By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Jan 4, 2012 8:37 PM
The “libertarian” movement has never been friendly to the 99%. Its members are not apologetic about wanting to abolish all social programs that aid the people, from Medicaid to food stamps. They want to shut down every government department that in any way limits the excesses of the 1%. These include the Departments of Labor, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, among others.
Libertarians also want to abolish the minimum wage, affirmative action, workplace safety regulations, and all other protections of workers and oppressed people. Their belief is that the power of the capitalists should be totally unrestrained.
With Marxism on the ideological defensive after the collapse of the USSR, many people may be confused about where to turn as the capitalist system crumbles around them. Even those who are of the 99% and who sympathize with that movement might be deceived by the libertarians’ program.
This is even more likely with a libertarian candidate like Ron Paul, whose recent decision to emphasize isolationism in his public image has added to his appeal. He is the only Republican candidate who appears to hold an anti-war position. Paul publicly calls for ending U.S. aid to Israel, closing U.S. military bases around the world, and trimming the massive military budget. He also points out that Iran is no military threat to the United States, and should not be sanctioned.
These are all positions people who want peace and oppose U.S. imperialism support. Without these positions, no one with anti-racist or progressive convictions would even consider supporting Paul.
OWS protests Paul in Iowa
This makes it all the more important and gratifying that the Occupy Wall Street movement, or at least the section of it in Iowa, has taken such a strong position exposing Ron Paul’s real positions.
Activists from OWS were arrested outside Paul’s campaign office in Des Moines on Dec. 29, protesting his reactionary program, specifically his intention to close down the Environmental Protection Agency and allow capitalists to degrade the environment without even the limited restraint the EPA represents. Among those arrested was a 14-year-old woman.
To make sure there was no confusion that OWS had become pro-Democratic Party, others from the same group were arrested that same night at the Democratic Party office in Des Moines. There, they loudly opposed Obama’s refusal to stop home foreclosures and to close Guantanamo Bay. (The Blaze, Dec. 29)
These activists from OWS are clear that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, nor ultra-right-wing demagogues like Ron Paul, speak in the people’s name.
Paul’s agenda: thoroughly racist, reactionary
Despite Ron Paul’s isolationist rhetoric, his program is loaded with horrifically right-wing and reactionary planks. It includes overturning the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which Paul has voted to do in Congress, and is not at all apologetic about. He claims it limits the “right” of business owners to discriminate.
Aggressively anti-immigrant, Paul has run television advertisements bragging about how much he intends to persecute undocumented workers and people from what he calls “terrorist” nations.
Paul’s newsletters from the 1990s have become a big scandal because they speak with such extreme hatred about people of color that even mainstream Republicans — especially those now running for president — have denounced them.
That Paul claims not to have personally written them is irrelevant. These newsletters circulated openly bearing Paul’s name. Clearly his movement is neither anti-racist nor for economic justice. Paul opposes the right to abortion, even though he poses as a libertarian and against government intervention.
He hides his racism behind an appeal for “state’s rights,” much as the pro-segregation racist politicians of the 1950s did. Paul claims he is a true believer in “small government” and cannot have government restrict the racists. Meanwhile, he is endorsed by numerous white supremacists, anti-Semitic forces and by the viciously reactionary John Birch Society.
The only way the 99% has ever been able to win concessions from the 1% has been through popular movements and struggles like OWS. It is in these moments, when the power of the ruling class of bankers and capitalists is threatened, that real change is won.