Friday, August 7, 2009

Storm Troop Tactics Used by Enemies of Health Care Legislation by Norman Markowitz

There is a sinister development in the U.S. today which, if not actively opposed and defeated, threatens the Democratic rights of the people the rule of law. Rightwing groups, according to the Democratic party and the AFL-CI0 among others,are disrupting in an organized way health care forums through the nation, with shoutings, threats, occasional scuffles. CNN and other mass media which routinely highlight right-wing talking heads are also commenting on this development and the statements by the Democratic party and others that this is being done with the support of the Republican party.

But few are really calling these tactics what they are--the tactics associated with fascist groups throughout the world, that is, breaking up meetings by marching in and intimidating those who disagree with you, using threats and force in an organized way to prevent rational discussion, making people afraid to think by, in the words of Benito Mussolini, "thinking with your blood," i.e., insulting, threatening and beating down those who disagree with you.

If these storm troop tactics, which is exactly what they are minus the men in the black of brown shirts, are, are tolerated, regardless of the outcome of the votes on the legislation, they will escalate and threaten democratic political processes as they always do.

So it is important to resist them in an organized way, the way anti-fascists in many countries were compelled to do, to protect their demonstrations and rallies and general citizens meetings, to keep, in the language of the past, "the fascists from conquering the streets" and all other public venues. The AFL-CIO, which has raised the alarm over this, should help to organize and coordinate actions to provide security against such disruptions.

The "statements" that the bully boys are shouting, that Congress hasn't read the bill, which is filled with sinister clauses that will promote euthanasia, leave cancer patients to die, take away family doctors from people, destroy Medicare, are in effect big lies which can be easily answered, but the storm troop tactics are about blocking not only serious answers but scaring people into either believing what the bully boys are saying or simply withdrawing so that they can control the debate.

Why should Republicans support such tactics? Why did non Nazi conservatives aid and abet the storm troopers in Germany in the 1920s and establishment segregationists aid and abet the KKK in the South for generations while piously proclaiming that they were against the hysteria and the violence these groups promoted. Because these groups were "insurance policies" against change that the establishment right feared in the Weimar Republic, the segregationist power structure feared in the South, and the Republican party following their major defeat in the 2008 elections fears today.

The more reactionary ruling groups suspect that their power is threatened, the more they turn to fascist organizations and or groups which use fascist tactics, assuming, as they did in Italy in the early 19320s and Germany in the early 1930s that they can "control" such groups and go back to "business as usual" once progressive organizations and movements have been put down (in the case of Italy and Germany, these groups established open dictatorships and eventually brought their countries down through a world war).

It is important to act now to oppose the use of these tactics and those who are using them before they escalate, because if history is any judge, they will escalate if they are not effectively opposed.