- Category: Repression
- Created on Sunday, 31 May 2009 17:28
- Written by Al Giordano
RedFlags suggested that we post this piece from Al's blog "The Field." We are posting this because of the importance of this assassination, and (as usual) this does not mean that we are endorsing the particular analysis made.
By Al Giordano
“…those who today, either out of despair or because they are victims of the propaganda the regime propagates in favour of terrorism as the nec plus ultra of subversion, contemplate artificial terrorism with uncritical admiration, even attempting sometimes to practise it, do not know that they are only competing with the State on its own terrain, and do not know that, on its own terrain, not only is the State the strongest but that it will always have the last word.”
- Gianfranco Sanguinetti
On Terrorism and the State
The assassination this morning of Wichita doctor George Tiller, on his way into a Lutheran church service, was the second attempt on his life, this one successful. The first attempt on the doctor who works in a reproductive health clinic that has long been targeted by Operation Rescue and other anti-choice organizations came on August 19, 1993, when a man named Stanley Shannon’s bullets wounded the doctor in both arms. (Shannon served an 11-year sentence for that crime.)
Just two-and-a-half years ago, Dr. Tiller was targeted with the usual vitriol by Fox News talker Bill O’Reilly, who falsely accused the doctor of performing late term abortions – legal to protect the health of the mother – to treat temporary psychological depression of the patient. Tiller denied the charge, and accused the then-attorney general of the state, Phill Kline, as being O’Reilly’s source for the claim. Kline had charged Dr. Tiller, in 2006, with 30 counts of administering abortions to minors and other crimes. The Court dismissed the charges. In 2007, Democratic Attorney General Paul Morrison charged Dr. Tiller on 19 counts. Two months ago, a jury acquitted the doctor on each and every charge.
Just as Situationist Gianfranco Sanguinetti warned the international left, in his 1979 essay, that acts of terrorism always reinforce the powers of the State (his thesis was that State power and terrorism are mutually symbiotic and dependent on each other), the North American religious right is going to suffer great losses as a result of this morning’s terrorist act in Wichita. That, this time, the assassination attempt succeeded, and that it happened in the sanctuary of a church of a mainstream Protestant faith, will provoke a double whammy of shock and revulsion, including among tens of millions of Americans that do not like abortion, but likewise believe that assassination is obviously just as (or more) anti-life.
The original assassination attempt on Dr. Tiller came eight months into the Clinton presidency. The parallel with today’s offense ought to be obvious: a pro-choice president takes office and the violent extremists go all crazy, whipped up by some of the same right wing radio talkers today as sixteen years ago.
The predictable knee-jerk response from some in the pro-choice majority will be to attempt to demonize and link all Americans that define themselves as “pro life” as aiding and abetting this act of terrorism by having a mere opinion, just as George W. Bush and others attempted to link all oppositional dissent to the attacks of September 11, 2001. And while it is an absolute certainty that the Obama Justice Department will investigate and prosecute this latest crime - and criminal - to the maximum extent of the law, those that want to, like Bush, demonize dissent itself are not going to get much rhetorical backing from the President. His May 17 remarks at Notre Dame are now prescient: .