Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns are satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

Dear Amy,

The war on Iraq will be over so soon, there won’t be time for the anti-war movement to gain any traction.

Nobody seems to care that a bunch of peaceful pickets were badly bruised by police bean bags at the Port of Oakland.

A few people threw bolts, bottles and chunks of concrete at the cops, and the corporate media, as usual, has concentrated on that tiny minority, virtually ignoring the police violence.

One demonstrator said he was hit nine times – while he was trying to get out of the way! It’s amazing they’d keep shooting somebody trying to flee.

By the way, I picked up a news release from the Partisan Defense Committee, which is protesting the arrests, and it says this organization is in accord “with the political views of the Spartacist League.” What is that?

Anyway, with the war virtually “won,” and the warmongers getting all that good press about Iraqis dancing in the streets, where do we go from here?


Howard Bashford


Dear Howard,

I read the accounts of the Oakland demonstration and saw the police brutality on television. But take heart, my Direct Action against the War working group has come up with a strategy we think will be persuasive.

As you know, we’ve been saying, “Saddam Hussein’s a monster, but …” Well, we’re switching to, “We’re happy Iraq’s free, but …” You know:


  • “We’re happy Iraq’s free, but now America is a bigger threat.


  • “We’re happy Iraq’s free, but inspections would have worked better.


  • “We’re happy Iraq’s free, but what about oil? What about al-Qaida? What about North Korea? What about Afghanistan?”

The best one is, “We’re happy Iraq’s free, but America’s motives were impure.”

I’m sure you’ll agree, motives are more important than outcomes.

And we can say we’re happy for those poor Iraqis without diluting our message that diplomacy eventually would have worked.

Oh, I did a Web search on the Spartacist League. It’s in the International Communist League.

Get this: It started as the German Communist Party, which split from the National Socialists – the Nazis! – over Russia policy. The SL now says it’s Trotskyist, but I figure they’re OK as long as they’re for peace.

Pax vobiscum,

Amy Handleman


Dear Amy,

I thought Trotsky was a Russian ice dancing coach, but a friend said I was confusing ice dancing with ice axing. Can you explain that? He wouldn’t.

However, he gave me a Spartacist tract that says, “Only socialist revolution can put an end to imperialist war!” That doesn’t sound too peaceful to me.

And it says, “Defense of Iraq is inescapably tied to dense of the Palestinian people against Zionist terror.” You don’t suppose these guys harbor some of the old, Nazi anti-Semitism, do you?


Howard Bashford


Dear Howard,

I’ve read the ICL website and, as far as I can tell, the members expend most of their energy arguing the minutiae of Russian revolutionary history and explaining how the Soviet Union was a great place, though Stalin went astray.

About that Jewish thing: That was way more than half a century ago. Why worry about it now?

The best course is to avoid distractions, like what people might really stand for.

Don’t worry, be happy,

Amy Handleman


Dear Amy,

I can’t help myself. I keep reading this Spartacist stuff. They say they “fight for the defense of the remaining workers’ states – Cuba, Vietnam, China and North Korea – including their urgent right to develop nuclear weapons.”

How does this fit into a peace movement?


Howard Bashford


Dear Howard,

Now I’m disturbed, too, and I’ll thank you not to bother me with any more Spartacist quotes.

Just stick with the approach the peace coalition always has taken: Assume people mean it when they say they’re for peace. Assume it’s just chatter when they say they want revolution.

Assuming the best,

Amy Handleman


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