The past is present: FBI bias against progressive politics continues to undermine the pretense of democracy in the U.S.

In the United States, we’re often taught about our own history in a way that makes it seem as though the people and events in question are all in the distant past. The good things changed us for the better, and the bad things also changed us for the better because we beat them. Because they’re in the past, you see. We just need to “move forward”.

And so people in positions of power commit crimes and atrocities, and the U.S. “moves forward” with rarely so much as a slap on the wrist.

The FBI has been a corrupt institution from the beginning, and while some people like to pretend that things like COINTELPRO are “in the past”, the reality is that with little change in personnel or policy, that intense bias remains intact. I want to be explicit – the government of the United States of America has, for generations now, spent huge amounts of taxpayer money surveilling, entrapping, killing, and undermining left-wing political movements and groups with the explicit goal of preventing the people from putting progressive politicians in office:

The flip side of this kind of political repression campaign is that they’re just fine with people on the far right, and while they do spend some resources on tracking right-wing extremism, there’s little evidence that their bias has gone anywhere. In fact, the FBI knew, well in advance of January 6 2021, that violence was being planned, and they did almost nothing to prevent it, or suggest that maybe Capitol Police shouldn’t be focused primarily on anti-Trump counterprotesters:

The United States has never been a democracy. You could argue that we’re closer than we used to be, but the reality is that the U.S. government remains deeply committed to capitalism over all other considerations, and they continue to use their resources both around the world and at home to destroy efforts at building something better.

The extremist ideology of endless growth and profits over human life needs to be rooted out of all institutions of power if we’re going to survive the warming climate and build a just and democratic society, and unfortunately we must expect them to fight back. The powerful have always used violence as their ultimate tool to maintain power, and as workers continue to organize and stand up for themselves, I’m very much afraid that there will be an effort to destroy what we’re trying to build, along with the people leading that movement. Hell, the FBI was even involved in furthering that goal in Brazil.

Keep your eyes open. It would be bad enough to have to deal with global warming and corporate power alone, but we will also have to deal with government institutions that have always preferred fascism to democracy.

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  1. says

    Just FYI for folks, you can see the date of that Sam Seder clip, it’s from 22 Jan, 2019. I feel like that’s some important context that got lost. Among other things, that’s when control of the House of Reps passed from R to D and when much was being made about AOC being seated as a 1st term member of congress, along with a number of other “firsters”, including if I’m not misremembering and they actually were seated 2 years later at the beginning of this January, the first two out Black gay men to be members of congress.

    It is pretty outrageous that someone could ever believe that should be part of the mission of the FBI, and even more outrageous that someone could believe that they were only undermining the democratic participation and representation of progressives because they wanted to prevent government incompetence and disfunction …yet allowed innumerable stupid and corrupt Reps and Senators to take office. Seriously, folks, David Vitter? Dan Quayle? Bob Packwood? They have no problem with stupidity OR corruption in office. They just have a problem with peace and strong middle and working classes.

  2. says

    Don’t forget the ridiculous way that the FBI put its thumb on the scale in the 2016 election, with their constant and wildly public investigation of Hillary Clinton.

    The fact that the Biden administration has not cleaned house on the FBI indicates to me that they accept the FBI’s role in our “democracy” – i.e.: its profoundly anti-democratic role. Remember, Heinrich Himmler thought the FBI was a great example of how to do secret police and based some of the SD on the FBI, most particularly its carefully constructed myth of infaillibility. Himmler didn’t bother with the myth of impartiality.

    The FBI should have been publicly destroyed and reconstituted after COINTELPRO made it clear it was Hoover’s private police force (and Hoover was an exceptionally creepy white nationalist christian dominionist fascist dude) Personally I do not subscribe to the theory that Hoover had “the goods” on a lot of lawmakers and that they were afraid of him. I do subscribe to the theory that Hoover would have “done a Fred Hampton” on any lawmaker that tried to cut back his precious FBI.

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