❄ One-Party State  

❄ One-Party State

I’ve spent more than 45 years studying the one-party state. I TA’d in courses on nationalism and Chinese intellectual history at Harvard, and my PhD was a study of Chinese foreign policy. My principal advisor was known for his book on Mao Zedong.

At the University of California at Santa Cruz, before retiring last June, I taught the course on Chinese politics, as well as courses on war, disarmament, and the courses ‘Politics of the Internet’ and ‘Politics of the ‘War on Terrorism’.’ In short, I’m a generalist on global politics, with special attention to the differences between the one-party state and practices of participatory democracy.

I’ve said in class—choosing to declare my views rather than teach from a position of pretended neutrality by silence—that I had seen three moves by current political practitioners in the United States to overthrow the constitution and replace it with one-party governance: [1] deliberate, concerted efforts to secure control of the Federal courts by securing right-wing loyalists on the US Supreme Court and federal Appeals Courts; [2] the effort to oust by an impeachment proceeding an elected president, William Clinton, by contrivance and engineering; and [3] securing the presidency in 2000 by electoral manipulation and use of the Supreme Court. So there should be no doubt about my position. I take Hillary Rodham Clinton’s claim there is a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to be fundamentally sound, though an uncommonly forthright assertion in US politics.

This is preamble to restarting this blog. If you go to the first item on the blog, it was prompted by the GW Bush administration’s efforts to bribe Turkey, with the money of US citizens,to bring about their cooperation in the illegal war against Iraq. As you know, the White House was unsuccessful: Turkey rejected the bribery attempt.

I’m restarting the blog because of two initiatives which came to my attention today. One is an apparent effort to seize political control of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). The second is a proposal to invite all Americans to be informers, informing against anyone they encountered who might appear strange or endangering. You’ll recall Admiral Poindexter’s proposals for ‘Total Information Awareness’. So, what are the stories?

The New York Times today [Monday, 2 May 2005] reports that … Well, here are the headlines and subheads, and a couple of sentences:


Cites a Need for Balance

Longtime Executives See Threat to Independence of Programming

[and from the body of the report]

“The Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is aggressively pressing public television to correct what he and other conservatives consider liberal bias, prompting some public broadcasting leaders—including the chief executive of PBS—to objecet that his actions pose a threat to editorial independence.

“Without the knowledge of his board, the chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, contracted last year with an ouside consultant to keep track of the guests’s political leanings on one program, “Now With Bill Moyers.”     …

“ … a successor for Kathleen A. Cox, the corporation’s president and chief executive, whose contract was not renewed last month. Mr. Tomlinson has made clear to the board that his choice is Patricia Harrison, a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee who is now an assistant secretary of state … ”

[Ms. Harrison was dispatched by the White House to the Department of State to refocus US propaganda abroad, not to practice diplomacy.]

Here’s the second item that has put me on alert. It appeared on the govexec.com web site, a byline article by Siobhan Gorman of the National Journal titled “DHS chief floats idea of collecting private citizens’s information.” She writes that

“According to one techie who attended the April 27 [2005] meeting, Chertoff told the group, ‘Maybe we can create a nonprofit and track people’s activities, and an algorithm could red-flag indivbiduals. Then, the nonprofit could give us the names.”

This is simply the starkest notion how to get around Constitutional and legal protections of individual Constitutional and due process rights, since the State has been buying information from private contractors since 9.11. What is noteworthy here is that it comes from the head of DHS, even though the DHS press secretary sought to dismiss the issue as “a hypothetical question with a hypothetical answer.” [Note 1]

These two practices—SYSTEMATIC CENSORSHIP and SURVEILLANCE BY INFORMERS—seem to me the defining acts of the oppressive one-party state. It’s not too late for citizens to voice their insistence on maintaining free speech, the privacy of conversations, due process, and electoral integrity. But any citizen who is uncertain about whether these four pillars are under assault—anyone who doesn’t believe that there is a concerted effort to undermine constitutional freedoms by a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’—should seek out someone or some sources pointing to the key initiatives and their contexts. Each person must judge for herself or himself, but the crucial reports and texts are available to all—at least as long as Washington does not imitate the capital which systematically controls it’s citizens’s Web access.

[Note 1] http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0405/042905nj1.htm

[Bruce’s Blog: 2005.05.03. Post: Bxx Short Link p=50. Front Door Index: http://blog.learnworld.com/. Permalink: http://www.learnworld.com/BRUCE/uncategorized/❄-one-party-state/]

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