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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

“Democracy” of whim ─ dependent on The State’s defense of wealth, privilege

“Liberal advocates of a police state turn savagely against Edward Snowden” penned late last week by David North and Eric London at WSWS
Edited excerpt by Carolyn Bennett

The rich and the privileged hate Edward Snowden,” North and London write, “because (Snowden) has defied the state that protects their interests.”

Snowden “failed to show proper deference to their system and their secrets.”

Snowden “has exposed the massive conspiracy that is being directed in Washington against the democratic rights of the people.

“That is why they are determined to destroy Edward Snowden.

“It is the solemn duty of the working class to come to Snowden’s defense.”

Whimsical advocates of constitutional law, “democracy”

Media argue: Even if the actions of the government were illegal and violated the constitutional rights of the American people, so argues the media, Snowden owed the government total and unquestioned obedience.

The loyalty Edward Snowd
en owed the state outweighed whatever moral and political obligations he felt to inform his fellow citizens of the government’s subversion of democracy

University of Chicago Professor Geoffrey R. Stone, 2004: ‘One of the important lessons is that if American citizens want to have the freedoms that are guaranteed to them, they cannot sit back passively and allow elected officials and judges to protect their rights for them.

‘It’s very important for the American people to recognize that if they want their freedoms—want their liberties—they have to take responsibility for preserving them in these times.’ [Perilous Times: Free Speech in War Time from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terror]

Professor Stone, 2013 repudiates essential democratic principles

‘But what if the employee decides, in his own wisdom, that some classified information doesn’t need to be classified or that it would be good for the public to know the classified information? Should the employee be allowed to make that judgment?

‘Merely to state the question is to answer it.

‘There is no reason on earth why an individual government employee should have the authority, on his own say so, to override the judgment of the elected representatives of the American people and to decide for the nation that classified information should be disclosed to friends and enemies alike. Such an act is a complete usurpation of the rule of law.

To Stone’s earlier pronouncement, David North and Eric London respond that it is precisely “because Snowden did not ‘sit back passively’ but, instead, took responsibility for the defense of democratic rights that Stone,” in a convenient turnabout, “declares that Snowden ‘is most certainly a criminal who deserves serious punishment.’”

Stone’s argument, they continue, “is based on authoritarian premises that are not fundamentally different from those that prevailed in Nazi Germany. As German historian Ingo Müller wrote in Hitler’s Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich, the Nazi Supreme Court ‘defined the “legal nature” of the civil service as “loyalty, obedience, and conscientious performance of duty” and had referred to civil servants as “the political troops of the Führer in the area of administration.”’”

To Stone’s “no reason on earth” claim, North and London reply, “This is an astonishing declaration!
‘No reason on earth…’?
 “In other words, an employee of the state must keep his mouth shut and refrain from exposing criminal activity no matter how injurious it may be to the rights of the American people.
 ‘No reason on earth’!
 What if a civil servant uncovers a secret memorandum authorizing the assassination of a citizen? Or plans for the mass incarceration of political dissidents?
Law breaking is okay, exposing law breaking is a crime.

he essence of Stone’s argument is that Snowden, having accepted government employment, forfeited all right, let alone responsibility, to expose illegal actions by the government.

he breakdown of democratic institutions proceeds alongside the dissolution of any significant support for democratic rights within the ruling elite and its faithful retainers among the wealthiest 5 percent of the population.

“Aware of their distance from the social interests of the broad masses of the population, they look to the state to defend their own wealth and privileges.”

Sources and notes

“Liberal advocates of a police state turn savagely against Edward Snowden” (By David North and Eric London), June 14, 2013, http://wsws.org/en/articles/2013/06/14/comm-j14.html

The World Socialist Web Site and Socialist Equality Party are organizing a campaign in defense of Snowden and democratic rights.

Defend Edward Snowden and democratic rights!

The World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party call on all workers, students and youth within the United States and internationally to come to the defense of Edward Snowden.

Snowden is the target of a massive government witch-hunt organized in response to his courageous exposure of secret and illegal surveillance programs targeting millions of people in the US and around the world. His defense is a matter of the greatest urgency.

Support must be built up in work places, at colleges and schools, and in working class neighborhoods. The defense of Snowden, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and other targets of the U.S. government must become the spearhead for the development of a mass movement in defense of democratic rights.

The fight for democratic rights is inseparable from the development of a political movement of the American and international working class against the capitalist system, the source of war, social inequality and the drive toward dictatorship.

No time can be lost. Contact the Socialist Equality Party and become involved in the fight to defend Edward Snowden.

Contact information
 Socialist Equality Party,
 PO Box 48377, Oak Park, MI 48237
Phone: (313)-409-8083


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