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Regulated Resistance (about UFPJ leadership, or lack of)

BY CHARLES SHAW - In February of this year, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), a coalition of more than 800 peace and justice groups throughout the United States, held their second annual Assembly to hear and vote on proposals for a 2005 “action plan.” With the war in Iraq fast approaching its second anniversary, and the larger “War on Terror” crossing its third and half year, close to 500 delegates from 275 member groups traveled to St. Louis in the hopes that the “anti-war movement”—which emerged with unprecedented speed and size just prior to the US invasion of Iraq in spring of 2003—could be resuscitated.
"Janice Matthews, a mother of six from Kansas City, Kansas, two of whom are draft age, has been involved with the 9/11 Truth Movement since its inception more than two years ago. She and seven colleagues attended the Assembly to present a campaign to raise awareness of the government cover-up of the real facts behind the September 11th attacks. She believes that the proposals that were adopted at the Assembly speak pretty clearly to the direction of UFPJ and, more importantly, their seeming lack of willingness to accept or participate in any risk."


Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - 01:06 PM

BY CHARLES SHAW - In February of this year, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), a coalition of more than 800 peace and justice groups throughout the United States, held their second annual Assembly to hear and vote on proposals for a 2005 “action plan.” With the war in Iraq fast approaching its second anniversary, and the larger “War on Terror” crossing its third and half year, close to 500 delegates from 275 member groups traveled to St. Louis in the hopes that the “anti-war movement”—which emerged with unprecedented speed and size just prior to the US invasion of Iraq in spring of 2003—could be resuscitated. Despite impressive beginnings, the movement as a whole has yet to make any significant impact on US policy, or achieve any lasting public resonance. More disturbing is the fact that since Bush’s victory in November, it has gone completely MIA.

One week after the election, the US launched a massive, sustained offensive on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which absolutely leveled the metropolis of 350,000. Virtually everyone in the “movement” knew this offensive was a forgone conclusion should Bush be reelected (though few understood that the offensive would likely have gone ahead regardless of who won). Yet, despite this foreknowledge, the streets of America remained empty. In San Francisco, the usual hotbed for anti-war activism, barely 500 people showed up to a demonstration organized by the local chapter of International ANSWER, and endorsed by Global Exchange & Code Pink, the two most prominent activist groups in the Bay Area.

Most rationalized the poor turnout by claiming the movement was “saving its energy for the Counter-Inaugural Protests.” It was believed by activists and even by FEMA that the protests would be the largest and most volatile since the reelection of Richard Nixon in 1972. But instead, the Counter-Inaugural became an organizing boondoggle, and in the end an anemic gaggle of less than 10,000 protestors showed up in Washington, DC. The Inauguration itself turned out to be one gigantic Republican hootenanny with over 400,000 fur-clad Bush supporters turning out to hail their Chief. So innocuous were the protestors that Bush backers actively harassed and on a few occasions even physically attacked them in the street.

Even though the hard core members of the anti-war movement had been protesting for three and a half years—since the days following 9/11 when the Bush Administration leapt immediately and, some argued, recklessly into war mode, audaciously proclaiming “a war that will not end in our lifetime”—it was clear that whatever the “movement” was doing, it wasn’t working. It sadly had become the proverbial tree that falls in the forest, unseen, unheard, and unheeded. By the time the UFPJ Assembly came around, it was clear that time had come to consider radical new possibilities.

Unfortunately, the Assembly was far from radical. What emerged from that conclave was a benign and puzzling collection of campaigns utterly lacking in passion, outrage, or threat. There was really no way to explain such politically correct palaver as “Presenting the Cost of War to Local Communities”, and “Supporting Clergy and Laity”, and tacit lip service was paid to a series of fourteen other proposals which UFPJ stated they “will support through website publicity, email announcements, and/or other similar means.” Some of these, such as War Tax Resistance, Counter-Recruitment campaigns, and Direct Actions on SUV manufacturers for contributing to oil dependence, are substantially more important, more powerful and, many would argue, more necessary tactics than letting the local priest know you’re down with his peace efforts.

I spoke with many attendees who left the Assembly wondering what had happened to the “resistance” in the resistance movement, and why the “anti-war movement,” in its present incarnation, is not addressing the root causes of our war policies.

Janice Matthews, a mother of six from Kansas City, Kansas, two of whom are draft age, has been involved with the 9/11 Truth Movement since its inception more than two years ago. She and seven colleagues attended the Assembly to present a campaign to raise awareness of the government cover-up of the real facts behind the September 11th attacks. She believes that the proposals that were adopted at the Assembly speak pretty clearly to the direction of UFPJ and, more importantly, their seeming lack of willingness to accept or participate in any risk.

