Revolution #471, December 26, 2016 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Please note: this page is intended for quick printing of the entire issue. Some of the links may not work when clicked, and some images may be missing. Please go to the article's permalink if you require working links and images.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/469/no-statement-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Updated January 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

Imam Aiyub Abdul-Baki, Justice Committee, Islamic Leadership Council of New York; Ashton Applewhite, writer and activist; Ed Asner, actor; Bill Ayers, activist educator; Dawoud Bey, artist; Paul Von Blum, African American Studies Center, UCLA*; Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ, anti-war activist; Herb Boyd, activist, author, journalist and teacher; Karen Brooks, People’s Music Long Hill Farm The Trouble Sisters; Charles Burnett, filmmaker; Isabel Cardenas, Salvadoran-American activist; Mary Celeste Kearney, Director, Gender Studies, University of Notre Dame*; Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., son of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., murdered by NYPD; Margaret Cho, comedian, actor; Kia Corthron, playwright; Chuck D, rapper, author; Joe Dante, filmmaker; Shannon Dawdy, MacArthur Fellow, Anthropologist; Carl Dix, Founding member, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA*; Tom F. Driver, Paul J. Tillich Professor of Theology and Culture Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary*; Brian Drolet, Executive Director, Deep Dish TV*; Alex Ebert, musician; Niles Eldredge, evolutionary biologist; Kurt Elling, musician; Eve Ensler, playwright; Chase Iron Eyes, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe*; Everett Iron Eyes, Sr., Water Administrator, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe*; Dorothy Fadiman, filmmaker; Joan Ferrante, Professor Emerita English, Columbia University*; Charles Gaines, visual artist; Merrill Garbus, Founding band member, tUnE-yArDs; Henry Giroux, McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest*; Pastor Gregg L. Greer, Freedom First International, SCLC*; David Gunn, Jr., son of slain abortion doctor, David Gunn, Sr.; David Harris, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute, Harvard University*; Lalah Hathaway, singer; Marc Lamont Hill, CNN commentator and professor, Morehouse College*; Bianca JaggerPhyllis Jackson, Associate Professor Art History, Pomona College*, Former Black Panther; Gregory “Joey” Johnson, defendant in U.S. Supreme Court flag burning case, Texas v. Johnson 1989, Revolution Club*; Erin Aubrey Kaplan, writer and journalist; Evelyn Fox Keller, Professor Emerita of History and Philosophy of Science, MIT*; Robin D.G. Kelley, Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA*; Wayne Kramer, musician; John Landis, filmmaker; Fran Luck, Executive Producer of Joy of Resistance Multicultural Feminist Radio, WBAI*; Peter McLaren, Professor Emeritus Education, UCLA*; Julie Mehretu, artist; Vic Mensa, rapper; Debra Messing, actor; jessica Care moore, poet; Thurston Moore, singer, songwriter, guitarist of Sonic Youth; PZ Myers, evolutionary developmental biologist; Rosie O’Donnell, comedian, actor; Arturo O’Farrill, composer and musician; Outernational, band; Amado Padilla, Professor,  Stanford Graduate School of Education*; Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Ph.D, Catholic Theological Union*; Eric Perl, Chair of Philosophy, Loyola Marymount*; Michelle Phillips, musician; Jean-Pierre Protzen, Professor Emeritus Architecture, UC Berkeley*; Don Rojas, Director of Communications of the Institute of the Black World; Milton Saier, PhD, Professor of Molecular Biology UCSD*; Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five; Dread Scott, visual artist; Michael Shannon, actor; Matthew Shipp, musician; Danny Simmons, visual artist; Ted Sirota, jazz musician; Judith Stacey, sociologist, New York University*; Bob Stein, Institute for the Future of the Book*; David Strathairn; Sunsara Taylor, writer, Revolution Newspaper*; Michelle Tea, poet and author; Alice Walker, author; Naomi Wallace, playwright; Judith Weiss, marine biologist, Rutgers University*; Cornel West, writer and professor; Saul Williams, poet and performer; Allen Wood, Professor Emeritus, Philosophy, Stanford*; Michael A. Wood, Jr.; Rev. Frank Wulf, United Methodist minister; Andy Zee, spokesperson, Revolution Books*; David Zeiger, filmmaker

*Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only

...and more than 6,000 others have signed the Call to Action below.

Add Your Name to the Call to Act HEREPrint the Call, and Spread it Everywhere.

***
In the Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America!

Donald Trump, the President-elect, is assembling a regime of grave danger. Millions of people in the U.S. and around the world are filled with deep anxiety, fear, and disgust. Our anguish is right and just.  Our anger must now become massive resistance – before Donald Trump is inaugurated and has the full reins of power in his hands.

Should we fail to rise with determination and daring in our millions now to stop this, the consequences for humanity will be disastrous.  We, the undersigned, know in the depths of our beings, the catastrophe that will befall the people of the world should the Trump/Pence regime assume full power.

We therefore CALL FOR A MONTH OF RESISTANCE beginning on December 19th, reaching a crescendo by the January 20th 2017 Inauguration.

Our resistance must spread rapidly to every sphere and every corner of the country. Because we refuse to accept a fascist America, millions must rise up in a resistance with a deep determination such that we create a political crisis that prevents the Trump/Pence fascist regime from consolidating its hold on the governance of society.

The Presidency of Donald Trump is illegitimate.

Donald Trump did not win the popular vote. Not even close, he lost by 2.5 million votes. He won the Electoral College – an institution set up in 1787 to protect slavery.  This legacy of the most brutal oppression of Black people has become the means that enabled the election of Trump and Pence.

More fundamentally, it is the fascist character of the Trump/Pence regime and what they are planning to do which renders it illegitimate and an immoral peril to the future of humanity and the earth itself.                  

Under the slogan “Make America Great Again,” Donald Trump has viciously attacked Mexicans and Muslims, threatening to register and deport millions, closing borders. He incites fear and hate of all who are “different” – nationalities, religions, or gender. He crudely demeans and degrades women, openly boasting about molesting them. He champions white supremacy and whips up a racist lynch-mob mentality. Trump has mocked the disabled. He is a bellicose militarist, who threatens to use nuclear weapons. He openly advocates war crimes — including torture. He vows to pack the Supreme Court with justices who will take away the right to abortion and gay rights. He denies science – calling climate change a hoax and will wreak devastation on the environment. He has attacked and threatened the press and stirred up his supporters to do the same. He has threatened to strip citizenship for constitutionally protected dissent. Trump has utter contempt for facts and the truth, and consistently lies to advance his agenda. As for the rule of law, Trump went so far as to openly threaten his opponent, Hillary Clinton, not only with jail, but even assassination. By any definition, Donald Trump is a fascist.  He has put together a regime that will carry out this  program, and worse.

This is fascism and it is a very serious thing. It has direction and momentum that must be stopped before it becomes too late.

Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive “traditional values.” Fascism feeds on and encourages the threat and use of violence to build a movement and come to power. Fascism, once in power, essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights. Fascism attacks, jails, even executes its opponents, and launches violent mob attacks on “minorities.” In Nazi Germany in the 1930s and ’40s, fascism did all these things. This is where this can go.  And yes, Hitler himself could “talk graciously” when he felt it would serve his interests and lull his opponents.

In the world today, shockwaves reverberate.  Over decades in the U.S. virulent movements of white supremacy and anti-immigrant hysteria have gained momentum. A narrow, intolerant, and political form of Christian fundamentalism has been brought into government and policy at all levels. The Trump/Pence cabinet and judiciary will coalesce all of this and worse at the highest level of power, with horrific consequences. No election, whether fair or fraudulent, should legitimize this. “Reaching across the aisle” only legitimizes that which is illegitimate.

If you work with fascists you normalize the road to horror. You cannot try to “wait things out.” Those who lived through Nazi Germany and sat on the sidelines, looking on as Hitler demonized, criminalized, and eventually rounded up one group after another, became shameful collaborators with monstrous crimes.  Don’t Conciliate...Don’t Accommodate...Don’t Collaborate!

The Trump Regime Must and Can Be Stopped Before It Starts!

This is not wishful thinking but could be made a reality if all who hate what is represented by this fascist regime translate our outrage into massive mobilization to create the political conditions which make this possible.  We are millions. Our only recourse now is to act together outside normal channels.  Every faction within the established power structure must be forced to respond to what we do – creating a situation where the Trump/Pence regime is prevented from ruling.

We call on each and every one who opposes what this regime stands for, and what it will do, to take part in and actively build, this resistance and refusal.  Organize.  Plan.  Act.

The Month of Resistance

Starting 12/19/16, it begins – the day the Electoral College meets to vote in each state: hold a press conference or a protest. Starting now, distribute this Call everywhere and on social media, host house meetings, fundraising events, concerts, and forums. Everywhere step up the resistance: walkouts from schools and work, protests against attacks and threats on Muslims, women, people of color, LGBT people – all linked to the objective of Stopping the Trump/Pence regime. The struggle must grow.

On MLK weekend, there needs to be massive demonstrations of many thousands in key cities, including Washington, DC, that grow to millions over the next week,  protests that don’t stop . . . where people refuse to leave and more and more people stand up with conviction and courage demanding:

NO! We Refuse To Accept a Fascist America!

refusefascism.org

#NoFascistUSA

@RefuseFascism

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/469/proposal-month-of-massive-resistance-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

December 2016

What Is the Plan to Stop Trump/Pence?
In the Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America!
A MONTH OF MASSIVE RESISTANCE TO STOP THIS FASCISM

The Basis, the Conception, and Strategic Approach

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/straight-talk-on-checks-and-balances-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Straight Talk on Checks and Balances

December 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There is no check or balance on the nuclear trigger

“Checks and balances” refers to the separation of powers—a system in which legislative, judiciary and executive powers are separated and balanced against each other. The concept was brought forward during the American revolution of 1776, one led by slave-owning planters and urban capitalists. Those who developed it—Madison, above all—saw it as a way to both prevent one faction (of the ruling classes) from becoming too dominant and, through the struggle that would ensue in such a framework, as a way to forge a “national will” to pursue the “national interests” (a will and view of interests, that is, of the two dominant classes in a nation which also contained masses of slaves, indigenous peoples, white artisans and workers, poor whites, etc—classes which were, in different ways, ruled over to pursue the interests of the various ruling class factions). (For more on this whole concept, how it originated and its class character—as well as its applicability to socialist society—see Bob Avakian’s seminal work, Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, especially “Bourgeois Political Philosophy, Its Limitations and Distortions,” “Bourgeois Democracy: A Reflection of Material Interests and Forces,” “The Notion of ‘Human Nature’—As a Reflection of Capitalist Society,” and “The Basic Nature, and the Constitution, of a Socialist State.”)

Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon

by Bob Avakian

Order the eBook.
$9.99 retail
Publisher: Insight Press

Read online:

Part 1: REVOLUTION AND THE STATE

Part 2: BUILDING THE MOVEMENT FOR REVOLUTION

Today some people say that the checks and balances of the U.S. Constitution will function as safeguards to prevent the Trump-Pence regime from violating basic democratic rights and the rule of law. Well, let’s look at this separation of powers.

To begin with, there is no separation of powers applied to nuclear weapons. While Congress is supposed to declare war, in actual fact Congress has not issued an actual declaration of war in many years, even though the U.S. has waged and right now is waging many wars; so, clearly, the executive power is essentially unchecked in matters of waging war. Even if Congress were to assert its power and vote to withhold funds from an active war (which is frankly inconceivable in today’s political climate, with the way in which a veritable bi-partisan cult of the military has been built up, and any talk of “not supporting the troops,” no matter what horrendous war crimes those troops are in the process of carrying out, is beyond the pale), the president can not only defy it, but in the case of nuclear weapons, the president has the sole discretion to launch such weapons and can do so either in times of war or peace should he or she deem the U.S. to be under threat. So on these most fundamental concerns—and anyone who is not concerned about Trump having this power after the past week is willfully closing their eyes—there is no check and balance.

What about the judiciary? Won’t the judiciary prevent Trump-Pence from violating people’s rights, from holding them incommunicado, or illegally surveilling them? First, let’s note that the Republican Congress actually violated the separation of powers last year, in refusing to consider Obama’s nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat. Moreover, they further violated these powers by refusing to consider an unprecedented number of Obama nominees to federal judgeships, to the extent that 30 percent of these judgeships remain open. Separation of powers was clearly violated here, but where was the “check” on them? Nowhere. Now Trump and Pence will fill the judiciary with judges who will make so much turkey hash out of much of what has up to now been regarded as inviolable rights.

Further, suppose a court did order Trump to cease and desist some egregious act? What army would the court call out should the Trump-Pence regime decide to defy the court? Exactly. Should someone in the army or bureaucracy refuse an order from Trump, Trump can fire them until he gets someone who WILL carry out that order. The fired person can file suit, but years will pass before such a suit gets heard and the damage will have long since been done; and again, that leaves out the “bottom line” question of who will enforce the court order.

In short, checks and balances rely on the executive’s recognition of those checks. Is there anything in the way that Trump campaigned or the ways in which he rather baldly usurped the powers of a sitting president in these past few weeks that would make anyone think that Trump would defer to a court order that he disagreed with? And which courts do you expect to do that? The ones that prevented Obama from carrying out the massive illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of U.S. citizens (and people all over the world) which he inherited from the Bush regime—and then strengthened and reinforced? Oh, right, there were no such courts. The ones that prevented Obama from carrying out the assassinations of uncharged U.S. citizens merely for being suspected of “terrorism” or—apparently in the case of Anwar Al-Awaki’s son, murdered at 16 years old two weeks after his father—for being relatives of such suspects? Right again—no such courts.

And then there’s Guantánamo. You remember Guantánamo, don’t you? The Cuban territory that the U.S. illegally holds, on which it detains and tortures people to whom it wishes to deny the right to a trial? The one that Obama promised to close, but didn’t; and which Trump now promises to expand?

“But what about the elections? If they do all these things, they have to face the voters in two years, and then we’ll see.” Yes, then we will—or may—see. After the Republican majorities have further changed the rules to weight things in their direction, outlawing increasing numbers of voters (especially Black and Latino voters) likely to oppose them or isolating them in a few districts... after they have further developed their doctrine of how to strip the powers of elected officials they don’t like as they are doing now, with impunity and outrageousness, to the elected Democratic governor in North Carolina... after there has been a whole atmosphere of intimidation and no doubt worse against Muslims, against immigrants (especially from non-European countries), so as to effectively bar them from even the most narrowly constrained and straitjacketed political activity and expression... after there have been blacklists and purges in academia and government... right.

To understand the roots and the dynamics of Trump's election, get into these two pieces by Bob Avakian:

The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer

The Fascists and the Destruction of the 'Weimar Republic'...And What Will Replace It

The election of Trump-Pence occurred at a time when the political system which has enabled the U.S. ruling class to contain even very sharp contradictions and still pursue its interests has broken down. Trump revealed this breakdown and exacerbated it; his claim in campaigning was that “Only I can fix it.” He said in campaigning that he would essentially make the other institutions of government obey his will—most infamously, when asked about generals who might refuse illegal orders that he threatened to give, but more generally as well. It would be wise to believe him; he is claiming a mandate (despite having lost by nearly three million votes) to radically reshape everything and there is nothing and nobody to stop him—other than masses of people, in their millions.

We’ll end with a quote from Bob Avakian, written nearly 20 years ago in reference to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, but—if anything—ringing out with more force today:

This whole politics can be opposed—very powerful opposition to it can be built—but it can only be done by refusing to be bound by the terms set by this system and the political framework within which all of its political representatives think and act. It can be done, not by trying to rely on Clinton and the Democrats, but by relying on and rallying the truly vast numbers of people who have a real interest in opposing this whole program—vast numbers of people among whom there is a stirring and a growing sense, if still largely undeveloped and untapped, that there is a need to stand up against and defeat this program.
(from “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer”)

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/reports-from-across-country-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

December 25 and 26:
No Nukes! No Trump! Holiday Vigils by People of Every Faith & Other People of Conscience  

Reports from Protests Across the Country

December 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

San Francisco Union Square: #NoChristmasAsUsual Protest

From a reader:

Thousands of people who gathered for the annual holiday festivities in San Francisco's Union Square December 25 were met with a #NoChristmasAsUsual protest to oppose Trump and his comments about expanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal and winning a nuclear arms race. A couple dozen protesters mobilized through Facebook and phone calls were joined by dozens more on the spot. They chanted "Donald Trump? Hell NO!" "Nuclear Arms Race? Hell NO!" "Deporting immigrants? Give him a chance? Hell NO!" "Fascism? Hell NO!" People held “NO” signs near the giant Xmas tree and huge menorah. There was a “countdown to a nuclear bombing” and die-ins. A jazz band playing Hanukkah songs for the official holiday celebrations gave shout outs to the protesters and broke into a spirited rendition of “The Harder They Come.” Hundreds of people took flyers for the New Year’s Eve protest. During the die-in people outlined the "bodies" in the ground with chalk. When city workers wielding mops came to wipe out the chalk outlines, others from the crowd immediately redecorated the ground with anti-Trump slogans. Many signed up with the Refuse Fascism initiative to STOP the illegitimate Trump-Pence regime from taking power and implementing their horrific agenda.

Die-in at Union Sq., San Francisco, December 25
Die-in at Union Sq., San Francisco, December 25. Photo: @RefuseFascism

 

Christmas Day Die-in at Trump Star on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles

From a reader:

The event was a “DIE IN” AT THE TRUMP STAR ON HOLLYWOOD BLVD. ON CHRISTMAS DAY! Thousands of people from all around the world go to movies and otherwise visit Hollywood Blvd. on this day, and this Christmas was no different. Hollywood Blvd. was packed... and “NO! In The Name Of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept A Fascist America! Trump-Pence Fascism MUST BE STOPPED Before It Starts” were the watchwords. During this week Donald Trump again escalated his nuclear threats—following up his genocidal tweet about expanding the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal with the following, “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” This is threatening mass murder on an industrial scale.

At the Hollywood Blvd. “Die In”—begun by a small handful of people setting out to lead millions into the streets in these next weeks—quite a commotion was caused. Hundreds grabbed up new posters and statements put out by RefuseFascism.org, posed with the posters at the Trump star and tweeted them out, and gave the finger to Trump by way of selfies. Whole families danced defiantly on his star, young people and older folks too.

There were many Latin American immigrants on the street. They quickly grabbed up posters, sharpening up the importance of reaching Latino immigrants in their millions in the days and weeks in front of us. A number of people voiced they’d hoped the Electoral College would not have elected Trump. Some said it if it’s not over, “it is very late in the game” (while we argued there is, in reality, a huge challenge and an actual basis to stop Trump-Pence). And others said they’d been looking for a vehicle and a plan to stop Trump. Some said, “We are not from here...”—hesitating for a moment and holding back from holding the posters—but then realized, through short discussion, that the future of the people on the planet is at stake, and Trump’s nuclear weapons plans underscore that.

Photographers from Agence France Presse and a news truck from Channel 11 Fox captured images. At 3 pm, a die-in was held, a serious punctuation point during the event. Handheld sirens wailed, confronting people with the grave danger Trump and fascist team, especially with their nuclear war threats, represent to the people of the world.

At the Trump star on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, December 25At the Trump star on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, December 25. Photo: Twitter/Nikolai Garcia

 

NYC, Dec. 26: “No Nukes, No Trump, No Fascist USA!”

From a reader:

Starting across from Trump Towers in Manhattan, a group of around 40 people, plus some passers-by joined in for part of the time, gathered to declare "No Nukes, No Trump, No Fascist USA." It was very spirited and defiant. People who have stepped forward to be a part of RefuseFascism at this week’s organizing meeting played a big role in it, including bringing lanterns (illuminated by cell phones). People from World Can't Wait, the Raging Grannies and other anti-war activists joined in. Carl Dix, an initiator of RefuseFascism, spoke. Rev. Doris Johnson (from the Faith Committee of RefuseFascism.org) spoke briefly. Then peopled marched to Columbus Circle—where the New Year's Eve action will begin at 8 p.m. (go here for New Year’s Eve plans).

