Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

HR 1 is the premiere legislative initiative of Democrats in the 116th Congress. It contains 571 pages of proposals and findings and such, but only two of HR 1’s dozens of provisions have a reasonable chance of passing the House and obtaining the bipartisan support in the Senate needed to become law.

The first is a provision of HR 1 which deputizes the intelligence, police and prison establishment and their contractors to produce an annual report on the threats posed to the security of the US electoral system posed by Americans who might be under the influence of foreign powers. HR 1 cites as the “congressional findings” justifying the legislation a set of cowardly accusations levied by an anonymous group but given wide distribution by the Washington Post, as Glen Greenwald wrote about at the time. Greenwald mentions that Black Agenda Report was one of the institutions anonymously accused. As is the way with anonymous cowards, the page with the accusations has since been taken down, though the accusations still kind of count as “congressional findings.”

SECOND HR 1 is surgically aimed to eliminate federal matching funds for Green Party candidates by raising the qualifying amount from its current level of $5,000 in each of 20 states to $25,000 in 20 states. HR 1 would cut funding for a Green presidential candidate in half, and by making ballot access for a Green presidential candidate impossible in several states it would also guarantee loss of the party’s ability to run for local offices.

Speaker Pelosi says HR 1 will get a House vote some time in the next few weeks. The reality is that the impressive voting rights proposals in HR1 and the somewhat less impressive ethics legislation in it too are nothing but cynical vanishing bait. HR 1’s actual legislative payloads, that is, the parts of HR 1 actually intended to attract enough Republican support to pass into law are its proposal to cut third party campaign funding in half and its institutionalizing an annual threat report to be written by the Pentagon and the cops. All the other parts of HR 1 are dead on arrival in the US Senate. Senate Republicans have no reason give away voter caging or gerrymandering. Why would they do that? But enough of them will cheerfully cross the aisle to cut the matching funds of third parties, and to institutionalizing the Pentagon, spies and cops to produce an annual report on the threat to electoral security.

Democrats are a capitalist party, they are a government party, and this is how they govern. HR 1 reaches back a hundred years into the Democrat playbook politicians created a foreign menace to herd the population into World War 1, which ended in the Red Scare and a couple of red summers, waves of official and unofficial violence and deportations against US leftists and against black people. The Red Scare led to the founding of the FBI, the core of the nation’s permanent political police. All that was a gift from the Democrats a hundred years ago. Fifty years ago these were the same civil servants who gave us the assassinations, the disinformation and illegality of COINTELPRO, and much, much more before that and since then.

HR 1 says let’s go to the Pentagon and the cops, let’s order them to discover threats to the electoral system posed by Americans working to save themselves and the planet. It amounts to Democrats siccing the Homeland Security dogs on us.

HR 1 should pose some immediate questions to so-called House Progressives, and perhaps to our DSA friends as well.

Do House Progressives support knocking the Green Party off the ballot in a dozen or more states? Does DSA? If narrowing voter choices is not voter suppression, its hard to imagine what else is.

Do House Progressives really endorse deputizing the Pentagon, Homeland Security and the police state to do annual reports on alleged security threats from Americans? If they don’t, why are they signed on to HR 1?

For Black Agenda Report, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at, and find Black Agenda Radio and Black Agenda Radio Commentaries anywhere you get podcasts. Please know that Google and Facebook and Twitter and other commercial social media game their algorithms to suppress the appearance of our content in searches, so the only way you can be sure you’re getting our free weekly email updates each and every week is to visit on your computer or mobile device and hitting the subscribe button. Hit that button and we will deliver you via email every week our free weekly email newsletter with summaries of and links to all of our new content each and every week.

Direct download: 20190206_bd_HR1.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 2:53pm EDT