Redbaiting on the Left

The War on Iraq drags on with no clear end in sight.  The war on Afghanistan is being escalated.  The war on Pakistan has also been stepped up, a war undeclared by Congress, therefore unconstitutional and the basis for an impeachment.  All this has happened since Obama took office.

And yet with one exception, no national antiwar demonstration has been called.  Worse, to a large degree the one demonstration called, for this coming weekend, March 21, has been blacked out on the “respectable Left.”  This ugly fact was brought home to me quite strikingly yesterday at a meeting of single-payer activists, most also antiwar activists.  No one with whom I spoke knew about the coming demonstration!  Part of the reason is that some have tried to characterize this action as a fringe event, because it has been called by A.N.S.W.E.R., about which more below and with which this writer is not affiliated.

This mobilization has a list of endorsers which are cannot readily be dismissed. For starters: Cindy Sheehan, Code Pink, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Ron Kovic, Edward Asner, Mimi Kennedy, Ramsey Clark, School of the Americas Watch, San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO) and many other labor locals as well as Green Party locals.

Despite this, the official peace movement, sock puppets of the Democrat Party, like MoveOn and UFPJ, is refusing to join or even to publicize this effort in any substantial way.

And this was predicted some time back by no less a monster than neocon McCarthyite David Horowitz who wrote in the Wall Street Journal not so many weeks ago as he gazed fondly on Obama’s inauguration:

“Consider: When President Obama commits this nation to war against the Islamic terrorists, as he already has in Afghanistan, he will take millions of previously alienated and disaffected Americans with him, and they will support our troops in a way that most of his party has refused to support them until now. When another liberal, Bill Clinton went to war from the air, there was no anti-war movement in the streets or in his party’s ranks to oppose him. That is an encouraging fact for us…

And so it has come to pass.

Now some in UFPJ have characterized A.N.S.W.E.R. as loony lefties because a leading member is a group calling itself “Marxist-Leninist.”  Zowie, kids!  That is really scary!  I remind such people that Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King were not deterred from allying with “Marxist-Leninists,” nor were any of those who joined in the fight against Nazism and Colonialism.  What is the big deal?  If A.N.S.W.E.R. is the only group willing to organize a loud and clear street opposition to the Obama version of war and empire, I for one will not be deterred from joining in by a pathetic bit of  redbaiting.  And if only those who call themselves “Marxists-Leninists” are willing to call such an action, then perhaps there is something in the wisdom of Marx, and Lenin, that remains of value.

So the question really is, Which side are you on?  That of the Obamanation and the Democrat Party version of war and empire?  Or on the side of public, mass opposition to the war? I hope that as many as possible choose the latter course – in D.C., L.A or S.F.

JOHN WALSH can be reached at

John V. Walsh, until recently a Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, has written on issues of peace and health care for the San Francisco Chronicle, EastBayTimes/San Jose Mercury News, Asia Times, LA Progressive,, CounterPunch and others.