly pro-Democratic Party wing of the antiwar movement launched a number of virulent attacks against the WWP and ANSWER, many of which were tantamount to red-baiting and reactionary attacks. In fact, many of those forces split the antiwar movement and formed rival coalitions like the UFPJ (United for Peace and Justice) which refused to link the Iraq war with the occupation of Palestine and have a pro-Democratic Party platform.

So far, neither the newspaper of the WWP or its web page have published anything about the party crisis, and they are trying to keep it under wraps as much as possible. We have noticed, however, that the ANSWER webpage has two URLs, one for the West Coast, and one for the rest of the country, possibly reflecting the lines of the split. We also noticed that the WWP and its allies in ANSWER are pushing to support the demonstrations at the National Conventions of both the Democratic and Republican parties, which seems to indicate that the WWP’s majority was able to impose its more left-based platform on these campaigns and to discipline its remaining loyalists.

It is important, however, for the WWP – and for the faction that abandoned it — to come up publicly and explain the political reasons behind the split and how that could affect the antiwar work of ANSWER, not to satisfy a morbid wish to know the latest gossip gripping a small socialist group, but to help the rest of the left comprehend how that can affect their common antiwar activities.

http://www.sf-frontlines.com/modules.php?

op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=744&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0&

POSTNUKESID=ed3bd507ad217dd60c03bac67f1cce43



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> The WWP, main force behind the Antiwar ANSWER, Splits
Thursday July 1 - 19:14 - Posted by f0519ce93b73fcee...

Surprisingly ahistorical, or per’aps deliberately clueless, tea-leaf reading dominates
this article.

Also, worth reading is this sf-frontlines outfit’s vitriolic attack on the green party
for not supporting Nader for a third run on their ticket.

On to the rumor at hand:

"We have noticed, however, that the ANSWER webpage has two URLs, one for
the West Coast, and one for the rest of the country, possibly
reflecting the lines of the split. We also noticed that the WWP and its
allies in ANSWER are pushing to support the demonstrations at the National
Conventions of both the Democratic and Republican parties,"

The ANSWER website has forever had a link to the SF and to the East Coast
groups.

The website has had a fairly nice redesign, lately but the linkages feel
about like what they did a year ago to me.

Don’t know spit about why ANSWER demonstrating at both Demo and Repub
conventions would suggest that the West Coast contingent have split. If I
understand the hypothetical, it’s that the West Coast don’t want to run a
Presidential candidate this year - but that’s hardly a reason not to
demonstrate at the Demo convention.

It’s not like it’s news to ANSWER that these are two tines of one fork.

And the SF ANSWER site prominently features the call to demonstrate at
both conventions, as does the NYC site. The callout at the SF site has
been up since early May - so its being there does not look to me like
’imposition of discipline’ but continuity of content.

Is there a split? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The ’evidence’ presented by
this piece is pretty thin - lots of hearsay, lots of please do air your
laundry for us stuff. There can be tactical disagreement without need for
a pissing match to satisfy the likes of people whose primary concrete
evidence looks thin.

And to hide the thinness, Morales closes with ’It is important, however,
for the WWP ­ and for the faction that abandoned it — to come up publicly
and explain the political reasons behind the split and how that could
affect the antiwar work of ANSWER, not to satisfy a morbid wish to know
the latest gossip gripping a small socialist group, but to help the rest
of the left comprehend how that can affect their common antiwar
activities.’

bullshit. He’s saying ’well, rumor has it,’ then he’s saying ’now you
need to come tell me when you stopped beating your wife.’ Get a real
quote, you know, from someone on the record?

Like what a journalist would do?







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