Brecht Forum – If It’s Not Fascism, What Is It? Who Benefits & Why Now?
Panelists: Mark Crispin Miller, Heidi Boghosian, Bertell Ollman, Moderated by Michael Steven Smith
There appears to be a major transformation in progress. Bourgeois democracy, however limited and constricted it has been, is being revamped. The separation of powers, first enunciated by the founders, hardly exists any more. The Executive branch has overpowered Congress and the Judiciary. Neither the corporate media, the two party system, nor the unions provide much of a countervailing force. With the defeat of the Soviet Union and the “Socialist Block” imperialism has launched wars to consolidate capitalism and oil control in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. The standard of living for the American working class and middle class is being rolled back quickly; only profit margins of the large corporations and the top one per cent are expanding. Democracy is not an abstraction, but a tool and an aspect of the class struggle. Thus we are experiencing a consolidation of wealth and power that is historically qualitatively transformative. Understanding what is going on is the first step in fighting it.
This week we hear talks from:
Mark Crispin Miller – NYU professor of media studies and author of Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Elections and Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too.
Bertel Ollman – We hear an excerpt from Bertel Ollman, professor of politics at NYU, and has written and edited over a dozen books, including Alienation: Marx’s Conception of Man in Capitalist Society, Social and Sexual Revolution: Essays on Marx and Reich, Dialectical Investigations, How to Take an Exam and Remake the World, and most recently Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx’s Method. He is also founder of The International Endowment for Democracy.
More on the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the resulting demise of Habeas Corpus. During the WBAI fundraiser Michael Smith and Heidi Boghosian talked with attorney and incoming National Lawyer’s Guild president Marjorie Cohn.Guest – Marjorie Cohn – attorney and incoming National Lawyer’s Guild president.
Update on the Military Commissions Act – It allows over-arching executive power and is by definition a police state – “no meaningful distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.” Below are points highlighted from this CCR article.
- Shortly after September 11, 2001, hundreds of non-citizens were swept up in the United States and detained in connection to the terrorism investigation without any evidence to connect them to terrorism or crime.
- These men were arrested and detained based on their Muslim faith, their Arab or South Asian descent, and their immigration status, rather than any evidence to connect them to terrorism.
- The “9-11 detainees” were imprisoned in the United States until they were cleared of any connection to terrorism by the FBI. This clearance usually took months, and some detainees were held for over a year.
- During the detention period, many men were held in the most restrictive confinement that exists in the federal system. They were locked down 23 to 24 hours a day, hand-cuffed and shackled, deprived of sleep, beaten and verbally harassed, and denied the opportunity to practice their religion.
- Since the men were released, at least two federal court judges have ruled that the treatment of the detainees would constitute violations of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
- This provision allows any one of them to be imprisoned indefinitely without their day in court. Now, they could be investigated, detained, interrogated, and tortured without judicial remedy. While U.S. law prohibits torture, this bill would deny access to the courts to bring a torture claim.