(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 28, 2010
of Extreme Right in the
R Arun Kumar
IN what is termed as a historic victory, Barack Obama has signed the health care reform legislation. While the labour unions, progressive forces and sections of democrats have hailed this moment as 'defining', there was another considerable section in the society that had become very vocal in the recent past opposing these moves. These two surcharged emotions were very much on display the day on which the house had voted the legislation 219 in favour and 212 against.
legislation in fact is a victory achieved fighting
many odds. Big insurance companies that control nearly one-sixth of the
American economy have pumped in millions of dollars to stop this
from being enacted. It is said that at least $100 million dollars were
the media war unleashed by these companies against this bill. This
was countered by the time tested tactic of directly reaching out to the
masses of people and moving them into action. It was reported that the
movement made four million phone calls and sent one million emails in
of the bill. Working
is reported that never has there been another issue
that had so divided the entire nation in the recent times. Ignoring the
for bi-partisan support to the bill, not a single Republican voted for
the other hand, 34 Democrats voted against the bill championed by
'their' own president.
The most dangerous trend that was witnessed during the entire debate is
consolidation and the growth of right-wing reactionaries in the
us of the fascists who despised the
physically challenged as a burden on the state, the demonstrators while
through the streets in an earlier rally, taunted, threw money, hurled
abuses and humiliated a destitute elderly man suffering from
disease. The people behind all these acts proudly claim to be part of
Party movement and are unrepentant for their acts. All this growing
and viciousness reflect the underlying tensions in the
party movement in the
The Tea Party Movement as it is popularly called is a combination of many 'grass-root' movements brought together by their anti-government feelings. They are united in their opposition to the federal stimulus bill, government bailouts, the health care legislation and in the belief that the federal government has overstepped its constitutional powers. The issues these people raise reflect the core values of the conservative wing of the Republican Party – less government spending, lower taxes, lighter regulation. Most of these groups are funded by former and current Republican leaders and many of them are appendages of the local Republican Party. But the most frightening concern about the Tea Party movement is the funding and backing it is getting from the extreme right groups. These groups are spending millions of dollars and buying considerable space in all forms of media. They organise conservative talk shows on the radio, television and also use the net extensively to spread their venom. Encouraged by these neo-conservative commentators, many people are reading obscure books and web sites and 'discovering' ideas that were once dismissed as conspirational. The Tea party movement has thus become a platform for extreme right populist discontent.
Stunned by the Republican Party’s worst defeat in the last presidential elections, the Tea Party movement was formed as a response to the broad peoples' coalition that contributed to Obama's victory. This was intended to break the broad alliance of workers, employees, immigrants, Afro-Americans and many such poor and middle classes. They are using the prevailing high unemployment, rising poverty that the economic crisis has created to fuel further discontent and mobilise people to their end. They successfully utilised the public uproar against the huge bail-out packages announced for the financial institutions to build anti-government sentiment. While the progressive forces in the country were opposing these bail-outs for the rich and are instead demanding stimulus to carry massive public works programmes, these right-wing conservatives were vocal against the public works component in the stimulus and too much regulation.
The Tea Party movement consists of people who want to do away with the Federal Reserve, federal income tax, not to mention of the bail-out and stimulus packages. Some of the solutions they are debating as a way out from the present crisis are, “secession, tax boycotts, states nullifying federal laws and forming citizen militias”. They believe global warming to be a hoax, invented to increase the role of government and bring 'socialism through the back door'.
Party movement has become host to “gun rights
activists, anti-tax crusaders, libertarians, militia organisers, the
(who doubt President Obama's citizenship) and proponents of the
states movement”. Bizarre rumours are floated by these groups: Obama is
manufacturing crisis in the country to pave way for assuming
powers; he is converting Interpol into his personal police force, etc.
people are so influenced by this propaganda that they are storing huge
quantities of food, survival gear, gold and ammunition fearing the
some localities armed neighbourhood militias too are being formed and
classes are organised for the activists to prepare for the coming
'strife'. Richard Behney, a Republican
Senate candidate from
influence of all this is disastrous. On February
18 this year, Joseph Stack, a tax protester flew a plane into an office
building housing Internal Revenue Service employees in
The Tea Party movement is attracting many young people who were earlier not involved in politics and have never voted in the elections. Their failure to get a job due to the present economic crisis and the resultant anger is providing fodder for the growth of these ultra right wing groups. They are successfully diverting their discontent into narrow chauvinistic ends and are thus saving big finance, the real culprits from facing the brunt of their anger. Immigrants, coloured people, gays, abortionists and such other groups are projected as the reason for the current mess and the government is projected as catering to their interests alone. Government regulation is projected as an intrusion on the privacy of individuals. Feeding on the ignorance of the substantially young people, progressives, socialists and communists are loathed. Arguing for free markets, they openly stand for the interests of finance capital. No wonder that big finance is not worried about their growth, while sections of them are actively supporting these groups.
Republican Party, unconcerned with the potential
threat these forces pose to the society is hitching itself to this
petty political gains. The recent election to the Massachusetts Senate
long held by the Democrats is wrested by the Republicans now because of
support provided to them by the Tea Party movement amongst a host of
reasons. The Republican Party is thus actively involved in giving birth
another Frankenstein, with many fascistic features. Only this time the
birth is on the
A detailed article on the US Health Care Reform Bill will appear in the next issue