Ryan and Akin serve notice of imminent threat to democracy


The pick of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate and the outrageous remarks of Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin serve notice on the American people that the threat to our nation's future is imminent and profound.

Every inch of social progress secured in the course of struggle over the past several decades is subject to reversal in the event of a government takeover by the Republican Party in November.

This danger takes center stage in the midst of a deep, protracted, and structural economic crisis that is roiling the entire country - the multiracial working class in the first place. It occurs on the cusp of long-term demographic changes that create new democratic possibilities as we scan forward in time. And it comes at the close of the first term of an African American president whose re-election is viscerally dreaded by right-wing extremism, due to the president's skin color and politics.

Each of these factors give right-wing extremism - in its newest form (it goes back to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and subsequent iterations up to the present) - a particularly venomous and reactionary character.

Indeed, in the worldview of the present-day right-wing extremists there is too much equality, too much democracy, too much "redistribution," too much regulation, too much secularism, too much science, too much diplomacy, and too much government.

In their view, the rights revolution that began in the '30s, took a leap forward in the '60s, and continues to this day, needs to be reversed and unceremoniously crushed.

I'm not suggesting that fascism is around the corner. But the ascendancy of the Republican Party in November could well set the stage for an authoritarian government not bound by the democratic desires of the vast majority of Americans, or by constitutional limits.

It is fair to ask: How could a party that presents such extreme dangers to the democratic values and fabric of our country possess any chance of winning in November?

There is no simple answer to this question. But some explanations come to mind.

The extreme right cleverly conceals its overarching aim to do the bidding of the top layers of the capitalist class at the expense of everyone else. It appeals to racist, misogynist, xenophobic, and homophobic feelings and beliefs. It resorts to demagogy, lies, and twisting facts. It invokes the fairy tale of an unrelenting government intruding into every aspect of the economy and people's lives. It conjures up a rampaging secularism that is supposedly at war with religious practices and values. It exploits legitimate (and illegitimate) discontent, economic and otherwise, with the Obama administration. It raises the specter of "freeloaders" (re: people of color, welfare recipients, and low-income people) living off the labor and taxes of hard working Americans. And, not least, it systemically tries to suppress the vote.

At the core of this political coalition of the Right are the most reactionary sections of monopoly capital on Wall Street and elsewhere, willing and able to spend billions of dollars in this campaign.

But gathered around them are disparate social groupings set adrift by larger socioeconomic changes in our society and convinced that the world as they knew it is collapsing before their eyes.

While this is a formidable coalition, it is neither of one mind nor invincible. Indeed, because of its diverse character, it contains contradictions - contradictions that the people's movement, with an eye to peeling away some of its social base, should take advantage of.

The main task however is to mobilize every American who is worried about this gathering danger to register their opposition at the polls on election day.

From rural to urban America, from schoolyard to college campus, from neighborhood to workplace, from small town and to big city, from ghettos and barrios to suburbs and exurbs - no voter who is concerned about the democratic character of the country should stay home.

It is a big challenge for the labor and people's movement, but there is no other road forward to a better future for the American people.

Photo: Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, along with Todd Akin (on right). The country is in danger if their party takes over in November.   Scott Applewhite/AP

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  • The Democratic Party is ultimately just as much rabidly capitalist as the Republican. As Lenin said about "liberals" in "The Liberals and the Land Problem in Britain", describing the program of the bourgeois liberals: "The people's attention must be diverted, the masses must be "engaged" with high-sounding schemes for reform, a pretence must be made of waging war on the Conservatives, sops must be promised to prevent the masses from losing faith in the Liberals, to ensure that they follow the industrial and financial capitalists like sheep following shepherds. Liberalism, that is to say, is little more than the effort of the money-bags to con the people into blindly defending capitalism." But Webb is absolutely correct if he is telling us that the GOP today is extremely reactionary and as dangerously fascist as the Nazis in the 1930s. It is no accident that county judge Head in Lubbock, Texas, last week promised -- or threatened -- a civil war if Obama should be reelected. The neo-Nazi, white supremacist, KKK thugs and their Tea-Party allies are already armed and dangerous, and will indubitably use their weapons if Obama should win relection. They have support as well from much of local "law enforcement" and the national guard. Make no mistake: the massacres at Kent State and Jackson State in 1970 will be a "tea party" compared to what will be coming. It is time for actively organizing the democratic (small 'd') left and its supporters into Red Guards and agitating among the military for the defense of the people against this serious potential. and to counter the full establishment of the corporate-fascist state in the US and world-wide.

