White House attacks target constitutional protections

By Terry Evans
September 19, 2022

Backed by Democrats from the party’s fraying factions, President Joseph Biden, along with never-Trump Republicans, the New York Times and the rest of the liberal press, have stepped up their relentless drive against Donald Trump and the 74 million people who voted for him, attacking constitutional rights working people need.

Biden said “MAGA Republicans” reflect “semi-fascism” in what he cynically described as a “nonpolitical” speech Sept. 1. His administration has relied on the FBI to use jackboot methods against Trump and his supporters. That’s what the FBI’s Aug. 8 armed raid at Mar-a-Lago and the congressional show trial around the Jan. 6 riot in Washington are all about.

These moves deal blows to constitutional rights conquered in blood by working people.

At issue is not whether Biden’s or Trump’s politics are better for workers — both are dedicated to defending the class interests of the propertied ruling families at home and abroad.

Biden’s “semi-fascism” remarks are rooted in the capitalist rulers’ growing fear of the working class, those Hillary Clinton famously called “irredeemables” and “deplorables.” The rulers recognize that more of us are beginning to see that the bosses and their political parties have no “solutions” that don’t further load the costs of their system on us.

Every former president reviews material they used at the White House after their term to prepare a permanent archive. The FBI raid at Trump’s estate was timed just three months before the 2022 midterm elections. Lacking confidence they can win on their record, Democrats hope to make Trump and his supporters the issue in November.

“Yet more indefensible conduct by Donald Trump revealed this morning,” shrieked Republican never-Trumper Elizabeth Cheney when the FBI released a photo of “classified documents” scattered strategically on the floor of his estate. What Cheney and liberal media outlets didn’t say was the material was arrayed there by the FBI raiders. They took advantage of the fact that Trump’s attorneys were barred from being present during the nine-hour raid to create the impression Trump was mishandling the documents.

The liberal press immediately began printing all manner of leaks about the documents meant to make Trump’s possession of them look sinister.

Trump went to court to ask for the appointment of a “special master” — a third party — to review what the FBI snatched and recommend what should be returned. The Justice Department opposed the request, saying they were already poring over the files themselves, and intimating he hid yet more material to obstruct their investigation. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon granted Trump’s request Sept. 5, ordering the government to cease all its use of the material while the special master she appoints carries out the review. She did allow the director of national intelligence to continue assessing it for “national security” issues.

Liberals complained Cannon was a Trump appointee. Newsweek wrote that her ruling was an object of ridicule by “multiple legal experts,” who just happened to be opponents of Trump. One claimed the judge had engaged “in obstruction of justice” by taking the case.

Capitalist rulers’ political police

These assaults by the FBI on the constitutional rights of a former president, launched by his bourgeois political opponents, are unprecedented. But the FBI has carried out operations exactly like this to harass, disrupt and frame up militant workers, Socialist Workers Party members, marchers against Jim Crow segregation, opponents of Washington’s wars and other working-class fighters. That is the reason the U.S. rulers’ political police exists.

Just two weeks after the Mar-a-Lago raid, FBI agents began trying to interrogate some 60 people in Puerto Rico who took part in a recent solidarity brigade to Cuba. (See article on front page.)

The working class, more than anyone else, needs the rights codified in the Constitution, from protection against government interference with freedom of speech, assembly and of worship and against unreasonable search and seizure. These rights and more are crucial as we fight bosses’ and government attempts to put the burden of their capitalist crisis on our backs.

One example is the miners on strike at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama. They are facing a government order to hand over $13.3 million to the bosses to “repay” them for their losses due to the strike.

The constitutional right to presumption of innocence is routinely tossed aside in the liberals’ drive to criminalize Trump. Former CIA boss John Brennan revived the discredited FBI smear that Trump was a tool of Moscow. The raid was vital, Brennan claimed, because Russian agents were trying “to gain access to Mar-a-Lago.”

In fact, the notorious 1917 Espionage Act is cited in the warrant for the raid. This anti-working-class law was used to frame up Eugene V. Debs and other opponents of Washington’s imperialist aims, as it intervened in the First World War and went after supporters of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.

Two days after charging that Trump supporters ooze “semi-fascism,” Biden said they “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic” in a speech at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. Flanked by Marines, Biden claimed they are doing nothing less than “destroying American democracy.”

These sentiments are echoed by other Democrats, like New York Gov. Kathleen Hochul, who told her political opponents they should “get out of town. Because you do not represent our values.”

Deepening crisis of capitalist parties

U.S. politics is presented in the media as a deepening clash between conservatives and liberals. This masks the fact that politics here, and everywhere else, reflect the division between class interests of the small layer of billionaire propertied families on the one hand, and on the other the millions of working people who they exploit and who bear the brunt of the capitalist economic and social crisis unfolding today.

What the capitalist rulers and their middle-class apparatchiks dread is workers using our unions to fight for jobs, wages that match inflation, for control over safety and production on the job and the many other things we need. Through such struggles we discover what we’re capable of accomplishing as a class and recognize why workers need to organize our own political party, a labor party, independent of the exploiting classes and their political parties, to fight for political power ourselves.