Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The Revolutionary Student Brigade

The Bums Are On the Run – Kick ’Em While They’re Down!

First Published: As a special supplement to Fight Back!, Volume 2, Number 1, September 15 1974.
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.

On Friday, August 9th, Gerald Ford was sworn in as President of the United States modestly declaring “Our national nightmare is over. The constitution works.” Right after Ford’s short inaugural speech you could see Chief Justice Burger hugging Senator Hugh Scott loudly proclaiming “It worked– Thank God the system worked.” By now those who had been watching the proceedings over the past few days had been barraged with a literal flood of such statements proclaiming the wondrous deeds of the “system”, “congress”, and the “constitution”. This barrage was especially strong for those unfortunate enough to hear Howard K. Smith, of ABC News, follow Nixon’s resignation speech with a solemn recital of the 25th amendment.

Yes, the monopoly rulers have been working overtime in the month of August launching a tremendous propaganda blitz with their television networks, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and literally anything else they can get people to read, hear, or see. Time Magazine and Newsweek strike out the theme in their “special issues” over and over again: “A triumph for the system.” Newspaper editorials, columnists, and network newsmen applaud the “orderly transition of power” and make longing pleas for national unity and restraint. A front page column in a local Chicago paper raves about the “international acclaim” for American justice and democracy as they quote words of praise from puppet state leaders throughout the world. And suddenly Gerald Ford, eight months ago a moderately known congressman, who was often referred to as a guy “who played too many football games without a helmet”, becomes the toast of the ruling class. Now, it’s “calm, simple, and honest Jerry”, capable of making breakfast with a toaster, who will easily lead us out of corruption and ease the pain and strife of the past.

Along with these lavish words of praise for American justice and democracy come the countless number of theories on the motivations of the corruption of Richard Nixon. A Chicago local “talk show” had three different analysts put forward their views. One stated that the “old Nixon” of the 50’s never really changed and that he was always a “shifty-eyed lying crook”. Another said he was a fine political statesman until 1972 and his landslide electoral victory when he got illusions that he could do anything he wanted. Finally, there was the view that he listened too much to his arrogant domestic advisors Haldeman, Erlichman, and Mitchell, and began to “lose touch” with the American people so that he made bad decisions concerning the American economy and other domestic issues.

Blame Nixon?

The US ruling class is desperately trying to sum up the saga of Richard Nixon and Watergate. They know that the further exposure of their corrupt government has only added fuel to the fiery anger of the people over the general functioning and breakdowns of this system. They’re going all out to sum up and analyze the resignation of Richard Nixon because they want to cover up what people are learning more and more– that this monopoly capitalist system is rotten. This is their opportunity, they hope, to blame the growing ills of the society on the distracting issue of Watergate and the corrupt Richard Nixon. And to try to put over that the congress and American democracy won’t stand for corruption and lies– that it exorcises the corrupt ones. Now that he is gone, Time magazine tells us, we can all come together and “let the healing begin.”

The Revolutionary Student Brigade agrees with some of what was said on that local TV show that analyzed Nixon. Nixon certainly was a “shifty-eyed lying crook” in the 50’s as well as the 70’s, he probably did have some illusions of power, and he certainly had no contact with the people. Even more than that, he was a mass murderer who launched wars of aggression abroad, attacked working people at home, and was a racist chauvinist dog as well. But this doesn’t make him any different from the rest of his class– the Rockefellers, Morgans, Duponts, Kennedys– in short, the criminal monopoly rulers who run this country. For monopoly capitalism, regardless of who is President–a Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, or Ford–always causes wars of aggression, crises of different proportions, mass exploitation, national oppression, and degradation. It’s because this system is based on making profit ripped out of the sweat, blood, and labor of working people, here in the US as well as abroad, for a small class of monopoly rulers who own and run the factories, banks, government, schools, and all other major institutions of this country.