The day before, on Christmas Day, the Revolution Club New York City organized a die-in at 3 p.m. at Union Square. It was small but drew a tremendous amount of sympathy and attention at Union Square and in the busy subway transit hub below.  

 

Chicago: Protest Brings the “NO!” Message to Thousands at Union Station

Photo: Special to revcom.us/Revolution

From readers:

The day after Christmas brings out crowds of visitors to downtown Chicago. Many come into Chicago through Union Station, which takes up a whole city block, with a cavernous great hall where people wait to board trains or meet incoming friends and family. Commuter trains from the suburbs and Amtrak trains from all over the country empty out in the tunnels underneath. More than a dozen protesters holding banners and “NO!” signs came out at noon, reaching out to the people coming in and out of Union Station and got out hundreds of copies of the Call. They also passing out an announcement of the New Year’s Eve protest and the protest at a Chicago fundraiser that Pence plans to speak at later this week. 

There were people of all ages and many races and nationalities coming and going. Some getting the Call took multiple copies to take to friends and organize others with. People going to other cities took flyers to get out where they were going. And some joined on the spot to help get out materials. Cab drivers, lining up around the block to pick people up from the station, were excited to get the Call, many taking multiple copies. One cabbie took a big stack of the Call to get to a place where cabbies hang out.

The protesters marched right into Union Station, down the marble staircase into the grand hall crowded with people. Over a loudspeaker which echoed against the marble, protesters read from the Call and the Message from the Faith Committee of RefuseFascism.org. They chanted “No Trump! No Nukes! Humanity Is Depending on Us!” Discussion and debate sprang up throughout the station. Someone said, “I am with you but that speaker is too loud.” To which another person replied, “No he’s not—what he is saying is very important and you should listen.”

The protesters marched again through the station and then stopped in the center of the hall. They described the horrors that nuclear war threatened by Trump would bring. Then they counted down and fell to the ground in a die-in, dramatizing the human cost. The protesters marched through the crowd back out of the station where they continued to reach out to the travelers.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/exchange-with-a-prisoner-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Exchange with a Prisoner:
Trump's Election—A Bitter Pill To Swallow...
How Do We Understand It and What Do Revolutionaries Do Now?

December 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund recently passed along two letters from a prisoner, one sent six days after the elections and the second a week after that. There are some important observations and points made in this comrade's letter, extremely important questions that he raises, a lot to unite with, and a lot to get into. What follows are the comrade's letter and an excerpt from the second letter, and a reply from the editors of revcom.us.

Reply

First, I want to note the difference that this comrade, and others like him, make to those who are “on the outside” fighting for revolution and a far better world. In spreading the word of revolution behind the prison walls, in writing your thoughts to those of us beyond those walls, and in particular sharing your questions and contributions with the voice of the Party, the comrade fills a great social need, in the most difficult of circumstances.

The comrade makes the point in his first letter that while the elections themselves were a “farce,” “there is something particular about the candidate [Trump] that really does rock me back on my heels.... [Y]ou would have to go back to the 60s & 70s & prior to get a candidate or movement who was built on so much overt hatred.” He writes about seeing this manifested inside the prisons every day—presumably from both the guards, whose racist brutality has been well documented, and some of the white prisoners themselves. He points to the fact that someone who gave expression to some of the vilest forms of that has now won—and what it says that so many white people (a majority of those who voted) “refused to reject even the most overt & vile forms of hatred. And even more so rallied around that movement.”

The comrade says: “It’s actually hard to write you guys. So much to say. So much anger, so much love. So many obstacles. It is quite overwhelming.”

Let’s just say straight up, you are far from alone in feeling that. As we said in our statement on November 9, “[t]he fact that Trump won as many votes as he did must be understood. The fact that he got more than even 10 percent of the vote is disgraceful and reveals some very ugly things about America. So why did this happen? The world today is turbulent, full of changes. Those who supported Trump’s fascist program were overwhelmingly sections of white people, especially but not only white men, who yearn for the days of open white supremacy and American global domination, and the blatant subjugation of women. A significant minority of white people did oppose him, but we have to confront how deep the racism, the national chauvinism, and the hatred of women is woven into this society... and not give in to this, but vigorously challenge and fiercely oppose it.

“But even more than this, Trump was backed by powerful forces in this society. Beyond those who directly supported him, the media, the Democratic Party, and others treated him as a legitimate candidate, refused to call him out as the fascist he is, and now call on everyone to accept his ascension to power. All the major powerful forces in this society bear the responsibility—it is they who have, over decades, either built up this fascist force or have ‘enabled’ it.”

The whole electoral process—what was, and especially what was not, criticized about Trump (note how no major Democratic Party figure attacked Trump for his demand that the Central Park 5 be put back in prison, despite their having been exonerated!) and how this was criticized—served to set this situation up.

Yet it is still a bitter pill to swallow—that this shameless racist was put into power and that at least millions of those who voted for him were acting on the rock-hard racist beliefs and millions more at most shrugged and pulled the lever anyway. The comrade wrote again a week later expressing that... “wow, it’s hard to digest & accept exactly what is the fabric of America.”

True. But the questions confronting us now are how we understand that and what we do about it.

First, there were millions, including many millions of whites, who voted against Trump. More important, there is the fact that, as the “mission and plan” for the month of resistance to STOP this fascism put it, “among huge numbers of people there is a deep anxiety, alienation, disgust, and anger in relation to the recent presidential election and its outcome.” “Unprecedented,” it goes on to say. And they have continued to feel this, despite the efforts of Obama and others to reassure them, to get them to “move on.” So again, and to speak directly to the comrade writing this heartfelt letter, you are NOT alone in your acute disgust with what this revealed about the depth of American racism, chauvinism, and all-round bigotry and backwardness, and how many millions that has conditioned and corrupted—there are millions and millions who feel that. And among them are millions of white people. But again, the challenge before us is this: OK, the boil has burst; now what do we do about the pus that is pouring out all over the place? How do we mobilize the millions who are in fact revulsed by that into a force powerful enough to defeat it?

Those feelings of deep anxiety, alienation, disgust, and anger among tens of millions must now be mobilized, in a very short space of time, to create a political crisis in this country of a magnitude not seen in generations. If we should fail, the consequences will be very bad—it will strike a severe blow in many dimensions to the ability of the masses to even conceive of, let alone organize for and wage, any larger struggle... to act on or fight for any better, and even potentially, revolutionary aspiration. In other words, the problem here is both what this election reveals about the mentality of far too many people in this country but even more so what the coming to power of Trump will mean in terms of the actual leap in attacks on masses here and around the world and the active setting back of any struggle for any larger goal or aspiration.

Comrade, in taking up this battle right now, revolutionaries must reach out to many, many different people who do NOT share our views on the source of the problem—capitalism-imperialism—and the fundamental solution to it—revolution. We are making those views clear and we are bringing them to bear, but we are focusing on the objective we now face: preventing the Trump-Pence regime from coming to power and imposing a fascist USA. We are not watering down what Trump-Pence represents, or talking about “understanding the [so-called] valid concerns of the Trump voters”—the only way for this movement to succeed is to make clear and take on, and win tens of millions to take on, the FASCIST character of the Trump regime and all that means: in terms of genocidal racism, in terms of severe repression against all “minorities,” in terms of a violent reinforcement of the patriarchy, and, yes, in terms of a heightened likelihood of war, including nuclear war... not to mention the insane and breakneck accelerated destruction of the environment.

Through the course of this, if and as this movement gains ground, and if we are to win, we are going to have to set many of them in motion to sharply confronting and breaking with the racism you call out, changing their actions and their views, and, yes, through all this, their gut feelings. To a certain extent, as this movement takes on increasing conviction and momentum and clearly focuses itself on the fascist character of this regime, that will be part of what will happen (there was a glimpse of this when the Revolution Club and others went right in the face of the fascist mobs in the Mt. Greenwood section of Chicago). We’ve seen that before. And others will dig in with their racism and fight for it. We’ve seen that before, too.

When something different had the initiative and was setting the terms in the 1960s—and I’m talking about the radical movements of the 1960s and the Black Panther Party as the most advanced expression within that—then all kinds of people began seeing and acting in different ways, began changing the world and changing themselves, long before anything like a majority was won to that. A whole generation of white youth broke with America and everything it represented and fought, sometimes with real sacrifice, AGAINST America. Not least of those was our Chairman, Bob Avakian, in a process outlined in his memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond. And he’s never stopped fighting—a fact for which the both of us, I know, are quite thankful!

Yes, the backward die-hards will be out there, and this new movement will have to stand up to and oppose them. There’s no alternative, other than capitulating to it, and that nobody should do. Some of them we’ll win over or at least neutralize, and some of them we won’t. This movement won’t have to win every last person or even have to win the majority of white people to actively support this; but we do need to win enough people of ALL nationalities to really throw in on this (tens of millions, including the vast numbers of whites who do oppose him and some of the ones who should have but didn’t), and enough people to either passively support this or who at least feel like they don’t want to go against it—to create the overall situation called for in the mission and plan:

“Imagine if people, in the tens of millions, filled the streets, powerfully declaring that this regime is illegitimate and demanding that it not be allowed to rule! The whole political landscape would be dramatically transformed, every faction within the established power structure would be forced to respond—and all this could well lead to a situation in which this fascist regime is actually prevented from ruling. This is not some idle dream but something which could be made a reality if all who hate what is represented by this fascist regime translate their outrage into firm determination and massive mobilization to create the conditions which make this possible.

