November 27, 2000


Supporters of the embattled Slobodan Milosevic, confronted with the sight of tens of thousands of Yugoslavs rising up in rebellion against election fraud and decades of repression, charged that these people were "thugs" in the pay of the West. Milosevic himself, newly resurfaced and reelected as the head of the Serbian Socialist Party, reiterates the charge. Today, confronted by rising protests not only in Florida but across the nation, supporters of the embattled Al Gore, desperate to hang on to power at any cost, are singing the same song – with the same ominous undertone of hinted reprisals and threats of legal action.


It all started with what Paul Gigot calls the "bourgeois riot" in Dade County, Florida, where the election canvassing board (1 Democrat, 2 independents) decided not to do a recount in spite of heavy pressure from the Gore-istas. This action reversed the canvassers earlier decision – taken after the Florida Supreme Court ruling imposing a November 26 deadline – to violate Florida law by counting only the disputed ballots (the law demands a total recount). The key point was that they resolved to do this out of the public eye, holed up in a back room of the Dade County administration building. Florida law requires public access. If this election was going to be stolen, then the dirty deed had to be done under cover of darkness. As Chris Matthews reported on MSNBC's Hardball, the Dade County Democrats were never all that enthusiastic about a recount, and only agreed to conduct one with great reluctance. The position of the board of canvassers had been equivocal from the beginning: they shifted their stance at least once before finally deciding to do a partial recount in virtual seclusion. This was too much for the Republicans, who rose up and conducted a sit-in at the Dade County election offices, shouting and pounding on the door, all the while chanting: "Stop the election fraud!" and "Let us in! Let us in!"


The storm of protest that followed was remarkable as a political and ideological bellwether, a look inside the evolving mentality of our era's dominant ideology, authoritarian liberalism – an oxymoron for a moronic age. After assuring us that both he and Al Gore want only to ensure a result that "honors our Constitution" and admonishing us that "the time for electioneering is long past," Joe Lieberman sonorously intoned that

"I am deeply disappointed by reports of orchestrated demonstrations on Wednesday inside a state building, a government building, in Miami-Dade County, not just to express a point of view, but to disrupt and halt the counting of ballots. These demonstrations were clearly designed to intimidate and to prevent a simple count of votes from going forward. Shortly afterwards, one of the commissioners said, and I quote, 'We would be up there now counting,' end quote, if it weren't for those objections. He then joined his colleagues in deciding to give up the effort to count the ballots altogether. This is a time to honor the rule of law, not surrender to the rule of the mob."


What, exactly, is the meaning of the word "orchestrated" as a modifier in this regard? Every demonstration is orchestrated, by someone, or some core group of people. To allow only unorchestrated demonstrations would be somewhat disingenuous, to say the least. ABC News flat-out declared that the Dade County protests and anti-coup protests throughout Florida were the work of "paid Republican operatives" operating out of a mobile home. The New York Times attributed the turnout to the influence of Cuban-American Radio Mambi. As usual, the liberal media completely missed the real story, which is that a good part of the national reaction to the Gore coup was indeed spontaneous, entirely unconnected to the regular Republican party apparatus, and was organized largely over the Internet by a virtual community of conservative and libertarian activists. It is, in large part, due to the cyber-activist angle of this story that the Old Media missed it.


These guys hate the Internet, they hate conservatives, and could care less that a virtual community of right-wing activists is burgeoning in cyberspace. has over 25,000 registered users, and the numbers are climbing: if lazy reporters had only bothered to do a little research, they would have discovered that the Florida protests were publicized and organized over the Internet by conservative activists and, in their conception and execution, were as close to the ideal of "spontaneity" as it is possible to get. Not only in Florida, but all over the nation, tens of thousands of protesters are rallying against the Gore coup, and the core organizers and activists were not RNC "paid operatives" but entirely (and sadly) unpaid "Freepers" (as the denizens of call themselves), a coalition of Internet-connected independent activists operating beneath the radar of both the media and the Democrats. (Or do I repeat myself?) The influence of FreeRepublic activists on the protests was clearly visible with the omnipresence of the by-now-famous "Sore-Loserman" logo designed by the talented Freeper, "Registered," and now featured on the front page of Downloaded by thousands of Freepers and sympathizers all over the country, the "Sore-Loserman" graphic is emblematic of the rising fight-back against the coup-plotters and their media shills.


Speaking of media shills, the New York Times informs that "several people were trampled, punched or kicked when protesters tried to rush the doors outside the office of the Miami-Dade supervisors of elections" and that "Sheriff's deputies restored order." This is cited by Lieberman as proof that the protesters were a "violent mob." But the Times report does not say who was kicked and punched: isn't it just as likely that it was largely the protesters themselves who bore the brunt of the bruises, especially if deputies were deployed to "restore order"? In any case, no one was arrested, although there were plenty of officers on the scene, and the omnipresent TV cameras recorded no violence of any kind – only the local Democratic party chairman being chased down the hall by security guards and deputies, when it was discovered that he had made off with what was thought to be a ballot. (It turned out to have been a sample ballot, but who, at this point, wouldn't believe that he was up to no good?)