The corruption of politicians or the spying and interference with other politicians’ campaigns did not start with Nixon, and it will not end with him either. Mayor Daley in Chicago, for example, has been making a career out of corruption and graft for 40 years. Nor has the ruling class and its politicians become suddenly morally indignant at bugging telephones, covering up crimes, or lying; all of them have far more barbarous crimes on their bloody hands to cause furor and turmoil around something like that. To find the root cause for all the turmoil and confusion around the exile of Richard Nixon to the surf of San Clemente we must look beyond the fact that Nixon was a corrupt individual and analyse the social conditions in which he was operating.

Richard Milhouse Nixon was chief of state of a ruling class and system that is facing grave and serious problems. For this whole monopoly capitalist system has run into one stonewall after another in its search for greater and greater profit. And it has been increasingly exposed and weakened by people throughout the world as it has staggered from one defeat and crisis to another. Once marked in the post World War II era by its huge profit producing empire that dominated countries and colonies throughout the world, the US monopoly capitalists have seen their dominant position in the world eroded and hammered away. A brief explanation of the decline and decay of the monopoly capitalist system will help us see the root causes of the tremendous turmoil that has unfolded around Dick Nixon.

At the recent United Nations session on “Raw Materials and Underdevelopment”, numerous spokespersons for underdeveloped countries spoke of the plunder caused to their people by the US monopoly capitalist system. And they spoke of the developing unity of these Third World and underdeveloped countries against the US superpower. The recent Arab oil embargo and the daily reports of nationalization of US investments are clear examples that this is indeed occurring. And a larger and larger stonewall is being raised by these countries to hold back US plunder of them for cheap labor, markets, and natural resources. In recent years, the fire of revolution and peoples war has blazed in Third World countries on many continents, form Indochina to the Philippines, to Guinea-Bissau, to Palestine. These fights are protracted, and the US rulers have shown they will desperately try to hold on to these lands for profit–whether it be the terror bombings in Indochina, the marines landing in Santo Domingo, or the coup in Chile. But the victory of the Indochinese people, the impending victories of the people of Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique, and the growing revolutionary struggles throughout the Third World are clear indicators that the banners of revolution and liberation from imperialism are moving forward more and more. All of these struggles greatly weaken our common enemy, the imperialist ruling class, and they inspire us all with their determination, strength, and courage.

The European and Japanese economies are also beginning to prove to be stonewalls for the US rulers in their drive for greater profit. These countries have rebuilt their war-ravaged economies of 30 years ago and are taking increasing steps to becoming independent of the US superpower. As the US monopolists are quickly finding out, to their dismay and loss of profits, the “free” markets they once controlled are now being challenged and often undersold by their smaller imperialist competitors. The US rulers have been forced to twice devalue the worth and domination of the dollar, in relation to foreign currencies, so that the cost of their products will be less, making them more competitive. They have also thrown up tariffs, import quotas and taxes, in attempts to undersell their competitors. But the US superpower is quickly finding out that these “solutions” are very short term. And their ability to dominate these once war-ravaged economies is coming to an end. England’s entry into the Common Market and the recent European and Japanese independent deals with the oil exporting countries are further examples of the growing independence these countries are developing from US monopoly capital.

The growing problems and weakening of the monopoly rulers are far from only being foreign affairs, as the US rulers fearfully face an awakening giant which wields a mighty stick: a young but developing workers movement. Recent months have seen workers in city after city intensify their fight with the owners of the dollar. Rank and file caucuses, organizations, and newspapers which link the fight in the plants to the fight against the entire system, are beginning to develop and give the rising workers movement a revolutionary direction. And great victories have been won. The Farah strikers with supporters all across the country won a long militant battle in the Southwest. The mineworkers strike and defeat an oil rationing program in West Virginia, and strike in support of African Liberation in Alabama. In the Bay Area, California, thousands of people of all nationalities unite to fight brutal repression in the Black community–against both the racist Zebra manhunts and the murder of young Tyrone Guyton. Veterans along with supporters march and fight 3000 strong in Washington D.C. and link the struggle of veterans with the fight against the entire system. And a new student movement starts to emerge, as major struggles breakout around cutbacks in Berkeley and the University of Connecticut, and the struggle to throw Nixon out is raised on many campuses by groups like the Revolutionary Student Brigade as part of the overall fight against the ruling class.

