Where's the hate?
The I Hate Republicans Reader: Why the GOP Is Totally Wrong About Everything
Edited by Clint Willis
New York: Thunder's Mouth Press 2003
Despite having the right title, the book is not about hating Republicans, not even slightly. Oh sure, the various articles lambaste Republican weenieisms of the last 25 years, but it is still a case where each Democratic writer "doth protest too much."
Willis's book seeks to win the non-existent minds of a public too oppressive and greedy for even the mild considerations of corporate power in this book. Some of the articles are medium to medium- heavy fire at Republican positions but many other articles are passionate little skirmishes generated to entertain a public too complacent to handle much more than an anagram or Quayleism. These skirmishes typical of Democratic Party activism bring to mind the quote "His mind is organized like a factory-outlet store--everything scattered around and nothing worth more than $49.95."(p. 265)
As we have pointed out before, "hate" should be reserved for something to be destroyed. It was correct in u.$. history to hate slavery and fight a war to make it unthinkable. It was not until after that war that white children grew up not seeing Blacks as slaves. Change came first and the corresponding attitudes later.
The cartoon writer for the book says to "hate the sin" and "love the sinner" in reference to Republicans. Others say to distinguish the leaders from the little old ladies in the suburbs. In fact, in the whole book, there is not a single article about how to destroy the Republican Party --only articles about how to win debate contests. That's why it cannot be taken seriously as "hating" Republicans.
At the very minimum, truly hating Republicans, even within the bourgeois two-party logic of Amerika would mean supporting a third party to replace the Republicans. As of September, 2004, we can see for example that Democrats are busy keeping Ralph Nader off the ballot; hence, Democrats are in no way qualified to say they hate Republicans. They fully intend to share power with them rather than implementing a strategy to sweep them into the dustbin of history, and this is reason enough by itself to sweep the Democrats into the dustbin of history with the Republicans.
This demonstrator at the Republican National Convention has the right goals.
Questions that need answering in a true hate- Republican-reader would be: 1) How to overcome the money advantage of the Republican Party in its political campaigning without competing like Democrats do to be Republicans Lite. 2) What are the issues proven statistically to win away Republicans in the suburbs and rural areas to something new -- or at the very least, to cause them to cease political activism.
To understand U.$. politics as it exists, one does have to read books like this one, where the passion is often in the persynal details about Republican or Democratic lives--this one having stained Monica Lewinsky's dress, that one having avoided serving in Vietnam through connections putting him in the National Guard (not the way the National Guard is today). It's a lot of petty stuff that sells newspapers and generates TV viewerships --the kind that generates fascists around the world who look at Amerikan politics and wonder "what are you talking about?" Give people some freedom of the press and what do they do with it the fascist hyenas wonder, and the answer is Geraldo, Monica Lewinsky and O.J. Simpson, 24/7.
Those of us not just salivating for another round of insults about Gennifer Flowers or Bush's lack of a brain deserved more in 414 pages. We deserved to be shown evidence of what works and does not work in campaigns toward progressive goals. Without that scientific political element on how to be effective all that accumulates is political frustration.
The closest that we got to something useful along these lines was from Greg Palast "Jim Crow in Cyberspace" who showed the readers not how to defeat Republicans but how Republicans win--by voter profiling. Republicans literally won the Florida election in 2000 with computer programming to wipe disproportionately Black voters off the voting lists. We did not learn how the Democratic Party or anyone else is going to defeat such maneuvers in the future. To this day, what we hear is that Kerry has lawyers prepared to go to any state. Yet, given the political apathy that created the situation where Florida does not have sufficient people to staff its own polls, reality is that solving the voter profiling problem is tied up with raising political consciousness generally. Places like Florida are rife with people in love with Oliver North-style coups against democratic governance anyway.
In addition to wiping out Democratic voters via computer, Republicans also stacked the Supreme Court with its partisans who found it unnecessary for Florida to conduct a correct election. Again, Dershowitz and others told us the problem--but not how to solve it. The fact that Amerika cannot run an election and that the Supreme Court has the will not to care is itself very indicative--but disempowering.
Bridget Gibson writing in the democraticunderground.com showed how the corporations known as the media are funding the Republican Party--Fox, AOL/Time Warner/CNN, GE/NBC and Disney/ABC.(p. 105) Moreover, Paul Begala tells us that Enron was the largest contributor to George W. Bush's political career. (p. 165) Most of the writers do not tell us which corporate donors fund the Democrats and why. That is why a socialist perspective is necessary to get the big picture.
