UPJ comes on as moderate enough to attract the churches and groups like Greenpeace. Its real function may be to deflect attention from the real power in the anti-war movement, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), which doesn't bother to look moderate. ANSWER is a front group for the hard-left International Action Center (IAC), which is a front group for the Workers World Party, an old-line Stalinist group with legendary organizing skills. The WWP supported the Soviet invasion of Hungary, backed China's massacre in Tiananmen Square and fiercely supports Kim Jong Il's fanatic regime in North Korea. Few people in the "peace" movement seem bothered by having to listen to Leninist orators or walking along in marches with fans of North Korea.
The most hotly debated issue on the far-far-left is whether inspections in Iraq should go on forever, or whether inspections are illegitimate acts of war that must stop immediately. The latter notion is favored by ANSWER and Ramsey Clark, the addled former attorney general, now a figurehead for the IAC. He defends Slobodan Milosovic, says the United States has already launched genocide in Iraq and argues that Jesus Christ was a terrorist.
The stench arising from the organizers attracts zero interest in the mainstream press. Writing in National Review, Byron Scott called it "the story no one wants to hear about the anti-war movement." If anti-war demonstrations were being organized by a tobacco company or the Augusta National Golf Club, the liberal establishment would erupt in screams of protest. No screaming now, though. These sponsors are just off-the-wall loonies and Stalinist front groups.
Coverage of Feb. 15 gave us conventional soccer-mom reporting, focused on ordinary Americans, preferably Republicans, veterans and people who had never marched before. Wholesomeness was everywhere.
The news media and the organizers' Web sites featured photos of children and earnest "give peace a chance" demonstrators. But if you poke around the Internet, you can turn up different pictures and messages at the New York rally: the ritual scorn for "Amerika," "Queer Resistance for Palestine," hammer-and-sickle flags, pictures of Che Guevara and the predictable images of President Bush as Hitler. The banners of ANSWER, some huge, seemed to be everywhere. Apparently the far-left presence was bigger and uglier in San Francisco and Europe.
Many anti-war people understand the problem of relying so heavily on the Stalinists. They say little, but they wonder whether the soccer moms will crowd out the Stalinists, or whether the dangerous hard left is in the process of taking over the "peace" movement entirely. Good question.