The young and rising movement here in the US will go through many twists and turns on the road to revolution. But already we can see it has begun to strike hard blows against the ruling class. As this movement develops and more conscious unity is achieved, much harder blows will be struck– and ultimately, over the long run, this movement will spell the final doom for the robbing thieves who run this country.

As the ruling class is increasingly attacked and exposed and the monopolists find it increasingly harder to rip profit out of the people’s sweat and labor, the bankrupt monopoly capitalist system starts suffering more and more breakdowns. The irrationality of the system becomes more apparent as problems and crises arise which the rulers cannot control and which the people bear the brunt: energy crises, meat shortages, and stubborn skyrocketing inflation. Of course the monopoly rulers don’t sit back in this situation. They launch attacks to increase their plunder and stabilize their system. This means more wars of aggression in Africa and Indochina, attempts to gain domination over the European countries through control of the Mideast and oil exporting countries, and heavier attacks on the American people with wage freezes, no-strike agreements, cutbacks and stepped up repression. For all of these attacks, the entire US ruling class stands condemned and hated by the people throughout the world. And for these attacks the masses of people in their millions will ultimately rise up and wipe these robber barons off the face of the earth.

Splits And Turmoil In The Ruling Class

Throughout the reign of monopoly capitalism, struggle and infighting goes on within the ruling class as to what policies and maneuvers are the best to increase their plunder and stabilize their system. The policies and maneuvers that different monopolists want implemented can be caused by many different factors: the sections of the economy in which their money is invested, areas of the world in which their capital is most heavily placed, or simply differences in opinion as to which tactical methods will best hold back revolution and increase profit. These struggles may be over how to proceed with the economy– whether to use wage controls, what to cut back, and so forth. It might be over policy towards the liberation struggles in Africa, Indochina, or the Mideast. Or it might be over relations with the NATO countries, Japan, China, or the Soviet Union.

As the crisis of the whole imperialist system intensifies and the monopoly capitalists find themselves with more and more problems, increased confusion develops within their own ranks as to how to actually proceed. The struggle and turmoil among them becomes much sharper. The Rockefellers, DuPonts, Mellons, etc. are aware that they are staring in the face of an oncoming crisis, and become more desperate and determined to control the government strategy and policies to stabilize the system in which their lifetime fortunes of plunder are wrapped up.

This growing struggle over strategy and control is not carried out in a large room where the Rockefellers, Mel;ons, Harrimans and other monopoly owners fight, argue, and then agree on how to proceed. Some of it is carried out in the Congress and in the Democratic and Republican parties. While much of it is carried out by a great number of mergers, deals, splits, and backstabbing through the use of politicians, lawyers, exposes and leaks to newspapers and whatever else can give them the upper hand. It is in this context– a ruling class marked by growing splits and turmoil in the face of growing problems and the overall crisis of their system– that “plumbers” are hired to spy and harass other political campaigns.

But, to the (no doubt) great pain of Richard Nixon and his financial backers, the Watergate “plumbers” got caught and publicly exposed one summer night by a hotel guard. How certain sections of the ruling class were going to use this issue on him– both to weaken him and advance their own strategy and control. So greater and greater exposes unfolded around Watergate about Nixon and his advisors. For instance, Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post advisors credited with “uncovering” Watergate have readily admitted they could not have investigated anything if not for the hundreds of anonymous tips and leads they got from people who obviously knew the inner workings of the government. Nixon found himself under growing attack as scandal after scandal was exposed. All of his advisors and henchmen were forced to resign and even Spiro Agnew was found to have broken tax laws in the 60’s and was unceremoniously dumped into the arms of Frank Sinatra.

We should cast away all illusions that those who were behind the scenes attacking Nixon were doing so in the peoples’ interests. This was a fight for power and control of a troubled and crisis ridden monopoly capitalist system. Those who cut the strings on the Nixons, the Agnews, Mitchells, etc, desperately want us to see them as the upholders of justice, democracy, and truth. And if we believe and follow those views we will be disarming ourselves from the future attacks that these barbarous rulers must launch.