Ralph Nader's and the Greens's solution is that everyone can get an equal say in politics if we downsize corporations. That will level the playing field they think. In contrast, we at MIM believe it is part of capitalism to succeed through growth of large corporations and their influence/bribery of government officials--the more influence, the more successful in business. Breaking up mega-corporations into smaller ones only starts the process anew. Hence, the real solution is to realize that global-sized organization is here to stay, but the only choice is whether it is profit-directed or socialist-directed. We do not seek to get involved in gathering campaign contributions from mega-corporate donors. That is their game. We need to seek power in a different political system entirely that does not play to the strengths of the fat-cat donors.
On the question of race, the book has three good exposures of Jesse Helms, Trent Lott and Bush by Ernest Furgurson, Nate Hardcastle and Paul Begala. On the other hand, these amount to fewer than 20 pages while the section on "incompetence" is over 50 pages.
The question of Republican incompetence is perhaps the easiest way to differentiate a communist view from a Democratic one. Incompetence only matters if the goals are good. If the goals are bad to begin with, there is no reason to complain about incompetence. Bush's incompetence may in fact speed revolutionary victory. In contrast, the Democratic Party schtick boils down to saying it would do a better job oppressing Iraqis, Saudis etc. or whatever else the bourgeoisified soccer mom of the suburbs is thinking that day. The incompetence routine is also why the Democrats can go to the same corporations as the Republicans to hit them up for money. The question of "incompetence" within the current political system is corporate-speak.
On the question of civil liberties, we appreciate that this book did not back down in front of the Patriot Act furor; even though Kerry co-wrote the Patriot Act. Stanley I. Kutler and some other progressives have even managed to get the facts onto monopoly capitalist TV--that Lincoln voted to censure the president over the Mexican war and president Theodore Roosevelt considered it treason not to criticize a president just because it was war time.(p. 328)
We would add that apparently some of the Liberal founders of the united $tates such as Jefferson regarded criticism of the government as so important that they would even consider MIM "patriots" for criticizing. One critic of MIM at Fort Bragg also wistfully compared us with most of his colleagues who he says do not care about politics at all.
Hence, the question comes down to what is a patriot. Some have told us it is the apathetic who are unpatriotic while people such as MIM who care about politics and put our resources into standing up to power are in fact patriotic. Such a definition cuts to the core values of alleged "Americans." If it is "treason" not to criticize and it is patriotic merely to engage in politics, because that is how America defined itself originally, then communists are "patriots" and Nixon's "silent majority" is un-American.
MIM does not use the word "patriotism" the way some Liberal founders of America did. Patriotism has come to mean greedily putting one's nation above others. Of course, we would say that Amerikans benefit from MIM-style internationalism, but we would also say slave-owners benefitted from ending slavery. At a practical level, we know that slave-owners as a group resisted the end of slavery, in some cases to the death. Likewise Amerikan patriots in their millions are resisting changes needed for future harmony. Defining MIM as patriots for being involved in politics and civic duties has the downside risk of evading nasty and ugly conflicts.
In the end, MIM shares the political Liberal, libertarian and anarchist goal of self-directed citizens consciously guiding their own futures through conscious political participation that may become apolitical in some distant day of the perfectly harmonious communist future. We believe the process of getting there is more like Lincoln's Civil War than the prosperous's preoccupation with Monica Lewinsky's stained dress.
Karl Marx taught us to look at the groups called classes to understand how our mutual goal may realize itself in the future. Marx also showed us how internationalism is key to the realization of the goal of self-directed individuals living without coercion. Patriotism is useful only to special interests seeking weapons contracts, Iraq contracts or oil resources for a select few. Those American Liberal patriots still seeking the loftiest goals of Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt minus the genocide and slavery should realize that their goals require an internationalist outlook.
We do not see any real "hate" in the I Hate Republicans Reader and that's a shame. Corporate politics is an obscenity. The corporations and their government lackeys have every bit as much "totalitarian" surveillance and repressive power as the Big Brother socialists they condemn, but the goals of the corporate totalitarians are greed and more greed--not universal peace, health care, housing, and education.