Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)

Big business launches new war against the people – Growing menace of fascism

First Published: The Call, Vol. 7, No. 28, July 17, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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A sweeping campaign is being waged by the highest circles of big business in this country, aimed at undermining the working class movement and further disintegrating the basic rights and living standards of the people.

This new anti-people offensive includes a clearly defined fascist threat and is targeting the democratic rights and hard-won economic gains of the workers in its march, Signs of this growing wave of reaction could be seen in the recent Supreme Court decisions supporting the Bakke case, allowing unwarranted police searches and seizures and encouraging Nazi groups in their organizing efforts.

A multimillion dollar campaign to promote California’s Jarvis-Gann initiative as well as the defeat of every important piece of pro-labor legislation that has come up in recent months are also signs of things to come.

According to some Washington insiders, this reactionary campaign appears to be engineered by a newly-formed coalition of monopolists and other businessmen. Its aim, in the words of some of its leaders, is to “bring back big business to its rightful role” in running the country.

Of course, the monopolies have never relinquished their hold over all of the institutions of U.S. society. But there is a growing rift within the ruling class over tactics. Some powerful financial interests are critical of Carter for going too far in the past trend of making minimal concessions to labor and civil rights.

Another prominent factor in the latest attacks on rights and living standards is the growing threat of a new world war. To prepare for such a war, the American people are being forced to bear the burden for the massive arms build-up. They also have to accept increased labor discipline and other restrictions on democratic rights in the name of the “national interest.”

One target of this new coalition of monopolist interests seems to be President Carter’s money-guzzling, bureaucratic programs – phony reform measures designed to prolong the life of a capitalist system riddled with crisis. This new coalition, combining old interests around Morgan Bank with some disenchanted Rockefeller forces, is trying to build a political base among the people.

They hope to do this by playing on the pessimism created by the obvious failure of these programs and the problems they have created, such as skyrocketing inflation.

The new wave of attacks has combined major cuts in the living standards of the workers with a wave of racist and fascist-like propaganda. This propaganda is aimed at winning over sections of the middle class and the backwards workers politically to the side of the giant monopolists.

In short, the present situation is a very dangerous one that demands a correct response from the fightback movement.

Many workers began to take notice of these important developments last month when the labor-law reform bill was crushed through a Senate filibuster. The measure, which would have provided some help to union organizing drives and the fighting of grievances on the shop floor, was the target of a massive effort by big business, including a National Association of Manufacturers coalition that comprises 100 of the largest companies in the U.S.

Along with this, Carter himself promoted his fraudulent “anti-inflation” plan with the help of George Meany and other union leaders. The plan calls for workers to accept wage cuts or to restrict their contract demands to fight inflation. The new coalition, however, is pressing for even stronger, forced wage restrictions and binds on the power of the unions.

At the same time, measures are being taken against the government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to make even its meager safety protection regulations totally ineffectual. This reflects a growing tendency within the ruling circles to dump or cut many of the programs they had designed to foster illusions among the workers and to bolster up the reformist labor bureaucrats.

While reformism and deceit are still fundamental weapons in capitalism’s arsenal, there is a major cutback underway in government programs. Bones being thrown to the trade union leadership also have far less meat on them.


Another example of the internal fight in the ruling class could be seen in the fate of the so-called Humphrey-Hawkins “full employment” bill. This bill was classically designed as a crumb to be thrown to the labor movement to make it appear that something was being done about massive unemployment. The bill itself, however, didn’t even provide a single job.

Now the Humphrey-Hawkins bill has been made so ridiculous through the addition of a section “outlawing” inflation, that it has lost whatever credibility it had previously.

Another example of the power of this new coalition could be seen in the defeat of the Common-Site Picketing Bill, which would have helped construction workers in shutting down operations in strikes involving only one of several unions. In 1976, the bill was defeated only by presidential veto. This year, it couldn’t even get out of the House committee.


Carter’s proposed new consumer-protection agency and a so-called “social performance” index designed to measure the “social conscience” of different businesses were also dumped recently. An effort to curb some of the banking practices that led to the Bert Lance scandal was also liquidated and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for women seems to be blocked. These events are all connected in that they reflect the realignment of forces in the ruling class.

Some of Carter’s own men who have long been associated with the Rockefeller liberals, such as Michael Blumenthal, (ex-president of the Bendix Corp.) and Charles Schultze, Carter’s chief economic adviser, have been critical of numerous Carter policies lately. Both advisers have opposed recent restrictions on big business during the present crisis.