    Posted by non-Party Comrade, 08/29/2012 10:30am (3 years ago)

  • The republican party has always been for the rich. They have tried to do away with most of the social programs that FDR started. They have been pro military, free markets and pro big business. If they do get to be elected they will be no more medicare no health benefits and no social services. They promise to create jobs, but look at their track recorder, most of the jobs are low paying with no benefits, in addition. Most the jobs will be ship overseas. I feel we need a third party that will stand for the poor and working class.

    Posted by Paul McClung, 08/28/2012 8:15pm (3 years ago)

  • Thanks to Sam 'Webb and the PW, its board and to Ben Sears for the related article on the "Second Bill of Rights, the struggle to win it and labors role here to offer a positive solution to the problem of democracy in the United States of America.
    This struggle is closely related to the struggle for democracy this 6 November, but deals with its content, not just its form and formality.
    The more the entire movement for voting, civil, labor, child, retiree, the elderly, and women's rights are protected and executed, within the context of labor's Second Bill of Rights, the more both the election and the Obama administration(and government on all levels for that matter) will be successful in protecting working people's rights-democracy in general.
    Almost 50,000 strong demonstrated for these rights in the sacred Philadelphia(home of the Liberty Bell, the First Congress,and the spiritual "Open Door" of Judea-Christian faith) about 2 weeks ago, the same Philadelphia that executed the legal lynching of Mumia Abu Jamal, (Paul Robeson advocate) curtailing this labor activist's right to liberty, a cause(fighting for his freedom) celebrated by labor, leftists ,and others throughout the world.
    In this labor struggle, we have the solution to the crisis presented by the reactionaries Akin and Ryan-the unity and social base which will usher in the badly needed "New Birth" of democracy and freedom (the kind our president Lincoln wrote of in his Gettysburg Address)our country needs so sorely now.
    This is the struggle we, president Obama, and his second administration need to focus on in 2013.
    All labor union locals, nationals and internationals need to focus on this current AFL-CIO struggle to make democracy with the content of the Second Bill of Rights.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 08/27/2012 11:58am (3 years ago)

  • The only thing imminent is the collapse of the entire Republican Party in November thanks to Tea party extremists before the eyes of the world. Then the fight for democracy can begin again.

    Posted by Richard Grassl, 08/26/2012 5:04pm (3 years ago)

  • The comments that the Obama's support people getting welfare and laying home on their couches is absolutely unconscionable. This is a highly educated couple who support education and jobs for everyone. I and million of other americans are sick of the propaganda that has not one ounce of truth. We are still healing from the abuses put on to the americans during the eight years of tenure in the last presidency, we still are trying to pull out of that slaughtering physically and financially. People need to know that they have to get out and vote to continue to move forward otherwise this country may see a depression they will never be able to fully recover from.

    Posted by Judi Murphy, 08/25/2012 11:54am (3 years ago)

  • You're right. Unfortunately, we're damned if we do, damned if we don't. If you think the Democrats are the right answer, you've not been paying attention for the last four years; funny how Obama's foreign policies are nearly indistinguishable from Bush's.

    In case you missed it, you HAVE no constitutional rights; all we have now is the right to take whatever the corporations that actually run this country want to give us. And when you refuse to toe the corporate-dictated line, you'll see what the Patriot Act has done to our 'rights'.

    The two party system in America is the illusion of choice, and debating about which party to choose is rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic.

    Posted by Hubble, 08/24/2012 7:52pm (3 years ago)

  • It is so important, to vote tis election. Not only because of the Presidentia race, but just as important, or even more, that we change the senate, and congress, get rid of the incumbents, especialy the wave of "Jr." Senators that sem to be siding with what ever nut job, cause just to keep a narrow, majority by apealing to and catoring to these few whackos, out there convincing the other twisted followers, to vote with them. Tell themgood bye, VOTE!!!

    Posted by Kerry Wright, 08/24/2012 6:11pm (3 years ago)

  • This is exactly what why I've been so exasperated by what's been going on but couldn't put my finger on it. Sam, you hit the nail the head. I will be passing this article along.

    Posted by Steven S, 08/24/2012 5:35pm (3 years ago)

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