Smells Like Class Warfare...

THE PEOPLE—UNITED—CAN NEVER BE DEFEATED: There's a reason you hear this chant at every demonstration you've ever been to. But tell that to David Corn, Todd Gitlin, Marc Cooper, and Christopher Hitchens. There are enough Left credentials in that lineup to bet they've all heard this chant at least once or twice before. But you wouldn't know if from the way they've re-invented red-baiting in what the World Socialist Web Site calls "left gutter journalism" and Z Magazine calls the "cruise missle left." Since red-baiting is all about purging socialists from broader social movements, "the people, united" in this case means that labor unionists, environmentalists, anarchists, global solidarity activists, and, yes — Marxists and other varieties of communists in the anti-war movement — all need to recognize their common fight and stick up for each other. What are they afraid of, anyway? That real-world events are confirming Marx's critique of capitalism?

LEFT GUTTER PRESS: Have a look at any of these articles to catch a whiff of the "left" gutter press: "So Long Fellow Travelers" by Christopher Hitchens, "Behind the Placards: The odd and troubling origins of today's anti-war movement" in LA Weekly, by David Corn, "Who Will Lead?" Mother Jones, by Todd Gitlin, or "A Smart Peace Movement Is MIA", from the LA Times, Marc Cooper. These articles snarl like hungry wolves at the prospect of singling out International ANSWER (originally spawned from the Workers World Party, now with quite strong legs of its own) from the myriad groups in the anti-war movement and going in for the kill. It was International ANSWER, after all, that organized the massive anti-war demonstration in Washington DC in January.

THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING: With huge anti-war demonstrations planned for February 15 in New York and all over Europe — not to mention Cape Town, Sao Paulo, Manila, Istanbul, Tokyo, Cairo and other cities large and small — the Bush administration has gone on high paranoia alert. First, Ashcroft and Ridge up the national terror factor to code orange. Then federal courts in Manhattan back the NYPD's refusal to permit a February 15th march past the United Nations — or anywhere else in Manhattan for that matter — citing "heightened security concerns."

STREET TALK: Postings from NYC Indmedia's open publishing newswire show a lot of people thinking "heightened security concerns" and code orange have less to do with terrorist attacks or concern for public safety than with government worries that a large and visible anti-war movement could inhibit the Bush administration's military agenda. At least it would make it harder for Bush to claim the backing of the American public. "Manufactured consent" for this war is particularly important to the US government now that Colin Powell's allegations of Iraqi deceit have been thrown back in his face. The sham "intelligence" in Britain's Iraq dossier — which Powell praised to the UN Security Council — hasn't made Tony Blair any more popular either with a British public (and trade union leadership) overwhelmingly opposed to US actions.

SHOCK AND AWE: And just what are these proposed US actions in Iraq? Think "Hiroshima... Nagasaki." According to "defense intellectual" Harlan Ullman, rapid dominance, also known as "shock and awe" is the tactic in question. In layperson's terms this means scaring your enemy to death by means of invincible firepower as a way to quickly establish absolute domination. A confidential memo circulating around the UN takes a soberingly anti-Hollywood point of view. It attempts to estimate the humanitarian catastrophe that's likely to follow a US invasion.

IF YOU THOUGHT THE PATRIOT ACT WAS SCARY: Annihilating civil liberties became the chief domestic sport for the Bush administration with the Patriot Act. Now the Justice Department has drafted a frightening extension to Patriot Act. The domestic version of "shock and awe", also known as the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, would allow the government to strip citizens of their citizenship so that the INS could detain them without due process if they provide material support to a group defined as a “terrorist organization.” Gee, could this include groups like United for Peace and Justice, organizers of the February 15 demonstration? How about International ANSWER? (download the full text, PDF 12mb, of DSE Act 2003)

LET'S DO THE NUMBERS! The Village Voice estimates line-items in the budget of war. Everything from "number of total deaths if nuclear weapons are used: 3,900,000" to "number of days it is expeted to take for Baghdad residents to become physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted: 5."

POETS' REVENGE: When Laura Bush sent poet Sam Hammil an invitation to an evening at the White House, "I was overcome by a kind of nausea," said Hammil. "Only the day before I had read a lengthy report on George Bush's proposed 'Shock and Awe' attack on Iraq, calling for saturation bombing that would be like the firebombing of Dresden or Tokyo, killing countless innocent civilians." In response Hammil started a protest, Poets Against The War.

Provoke Debate :)

In his Mother Jones article lamenting the leadership of the anti-war movement, Todd Gitlin calls Ramsey Clark, founder of International ANSWER (the group that organized the January 18, 2003 anti-war demonstration in DC), and his supporters "morally tainted", "left-wing sectarians".

Prof. of Journalism Columbia University; contributing writer: Mother Jones Magazine
Founder: International ANSWER, former US Attorney General

That's not surprising from someone who has called anti-capitalism a "bitter-end orthodoxy" opposed to the "honest concerns" of the millions of Americans who are the presumed rightful owners of the anti-war movement. (See Gitlin's article.)

We'd like to see Todd Gitlin get "in the ring" with Ramsey Clark and duke it out. If you agree, why not send them both an e-mail challenging them to an on-air, in-print, or on-line dual (we'd be delighted to host the latter).Gloves Off has provided e-mail contacts for Gitlin and Clark.

Why not also cc at least a couple of big-wigs in the independent and corporate media with your demands and suggest they host the debate? Amy Goodman at Democracy Now has interviewed Ramsey Clark (hear her recent show on his George Bush impeachment initiative) and might be interested in the idea of a debate.

Hosts Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now
Hosts CNN's Showdown Iraq

On the corporate end, CNN's Wolf Blitzer might host the debate on his noontime, "Showdown Iraq". At least a Gitlin/Clark debate moderated by Wolf would be more high-brow than anything Fox's Bill O'Reilly would do. Recent bookings on both their shows suggest that provocative leftists boost ratings.

To e-mail them all at once (don't forget to include editor@glovesoff!), click here.