Ultra right is down, but not out


The actions of the Republican Party over the past year in opposition to health care reform and every other program of the Obama administration are unprecedented in character and strongly suggest that this party does not simply oppose Obama's policies; it refuses to recognize Obama's presidency and may well be determined to destabilize the U.S. government.

This is the thrust of a remarkable speech to the U.S. Senate Dec. 21 by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

The Republicans, he charged, are driven by "malignant and vindictive passions" aimed at creating "a political climate in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety would be impossible."

Such passions have historically had horrifying results, he warned, referring to the Nazi Kristallnacht pogrom, the lynchings of African Americans in the South and the McCarthy witch hunts.

In opposing health care reform, Whitehouse said, Republicans "embarked on a desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, falsehood, obstruction and fear."

As they had similarly done to block programs to create jobs in Obama's stimulus package, the Republicans never presented any counter-proposals to solve the national health care crisis, but were simply determined to stop any progress.

In the Senate this meant "over 100 filibusters and acts of procedural delay in less than one year. Never since the founding of the republic, not even in the bitter sentiments preceding the Civil War, was such a thing ever seen, Whitehouse said. "It is unprecedented."

Further, he charged, the Senate Republicans conducted a cynical campaign of big lies that health care reform meant "death panels," cuts to Medicare, benefits to "illegal aliens," bureaucrats being put between patients and doctors, "socialized medicine" and "careening deficits."

They also engaged in unprecedented abuse and public attacks on the clerks, employees and professional staff of the Senate, he said.

Abandoning their usual ultra-militarism, the Republicans even went so far as to vote in lock step to stop funding U.S. troops in the middle of a war so as to obstruct the process of passing the Senate health care bill.

"Why all this discord and discourtesy, all this unprecedented destructive action?" Whitehouse asked. "They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in rightwing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist."

The arrogant rejection of Obama's presidency and the virulent hatred and racism of the Republicans was exposed in the infamous "You Lie!" outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson during Obama's address to Congress in September. Far from having Wilson censured or even admonished, the Republicans passed a resolution hailing his unprecedented act.

The mobilization of extremist groups is serious cause for alarm, especially considering that they have vast corporate funds, are incessantly agitated by rightwing demagogues on Fox News and AM radio and prominent Republican leaders like former Vice President Dick Cheney and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who are working overtime to instigate and legitimize this "teabag" movement.

Palin will keynote the teabaggers' first national convention in Nashville, Tenn., in February. The other top billed speaker is the extremist Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn.

At a Nov. 5 rally in front of the U.S. Capitol sponsored by the House Republican leadership and billed as a press conference on the health care reform, the "teabaggers" were out in force with signs showing piles of bodies at Dachau and the caption "National Socialist Healthcare."

The event reflected "the takeover of the Republican Party by the irrational right," Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote. "Something unprecedented is happening here - and it's very bad for America."

Pointing to the danger of a rightwing resurgence in the 2010 midterm elections, Krugman continued, "if the Tea Party Republicans do win big ....the country could become effectively ungovernable in the midst of an ongoing economic disaster."

The defeat of the right wing in 2006 and especially 2008 has been rightly hailed as historic by progressive forces throughout the world. But as we know from bitter experiences in Iran and Chile, historic election victories can be reversed. Reversals are preceded by periods in which the reactionaries conduct intense destabilization efforts aimed at creating public acceptance for a restoration of rightwing corporate power.

The ultra right is down, but by no means out. Their defeat has not been consolidated. They retain important positions of power in Congress, the courts, the media, in religious groups, in many state and local governments, in police, security and intelligence forces, in the military and the corporate board rooms. They are cynical and fanatically determined to return to power. It is foolish to seek "bipartisanship" with this gang.

The top priority must be to unite labor, its progressive allies and all democratic forces and mobilize in the streets and at the ballot box to beat back this threat.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dani0010/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

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  • How long must we pretend that revolution will come from trying to work within the confines of our bloated, failing capitalist system. Yes the Ultra-right will try to undermine any social progress made by the people, and yes will be continually lied to by the "left" in this country claiming they are working in our interest. What do we have to show for it? We're still bombing human beings for NO GOOD REASON while we cut schools and social programs. If we had built schools in afghanistan instead of dropping bombs, we could save lives and money. Mr. Obama, why are we still killing people? I thought you said you would end it? Where is our healthcare? The only change under the new "plan" is that now it is illegal to not have the private health insurance you already couldn't afford. As long as money still runs our government (which it clearly does, the people VOTED against war and for medical care) why do we think any thing will change? "That kind of REAL change takes more time and work than changing channels on your TV set!" -Jello Biafra We need more than time and work... we need blood!

