Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Call Editorial: Nixon Dumped But Real Fight Ahead

First Published: The Call, Vol. 2, No. 12, September 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The resignation of Richard Nixon is but a symptom of a sick and dying system. The sickness of the capitalist system, presently wracked by crisis on a world-wide scale, has sharpened the contradictions to the point where Nixon was forced to quit.

At best, Ford, the successor, will be able to cover over a few of the superficial sores that have emerged on the body of the system, but he will in no way represent any attempt at curing the underlying cancer, which is so deeply rooted in the fabric of monopoly capitalism that the destruction of one requires the destruction of the other. The depths of the present crisis can be seen in the falling of more than a dozen capitalist governments throughout the world in the last few months. Like rats on a sinking ship, the politicians scramble for position on the highest deck, fighting and clawing, and pushing each other under. It was under these conditions that the Watergate exposures came about. Agnew and Nixon, the two leading spokesmen of the ruling class were dumped in order to lighten the ship and buy a little more time above the water.

It is only the fantasies of the capitalists which allow them and their representatives to speak glowingly and optimistically about Watergate proving “that the system works.”

Upon taking office, Ford got up in front of the TV cameras and with a sigh of pained relief said, “Our long national nightmare is over.” He then boasted, “Our constitution works... here the people rule.”

This sentiment was echoed by all the leading newspapers– including the liberal press which had been the loudest shouters for impeachment. The Washington Post editorialized about the “great strength of our system” and the pressing need for “national unity.”


But what is all this talk about “national unity” and “bringing us together again” except a call for the working and oppressed people to lie down in the face of the continued capitalist offensive and the rising tide of fascism and war? Have the basic conditions of inflation, war and increased impoverishment of the millions of poor and working people in this country changed or will they change with tire departure of Nixon? No! Will Nixon’s leaving mean a government assault against discrimination of minorities and for full democratic rights to all people? No! Because these things are not the product of any one individual president or spokesman, but are the by-products of a system built upon the foundations of exploitation and the domination of small countries by big superpowers.

The divisions within the ruling class which led to Nixon’s resignation have never been over the real questions which confront the majority of the people. They fight over what is best for capitalism. Democracy exists in this country within the limits of this question and only for the capitalists themselves. It was only when Nixon was exposed for his violations of this capitalist code of ethics that the majority of the ruling class felt that he weakened their system too much to continue on as president.

The people, under the leadership of the revolutionary forces, approached the question of dumping Nixon from the opposite perspective. As we pointed out in an earlier CALL editorial:

“The issue must be broadened to show that the real question is not just Richard Nixon. The real issue is the stemming of the fascist offensive which Nixon has launched, against the working and oppressed people as well as his own capitalist opponents. While working people and minorities are being jailed and prosecuted daily for going out on strike, or for standing up for their democratic rights; while farm workers are filling the jails in Delano and the Coachella Valley, we cannot allow the real criminals like Nixon and Agnew to unleash these fascist attacks without punishment.” (THE CALL, December, 1973.)

We encouraged the building of mass actions, focusing also on the murderous bombings of Cambodia and the aggression of the U.S. and Israel in the Middle East. Dump Nixon movements were organized in cities throughout the country in an effort to turn the mass anti-Nixon sentiment into something that could result in positive gains for the people, and a weakening of the capitalist assault on the rights of working people. This movement had a positive effect, and the fear of an increased people’s movement was certainly a major factor in Nixon’s resignation. The call to “bring us together again” by politicians is aimed at liquidating movements such as this.

Another aim of the Dump Nixon movement was to bring the political struggle against war and fascism into the factories and to the working people themselves. Many thousands of workers took part in the Dump Nixon demonstrations, which also received support from dozens of unions and the most active, militant elements of the rank and file struggles. The rising tide of the working class movement played a major role in deepening the pit in which the’ monopolists find themselves today.

It is true that the fundamental questions have not been resolved with Nixon’s resignation. In fact, Nixon appears to be getting off light, with little threat of jail. The Congress refused to even take up the question of the illegal bombings of Cambodia which was responsible for untold destruction of human lives. But still, the resignation of Nixon did objectively weaken the capitalist offensive and therefore must be seen as a concession by the ruling class and a victory for the people’s cause.

The danger now is that some may be taken in by all the talk of the system working or the minor concessions Ford has made to the draft resisters in Canada. His talk of nation al unity is especially dangerous when it is echoed by the leaders of the labor unions who have flocked to his feet offering labor peace while capitalism tries to get itself together.

The revisionists of the CPUSA are also prettifying Ford, although they are upset that their call for “new elections” got hardly any support. They hope to increase their influence within the capitalist system of electoral politics by being the main spokesmen for “detente.” This phony line says that the people of the world should give up their freedom and let the two superpowers rule the world jointly. The CPUSA has abandoned all pretenses of being a revolutionary party and was the first to praise the new president for continuing Nixon’s international policies. In the Aug. 10 issue of Daily World, the revisionist CPUSA writes:

“Gerald Ford announced even before being sworn in as the 38th U.S. President, his decision to keep Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State and to continue the policy of detente.

“The reason is that is where the votes are. Detente is a policy endorsed by the masses of the U.S. people as well as decisive sections of big business–the latter for their own obvious reasons.”

It is this praise of Ford, as a man responsive to the interests of the people (even if only for their votes) on the question of detente, that exposes the really dangerous role of the CPUSA as the main apologist for the ruling class within the ranks of the working class. It was the CP’s stand on detente, which they admit is the same as “decisive sections of big business” that helped prop up Nixon, even when his ouster was a mass demand. In doing this, the CP was only towing the Soviet line which wanted Nixon to stay in office because a weakened U.S. presidency, gave the USSR a stronger bargaining position in the international detente game. The CPUSA’s view that the pro-detente forces, like Nixon, Ford and Kissinger, are opposed by the “bad” and anti-detente forces, like Jackson, led to their praise of Nixon as a worker for world peace.

No sooner was Ford in the White House than the fraud of “detente” was exposed again–in Cyprus where both superpowers began a scramble for spheres of influence. No sooner was Ford in the driver’s seat than amnesty for Nixon was established as the government’s policy. No sooner had he sat down in his chair, than more talk of rising prices and the need for more “productivity from the workers” began flowing out of the mouths of Ford’s appointees.

The dumping of Nixon signals only the beginning of the struggle against the rising tide of fascism which is directly linked to the deepening economic and political crisis of capitalism. In a revealing statement about the continued effects of inflation, Senior Treasury Adviser, Paul McCracken said in an interview in U.S. News and World Report, a week after Ford took office:

“We would probably turn to much more severe economic controls and the more detailed and severe the controls over economic life, the more difficult it is for any economy to generate progress, and for democracy to function in a normal way...We could move towards a police state.”

So the lessons should be obvious. The fight cannot stop with Nixon. The fascist offensive is not dead and the general assault on the living standards of the people is increasing. The threat of a new superpower conflict is with us and the people’s movement has got to take the offensive. The answer lies in a broad united front movement against the imperialists and their rotten policies, which mobilizes the masses in militant struggle and not in the petty reforms and election schemes of the opportunists.