What happens to the fragile sinews of democracy when the government itself engages in criminality? From the Palmer Raids after World War 1 to the McCarthy witch-hunt to launching wars of aggression in Indochina, Washington has sought to squelch dissent. Today there are new attempts to intimidate opposition to state policies particularly the war on Iraq. Some of it is comical such as preventing someone from boarding a flight because he wore a T-shirt with Arabic on it. Much more threatening and serious is the violation of civil liberties and the Constitution with warrantless wiretapping, e-mail and postal intercepts and other forms of domestic spying.
Jules Boykoff is professor of political science at Pacific University. Before embarking on an academic career he represented the U.S. Olympic Soccer Team in international competition. His articles have appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times. He is the author of Beyond Bullets: The Suppression of Dissent in the U.S., Celebration Capitalism, and Activism and the Olympics.