The sweeping assaults being carried out against constitutional freedoms by the Joseph Biden White House, other Democrats and the FBI is the central issue for working people in the class struggle today. Their target is to crush Donald Trump and drive him out of politics and, more importantly, to put harsher restraints on the tens of millions of working people who voted for him, those Biden insists are all “semi-fascists.”
The FBI’s drive to get Trump began before he was elected in 2016 and has escalated and expanded ever since. Its methods include spying, raids and disruption operations, along with feeding cooked-up “evidence” to prosecutors and Democratic-run congressional committees. To aid their work, the Democrats and the liberal press heap praise on the U.S. rulers’ chief political police, working overtime in an attempt to refurbish the spy agency.
Along with their prosecutors, courts and prisons the FBI is key to the capitalist rulers hold on state power. This campaign by the Democrats is a deadly threat to the working class. It’s the result of the deep crisis of the rulers’ two-party system.
Freedom of speech, the press and assembly; protection from unreasonable search and seizure; the right to a speedy trial by our peers; against cruel and unusual punishment; and many more freedoms codified in the Constitution are crucial for working people. They’re essential when we seek to use our unions to fight for better wages and conditions, to speak out against oppression and injustice no matter who is being targeted, and to mount opposition to the U.S. rulers’ imperialist wars.
Each of these freedoms has been trampled on during the six-plus years Democrats have driven to break Trump and his family.
Under the guise of protecting “national security” — trotted out whenever the rulers seek to violate the Constitution — the Justice Department demanded the reversal of a review of materials snatched in the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, in a Sept. 30 court motion. It seeks to use the material against Trump leading up to the November elections.
As the FBI becomes an increasingly important weapon for the Democrats’ drive to hold onto office, its political police methods have been turned loose on others.
Mark Houck, co-president of The King’s Men, a Catholic men’s ministry, and regular participant in protests outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia, became an FBI target and was arrested in a raid by at least 20 FBI agents at his home in suburban Kintnersville in front of his children Sept. 23.
He had been charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act for his involvement in an altercation with a patient escort at the clinic in October 2021. Even though the notoriously liberal Philadelphia district attorney, Larry Krasner, chose not to prosecute Houck, the Biden Justice Department decided to go after him anyway.
Houck contacted prosecutors and volunteered to give himself up whenever they asked. But the Justice Department chose to ignore his offer so they could stage the publicized raid on the family’s home, branding him as a dangerous criminal.
His wife, Ryan-Marie, says agents had “guns drawn” before shackling her husband. “The kids were all just screaming.”
Political police operate in secrecy
The capitalist ruling families need a political police that operates in secrecy, lies with impunity and is free to go after whoever the rulers target.
That is how the FBI carried out its spying on Trump’s 2016 campaign. Ex-FBI spy Igor Danchenko will go on trial Oct. 11, charged by a special federal prosecutor appointed while Trump was still president for lying to the agency about his part in fabricating the notorious and lurid Steele dossier in 2016. It was full of false allegations that Trump was a pawn of Moscow. The dossier’s author, former British spy Christopher Steele, was cut off by the FBI in November 2016. But that didn’t mean they backed off using his report to justify targeting Trump, his family and allies for FBI assault.
In March 2017, FBI bosses started paying Danchenko, who they knew to be the primary “source” of Steele’s fabrications, as an informer, part of former-FBI boss Robert Mueller’s impeachment probe aimed at bringing down Trump. Danchenko is now accused of hiding the fact that his “evidence” that Trump colluded with Moscow in fact came from a Democratic Party operative linked to Hillary Clinton.
The FBI kept Danchenko on its payroll until October 2020, when Trump’s Justice Department announced a probe into FBI spying on the former president.
A new book, Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump, by Rachael Bade and Karoun Demirjian, recounts some of the frame-up methods used to shred constitutional protections against government attack. The authors document how Democratic House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler concluded the first impeachment drive would appear to be “unconstitutional.” “We don’t have due process,” Nadler admitted, and the president was not given “ample opportunity to defend himself.”
To get around Nadler’s doubts, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi removed Nadler’s Judiciary Committee from any role in the impeachment show trial, replacing it with the House Intelligence Committee headed by Adam Schiff. Schiff had none of Nadler’s qualms.
The presumption of innocence, the right to call witnesses and to confront your accuser are hard-fought conquests won over decades. Workers must defend them, regardless of who is charged. Frame-up methods commonly used to chew workers up in the capitalist “justice” system are now used by Democrats against a rival capitalist politician, aided and abetted by FBI spying and disruption.
This will pick up as the election draws closer. In the long run, the capitalist ruling class increasingly fears what is building up among millions of workers and farmers who bear the brunt of the unfolding capitalist crisis today. The rulers know they’re going to need their political police more and more.