An example of one of the forces undoubtedly involved in the rulers’ heavy struggle will hear this out. The Rockefeller section of monopoly capital, with their proud new vice president, was no doubt deeply involved in the struggle centering around Nixon. The men who led the investigation that swept Agnew out of office were Elliot Richardson and George Beall– both long-time associates and advisors of Nelson Rockefeller. And while some of Rocky’s associates were in Nixon’s cabinet, they’re all over the new Ford team: Goodell, Kissinger, Laird, and the returning Elliot Richardson (fired by Nixon in the famous “Saturday Night Massacre”). And now Rockefeller himself, one of the most powerful monopoly rulers in the country, has moved into a position of being one of the direct rulers of the state. Anyone who states Rockefeller fights for the interests of the people is spreading illusions that will guarantee our slaughter. For the Rockefeller family, principle owners of Standard Oil, US Steel, Bethlehem Steel, and the Chase Manhattan Bank (to name but a few) hasn’t earned a dollar that hasn’t been ripped out of the blood, sweat, and labor of working people. The Rockefellers’ bloodstained hands reach from the coal mines of Colorado, to the oil fields of the Middle East, to the prison walls of Attica.

The tremendous furor and struggle that unfolded around Watergate was a result of the splits and turmoil within the ruling class as brought on by the developing crises and problems of the entire system. But, there was also another major development around Watergate which should not be overlooked and which made it differ from many of the past power struggles of the rulers: their inability to hide their fighting and turmoil from the people. For the struggle that developed around Watergate got way out of hand for the rulers’ own good. Their confusion, scandals, and decadent rule were spilled out for all of us to see. Day after day on television, radios and newspapers, the people read and heard of payoffs to ITT, “milk deals”, and secret bombings of people in foreign lands. We heard them state how they truly feared the people, as John Dean spoke to their panic at the sight of a demonstration or mass protest. And the people heard and read of the tapes in which the rulers never talked of the welfare of the people, but only of maintaining themselves in their ruling positions. The people were not shocked by much of this– but they were getting a better view of the criminal rule of monopoly capital. And this the monopoly rulers never want us to see, because they fear the people learning and understanding the truth of how this monopoly system really functions. This open in-fighting, spilling out for the public to see, was yet another example of the breakdown and crisis of monopoly capitalism. And it was a very good development for the people, for it was further exposing and weakening our monopoly capitalist enemy.

Kick Em While They’re Down

And, greatly adding to and developing the growing weakness and exposure that the furor around Nixon was causing the entire ruling class, was the fact that the people began to actively take advantage of their open splits and turmoil. A militant mass movement, involving thousands, began to build to throw Nixon out and link the struggle to the fight against the whole ruling class. Numerous progressive and revolutionary organizations, groups, and individuals seeing the fight to throw Nixon out as an effective means of weakening the monopoly capitalists–throwing them into greater turmoil and exposing their whole rotten system–actively took up, developed, and led many of these struggles. We in the Revolutionary Student Brigade (then the Attica Brigade) actively took part in this struggle as our national campaign around the slogan “Throw the Bum Out–Organize to Fight”. While mistakes were certainly made, we can proudly look back and see that on many campuses and cities we helped mobilize thousands of people in struggle against Nixon as part of the fight to weaken and expose the whole ruling class.

Earlier this year, on March 15th, Nixon came to Chicago to speak to a corporate president luncheon. Three thousand people protested in the rain outside as Nixon scurried out the side door of a hotel with the help of over 800 police. After that, the chief of state of US monopoly capitalism feared to show himself among the people, barely sticking his head out of the confines of the White House, San Clemente, or Bebe’s yacht. Ford, as the travelling representative of the Nixon administration, quickly found that his presence didn’t command much more respect. In San Jose, California, he and the Republican State Convention found over 1,000 people fighting to throw Nixon out and attacking the entire ruling class. In Providence, Rhode Island, Ford and-Melvin Laird found themselves under a shower of eggs and choice vegetables. On numerous campuses effigies of Nixon were burned in mass protests, and in Iowa City over 1,000 students dumped “Nixon” into the Iowa River. In many other cities, “Workers Committees to Throw the Bum Out” were formed and demonstrations were held that built the fight to throw Nixon out as part of the overall struggle against monopoly capital.

