‘Domestic terrorism’ plan is threat to workers’ rights

By Brian Williams
July 5, 2021

The President Joseph Biden administration released its new “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism” June 15, setting the stage for increased attacks on free speech and the political rights of working people. 

The 30-page report issued by the National Security Council points to the Jan. 6 disruption of Congress — conducted by a few hundred conspiracy theorists, wannabe paramilitaries and a small minority of Donald Trump supporters rallying in Washington that day — as a “resurgence” of “domestic terrorism.”  

“In the FBI’s view,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in a speech the day the new “strategy” was released, “the top domestic violent extremist threat comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race.” 

Six months into Biden’s presidency, the Democrats and their boosters in liberal editorial offices continue to charge former President Donald Trump, and the 74 million people who voted for him in 2020, as “white supremacists.” This is part of a broader effort to get him “canceled,” pursue criminal charges of all kinds against him, his family and political associates, in hopes of preventing them from playing any role in politics again. More fundamentally, their real fire is aimed at pushing back working people — the ones Hillary Clinton famously described as the “deplorables.” 

The White House document elaborates on Washington’s strategy to coordinate more spying by federal, state and local cop agencies, expand use of undercover cops and provocateurs, and broaden spying and harassment against workers and others involved in fights for political rights. The Biden administration is requesting over $100 million in additional funds for the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI’s anti-working-class snoops.  

The DHS has set up a “Domestic Violent Extremism” program, and is allocating over $77 million to “state, local, tribal and territorial” cop agencies, the document says, to ferret out “relevant iconography, symbology, and phraseology used by many domestic terrorists.”  

This aims to aid stepped-up efforts to censor social media posts of those the government deems to be extremists or who they consider are veering in that direction. And efforts are being organized, the document says, for government bureaucrats “enhancing media literacy” and “critical thinking skills” to nudge workers to get in line.  

Expanding government spy and disruption operations targeting a “resurgence” of white supremacy goes hand in hand with liberal efforts to impose mandatory indoctrination in “critical race theory” in school classrooms, company training programs and “classes” for government employees.

Washington is also supporting efforts to censor “extremist” ideas abroad. This involves joining with some 50 governments working with tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, to remove social media posts they deem politically offensive. 

While Biden’s document is praised by liberal pundits, some say it doesn’t go far enough. “One Big Thing Missing From Biden’s Strategy on Domestic Extremism,” headlines the Washington Post  June 16. The column says the administration needs to introduce new legislation making “domestic terrorism” a federal crime. The Justice Department says it’s looking into this.  

But the U.S. government already has way too many laws on its books ostensibly aimed at “extremists.” History shows they always end up being used by the capitalist rulers to target the working-class movement, fighters for Black rights and the Socialist Workers Party. 

In 1941 as the U.S. rulers were gearing up to enter the second imperialist world war, 18 leaders of Teamsters Local 544 and of the Socialist Workers Party were framed up and convicted under the newly passed Smith Act that made advocacy of “extremist” ideas a federal crime. 

The real “crime” of these working-class fighters was to build a trade union campaign against President Franklin Roosevelt’s moves to join the war to enable the U.S. ruling capitalist families to seize new markets and political domination. They served jail terms up to 16 months. 

In 1973 the Socialist Workers Party filed a landmark federal lawsuit challenging decades of FBI spying, harassment and disruption and waged a 13-year political campaign to force out the truth about the scope of the FBI’s assault on political rights. The campaign helped push back the rulers’ political police and the party won a decision upholding the SWP’s right to its revolutionary views.