Should this initiative succeed in that, then the question of what is to replace the Trump-Pence clique will come to the fore; and different forces will struggle things out from there. We for our part will strive to represent the interests of “the seven billion” and the emancipation of ALL humanity at that point, as we are striving to do now in undertaking, with others, this bold initiative. Exactly what that will mean can’t be predicted from here, other than to say that we will be “searching out the key concentrations of social contradictions and the methods and forms which can strengthen the political consciousness of the masses, as well as their fighting capacity and organization in carrying out political resistance against the crimes of this system; which can increasingly bring the necessity, and the possibility, of a radically different world to life for growing numbers of people; and which can strengthen the understanding and determination of the advanced, revolutionary-minded masses in particular to take up our strategic objectives not merely as far-off and essentially abstract goals (or ideals) but as things to be actively striven for and built towards....” (from BAsics 3:30)

Let’s be clear: Whatever repolarization we’re able to effect in the course of this next month won’t last forever, and it won’t be sufficient for the total transformation we need. Out of that 1960s re-polarization we referred to earlier, some, like BA, stayed with it and took it further; others did not and were pulled back down by the gravity of the system that, after all, stayed in place. This leads to a larger point: without a deep-going transformation of the economic base, the political structure and the dominant ideas of society, as envisioned in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America... and without a revolution to make that Constitution the “law of the land”... the virulent racism so deeply baked into the foundation of capitalist-imperialist USA will never go away, and will continually reassert itself in different and ugly forms. With that Constitution, and the new state power it outlines, the process of uprooting this poisonous tree can begin in earnest, one that will last for generations but in which extremely radical transformations in how people live, think and feel can be made almost overnight.

Bob Avakian said it in BAsics, and it remains at the core of what we’re about:

There will never be a revolutionary movement in this country that doesn’t fully unleash and give expression to the sometimes openly expressed, sometimes expressed in partial ways, sometimes expressed in wrong ways, but deeply, deeply felt desire to be rid of these long centuries of oppression [of Black people]. There’s never gonna be a revolution in this country, and there never should be, that doesn’t make that one key foundation of what it’s all about. (BAsics 3:19)

With that, comrade, we ask you—and we ask all who get this paper inside those walls—to do everything you can to continue to influence the course of events to a world without the madness you so righteously decry and condemn in these letters—and a world in which the love you speak so movingly of can actually flourish. Anything that can be done on your parts to amplify the struggle not only for revolution but—right now—the urgent objective to prevent this fascist regime from taking power and consolidating itself—would be extremely important.

With revolutionary love and hopes for the new year,

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/465/other-voices-on-trump-resistance-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Voices of Conscience and Resistance in the Time of Trump/Pence

Updated March 23, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editor's note: Important voices are calling out the ominous implications of a Trump presidency from a range of viewpoints. And challenging people to confront what that means, and to resist.

Voices of Conscience posted on this page
(click to read or watch):

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (Americanah) in The New Yorker, December 2, 2016

"Now is not the time to tiptoe around historical references. Recalling Nazism is not extreme; it is the astute response of those who know that history gives both context and warning."

Statement from Faculty at the University of Southern California, published in the Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2017

We are USC Faculty.

We are scientists, artists, and thinkers from over 115 countries, working together every day, side by side, to understand the world around us and to share what we’ve learned with future generations.

We proudly affirm the core mission of the university as a place for the generation of knowledge, the preservation of scholarship, and informed discussion and debate, all of which are vital to a healthy democracy.

We will vigorously defend our core values of academic freedom, high standards of evidence, free inquiry, openness, and inclusion against policies and actions driven by fear, bigotry, and propaganda.

We are committed to:

— protecting the human rights of our students, our fellow faculty, staff, and all members of the USC community, irrespective of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, nationality, or citizenship status.

— supporting and encouraging all university efforts to provide critical resources for staff, students and faculty who are most vulnerable and at greatest risk.

— supporting faculty, students, and staff who engage in civil disobedience and protest if members of the academic community are harmed or deported due to targeted state actions.

We will Fight On!

Shaun King: “No President who ever owned human beings should be honored”

In his article "No President who ever owned human beings should be honored" on March 15, Shaun King wrote in the New York Daily News that Adolf Hitler "is a monster who should never be honored," and continued:

Just as this is true for Hitler, it is true for any American President who ever owned human beings and forced them into a life of slavery. The Holocaust and slavery are each an unjust disgrace.

King details the monstrous horrors of slavery and then calls out Trump:

Today, Donald Trump is going out of his way to honor President Andrew Jackson. He should never be honored. Over his lifetime his family owned at least 300 human beings. This is terrible and no contribution he made in his life will ever outweigh this fact. To this very day, Andrew Jackson's own estate openly admits that the key source of his wealth came from owning human beings and forcing them to work on his plantation. At the time Jackson died, he owned about 150 people. He was a full-fledged unrepentant bigot. The enslaved Africans on his plantation were often whipped and beaten. If they escaped, fugitive squads searched for them and returned them back to the plantation. One advertisement put out by Jackson for a runaway slave offered $10 for every 100 lashes given to the slave who was caught. Is that not sick to you?

This makes Andrew Jackson a monster. Nothing he did as President of the United States is good enough to look past this.

The same holds true for every single American President who owned human beings.

Read the whole article here

Michael Bennett, NFL football player, supports the women's strike on International Women's Day

Michael Bennett, who plays for the Seattle Seahawks, who participated in the pro football players’ national anthem protest, and who refused to be a shill for Israel against the Palestinian people (see “Pro Football Player Michael Bennett Refuses to Be a Shill for IsraelRevolution, February 14, 2017, revcom.us), had his statement in support of the women’s strike on International Women’s Day read by Dave Zirin on his podcast.

Here are some excerpts from Bennett’s statement:

“As a Black man in America sometimes I get overwhelmed and discouraged by what I see, from the police killings of unarmed Black men to the unequal educational system to mass incarceration, but when I look into my daughter’s eyes, I see the courage of Harriet Tubman, the patience of Rosa Parks, the soul of Ida B. Wells, the passion of Fanny Lou Hamer, and the heart of Angela Davis.  I see the future.  I see hope.  And, I’m inspired because it will be women who lead the future.  So, I’m writing this to express my unconditional solidarity for the women’s strike on International Women’s Day, March 8th.”

“It’s about the women across the Earth who are suffering.  Women not so worried about the glass ceiling because they are trying to survive a collapsing floor.  It’s about women of color across the Earth who live on less than one dollar a day.  It’s about all women who are subject to sexual assault and violence.

“I stand with the women’s strike because I agree with their unity statement that reads that this day is ‘organized by and for women who have been marginalized and silenced by decades of neoliberalism directed towards working women, women of color, Native women, disabled women, immigrant women, Muslim women, and lesbian women.’”

“I encourage my fellow football players to take off their helmets and stand with these brave women across the world.”

“We need change, and to quote Frederick Douglass, ‘Without struggle, there is no progress.’”

(The statement is 35 minutes into the podcast at https://www.thenation.com/article/the-edge-of-sports-podcast-the-enduring-legacy-of-hoop-dreams/)

Former ABC News Reporters, Executives, Producers Urge Strong Stand Against Trump

As of March 1, more than 230 former ABC News correspondents, executives and producers have signed a letter urging the network’s top executive to take a firm stand against any Trump administration effort to curtail press access. The letter was written after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a briefing on February 24 and, in an unprecedented move, excluded several news organizations that have done stories Trump didn’t like.

The letter called the February 24 incident “an alarming new development enacted by an administration that has declared war on respected news outlets” and asked James Goldston, president of ABC News, to “take a public stand” and “Refuse to take part in any future White House briefings based on an invitation list of who’s in/who’s out.” The letter noted that there has been strong public protest by Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times, and statements by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg that they would not participate in future briefing where reporters are barred.

Signees include former White House correspondent Sam Donaldson; former ABC reporters Ken Kashiwahara, Jeanne Meserve and Lynn Sherr; four former executives and four former executive producers of “World News Tonight” and top leaders at “Nightline,” “20/20″ and “Good Morning America.” Kayce Freed Jennings, the widow of the late anchor Peter Jennings, was also one of the signers.

ABC News is one of the media organizations Trump has labeled as the “enemy of the American people” and “fake news.” ABC was allowed into the Spicer briefing, while CNN, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Politico and BuzzFeed were denied access. Reporters from other organizations, including the Associated Press, USA Today and Time magazine, refused to attend the briefing in protest.

Tim Rogers at Fusion: Calling Trump "Presidential" Is the First Step to Normalizing Fascism

Tim Rogers is senior editor for Latin America at the cable and satellite TV channel Fusion. After Trump’s February 28 speech to Congress, Rogers wrote a piece titled “Calling Trump’s speech ‘presidential’ is the first step to normalizing fascism” (March 1, 2017) noting that “talking heads were quick to applaud Trump for acting ‘presidential.’” Rogers goes on to say:

But Trump’s speech to Congress was only presidential by fascist standards. What Trump laid out, in the methodical words penned by an ideologue behind the throne, was a frightening vision of a country under siege by foreign hordes that are trying to establish a “beachhead of terrorism” to convert the United States into a “sanctuary for extremists.”

Trump depicted a dark world in which the U.S. is fighting “a network of lawless savages” that it must “extinguish ...from our planet.”

Trump was talking about ISIS in that instance, but his fear-mongering over foreigners wasn’t limited to Islamic State fighters any more than the travel ban was limited to Muslims from seven countries. The narrative of barbarians at the gate was woven throughout Trump’s speech, which seemed to build on George W. Bush’s worldview of “You’re either with us, or against us.” But Trump’s view is even racist and alienating by W’s standards.

From his call to build a border wall as “a very effective weapon against drugs and crime,” to reiterating his appallingly cynical pledge to create a new Homeland Security Office to “serve American victims” of crimes committed by immigrants, Trump’s whole speech was to lay out a dichotomy of us versus them, or “America first” in Trumpspeak. ...

When the speech was over, Trump lackeys congratulated themselves on a “home run”—actually, make that a “grand slam.”

But even normally critical pundits said they thought Trump looked “presidential.”

That’s dangerous thinking. Calling Trump’s fear-mongering “presidential” is a first step to normalizing fascism. It’s granting acceptance to the dangerous fascists skulking behind the golden curtains of the Oval Office.

Anderson Cooper 360° ✔ @AC360: Van Jones: Trump “became President of the United States” when he honored the widow of the Navy SEAL killed in Yemen. ...

