COMMUNIST DUPES?….On Saturday Glenn Reynolds took issue with people who claim that it’s “McCarthyism” to criticize anti-war protesters for attending rallies organized by A.N.S.W.E.R.:

It’s not McCarthyism to call people who are communists, communists. Communists, as devoted followers of murderous totalitarianism, deserve to be called to account every bit as much as their Nazi colleagues. And in the 21st century, they can hardly pretend to be ignorant of their ideology’s true nature.

He’s right. But it is McCarthyism to tar people as “communist sympathizers” because they associate ? rather vaguely ? with communists. It was this tactic that Joe McCarthy became famous for, not for his notable lack of success in finding any real communists.

I imagine that A.N.S.W.E.R. is not my cup of tea. But tagging people as communist sympathizers because they attend a rally organized by a group that has some members in common with a group that’s communist ? well, that’s a pretty rickety chain of association, isn’t it?

So I’ll ask again: in what way is A.N.S.W.E.R. a communist group? In the 1950s J. Edgar Hoover had a list of hundreds of “known communist fronts” ? including the ACLU ? and most of them had very little do with any actual communist activity. When it comes to A.N.S.W.E.R., all I’ve been able to learn is that their leadership shares some members with the WWP, which is a communist group. But that’s it. A.N.S.W.E.R. itself seems to be little more than a garden variety flaky left activist group that holds no communist views, supports no communist regimes, and gets no funding from communist groups.

Yeah, I know, I’m just a communist dupe, a useful idiot. But while I don’t support A.N.S.W.E.R.’s views, neither have I seen any evidence that they are a communist group. Is there any more to this whole tempest in a teapot than this?

UPDATE: An article in the San Jose Mercury News has this to say:

“Basically, A.N.S.W.E.R. is dominated by the IAC, which is largely a front for the Workers World Party, a Marxist-Leninist group that has been around since the 1950s,” said Stephen Zunes, chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. “They are very effective at organizing because they are hierarchical.”

So now A.N.S.W.E.R. is a front for a front for the WWP? What’s the real story here?