“ICNC founder and chairman Peter Ackerman was a board member and eventual chairman of Freedom House (September 2005 – January 2009), an institution that has been as clear an instrument of U.S. foreign policy as has the CIA itself. While U.S. anti-war activists were still organizing to oppose the then-just-initiated U.S. aggression against Iraq, Ackerman joined with 21 other Freedom House trustees to issue a statement in support of the war…”
“It is disturbing to watch Zunes repeatedly downplay the role of foreign money, knowledge, and power at work behind regime-change campaigns, and hype the “democratic” credentials of the opposition to targeted regimes. Indeed, the latter is an especially powerful cocktail for sowing confusion among leftists and progressives, whose minds tell them to oppose imperial causes, but whose hearts warm to emotionally manipulative rhetoric about the ‘homegrown’ nature of ‘pro-democracy’ movements. “
“We find it highly revealing…that one month before the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, while opponents of the imminent war were organizing protests on the streets of America’s cities, Zunes was extremely harsh towards Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), which had successfully mounted some of the major protests. “It’s one of the Leninist, Trotskyist organizations that has emerged in the past few decades,” he told the Washington Times, and exercises a “disproportionate influence in some sectors of the peace movement.” But Zunes identified an even more serious problem with ANSWER and related anti-war organizations: Their leaders “are not willing to say a bad thing about Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic. And if you ask questions, they accuse you of red-baiting.” Hence, no glowing rhetoric about “people power” and the genius of “civilian-based movements” where opposition to the U.S. war machine was the issue. Only comments that discredited the anti-war movement in a manner that Zunes never extended to protesters against one of the regimes targeted by the United States.
Full article can be found here.
2 thoughts on “Edward Herman and David Peterson on Peter Ackerman and Stephen Zunes.”
Not Really. Their intellectual honesty makes their overall assessment all the more damning.
No offense intended, but Herman and Peterson render this essay, and themselves, ridiculous by opening with a cringing capitulation. That’s not to say the points they make are incorrect or invalid, but they are criticising professional spin tankers and should learn to critique their own work before rushing into print. The spin doctors write populist prose dressed up as academic discourse. Herman and Peterson are obviously aware of this but have now advertised the fact that they are prone to suffering inexplicable bouts of forgetfulness/carelessness.
It’s bad chess.