In an America where Trump’s speech can be called “presidential,” it’ll be a slippery slope to despotism.

Read Tim Roger’s article in its entirety here.

"I am vowing, here and now, not to show papers in this situation"

American citizens had their introduction to the Trump-era immigration machine Wednesday...” So begins “Papers, Please,” an article that appeared in The Atlantic online on February 27, about the February 22 domestic flight from SFO to JFK airport where every passenger was told by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to show their ID before they could get off the plane. The agents claimed they were looking for a passenger who was undocumented and had a criminal record; it turned out that the person they sought was not on the plane.

In the article, written by Garrett Epps, legal scholar, novelist, and contributing editor to The Atlantic, he examines all possible legal authorities and concludes that there is no justification in U.S. law for what was done to the passengers on that plane. And then Epps, demonstrating the courage of his convictions, writes:

I am vowing, here and now, not to show papers in this situation. I know that it will take gumption to follow through if the situation arises. What will be the reaction of ordinary travelers, some with outstanding warrants or other legal worries? Should we expect heroism of people who just want to get off an airplane?

Read more

"I wasn't pulled out because I'm some kind of revolutionary activist, but my God, I am now." Mem Fox's Terrifying Detention at the Los Angeles Airport

Mem Fox, an award winning author from Australia, was pulled off an airplane when she arrived at Los Angeles International Airport and held in detention for almost two hours and interrogated for 15 minutes.  In an op-ed article in The Guardian, she tells of her terrifying, belligerent, and violent experience.

She describes the room “like a waiting room in a hospital but a bit more grim than that.... There was no water, no toilet... Everything was yelled...” She said that she “heard things happening in that room happening to other people that made me ashamed to be human.”

She describes an elderly Iranian woman in a wheelchair where they were yelling at her at the top of their voices—“Arabic? Arabic?”  They screamed at her “ARABIC?”  She told them “Farsi.”  A woman from Taiwan was being yelled at about how she made her money: Does it grow on trees? Does it fall from the sky?”  Mem said, “...the agony I was surrounded by in that room was like a razor blade across my heart.”

When she was called to be interviewed, she was degraded, and called it “monstrous.”  She told them that she writes books about exclusivity.  She had one of her books in her bag and said, “I am all about inclusivity, humanity and the oneness of the humans of the world; it’s the theme of my life.”  He yelled at her, “I can read!”  She was standing the whole time and said, “The belligerence and violence of it was really terrifying. I had to hold the heel of my right hand to my heart to stop it beating so hard.”

Read more

Interview with Claudia Koonz, Historian and Author of The Nazi Conscience

Claudia Koonz is a historian of Nazi Germany and the author of Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics, The Nazi Conscience, and other works. She was interviewed on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica Radio on February 10. This is a transcript of the interview, slightly edited for length and clarity.

Michael Slate: In broad strokes, let’s talk about how fascism developed in Germany.

Claudia Koonz: OK. First of all, let’s remember that nobody ever heard of Hitler until the early 1930s. He was unemployed. The only steady job he ever had in his life was when he fought in World War I for four years. He was quite brave.

This was a splinter party. As late as 1928, ten years after the defeat in World War I, the Nazis got 2.6% of the vote. 1930, they got 18% of the vote. 1932 they were up to the high point ever, 37.4% of the vote. So, the Nazis were never voted into power. Hitler was appointed into power.

So the question is, how did this disreputable, fringe party of loudmouth, brawling Stormtroopers get from a tiny splinter party to the center in 1932, which put Hitler in position to get appointed as chancellor?

Read the whole interview

John Legend: "Are we going to just accept inhumanity, or are we going to resist?"

The singer John Legend has won ten Grammy Awards, one Golden Globe Award, and one Academy Award. He will be playing Frederick Douglass in the second season of the WGN series Underground. In a recent interview in the New York Times Magazine he was asked, “Has there been a piece of art that has affected you politically?” He replied:

Books have certainly affected me. In college, I took a class that centered on a book called “Obedience to Authority,” which was trying to explain why an ordinary German would be a worker at a concentration camp, or why anyone would be part of a system that is so evil and corrosive, and how they deal with authority and whatever cognitive dissonance they need to have to do something so inhumane. Then we read some James Joyce and Virginia Woolf; all those books in that class opened my eyes to the way human beings deal with authority and deal with how we become inhumane. I took those classes 20 years ago, but I’ve been thinking about that a lot when I think about how we’re reacting to Donald Trump right now.

The interviewer then asked, “How are you applying that thought process to contemporary times?” Legend said:

Yeah, are we just going to go about our lives and try to be normal? I’ve seen a tweet going around about how a lot of people say that they would have been part of the civil rights movement, so this is basically that chance, this moment of truth for our society. Are we going to just accept inhumanity, or are we going to resist?

Read the New York Times Magazine interview with John Legend here.

Ann Frank Center for Mutual Respect Condemns Trump’s So-Called “Condemnation” of Anti-Semitic Attacks

On February 21, Donald Trump issued a statement supposedly condemning anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish institutions. At his February 16 press conference, Trump had insulted and bullied a correspondent from an Orthodox Jewish news agency who asked if Trump could condemn the wave of threats against Jewish institutions. Trump cut him off, yelled “quiet!” and “sit down” and ranted that this was “a very insulting question.” Trump then declared himself “the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life” while refusing the reporter’s request to condemn attacks on Jewish institutions. Days after this, on February 20, Jewish community centers in ten states were targeted with bomb threats and forced to evacuate.  There were also 170 graves at an historic Jewish cemetery in Missouri desecrated in the last few days.

Immediately after Trump’s February 21st statement, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect posted a response on Facebook. The Center takes inspiration from Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager hunted down and killed by the Nazis. Her Diary is a famous chronicle of hiding out from the Nazis.  The center “calls out prejudice, counters discrimination and advocates for the kinder and fairer world of which Anne Frank dreamed.”

The statement said in part:

The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration. The White House repeatedly refused to mention Jews in its Holocaust remembrance, and had the audacity to take offense when the world pointed out the ramifications of Holocaust denial. And it was only yesterday, President’s Day, that Jewish Community Centers across the nation received bomb threats, and the President said absolutely nothing.

Berkeley Law School Faculty and Staff: #NoBanNoWall

Members of Berkeley Law (University of California, Berkeley School of Law) are taking a public stand against Trump’s executive orders intensifying repression against immigrants and on the U.S.-Mexico border through a #NoBanNoWall photo project. Close-up photos of faculty and staff members show them with handwritten or printed signs.

Their statement reads:

President Trump’s immigration executive orders, enforcement actions, and xenophobic threats directly impact members of our law school community.

They undermine the public mission of our university to ensure access to the talented pool of students and researchers that reflects the diversity in the State of California and the world.

They attack the ability of the university to fulfill its unique role as a site for the generation of knowledge and the free exchange of ideas among students, faculty, and staff of all nationalities, backgrounds, and creeds.

They threaten our values of diversity and inclusion, which ensure a vibrant democracy.

We oppose the executive orders and President Trump’s attacks on certain communities.

We are committed to maintaining the law school as a just and inclusive community.

Poster of Berkeley Law Faculty & Staff: NoBanNoWall
Click to enlarge

The PDF of the poster is available here.

"Hands Off Our Revolution"—More than 200 Artists Around the World Say "We will not go quietly"

When you go to the website, Hands Off Our Revolution, the first thing you see is the flashing words: HANDS OFF OUR BORDERS... WATER... AIR... LAND... CITIES... HOMES... PLANET... BODIES... HEALTH... JUSTICE... FRIENDS... FAMILIES... LOVES.... LIVES...

More than 200 artists, writers, photographers, musicians and curators from around the world—including well-known figures such as Anish Kapoor, Steve McQueen, Laurie Anderson, Ed Ruscha, Matthew Barney, Rosalind Krauss, Maya Lin, Hank Willis Thomas, Catherine Opie, Yinka Shonibare, David Byrne, and Michael Stipe—have joined this spirit of resistance, signing the following Mission Statement:

We are a global coalition affirming the radical nature of art. We believe that art can help counter the rising rhetoric of right-wing populism, fascism and the increasingly stark expressions of xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia and unapologetic intolerance.

We know that freedom is never granted—it is won. Justice is never given—it is exacted. Both must be fought for and protected, yet their promise has seldom been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp, as at this moment.

As artists, it is our job and our duty to reimagine and reinvent social relations threatened by right-wing populist rule. It is our responsibility to stand together in solidarity. We will not go quietly. It is our role and our opportunity, using our own particular forms, private and public spaces, to engage people in thinking together and debating ideas, with clarity, openness and resilience.

The website also announces a project to do a “series of contemporary art exhibitions and actions that confront, head on, the rise of right-wing populism in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere... to help envision and shape the world in which we want to live.”

The Mission Statement in 10 different languages and the full description of the project are online at handsoffourrevolution.com.

"I want to be a voice for the voiceless": Pro Football Player Michael Bennett Refuses to Be a Shill for Israel

Bennett, who plays in the NFL (National Football League) for the Seattle Seahawks, announced he will not be joining an NFL delegation to Israel.

Bennett has been involved in the struggle by professional athletes to protest police brutality. He took up the protest in the NFL started by San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem. Bennett called for white athletes to take a stand against police murders, saying “You need a white guy to join the fight. The white guy is super important to the fight. For people to really see social injustices, there must be someone from the other side of the race who recognizes the problem, because a lot of times if just one race says there’s a problem, nobody is realistic about it.” Bennett has also posted photos and quotes from Black Panther leader Fred Hampton on his Instagram page.

Bennett had originally planned to be on the delegation because he wanted to have interaction with both Palestinian and Israeli people. But he learned from an article in the Times of Israel that the trip would isolate him from the Palestinian people and turn him into a “goodwill ambassador.” Then he read an open letter in The Nation magazine, signed by John Carlos, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Alice Walker, and others calling on the athletes to ”reconsider taking this trip to ensure you are standing on the right side of history.”