Lieberman is echoed by the frothy-mouthed Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York), who blusters that "the whiff of fascism is in the air." But what we're catching a whiff of is not fascism – at least, not on the part of the protesters – but of a particularly foul variety of sanctimonious bull-sh*t with positively evil-smelling implications. What is afoot here is an attempt to stifle and effectively discredit all protest against the Gore coup, both before and after the fact. It is, furthermore, an attempt to push such protest to the brink of legality. Them's strong words, but the proof is that Lieberman and a group of Democratic congressmen are demanding a Justice Department investigation into the Miami-Dade protest. These protests, we are told by Lieberman and his amen corner, are "un-American." What's next, a revival of the congressional Committee on Un-American Activities? Covert operations to infiltrate, disrupt, and destroy anti-Gore protest organizations, as in the days of the FBI's infamous Cointelpro operation? At this point, you have to believe that they're making provisions of some sort to keep power once they gain the White House: a fantastic and utterly shocking charge, but we are living, as my Chinese fortune cookie said the other day, in interesting times.


Lieberman complains that the Dade County board of election canvassers had a change of heart and abandoned the recount in response to "objections" – a curious word to use in this context. Or, maybe, not so curious: In the world Gore and Lieberman are building for us, objections to the edicts of our rulers will be overruled as out of order if not violently impertinent. This is the true face of America's illiberal liberals, once the masks are off: authoritarianism, pure and simple. Lieberman's outrageous characterization of the protesters as "violent" defines speech and protest as acts of intimidation, clearly part of a legal strategy by Democrats who plan on charging that the "civil rights" of dimpled chads were being violated. If this is how they are acting now, just imagine how the Gore-istas will be once they get into power. I shudder at the very thought of it, and you should too.


For their part, the three canvassers who voted against the recount deny being intimidated and insist that the reason for their reversal was the logistics of complying with the Supreme Court-mandated deadline of November 26. The Los Angeles Times reports David Leahy, Miami's chief election official, as saying: "I was not intimidated by that protest" because "I saw it for what it was" – a justified protest against an unjust and illegal decision to recount only a portion of the ballots in secret.. "These were individuals who were downstairs as observers, and they were unhappy with the board's decision [to move]," said Leahy to the Times. "To me, that was understandable, and the news media had the same concern. They protested as well." Leahy denies that there was any real threat to his office from the vocal crowd of protesters – although one receptionist did run shrieking from her desk. "If I had viewed it as an ugly mob trying to destroy something, I would have been concerned," said Leahy, and the other canvassers agree. That won't stop the major media from spreading lies, smearing the protesters, and characterizing any and all opposition to the Gore coup as coming from partisan Republicans led by "paid operatives." However, if there is any justice in this world, Leahy's testimony and that of the other canvassers should settle the question once and for all.


The parallels between the Yugoslav and American succession crises are numerous, and instructive. Just as Milosevic and his supporters sought to portray their "Federal Election Commission" as the fountainhead of fair-mindedness, so the Democrats, with equal credibility, have sought to portray their party-controlled election canvassing boards in Broward and Palm Beach as models of impartiality. The Yugoslav election commission used every sort of bureaucratic maneuver to delay the final result, hoping to wear down the opposition with a second round: in the US, the Bushies have been similarly forced to fight a second round, with Democrat chieftain William Daley declaring the day after the election that "the campaign continues." When the Yugoslavs had finally had enough of Milosevic's election fraud, and went out into the streets, the state-controlled organs of news and opinion went on the offensive, smearing the Yugoslav Democratic Opposition as "terrorists," "thugs," "hooligans," and "paid operatives to the West" – a conspiracy theory that, in form if not in its particulars, is strikingly reflected in the Lieberman-Nadler-ABC thesis. Just as the Democrats threaten to bring in Janet Reno and her Justice Department, using the specter of legal action to crush legitimate protest, so Milosevic employed a similarly ominous threat to crack down on the Opposition, threatening to bring in the police, the army, and certain extralegal units. It was only the collapse of support for Milosevic in the military that made this option impossible for the Serbian strongman. If I were Gore, and managed to steal into the White House after suppressing the votes of US soldiers stationed overseas, in a real crisis – say, Republican "mobs" advancing on the White House – I wouldn't count on the loyalty of the military as a given. In any case, we can only hope that the parallels with Yugoslavia will hold, and that in the end, Gore, like Milosevic, will concede.

Text-only printable version of this article

An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard
Available NOW!
$10 off!

“Behind the Headlines” appears Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with special editions as events warrant.


Past Columns

Slobo and Gore: Peas in a Pod

Gore Coup Radicalizes Republicans

The Dimple That Shook the World

Listen Soldier, You Can Stop the Gore Coup

Two Ways to Steal an Election

In Occupied America: Rage Against "The Regime"

Al Gore's Beer Hall Putsch

A Message to My Readers

The Real Victors: Nader & Buchanan

Buchanan's "Hail Mary" Pass May Work

Doubletalkin' Dubya: Bush Backtracks on Kosovo

The Nader Moment

The Smearing of Ralph Nader

Nader Sells Out

America's Fifth Column

Bush, the Balkans, and the Bipartisan "Division of Labor"

Hilary, the War Goddess

Vidal's Valediction: The Golden Age

Norman's Narcissim: Podhoretz in Love

The Middle East: War Without End

Classic Raimondo: Isolationism for Beginners

Notes on the Serbian Revolution and Other Matters

Revolt of the Little Guys

The Clinton-
Gore-Milosevic Connection

Szamuely's Folly: Sympathy for the Devil

Slobo's Gambit: Will It Work?