Some of the chief beneficiaries of their efforts have been the giant steel companies who, in recent months, have received tariff-protection against Japanese and other foreign imports. At the Justice Department, Attorney General Griffin Bell recently approved a merger of two large steel producers, Lykes and LTV, to form the third largest steel monopoly in the country.

Bell himself has come under fire and was recently threatened with a jail sentence for his refusal to turn over names of government agents who infiltrated a Trotskyist group. Apparently someone is out to get Carter’s chief cop.

The July 10 issue of U.S. News and World Report carried an article called “Now Business Shows its Muscle in Washington” which quoted former Nixon Treasury official Charles Walker as saying, “Business has beefed up its Washington operation.”

Walker, who runs a lobbying firm that represents big businesses, added: “You’ve got groups like the Business Roundtable bringing chief executive officers directly into the Washington mainstream. It’s been very positive, very constructive.”


According to the magazine, the polarization among factions within the ruling class has pushed the new coalition together with groups who “are cooperating with one another to a far greater degree than they did in the past, entering into informal coalitions to tackle one issue at a time, and showing more willingness to compromise and come up with a unified position.”

James D. McKevitt, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business, estimates for example that some 450 organizations were involved in one way or another in the battle to kill the consumer agency.

The reemergence on the political scene of Richard Nixon himself last week is another sign of the growing initiative of this coalition. His speech in Kentucky demagogically played on the patriotic feelings of many people who have seen the U.S. defeated in Vietnam and who see it now wracked with economic and political crisis at home.

It was this appeal to the small owner as well as to the backwards workers that was used by the monopolists to push through Proposition 13 in California. Billed as a “revolt of the little man,” it was actually engineered by the most powerful circles of high finance. The middle classes and better-off workers who are faced, with spiraling property and other taxes, are being told that minority people on welfare are eating up their money.


The Bakke propaganda used the same tactic to spread fear that the white middle class is suffering because of the meager concessions being made to the minorities. By posing as champions of the “little guy” these reactionary opinion-makers are directly appealing to small business owners, farmers, and sections of white workers to whip them up and use them as troops against the working and oppressed people who are fighting their way out from under the burden of the present crisis.

Although Bakke himself was portrayed as a “lone individual,” it’s no secret that his suit was financed and politically encouraged by some of the most powerful business interests in the country, among whom are some of the University of California’s own regents.

The reactionary offensive is gaining ground in large part because the working class forces, are still largely disorganized and dominated by the racist, class collaborating leaders of the unions. Without the leadership of the revolutionary party of the working class, which is only now in the process of getting planted firmly on its feet, the danger of fascism remains real and is increasing. This situation also underscores the urgency of efforts aimed at uniting all the revolutionary forces.


The power to defeat these new attacks rests with the working class itself in close alliance with the movements of the oppressed nationalities. It has been the Black, Chicano, Asian, Native American, Puerto Rican and other minority workers who have been in the forefront of the fight-back movement so far, as witnessed by the anti-Bakke struggle and the many demonstrations for Jobs or Income now. In California, the fightback movement is aiming itself at the cut-backs being carried out in the wake of Proposition 13.

In building the fight back the sentiments of the masses must be taken into account or the working class will be divided and separated from the just demands of the small owners and farmers. In many cases, the feelings of these middle class forces have been largely ignored by some leftists who are filled with moral outrage rather than revolutionary political consciousness.

The taxpayer revolt, for example, cannot be dismissed as simply a racist movement, even though its growth is being used as an excuse by the ruling class to smash down even harder on the minorities and racist propaganda is being carried out around the campaign.


There is an aspect of justifiable anger on the part of millions at the massive rise in taxes, big government spending and inflation. The failure of the liberals’ phony reforms has also fueled this anger, not only of the middle classes but of the majority of workers and minorities as well.

There is a common line running through the problems of all the people who are victimized by the efforts of big business to push the burden of the crisis onto their backs. The capitalists, despite all their lies, rhetoric and attempts to reorganize themselves, can never cover up the fact that it is their class which has brought on the problems of economic crisis and the growing danger of war.


Their faction fights are only signs of thieves scrambling to divide their loot. The road out of the crisis lies neither with the liberal reformers nor the fascist-minded financiers and businessmen, nor with either of the political parties that represent them. The fact that this new wave of attacks on the rights and living standards of the people is coming down under a liberal Democratic administration with aid and assistance of the labor bureaucracy should serve as further evidence that the liberals cannot show us the way out.

The growing reactionary offensive and the rising menace of fascism and war must be met head on by a united front of the working class, oppressed minorities and middle classes who are all the victims, rather than the source of capitalism’s ailments.