Bennett then wrote an open letter that he posted on Instagram and Twitter.

Read more

Meryl Streep on standing up against "armies of brownshirts and bots": "You have to! You don't have an option"

Actor Meryl Streep received the National Ally for Equality Award at a fundraising gala held by the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ civil rights organization, on Saturday night, February 11. In her acceptance speech, Streep said:

[F]undamentalists, of every stripe everywhere, are exercised and fuming. We should not be surprised that these profound changes come at a steeper cost than we originally thought. We should not be surprised that not everyone is totally down with it.

If we live through this precarious moment, if his catastrophic instinct to retaliate doesn’t lead us to nuclear winter, we will have much to thank this president for. He will have woken us up to how fragile freedom is....

I am the most overrated, overdecorated and, currently, over-berated actress, who likes football, of my generation. But that is why you invited me here! Right?

The weight of all these honors is part of what brings me to this podium. It compels me, against every one of my natural instincts (which is to stay home), it compels me to stand up in front of people and say words that haven’t been written for me, but that come from my life and my conviction and that I have to stand by....

It’s terrifying to put the target on your forehead. ... And it sets you up for all sorts of attacks and armies of brownshirts and bots and worse, and the only way you can do it is if you feel you have to. You have to. You don't have an option, but you have to stand up and speak up and act up.

Hear Meryl Streep’s whole speech here.

 

A Tribe Called Quest at Grammys: "Resist, Resist, Resist"

The Grammy Awards on Sunday night, February 12, closed with an electrifying set by the legendary hip-hop crew A Tribe Called Quest joined by Busta Rhymes, Anderson .Paak, and Consequence. At mid-point in the Tribe’s medley of several songs, Busta Rhymes came—on and focused right on the outrages being carried out by Trump and his regime: “I’m not feeling the political climate right now. I just want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States. I want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban. When we come together—we the people, we the people, people!” As he said those words, Tribe member Q-Tip, along with a woman wearing a hijab and others, bust through a wall on the stage.

Q-Tip then launched into the Tribe song “We the People.” And as he went into the hook, which sarcastically hits at those who spew hate and intolerance—“All you Black folks you must go/All you Mexicans you must go/And all you poor folks, you must go/Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways/So all you bad folks, you must go”—a diverse grouping of people of different nationalities, genders, and style of clothing walked up on to the stage. The performers all lined up at one point with fists in the air, and protest signs reading “No Wall No Ban” and photos of different faces were projected in the background.

The powerful performance, inspiring performance closed with the chants from the stage: “Resist! Resist! Resist!”

"The Rock," Misty Copeland, Steph Curry Hit Under Armour for Calling Trump an "Asset"

On Tuesday, February 7, on CNBC’s Halftime Report, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank called Trump “a real asset for the country” and lauded his plans to “make bold decisions and be really decisive.” The next day, ballerina Misty Copeland, actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and NBA star Steph Curry, who all have endorsement deals with the athletic clothing company, spoke out against Plank.

Copeland wrote in an Instagram post, “I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank’s recent comments in support of Trump.” In a Facebook post, Johnson said Plank’s comments were “neither my words, nor my beliefs” and said that he would ultimately “stand with this diverse team, the American and global workers, who are the beating heart and soul of Under Armour.” Curry told the San Jose Mercury News that he agreed with Plank’s comment on Trump... “if you remove the ‘et’” from the word “asset.” When asked if he would abandon Under Armour, Curry said that if “the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am.” Curry went on to say, “So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up. If something is not in line with what I’m about, then, yeah, I definitely need to take a stance in that respect.”

George Prochnik on Stefan Zweig, Trump, and "When It's Too Late to Stop Fascism"

George Prochnik wrote the book The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World (2015). Zweig was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist, and biographer who at the height of his literary career in the 1920s and ’30s, was one of the world’s most popular writers and most widely translated living author. Zweig was a Jewish intellectual and his books were burned in Berlin in 1933. Like millions of others, with the rise of Hitler, he was driven into exile. Zweig went to London, New York, and then to Brazil where he committed suicide in 1942. Prochnik wrote a piece in the February 6 issue of The New Yorker, “When It’s Too Late To Stop Fascism, According to Stefan Zweig.” Prochnik says when Zweig sat down to write his biography, “He was determined to trace how the Nazis’ reign of terror had become possible, and how he and so many others had been blind to its beginnings.” Zweig wrote: “the big democratic newspapers, instead of warning their readers, reassured them day by day, that the [fascist] movement ... would inevitably collapse in no time” and that Hitler had “elevated lying to a matter of course.”

Prochnik writes:

Reading in Zweig’s memoir how, during the years of Hitler’s rise to power, many well-meaning people “could not or did not wish to perceive that a new technique of conscious cynical amorality was at work,” it’s difficult not to think of our own present predicament. Last week, as Trump signed a drastic immigration ban that led to an outcry across the country and the world, then sought to mitigate those protests by small palliative measures and denials, I thought of one other crucial technique that Zweig identified in Hitler and his ministers: they introduced their most extreme measures gradually—strategically—in order to gauge how each new outrage was received. “Only a single pill at a time and then a moment of waiting to observe the effect of its strength, to see whether the world conscience would still digest the dose,” Zweig wrote. “The doses became progressively stronger until all Europe finally perished from them.”...

In Zweig’s view, the final toxin needed to precipitate German catastrophe came in February of 1933, with the burning of the national parliament building in Berlin—an arson attack Hitler blamed on the communists but which some historians still believe was carried out by the Nazis themselves. “At one blow all of justice in Germany was smashed,” Zweig recalled. The destruction of a symbolic edifice—a blaze that caused no loss of life—became the pretext for the government to begin terrorizing its own civilian population. That fateful conflagration took place less than 30 days after Hitler became chancellor. The excruciating power of Zweig’s memoir lies in the pain of looking back and seeing that there was a small window in which it was possible to act, and then discovering how suddenly and irrevocably that window can be slammed shut.

To read the whole article, go here.

Wagner College (Staten Island, NYC) Profs Denounce Trump Executive Orders

In a February 8 paid ad in the Staten Island Advance newspaper, 33 professors at Wagner College, a liberal arts college in New York City, denounced Trump’s executive orders and other actions. The statement is in the form of an open letter to Representative Dan Donovan, a Republican congressman from a district on Staten Island, who supported Trump’s executive order banning refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries saying it was “in America’s best interest.” The Wagner professors’ statement said they “first and foremost” condemn that ban, saying that “this order creates religious discrimination and does so intentionally.”

The professors also condemned Trump’s removal of any mention of climate change and LGBTQ rights from the White House website, Trump’s attacks on the press and fact-based journalism, and his continued profit-making from his global holdings. They ended their statement with: “We believe the above actions, among others, taken by the Trump Administration are a threat to our democracy, our economy, our American values, our international alliances, and the ideals of citizenship and respect for knowledge and diversity that we strive to foster in our students.”

Read the statement and list of signatories (PDF) here.

Two NBA Coaches Take On Trump this Week
Popovich and Kerr Speak on Racial Inequality and the Muslim Ban

From a reader:

This week GQ published an article by Jay Willis, “Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr Would Make a Great Presidential Ticket” where “these two have no time for the ‘stick to sports’ bullshit.”  Kerr and Popovich, both who are white, have been close friends since Kerr played for the San Antonio Spurs, coached by Popovich.  Kerr coaches the Golden State Warriors in the San Francisco Bay Area.

When Popovich was asked about Black History Month he said,

“But more than anything, I think if people take the time to think about it, I think it is our national sin. It always intrigues me when people come out with, ‘I’m tired of talking about that or do we have to talk about race again?’ And the answer is you’re damned right we do. Because it’s always there, and it’s systemic in the sense that when you talk about opportunity it’s not about ‘Well, if you lace up your shoes and you work hard, then you can have the American dream.’ That’s a bunch of hogwash. If you were born white, you automatically have a monstrous advantage educationally, economically, culturally in this society and all the systemic roadblocks that exist, whether it’s in a judicial sense, a neighborhood sense with laws, zoning, education, we have huge problems in that regard that are very complicated, but take leadership, time, and real concern to try to solve. It’s a tough one because people don’t really want to face it.”

Kerr was born in Lebanon, where his father was president of the American University of Beirut.  His father was murdered at the university by two men in 1984, and soon after an unknown Islamic group called the press to claim responsibility.  Kerr weighed in on Trump’s Muslim Ban this past week when he said,

“As someone whose family member is a victim of terrorism, having lost my father—if we’re trying to combat terrorism by banishing people from coming to this country, we’re really going against the principles of what our country is about, and creating fear. It’s the wrong way to go about it. If anything, we could be breeding anger and terror, so I’m completely against what’s happening. I think it’s shocking. I think it’s a horrible idea and I feel for all the people who are affected, families are being torn apart.”

Kerr also had something to say about the liars in the Trump administration when he told reporters after a game with the Orlando Magic that “Sean Spicer will be talking about my Magic career any second now. 14,000 points. Greatest player in Magic history.”    Kerr actually scored 5,437 points while playing in the NBA from 1988-2003.

Shawn Gaylord, Advocacy Counsel for Human Rights First: "I would call on the entire LGBT community to stand up and say 'not in our name'"

In a February 3 article for the Advocate titled "Trump's Executive Orders: Divide and Conquer," Shawn Gaylord, advocacy counsel for Human Rights First focusing on LGBT issues, makes an important point about how Trump must not be allowed to pit different sections of the people against each other.

Gaylord writes, "I am sure I am not alone in reading through each statement and each executive order [from Trump] with a sense of foreboding as we watch community after community being targeted by a government that seems determined to roll back the progress of the last few decades." He notes that so far Trump's executive orders have not "specifically targeted people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity," though, as he points out, among the sections of the people targeted so far—women, refugees, immigrants, religious minorities, people of color—LGBT people are part of each.

Noting that there is one direct mention of "sexual orientation" is Trump's executive order banning immigrants and refugees from seven mainly Muslim countries, Gaylord writes:

A quick read might cause you to think it was actually a move to protect LGBT people. But on closer examination, you quickly realize that what is at play is something we dreaded all along. The protection of LGBT people is cited as a justification for a set of cruel and unnecessary new immigration policies that, no matter how carefully worded they might be, amount to a Muslim ban.

