24 March 2009

Because Truth is "Offensive," it's to be Denied

In speaking to the online magazine Seven Oaks back in 2004, then and current BC NDP candidate Mable Elmore spoke of the sometimes hostile reception she received from fellow workers to her anti-war activities. Among the questions she asked was this one.

5. What kind of reactions have you received -- because you’re a rank-and-file activist -- from your co-workers and your fellow union members in your local to some of the anti-war work that you’ve been doing in the union?

Elmore's response has caused yet another firestorm of misplaced outrage. Why? Because she dared to use the word 'Zionist' in her response.

It’s been tough. And I’m in a male-dominated union, we’re ninety per cent men, and a lot of middle-aged brothers and I’m in the minority; I’m an activist, I’m a lesbian of colour, and out in the union, and so it’s kind of hitting all those fronts. And in terms of the anti-war stuff, it’s really been a struggle. We have vocal Zionists in our worksites, and we’ve had to battle them, and – really, I’d characterize it as ‘battles,’ in terms of turning our executive members around, and bringing educationals into our workplace, and being shut out by management, and having to have our workshops outside of the worksite, and facing continual backlash. But the backlash is also a sign of making progress. So that’s how we take that perspective, but, it’s been tough but we’re going to continue to push. We’re signing up more and more members [to the Peace and Justice Committee], and that’s continuing that mobilizing, and that hasn’t been easy.

And what does Elmore's then and current leader do? One Carole James?

The "dimwit" (as this Georgia Straight reporter calls her) demands that Elmore apologize. For telling the truth. For using 'Zionist' in its proper meaning.

When James first became leader of the NDP, I was hopeful. But ever since, it has been downhill with barely an occasional incline along the way.

ETA, Mar 26: See this post by Derrick O'Keefe, one of the young Vancouver writers who used to publish Seven Oaks. Among his comments: "Within 24 hours of [Elmore's] nomination win, the echo chamber that is the provincial Legislature press corps produced this nauseating performance by BC NDP leader Carole James. Elmore, for her part, produced a frankly nonsensical apology, claiming among other things that the word Zionist has a different meaning in North America than in Europe.... The really offensive thing is that the NDP wouldn't welcome a candidate with a long record of standing up for justice in the Middle East."

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