Friday, June 30, 2017

Hysteria, violence, and deepening political crisis of the U.S. capitalist rulers

Shooter’s bullets driven by liberal fury, capitalist political crisis



July 10, 2017

James Hodgkinson, a campaign volunteer and fervent supporter of Democrat Bernie Sanders, set out with a semi-automatic rifle and handgun June 14 to kill as many Republican congressmen as he could. As he walked toward the field in suburban Washington, where they were practicing for an upcoming congressional baseball game, he asked whether the team was the Democrats or the Republicans. In his pocket he carried a list of GOP representatives.

Within a few minutes Hodgkinson had fired off some 50 rifle cartridges and 10 shots from his handgun, severely wounding Rep. Steve Scalise, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, and injuring four others. Members of a special Capitol Police security detail, assigned to Scalise due to his post as Republican house whip, shot and killed Hodgkinson before he could kill other Republican politicians. Senators Jeff Flake and Rand Paul and three other House members were also at the game.

The assault came amid a frenzy of anti-Donald Trump demagogy in the liberal media, Democratic Party circles, the middle-class left, and from Broadway to Hollywood and beyond. “It’s time to destroy Trump,” Hodgkinson himself had recently written on Facebook.

The shooting is a reflection of the deepening political crisis of the U.S. capitalist rulers that was revealed, and accelerated, by the outcome of the 2016 election. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are wracked with widening divisions. Neither of them, nor the two-party system through which the propertied U.S. families maintain their rule and defend their profits, will be the same again.

Behind the hysteria is the employing class’s fear of the workers who voted for Trump. They were hoping to “drain the swamp” of capitalist politics in Washington and somehow halt the mounting social, economic and human calamity they and millions of other working people face. The rulers and their political representatives in both ruling parties are frightened that the election results point to growing class struggle to come.

CBS news anchor Scott Pelley even rationalized the attempted assassination by blaming the Republican victims. “It’s time to ask,” he said, whether the attack “was to some degree, self-inflicted.” And Phil Montag, co-chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party technology committee, was caught on YouTube saying he was “glad” Scalise was shot — “I wish he was f---ing dead.”

Unabated witch hunt

The liberals’ witch hunt of President Donald Trump continues unabated. They hope the “investigation” by special prosecutor and ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller, initially justified to look into alleged “Russian ties” to Trump’s 2016 campaign, will damage the president and/or those around him enough to somehow invalidate the election results or even lead to impeachment proceedings.

Mueller’s 12 years as the federal government’s top cop equip him well to lead a witch hunt. Since the early 20th century, the FBI has served as Washington’s political police. It has spied on, harassed, and sought to disrupt political and union activity by vanguard workers, Socialist Workers Party members, fighters for Black liberation, and other opponents of Washington’s imperialist policies.

As special prosecutor, Mueller has the unqualified authority to force witnesses to testify and to drag them before a closed-door grand jury, where they have no right to counsel. Federal prosecutors — whether targeting working-class fighters, “organized crime” figures, union officials, or their own peers and rivals in the capitalist two-party setup — follow a notorious pattern. They pour agents and resources into finding something, anything, to pin on you, real or manufactured. “Where there’s smoke, there must be fire.” Then they go all out for a conviction or a plea bargain.

In the case of Donald Trump, the liberals and their newspapers and TV networks are more than pleased to boost the frame-up. Dispensing with any pretense of presumption of innocence, New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote of Trump on the June 19 op-ed page, “in the court of public opinion he’s already guilty.”

Mueller has appointed a staff of lawyers that includes a number of Democratic Party donors, as well as a former Clinton Foundation attorney. Mueller is also a close friend of former FBI Director James Comey.

During the 2016 election, as part of an Obama administration effort to protect Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Comey usurped Justice Department authority by going on TV to say the FBI had decided not to recommend charges against her. Then, after he was fired by President Trump, he testified before Congress in early June that he “leaked” (through a friend) an FBI memo he’d written “because I thought that might prompt” the appointment of a special prosecutor.

“You don’t have to be a Trump partisan to have concerns about where all of this is headed,” said the Wall Street Journal in a June 16 editorial (and the Journal’s editors are decidedly not “Trump partisans.”) “Much of Washington clearly views Mr. Mueller as their agent to rid the country of a President they despise. Every political and social incentive in that city will press Mr. Mueller to oblige.”

Any attempt to impeach Trump, however, will infuriate millions of working people and others who voted for him, and many who didn’t, too. “American politics is divisive and dysfunctional as it is,” the Journal editorial warned. “Imagine what it will be like if millions of Americans conclude that a presidential election is being overturned by an elite consensus” of major newspapers and TV networks.

Growing numbers of working people already know something stinks about these “investigations” and the media orgy they’re subjected to morning, noon and night. This isn’t because they’re convinced the Trump administration has done anything to advance workers’ interests. Neither major capitalist party can or will. President Trump, like his Democratic and Republican predecessors, governs to advance the interests of the capitalist rulers and their profit-driven exploitation and oppression of working people.

