Wednesday, June 20, 2007



Blue America often thanks contributors to our Saturday progressive fundraisers with little gifts, especially CDs, DVDs and autographed books. Last weekend we offered people who contributed to Angie Paccione's campaign in Colorado, a copy of the phenomenal and breathtaking new book by Kenneth Ackerman, Young J Edgar: Hoover, The Red Scare, And the Assault on Civil Liberties. Ken was kind enough to send an extra copy signed to me which bowled me over and which I explained to myself when I read an anarchist document he quoted-- one I was cheering as I read it-- that ended "Long live the social revolution! Down with tyranny! THE ANARCHIST FIGHTERS." [Bold is mine; caps are the Anarchists'.]

This morning, sitting safely in my apartment in cosmopolitan, friendly, multicultural Montreal I forced myself to put down YOUNG J. EDGAR long enough to take a look at Glenn Greenwald's latest article at Salon, a look at what motivates Bush based on Greenwald's about to be released (June 26) next book, A TRAGIC LEGACY, which I'm very much looking forward to. Salon has published an excerpt today.

Today Greenwald writes about the Republican obsession with justifying their greed, avarice and plentiful human failings in terms of Good v Evil.
One of the core premises enabling such practices -- I'd say the principal one -- is the moralistic proposition that the U.S. is engaged in an epic battle of Good against Evil, that we are on the side of Good, and therefore any means and instruments we employ in service of our battle are, by definition, justifiable. Review any defense from Bush apologists on these issues -- or examine the arguments of GOP presidential candidates in defense of the extremist Bush policies -- and what you will find is the "justification" that America has the right to take any actions to defend itself against the forces of Evil which seek to destroy it. Actions taken by the Force of Good (the U.S.) against the Forces of Evil (the Enemy du jour) are themselves inherently Good.

The use of the Orwelian "Enemy du jour" construct coupled with the Machiavellian concept of the ends justifying the means, at least if the struggle can be painted to be a big enough deal and a horrible enough threat-- sounds, in many ways, like terrorism-- took me right back to Ackerman's book.

In a footnote he takes up the case of the case of Eugene Debs, a socialist who ran for president and was later thrown in prison. "Debs, for instance, was convicted for violating the Espionage Act solely for giving a speech in Canton, Ohio, in June, 1918, in which he criticized the war, and the imprisonment of fellow socialists, and said, among other things: 'The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose-- especially their lives.'" The speech was deemed an obstruction of the war effort and Debs' conviction and imprisonment was upheld by United States Supreme Court in March, 1919.

Some things next change-- although I will never lose hope that they can. Down With Tyranny!

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At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some things next change-- although I will never lose hope that they can. Down With Tyranny!"
I'm sure you mean "some things NEVER
change." Thank you for the very fine commentary. DWT is one of my favorite blogs. I check it every day now.


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