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The NDP's loony left and international terrorism

By Joseph Bressano
web posted April 14, 2003

Let's suppose that shortly after September 11th one of Canada's main political parties had put up a link on their website to the site of al-Qaida or Islamic Jihad. And even worse, had also written a glowing description of the terrorist group to go along with the link. How would most Canadians have reacted?

Socialist CaucusIf as with most Canadians (except for maybe a few Liberal cabinet members and backbenchers), your answer is that you would have been outraged, you can imagine how Colombians living in Canada would feel were they to come across the official website of the NDP's Socialist Caucus. On the home page of that site there is a link to the site of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Army of the People (FARC-EP), a notorious Colombian terrorist group which has been responsible for thousands of kidnappings and murders, and is on the US government's list of International Terrorist organizations.

Even more disturbing than the link itself is the description of the FARC given on the web page. In language taken straight from the FARC's own propaganda, they are portrayed as modern day Robin Hoods, who are struggling for "liberation" and a "democratic and sovereign New Colombia"…. No mention is made of the Marxist FARC's main source of funds, the drug trade, or their preferred methods of operation: kidnappings, bombings and murder. And definitely no mention that the FARC is resoundingly rejected by almost all Colombians, who are tired of years of war and killings by the FARC as well as by rightist paramilitaries and the army.

Here's what Human Rights Watch, a group that even most NDPers would admit leans to the left, had to say about the FARC in May of last year: "Using [gas cylinder bombs], the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army has indiscriminately killed and injured numerous civilians and destroyed homes, schools, and churches." And even more bluntly, "The FARC-EP is responsible for committing systematic atrocities against civilians." They're hardly the Robin Hoods that the NDP website would have us believe… just ask one of the many Colombians that has been kidnapped or disfigured by one of their bombs.

Colombia's ambassador to Canada, Fanny Kertzman, wrote in an impassioned op-ed last year that the FARC held 5 members of Colombia's congress and one presidential candidate hostage, but also hoped that, "…after Sept. 11, the world knows what a terrorist is and what a legitimate political movement is. The FARC has chosen terrorism, and "bleeding hearts" in the international community are at risk of being considered nothing less than accomplices to terrorism."… Obviously, she had yet to run into any of our homegrown leftists for whom being considered an accomplice to terrorism is a good thing.

It's not just Colombians that are upset at the FARC and its cohorts. The FARC has done plenty to incur the outrage of people all over the world. It has well known ties to other terror groups such as the IRA and the Basque terrorists ETA. Canadians in particular should be outraged that any Canadian would support the FARC, since it has in the past targeted Canadians working in Colombia. This includes kidnapping two Canadians, one from Vancouver and one from Montreal, in 2002. In total, the FARC has kidnapped four Canadians over the past 5 years.

So what type of Canadian political organization would go out of its way to support this gang of Guevarist left-overs that has terrorized Colombians and Canadians?? Something this loony would have to somehow involve the NDP. This time, the specific culprits are the Socialist Caucus, a hard left sect that has—apparently quite easily—infiltrated the NDP. Their ideology is Trotskyite, and they even consider Svend Robinson a weak-kneed sell-out. If you thought the loony left was dead inside the NDP, think again.

Support for the FARC is only one of the many gems found on the Socialist Caucus website. Other positions include calling for sanctions against Israel, opposing the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan (which they call "Canada's slaughter of the Afghani people") and offering tours of Castro's dictatorship in Cuba, which the Caucus seems to have a special affinity for. According to a linked site specifically devoted to the Cuban tours, Socialist Caucus support for the Cuban regime remains undaunted even despite Castro's recent show-trials and executions, which were hurriedly carried out while the world's attention was focused on Iraq.

Mercifully this party-within-a-party is tiny, despite having won the support of a few radical professors when it ran Bev Meslo in the NDP leadership race last year. But even small political groups can make waves, so one has to wonder what the "mainstream" NDP has to say about the views of their hard left—especially when it's a clear case of Trotskyite infiltration. Do Layton and the NDP leadership condone this open support for an international terror group coming from within their own party? A worthwhile question, but I doubt that anyone in the NDP will be in a big hurry to answer it. Perhaps we'll have to wait until the FARC kills a Canadian.

Joseph Bressano is the pen name of a former trader for one of the major banks who has recently returned to free-lance writing. He was born in Colombia.

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