The "Purpose" section, which purports to explain what the executive order is designed to accomplish, notes, "The United States should not admit ... those who would oppress members of one race, one gender, or sexual orientation." It is not clear exactly how immigration authorities would know which individuals "would" take such actions, although I suspect they will turn to broad generalizations about religious groups. This language, like other sections of the order, seems clearly designed to target Muslims. We saw this coming and we cannot let it stand....

The Trump administration seems to be employing every tactic at its disposal, but one of the most egregious is this strategy of "divide and conquer." By appealing to the shared desire that LGBT people might live their lives free from violence, the Trump administration is hoping we will turn that desire into fear and hatred of another marginalized community. He did it after Orlando, he did it with this executive order, and I would call on the entire LGBT community to stand up and say "not in our name."

Read Shawn Gaylord's article at the Advocate web site.

Return to top

Cleveland Clinic Doctors, Medical Students, and Other Medical Staff: Trump's actions "directly harm human health and well-being in the United States and abroad"

When Trump signed the executive order banning Muslims from seven countries from entering the U.S., one of the people affected was a first-year internal medicine student at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic hospital, Dr. Suha Abushamma. Even though she has a legal visa and documents allowing her to legally study and work in the United States, she was not allowed to re-enter the country because she has a passport from Sudan—one of the seven banned countries—and was forcibly diverted to Saudi Arabia.

Her colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic, along with more than 1,400 other medical students, doctors, and other medical staff have issued an open letter criticizing the heads of the hospital for not taking a stand against Trump's Muslim ban. The letter points out that far from condemning Trump's actions, "the Cleveland Clinic silently continues to promote ties with the Trump administration." In fact, an upcoming Cleveland Clinic fundraiser—with tickets costing upwards of $100,000—is scheduled to be held at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The open letter says:

Through this action you are supporting a president who has, in his first ten days in office, reinstated the global gag rule, weakened the Affordable Care Act, fast-tracked construction of both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines through legally protected native lands, and banned legal U.S. residents from majority-Muslim countries. All of these actions directly harm human health and well-being in the United States and abroad. Your willingness to hold your fundraiser at a Trump resort is an unconscionable prioritization of profit over people. It is impossible for the Cleveland Clinic to reconcile supporting its employees and patients while simultaneously financially and publicly aiding an individual who directly harms them.

The open letter and list of signatories is available here

Return to top

NARAL Pro-Choice America: “Gorsuch represents an existential threat to legal abortion in the United States...”

After Trump announced the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court seat that has been empty since Antonio Scalia died last year (see “Trump Picks ‘Scalia Clone’ to Replace Scalia on the Supreme Court“), the pro-choice group NARAL issued a statement saying in part:

...President Trump’s decision to speed up the announcement of his Supreme Court nominee will not distract from the hundreds of thousands of Americans demonstrating in the streets and at airports. After Trump’s disastrous first week on the job—from his global gag rule to his travel ban on Muslims—we cannot afford to elevate his destructive agenda with a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.

With Judge Neil Gorsuch, the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to women and our lives. Gorsuch represents an existential threat to legal abortion in the United States and must never wear the robes of a Supreme Court justice.

With a clear track record of supporting an agenda that undermines abortion access and endangers women, there is no doubt that Gorsuch is a direct threat to Roe v. Wade and the promise it holds for women’s equality. The fact that the court has repeatedly reaffirmed Roe over the past four decades would no longer matter, just as facts often don’t seem to matter to President Trump. Confirming Gorsuch to a lifetime on the Supreme Court would make good on Trump’s repeated promises to use his appointments to overturn Roe v. Wade and punish women.

NARAL and our 1.2 million member-activists call on the Senate to reject Trump’s nominee using any and all available means, including the filibuster.

The complete statement from NARAL on Trump’s nomination of Gorsuch is online here.

Emma Stone, Actor: “We have to speak up against injustice, and we have to kick some ass”

At the Screen Actors Guild award on January 29, Emma Stone won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for her work in the film La La Land. In her acceptance speech she said:

We’re in a really tricky time in the world and our country and things are very inexcusable and scary and need action and I’m so grateful to be part of a group of people that cares and that wants to reflect things back to society.

Later in an interview backstage, she said:

We have to speak up against injustice, and we have to kick some ass.... I was thinking about art this year, and that in a time like this, for so many, horrific things are happening. It’s so special to be a part of people who want to reflect what’s happening back to the world and to make people happy. I would hope that people would fight for what’s right and what’s just fucking human....

I think if we’re human beings, and we see injustice, we have to speak up, because staying silent, as they say, only really helps the oppressor. It never helps the victim. So I think that, yes, right now, I would hope that everyone, when seeing things being done that are absolutely unconstitutional and inhumane, would say something, anything. Whether it’s at school or at an awards show or work, offices, or online.

Saira Rafiee, CUNY Grad Student: “We, the 99% of the world, need to stand united in resisting the authoritarian forces all over the world”

Saira Rafiee, an Iranian Ph.D. student in political science at the CUNY (City University of New York) Graduate Center, was traveling back to the U.S. from Iran when Trump issued the executive order banning people from seven majority Muslim countries, including Iran, from entering the U.S. Rafiee, an Iranian citizen, was visiting family and was on her way back to New York, with legal documents, to resume her work and studies at CUNY.

Saira Rafiee wrote on Facebook about what happened:

I got on the flight to Abu Dhabi, but there at the airport was told that I would not be able to enter the U.S. I had to stay there for nearly 18 hours, along with 11 other Iranians, before getting on the flight back to Tehran. I have no clue whether I would ever be able to go back to the school I like so much, or to see my dear friends there. But my story isn’t as painful and terrifying as many other stories I have heard these days

The sufferings of all of us are just one side of this horrendous order. The other side is the struggle against racism and fascism, against assaults on freedom and human dignity, against all the values that even though are far from being realized, are the only things that would make life worth living. As a student of sociology and political science, I have devoted a major part of my scholarly life to the study of authoritarianism. The media has published enough statistics during the past few days to show how irrelevant this order is to the fight against terrorism. It is time to call things by their true names; this is Islamophobia, racism, fascism. We, the 99% of the world, need to stand united in resisting the authoritarian forces all over the world.

Ben Cohen, Founder/Editor of The Daily Banter: “This Is Straight Up Fascism”

Ben Cohen is the founder and editor of The Daily Banter (thedailybanter.com). Originally from London and now living in Washington, DC, he has written for the Huffington Post and ESPN.com. His January 27 article, “Trump's Weekly List of Crimes Committed by Immigrants is Straight Up Fascism,” says in part:

Adding to his list of executive orders and policy proposals designed to roll back civil liberties, wreck the environment and insult foreign nations, the Trump administration is also mandating that Homeland Security “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens.” This was included in Trump's new executive order on immigration, and according to the Independent, "Will also include details of so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ that refuse to hand over immigrant residents for deportation"...

Make no mistake about it, this is straight up fascism... nothing more than a nasty scare tactic designed to instill fear in white Americans and create a new way of dividing the country along ethnic identity lines. We have seen this over and over again throughout history. Fascist dictators rise to power through the scapegoating of immigrants and minorities, then hold onto office by continuing the tactic. The Trump administration clearly believes it is a winning formula and Trump has made so called "illegals" the focal point of his first few days in office. From insisting that he only lost the popular vote due to (completely non-existent) widespread voter fraud to his executive order to build a wall stopping Mexicans from entering the country, Trump is betting big on white fear keeping him in office. The weekly list of immigrant crime is appalling and will simply fan the flames of xenophobia and hate....

Read Cohen’s article here.

Rihanna: “What an immoral pig”

On January 28, singer Rihanna tweeted:

Disgusted! The news is devastating! America is being ruined right before our eyes! What an immoral pig you have to be to implement such BS!!

As of January 30, there have been 175,000 re-tweets of this Rihanna tweet.

Cast of Stranger Things: “We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters!”

On Sunday night, January 29, the Netflix series Stranger Things won the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble. A capsule description of the series says: “In a small Indiana town in the early 1980s, a boy goes missing after finding something sinister lurking in the woods. Nearby, a girl with extraordinary powers escapes from a sinister government facility and joins together with the boy’s friends to get him back.” At the televised SAG award show, David Harbour, who plays Chief Hopper in the series, stepped up to the mic to accept the award on behalf of the cast. After making a number of acknowledgements he turned to current events. He called on his fellow actors to:

Go deeper and through our art battle against fear, self-centeredness, and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture.... As we act in the continuing narrative of Stranger Things, we 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies. We will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no hope. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters! And when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized! And we will do it all with soul, with heart, and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility.

University Science Professors Call for Defense of Science and Government Scientists

Three university science professors—Graham Coop, Professor of Evolution and Ecology, UC Davis; Michael B. Eisen, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley; Molly Przeworski, Professor of Biological Sciences, Columbia University—have issued a statement in support of scientists within the government who are under attack.

Their message is as follows:

Governmental scientists employed at a subset of agencies have been forbidden from presenting their findings to the public. We have drafted the following response for distribution, and encourage other scientists to post it to their websites, when feasible.

In Defense of Science

We are deeply concerned by the Trump administration’s move to gag scientists working at various governmental agencies. The US government employs scientists working on medicine, public health, agriculture, energy, space, clean water and air, weather, the climate and many other important areas. Their job is to produce data to inform decisions by policymakers, businesses and individuals. We are all best served by allowing these scientists to discuss their findings openly and without the intrusion of politics. Any attack on their ability to do so is an attack on our ability to make informed decisions as individuals, as communities and as a nation.

If you are a government scientist who is blocked from discussing their work, we will share it on your behalf, publicly or with the appropriate recipients. You can email us at USScienceFacts@gmail.com.

