Twisted logic abounds
By Mike Rotkin
I was appalled to see the self-righteous letter from two so-called leaders of the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition recently in which they proudly proclaim their role in prohibiting Congressmember Sam Farr from speaking at the recent peace rally in Santa Cruz.
These sectarian idiots are not speaking for the 7,000 citizens who were demonstrating their opposition to war with Iraq. A successful peace coalition should be in the business of building the largest, broad-based opposition to the impending war possible. As one of the handful of members of Congress voting in opposition o Bush’s drive for a first-strike, unilaterally declared war in Iraq, Sam Farr is certainly worthy of our support and admiration. His principled opposition to the USA Patriot Act and willingness to be the first member of the U.S. Congress to attend a town hall meeting about the war also make him a leader of the growing anti-war movement at this point in time.
The fact that we may disagree with his position on a number of other issues does not allow us the luxury of trying to write him out of the peace movement. This is the kind of sectarian, holier-than-thou politics which led to our president begin George Bush rather than Al Gore.
And how Mr. Argue, who spent most of last year in jail for punching a police officer, thinks he has the moral standing to criticize Mr. Farr for Farr’s ostensible lack of humanitarianism requires a logic too twisted for me to get my head around.
City Councilmember Mike Rotkin recently denounced me in the letters section of your paper saying I have no moral standing to criticize Congressman Sam Farr. In this letter Rotkin also denounces leaders of the Santa Cruz anti-war movement as sectarian idiots for not allowing Sam Farr to speak at an anti-war demonstration of 7,000 people in Santa Cruz.
The simple fact of the matter is that Sam Farr excluded himself from speaking at the demonstration. Farr had been invited to speak at numerous peace events earlier where he declined to speak. Then, at the last minute, seeing the numbers of people who would be present, Farr wanted to speak at the rally. To allow Farr to speak the organizations involved would have had to hold a meeting of the organizers to democratically make that decision. Farr was too late.
Nor would the outcome of that discussion be a forgone conclusion. Much of the anti-war movement is disgusted with Sam Farr’s record. While Sam Farr has recently voted against the attack on Iraq he also voted for the record 440 billion dollar war budget. As schools close and money is sucked out of our communities we see this vote as financial support for the terror being unleashed. Likewise Sam Farr votes for billions of dollars in support of the death squad government of Colombia, a government that kills human rights activists, unionists and other people. In addition Sam Farr when voted his support for Clinton’s bobing of Yugoslavia.
As for Mike Rotkin’s assertion that I have no moral standing to speak out against Sam Farr’s policies, Mike Rotkin is being a classic hypocrite. As Rotkin knows the incident to which he refers occurred at a protest in opposition to Sam Farr’s support for the bombing of Yugoslavia. A mother was put in a pain compliance hold for no good reason by Officer La Favor. This woman was screaming in pain and holding a small child that repeatedly screamed: “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! To end the crime Officer La Favor was committing I punched La Favor in the nose and the woman and child escaped. Even the City Council’s own Citizen’s Police Review Board ruled that this police violence was excessive force that endangered the child.
For Rotkin to bring up this incident is a clear indication of how Mike Rotkin always tries to make the victims the criminals. As a City Councilmember Mike Rotkin should be trying to curtail police abuses instead of justifying them. I, on the other hand, am not a pacifist in the struggle for justice and I am not ashamed of taking direct action to stop the battery of a woman and stopping the terror being inflicted on a small child.
Mike Rotkin in questioning my moral standing should be questioned for his support for police violence against anti-war protesters and his support for the Santa Cruz law that makes sleep illegal for the homeless.
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