    Posted by Comrade Smith, 01/07/2010 11:32am (6 years ago)

  • Sisters and brothers,we,come from the tradition of bombings,pepper macing,druggings,lynchings,fire arm assasinations,billy clubbing,jailings,starvations,racist dog attacks,sabotages,racist evacuations,demolitions, fascistic interpositions and nullifications. We have been victims of terrorism and genocide-Yankee style.
    We,in our press,or communication organ,the PW,document daily 2010 nullifications and interpositions of our human rights in peace, environmental war concerns,jobs,justice reform and freedom struggles.
    We know that brother Rick Nagin is correct,that is why we document and "shore up"our pro-youth,feminist, multi-racial,multi-national,intergenerational working-class unity to "beat back"fascistic interposition and nullification(this "interposition and nullification"phrase made famous by the great anti-fascist,MLK) in Washington,on Wall Street and Main Street.
    The communication of the working-class,by the working-class,for the working-class afforded it by the microchip is allowing us to join the histories of two worlds,that of MLK's Nobel Peace world and Barack Obama's Nobel Peace world.
    The micro-chip has allowed the international working-class to understand,in an instant,how Paul Robeson,William Patterson,Gus Hall and Gurley Flynn,supporting and serving working-class struggles, helped make the way for both the above Peace worlds.
    All internationalists,and great forerunners,we must take their lead and consolidate our victory of 2008,build a stronger peace,internationalist,anti-fascist,labor,unionist,feminist,anti-racist anti-repression,pro-democratic,pro-environment,movement.
    "The top priority must be to unite labor,its progressive allies and all democratic forces and mobilize in the streets and at the ballot box to beat back this threat."
    Uniting the "Direct Action" of the working people in the United States,tapping into the international universal "Soul Force"of MLK in 2010,using this microchip,the"Direct Action" of the international working peoples,forcing it to the "Executive Action" of Barack Obama on behalf of the working people of the United States of America,is our challenge.
    In this,we shall consolidate and validate our legacy,defeating the Ultra right,down but not out.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 01/07/2010 3:49am (6 years ago)

  • We should start following the 21 steps Comrade Lenin exspoused almost a century ago. All true Socialist know the 21 points. We must carry on the Democratic Side of our Nation and prepare for the worst.

    Posted by JW, 01/07/2010 2:23am (6 years ago)

  • I agree that the ultra-right still poses a great danger, as they did with Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, Gingrich and the Bushes. If they seem more dangerous today than earlier, it is mainly because the numerous crises this country faces are more serious than previously and require even more drastic ‘reforms’ than before.

    Our nation is on a downward slide – in unemployment, loss of our industrial base, the collapsing dollar, our desperate and increasing military actions, our shaky financial system, our debt and, perhaps most importantly, the utter clueless-ness of our political leaders about how to resolve these crises.

    I will leave it to others to delineate the steps taken by this Congress and Administration toward fixing the damages done by the previous Administrations (Democrat and Republican) in the areas of civil liberties, civil rights, peace, financial reform, and health care. I don’t want to get diverted. I agree with Rick that “It is foolish to seek ‘bi-partisanship’ with this gang [of right-wingers.] Hopefully other readers will expand this critical approach to other areas.

    My main concern is with his solution is to “beat back” the ultra-right threat. I think this perspective, perhaps useful during the doldrums of the Reagan era, does not meet the challenges we face as a nation today, for a number of reasons.

    1. People don’t rally around a negative slogan. They get involved and support issues that deal with their daily (or monthly) needs. We all know what these are, so no need to list them.

    2. “Fighting the ultra-right” as well as the article, offers no such program of struggle, of what to fight for. The article itself does well in pointing out their tactics and obstructionism. But then at the end there is a leap of logic that their defeat must be a “top priority”. Such a conclusion assumes that an adequate analysis was given for this conclusion or assumes it is self-evident. Neither is true.

    3. Singling out the “ultra-right” as our main enemy suggests that they are responsible for the lack of progressive legislation or initiatives in DC. What about the Blue Dog Democrats and the Lieber-rat? Did they have no role in denuding the health care bill? Oh, I forgot, they are Democrats and we need them to break the filibuster. It sets up the rationale that “we” must defeat the GOP. How? By electing Democrats? And which Democrats? All of them. That is the goal of the Democratic Party.

    4. We should be less concerned about the ultra-right and more concerned about those who vote for the GOP against their own interests (not the hard core base), about the independent voters who jump parties every other year and about the young people and working people who voted for Obama and might stay home next year. Failing to win a good health care bill (not the perfect one), bailing out Wall Street and leaving Main Street on the street, expanding the Bush domestic surveillance program, and being unwilling to give ground in Copenhagen – these events will allow the GOP to revive.

    We (labor, minority communities, progressives and liberals) must focus on building coalitions that demand specific and significant changes in all areas in crisis. We must set our sights much higher than we have in the past year. We cannot continue to accept the go-slow, something-is-better-than-nothing, let-us-be-civil approach of the “majority” party. The majority of the American people expected real change this year, as well they should have. But, they are not getting it. The ultra-right are only a part of the problem. Defeating them and getting a more liberal Congress can both be achieved by mass pressure on Congress and the White House with demands to fully meet the people’s needs

    NOTE: Yesterday, AFL-CIO President Trumka, UNITE HERE President Wilhelm and 100 union members were arrested for sitting-in demanding justice and a fair contract for hotel workers, while 1,000 union members marched outside. That’s two in one year, the other being the UE sit-in in Chicago. We need this kind of spirit in the political arena.

    “At a time like this, scorching iron, not convincing argument, is needed.” Frederick Douglass

    Posted by John Gallo, 01/06/2010 9:36pm (6 years ago)

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