“It was a contingent of mainly middle-aged, middle-class Liberals who chose very safe, mostly easy proposals,” Matthews said, “and rejected the more powerful and potentially more ‘dangerous’ proposals—the ones that might have had a real impact. It also seemed like they alienated the youth contingent by flatly rejecting all the Direct Action proposals. I fear this will come back to haunt the movement.”


(Very well said Janice and Charles! nice graphic, Jan)

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Regulated Resistance : Part 2- The Gatekeepers

Regulated Resistance: Pt. 2 - The Gatekeepers of the So-Called Left
Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 12:48 PM

BY CHARLES SHAW - Last February United for Peace and Justice, the largest representative coalition within the American "anti-war movement", emerged from their second annual Assembly with a 2005 "action plan" that effectively caged the "anti-war" debate exclusively within the Iraq conflict to achieve partisan ends on behalf of the pro-war Democratic Party and their Neoliberal corporate benefactors. Their "action plan" refused to address any of the core issues of US Foreign and Defense policy, which are the root causes of a pervading culture of war and militarism that has taken over the nation in the years since WWII.

These decisions are part of a larger pattern of "regulated resistance", a system by which dissent is carefully managed and constrained by self, overt, or covert censorship; denial-based-psychology; fear of personal or professional criticism and reprisal; and pressure from powers above including elected officials and those establishment foundations which flood millions into the not-for-profit activist sector.

This establishment money, and the access it grants, has caused many ostensible resistance leaders to suddenly and dramatically abandon long-held ideological positions and shift their behavior towards doing what can clearly be seen as the bidding of those in power whose views and values are in direct contravention to the established mores of peace and justice movements throughout history.

These "resistance leaders" of the "Left" act as "Gatekeepers"—influential "progressive" figures who use their resources and visibility to regulate the debate, tactics, and rhetoric of the "anti-war" and other "progressive" movements.

The Gatekeepers of the So-Called "Left"
"The press is the hired agent of a moneyed system, set up for no other reason than to tell us lies where their interests are concerned." — Henry Adams
In his shocking investigative report "The Left Gatekeepers", journalist Bob Feldman researched purportedly "Left" activist and media organizations that receive substantial funding from large establishment foundations with known ties to the CIA, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and even the much-maligned Carlyle Group, the arms dealing "investment fund" featured in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, of which GHW Bush, the Saudi royal family, and, at one time, the Bin Laden family, are all equity partners.

The Foundation structure is used by these organizations to funnel corporate and personal wealth into the policy-making process. Foundations are tax-free, and contributions to foundations are deductible from federal corporate and individual income taxes. The Foundations themselves are not subject to federal income taxation, and they control hundreds of billions of dollars of money that would normally go to pay these necessary taxes.

Feldman asks, "Are the interests of the people being served by 'dissidents' who are being subsidized by the agencies of the ruling class whom they should be exposing? What does this say about the motivations behind the Left establishment's ideological warfare against conspiracy researchers, and their adoption of an increasingly watered-down analytical view which fails to look closely at the inner power structures and conspiracies of the ruling elite?"

Many of these "dissidents" Feldman describes are members of the UFPJ Steering Committee, and he specifically cites prominent peace activist Medea Benjamin, and Leslie Cagan, the renowned anti-nuke activist who is now UFPJ's National Director.

Disproportionate Influence and a Profound Conflict of Interest

Medea Benjamin and Kevin Danaher co-founded the international human rights organization Global Exchange 17 years ago. In that time they have been consistently clear and outspoken with their views on war and Neoliberalism—more commonly known as corporate globalization. Because of their combined intellectual acuity and renowned fearlessness, Benjamin's media savvy, and the access they have been granted through some of their more prominent benefactors such as the MacArthur Foundation and billionaire financier George Soros, they have come to command a high level of visibility in progressive politics.

Benjamin has fast made a name for herself as a leading figure in the "anti-war movement" with well-publicized media stunts at the Republican and Democratic Conventions, disruptions of FCC and Congressional hearings, and frequent trips to the Middle East to showcase the suffering of the Iraqi and Afghani people. She also benefits from her proximity to well-known "progressive" leaders, celebrities, and journalists. Alongside her Code Pink Women for Peace, and Danaher's Green Festivals, Global Exchange has come to command a significant market share in the larger peace and justice community, reaping enormous "street cred" within the activist world.

