February 7, 2011
In the United States, a country with the greatest spying apparatus in world history, 80% of it used against its own people without “probable cause,” Reagan’s legacy as a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) snitch known as “T-10” must be honored. Having our very own “first snitch” is something to be proud of in a nation dedicated to surveillance and a security-industrial complex unmatched by any Constitutional government.
We should also pay homage to Reagan for all he did to advance the rights of unnatural corporate persons. His days as a corporate shill for General Electric when the company was engaged in massive price-fixing in violation of the free market and fundamental principles of capitalism have to be acknowledged.
Reagan and his former CIA director George Herbert Walker Bush both were elected in 1966 for the first time. They both sided against natural born black citizens by adopting the racist rhetoric of “state’s rights.” So while the Kennedys and King fought for natural people, Reagan’s record demonstrates a shining commitment to Jim Crow in the U.S. and in support of the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.
On the hundredth anniversary of Reagan’s birth we must enshrine in our hearts where Reagan kicked off his campaign on August 3, 1980 in his first post-convention speech after being nominated for president by the Republican Party. He proclaimed, “I believe in state’s rights” in Philadelphia, Mississippi. This quote should be played everywhere, must like his Mr. Gorbachev “Tear down this wall” quote.
The public needs to view the Gipper mouthing gibberish about state’s rights a few miles from where the three civil rights martyrs James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan and left in a swamp.
Reagan’s words were not lost on Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke who announced that Reagan’s platform sounded like it was written by a Klansman.
To be fair to Reagan, it was not simply racism he embraced with enthusiasm during the height of the civil rights movement. His hatred of the student movement and the “hippie movement” was equally intense. In 1966, as he ran for office, he displayed that legendary Reagan wit in what was considered a real knee-slapper of a joke. He’d break the ice before rabid right-wing crowds by saying “What is a hippie? A hippie talks like Tarzan, looks like Jane, smells like Cheetah.”
Here, perhaps we should defer to Reagan because of his co-starring with the chimp Bonzo, in one of his few leading roles.
In the same way Reagan launched his presidential campaign with a direct appeal to racist southern white Dixiecrats, his 1966 campaign for governor of California targeted the University of California Berkeley free speech and peace activists. Because 18, 19 and 20-year-old students demanded First Amendment rights. Reagan’s campaign rhetoric demanded that they be punished: “Get them out of there. Throw them out. They are spoiled and don’t deserve the education they are getting.”
In the infamous clash at People’s Park where students had taken over a vacant field to plant food and flowers, Governor Reagan intervened by sending in the National Guard. On “Bloody Thursday” in May of 1969, Reagan got his highly-sought “bloodbath” when 13 people were hospitalized with shotgun wounds, three with punctured lungs, one with a shattered leg, and one James Rector shot to death while watching the riot from a rooftop. Instead of tearing down a wall, Reagan and his co-horts erected a chain-link fence to protect the Park from the hippies. One thousand demonstrators were arrested and 200 were charged with felonies.
Reagan was a snitch, a corporate shill, and represented a reactionary backlash against the civil rights and students’ rights movements. Yet, that’s the most impressive part of his legacy.
As President, he represents other even more devastating accomplishments. His policies in Central America targeted the rape of nuns and the assassination of Catholic priests who opposed fascistic pro-U.S. governments in Guatemala and El Salvador. During Iran-Contra he backed the vicious and violent former Somoza guardsmen known as the Contras. Reagan proclaimed them the moral equivalent of our founding fathers as they ran planeloads of cocaine into America’s inner cities.
At the same time, Reagan forced the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression by squeezing the money supply in 1981-82 and destroying what little remained of America’s industrial base in places like Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland and Youngstown.
Reagan was “Mr. Outsourcing.” He loved sending jobs to Mexico and China while hiding behind the American flag. And while calling himself a fiscal conservative, he tripled the debt of the United States, which was $800 billion – from George Washington to Jimmy Carter. He did this by doubling military spending and destroying the industrial tax base in the country while giving unprecedented tax breaks to his multimillionaire buddies.
Reagan did have one policy for the inner cities. He would release moldy old cheese infested with rat feces, if you were willing to wait in line for hours in Detroit and other distressed areas.
To cap his presidential regime, Reagan would promote the rise of jihadi-ism and Islamic fundamentalism by secretly backing the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.
To truly honor Reagan, we must pay him his due. He is the founder of Al Qaeda, the father of the most extensive military-industrial complex on the planet, and the creator of the prison-industrial that imprisons in the U.S. a quarter of the people on Earth.
While the Soviets tore down their wall and outlawed the death penalty, Reagan led the U.S. into a racist, class-based ethnic-cleansing he called the “war on drugs.” So, while his Contra friends ran cocaine and the afgani opium warlords brought unprecedented heroin traffic to the U.S., anyone with a joint risked imprisonment and losing their financial aid, under Ronald Reagan.
When you honor Reagan, you honor this legacy.
Dr. Bob Fitrakis is Editor & Publisher of The Free Press (https://freepress.org), which first published this article.