These methods have been continued and intensified by Obama, who won his 2008 election victory in no small part due to popular revulsion for the actions of his predecessor. That they have now been openly enshrined in law by the Democratic-controlled Senate demonstrates that they were not merely the excesses of a single president or the product of a specific right-wing ideology.
Rather, they are the outcome of the class contradictions within American society and the historic crisis of US capitalism. With the financial meltdown of 2008 and the continuous deepening of the most severe crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the slide towards the methods of police state dictatorship has only accelerated.
While supporters of the measures passed by the Senate Thursday invoked the supposedly ubiquitous threat of terrorism, their insistence that the United States itself be defined as a "battlefield" has a more far-reaching significance.
The explosive development of the Occupy Wall Street protests and the nationally coordinated campaign of police repression used to disperse them are only a precursor of far greater social struggles to come. Masses of working people are being pushed into class struggle by increasingly intolerable conditions of life.
The ruling oligarchy knows that its policies of making the working class pay for the crisis of the profit system must give rise to revolutionary social opposition and it is preparing accordingly. The working class must do likewise, mobilizing its independent political power in struggle against the threats of police state dictatorship and the capitalist profit system from which they arise.
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