July 12, 2004
By Lil Joe
Fahrenheit 9/11 is an editorializing documentary by Michael Moore, ostensibly dealing with the assaults of 9/11 and the subsequent invasion and occupation of Iraq. This anecdotal documentary, both the movie and the audience reactions, shows the world the pitfalls of American political thinking. American politics reduce every political issue to psychoanalysis of individual motives, the politics of the individual, and sociological discussions of racism.
This is evident in the setting up of the message of the documentary: the invasion of Iraq by the "Bush administration" was motivated by Bush's personal proclivities, such as revenge for Saddam's attempt to kill his "father" (i.e. former president Bush). The documentary goes on to show links between the Bush family and the evil Saudis, in particular family connections between the Bushes and Bin Ladins. In doing this, Moore is in continuity with blaming 9/11 on bad individuals, intimating that for personal reasons Bush went after the wrong individuals. Democratic Party balderdash!
Moore's film begins by blaming racism in Florida, and in the Senate, for Bush becoming President. However, Moore did not quote Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia saying that the U.S. is not a Democracy, but on the contrary is a "Constitutional republic". In fact, Scalia is right. In the Federalist Paper No. 10, November 23, 1787, James Madison, the 4th President of the United States, wrote: "Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property".
The fact is that America is a timocracy and not a democracy. Timocracy is a State wherein citizenship is based on property. The original Constitution was expressly timocratic. That is, before the propertyless won the right to vote. Yet, the Electoral College is set up to circumvent direct presidential elections by the propertyless masses. The Senate is set up, so only millionaires, or those with the backing of millionaires and/or corporations, have a chance of winning seats in the Senate. The President and the Senate select and approve the Cabinet heads, the Pentagon, the Federal judiciary, the Federal Reserve Chairman, and so on.
A republic is a political order whose head of state is not a monarch. The American colonial War of Independence broke from the British monarchy: the United States became and remains a Republic. All that means is that it is not a monarchy.
When we speak of Constitutional governments we mean that the power of the head of state is limited by laws -- the so-called 'rule of law' -- and is subject to those laws. It can be a Constitutional Monarchy, or a Constitutional Republic. The Constitutions are written by the political representatives of the most powerful, economically dominate class insomuch as the class, which owns the major means of material production, is politically dominant. The Constitution of the United States, the political representatives of merchants, capitalists, bankers and slave owning landed gentry wrote, as Charles Beard shows (below).
Democracy, if it is real and not a sham, is mob rule. The majority in Zimbabwe are peasants, for instance, so democracy there means the establishment of peasants governing councils. In the industrially advanced countries such as South Africa, Japan, the European Union and the United States, where there are a proletarian majority, democracy must be based on workers becoming the government, forcefully transferring the productive forces from the private property of capitalists to public property.
If Moore wanted to do an objective political critique of how Bush came to the Presidency, the Florida issue should have focused on the power, and purpose of the Supreme Court and the Senate. Were Scalia's statement examined in the film, it would have directly undermined the ideological propaganda claiming Bush's war on Iraq is to "establish a democracy in the Middle East" -- since it doesn't even exist in the United States.
Starting with the quote from Scalia, Moore could have then went on to discuss how the American capitalist class politically dominates the Senate, Presidency, federal courts, and so on. The so-called Constitutional Convention was a counter-revolutionary meeting, hid behind close doors, which wrote the Constitution to guarantee the rule of the property owning minority against the propertyless majority. This is why the Electoral College, the Senate and the Supreme Court were set up in the first place.
The selection of Bush for President by the Court simply actualized what the Constitution intended. Similarly, the Senate was established to check the more popularly elected district members of the House of Representatives. This is the issue, rather than "racism", and is why the Congresspersons were unable to enter the Senate, and why the Senate refused to force a vote to over-ride the Supreme Courts intervention in Florida. To reduce to an issue of "racism" in Florida these fundamentally economic political issues to the issue of a few "Black" Democrats not winning the support of a single "White" Senator to back their attack on the Supreme Court, only served to divert discussion from the real issue that American democracy is in fact a Sham. See Charles Beard's -- An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States -- http://lachlan.bluehaze.com.au/books/beard_usa_constitution.html
Moore, by making Bush the issue, and his personal motives the reason for the invasion of Iraq, thereby sidestepped the fundamental issues of the Constitution: class political power. In doing that Moore also avoids the actual continuity in U.S. foreign policy in Middle Asia: U.S.-Israeli aggression in the Middle East that engendered 9/11. Moore, in other words, makes the Democrat's case that Bush, rather than US/Israeli genocidal policies, which Democrats are party to, is the reason for the bloody invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and of Iraq.
