In Defense of Alaska
On December 3, the Anchorage Press published a featured article titled, “In defense of David Eastman.” In this article, the author, Alaska Independence Party chair, Bob Bird, uses a derogatory slur, which is used to dehumanize Little People, to describe and insult 70 West Point alumni who expressed their opinion that Alaska House Representative, David Eastman, should be expelled from the Alaska legislature for violating the Alaska Constitution, due to his lifetime membership in the far-right extremist group, Oath Keepers. Not only did Chairman Bird use slurs and dehumanizing language throughout his defense of Eastman, but the chairman also went on to attack the media for its portrayal of the murderer, Kyle Rittenhouse. Within the same article Chairman Bird defends Rittenhouse and Eastman. In other words, Chairman Bird defends the use of political violence to silence opposition.
Eastman attended the January 6 rally that led to the attack on Congress. Eastman describes himself as a proud lifetime member of Oath Keepers. The Oath Keepers are a patriot militia group that the Southern Poverty Law Center labels an extremist group. Leaders and members of the Oath Keepers are currently being investigated, charged, and arrested for involvement in the January 6 attack on Congress. A sitting member of the Alaska legislature attended a rally that led to a violent attack on Congress. Congress was attacked while working to certify the 2020 presidential election, which formally recognized President Biden’s election victory.
A sitting Alaska legislator is a lifetime member of an extremist group that was the vanguard of a violent and anti-democratic assault on Congress. Eastman’s membership in Oath Keepers at the minimum warrants a robust legislative investigation. The legislature is obligated to investigate Eastman for allegedly violating the Alaska Constitution. Members of the public are accusing Eastman of belonging to a group that promoted and participated in a violent assault on Congress. Specifically, members of the public are accusing Eastman of violating the Alaska Constitution, Article 12, Section 4, “Disqualification for Disloyalty.” The section states, “No person who advocates, or who aids or belongs to any party or organization or association which advocates, the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States or of the State shall be qualified to hold any public office of trust or profit under this constitution.” These accusations should not be taken lightly.
Eastman has already admitted to belonging to Oath Keepers. There are also photos of Eastman at the capitol on January 6. His Oath Keepers membership is completely unacceptable and is a violation of the Alaska Constitution. The Alaska legislature failing to investigate Eastman’s membership in Oath Keepers is just as equally unacceptable. That being said, the Anchorage branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) demands that Eastman be expelled from the legislature for his membership in the extremist organization, Oath Keepers.
Chairman Bird’s defense of Eastman and Rittenhouse is equally troubling. To emphasis the point again, Chairman Bird is defending the use of political violence to silence political opposition. The rhetoric used in his article is unacceptable and incompatible with healthy political discourse. Every political group and party in Alaska should work to promote political dialogue that is peaceful and democratic. Chairman Bird needs to make a public apology for his defense of Eastman and Rittenhouse, and for his rhetoric.
PSL condemns Chairman Bird’s rhetoric. As Marxists, we believe that all political organizations have a responsibility to promote inclusiveness and democracy. However, PSL is obligated to respond and act when elected officials and other public figures use their platforms to promote political violence. As Marxists, we are intolerant of intolerance. In the future, we hope that Chairman Bird and the Alaska Independence Party can engage with the community in a more constructive manner that encourages all voices and people to participate in Alaska’s democracy.
As Alaskans we should not tolerate anti-democratic conduct from our representatives. We should hold our elected officials to the highest standards.