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Tuesday, Jul. 25, 2006 at 11:45 AM
SEPARATION OF POWERS? CHECKS AND BALANCES?
FORGET DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS AND GREENS- BUILD A WORKERS PARTY!
Under most circumstances this writer would not comment extensively on the inner workings of the various branches of the federal government. One of the reasons for this reticent is that while in 1789 militants might have been able to support parts of the bourgeois democratic constitutional scheme as ratified the main fight of militants then was over the Bill of Rights (and in retrospect, should have also been the fight over permitting the continuation of slavery to be enshrined in the frame of government-over 200years later it still makes ugly reading). Another reason is that this writer makes no bones about his desire to see a more democratic form of government based on workers councils and a workers government. That governmental form is premised on workers councils having both executive and legislative functions. Unlike those politicians, commentators and historians infatuated by the so-called separation of powers and the alleged principle of checks and balances of bourgeois democracy there is no inherent virtue to such combinations. Hence the following musings.
Item#1 On Wednesday July 20, 2006 the United States House of Representatives voted for God (and that is with a capital G because WE know whose god they were referring to). This caused many a troubled mind in this secular body but they had to do the ‘right’ thing by their constituents. Here’s what happened.
Congress voted to enact legislation that would bar the judiciary branch from taking cases challenging the constitutionally of the ‘under God’ phase in the Pledge of Allegiance. Yes, I know-the world is going to hell in a hand basket but these people have plenty of time on their hands to fret over this. The Senate still has to vote on this ‘softball’ legislation. I swear these people should be required to read the biographies of their Founding Fathers (and Mothers, o.k.) before they take office. A workers party representative in Congress would obviously vote against this legislation. Moreover, while militants are by nature not religious-we have enough to do fighting for some kind of reasonable society on earth, heaven and hell can take of themselves- we most definitely care, as a democratic question, about a secular society imposing its version of god on us. Or anybody else’s god, gods, etc. Here’s my point though, Congress slaps the judiciary. Point to Congress.
Item#2 In the last session of the Supreme Court the justices by a 5-3 margin gave President Bush and the imperial presidency a little slap on the wrist over his private military tribunals for detainees in the ‘war on terror’. He, hereafter, needs to go beg his Republican Congress hard for authority to do so- and, as the Court reminded him, with a little due process in the bargain. A workers party justice today would vote for this minor curtailment of imperial executive power but with his or her own concurring opinion denouncing this whole sham. However, point to Supremes.
Caveat- the minority view (which if you add Chief Justice Roberts and can swing Justice Kennedy could become a majority) is essentially that outside the above-mentioned ‘under God’ in item#1 there are basically no limits to presidential war powers. Wasn’t the Divine Right of Kings discredited about 400 years ago? Stay tuned for possible point to Executive.
Item#3 This is old news but President Bush has taken up the hobby of making ‘presidential interpretations’ or signing statements when he signs new legislation. The long and short of this is that on the Really Important Legislation the Bush position is –I’ll follow it if I like and if I don’t, I won’t. Hey, doesn’t Congress make the laws? Please refer to the above statement in item#2 about divine rights. Point to Executive.
Now all the above may be just the usual guerilla warfare between the independent branches of government. But, the real point is that all these maneuvers bode ill for militants and ordinary citizens alike. No there is not a conspiracy brewing, although there probably are conspirators around. Nor is a coup d’etat in the air. However, the gap between the governmental authority and the governed has widened (and continues to widen). And that does none of us any good. Militants defend democratic rights (this writer would argue that we are the most consistent defenders of such rights) against governmental and private encroachment. Be ready. Enough said.
THIS IS PART OF A SERIES OF ARTICLES ON THE 2006-2008 ELECTION CYCLE UNDER THE HEADLINE- FORGET THE DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS, GREENS-BUILD A WORKERS PARTY!
FOR MORE POLITICAL COMMENTARY AND BOOKS REVIEWS CHECK MY BLOG AT- Http://markinbookreview.blogspot.com/
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