Benjamin also wields a disproportionate amount of weight within the Green Party of the United States, having run for Senator of California on their ticket in 2000, and within the anti-war umbrella group United for Peace and Justice, where she sits on their Steering Committee and is arguably their most influential member. As testament, Benjamin and her Global Exchange/Code Pink cadre were the authors of three of the five proposals passed by UFPJ at the February Assembly.

But during the 2004 Presidential campaign, Benjamin's message and tone began to shift dramatically into what came to be known as the "ABB" movement—Anybody But Bush. She and eighty fellow prominent leaders who once formed the one hundred-thirteen member "Nader 2000 Citizens Committee" put forth a petition urging anti-war Nader not to run, and instead threw their support behind pro-war Democratic Party candidate John Kerry. At the Green Party National Convention in Milwaukee last June Benjamin campaigned heavily for "safe-state" candidate David Cobb, who was also unabashedly ABB and even initially pledged not to run in swing states, though he now denies it. Benjamin cajoled Greens into neither nominating Nader nor giving him the official endorsement he and running mate Peter Camejo had publicly sought from the party.

The pro and con arguments of ABB have been argued exhaustively, and many do not find the issue relevant any longer. But they are relevant when considering just how UFPJ became ABB and has since found itself embroiled in partisan politics working to attack exclusively the Bush Administration and their competing Neoconservative movement, despite the fact that American war policy is a bipartisan program.

Leslie Cagan's Pacifica Foundation is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which was recently taken over by what has been described as a "Right Wing coup"), the Rockefeller-funded Working Assets group, and the ubiquitous George Soros. Like PBS, the Pacifica Network recently went through a takeover drama where a cabal of Board members attempted to sell the station off to center-mainstream corporate interests. Cagan is also reportedly connected to the right-wing Ford Foundation, which funnels money to her through a Lesbian advocacy group known as Astraea.

Peace Action, which describes itself as "the nation's largest grassroots peace group" that "gets results," is funded in part by a Working Assets grant. Both Peace Action and Working Assets gave UFPJ a combined total of $45,000 for their 2003 operating budget (the last year UFPJ published their financial statements, something they are required by law to do annually). UFPJ also received a $151,000 grant from the Funding Exchange, a network of social justice foundations throughout the United States that gives money to progressive organizations.

What outrages many of those within the activist community who are aware of these funding sources is that these so-called "dissidents" would consent to take money from these foundations given the long and voluminous history they have as part of the war-making establishment.

In his book Trading with the Enemy, Charles Hingham documents how both the Rockefeller and Ford fortunes were enhanced in part through collaboration with Nazi Germany, the Rockefellers by selling the Nazis oil through the Standard Oil Company, and the Fords by selling the Nazis tanks through subsidiary corporations (note: the only industrial infrastructure spared in the Allied bombing of Germany was the Ford Motors plant near Cologne). Both Standard Oil (eventually Amoco) and the Ford Motor Co. made huge profits from Defense contracts following WWII. Since 1950 a Rockefeller has held a prominent leadership position in the Council on Foreign Relations, and David Rockefeller was cofounder of the Trilateral Commission. Both organizations helped craft the "Carter Doctrine" of the late 1970s which stated that the US would heretofore intervene militarily to protect its oil supply from the Middle East.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has been the historical driving force behind such bedrock institutions of corporate globalization as the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Word Trade Organization, and NATO, and which Esquire magazine referred to in 1962 as "that part of the Establishment that guides our destiny as a nation." In 1950, the Chicago Tribune published a story on the CFR in which they stated, "[the members] have used the prestige that their wealth, their social position, and their education have given them to lead their country towards bankruptcy and military debacle. They should look at their hands. There is blood on them—the dried blood of the last war and the fresh blood of the present one."

Billionaire George Soros, who refers to himself as a "progressive philanthropist", has since 1995 been part of the arms-dealing Carlyle Group, in which he has invested a reported $100 Million, and has substantial stock holdings in weapons manufacturers Boeing and Lockheed-Martin. He is a member and former Director of the CFR, and is a member of the enigmatic Bilderberg Group, a collection of approximately 1300 of the world's richest and most powerful figures in business, banking, media, military, and government, who meet once a year in extreme secrecy and under almost unfathomable security, and whose official purpose and actions remain a mystery, spurring a deluge of wide-ranging speculation.

The 353-member American contingent of Bilderberg is a bipartisan cavalcade that includes Paul Wolfowitz, David Rockefeller, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Vernon Jordan, Melinda Gates, Bill Clinton, and Alan Greenspan. It is long argued and well documented that the mission of this organization, working in conjunction with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission, is to manipulate world governments and economies to promote a global, capitalist agenda commonly referred to as the "New World Order". These supranational bodies seek to dismantle national sovereignty (through mechanisms such as "Free Trade" agreements) in favor of a one-world government which primarily upholds the rights of corporations and the wealthy over the people.

