Saturday, June 04, 2005



by John Spritzler (

"Hello Mrs. Smith, I think you and all of your neighbors should die a violent death at the hands of oppressed people of the world, and I was wondering if you would sign this petition against the U.S. government's crime of ..."

Apparently, this is how Richard Hugus thinks radicals should organize in the United States. In his emailed article (copied below), Mr. Hugus defends terrorism against ordinary Americans, such as was carried out by whoever did the 9/11 attack. Mr. Hugus's email was widely distributed by the New England Committee to Defend Palestine (NECDP), in reply to my previous post, "The 9/11 Litmus Test for American Radicals." In my "9/11 Litmus Test" post I said that terrorism against ordinary people, like the 9/11 attack, is morally wrong. Furthermore, supporting such terrorism in the name of "radicalism" sabotages the efforts of genuine radicals to build a popular mass revolutionary movement. It plays right into the hands of ruling elites who try to portray those opposed to them as terrorists who are a threat to innocent people. This is so obvious that a number of individuals asked me why I even bothered to post a long article making these points which everybody already agreed with.

As if to convince skeptics that there really are people posing as radicals who support 9/11-type terrorism against random Americans, along comes Mr. Hugus, speaking apparently for the New England Committee to Defend Palestine, who actually equates radicalism with support for the 9/11 terrorists. I think that is the only possible interpretation of his words when he writes:

"He [Spritzler] attacks the 9/11 bombers. And then he attacks the people who support them. The CIA couldn't have found a better agent - one who claims to speak for radicals while denouncing everything they do, and ignoring the entire history that led them to it."

There aren't very many people in the United States with the pro-terrorism views of Mr. Hugus. But if you want to find them, the place to look is in organizations, like the NECDP for example, which oppose U.S. imperialism and/or Israeli oppression of Palestinians, but on a basis which is morally and politically corrupt. We need good radical organizations that expose and organize against U.S. crimes abroad and Israeli apartheid, but we need the likes of Richard Hugus like we need a hole in the head.

There are basically just two ways to frame our opposition to the very real crimes that the U.S. and Israeli governments commit against people around the world. One way can succeed in stopping these crimes, and the other way only helps the criminals stay in power.

We can truthfully frame the crimes as things that elites do to strengthen their undemocratic control over ordinary people, "their own" people as well as those they label the enemy. Or we can wrongly frame them as crimes of one entire people (Americans or Israeli Jews) against another people (Muslims, "people of color," Palestinians etc.)

In the first framework, the logical strategy is to call on ordinary people everywhere to oppose these crimes, in the name of the values that most people share: equality, solidarity and democracy -- values that are the opposite of the elite values of inequality, pitting people against each other, and top-down control. In this framework, violence against Israeli soldiers and armed civilians who violently enforce racist oppression of Palestinians, or violence against American soldiers who violently attack Iraqis, is justified; but violence against non-combatants (like random Israeli or American civilians) is not justified. This is the framework and strategy I advocate, and this is the way we can persuade millions of people to join us. Obviously, we cannot appeal to people on this basis while simultaneously supporting those who intend to kill them with 9/11-type attacks.

In the second framework of Mr. Hugus, we would view ordinary Americans as the enemy. The strategy which this logically implies is to seek out the few individuals who share a contempt for ordinary Americans, and then to commit or support those who commit terrorist acts like 9/11.

When confronted with the wrongheadedness of their pro-terrorism views, the Richard Huguses of the world have no convincing arguments. So they rely on childish name-calling and invective. And they try to guilt-trip people into not thinking for themselves.

If you find there are Richard Huguses in an organization you are part of that is trying to persuade Americans to oppose the crimes of the U.S or Israeli government, do not fall for their guilt-tripping or their contemptuous views of ordinary people as being guilty of the crimes their governments commit. These pro-terrorists are an albatross hanging around the necks of good people working to build a popular movement to make the world more equal and democratic. If pro-terrorists prevail, we will have perpetual war between peoples of different ethnic or national groups, spurred on by all the fear and hatred that terrorism against innocent people fuels. And we will have elites firmly entrenched in power over all of us.

When we knock on Mrs. Smith's door, petition in hand, if she asks us what we think about 9/11 or Palestinian suicide bombers, let's tell her the truth -- that we agree with her: killing people for the crimes of their government is wrong. And then we can talk about why it is also wrong to use the terrorism of some as an excuse to support even bigger crimes of others, like apartheid Israel and the U.S. war in Iraq.

From: <>
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 1:37 PM
Subject: [NECDP-Announce] Thank You Mr. Liberal

Thank you, Mr. Liberal, for wringing your hands for us.

by Richard Hugus

May 23, 2005

In his article, "The 9/11 Litmus Test" John Spritzler puts himself up as a radical, and speaks for what "we American radicals" need to do to remain credible to the rest of the country and world, but the more Spritzler talks the more he looks like just another liberal, worried and wringing his hands about the impoliteness of resistance movements around the world, and their failure to adhere to moral niceties that he has the privilege of explaining to them. In fact, privilege is exactly where Spritzler speaks from. The only place this "radical" has been operating from is his armchair. On the streets of Boston, at demonstrations and protests and direct actions here, he is a complete unknown. His sphere of actual activism has been his workplace, the Harvard School of Public Health, where he has demanded that a hearing be held on injustices in Palestine.

With apparently unlimited time to write and profess, Spritzler engages people in debate and then attacks them in straw man arguments and theoretical debates based on false premises. Now, suddenly there are "pro 9/11ers" out there, and people who believe in and support "killing random people at bus stops in Tel Aviv." Once this is established, simply by his declaration, this pedant goes on to instruct the world, in lengthy and boring detail, on the danger such people pose to efforts of serious people like him to stop imperialism. The man's indulgence in intellectual horseshit says more about his politics than anything we could add. He has not been there. He hasn't been beaten by a cop. He hasn't been in jail. He hasn't lived under occupation. He hasn't been harassed at checkpoints. He hasn't seen his country raped for over half a century while the world stands watching. He doesn't understand, and doesn't bother to examine, what steps could have led a Palestinian martyr to retaliate against an Israeli. His essays are entirely about acts of resistance which he finds offensive, and nothing about the oppression which led to those acts. His concern is with "random people in Tel Aviv", not random people in Jenin or Ramallah, Iraq, or Vietnam.

This writer's job is to put out the fire of our belief in the legitimacy of resistance. The more rampant US imperialism becomes, the more obvious it is that this fire is justified, and the more people see the necessity of stronger action. The Weathermen of the 60's saw the US committing mass murder in Vietnam with impunity. Spritzler attacks them. He doesn't attack the US government; he attacks the Weathermen. He attacks martyr bombers. He attacks the 9/11 bombers. And then he attacks the people who support them.

The CIA couldn't have found a better agent - one who claims to speak for radicals while denouncing everything they do, and ignoring the entire history that led them to it. It's a good sign these Judas goats have been sent to mislead us. It means the liberals are worried. It means the pigs are worried. It means radicals are gaining ground. Thank you, Mr. Liberal, for wringing your hands for us. Now, stop trying to destroy the movement.

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