On April 27th, over 10,000 people marched in Washington D.C. against the rule of Richard Nixon while thousands more marched in Chicago and Los Angeles. At the demonstration in Washington, 3,000 people rallied in a contingent called by the Brigade and militantly attacked the US Justice Department building. The contingent was protesting the growing cutbacks in education and other programs and against police terror and repression in Third World communities. This was a further reminder to the ruling class that it was not Nixon alone who was under attack, but the entire monopoly capitalist system.

The Impeachment Trap

Of course, the ruling class desperately tried to keep this movement from developing. They fear the people building struggle and learning that it is only the mass, militant struggle of the people that forces social change. They desperately try to channel our righteous anger into their courts, their politicians, and their elections. Throughout the whole “Nixon crisis” we were constantly told by the politicians, the network news, and the newspapers that the fate of Richard Nixon lies in the impeachment process; that we should continue to go about our everyday work and let the tools of the monopoly capitalists– the courts, Congress, and judicial process– decide the guilt or innocence of Richard Nixon. The ruling class worked mighty hard on building up the whole impeachment process. They went “all out” to isolate and judge Richard Nixon and his henchmen as corrupt and power hungry individuals, and they went “all out” to restore the dying faith in their decaying monopoly capitalist system.

So the seemingly endless hearings went on...as day after day, the number 1 news stories were the Deans, Magruders, and Haldemans charging and denying the scandal of Richard Nixon ollowed by the loyal servants of the rich and the press’s new heroes: “cute” Howie Baker, Bible quotin’ Sam Ervin, and the tearful Lowell Weicker; all expressing statements of contempt and shock that individuals would “abuse the privileges of power” in this way. This was accompanied, of course, with their endless comments and speeches, about the proper functioning of American Truth and Justice.

The “liberal” elements of the ruling class–the Kennedys, McGoverns, Bakers, and Rodinos–always try to channel the anger of the people away from the mass struggle to where it is safe for the ruling class. These forces always come out and try to hold us back whenever the people start to build a movement, as we saw during the Black people’s struggles of the 60’s, the anti-war movement, and getting rid of Nixon. And their strategy is always .the same. They speak to our genuine feelings and desires for peace, justice and democracy, and they try to channel us away from building the fight and struggle of the people and into “the vote”, the courts, and letters and petitions to Congress. In addition to holding our struggle back, these lying deceivers try to set us up for future attacks and slaughter by spreading the illusion that we can rely on this system for justice, democracy and well-being– when in fact this system must attack the people for its very basis is the profit wrenched out of the working people.

Peter Rodino is an excellent example of how the ruling class will speak of truth and justice with one hand and attack working people with the other. Six months, ago, Rodino was little known by anyone other than the Newark mobsters. Suddenly in the last few months he’s the new Mr. Justice with dozens of pictures of him and his gavel. Throughout the Judiciary impeachment hearings, Rodino spoke of the tremendous wonders of American Justice and democracy and how this was one more example of it. He even took pains to compare his committee favorably to some Roman emperor “Justinius” of the 7th century B.C.! But Rodino’s prattling of justice and fairness is a cover to delude us into thinking the system is open, fair, and just. For, behind the talk of “justice”, Rodino is the loyal servant of the monopoly capitalists.

For instance, Rodino and Ted Kennedy(another liberal who speaks of peace and justice to win over our reliance on the system that nets him millions) are presently sponsoring the Rodino-Kennedy Bill in Congress. This bill gives congressional blessing and makes “law” the present oppressive immigration process for “illegals” from Mexico. They are lured into immigrating by the corporations and agribusiness, given, green identification cards, and forced to work in intolerable conditions– only to be deported as soon as there are no jobs and their labor is unprofitable. The green identification card system is also a means for police to immediately stop and harass any Chicano person they want– especially political activists. This is the “justice” of the ruling class that the Rodinos and Kennedys stand for: the legal and just right of the monopoly capitalists to attack and exploit the lives and labor of working people.

