Clash of Civilizations’ - Within This Civilization

Dangerous Illusions, or Why the Bush Regime Must Still Be Driven Out!

Frank Rich, the liberal columnist in the New York Times, recently compared George W. Bush to the Wizard of Oz, once Toto pulled the curtain open. He’s all image, according to Rich, and essentially over. The pendulum done swung. Rich goes on:

"What comes next? Having turned the page on Mr. Bush, the country hungers for a vision that is something other than either liberal boilerplate or Rovian stagecraft. At this point, merely plain old competence, integrity and heart might do it."

(The New York Times Week in Review, Sunday, September 18, 2005)

Is it true? Have falling "approval ratings" rendered Bush into a toothless old carnival barker, all smoke and mirrors, with no more ability to do damage? Has "the page been turned"? Or has Rich himself fallen victim to--and become a purveyor of--a most dangerous illusion? The Last Month

Take a look at what the supposedly "all-over-but-the-shouting" Bush regime has managed to do in just the past month or two.

Begin in Iraq, where 149,000 U.S. troops continue to enforce an occupation that gets bloodier by the day. Where the army just quietly announced adding "a few thousand" more troops for the constitutional elections in October. Where three American soldiers last week exposed the ongoing, widespread, and systematic use of torture by the U.S. army, after having their complaints suppressed within the "proper army channels" for 17 months. Look over at Iran, where U.S. commandos busily prepare the ground for military action. And then note well the refusal of any prominent Democrat to attend last week’s antiwar rallies.

Now return to the United States itself, where in early September the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government could indefinitely imprison Jose Padilla--a U.S. citizen apprehended on U.S. soil--as an enemy combatant, simply by claiming he is a "terrorist." Padilla has now languished in jail for over three years, with no formal charges. Even mainstream newspapers noted with alarm that this ruling effectively wipes out habeas corpus for political opponents of the regime.

And then there was this week’s confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Roberts is a man whom the Christian Fascists found totally acceptable and who, from what little is known of his record, is clearly anti-affirmative action and anti-civil rights, anti-abortion and anti-women’s rights generally, and strongly in favor of expanding the repressive powers of the state. He was approved as Chief Justice by 78 (!) senators. Go back then to August, when the Senate unanimously approved an even more repressive version of the "Patriot Act" and when news leaked out of a secret Pentagon plan for martial law in the U.S., complete with plans to dispatch troops to key areas and begin roundups.

Move on to Lancaster, Pa., where people are fighting against the doctrine of "intelligent design," which is being used as a battering ram to undercut and eventually eliminate the teaching of evolution. Then remember that in August both Bush and Senate majority leader Bill Frist argued that intelligent design should be taught in the schools.

Finally, take a look in New Orleans, where Bush continued and intensified his administration’s racist policy toward Black people. Note his murderous actions (and inaction) during the flood’s first few days, including his "no tolerance for looters" order. Take stock of his policies since then--eliminating affirmative action and "living wage" measures in the rebuilding, dispersing people all over the country and doing nothing to reunite families, and maintaining a high degree of repression in the shelters. Look at how Bush has used the flood to further promote Christian Fascism--beginning with FEMA’s listing of Pat Robertson’s swindle operation as the number three recommended charity, and moving on to the promotion of church-sponsored charter schools and church-based operations as a central part of the relief efforts, while the government does nothing to meet the people’s just demands. And last, but unfortunately not least, ponder the orgy of racist slander and lies unleashed by his armies of fascist radio commentators, administration supporters, and Bush’s mother herself!

Even this brief list belies Frank Rich’s view that "the page has been turned" on Bush. Each and every outrage over these past six weeks has had very serious, life-and-death consequences for millions of people and, on top of that, has put into place more of the norms and infrastructure of a fascist state.

In this light, we should recall the hubbub just a few short months ago over Karl Rove’s involvement in "outing" a CIA agent. Remember? This too was about to usher in a pendulum swing. But what in fact happened? Nothing.

We should also listen to Daniel Ellsberg, the man who broke the Pentagon Papers and who is well-acquainted from the inside with "how government works." Ellsberg recently warned that the Bush administration is counting on another 9/11-type incident to change public opinion and enable the regime to bring in a military draft and a clampdown "that will make the Patriot Act look like the Bill of Rights." ("How the Antiwar Was Won," Philip Weiss, New York, October 3, 2005)

The world truly cannot wait! Deeper Reasons

But Bush himself is part of something bigger. For the past 15 to 20 years, powerful forces within the U.S. ruling class have come together around the need to change the governing "consensus" on what makes the government legitimate, and the morality and ideology underlying the "cohesion" of society--and to change it to something quite different from what has gone before. These forces are going for a much more openly imperialist policy toward the world and a fascist form of rule within the U.S., which will at minimum include a very large element of fundamentalist Christianity. Within this most unholy alliance, the Christian Fascists make up a powerful battering ram and driving force, and these forces are not going to be satisfied, as Bob Avakian has written, until this country is ruled as "a biblically based, militarized, patriarchal and male supremacist, and yes, white supremacist society--that is in essence the Christian Fascist program. And, yes, this means that their religious fundamentalist epistemology must be in command." ( Revolution, #1, May 1, 2005, "Changes in the World and the ‘Clash of Civilizations’--Within This Civilization".)

This is not transitory. Over the past 15 to 20 years, a hard-core Christian fascist social base has been nurtured and developed; it has placed its people in key positions in the courts and armed forces, developed its own massive institutions and infrastructure, and, in the process, influenced the whole of the society.

