The Swinging Pendulum? Or... The Bush Regime Under Siege and Lashing Out
Revolution #023, November 20, 2005, posted at revcom.us
Bushs public approval poll numbers are sinking, and pollsters have discovered that most Americans dont think Bush told the truth about Iraq. But a quick review of the headlines from the past week or two reveals very starkly that the Bush regime continues to respond to anger from below and angst from their ruling class peers by upping the ante, mobilizing their base of Christian fascists, going after critics with threats and repression,and exposing the people of the world to more war of aggression, more draconian fascist laws, more torture, more intolerance, and doing all this even more arrogantly.
In late October and early November, U.S. troops in Iraq launched what Reuters news service called "the biggest operation in the mainly Sunni desert province of Anbar since weeks of fighting forced insurgents from the city of Fallujah." The assault included air strikes on these towns. Reuters also reported that "Local people said there were dozens of civilian casualties in Qusayba and nearby Qaim." A resident said, "The Americans destroyed Qaim. Our houses are destroyed, our children are getting killed. What are we supposed to do now?" The Iraqi Red Crescent Society said it was attempting to care for 12,000 people displaced in the attacks.
November 8 marks the one-year anniversary of U.S. destruction of the Iraqi city of Fallujah. A group called Christian Peacemaker Teams visited the city and reported: "The largely Sunni population of 300,000 was expelled, its industrial base and services destroyed, and one-third of its homes were flattened... The city is now surrounded by a tight network of checkpoints controlled by U.S. forces and Shi'a members of the Iraqi Army. No one is allowed in without an identification card issued by the U.S. Marines, or other permission. Even with such permission it took 75 minutes for us to enter. These checkpoints are choking economic life in the city, doubling prices for basic foodstuffs, and cutting off surrounding villages from Fallujah's markets, services, and hospital. The people say that they are living in a prison." Christian Peacemaker Teams reported that a man on the street challenged them: "If I come and smash everything in your house and take all your money, and then I do the same to all your neighbours, what would you do to me?"
Under fire from the public and from ruling class critics over the war in Iraq, Bush lashed back. Speaking at an army depot on Veterans Day, Bush issued a not-too-subtle warning that critics were traitors in the war on terror, charging that they "send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. The Bush Veteran's Day war speech laid out a retooled agenda for a much wider, endless, more unrestrained war on the world with truly wild aims, not just in Iraq but for a huge section of the world. (For an analysis of the basic themes of this speech and recent similar speeches, see "Bush Calls for Endless, Borderless War Without Limits" at revcom.us).
Along with escalating the war, Bush cranked up the torture and repression machine, continuing to fight attempts to even formally prohibit the CIA from torturing people, eliminating any rights of victims of U.S. torture to seek redress in the courts, and amping up the USA PATRIOT Act to spy on more and more of what more and more people are doing, thinking, and reading. And, in a serious incident, the IRS is going after a church where a progressive sermon was delivered last year.
As outrage grows over the worldwide network of secret CIA-run torture chambers, Bush sent Vice President Cheney to intensely lobby congress to exempt the CIA from any formal prohibition against torture. Meanwhile, the Center for Constitutional Rights reported:
"The Bush administration, through an amendment introduced by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, stripped federal courts of jurisdiction to hear applications for habeas corpus brought by those unilaterally declared enemy combatants without any process and held by the U.S. indefinitely throughout the world and even in the United States."
A major expose by By Barton Gellman in the Washington Post (Nov 6) documents that the FBI issued "30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters--one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people--are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence, and financial lives of ordinary Americans." Gellman's article notes that as Congress prepares to extend the USA PATRIOT Act, "House and Senate conferees are poised again to amplify the FBI's power to compel the secret production of private records" (our emphasis).
While right-wing Christian fundamentalists mobilize their troops with threats of damnation against those who don't vote Republican, the IRS is going after the tax-exempt status of the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California because a sermon delivered there condemned Bush's lies, opposed the war, and defended the right to abortion. (See special online-only article The Regime vs. All Saints Church at revcom.us.)
In Dover, PA, Christian fundamentalists running the school board got kicked out by parents, students, and teachers demanding the truth be taught about evolution. But creationist lunatics who run the Kansas state school board not only instituted the teaching of intelligent design but redefined science as it is to be taught, removing the criteria that science teaches natural explanations of phenomena and--in effect--embracing the teaching of religion as science. (See special online-only article, Kansas School Board Enshrines Anti-Science at revcom.us).
As the Bush regime intensifies the pace and scope of their war on the world and repression and theocratic mission at home, where are the Democrats? They're finding niches in the "new reality," helping move "the center" to a place that not long ago was correctly considered by most people as extreme. A sharp example of this is the newly elected Democrat governor of Virginia. Tim Kaine is a man whose ads spotlighted his past as a Christian missionary in Honduras and featured him saying, My faith teaches life is sacred. But, don't worry, he then promised, I'll enforce the death penalty. The New York Times quoted a political science expert saying, "This was a good test for Democrats to see if they can run an overtly faith-based candidacy. As we go into '06, I think we'll see more Democrats emulating what Kaine did."
In that context, it's important to confront the significance of this challenging insight from Bob Avakian:
... [W]hat even some progressive people perceive as the place where the pendulum might swing back to is something that a few years ago they would have considered totally unacceptable and outrageous... What this is illustrative of is the principle embodied in that statement of mine that if you try to make the Democrats be what they are not, and never will be, you will end up being more like what the Democrats actually are. And, very importantly, what is also illustrated here is the essential truth of the statement in the "World Cant Wait" Call: That which you do not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn--or be forced--to accept."
(Read the entire article, The Deadly Illusion of the Swinging Pendulum by Bob Avakian at www.revcom.us)
Henry Carson, Sunsara Taylor, and others contributed to this article.