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BRIAN BECKER Printer Friendly Page

The "Peace" Movement's Korean Connection
By Michael Tremoglie
January 30, 2003

Reds Still
By Byron York
January 23, 2003



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  • Co-Director of the International Action Center
  • Member of International ANSWER’s steering committee
  • Former member of the Secretariat of the Workers World Party
  • Founder of the Party for Socialism and Liberation

See also:  Party for Socialism and Liberation   International Action Center 

              International ANSWER   Workers World Party 

Brian Becker is a co-director of the
International Action Center (IAC), a steering-committee member of International ANSWER, and a former member of the Secretariat of the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party (WWP). He was also a contributor to the WWP newspaper, Workers World. Through his association with these organizations, Becker became a prominent figure in the anti-war movement's massive post-9/11 peace rallies.

In 1994 Becker was a signatory to a letter drafted by the Peace for Cuba International Appeal (PCIA), a movement composed of Communist Party USA fronts and affiliates calling for increased trade and travel between the United States and Cuba. Other signers included such notables as Ramsey Clark, Teresa Gutierrez, Alice Walker, and Quentin Young.

In Becker’s calculus, American history is a narrative punctuated on every line with injustice and oppression. In July 1999 he mocked U.S. government leaders for “speak[ing] so piously about human rights in countries that they have decided to attack,” and for spreading “war propaganda” designed to “divert attention from their own [sordid] history.” Specifically, Becker explained that the U.S. had not become wealthy and powerful by means of “the so-called 'magic of the free market'” or “the purported virtues of capitalism,” but rather as a result of “the accumulation of wealth from slave labor” as well as “the theft and the genocidal ethnic cleansing of millions of Native Indian people.”

In early 2000, Becker traveled with a fellow WWP writer to North Korea to help build what he (Becker) called “a movement of genuine solidarity” with Pyongyang. Both were deeply impressed by “the unbreakable determination of the North Korean people to defend their socialist society against U.S. imperialism.”

In December 2000 Becker told a WWP conference in New York: “We know that the biggest single contribution that we can we make to the final transition to socialism everywhere is to build a truly revolutionary party that can lead the struggle to overthrow imperialism at its center.”

On November 6, 2001less than two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacksBecker characterized America's military retaliation against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan as “one of the great crimes and acts of terrorism” in modern history. “Let us not forget,” he said, “that September 11 was not the beginning of violence, but just one point in a long continuum of violence that is fundamentally a consequence of U.S. policies around the world.”

Further, Becker charged that the American “empire” was responding with disproportionate force to 9/11 in order “to offset the impression it was no longer invincible.” And he asserted that “our government rashly hit out at poverty-stricken and weak Afghanistan as … part of an existing American strategy” of expansion, for the purpose of acquiring “new markets and profits.”

In Becker's estimation, the American government was also using the war on terror as a pretext for launching an assault on the civil liberties of its own citizens. “It's really not about terrorism but about repression,” he argued. “So-called anti-terrorism laws will be used against the growing anti-war movement.... Anti-terrorism has replaced anti-communism [as a unifying objective] in the U.S. and on a global scale.”

In March 2002, Becker was
elected vice-chairman of the Committee of the International Liaison for Reunification and Peace in Korea, an organization that developed a public-relations campaign promoting the image of dictator Kim Jong Il and calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula. Becker also chaired the U.S. Troops Out of Korea Committee, a role in which he accused the United States of systematically and maliciously murdering Korean civilians in a campaign of genocide.

In August 2002, with the possibility looming that the U.S. might soon invade Iraq, Becker traveled to Baghdad as part of a delegation led by Ramsey Clark. In an article in Workers World, Becker denounced the “lawless aggression” of the “imperialist” and “racist” U.S. air patrols that were then enforcing a no-fly zone over Iraq.

Depicting the U.S. as a “rogue state,” Becker in September 2002 likened members of the Bush Administration to “drunken gunslingers who shoot up the town in a Saturday night frenzy
just because they can.” He ridiculed their “sneering, swaggering and threatening foreign policy”; condemned America as “the only country to have used atomic bombs against ... civilian cities” in the past; and asserted that if the U.S. were to attack Iraq, it would be for the “re-conquest of a country that had earlier dared to nationalize Western oil installations.”

In 2003 Becker claimed that the Soviets during the Cold War had righteouly fought “U.S. imperialism” by sending “invaluable aid to Vietnam, Cuba, the African National Congress in South Africa, and other national-liberation movements.”

Becker left the Workers World Party in 2004, when he affected a major split in the organization by grabbing much of its membership to start his own radical-Left outfit, the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Becker has noteworthy ties to former Muslim American Society president Esam Omeish. Both were guest speakers at a July 2006 rally in support of Hezbollah and Hamas, where Becker argued that the U.S. supported Israel because the latter “carries out the fundamental colonial functions against not only the Palestinians but against all Arab people and against other peoples of the Middle East.” In 2007, when a series of seven-year-old videos showing Omeish at a rally praising Palestinians for using “the jihad … to liberate your land” were unearthed and made public, Becker stepped forward as a character witness for Omeish. He asserted that critics of Omeish ere nothing more than “right-wing anti-Muslim bigots.”

On February 4, 2011, Becker said: “The most important thing we can do for the people in Venezuela and the people in Cuba and the people everywhere who want to be free, is build a revolutionary party and organization and movement in the United States, that can fight and defeat U.S. imperialism.”

Two months later, Becker said that while he and his fellow PSL members “don’t like violence,” they “recognize that sometimes violence … is necessary … for the liberation of human beings.” He likened the possibility that PSL and its ideological allies might someday resort to violence, to General George Washington's “armed struggle against British colonialism,” and to the Civil War's role in bringing about “the end of chattel slavery as a legal institution.”



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