Trampling on Democratic Rights

January 27, 2006

At the end of last year, George Bush was asked about the illegal, warrantless wiretapping of the phone calls of Americans citizens and residents. Bush replied that his administration would continue to carry out this illegal surveillance as long as the government deemed necessary.

Bush's words and deeds remind us of just what kind of government we have. It is a government which, unrestrained by any law, wantonly tramples on the rights of the people.

In fact, these warrantless phone taps are only one of the fascist methods being used every day. The government has admitted to systematically spying on hundreds of political organizations, to infiltrating and videotaping anti-war demonstrations and meetings, to keeping dossiers on activists, to mass "preemptive" arrests at demonstrations, etc. Tens of thousands of Arab-Americans and Muslims have been arbitrarily arrested and harassed, their houses and mosques raided, their organizations suppressed, etc. Prisoners-of-war are tortured and Americans are kept in jail without charge or warrant for years.

These methods are not exclusive to the Bush administration; in fact, they are the typical methods used by the U.S. capitalist state. Just as Bush cites his power as "commander-in-chief" in the so-called "war on terrorism," the Republicans and Democrats have long used the slogans of "national security" and "preventing subversion" to justify aggressive, imperialist wars, to suppress trade unionists and outlaw strikes, to attack the communists and other independent political organizations, to call out the troops against the civil rights struggles, etc.

The methods of the government reflect its aims and its class interests. The government is afraid of the people exercising their basic democratic rights because it knows that the people are opposed to what the government is doing. The overwhelming majority of the people want peace and an end to U.S. imperialism's wars in Iraq and elsewhere. The government wants to intimidate us and suppress our rights so as to stop us from organizing against the war. The people demand greater social investments and ironclad guarantees for such inalienable rights as health care, education, a decent standard of living, etc. The government attacks our rights to organize, to strike, etc. in order to prevent us from demanding control over the funds in the public treasury. And so it goes. The government attacks the rights of the people because it is a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.

The rich man's government will never restrain itself or voluntarily protect the rights of the people.

The people must assert their rights and build up the organized strength to defend their rights. In the course of fighting against the arbitrary power and attacks of the government, we must aim at changing the government altogether. We must break the power of the rich and create a new government which genuinely empowers the working and oppressed people.