This connection begs the question: How much influence does Soros and his ilk have over Benjamin et al, and, by proxy, the "anti-war movement"? Is this relationship the reason Benjamin has dropped the anti-Globalization rhetoric and instead become immersed in partisan wrangling over the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq? Is this the reason she has adopted a "blowback" stance with regards to 9/11 and the resultant "War on Terror"? At the UFPJ Assembly, Benjamin abstained from voting on the 9/11 Truth proposal, and afterwards explained her abstention by claiming she was "afraid a vote for the proposal would mean that UFPJ would have to work with certain 'difficult people' involved in the 9/11 Truth movement."

It is unfortunate Benjamin cannot bring herself to work with "difficult" people (even though it is doubtful she is even aware of just who is and is not a recognized credible member of 9/11 Truth). Because of the nature of 9/11 research, it sadly finds itself constantly infiltrated by the proverbial kook and various degrees of disinformation, but Benjamin and UFPJ have taken an all-inclusive, monolithic view of this very complex and diverse movement. It is even more unfortunate, and some might argue tragic, that personal foibles take priority over justice for the families of 3,000 people killed on that fateful day in September, and the hundreds of thousands killed in the name of the "War on Terror" as some form of retribution for 9/11. Unless, of course, it was not a personal foible that influenced her decision to abstain, but something more direct, such as a mandate from her funders, the threat of some form of professional backlash or reprisal, or simple peer disapproval.

And perhaps the greatest insult to injury is that she is now raising money for the (somewhat oxymoronic) Progressive Democrats of America. As Ralph Nader's running mate Peter Camejo wrote in an open letter to the Green Party, "In the fund appeal for the PDA [Benjamin] says the PDA is not the Democratic Party. It is like saying the Panama Canal is not Panama."

An Open Letter to ANSWER and UFPJ:

An Open Letter to ANSWER and UFPJ:
Get with the program, or get out of the way!
Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 12:09 PM

To whom it may concern,

I writing to tell you that I will not be attending any more of your protest actions, and although that fact is admittedly insignificant, the reason behind it certainly isn’t, because the reason is shared by hundreds of political activists, and millions of political dissenters.

Much in the way that the mainstream media has become marginalized as a source of information, your organization has become marginalized in the arena of political protest, and much for the same reasons.

You’re sticking to old routines in a world that’s changed, and you refuse to honestly address the real problems we face today. Our government has promised us a war we won’t live to see the end of, and your organization seems to be convinced that marching in circles behind humiliating metal fences is going to change that. What your organization achieves actually helps the opposition, because it convinces the public that protests are futile, and dissenters only get beaten and arrested without ever changing anything.

Your willingness to oppose our criminal government is obviously restrained by your fear, or your money, or both, but whatever the case may be, your opposition is worse than ineffective, because it wastes the time and effort of activists and dissenters who work and assemble with the hope of improving our world. Although you claim to be fighting to stop war, your organization refuses to address the issues of 9-11, which happens to be what’s making endless war possible.

Because of 9-11, most Americans will not vehemently oppose any war that can be even remotely (or racially) attributed to "fighting terrorism." Because of 9-11, Americans are being taught to accept a violent and racist world-view that justifies the slaughter of millions for imperial expansion. Because of 9-11, our constitution has been trampled by the same criminals who murdered 3000 people here on that day. Since your organization refuses to address the events of 9-11, what the hell is it that you do?

If you’re "united for peace and justice," shouldn’t you be looking at the cause of our wars, and seeking justice for the murdered masses? If you want to "stop war and end racism," wouldn’t it make sense to unearth its roots?

The 9-11 Truth Movement can no longer be considered a collection of "conspiracy theorists" on the fringes of society. We’ve worked for years to expose the truth, and now millions of Americans are aware of our government’s complicity in the attacks of 9-11. These same millions view your organization as silly and useless because you insist on marching in circles holding signs that say "stop the war in Iraq," while the pentagon plans many wars to follow. The anti-war movement is being ignored, and it deserves to be, because as long as its leaders insist on ignoring the most important issue of our time, it’s worse than useless.

Please accept the painful reality of our situation. Both political parties ignore the will of the people, endorse fraudulent elections, and support endless war. All three branches of our government are under firm control of the white house, and our freedom is all but gone. Our military practices rounding up civilians, while our federal government builds more prison camps. The United States is rapidly becoming a fascist dictatorship, and there’s no time to waste on your useless agenda.

