Constitutional Longevity. Was Religiosity...
Dhlazare at aol.com
Dhlazare at aol.com
Mon Jun 15 03:28:28 PDT 1998
The Constitution changed as a consequence of the Civil War, yet didn't change.
The slave system was eradicated, the untrammeled sweep of big capital was
assured, and national unity was guaranteed. Otherwise, once Reconstruction
was jettisoned, the postwar period very much represented a reversion to the
status quo ante. States' rights were once more in the ascendant, checks and
balances and separation of powers etc. were once more the national religion.
No const'l amendments were adopted between 1870 and 1913, and the Supreme
Court assumed its historic role as guardian of the most outmoded
constitutional values. The Civil War amendments were meanwhile gutted.
Despite the 13th amendment abolishing slavery, blacks were thrust back into a
state of slave-like peonage. The civil rights protected by the 14th amendment
were whittled down to next to nothing. Despite the 15th amendment
guaranteeing the right to vote, blacks were disenfranchised en masse. Rather
than discontinuity, this suggests a massive effort at putting continuity back
together. The effort was so successful that most people forgot that any break
As for the question of whehter the US is fascist, don't be silly -- it's not.
To insist otherwise is to alibi bourgeois liberalism, as if to say that
because US capitalism is so massively destructive, it must be fascist because
bourgeois liberalism could never be so nasty. But of course it can. BTW,
where does Cockburn say the US is fascist. As a big believer in US-style
constitutionalism, I'd assume he says the opposite -- that the Bill of Rights
is the only thing preventing the fascist takeover.
The United States as it exists now is little over a century old. The first
U.S. nation barely outlasted the FSU. It lasted less than half as long as
the ancient Athenian Democracy.
Recognition of the actual state of the U.S. today is also confused by the
common practice of seeing Hitler's Germany as the generic manifestation of
repressive states. Cockburn's claim that the U.S. is a fascist state
invites (because of the lack of a clear term for the repressive capitalist
state) mockery through comparisons with Hitler's germany but is
essentially correct. (I agree with Wojtek's commentary here.)
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