Purge the Tea Party, Save Democracy

"...time for steel backbones and fierce organizing."
Carl Davidson
http://blog.usw.org/2013/10/18/purge-the-tea-party-save-democracy/#more-23084
United Steelworkers of America blog
October 18, 2013
Carl Davidson
http://www.tv5.org/cms/userdata/c_bloc/61/61556/61556_vignette_carldavidson-sommaire.jpg

It’s time to take the gloves off and purge the Tea Party. I’m sure we can fit extortion and obstruction of the Constitution into “high crimes and misdemeanors” and get the ball rolling with Articles of Impeachment – which, you know, isn’t limited to something done to Presidents. If not that, we need to prepare now to expunge them at the polls in 2014.

Not a single decent or progressive thing is going to get through Congress until we do.

I’m not even talking about their racist shenanigans on the Mall last week, demagogically trying at a vets’ rally to blame President Obama for shutting down the WWII Memorial they had shut down. Nor the anti-Muslim tirade and waving of the Confederate flag as they marched on the White House.

That was simply reactionary farce. More sinister was their action in the House early this month when they changed the rules, stripping every member of the House of Representatives of one of their rights, and handing it over only to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor or his designee. It was exposed on the House floor by Rep. Chris van Hollen (D-Md). According to CNN reporter Jake Tapper Oct. 14, quoting van Hollen:

“Under the Rules of the House, in the very particular parliamentary situation we find ourselves in (i.e. disagreement between House and Senate amendments on the bill) ANY member of the House, as a matter of privilege, could have called up the Senate amendments for a vote (because the rules were written to try to expedite the resolution of differences between the two houses when there was a majority of each house in favor of a particular resolution).”

“That said, van Hollen continues, ‘On Oct. 1, the Republicans passed a Rule to change the Standing Rules of the House so only Cantor or his designee could bring up Senate bill for a vote. I am told that we never played with this Rule when we were last in Majority, and we are looking into the earlier history of this matter. In other words, they shut down the government and then changed the House Rules to keep it shut down.’”

In other words, the GOP-dominated House Rules Committee just told 434 House members to sit down and shut up, and that they had no rights that the Tea Party was bound to respect. To the rest of us, the clear message is that they don’t give a damn if the economy is wrecked and the working class suffers. They want to destroy the first black President at any cost, even if it means going against their bankster backers on Wall Street for a spell.

We need to put the heat on the offices of every Member of Congress, of either party, left, center or right. Strangle this proto-fascist maneuver in its crib. Don’t give them an inch, or we’ll regret it further down the line. Rather than “compromises” like cutting Social Security or Medicare, now is the time for steel backbones and fierce organizing.

***

Carl Davidson, a retired computer technician, is a USW Associate Member now living in Aliquippa, Pa., his hometown, and the location of the former J&L Steel Mill, where many in his family worked and where his grandfather and a cousin died on the job. In Chicago, he served as a computer consultant for SEIU and several other unions, and was the editor of FIRR News for the Federation for Industrial Retention and Renewal during the campaigns against plant closings. In the 1960s, he was active in the civil rights movement, a national leader of student new left and the anti-Vietnam war movement. He worked on President Barack Obama’s first political campaign in Illinois, on his campaign for the U.S. Senate and for the presidency. Together with Jerry Harris, a former Chicago steelworker, he is author of CyberRadicalism: A New Left for a Global Age and editor of Solidarity Economy: Building Alternatives for People and Planet. He is the author and co-author of several other books and lectures on the topic of the Mondragon Cooperatives, a network of 120 worker-owned factories centered in Spain, and writes for the Beaver County Blue website.

October 19, 2013