“The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society.” – Ron Paul
Given the lack of a mass working class party in the U.S. and the instability that characterizes the current state of affairs on a domestic and global level, there is enormous pressure to “vote for somebody”. It is therefore not surprising that some workers and youth are curious about Republican Congressman Ron Paul’s bid for the Presidency. His primary draw is his vocal “anti-war” stance, which gives him some distance from the majority of Republicans and Democrats in Congress. It is mainly on this issue that his supporters find support for the so-called “Ron Paul Revolution”. An example of this could be seen in the nation-wide regional anti-war demos of October 27th, where small contingents of his supports came out in various cities to promote his campaign.
But does Ron Paul offer anything that can truly be called a “revolution”, or is he more of the same from the capitalists’ ranks? Should workers and students in the anti-war movement, or in general, give him support in any way?
Ron Paul has been involved in U.S. politics for some time now, but the key issue for workers and youth to understand about him is that in his nine terms in office as a Republican, he has focused above all on turning back the wheel of history to a more “ideal” form of capitalism: a “pure” bourgeois constitutional republic.
Paul calls for strong “individual rights” and greater “freedom”. However “rights” when taken out of the real context of society, become little more than the jargon of the ruling class; i.e. the “right of private property” becomes an eternal truth. To view society in its full scope, we must understand it in terms of the different classes that exist and the conflicting interests between these classes. On a whole number of issues of fundamental importance, Paul is at odds with the basic interests of the U.S. working class.
While Paul’s opposition to the war has garnered him support, we must understand the way in which he opposes the war. Instead, he is in favor of an isolationist policy – that is, a policy of “strengthening” the U.S. by pulling it out of the rest of the world. In this epoch of globalization, such a notion is not only absurd but impossible within the limits of capitalism in its imperialist stage of development. To end U.S. imperialist intervention, an internationalist working class policy must be carried out. This could only happen through the coming to power of the working class here at home, something he is sharply opposed to. Sorry Ron; you can’t eat your cake and have it too! And as for all his non-interventionist demagogy, Paul did vote to authorize the invasion of Afghanistan as part of the “war on terror”.
When it comes to immigration, Paul favors strong enforcement measures, voting for the 700 mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, and saying: “Enforcing the law was important, and border security is important … about amnesty, which I’m positively opposed to. If you subsidize something, you get more of it. We subsidize illegal immigration, we reward it by easy citizenship, either birthright or amnesty.”
He has also voted against alerting Mexicans about the activities of groups such as the Minutemen, who “enforce” immigration law with vigilante methods. He also voted for a bill that would require hospitals to report on any treatment received by immigrants without documents. The bill also specified that hospitals aren’t required to provide care to undocumented immigrants if they can be deported “without a significant chance of worsening their condition.”
On the issue of women’s reproductive rights, Ron Paul is a staunch opponent, consistently voting against access and funding. He also wants a total overturn of Roe v. Wade. Apparently women’s “individual rights” are not as important as the right of private property for this want-to-be President.
He is also hotly against federal funding of public schools – he favors private schools in their place – which if actually implemented would result in an even wider gulf of disparity between those who could afford quality education and those who could not.
On the question of the separation of Church and State, Paul has the following to say: “Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view.” And: “Separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers.” As well as: “The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance.” This “revolutionary” sounds more like Rasputin than Thomas Jefferson!
Paul also voted against the most recent rise in the minimum wage, meager as it was. He is also against the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make the union certification process easier for workers. And while he “opposes” NAFTA, it is not on a working class basis, rather he claims it is “not free trade enough,” rather, that it is “managed trade”.
Ron Paul does not want a society in which the social production of humanity is rationally and consciously planned democratically by the majority. Instead, he envisions an idealized bourgeois republic, governed by the logic of the inhuman capitalist market, a world where the only conscious economic planning takes place in private by and for those who will turn a profit from production. For the rest of us he presents only a false hope of a benevolent ruling class. Simply put, he dreams of the current state of society without all its problems. However, the war, the economic crisis facing millions, sky high incarceration rates, etc., all stem directly from the rule of the capitalists.
We must understand that capitalism is not a reversible process. It has its own laws of development that inevitably tend towards instability, and by extension to revolution. In wanting to turn back the clock of social development to a fictitious “ideal” form of libertarian capitalism, Ron Paul wants the opposite of that change: counter revolution!