Liberals are singing the praises of the U.S. political police after former FBI boss Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals and three Russian organizations for conspiracy to “defraud the United States” by interfering in politics here.
The Feb. 16 indictments accuse the 13 Russians of participating in a so-called troll operation on the internet beginning in 2014, inventing U.S. identities, promoting a variety of political views to roil viewers and staging rallies related to the 2016 campaign. They make no allegation that Donald Trump’s campaign was involved in any way, and they say there is no evidence this operation affected the election outcome. Those charged worked for a company with close ties to the Kremlin, Mueller claims. The evidence marshaled is similar to previous press reports, including a 2015 New York Times magazine piece called “The Agency.”
“Our FBI, CIA, NSA [National Security Agency], working with the special counsel [Mueller], have done us amazingly proud,” columnist Thomas Friedman gushes in the Times Feb. 18. But there is no “us.”
The spy agencies he applauds serve the propertied rulers against the working class. The FBI is tasked by the bosses to spy on, disrupt and frame up working-class militants, Black rights and Puerto Rican independence fighters, and opponents of Washington’s wars. Examples include framing up leaders of the Socialist Workers Party and the Teamsters union in Minneapolis for speaking out against the rulers’ drive to enter the second imperialist world war to decades of Cointelpro attacks on the party and other political groups.
Like all the rulers’ frame-up grand juries and special prosecutors, Mueller’s probe against the Trump presidency starts with a target and then roots around for evidence. The charge that those indicted conspired to “defraud the U.S.” is so broad it could be used to target almost anyone for anything. Such laws are written that way to make it easy for the cops and spy agencies to use them to go after working-class fighters.
The liberals and middle-class left are determined to criminalize their political differences with Trump to drive him out of office. Democrats lined up in a frenzy to claim Mueller had found the “smoking gun” against him. It went so far that Democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler from New York told MSNBC he thought Moscow’s interference in the election was the equivalent of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — the pretext used by Washington that it had been preparing for years to enter World War II.
Underlying the liberals’ refusal to reconcile themselves to Trump’s election is their scorn for the workers who elected him. In a Feb. 20 op-ed entitled “The Madness of American Crowds,” New York Times columnist Roger Cohen claimed that working people are “dumb” and “can be led by the nose into the gutter,” and were “easily manipulated” to elect Trump.
In reality millions of workers, including many who had voted for Barack Obama in previous elections, were angry over the blows inflicted on them from capitalism’s political and moral crisis and looking for a change. They voted for Trump hoping he would do something and “drain the swamp” in Washington. But Trump, like his predecessors from both parties, governs to defend the interests of the propertied owners.
SWP members campaigning in working-class neighborhoods find widespread interest in discussing how the rulers foist the costs of today’s wars and social crises onto the backs of working people and what this says about the values of their system. Many workers want to discuss how past struggles — like the Cuban Revolution and the mighty movement that overthrew Jim Crow segregation — show we can organize independently of the bosses, and through revolutionary struggle develop the capacities to replace capitalist rule with workers power.
Such capabilities are completely discounted by those like Cohen who think that workers need to be “learned” on what to do by meritocrats like himself.
The alleged activities of the Internet Research Agency and its manager, Yevgeny Prigozhin, itemized in the indictment, are a litany of internet misinformation on a wide variety of political issues.
But the scale of the meddling in the 2016 elections by Moscow pales in comparison to that engineered over decades by the U.S. rulers. They have utilized their spy agencies — that liberals are falling over themselves to shower with plaudits — to not only “affect” elections, but to brutally overturn governments.
This includes the CIA-organized coup that overthrew the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and replaced him with the shah in 1953, establishing a key prop in U.S. domination across the Middle East that lasted for 25 years. The U.S. rulers tried to prevent the election of Salvador Allende as president of Chile, and, when they failed, backed the 1973 coup by Gen. Augusto Pinochet that overthrew his government. The list goes on and on.