Adventures in Cyber-Politics, Revisited

Curtains for Milosevic

Dubya's Kosovo Deception

The Return of Pat Buchanan


The Vindication of Wen Ho Lee

Against the EU: Danes Resist Assimilation

UN Millennium Summit: Globalist Dream is Your Worst Nightmare

Iraq and the US – Our Fantasy Island Foreign Policy

Classic Raimondo: Allied Vultures Pick at Iraq's Bones

Colombia – The Deja Vu War

Passage to Cartagena: An Inauspicious Visit

Invasion of the Party-Snatchers

Blowback: Read This Book!

Bush on Kosovo – Turning on a Dime

The Kosovo Fraud: Will They Ever Admit It?

The Outing of Ralph Nader, and Other Atrocities

Why Kosovo? Follow the Money!

Additional Justin Raimondo Archives

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).



Unfortunately, it isn't going to happen, of course, at least not before the Supreme Court renders its decision. Milosevic folded because what he represents – the anachronistic and seriously decayed remnants of Marxist-Leninism – has no support and no future. But the monster of state socialism is not dead: it was always a two-headed beast. The Bolsheviks' head may have been severed, but the Menshevik head remains: and not only that, but it is gaining strength now that it has the body of the socialist idea all to itself. The Mensheviks – or Democratic Socialists – split with Lenin before the Russian Revolution of 1917, but they have been resurrected in the triumph of the old Social Democracy, whose parties are in power from Europe to the British Isles and – if Gore retains his hold on power – in America. These latter-day Mensheviks are adherents of the "Third Way" between capitalism and socialism, yet can still trace their lineage back to Lenin's old Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. New Labor in Britain, the "democratized" ex-Communist party militants in power throughout Europe, and, in the US, the New Democrats of the Clinton-Gore era – all these parties and governments are part of an international Third Way tendency whose goal is to ensure the worldwide triumph of social democracy. In their methods, and ideology, these latter-day Mensheviks are not all that far removed from their estranged Bolshevik brothers, and indeed the fall of Communism has led to the merger of the previously divorced wings of the international socialist movement. Milosevic and his ilk are finished, but Tony Blair, Al Gore and the New Democrats-and-Laborites have arisen to take their place.


Gore won't fold because, unfortunately, what he represents is entrenched not only politically, but in the media and key sectors of the elites in academia and the business community. In an earlier time, such a brazen attempt by a Democratic candidate – or any candidate – to delay and obstruct the election results, and to manipulate the vote for partisan advantage, would have been immediately disavowed by the leaders of his own party. Where oh where are the dissident Democrats, who ought to be horrified by the machinations of Albert Gore-Bonaparte? And, speaking of bonapartism, what about the old-style Left: not only the Trotskyists but the Greens and independent leftists? Ralph Nader says we should flip a coin. A flip remark, not worthy of the usually perceptive Green Party presidential candidate, and one that ignores the essential issue: the structural integrity of the electoral process.


The stakes are high: the future of our republican form of government. Everything is under assault: the Constitution, the rule of law, and the continuity and legality of the federal government. If Gore's coup is successful, we will be living in a state of incipient civil war: all that is required is some economic downturn to sour the public on the antics of its rulers. Then you will really see a revolution in this country, and the chant of the protesters who marched through the streets of downtown San Francisco yesterday – "Take the country back! Take the country back!" – will have been prophetic. I didn't see any "paid political operatives" there, but then maybe they weren't brave enough to have embarked on such a potentially dangerous mission in that Democratic bastion. But if the response we got yesterday from passersby is any indication – the number of dropped jaws in Union Square numbered in the hundreds – then Gore and his fellow coup-plotters are in some very deep trouble. We got only a few boos, and a good half of the crowd cheered us. As we passed a group of leftist demonstrators – who were protesting Israeli treatment of Palestinians and US policy in the Middle East – I grabbed the bullhorn and got a good two-hundred Republicans chanting an old leftie slogan: "The people, united, will never be defeated!" Blue-haired Republican grandmothers and clean-cut kids raised their fists high in the air. "The peep-le, u-NITED, will never be de-FEATED!" I don't think I ever had so much fun in my life.

Please Support

A contribution of $50 or more will get you a copy of Ronald Radosh's out-of-print classic study of the Old Right conservatives, Prophets on the Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism. Send contributions to
520 S. Murphy Avenue, #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

or Contribute Via our Secure Server
Credit Card Donation Form


Have an e-gold account?
Contribute to via e-gold.
Our account number is 130325

Your Contributions are now Tax-Deductible

Back to Home Page | Contact Us