Liberal Democrats and capitalist bosses are using the action by some Donald Trump supporters who entered the Capitol Jan. 6 — falsely claiming it was an “insurrection” or “fascist coup” — to escalate their attacks on freedom of speech and political rights more broadly. Their main target is not Trump, but working people.
The FBI has gone into action looking for people to prosecute and workers have been fired for joining the protest. Democratic Party politicians are trying to come up with a way to deal with what they see as “deplorable” workers who don’t think like them.
“This escalating assault on political rights is a threat to all working people,” Willie Cotton, Socialist Workers Party candidate for New York public advocate, said Jan. 18. “To be targeted by the rulers’ political police or fired because of your ideas must be opposed.”
In Massachusetts, Therese Duke was fired from her nursing job of 15 years by bosses at the UMass Memorial Hospital after being recorded on video during a tussle in D.C. the day before a relative handful of conspiracy theorists and would-be paramilitaries, confederate flag carrying rightists and a few overenthused Trump supporters occupied the Capitol Building. Since her firing Duke has tried to launch online fundraisers to support herself, but says these have been shut down by the big tech companies.
Bosses at Metro North in New York are trying to fire rail worker Will Pepe for joining the Capitol occupation.
Ocasio-Cortez says the U.S. is “one of the most revered democracies in the world,” and demands that any representative who claims the 2020 election was rigged must be thrown out of Congress.
Katie Couric, a longtime anchor of the CBS Evening News and NBC’s “Today” program, said, “The question is how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump.”
Bosses at Facebook, Twitter, Snap, and Reddit have shut down Trump’s personal accounts, claiming they have the right to close accounts of people they disagree with. Twitter has shut more than 70,000 accounts that it alleges post QAnon conspiracy theories. Facebook is removing content that even mentions “Stop the Steal.”
Apple, Amazon and Google, which dominate the internet, have closed Parler, the conservative version of Twitter, by denying it access to their webservers.
Bosses at companies that ban posts they claim are violent are highly selective. Twitter, owned by billionaire Jack Dorsey, continues to allow posts under numerous variants of “KillTrump.”
Attacks on free speech always end up undermining the political rights of working people. Last October Facebook “deactivated” the account of Cheryl LaBash, a co-chair of the National Network on Cuba, and 14 others for posting information on a Nov. 14-15 conference organized to fight against the U.S. economic war against Cuba. In the face of protests the page was restored after 24 hours.
Twitter has frequently blocked accounts of organizations and political leaders in Cuba who defend the revolution.
The U.S. rulers always seize on whatever opportunity they can to chip away at the political rights of working people. During World War II the second-class mailing permit of the Militant was revoked — and several issues destroyed at the post office — by the administration of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Officials justified the measures citing the Militant’s uncompromising defense of Black rights and complained the paper reported the war as a conflict “fought solely for the benefit of the ruling groups.”
With the support of Black rights groups, trade unions and supporters of civil liberties the Militant forced the government to back down.
As part of the latest attacks, Stripe, a web-based financial company, has stopped processing transactions on Trump’s campaign website. Airbnb announced that it is banning anyone connected with the “riot” at the Capitol from using its services as well as anyone it alleges is part of a “hate group.” The Transportation Security Administration and the FBI are threatening to add Trump supporters and others they deem suspicious onto the federal no-fly list.
Some anti-Trump union officials have jumped on the bandwagon. The SMART union’s Transportation Division and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen sent a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration asking it to establish a “no-ride” list, banning those they call “suspected insurrectionists” from rail travel.
The main target of these bans and other attacks by liberals and bosses are working people who refused to back Joe Biden for president. They think such “deplorables” must be held in check. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman ran an opinion piece Jan. 10 titled, “When It Comes to Trump Supporters’ Fascism, America Cannot Afford Appeasement.”
Working people need to oppose all these attacks on our rights.