Reprint from Volume 34 Issue #4 of THE WORKER - Newspaper of the Workers Party, U.S.A
Forcing the Official Ideology of Government on the Public is Fascism, Pure and Simple
This Medievalism Must Be Defeated!
March-23, 2020 - Once again, a crisis atmosphere is being whipped up in America as a means to guard the state power against the people and guarantee the political domination of the capitalist class. This time, instead of a terrorist panic, the capitalist politicians are working hard to bring to the people the greatest possible degree of despair and uncertainty as to the future by subjecting everyone to newly invented public health rules enforced by the most submissive of the followers of the executive branch bureaucracy.
For Americans, the news of the government's despotic "shelter-in-place" orders, "cease-and-desist" orders against local businesses, and other medieval responses to a viral pandemic are highly revolting. The great democratic traditions that have always been at the forefront of the class struggle of the American workers have long embodied the principle that an attack on the rights of one is an attack on the rights of all.
However, the official "leaders" of the American workers say there is nothing that can be done about it. From all sides, the demand is being placed on American people to accept serf-like conditions "for your own protection." The spokesmen of the small "upper crust" of the trade union movement as well as the movements of the oppressed minorities, the women's movement, etc., are saying that the choice is between survival or passive acceptance of an expanded state apparatus of repression.
On offer as a complement to this position, there is the position of false optimism — the belief that every disaster is a factor towards the building of a new society. Now when push has come to shove and people are being confronted in the most hysterical way with the arbitrary power of the executive branch, these "optimists" want to stop all ideological, political and organizational struggles of the workers. The U.S. monopoly capitalist class uses this small "upper crust" of the trade union movement to suppress open discussion and to promote fundamentalist viewpoints backed by experts vetted by the executive branch of government.
These two complementary positions are the opposite sides of the same coin — the official policy and the unofficial one. Both aim to create every possible illusion in the capitalist class and the capitalist system.
The common thread is to legitimize the government's rule by decree and exercise of its "emergency powers." It is to legitimize a "domestic crisis" footing based on equating the interests of the whole society with the interests of the executive branch of government and the class forces which stand behind it. Just as the repressive arm of the capitalist state is reaching out to attack the rights of the peoples, the opportunists liquidate mass struggles and try to sell the workers, the oppressed minorities and others the hogwash that the very state which oppresses and represses them can be relied on to defend their rights!
The belief the capitalists are spending literally billions of dollars to ram down the throats of the American workers is that they must depoliticize themselves and refuse to give expression to the truth about their own experience. Only a class traitor could promote the idea that the individual is above classes and that his ideas do not bear the imprint of a very definite class. The origin of all ideas is the class struggle that is taking place in society. Millions upon millions of the workers go through the class struggle daily, hourly, and on a second-to-second basis, contributing to the advance of society through their own participation. Nobody is independent of class struggle. It is this self-assertion and consciousness of class struggle in every particular case which is the decisive factor in determining the outcome.
The invariable results from revisionism and social democracy are watered down demands put forward at all the decisive moments. What's left of the people’s "demands" goes against the interests of the people and assists the bourgeoisie.
It is precisely because social democracy, revisionism and left dogmatism fight against the independent political role of the workers that they are roadblocks to the movement.
Today, large numbers of people have already seen that for the local and federal government the reality of a viral pandemic is serving as an excuse — a pretext to reverse protections against the usurpation of additional police powers by the government.
The current situation is occurring during a time in our country's history when the government has steadily been usurping more and more "residual powers" (i.e. powers not expressly defined in the constitution) and has, by degrees, been increasingly constituting itself as an absolute power. For example, laws have been passed by the two parties in Congress such as the USA Patriot Act which cedes to the executive branch of government broad powers to imprison people without due process, to use wiretaps and other surveillance techniques, authorizes the CIA to keep dossiers on Americans. This and other laws passed criminalize dissent by labelling legitimate political activities as "violent" and allow the government to prosecute people simply for associating with organizations the government has labelled as "terrorist."
This fascistization process is a product of the deepening and all-sided crisis of the capitalist system. On a world scale, the U.S. capitalist class is preparing and launching wars to protect and expand its world empire. Inside the U.S., the government is arbitrarily increasing its police apparatus and violating the inalienable rights of the people in order to suppress any dissent and opposition at home.
No wonder the people have been opposing this process. The very idea that the government can violate the rights of some in order to protect the rights of others or set aside civil liberties in times of "emergency" is a contradiction in terms. The democratic rights of the people are not only inalienable, one of their express purposes is to guard the people against the arbitrary usurpation of power by the government.
In fact, from the very founding of our country to the present, the American people have always opposed attacks on the rights of one as inseparable from attacks on the rights of all. Yet, trampling the very principles of democracy into the ground, the capitalist state has continuously carried on the militarization of our country and repeatedly used troops against the popular movements of the people — against the civil rights and anti-war movements, against the strike struggles of the workers, etc.
Make no mistake about it, the political program of the two parties is opposed by the people all along the line. The present-day rulers of America — the monopoly capitalist class — is imposing a thoroughly hated anti-social agenda on society. The two parties are slashing social investments, privatizing vital social services and shredding even the limited social safety net which the workers gained over decades of struggle. The two parties are demanding that everything in our country be put at the disposal of the biggest monopolies; they are insisting that the workers and people have no rights which the government is bound to recognize — not even the right to do business. It is precisely because the capitalists are incapable of winning support for their anti-social agenda that their only recourse is demagogy and the build-up of the repressive apparatus of the state.
In response, the workers too must come out as a class to wage their political struggle. The workers must react without any delay. Challenging the foundations and assumptions of the repressive apparatus of the state is the key to advancing the class interests of the workers and opening the way for the democratic renewal and progress of our country.
Today, the need is not only to resist the usurpation of more executive branch powers and the resurrection of medievalism but also to build up the independent political organization necessary to carry through to the end the democratic renewal of society so that the political power is genuinely "of the people, by the people and for the people."