Thursday, June 27, 2019

Neo-Confederates-From Reconstruction Sabotage To Deconstruction

The current Republican, or should I say Trumpian Party tracks a very consistent history, tracing the Confederate losers back to their behavior in the Reconstruction era. During this period freed slaves massively began educating themselves with the reading and writing they were denied and were getting a handle on how to navigate to public office with lightning speed.  The Confederates began a process immediately to undermine their ability to gain compensated work and start businesses to support themselves.  They instituted policies to thwart Black efforts to engage in the political process, with impediments to voter registration all the way through efforts to block community organizing.

For a while, it did not work and massive numbers of freedmen were registered and voted to put their own in local public office and lobbied Congress for protections that were for the most part not offered.  In just several years, these brave souls became literate, built businesses and engaged in work to support their families.  Leaders and intellectuals among them quickly emerged and for a few years, they gained state public offices and legislated side by side with their tormentors. They even gained seats in Congress.

Ultimately, the subversion of their efforts to secure equality by the Confederates gained traction and freedman rights and participation in public life waned.  They were relegated to ghettos in cities and marginalized in rural America and were forced to focus their efforts on just survival.   Over the next several decades African Americans erupted in rage at lynchings, marginalization and discrimination and were subjected to physical retaliation by the Neo-Confederates of the day.  Mainstream whites mostly remained silent. As the right to vote was gained by women, there was some resurgence of political organization but that was largely minimized by the depression and war.

Fast forward to the 50's and 60's with the emergence of the civil rights movement and a new era of political organizing emerged to address Jim Crow policies which restricted the initiatives to foster social equality for minority persons.  Though Black Nationalism emerged with some strength, the non-violent approach to securing civil rights prevailed and attracted white liberal support which aided creation of federal law to offset regressive policies set at the local and state level.  The Federal government and equal rights policies were the only dependable route for social progress in a racist nation through which most  minority persons could strive for improvement of their status as citizens.

Dixiecrats lost their power in the south and were driven out of the Democratic Party or departed on their own, recruited by the Bush dynasty and other allies to build an emerging, racist modern Republican Party.   These Neo-Confederates marginalized moderate and liberal Republicans and began in the 70's to build a party largely dedicated to restoring white male dominance in the political life of America.  They strategically focused on local offices, including school boards and county and state governments, and began a new era of states rights and subversion of efforts to rebuild urban America where most of the minority population resided.

Hand in hand with undermining financing of public education and urban renewal the NeoConfederate Republicans across the country began sabotaging the ability of minorities, both Black and Brown to participate in public life.  They began attacking public efforts to build voter registration of minorities. Their party initiated projects to discourage voting by minorities, including direct interventions down to the precinct level of voting.  They created ingenious  state legislation to require voter ID's inaccessible or unaffordable to millions of qualified low income voters. They purged voter rolls of legitimately registered voters, again, many either minority persons or Democrats.  They reduced access to mail and extended voting periods.    Most effectively, they gained state offices to the point of taking over redistricting efforts through the census cycles via gerrymandering by state legislatures.  This also encompassed federal House of Representatives  offices based on census data.

Neo-Confederate Republicans reemployed strategies developed during the Reconstruction era to undermine Black political participation in the 90's and 2000's.  The emergence of the  racist Tea Party faction within the Republican Party added new sophistication and dedication to undermining minority voting.  This was fully consistent to their affinity for White Nationalist dogma to preserve white, male dominance in public life in America.   From this effort grew the resurgence of the KKK, American fascism and the white nationalist movement.

These trends led to White Nationalist dominance in the electoral processes of the entirely complicit Republican party in 2016-17 and the key role played by Steve Bannon, the Mercers and the Breibart White Nationalist messaging project in that election year.   They found a willing ally in Donald Trump, himself a largely unaffiliated racist and through his populist, anti-government messaging, they eked out an Electoral College win to install their adopted candidate as the leader of the free world.  Bannon has gone on to selling a similar fascist model in several European countries with emerging hard right, Nationalist and Fascist  movements.

