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The Bogeyman Under Bush's Bed: Islamic Extremists or Organized Workers?

category north america / mexico | workplace struggles | opinion / analysis author Wednesday November 21, 2007 01:58author by Randy - Capital Terminus Collective, Atlanta, Georgia, USA Report this post to the editors

For the better part of a decade, politicians of both parties have sounded the security alarm. "We must protect ourselves from terror! The Middle East must be subdued militarily! American citizens must sacrifice what liberties they have, for the sake of safety!" In the following article, we pose the question: who does President Bush fear most, Islamic terrorists, or an organized U.S. workforce? The answer to this question is more frightening than a CNN newscast. [ Nederlands ]

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The Bogeyman Under Bush's Bed: Islamic Extremists or Organized Workers?


For the better part of a decade, politicians of both parties have sounded the security alarm. "We must protect ourselves from terror! The Middle East must be subdued militarily! American citizens must sacrifice what liberties they have, for the sake of safety!"

In fact, the now-fabled attacks of Sept. 11th, 2001 have dovetailed so nicely with the plans of a Republican party known to be bent on foreign invasion and domestic repression, that a host of conspiracy theories have grown as a result. We of the Capital Terminus Collective do not indulge such theories. Nor, in the space provided here, will we address the question of precisely how much risk the typical U.S. citizen is really exposed to, with regard to a terror attack (except to note in passing that the threat has been hyped beyond all reality.)

Instead we will take this opportunity to pose the following question: who does President Bush fear most, Islamic terrorists, or an organized U.S. workforce? The answer to this question is more frightening than a CNN newscast.

The Anti-terror Bill
Again, for years we have been told in tones that range from shrill to foreboding, that subduing the Middle East and protecting "the homefront" from attacks by those who "hate our way of life", were the two most critical items on the nation's agenda. And on the domestic end, no priority was higher than securing the airports. After all, airplanes were the venue of choice in the most successful terrorist attack the U.S. mainland has ever experienced.

And yet, when offered a bill that (according to USA Today) would "improve aviation and rail security and terrorism prevention by enacting recommendations of" the President's very own 9/11 Commission, Bush threatened a veto.

Why? Because the bill would grant baggage screeners the right to form a union. Unionization, we are told, would hamper the efficient functioning of the airport security apparatus. (Perhaps the reader thought workers had an inalienable right to organize? Hardly. Jobs deemed necessary for security are only a single example of occupations in which workers are forbidden to from unions.) Republicans in Congress would deny baggage screeners this right, while certain Democrats would grant it to them . But should workers even need be granted such a "right" by the government? Or should workers organize in defense of their interests as a matter of course, anywhere and everywhere?

Before moving on with the specific case of the airport baggage screeners, then, let us pause to consider: are authorities so infallible, and workers so uniformly incompetent, that unionization invariably cripples efficient functioning? What has been your personal experience in this regard? Does the boss always know best, while the ideas of subordinates are petty and foolish?

In the case of the baggage screeners, Bush and his allies claim that being accountable to a workers organization would so hamper the executive's efforts at arranging for our safety, that they are prepared to scrap the anti-terror bill entirely, rather than grant workers permission to organize.

So, who is the bogeyman that causes rich politicians like George Bush to wake in the night, bathed in sweat, eyes wide with fright? Is it the specter of swarthy immigrants with bombs strapped to their sides (the very specter they encourage us to fear)? Or is it the notion that you and I, and all of our neighbors and fellow workers, might form organizational ties and began to demand our rightful share of the goods we produce and transport? The latter scenario, to President Bush, is apparently the more frightening one.

From the pages of Anarchist Atlanta #6, being distributed at the annual demonstration against the School of the Americas in Columbus, Georgia, USA, in November of 2007.

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