Speaking of which…
On the theme of authoritarianism:
Thanks to the Mueller investigation, many establishment Dems have spent the last year vigorously affiliating themselves with the FBI. Congressional Dems have given countless interviews waxing lyrical about the supposed honour and integrity of the agency, and their middle class supporters have enthusiastically joined in on social media.
Nonsense like this has been all over the internet:
(the “KGB” is a nice touch; many of these folks seem to have failed to notice the fall of the USSR)
Today, I saw this glorious example of the genre:
The FBI is an organisation that was founded to suppress anti-racist and anti-capitalist dissent, and that is still what they do. They organised the Red Scares; they blackmailed MLK; they assassinated Fred Hampton; they ran Hoover’s Lavender Scare. They are still actively persecuting Muslim Americans, Black Lives Matter activists, etc etc
Functionally speaking, the FBI are the American equivalent of the Gestapo. Glorifying them as heroes in a time of fascism is an exceptionally foolish thing to do.
if the gestapo had stood against hitler and worked to investigate and reveal his crimes people might look back on them more fondly than they do. that said, i’m uncomfortable with glorifying them because their ugly past isn’t all that far past. still, they are functioning as a brake on 45. put me down as holding mixed feelings.
World Leader of Democracy has internal racial divide. News at 11.
I too have conflicted feelings. I think there are problems with making a blanket statement either way on an institution like the FBI. They have done both bad and good throughout their history, and should be held accountable for the bad, and praised for the good. There are institutions that should be abolished of course, but saying the FBI is equivalent to the Gestapo is ham fisted. Likewise, saying they are unfailing heroes is propaganda as well. Some nuance is needed.
Do please note that the word “functionally” was in my sentence for a reason.
They do the same job; federalised secret police who are primarily tasked with arresting subversives. Whether you agree with the subversives or not is irrelevant to the point that these are functionally analogous organisations.
The Gestapo is analogous to the FBI in the same way as the Luftwaffe was analogous to the USAAF.
I was about to post something very similar in the thread about the CIA and the debate they didn’t want publicized, but couldn’t find as good and succinct a way to put it. These are major bureaucracies that ALSO operate within the realm of highly compartmentalized programs.
I generally support Greenpeace’s mission, but some of their folks have done genuinely fucked-up shit, like fucking with the Nazca lines in Peru. It’s not directly analogous of course, and it doesn’t excuse the fucked-up shit one bit that any organization is involved with. But it’s not like government intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies are the only type of large institutions to have this problem. In my experience — they all do.
Institutional thinking along the lines of “we are the good guys” is where a lot of these organizations fall down, I think.
BTW, this is more than a bit relevant to this discussion:
I appreciate that there are a diversity of valid perspectives on this, and I don’t wish to insist on my own. But I would raise a few points…
How much of a brake on Trump are the FBI actually providing? Are they stopping him from looting the treasury and persecuting minorities? Apart from a lot of media chaff for the Democrats, what concrete results has the Russia investigation actually achieved?
Do y’all remember what the FBI were doing during the election? Comey’s intervention? The constant anti-Clinton leaks from within the FBI? Virtually all of the senior figures in the FBI and Justice Department are Republicans.
Yes, the FBI is a political power in its own right, and its goals are not always aligned with the Trump administration. But the FBI serves the FBI, not the American people.
They aren’t over. Part of what a lot of people seem to be missing, is that an FBI investigation of this nature isn’t exactly a short process.
Yes and no. The self serving is the “institutional thinking” I referred to above. It’s not either or. None of this is that simplistic, or binary.
Whether or not they “serve the people” should be open to interpretation on a case by case level.
(ETA: Thanks for the MuckRock link. One of the ways to keep institutions acountable in this country is through FOIA.)
The Gods of Twitter have an astonishingly good sense of timing.
I bet I could go on twitter and find an Australian that did something stupid to mock too, but I don’t get how that’s relevant to to the conversation.
I didn’t go and look for that; it rolled past in my feed two minutes ago. Pure coincidence.
And it isn’t particularly relevant, just darkly humorous.
I will grant you darkly humorous.
And perhaps a very apt metaphor, as well.
Cool, when does that start?
i don’t think the distance between our positions is really that far.