Encouraged by silent libertarian Republicans who advocated diminished Federal power in the American governing model, Trump embraced the Bannon/Mercer fascist initiative which included discrediting public confidence in the Federal model through both deliberately chaotic and unpredictable, unreliable governance and looting the federal treasury. This included Republican policy of shifting the tax burden further away from the wealthy and imposing it on the middle and lower income earners.  It is my belief that their affinity for Russia as a partner in collusion to undermine American institutions was in part driven by their admiration for the Oligarchic looting of the Russian treasury and the opportunity to share in some of the loot via investment and money laundering in America.

The Administration installed a cabinet designed to deconstruct liberal, republican democracy.  Their mission, through corrupt corporate players in Cabinet offices, to reverse policies and weaken regulation under the cabinet departments.  Thus commerce, energy, environmental, social services and other protections for consumers were dismantled.  Most alarming, the Justice Department, providing criminal justice and other legal protections for citizens was politicized. This led to weakening of oversight of government officials, thus liberating them to abuse their power and institute authoritarian policies and governance.

Republican congressional  leadership has been entirely supportive of the Trumpian  deconstruction initiative with their defunding of federal departments and programs, the Pentagon excepted.  Deregulation has returned with fury.  But, congressional Republicans have not limited their Deconstruction complicity to government funding and policy.  They have focused on the very lifeblood of American republican democracy.  They have begun to deconstruct the norms traditionally followed to assure the co-equal power balance between our three branches of Federal government. They are rebuffing Democrats in their attempt at restoring bi-partisan compromise in the legislative process.  Even before Trumpism, they refused to hold hearings to approve Democratic judicial appointments.  Rather than compete with better ideas on needed legislation, they simply refuse to provide public discussion on Democratic legislative proposals.  Essentially, Senate Republicans are refusing to legislate and most egregious, they are failing to provide Constitutionally mandated legislative oversight over the Executive Branch which they control. Democracy is in suspension in the U.S. Senate.

Their goal is to increase the power of the Executive branch as their ancestor conservatives did in the early formation of our republic in trying to empower an Executive branch with king-like authoritarianism.  The lost that one in the framing of the Constitution but may indeed win it now 250 years later.  They also are stacking the federal judiciary with hard right conservative white nationalists.   They call this very deceptively originalism, which is nothing more than  replicating the white, male racism of most of the founders.    The idea is to render the legislative branch comparatively weak, most particularly the people's House of Representatives.

Their goal is to restore states rights and reduce Federalism excepting its role in maintaining authoritarian dominance of  Anglo American males over the economic life of America and the social order, while enhancing American dominance in foreign economic affairs.  A strong federal military plays a key role in this paradigm as do multi-national corporations of American origin.   They wish to restore a feudal society with a dominant and powerful elite class who are worthy of their power status.  Religion plays a key role here in placating the lower, lesser educated classes as it did in the feudal dark ages.

So, this current political polarization between a feudal vision of the future and the enlightenment vision really tracks a several hundred year continuum of a power showdown that very much addresses radically different visions.  The current situation is not an aberration. It is a duel to the death of authoritarianism  vs. democracy.

Democracy can forestall authoritarianism though history tells us it is unlikely to defeat it.  But this can be the result only if the mostly unengaged awaken to their responsibility to inform themselves and not only vote, but actually participate in protecting their democracy.  This means going to public meetings, organizing with allies, denouncing authoritarians and bigots, engaging with their electeds and yes, working on campaigns for democracy advocates at the local and regional levels.  And even running for public office or devoting spare time to the only reasonable option right now to protect democracy, the Democratic Party.

Those of you reading this who believed the delusion that the Republican Party was the party of fiscal responsibility and individual freedom, you now have clear facts available to you that prove the contrary.  Democrats have balanced the budgets and reduced the debt; Democrats have advocated in the modern era for equality and fair participation for all, not just white men.  Just look at the current Democratic Party primary; ideas abound and diversity confronts white male dominance.  This is the history of the Democratic Party, even with its mistakes and flaws.  It has embraced every small d democratic movement and put it into policy.  You Republicans have been sold a scam and falsehood.
And frankly, political participation with Democrats is your redemption but also your only route to possibly salvaging a future for yourselves and your children , unless you find striving to join a fascist elite appealing.  

If we leave it to others to do the work of democracy for us, democracy will continue to collapse.