Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Watergate and the Fascist Threat

First Published: The Call, Vol. I, No. 10, July 1973.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Scandals like the Watergate affair have become a familiar part of capitalism’s corrupt and bloody history. This particular scandal, however, is in many ways different from those of the Teapot Dome era.

The Senate investigations into Watergate have uncovered a web of illegal and semi-legal efforts on the part of the Nixon government to consolidate its power, using terror, sabotage and harassment against the people’s movement as well as against its own capitalist opposition elements.

Senator Sam Ervin, head of the Senate Select Committee investigating the Watergate affair, has openly admitted that leading forces in the government had “a gestapo mentality.” Black columnist, Carl Rowan, former director of the U.S. Information Agency and longtime apologist for U.S. imperialism, came out in a UPI-released statement, accusing the Nixon government of creating “an American gestapo” to “check the desires of the turbulent people-those who have little or nothing.”

The limited, controlled exposures which have taken place have made it clear, even to these capitalist spokesmen, that increasingly fascist methods are replacing the “democratic” rule of the millionaire class in this country. The real danger, however, is still being hidden beneath the surface. Riddled by economic, military and political crisis and running scared, certain sections of the monopolists are fighting for a policy of unrestrained, open terror against the progressive and working-class movements, on the rise after a long period of relative slumber.

The defeat of the U.S. imperialists in Indochina, coupled with the growing movement of the people here at home against the war, discrimination and worsening living conditions has left Nixon and his gang of thugs frightened. Archibald Cox, newly appointed cover-up man for Nixon, in charge of conducting the Watergate grand jury investigations, put it this way:

“There is much more to this question than whether one or two people go to jail. Confidence in our institutions is at stake.” (U.S. News and World Report 6/8/73). To further build that “confidence,” Cox has demanded that the Senate Investigating Committee cease its hearings. The demand to stop the investigation has also come from Vice President Agnew.

To defend himself from his accusers, Nixon has frequently raised the cry of “national security” as his justification for the rash of illegal activities. There have been numerous break-ins, assaults, and mass arrests, against all sectors of the people.

Using the “security” rational, Nixon has admitted the existence of secret, semi-legal organizations, such as the “Plumbers” made up of hired killers, thugs, CIA agents and escapees from Cuba. Reports in the, New York Times have exposed the 1970 secret intelligence units set up to infiltrate, harass and provoke various anti-war and left-wing organizations. Other targets included student groups, the media, civil rights organizations and the Democratic party headquarters.

It now appears that such groups were at least partly responsible for some of the “Weatherman” bombings as well as the arrests of dozens of progressive and antiwar activists. Martin Sostre, the Harrisburg defendants and members of the Brown Berets, a militant Chicano youth organization have been some of the victims.

It appears that these most reactionary, fascist sections of monopoly capital are now trying to use the controversy and instability associated with Watergate to consolidate their power, dropping the illusion of democracy altogether. Moves on the part of Nixon to replace his scandalized White House staff with right-wing militarists are part of the consolidation effort.

Melvin Laird, former Secretary of Defense and one of the chief architects of the government’s genocidal policies in Vietnam, has been made Nixon’s chief advisor in place of the sacrificial lamb, John Ehrlichman. Laird’s position, officially called Counselor to the President for Domestic Affairs, will be much more powerful than that held by Ehrlichman and will involve Laird in economic planning. It should be remembered that Laird is known for his favoring of tighter controls on workers’ wages. Still another example of Nixon’s promotion of militarists to key positions is General Alexander Haig, now Chief of the White House staff. This is the highest administrative post in the White House. An appointment of this nature a year ago of a militarist hawk to such a high civilian post would have brought shrieks from Congress. This can now be easily done as a “move against corruption.” Other facilitated moves to bring right-wing reactionaries and militarists into the upper echelons of the administration include the appointments of fascist administrator and well known white supremacist, Clarence M. Kelly, as head of the FBI, another former Defense Secretary, Elliot Richardson, as head of the Justice Department; and new CIA head, William Colby, who directed the U.S. fascist Phoenix Program to assassinate tens of thousands of independence-minded Vietnamese.

Liberal spokesmen such as Senator George McGovern, are joining in chorus with Nixon and Agnew, opposing the president’s impeachment. The liberals are also frightened but for different reasons. Their wing of the Democratic Party is currently in complete disarray, following their disastrous November election showings. (June saw an Alabama visit by Senator Edward Kennedy as a special guest speaker, at a testimonial dinner held in honor of the fascist, Wallace.) The liberal Democrats are in no position to benefit from a drastic shake-up at the top levels of government right now.

Certain forces are, however, in a position to gain from Watergate. Right-wing forces such as George Wallace and Barry Goldwater remain in the background for now, posing as “strict constitutionalists,” striking a critical pose at the improprieties of the Nixon regime. They are occupied consolidating their forces anticipating that Nixon will have to turn to them in the last analysis.

While Watergate definitely poses new threats of a fascist menace which people must prepare for, it nonetheless contains a favorable side.


Watergate represents an attack on the democratic rights of all American people. This has enabled large numbers of people to witness, first-hand, the reckless maneuverings of the monopolists as they drop their law and order masks and nakedly expose their vicious anti-people character.

It is now more possible than ever to unite the broad masses of people in a militant struggle with working class leadership against these vicious attacks. An end must be demanded of the increasing government attempts to infiltrate, harass and spy on the various peoples organizations and leaders.

–All political prisoners, victims of government frame-ups and provocations must be freed.

–The various illegal and quasi-legal organizations, “hit squads,” spy networks and Cuban refugee organizations must be disbanded.

–This struggle against the fascist measures of the Nixon government is linked directly with the struggle against anti-strike efforts. The fascist trend of certain labor leaders demonstrates this fact.

Watergate represents a general weakening of a crises-ridden ruling class of monopolists, bathing in their own corruption and unable to keep up their “democratic” mask. This situation must be met with increased unity of the people to push the struggle forward.