Re: [sixties-l] Gore v. Bush

From: Ron Jacobs (
Date: Tue Jun 27 2000 - 11:42:20 CUT

  • Next message: Carl Offner: "[sixties-l] Re: "is there a pattern here?""

    Thing One and Thing Two

    Then those things ran about
    With big bumps, jumps and kicks
    And with hops and big thumps
    And all kinds of bad tricks
                             --Dr. Seuss- The Cat in the Hat

    American author Robert Coover wrote a little story back in 1968 called "The
    Cat in the Hat for President." This piece lampooned the presidential
    election process in the United States, emphasizing not only the overall
    emptiness of the men who run, but also how these individuals run at the
    behest of various power elites who really govern the country. I mention
    this story because the 2000 election has amazing similarities to the 1968
    campaign. Not only are the two candidates almost identical in their
    shallowness, the ideas they espouse are remarkably similar (no matter what
    they may say), just like the platforms of Nixon and Humphrey in 1968.

    Benign Fascism
    The economic definition of fascism is simple. A fascist government is a
    government which serves the corporations. If that doesn't describe the US
    government of the past several years, than there is no adequate
    description. Bearing this in mind, it is possible to conclude that both
    major party candidates for president are ultimately fascist. Not only are
    they funded primarily by corporate money, they both come from backgrounds
    dominated by corporate investment and exploitation (Al Gore's family riches
    came from tobacco and--as activists along the campaign trail have recently
    pointed out, investments that include Occidental Petroleum. George W. comes
    from a family made filthy rich primarily because of oil and the US
    government's servitude to that business.) The fascism Gore and Bush
    represent is not the fascism of Hitler, Franco or Mussolini, although some
    of George W. Bush's supporters have views that are remarkably intolerant
    given how close these supporters are to the candidate (and assuming George
    wants to win). No matter how far George W. tries to distance himself from
    the intolerance that is preached at Bob Jones University, the fact remains
    that he solicited their support along with that of other South Carolina
    racists. One assumes, however, that even Mr. Bush is savvy enough to
    realize that one does not get elected in the United States in the year 2000
    by aligning oneself with retrograde racism.
    No, a much better strategy for America's modern authoritarians is to take
    the path Mr. Clinton has taken the last eight years. That is, go ahead and
    recognize the diversity of cultures in the United States today and give
    them lip service (sometimes even without irony) while passing legislation
    that further divides the country along class lines--which in America are
    also often color lines. This can mean toughening laws against crime while
    also making more actions criminal. It can also mean striking laws from the
    books that provide economic and other types of support to portions of the
    population that are not considered necessary to the corporate game plan.
    In Nazi Germany, it was the Left, and Jews and Roma who felt the major
    effect of these types of legal actions. In the US, the surplus populations
    are poor and usually not white.
    In Nazi Germany, various administrative departments drew up legislation
    criminalizing certain thoughts and making undesirable citizens
    non-citizens, constructed work camps for these "non-citizens" to go to, and
    organized local communities into sending away those undesirables. Once at
    the camps, the undesirables (that is, Jews, Roma, and political and
    religious dissidents) were put to work for German corporations involved in
    the Reich's war machine. If one examines the prison industry in the US,
    s/he will see a similar dynamic involving criminalization of "undesirables"
    and a subsequent removal of their citizenship. Of course, here in America.
    there are no crematoria and the newly "criminalized" citizens and
    non-citizens are not Jewish or Roma. Now wait a minute, you might say,
    this comparison is way out of line. Take a look around you. How many
    people do you know who are in jail or on probation or parole? How does one
    explain the presence of over two million prisoners in the United States,
    half of whom are African-American? I suggest, simply, that the
    criminalization (primarily through the "war on drugs") of a substantial
    portion of an entire segment of the US population is not an accident. Once
    these people are convicted and imprisoned, they are no longer considered
    full citizens in most states. Along with other restrictions, they can not
    vote, hold certain jobs, or qualify for certain types of educational
    assistance. The corresponding aspect of this dynamic is to encourage the
    idea among those not criminalized that prisoners and parolees deserve
    whatever they get. This is done through a variety of methods, most of them
    involving the media and entertainment industry.

    None of the Above
    So, does this mean there's no point in voting for either of these men? The
    reasons to not vote for George W. are obvious, but what about Al Gore?
    Well, there's no point in voting for him, either. While some real
    differences exist between the two candidates, the past eight years of
    Clinton should prove that it is a waste of energy and time to bother with
    the Democratic party--especially with its current essentially conservative
    approach. In its struggle to gain influence and power, liberalism's
    tradeoffs with the corporate boardrooms have rendered it impotent at best
    and ruthless and duplicitous at worst. It no longer serves the people, if
    it ever did.
    Like the protestors in the streets at the World Trade Organization (WTO)
    meetings in Seattle and elsewhere, our energies would be better served
    organizing people around the country to oppose the institutions both
    parties serve: corporations, banks, and international organizations like
    the WTO, International Monetary Fund, and the UN Security Council. Ignore
    the plutocrats' parties and make democracy real. In 1970, labor writer and
    activist Stanley Aronowitz said it this way in his pamphlet Honor America:
    The Nature of Fascism, Historic Struggles Against it and a Strategy for
    Today (Times Change Press, 1970): "We must learn to act on the collective
    recognition that our needs are not met by current social and political
    relations. The struggle against fascism begins with the struggle to free
    people from their own repressed selves--from the will to surrender
    themselves to external forces."
     For true progress to be made, we shouldn't be grasping for some kind of
    minimal influence in their so-called democracy, but towards a truly just,
    democratic era where people count more than dollars and are able to control
    their own destinies.

    Ron Jacobs

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Jun 27 2000 - 19:05:00 CUT