But all the talk of Judicial process, restraint, and fairness by the ruling class and its mouthpieces– the Ervins and Rodinos, the Newsweeks and Times, and the Cronkites and Chancellors– was not tricking the people. Their hearings and legalities were not covering up the continued exposures of this corrupt and rotten ruling class and were not holding back people’s growing anger against this rotten system. In recent months, Nixon’s support among his financial backers eroded more and more as they saw the turmoil around him further threaten their rule- and deepen the whole crisis of their system. With the release of the now-celebrated tapes linking the Chief of State with the use of the CIA for cover-up purposes (so what else is new?) the monopoly capitalists became firmly united around dropping him. This was not because they were now convinced he was a lying crook, but because their 100# loyalties are to this bloodsucking system of profit and they could see that the continued struggle around Nixon with its exposures of corruption and scandals was going to greatly weaken that system. So the last of Nixon’s financial backers and supporters “jumped” his rapidly sinking ship (most notably Paul Wiggins and the Bank of America), and in a matter of days the tearful and humiliated Nixon was off to San Clemente.

As Nixon’s helicopter flew from the White House, the desperately united ruling class was already far into its propaganda blitz that this was American justice and democracy’s “finest hour”; that it had hounded out the corrupt individual, and that now was a time for national restraint and unity. We should all get behind Jerry Ford who will lead us out of the troubled past.

Victory!! The Struggle Moves Forward

These are, of course, more lies and further attempts by the ruling class to create illusions about their monopoly capitalist system. For, in looking back, we can see that rather than being American democracy’s finest hour, the entire US ruling class has been further weakened and exposed as corrupt and decadent rulers. And the resignation of Richard M. Nixon was indeed a victory for the people for it further showed the growing inability of the monopoly capitalists to rule over the people.

The imperialists had to get rid of Nixon because their impeachment process and songs of justice and democracy had failed to fool the people and “cover-up” the corrupt nature of their system. They knew that they could not continue with these hearings and trials over the next few months with the continuing exposes and scandals. The monopolists also had to get rid of Nixon because they feared the rising movement to throw Nixon out–a movement that was not limiting itself to Nixon the individual, but was linking up this fight with the struggle against the whole rotten system. And the monopoly capitalist s had to get rid of Dick because of the continuing overall offensive of the people against imperialism and the ever deepening crisis of this system. For wars of aggression against growing liberation struggles, wage controls, and attacks on the onrushing strike wave are difficult for the ruling class to launch when they are continually in an openly split and corrupt state.

Throughout the world the struggle against the exploitation and plunder of imperialism is moving forward. The African peoples’ impending victories in Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Angola, the recent general strike in England, and the massive strikes and movement in Portugal are all clear examples of how the peoples’ struggle is a advancing world-wide. And the recent turmoil and major shake-ups in the governments in the governments of England, France, Germany, Portugal, Israel, and Greece are clear examples that, like here in the US, the different ruling classes are in turmoil and confusion over how to proceed in their crisis situation.

Here in the United States the struggle against the monopoly-capitalists must be stepped up and continue to move forward. The support for liberation struggles throughout the world, the farmworkers’ fight, the fight against national oppression, against women’s oppression, the struggle against the “no-strike” deals, repression, and cutbacks all must continue to develop. We all should be greatly encouraged by the continuing weakness, exposure, and decline of our monopoly capitalist enemy– and we should continue to take advantage of their decline and Kick ’Em While They’re Down! We all should be greatly encouraged and inspired by the growing strike wave which is ripping at the very heart of the monopoly capitalists. We, in the Revolutionary Student Brigade, look confidently to the future, knowing that the people have just won a great victory and will continue to move forward to ultimately wipe this bloodthirsty ruling class off the face of the earth and bring an end to the criminal rule of monopoly capital.