Fewer workers than ever today identify themselves and the interests of their families with either party, the Democrats (the long self-proclaimed “friends of labor”) or the Republicans. They see that Democratic Party leaders and loyalists, as well as sections of the Republican Party, are determined to reverse the outcome of an election these bourgeois and middle-class layers can’t reconcile themselves to.

Liberal Democrats bemoan what they view as the “stupidity” and “ignorance” of workers and farmers who voted for Trump and who in mid-2017 are still incapable of “discovering” the danger of having him — instead of Hillary Clinton or some other Democrat — in the White House. Short of another sharp financial breakdown or deep capitalist recession, however, most of these working people will withhold judgment as long as they’re convinced the Democrats are determined to obstruct the new administration from doing anything.

Both capitalist parties fracture

The fracturing of the Democratic Party deepened after the defeat of party hopeful Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District June 20. Democrats had poured over $31 million into defeating the incumbent Republican. This was the fourth time this year that Democratic special election hopes have been dashed, trailing in the dust of others in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina.

These losses have aggravated political infighting between Democratic Party “regulars” — those who look to the Clintons, Barack Obama, or hopefuls such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and those grouped around Bernie Sanders. Sanders and supporters of his “political revolution” increasingly insist that even if the Democratic Party loses some elections, those defeats are worth the price if they can wag their fingers and later take it over and reshape it as what they’ll falsely paint as a party of the “working class” and “progressives.”

As for the Republican Party, its divisions are shown, among other things, by its inability — despite sizable congressional majorities, especially in the House — to pass a single piece of substantive legislation since the opening of Congress and presidential inauguration in January. Their failure in both the House and the Senate to “repeal and replace” the erroneously named Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a clear example.

The depth of the GOP’s crisis, however, is revealed elsewhere. That’s the fact that they’re stuck with a president, the de facto head of the party, who wasn’t elected as a Republican. And who really isn’t one.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Left Jew-hatred at gay rights march

Post from a comrade on Facebook.

3 women at a Chicago pride march were prevented from marching because their rainbow flags contained a Star of David. I'm angered but unfortunately unsurprised by these events.

I've felt for a long time in no uncertain terms that "anti-Zionism" as a political description today is a cover for Jew-hatred. The politics under that umbrella have become less and less coherent over the past decade, littered with poison pens and abstract conspiracies. By and large they only strengthen the worst dead end leaderships in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, from the worst butchers of the Israeli occupation to the the reactionary terrorists in Hamas.

I probably don't say this as loudly or as often as I should. As a firm opponent of the government in Tel Aviv, and a supporter of the fight for a viable Palestinian homeland, I would support any and every effort that I felt could advance that fight.

But Jew-hatred poses a danger much beyond the threat it poses to the small handful of Jews in the world. It's meant to disorient *fighters*. It's meant to disarm and redirect the anger of millions at the shape of their world and their place in it. It's meant to let the cynical ruling classes who sit atop a dying system off the hook for all the brutalities and indignities on earth, and toss them at the feet of the most maligned population in human history.

Though today I seem alone in these convictions, I share them with two of the greatest revolutionary leaders of the 20th century: Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela. Unlike most radical "anti-zionists", these men led successful revolutions, and subsequently guided their nations on the world stage. Both gave unconditional support to the fight for a Palestinian state, and both formally recognized the State of Israel as a historic reality, something not to be undone without tremendous cost to humanity. Both rejected Jew-hatred without equivocation and understood the stakes in that.

Don't believe me? I have evidence:

Nelson Mandela-
"We identify with the PLO because like us, they are fighting for the right of self-determination"
"The support... does not mean that the ANC has ever doubted the Right of Israel to exist as a state legally"
"In our organization, we have Jews. In fact, Mr. Gadafi did not allow us to open our office in Libya"

Fidel Castro-
"I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews."

If I'm a "Zionist apologist" or any epithet you'd like to throw my way, I'm in good company. What company are you keeping? And what have they won for humanity?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Reactionary terror does not equal resistance

This is the crucial point, and I've never seen it more clearly formulated:

....In a May 29 interview on Legacy Radio, Clifford took up Corbyn’s claim that the growth of Islamic State and its terror attacks are a blow-back from London’s participation in the Washington-led Middle East and Afghanistan wars.

Reactionary terror isn’t an understandable response by the toilers to imperialist aggression. The Algerian people faced tremendous brutality at the hands of French colonialism, but they didn’t respond in a reactionary anti-working-class IS-style way, Clifford said. “They organized a powerful revolutionary struggle and established a workers and farmers government.”

And in Cuba, Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement led workers and farmers to overthrow the U.S.-backed Fulgencio Batista dictatorship. They have defended their socialist revolution for over 50 years, setting an example for workers everywhere.

Working people in the Middle East don’t need U.N.-imposed “stability,” as Corbyn has argued, Clifford said. They need time and space, free of foreign intervention, to find the way to fight for political power. “The Communist League calls for U.K., U.S. and all foreign troops out.” 

The Militant - June 19, 2017 -- Communist League campaign in UK fights attacks on workers’ rights