the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Jun 21, 2021
Donald Trump has complained endlessly about some mysterious “deep state” inside the government that opposed him. But when Trump was president, he himself turned to that same “deep state” to investigate his political opponents. In 2017 and ’18, he ordered the Justice Department to seize from Apple communication records and other data. Spied on were Democratic Party Congress members Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell, and their aides and family members, as reported by the New York Times. Among these family members was a 10-year-old child. These Congress members did not know they were being investigated until Apple informed them last month.
The Trump administration also had the Justice Department seize similar information about reporters for the Washington Post, the New York Times, and CNN.
Not surprisingly, Democratic Party politicians denounced Trump. The current U.S. attorney general, Merrick Garland, declared that the Department of Justice will no longer use legal processes to spy on journalists “doing their jobs.”
Of course, when Barack Obama was president, the Department of Justice didn’t just investigate reporters, it prosecuted them, including the New York Times’ Tim Wiener, who was thrown in jail for not disclosing his sources to Obama’s Justice Department. It is generally accepted that the Obama administration did more damage to the democratic rights of the news reporters than any administration since “I Am Not a Crook” Nixon.
The irony is that these two Democrat representatives, Schiff and Swalwell, in addition to many others, joined the long list of politicians who ardently defended and enabled spying on ordinary citizens, even under Trump, as well as Obama. Now, these two representatives angrily object when they themselves are targeted by their own making.
This is democracy at its best under capitalism. The task of capitalist administrations and the congresses, whether under Democrats or Republicans, is to suppress dissent and information among the public so that the rich they represent continue to rule. So, such spying is not unusual anti-democratic activity. It is the norm. As Malcolm X said, "You and I have never seen democracy—all we’ve seen is hypocrisy."