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The question of the role of people like Hedges is not one of principles in
the abstract.

MM gives the example of being on a picket line and a worker makes racist
comments. If he or she does it once, like MM says, you take them up on it,
but if they continue to do so, and if they do so out loud where everybody
can hear, then they must be removed from the picket line. Among other
things, can you imagine the disastrous consequences for that struggle if
such comments are allowed? (Of course, in general that's a very poor
example because in all the picket lines and strikes I've been involved in
over 45 years, I've never heard a racist comment from a striker, although
I'm quite sure some of them held racist ideas. That's because workers in
struggle know better.)

And as far as Hedges and similar types: Would we invite him to speak on any
issue and not take him up on his pro-Assad position? If so, then we are
being enablers. We wouldn't speak on the same platform as a racist or a
sexist without taking them up, after all. And, if you take Hedges up just
one time you can be guaranteed that he'll never accept your invitation
again. Probably wouldn't even speak on the same platform as you.

Again, this is a very practical question. Plans are presently under way for
a united "anti-war" march for this April. All the usual suspects - all the
pro-Assad groups - will be in the lead. I doubt they'll openly express
support for Assad and Putin at the march, but what will be our role? Will
we just ignore the wider issues? I think doing so would be a serious
compromise of principles.

I think we should be involved and call for support for all peoples in
struggle against racial, religious and gender divisions and against
oppression in general and also call for open opposition to all neoliberal,
oppressive regimes. I think we should also call for opposition to all
racist, fascist and semi-fascist groups. I also think we should call for no
support for either of the parties of big business here in the US and for a
working class party. This would tend to rise us up above the pacifism that
the marches will be based on and it will also put the Assadists on the spot.

Overall, we have to consider the general process. Collaborating with these
people without raising what they stand for helps boost their credibility.
It also helps further their very method of approaching questions. In any
new movement, that very method would be a serious set-back. It would make
it impossible for that movement to understand issues as they arose.

That's why we have to challenge their approach - meaning their method. And
I seriously doubt they're willing to deal with that challenge.

John Reimann
"No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them."
Assata Shakur
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