Shouting for Attention

Burn­ing up the blo­gos­phere is a post and dis­cus­sion on Michael J Totten’s site about the “Work­ers World Par­ty and Inter­na­tion­al ANSWeR”:http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/000131.html.
He calls them “the new skin­heads” (huh?), but his cri­tique of these orga­ni­za­tions and the “uncon­di­tion­al sup­port” they give to anti-U.S. fas­cists the world over is valid.
As a paci­fist it’s often a tough bal­anc­ing act to try to remain a steady voice for peace: this spring we were try­ing to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly cri­tiquing both Sad­dam Hus­sein and U.S. war plans against iraq. Both left and right denounce paci­fists for this insis­tence on con­sis­ten­cy, but that’s okay: it is these times when non­vi­o­lent activists have the most to con­tribute to the larg­er soci­etal debate. But hard-left groups like Inter­na­tion­al ANSWeR refuse to draw the line and refuse to con­demn the very real evil that exists in the world.
Inter­na­tion­al ANSWeR has spon­sored big anti-war ral­lies over the last year, but anti-war is not nec­es­sar­i­ly pro-nonviolence. Many of the par­tic­i­pants at the ral­lies would nev­er sup­port Inter­na­tion­al ANSWeR’s larg­er agen­da, but go because it’s a peace ral­ly, shrug­ging off the pol­i­tics of the spon­sor­ing group. I sus­pect that Inter­na­tion­al ANSWeR’s sup­port base would dis­ap­pear pret­ty quick­ly if they start­ed ral­ly­ing on oth­er issues.
Inter­na­tion­al ANSWeR just had anoth­er ral­ly last week­end but you didn’t see it list­ed here on Non​vi​o​lence​.org. Oth­er peace groups co-sponsored it, echo­ing the All-caps/exclamation style of orga­niz­ing. It’s very strange to go the site of “Unit­ed for peace,” a coali­tion of peace groups, and look down the list of its next three events: “Stop the Wall!,” “Stop the FTAA!, “Shut Down the School of the Amer­i­c­as” When did paci­fism become shout­ing for atten­tion along­side the Work­ers World Par­ty? Why are we all about stop­ping this and shut­ting down that?