However, the Bush Jr. invasion and occupation of Iraq has nothing to do with Bush's mental state of mind or intellectual capacity. For that matter, the neo-conservative ideologists in his regime are also irrelevant. These invasions, supported by the Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives including most of the Congressional Black Caucus is in continuity with U.S. foreign policy.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq is but the continuation and an inevitable consequence of decades of U.S. geopolitical policy. The invasion and occupation of Iraq is a continuation of American foreign policy that goes back to the bombing of Libya, and the intervention in Lebanon by Reagan. This policy was on behalf of Israel, and the 1st war on Iraq by Bush Sr. was followed by 12 years of genocidal sanctions under Clinton, which pro-Israeli policies including bombing Iraq had the support of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Clinton, in addition to starving Iraqi children and murdering the infirmed and elderly with the sanctions on food and medicine, also bombed Iraq repeatedly. He also undertook these campaigns when it served to deflect attention from his sex trials (by the Republican Congressional sex cops in the House of Representatives). Jesse Jackson and the Congressional Black Caucus went on the talk shows defending those bombings, as well as defending Clinton's bombings of Serbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Sudan.
Politics of the individual is nothing but bullshit American myth. What it accomplishes is to have American voters focus on individual character (demagogic skills, really) rather than the class biases that are inherent in America's class based "democracy". By focusing the Iraq war on Bush as a flawed, decrepit individual, and racism in Florida, together with placing the function of the Senate in racial rather than class political economy, Michael Moore and the Democrats avoid dealing with the root cause of 9/11 -- U.S. and Israeli brutality in the Middle East.
These are some of the issues that led to 9/11, together with the long standing complicity of the U.S. in arming and funding the state of Israel, the only "nation" in the Middle East to possess hundreds of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and is rewarded as such for flaunting U.N. resolutions.
It would have been more accurate were the "documentary" to have opened by showing footage of the havoc wrecked on the Iraqi people by 12 years of murderous sanctions, and repeated U.S. and British bombing campaigns, together with footage of the U.S. backed Israeli genocidal campaigns against the Palestinian people, the destruction of their homes, and Israeli expropriations of Palestinian lands on a daily basis. This would place in context the guerrilla assaults on American economic, military and political targets on 9/11.
The "documentary" was supposed to have been about 9/11, not ballot counting in Florida.
It is also despicable that the American "left" are unable to see the hood-wink that Moore is pulling off in his "documentary". The American racial consciousness is so deeply socialized into the psyche of Americans that every social and political phenomena and occurrence is seen through this sociological prism.
The American "Left" is conflicted. They praise Moore for starting off his "documentary" on the invasion of Iraq by showing the "racism" in the Florida election, and in the (White) Senate. The leftist critics don't realize that this racism issue is to divert attention from the real issues of the class nature of the American government on one hand, and a real discussion of U.S. Middle East policy that engendered 9/11 on the other. By making the issue one of "racism", Moore presents Maxine Waters, John Conyers and other Democrats as some kind of heroes "fighting racism", rather than exposing the Black Democrats complicity in the U.S./pro-Israeli genocidal policies in the Middle East.
On the other hand -- in an effort to show that they are they are more "radical" lefties than Moore -- the American "Left" takes the documentary to task for its "racist stereotyping" of the "colored" nations that comprise the "coalition of the willing". In doing this, Moore's left -wing critics are actually aiding "Bush" by arguing that Costa Rica, Morocco and other castigated "3rd world" capitalist nations are "relevant" to the "coalition of the willing". Race analysis always in the final instance ends in confused political thinking and reactionary conclusions.
It is argued that Michael Moore did a service to the anti-war movement by showing the graphic images of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which is true. But, Moore's imagery of the war in Iraq in comparison to the images shown to the public by Al Jazeera is a sanitized version of what's really going on.
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