I must preface this opinions piece by saying that I take full authorship of these comments and that they may not necessarily represent the whole of the Revolutionary Students Union. The RSU is a non-tendency club that welcome all tendencies of anti-capitalism, so I don’t speak for all of its members.
The RSU is under constant suppression of its political message. Whether it is posters disappearing from the GT building or being vandalized in the LA building, there are people engaging in outright attacks against this organization.
These methods can only be characterized as passive aggressive.
In contrast, the RSU aims for civic engagement with the campus as well as our community. I would certainly welcome anyone to come to our club meetings to engage us in a civil dialogue about any disagreements they have with the RSU. This is an attempt to respond publicly to the content of some of the vandalism perpetrated by anonymous critics.
Capitalism is by no means the most free or morally pure system. The freedoms we have in this country are bourgeois freedoms: We have the choice between choosing Coke or choosing Pepsi and we get to choose our health insurance, that is, if we can even afford it. We have the freedom.
What we don’t have is freedom from the capitalist economy. From the violence of Manifest Destiny, to the enslavement of Africans and institutional racism. From the history of primitive accumulation of property through “blood and fire,” to economic imperialism of free trade. Supporters of capitalism are quick to distance themselves from these crimes.
Those who proclaim that the United States is the freest nation in the world are also the ones who move most quickly to silence others are not simple hypocrites. Most people believe suppression of dissent happens only after an event like 9-11, but that’s not the whole story.
For every justified use of emergency powers – like Lincoln combating slavery – the U.S. has institutionally suppressed dissidents through the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Espionage Act, as well as the Anarchist-Exclusion Act, the Smith Act, and COINTELPRO.
The suppression of radicals isn’t an aberration of the “free capitalist system,” but its proper functioning. A state enacts laws to determine acceptable behavior to maintain stability. In a capitalist society, the state exists to defend the stability of the capitalist class against radical change.
I do not point out the overwhelming brutality of capitalism to make a tu quoqe argument but to show that the critics of other systems do not care about the alleged excesses they criticize when they occur within their preferred system. Such arguments cannot stand the light of truth so they attempt to suppress people who point out the failings of capitalism and fight for something better. They, and the recent attacks against the RSU, demonstrate clearly the limits of capitalist freedom.