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"¡Que se vayan todos!”: All of them must go!

Jesse McLaren

May 27, 2013

From the senate expenses scandal, to Rob Ford’s alleged crack video, to the Obama administration’s attacks on the press, government scandals are the tip of the iceberg of how the 1% operates—through wealth transfer, oppression, and the state.
Wealth transfer
Harper is desperately trying to distance himself from the senate expenses scandal, which engulfed his Chief of Staff Nigel Wright—former managing director for the private equity giant Onex Corp. While Harper’s right-hand man intervened with a personal check of $90,172 to cover senator Mike Duffy’s expenses, Harper claims he had no knowledge, and Duffy has—in his own words—“remained silent on orders from the Prime Minister's Office.”
Apparently a six-figure salary is not enough for some senators, who further siphoned public funds by claiming expenses on everything from houses, to travel, to time spent in Ottawa when the senate was not even sitting. Mike Duffy, fellow corporate media personality Pamela Wallin (who has ties with Oilsands Quest), Patrick Brazeau (the Tory senator of choice for attacking Idle No More, before he was arrested for sexual assault), and Liberal senator Mac Harb have all had to leave their party caucuses—but continue to get paid.
Wright and the senators—all unelected, handpicked for their ideological loyalty, and representing the revolving door between corporations and the government—are symptomatic of how the 1% operates. Though Harper feigned anger about the expenses scandal, his recent budget represented the same ideologically-driven wealth transfer from ordinary people to the rich. The basis of the austerity agenda—from bank and corporate bailouts to attacks on jobs and services—is to transfer public funds into private hands. The very foundation of capitalist exploitation is transferring surplus value from workers to bosses to generate profit.
At the same time, Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford is embroiled in yet another scandal, this time involving an alleged video of him smoking crack and spewing bigotry. According to members of the Toronto Star who have seen the video, Ford calls Liberal leader Justin Trudeau a “fag”, and the high school football team he coaches “just fucking minorities.”
This would not be surprising given Ford’s history of racist, homophobic and transphobic comments while sober, or of his austerity agenda whose cuts to jobs and services disproportionately affect women, people with disabilities, racialized groups and other oppressed groups.
The 1% depends on oppression—to sharpen exploitation and to divide the 99%. While the jails are largely reserved for poor, racialized and indigenous people, it is merely a “scandal” for a millionaire mayor to be caught with crack.
The state
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is caught in a scandal involving attacks on freedom of the press. First the government seized phone records of 100 Associated Press journalists the CIA’s disruption of an alleged bombing in Yemen was leaked. Then the government labeled a Fox News reporter a “co-conspirator” in the US State Department leak of a North Korean missile launch—allowing the FBI to secretly search his email and threaten criminal charges.
Obama stated that “As commander-in-chief, I believe we must keep information secret that protects our operations,” and it’s good to see the corporate media challenge the extent the government goes to keep secrets. But this challenge needs to be expanded to all those whose freedom has been denied for resisting US “operations.” What of the freedom of Bradley Manning, unjustly incarcerated for leaking Iraq War information to wikileaks? What of the freedoms of the hundred men on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay? What of the freedoms of the millions of people resisting US imperialism around the world?
These scandals are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s capitalism that is the scandal, a system of exploitation and oppression enforced by the state at home and abroad. A few representatives of the 1% have been exposed, but as they said during the uprisings in Argentina last decade, "¡Que se vayan todos!”: All of them must go!"
If you like this article, register now for Marxism 2013: Revolution In Our Time, a weekend-long conference of ideas to change the world. Sessions include "Solidarity against austerity: lessons from the front-line", "Why is capitalism in crisis", and "Women, resistance and revolution."

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