Under the impact of those struggles, intertwined with Washingtons defeat in Vietnam and the resulting Watergate crisis, some of the governments assaults on constitutional rights were exposed. The U.S. rulers decided to let part of the truth come out in order to contain their political losses and restore the weakened credibility of their cop agencies. That was the meaning of the 1975 Church Committee hearings in the Senate, which focused public attention on the use of snoops, provocateurs, wiretaps, mail surveillance, and black bag jobs organized by the FBI and other cop agencies against opponents of government policies. The cops didnt end these operations, but they were forced to conduct them more surreptitiously and accept some limited formal restrictions.
Today, to gain support for loosening these constraints, U.S. officials say they need to conduct wiretapping without even a fig leaf of a warrant because were at war against terrorism, and that civil liberties must be balanced against national security. They insist the president has the inherent authority to do so. Thats the same argument at the heart of the governments defense during an earlier lawsuit by the Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialist Alliance against FBI spying and disruption, actions that were declared unconstitutional in a 1986 court ruling.
Whats behind the current moves by the White House? Why do Democratic critics, despite partisan complaints about lack of oversight, accept the basic argument that the president needs strong tools such as secret wiretapping of U.S. residents?
Today, as before, the main targets of the FBI, NSA, and other homeland security cops are the unions, Black rights fighters, and other opponents of government policies. The billionaire families that rule the United States through the government and their twin partiesthe Democrats and Republicansknow their profit system has entered today a turbulent period of economic depression and wars. They know that in the coming years they must resort to rougher methods against workers and farmers, who will resist the effects of this social crisis. At the same time, they do not face the explosive political conditions of the 1960s and 70s, generated by the Black rights and related struggles, that imposed restraints on their political police operations.
Working people must defend their hard-won political rights today, necessary tools in organizing to protect themselves against the assaults by the employers and their government, cops, and courts. We must oppose all government domestic spying and disruption operations.
U.S. rulers seek support for domestic police spying
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