A Campaign Statement of John Reimann for Oakland Mayor
It’s now out in the open: The fanatical Christian bigots have seized control not only over the Republican Party but also over the US Supreme Court. These fanatics plan to drive women back into the bad old days of coat hanger abortions, or rather they plan to drive poor and working class women back to those days. The rich will be able to find safe abortions, either by secretly paying a high end doctor in secret or by leaving the country if necessary. For the rest it will be back to coat hangers, blood on the bathroom floor, visits to the emergency room if it’s not too late, and possible criminal charges.
This move towards conceding to bigotry brings to mind the direction of US politics leading up to the Civil War. Starting with the Missouri Compromise of 1829, a series of laws and court decisions were enacted that steadily expanded slavery and led up to the Supreme Court Dred Scott Decision of 1857 that essentially established slavery in the entire United States. That was only reversed by a huge crisis – the US Civil War.
Similar to pre-Civil War
Today, we see a similar process, most visibly by the Supreme Court’s ripping to shreds the Voting Rights Act of 1964. This opened the door wide to various states passing voter restriction and voter reversal laws, including in the key states of Florida and Texas.
In this reported draft opinion, as with everything else the courts do, they hide behind legalese. The decision writes such garbage as: “a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions. On the contrary, an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973.”
They also appeal to national unity and stability. On the two signal court decisions on abortion the decision writes: “far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.” This is like the Republicans lying about voter fraud and then claiming that they are enacting new restrictions on voting because the “public” doesn’t trust the present election system. But it has been they, themselves, who have lied and whipped up the distrust!
Pro Corporate Direction
Simultaneous with the unelected Supreme Court (in)Justices moving further and further down the road of encouraging bigotry, it has moved steadily in an anti-worker pro-corporate direction. The poster child for pro-corporate (in)Justices is Neil Gorsuch. As a lower court judge, he had once ruled that a trucking company was justified in firing one of its drivers because the driver refused to stay with his broken down vehicle even if that meant he would freeze to death. In his confirmation hearing, a few senators asked a few questions about this, but it was not made into the big issue that it really was and is. This, of course, coincides with the legislature and the presidency in general moving in the same direction.
According to David Sirota since 2006, the Supreme Court has gone from bowing to the demands of the US Chamber of Commerce 43% of the time to doing to 73% of the time. In a 2020 decision, for example, the Court ruled that “workers and retirees cannot sue for damages as long as an employer or a financial firm managing pension money steals less than an amount that totally bankrupts a pension plan to the point where current retirees get their benefits cut.” Nor is it only the religious fanatics who are moving in this direction. The liberal judges bow down to the Chamber 50% of the time!
On one issue, all nine (in)Justices were united: That the general public must continue to see the Supreme Court as impartial judges of the Constitution and the law, rather than as partisan politicians whose main role is to maintain faith in the US capitalist class’s rule. As liberal then (in)Justice Stephen Breyer wrote “it is a judge’s sworn duty to be impartial, and all of us take that oath seriously.” What they used to take seriously was to try to maintain that appearance. Now, just as the Republican Party no longer even tries to maintain the appearance of opposing bigotry against women, people of color and LGBTQ people, so the majority of the Supreme Court has decided that even the appearance is no longer necessary.
In order to maintain that appearance, the (in)Justices have struggled to keep an appearance of “collegiality”. Just as that appearance has broken down in the US Senate, the leaking of this draft ruling indicates that that same “collegiality” is breaking down among the (in)Justices. Already, confidence in the Supreme Court has declined 25 points (down to 54%). This reported draft ruling will add to that and further tear the mask off of the “rule of law” in the United States.
What happened to the largest protest movement in US history – the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd? Why have there not been similar protests since then?
A 2021 article in the New York Times helps explain why. Following the election of Biden, the leaders of the non-profits, prominent lawyers and union leaders got together under the leadership of the “activist” wing of the Democratic Party. Their purpose was to pressure the likes of Mike Pence and various state Republicans to follow the law and allow the inauguration of Biden, while at the same time stifle any tendency to take to the streets. These forces have succeeded in this task since then.
New Movement: democratic planning & political independence
What is needed is exactly a return to a movement like the BLM movement, but at a new and higher level through democratic planning and organization with all points of view able to express their ideas. This would include the idea that workers and the oppressed need our own party, a mass working class party that is opposed to the two corporate parties.
And we need socialism.
That is what my campaign for Mayor of Oakland is about.