Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Old-Fashioned Kind of Crazy

About a month ago, as I was waiting for a friend, I picked up the free communist paper distributed in NYC, a searing-yet-incomprehensible little rag called Challenge. I was expecting to find it silly, but then, I do read blogs.

The die-hard Communists who are still, incomprehensibly, publishing dead-tree propaganda are so crazy, so lyrically, elliptically crazy, that I'm going to use my favorite article from the 8 June edition as a writing-class exercise. It will have one very simple pedagogical goal: the importance of defining your terms.

The title of this delightful piece? The screaming frontpage headline?

Politicians’ Dog-Fights Undermine Rulers’ Plans For Fascism.

I've put the whole article below the fold, but, seriously, don't feel like you have to read it. If you do, I'll let you figure out on your own what "Hart-Rudman" is.

U.S. Rulers are worried about Congress. Partisan stalemates, like the current Senate confirmation battles, are becoming serious obstacles in their drive towards fascism and militarization for widening foreign wars.

Since 9/11, important parts of the Hart-Rudman blueprint, in addition to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, have come to pass. The executive branch now has a Department of Homeland Security and a national intelligence czar. In the judicial branch, courts wield a widely expanded power to jail without trial. But although Hart-Rudman warned that “national security in the 21st century...mandates a serious reappraisal of both the individual and collective efforts of Congress and its members,” the legislative branch has yet to recast itself as a shaper of wartime policy.

Hart-Rudman had hoped to indoctrinate the entire House and Senate in the military strategy of U.S. imperialism. “The wargaming center at the National Defense University should be expanded so that virtually every member of Congress can participate in one or more war games per two-year cycle. Giving members of Congress a reason to learn about ... crisis inter-actions will lead eventually to a more sophisticated Legislative Branch.” But the commission foresaw its own failure: “The very nature of power in Congress makes it difficult for legislators to reform their collective institution ... [It] has sustained a structure that undermines rather than strengthens its ability to fulfill its Constitutional obligations in the foreign policy arena.”

The structure Hart-Rudman bewails is that senators and representatives win election by courting wealthy individual donors and organizing voter blocs. Republicans largely use religious groups, as Democrats use trade unions. The narrow profit interests of these backers often don’t mesh with U.S. imperialism’s class-wide needs. Sen. Joe Lieberman, for example, playing to labor hacks, is fighting the planned closing of the Groton navy base. U.S. rulers, however, today requires a far greater naval presence in Europe and Asia than in Connecticut. In the confirmation mess, the London Financial Times (5/16/05) complains that Sen. Bill Frist “may have chosen pleasing the social conservative base of the Republican Party over preserving his ability to serve as an effective leader of the Senate.” Four years before the present deadlock over Bolton and the federal judges, Hart-Rudman said “the presidential appointment process now verges on complete collapse.”

The electoral nature of Congress cuts both ways for the rulers. On the one hand, it helps them by steering millions of workers away from revolutionary politics down the dead-end road to the ballot box, pushing the lie that every citizen has three voices in the Capitol. But it also favors an ability to garner votes over loyalty to the dominant, imperialist wing of U.S. capitalists. Partisanship often creates obstructionism. Only one senator in the Republican majority, Lincoln Chafee, belongs by birth to the liberal, imperialist ruling class Establishment. The New York Times and other mouthpieces for the rulers are desperately counting on him to lead a compromise movement to break the appointments logjam and get on with the agenda of fascism and war.

Congress’s quagmire has two sides for the working class, too. It shows the rulers’ relative disarray, and thus their weakness, in implementing fascism compared, say, with Germany’s Nazis. But it also warns that U.S. rulers will sooner or later move from floor debates and filibusters to more effective, violent means for getting their wartime house in order.

While the bosses squabble with each other to impose discipline within their own ranks, workers’ class interests demand we organize to destroy the dictatorship of their class and the profit system that serves it. Congress, like the rest of the rulers’ state apparatus, is a capitalist tool. Our job is to build the Progressive Labor Party and the long-range fight for a workers’ dictatorship where workers rule over the bosses and their ideology and represent the best interest of the international working class.


“Politicians’ Dog-Fights Undermine Rulers’ Plans For Fascism.” Challenge: The Revolutionary Communist Newspaper 8 June 2005:1-2.


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