Fight gov’t campaign against constitutional rights we need!

February 15, 2021

Statement by Joe Swanson, Socialist Workers Party City Council At-Large candidate in Lincoln, Nebraska, Feb. 3.

Facing rising joblessness and boss assaults on our wages, hours and working conditions, working people need to defend the political rights we have wrested from the capitalist rulers over decades of struggle so we can come together to fight to protect ourselves and debate how best to chart a class-struggle road forward. We face a frontal assault on our rights being led by the Democrats, the liberal media and the middle-class left. 

Whipping up a hysteria over a purported “fascist coup” or “insurrection” that Democrats claim was organized by Donald Trump at the Capitol Jan. 6, liberals are moving to strengthen conspiracy and “domestic terrorism” laws and the powers of the FBI — the capitalist rulers’ political police. They do so by spouting American patriotism and the need to protect our “sacred” government institutions.

What they are attempting to shore up is the mailed fist of capitalist exploitation and oppression at a time when their economic and social system is in crisis. “America” is class divided, and the rulers increasingly fear that working people more and more see that they and their political parties have no “solutions” that don’t further load the costs of the crisis of their system on us. Politics today is increasingly class against class.

Biden’s “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act” would unleash more spying by Washington’s cop agencies and use of undercover agents against workers, Black rights fighters and other political opponents. 

Some bosses are firing anyone they can connect to the Jan. 6 actions — whether at the mass, pro-Trump rally outside the Capitol or the short-lived foray inside. Meanwhile, cops pursue thought-control “conspiracy” charges to frame up whoever they can get away with. 

Bosses at internet companies are more and more shutting down the accounts of those whose political views they disagree with. 

Liberals are trying to use the hysteria and disregard for the Constitution to deal blows to their main bourgeois opponent, Donald Trump, and his alleged “accomplices” in the Republican Party. 

The show-trial impeachment of Trump on “incitement to insurrection” passed the House with no witnesses, no evidence and no defense permitted. 

All restrictions on political rights by the capitalist class and its government, regardless of who is initially targeted, will always end up being used against militant workers, to deal blows to working-class struggles, our unions and political parties. 

Workers’ use of rights to free speech and to organize have been crucial to advancing our struggles, from the mass battles that built the industrial unions in the 1930s to the Black-led working-class movement that tore down Jim Crow segregation. 

Working people and our unions need to speak out against every attack on rights we use and need, regardless of who is in the White House. 

Last year the Socialist Workers Party successfully fought attempts by Washington state authorities to disclose personal details of the party’s electors. Disclosure laws are tools the rulers use to expose anyone backing working-class parties to retaliatory attacks by the government, cops, rightist thugs and “thought police” on the right and left. 

In 1973, my party launched a political campaign and lawsuit that exposed decades of FBI spying and “dirty tricks” against the SWP, the labor movement, fighters for Black rights and others. The party’s victory in that case dealt a blow to the rulers’ political police, including a decision that stands today that the party’s revolutionary program and activities were protected by the Constitution. It set an example and provided gains that could be used by all fighters for workers’ rights, opponents of Washington’s wars and our unions. 

Building a working-class movement capable of defending all those exploited and oppressed by capital and leading millions to overthrow capitalist rule and establish a workers and farmers government necessitates resolute defense of constitutional rights.