Much like the Democratic party, who provided a peace loving people with a war mongering candidate, you’ve lost touch with the people who supported you, and you’ve ignored their concerns. In your attempt to sell yourself like a box of soap, you appealed to the masses, and disgusted the grass-roots activists.

Our government no longer represents the people of the United States, and neither do you. Either take up the cause of 9-11 truth, or get your silly organization out of the way. This country needs change that will never be achieved by a gang of rich old ladies who are afraid to accept the horrifying realities of today’s world.

You help to perpetuate our government’s lie by lending it credence, and in doing so, you help to make more war possible. When will you recognize what much of America already knows? If you oppose war, expose the lies of 9-11. The main reason I’m opposed to the war, is because I know the truth. If I thought "Islamic terrorists" were responsible for 9-11, I might be shooting at them too.


Jolly Roger is a less-than-jolly-these-days American. Anything written by Jolly Roger is the property of the American people, and the author hereby grants permission to anyone who so desires to post, copy, forward or distribute this letter as they see fit, and in fact, the author encourages you to do so.

Re: Regulated Resistance (about UFPJ leadership, or lack of)

In my opinion these groups are just playing the game of realpolitik, taking money where it comes and making practical, calculated political moves so that they don't appear too radical for the mainstream, maybe waiting for the pendulum to swing the opposite direction. Sure they are not purists like you appear to be, and yes they are selling out. So if you don't like their tactics, try something different. Writing long exposes and character assassinations on these groups -- which probably share 90% of your opinions on actual policy but simply differ with you in method -- serves no purpose. The first thing the present administration wants to see is the factions of the left devouring each other.

Re: Regulated Resistance (about UFPJ leadership, or lack of)


You make the same mistakes everyone else makes.

You said, "The first thing the present administration wants to see is the factions of the left devouring each other."

1) You assume, just like the organizations mentioned in the articles, that "the present administration" is the problem, instead of what has been clearly shown as Bipartisan policy.
2) You assume these "factions of the left" have not already devoured each other. They did long ago.

and lastly

3) You assume I am on "the Left". I am not.I am not on "the Right" either. We must STOP thinking in these terms. Left and Right are simply means fo r the ruling powers to divide and rule us. If we spend all our time fighting each other, we'll never rise up against them.

Re: Regulated Resistance (about UFPJ leadership, or lack of)

What a relief to know that I have a lot of company in my mistakes. Maybe there is some truth to them..

I do not think the present tragedy of the Iraq war and occupation is the result of Bipartisan policy. I challenge you to point where this is "clearly shown". I believe that the military-industrial, neoconservative wing of the GOP has pushed through its war agenda, over the objections of most everyone else. There is a difference between devising and implementing policy and being too weak and politically intimidated to stop it.

When do you think the factions of the left devoured each other? I can think back to the Spanish Civil War, when the Communist wing of the Popular Front turned on their allies the Syndicalists and the Socialists, costing them all the war. I do not see any factional tensions of this type today, maybe because we are not in power yet, and as the saying goes "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

I know that the term "the left" is vague. I am using it to refer to the same groups you are when you use the word in your article. I agree with your last point completely, which is why I do not understand your continuing denunciation of these groups.

Re: Regulated Resistance (about UFPJ leadership, or lack of)

My brain lit up when I read "regulated resistence" and "alienating the youth" because all the activist groups I attend are full of middle aged has beens that are too afraid to look radical. They manipulate the meetings, talk down to younger speakers, and cause divides EVERY MEETING! Specifically, the Greens in KC are consistent with this behavior. They show up to all the events, and allow regulation in all the meetings. Nothing gets down but the same bullshit, and I haven't seen many over 30 years old at their "protests." It's sad, embarrassing, and it makes myself and my peers feel isolated, which causes more radical ideas to surface.
Why are we pussyfooting around the issues to rally SUV-Kerry supporters?

Re: Regulated Resistance (about UFPJ leadership, or lack of)

"Janice Matthews, a mother of six from Kansas City, Kansas, two of whom are draft age, has been involved with the 9/11 Truth Movement since its inception more than two years ago. "

I know there isn't a draft anymore, and I'm actually a conspiracy nut, which I refer to as the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Why aren't "peace" protests successful? Because they're largely comprised of loonies like this who rant on about things like the Trilateral Commission and the Rockefellers. Tighten up the tinfoil hats, and have another meeting.

Re: Regulated Resistance (about UFPJ leadership, or lack of)

it is much easier to criticize a movement than to change it from within, or work on one of your own. for all their stodginess and patronization, at least they are doing something. if you cannot bring yourself to work with them directly, at least you could form an alliance with them. stop criticizing and organize.


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