Nor is this arbitrary. It arose in the face of serious new challenges to U.S. imperialism. These include: the breakup of the old arrangements among the imperialist powers and the scramble for the U.S. to establish itself as the new Rome; the huge socio-economic changes brought on by globalization, including massive immigration, urbanization, and integration of women into the modern workforce outside the home, all of which have introduced tremendous uncertainty and dislocation into people’s lives worldwide, and shaken the old assumptions; the ‘60s legacy of critical thinking, rejection of blind patriotism, belief in equality for Black people and other oppressed nationalities, and for the emancipation of women; the ‘90s thinking, ironically enough, of "get rich quick" (with its unwillingness to "sacrifice for the country"); and other changes as well. In the face of this, an increasingly influential--and determined--section of the ruling class decided that they needed the new, and very radical, cohering norms and have systematically and relentlessly brought this movement forward.

The material underpinnings of the secular, liberal "social contract" of the "New Deal" and "Great Society" (which themselves, let us not forget, were based on imperialist plunder) have vanished, and the Democrats find themselves with no answers other than to move increasingly to the right. And so we now have Hillary Clinton echoing Bush that the war in Iraq is a "noble cause"; we have the same Clinton calling for "common ground" with anti-abortion fanatics and the Democratic Party moving to run anti-abortion candidates in the 2006 elections; and we see the Democrats conceding to the breakdown of the separation between church and state and voting for the renewed Patriot Act. This is not because they are "spineless" or "unresponsive"; it is because they share the overall objectives and fundamental assumptions of empire with the Republicans, and they do not have a coherent program of their own to deal with what our Party has called this "period of transition with potential for great upheaval."

(The above has necessarily been a broad-strokes sketch of some very complex phenomena. Readers are urged to check out the upcoming pamphlet by Bob Avakian, "The Coming Civil War And Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era" and "The Truth About the Right-Wing Conspiracy. . . And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer" at revcom.us for a fuller analysis.) Urgently Needed: Independent Historical Action

When you look again at the past month or two and consider the deeply rooted forces driving the Bush regime’s agenda, the urgent need to act NOW stands out acutely, as does the self-defeating character of attempting to influence the Democrats--even if you call it "holding their feet to the fire." Above all, the crying need for mass action independent of the dead-end framework of politics-as-usual asserts itself with extreme urgency. November 2 must be the day when DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME resounds throughout society and the world--for we really can’t wait!

People will and should come at November 2 from many different views and with many different objectives. In our view, the ultimate goal of this movement cannot and should not be a return to the previous liberal consensus which, we must emphasize again, rested on the foundation of terrible imperialist plunder. The point must be to go forward--to resolve these murderous social contradictions through a socialist revolution, led by the re-envisioned communism of Bob Avakian. Such a revolution would carry forward the best impulses and values of the ‘60s, in the only way that can truly be a step toward emancipating humanity. (See online at revcom.us/chair_e.htm)

At the same time, we all urgently need NOW to join forces and to debate the future WHILE WE ACT DECISIVELY, TOGETHER, TO DRIVE OUT THIS REGIME. It matters a great deal to people all over the world whether we resist and reverse the direction that this regime is daily bolting into place--or whether, in the name of illusionary pendulum swings and a futile hope for saviors from the Democratic Party, we allow it to go forward. It matters a great deal whether November 2 marks a new turn in society--a day that history begins to change.

Ironically, Frank Rich himself, during the Terri Schiavo ordeal, pointed out that fascists in power need only a hard core of support in society at large, if everyone else is disorganized and unable or unwilling to act. At the time, Rich put the figure at 20% of the population. Well, the Christian Fascists probably do make up about 20% of the U.S. right now and, if anything, have become even more energized in recent months. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, Rich seems to have shrunk from the implications of his earlier insight.

But there is a real need to break with wishful thinking and plenty of reason to take heart from the potential that does in fact exist--and which can be tapped, IF WE ACT. The very depth and foulness of the changes afoot actually create the basis to reach out to the millions who are agonizing over them and urgently turning over in their minds and hearts what to do about it. November 2 is an answer, the only answer with the courage and audacity and vision to recognize the real stakes and the enormity of the challenge, and to call forward people in a way commensurate with those stakes and that challenge.

Bill Moyers, in his recent speech "9/11 And The Sport of God," discussed the "unique . . . intensity, organization and anger" of "the radical religious right," and reported on yet another burgeoning strain of this movement: "Patriot Pastors," self-styled "Christocrats," gladiators "for God marching against the very hordes of hell in our society." These forces are NOT, in other words, going gently into the night. Moyers went on to say that the success of the "the radical Christian right. . . has come in no small part because of our acquiescence and timidity." He ended by recalling the joke about the Irishman who happened on a street fight and asked if it were a private brawl--or could anyone join in?

November 2 must mark a break with this timidity and acquiescence, a turning to resistance, and the beginning of a truly two-sided fight. As the call to November 2 states,

We must, and can, aim to create a political situation where the Bush regime’s program is repudiated, where Bush himself is driven from office, and where the whole direction he has been taking society is reversed. We, in our millions, must and can take responsibility to change the course of history.

Act. Now.

Revolution #017, October 9, 2005, posted at revcom.us This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolution Online http://revcom.us Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654 Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497


Informant: C. Clark Kissinger

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