The ANSWER Coalition has asked United for Peace and Justice to join in a unified antiwar demonstration on Sept. 24. UFPJ refused and instead called a counter demonstration on the same day in the same town. They don’t appear to want unity. ANSWER does!
From an ANSWER FAQ.
ANSWER issued a call on May 12 and invited UFPJ to work together in a united front demonstration. Eleven days later, on May 23, UFPJ’s leadership responded to ANSWER’s proposal for unity by issuing a public announcement, without consulting their membership, that they were now going to cancel their planned September 10, 2005, demonstration in NYC and instead call a demonstration on September 24 in Washington DC, the same date and location as the earlier ANSWER call. UFPJ added that they were opposed to a united activity and that they would hold a separate demonstration from ANSWER.
Question: If the focus of the demonstration is on the Iraq war why does ANSWER raise other issues in the political program for the demonstration?
Response: There has been a debate about “connecting issues” or having an exclusively “single issue” focus since the 1960’s. Martin Luther King, Jr. was severely criticized for publicly and courageously connecting the civil rights struggle at home with the growing opposition to the Vietnam War. Today, all progressive people applaud Dr. King’s courageous position but at the time he was accused of alienating some supporters of civil rights by his strong antiwar stance.
During that time, repression was greatest against those fighting racism and for liberation within the United States, but some antiwar leaders insisted that the movement strictly have antiwar slogans, rather than show solidarity with the targeted Black and Latino communities. Their desire to include some sectors of the population into the antiwar movement effectively excluded others. There is no reason to repeat this paradigm.
Question: Is it too late to have a united front between the ANSWER-initiated September 24 National Coalition and UFPJ? Is ANSWER prepared to work with UFPJ?
Response: As stated above, ANSWER still supports having a united front rally and march, despite the efforts of UFPJ leaders to split the movement. We are completely willing to continue to work with and engage UFPJ, regardless of significant political differences with UFPJ.
Only UFPJ is stating it will not have a united front demonstration. To date, UFPJ’s leadership (which, of course, is different than its “membership”) remains steadfast in its refusal to have a united rally and march. It has stated it only wishes to organize a separate rally.
If there are two demonstrations on September 24 it will reflect division and segregation. It may come to that, but it would be stronger to have a single, united, multi-national and multi-ethnic show of unity in opposition to the war. We are convinced that a principled united front is not only desirable, but still possible.
UFPJ, knowingly or not, is playing a centrist Democratic Party game, attempting to demoralize and split the antiwar movement, sluicing protest into the Democratic Party where it will be defused or ignored. More and more they are allying themselves with the Democrats and to what end? I’m not noticing any Congressional Democrats opposing the war, are you? So why are they deliberately trying the fracture the antiwar movement?
Let’s all move towards massive unified antiwar protests on Sept. 24!