US gov’t pushes assault on rights, claims target is ‘domestic terror’

By Seth Galinsky
February 8, 2021
Washington used the FBI, the capitalist rulers’ political police, to spy on and try to disrupt the Black liberation movement, including targeting both Malcom X, right, and Martin Luther King Jr., left. Democrats claim greater police powers are needed to counter “domestic terrorism.”
Library of CongressWashington used the FBI, the capitalist rulers’ political police, to spy on and try to disrupt the Black liberation movement, including targeting both Malcom X, right, and Martin Luther King Jr., left. Democrats claim greater police powers are needed to counter “domestic terrorism.”

The new Democratic Party administration of Joe Biden is spearheading an assault on political rights, claiming that a few hundred conspiracy theorists and wannabe paramilitaries, followed by some supporters of Donald Trump, who entered the Capitol Jan. 6 represent a growing proliferation of “domestic terrorists” that must be stopped.

To justify these moves, the FBI, liberal media, Democratic Party politicians and middle-class radicals are united in smearing working people who supported Trump as possible “terrorists.”

“Don’t dare call them protesters,” President Biden said of those who went into the Capitol. “They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists.”

Measures the administration and its backers are pushing include stepped-up FBI spying, having people driven out of their jobs, “deplatforming” them by closing their social media accounts, public “shaming,” and getting individuals kicked out of their unions. Some propose “deprogramming” Trump supporters.

One hundred twenty-five people so far have been charged with trespassing or disorderly conduct for entering the Capitol. Prosecutors admit many could face more serious charges. At least three have been charged with “conspiracy” to interfere with the operation of the government. Prosecutors say they’re planning to use charges of “sedition” as well.

These moves have nothing to do with combating what liberals and most of the left say is a growing white supremacist movement or rising “fascist” movement. Their fire is aimed at working people — the ones who Hillary Clinton famously called the “deplorables” — and driving them out of politics, starting with the more than 74 million who voted for Donald Trump or the 80 million who didn’t vote at all.

Interviewed by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Jan. 12, Juliette Kayyem, an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security under Barack Obama, called Trump “the operational leader” of a domestic terrorist movement.

Trump’s been “deplatformed,” she said. “He can’t get onto social media.” This “isolation” and “sort of shaming of Donald Trump” is aimed at the “people who are supporting him,” she brazenly states, and at making sure “he does not have a second act.”

Liberal journalists from Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times, and former “Today” show host Katie Couric, as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have called for finding a way to “deprogram” Trump supporters.

Some anti-Trump activists are doing their own “investigations,” including some allied with antifa, revealing personal information of people they accuse of having been at the Capitol Jan. 6, in hopes they’ll come under fire.

Many of the identifications by the self-appointed liberal sleuths have turned out to be wrong, resulting in workers being harassed and threatened anyway.

Harassment and firings

The Washington Post reported Jan. 16 that some of those targeted by such “investigations” weren’t even in Washington. For example, retired Chicago firefighter David Quintavalle was 700 miles away, getting ready to celebrate his wife’s birthday, but the “sleuths” posted his address and phone number on the internet. He received threatening phone calls as well as people staking out his home.

Several workers who attended the large Jan. 6 rally outside the Capitol have already been suspended or fired from their jobs. Long Island Rail Road assistant conductor Steven Rosati was suspended without pay by the MTA, which runs the passenger line. According to the New York Daily News, there is a photo of him outside on the Capitol steps.

MTA chairman Pat Foye announced at a press conference that what Rosati has said “on social media is outrageous, despicable and a sign he’s a jackass.” He’s being victimized because of his political ideas, nothing else. To class-conscious workers, that’s what’s outrageous and dangerous. Whatever you may think of Rosati’s views, when witch hunts get whipped up history shows they always end up targeting the working class and its communist vanguard.

The national board of the SAG-AFTRA actors and “media artists” union voted Jan. 19 to take steps to expel Trump from the union. Trump’s membership dates back to his work on “The Apprentice” TV show and some cameo appearances in films.

The idea that an entertainment industry union officialdom would try to witch hunt one of its own members out of the union and destroy his right to work is appalling. The members of these unions were among the most visible targets of the anti-communist witch hunt in the 1950s.

Domestic Terrorism Act

Meanwhile, supporters of Biden and some Never-Trump Republicans just introduced the “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021” in the House of Representatives and the Senate. If passed, it would authorize the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FBI to step up spying, use of undercover informers and other violations of political rights if they say you’re suspected of “domestic terrorism.”

Some liberal Democrats and civil rights groups say they oppose the bill. A letter sent to the Democratic and Republican leaders of both Houses of Congress by Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and six other representatives said they were in “strong opposition to the expansion of the domestic national security and surveillance powers” proposed in the bill.

But don’t mistake this position as opposition to the new attacks on democratic rights. They say the existing laws “are more than sufficient” to go after anyone the government deems a threat.

The Biden administration is moving rapidly to take advantage of the hysteria being whipped up around “insurrection” and an “attempted coup” to unleash its political police, using those “more than sufficient” tools.

The New York Times reported Jan. 21 that the government is already using “more sophisticated investigative techniques.” One example: “A confidential paid informant who has been working for the FBI for more than a year.”

On Jan. 22, the White House announced it had ordered intelligence agencies to conduct a “comprehensive threat assessment” of “domestic violent extremism.”

Sound familiar? That was the rationale behind the Cointelpro operations against Black liberation groups, the Socialist Workers Party, supporters of independence for Puerto Rico, the American Indian Movement and others in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. These attacks were beaten back by the successful political campaign and lawsuit waged by the SWP and won in 1986.