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Anti-warriors then and now

By Lisa Fabrizio
web posted August 23, 2004

With the advent of the Republican Convention close at hand, much has been made of the various protest groups that will descend on the Big Apple to wreak havoc on that great city. Threats of violence call to mind the days when the anti-war movement was young and the similarities and differences between then and now.

It started out small with a cadre of college students whose heads were filled with Communist dreams by professors who'd sat at the feet of those who worshipped at the shrine of Uncle Joe Stalin. That earliest movement lie dormant during and immediately after WWII, but sprung into action when the Cold War suddenly turned hot. An America at war in Vietnam and enduring casualties was ripe for the taking.

An anti-war poster by the Harlem Progressive Labour Club
An anti-war poster by the Harlem Progressive Labour Club

Seeking to capitalize on the civil rights struggle, they often aligned themselves with radical groups like the Black Panthers, willing partners in violent class warfare. They stoked the flames of racism, portraying minority Vietnam veterans as pawns of whitey's military industrial complex. And after Watts burned, smoke from the pipes of a rising drug culture fit in nicely with the aims of the revolutionaries and their message was clear: America as we know it must go.

In any other era, these types of fringe groups would be ignored into obscurity or eliminated altogether. In the confluence of insanity that was the '60s however, they were embraced and abetted by like-thinking types in the media. Members of the 'silent majority', weary of weathering the Great Depression and fighting WWII, were unable to withstand their children's assault on the establishment and the revolution was on.

Time, common sense and the fall of the Soviet Union brought peace and prosperity and sent this movement underground for a time, but now they and their progeny are back. With the nation once again at war and with some of the casualties on our very shores, they once again seek to use our vulnerability to their advantage. And it is despicable.

I happened to be in New York on October 7, 2001 when the first bombs dropped in Afghanistan, less than one month after that city suffered untold horror. Yet there were thousands in Bryant Square Park protesting the fact that President Bush was striking back at the monsters that had slaughtered their countrymen.

Their reaction? A charming group called ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) chanted "One, two, three four, we don't want your racist war." Extremists equating racism and war again proves that if you have no new ideas and your only agenda is the subversion of American Capitalism, you can go home again.

Many of the leaders of the current "anti-war" groups share the same tactics of those who used opposition of the Vietnam War to support Communism. But give the earlier version this: at least they thought the Reds' idea of Utopia was worth fighting for. Those black-masked young thugs coming to New York next week surely wish for our defeat, as they carry signs like: "We support are troops - when they shoot their officers." But whom do they support?

I asked one college-aged girl just that at a rally in Washington DC last year. Youthful eyes should be filled with curiosity, hope and innocence. Peering through a black kerchief, hers were devoid of anything but white-hot hate. Her answer that she was a "socialist anarchist" filled me with sadness that her parents were wasting a vast sum of money on her 'education'.

So they will come to New York brandishing their own special brand of anarchy, complete with profanity, violence, flag-burning and hate. And their absence in great numbers last month in Boston, coupled with the vitriol directed at the Republicans will be implicit evidence of which party they support.

Here's hoping that the media gives them all the attention they deserve.

Lisa Fabrizio is an internet columnist from Connecticut. You may write her at mailbox@lisafab.com.

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