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Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The ACLU whipping-boy and the fascist threat

The American Civil Liberties Union is a long-time whipping boy of the right. They certainly have played a positive role in many fights over the years, although they're hardly the center of progressive politics or activity in this country, and haven't been for decades. The National Lawyers Guild, for example, is a much more progressive and activist organization that really deserves the hatred of the right. Nevertheless, the ACLU has remained one of the symbols of liberalism in this country, and accusations of being a "card-carrying member of the ACLU" probably carry more "political cost" in this country than accusations of being a racist.

And so it is quite ironic that a right-wing terrorist who got into a gun battle with members of the California Highway Patrol Saturday night was evidently on his way to set up an ambush at the offices of the ACLU and the Tides Foundation, an organization I'd never ever heard of but judging by their website seems about as bland and innocuous an organization as can be imagined (if anyone knows more about them and wants to say otherwise, have a go in the comments).

We're told (it's unclear if these were his words to police or what exactly) that he wanted to "start a revolution" by killing people at the ACLU and Tides, which, let's put it charitably, seems utterly delusional. Curiously, his mother says he was angry about "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items," which is also delusional, but also makes his targeting of the ACLU and Tides even stranger, since neither has anything to do with what has been happening in Congress. But, perhaps most tellingly, the man himself "told investigators he was upset because he had not been able to find a job and because of the poor economy." Which is precisely the origins of fascism. Partly because people like Obama (and Meg Whitman and pretty much ever politician) campaign on the promise of "creating jobs," people like this terrorist and the Tea Party activists view the economy (and their own economic situation) as a product of "the government" and not as a product of capitalism, and the corporations which are behind the government, and which would be the greatest beneficiaries of the "less government" philosophy. And so they can be organized into fascist, and ultimately terrorist gangs, acting in the very service of the corporations whose interests are completely inimical to their own.

In reality, it is socialism which would benefit this man the most. Making him and others like him understand that is, partly thanks to the power of the corporate media, a tall order.

Update: FAIR discusses the Tides connection, which turns out to be, surprise, Glenn Beck.

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