Laurence Tribe, Constitutional Law Professor: "Trump must be impeached for abusing his power"

Laurence Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University, sent out a series of tweets on January 28—as thousands of people protested at airports across the U.S. against the anti-Muslim order Trump signed the day before:

Vital to impeach and remove Trump before his cruel brand of bigotry and scapegoating seeps even more deeply into our national bloodstream.

Trump just said what he’s doing at the airports “is working out very nicely.” The man has no eyes, no brain, and no heart.

Trump must be impeached for abusing his power and shredding the Constitution more monstrously than any other President in American history.

The tragic scenes unfolding at JFK and other US airports expose Trump as a heartless merciless monster. He must be stopped.

Trump’s promise to prioritize Christian over Muslim refugees when the 90-day ban lifts violates the Religion Clauses of our First Amendment.

Jewish Voices for Peace on Trump’s Anti-Muslim, Anti-Refugee Order: “We pledge to resist in every way that we can”

On January 25, Jewish Voices for Peace released the following statement in anticipation of Trump’s issuing of an executive order the next day targeting refugees and immigrants from mainly Muslim countries:

As the Trump administration follows through on the some of most harmful and alarming promises of his campaign, we will follow through on ours: to love, defend and fight alongside our friends, neighbors, and communities directly under attack.

Decades of racist, Islamophobic, and xenophobic policies and discourses around national security, the “War on Terror,” and immigration have laid the groundwork for this nightmare set of policies designed to target, profile, surveil and ban people due to their religion, race, national origin or legal status. These new policies will build on existing infrastructure, primarily impacting people who have fled from countries that the United States has bombed or invaded, as well as those whose local economies have been destroyed by our military operations and trade policies.

While the details of these new policies are still unfolding, we pledge to resist in every way that we can. We’ll put our hearts, souls, and bodies on the line to stop hateful and racist attacks. We will organize our communities to stand alongside our Muslim, immigrant & refugee neighbors, in the halls of Congress & government institutions, and in the streets.

We cannot let this stand.

Nikki Giovanni, the well-known African- American poet, essayist, and a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, recently spoke with the Huffington Post. During the interview, she said the following:

“My heart breaks for the next generation with these fools in the white house. Asking us to give Trump a chance is like asking Jews to give Hitler a chance. I read that eight percent of blacks voted for him. That’s like a vote for slavery. I’m so proud of women for standing up at the Women’s Marches all over the country. In Washington it was so crowded that you couldn’t move. These women were telling Donald Trump ‘not on our watch’. Saying they won’t bow down or bend over and take the worse from him. Why take abortion and make us have children and then deny those kids healthcare?...

“Trump will not listen and only a fool would try to reason with him. He is beyond redemption.”

For the entire interview go here:

Philip Roth on Trump: “What is most terrifying is that he makes any and everything possible, including, of course, the nuclear catastrophe”

Philip Roth’s 2004 novel The Plot Against America imagines a scenario where there is a fascist takeover in America—through the ballot box. The aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh—who in his day was one of the three or four biggest celebrities in the world and a Nazi sympathizer—sweeps the 1940 election in a landslide. Then, in steps both incremental and rapid, fascism comes in. At the time, Roth wrote in the New York Times Book Review that he did not intend to write this as a political roman à clef (a novel in which real people or events appear with invented names). He said he wanted to dramatize some “what-ifs” that never happened in America.

Now Roth is commenting about the current relevance of The Plot Against America. A piece titled “Philip Roth E-Mails On Trump” by Judith Thurman appears in the January 30 issue of The New Yorker. Thurman says Roth was asked via e-mail if the scenario in his book has now happened. Roth’s response, in part:

It isn’t Trump as a character, a human type—the real-estate type, the callow and callous killer capitalist—that outstrips the imagination. It is Trump as President of the United States.

I was born in 1933, the year that F.D.R. was inaugurated. He was President until I was twelve years old. I’ve been a Roosevelt Democrat ever since. I found much that was alarming about being a citizen during the tenures of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. But, whatever I may have seen as their limitations of character or intellect, neither was anything like as humanly impoverished as Trump is: ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art, incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency, and wielding a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English...

Unlike writers in Eastern Europe in the nineteen-seventies, American writers haven’t had their driver’s licenses confiscated and their children forbidden to matriculate in academic schools. Writers here don’t live enslaved in a totalitarian police state, and it would be unwise to act as if we did, unless—or until—there is a genuine assault on our rights and the country is drowning in Trump’s river of lies. In the meantime, I imagine writers will continue robustly to exploit the enormous American freedom that exists to write what they please, to speak out about the political situation, or to organize as they see fit...

My novel wasn’t written as a warning. I was just trying to imagine what it would have been like for a Jewish family like mine, in a Jewish community like Newark, had something even faintly like Nazi anti-Semitism befallen us in 1940, at the end of the most pointedly anti-Semitic decade in world history. I wanted to imagine how we would have fared, which meant I had first to invent an ominous American government that threatened us. As for how Trump threatens us, I would say that, like the anxious and fear-ridden families in my book, what is most terrifying is that he makes any and everything possible, including, of course, the nuclear catastrophe.

The New Yorker piece with quotes from Philip Roth is available online here.

Roger Cohen, NY Times Columnist: “Trump’s outrageous claims have a purpose: to destroy rational thought”

Roger Cohen is an author and columnist for the New York Times. Before becoming a columnist for the Times, he worked as a foreign correspondent in 15 countries. In the January 24 edition of the Times, his column titled “The Banal Belligerence of Donald Trump” said in part:

I have tried to tread carefully with analogies between the Fascist ideologies of 1930s Europe and Trump. American democracy is resilient. But the first days of the Trump presidency—whose roots of course lie in far more than the American military debacles since 9/11—pushed me over the top. The president is playing with fire.

To say, as he did, that the elected representatives of American democracy are worthless and that the people are everything is to lay the foundations of totalitarianism. It is to say that democratic institutions are irrelevant and all that counts is the great leader and the masses he arouses. To speak of “carnage” is to deploy the dangerous lexicon of blood, soil and nation. To boast of “a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before” is to demonstrate consuming megalomania. To declaim “America first” and again, “America first,” is to recall the darkest clarion calls of nationalist dictators. To exalt protectionism is to risk a return to a world of barriers and confrontation. To utter falsehood after falsehood, directly or through a spokesman, is to foster the disorientation that makes crowds susceptible to the delusions of strongmen.

Trump’s outrageous claims have a purpose: to destroy rational thought. When Primo Levi arrived at Auschwitz he reached, in his thirst, for an icicle outside his window but a guard snatched it away. “Warum?” Levi asked (why?). To which the guard responded, “Hier ist kein warum” (here there is no why).

As the great historian Fritz Stern observed, “This denial of ‘why’ was the authentic expression of all totalitarianism, revealing its deepest meaning, a negation of Western civilization.”

Americans are going to have to fight for their civilization and the right to ask why against the banal belligerence of Trump.

Read the whole Cohen column here.

Poem by Nina Donovan, “I am a nasty woman” performed by Ashley Judd at Women’s March: “I feel Hitler in these streets”

The poem, “I am a nasty woman” by 19-year-old Nina Donovan was performed by actress Ashley Judd at the Women’s March in Washington, DC on January 21. It starts:

I’m not nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheetos dust.

A man whose words are a distract to America.
Electoral college-sanctioned, hate-speech contaminating this national anthem.
I’m not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city.
Maybe the South actually is going to rise again.
Maybe for some it never really fell.
Blacks are still in shackles and graves, just for being black.
Slavery has been reinterpreted as the prison system in front of people who see melanin as animal skin.

I am not as nasty as a swastika painted on a pride flag, and I didn’t know devils could be resurrected but I feel Hitler in these streets.
A mustache traded for a toupee.
Nazis renamed the Cabinet Electoral Conversion Therapy, the new gas chambers shaming the gay out of America, turning rainbows into suicide.
I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege ... your daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.
Yeah, I’m a nasty woman — a loud, vulgar, proud woman.

To listen to the whole poem performed by Ashley Judd go here:

Sierra Club on Trump's Energy Plan: "A shameful and dark start"

The Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the U.S., with more than 2.7 million members and supporters. On the day of his inauguration, Trump released his energy plan (available on the White House website). In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

Minutes after he was sworn in, any illusion that Trump would act in the best interests of families in this country as President were wiped away by a statement of priorities that constitute an historic mistake on one of the key crises facing our planet and an assault on public health. What Trump has released is hardly a plan—it’s a polluter wishlist that will make our air and water dirtier, our climate and international relations more unstable, and our kids sicker. This is a shameful and dark start to Trump’s Presidency, and a slap in the face to any American who thought Trump might pursue the national interest.

Matthew Rothschild: “Trumpolini.... Beware”

Matthew Rothschild is the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonprofit, nonpartisan political watchdog group. His January 21 article titled, “The fascist overtones in Trump’s inaugural address” starts underneath a photo of Benito Mussolini, leader of Italy's National Fascist Party from 1922 until 1943, and says in part:

It was hard to listen to Trump’s inaugural address without hearing some not-so-faint echoes of fascism.

The most obvious was his invocation of “America First” as the “new vision” that “will govern our land.” But it’s not a new vision or a new name. In fact, “America First” was the name of the isolationist and anti-Semitic organization in the 1930s that wanted to accommodate Nazi Germany.

But there were other echoes as well....

Like 20th century fascists, he extolled the nation’s “glorious destiny.” He saluted “the great men and women of our military and law enforcement.”

And then he invoked the divine will. “Most importantly,” he said, “we are protected by God.”

And let’s not forget that his campaign slogan and the coda to his inaugural address, “Make America great again,” itself strikes a fascist chord: nostalgia for national greatness, mixed with grievances (that can lead to scapegoating) about who is to blame for the loss of such greatness.

If you were looking for Trump to take the high ground in his inaugural address and call on “the better angels of ourselves,” you were kidding yourself.

That is not who he is. He is Trumpolini.

Beware.

To read the whole article go here

Big Bang Theory on Eve of Trump Inauguration: “Beware of Darkness”

Vanity cards have become a trademark for Chuck Lorre Productions. At the end of every episode of shows Lorre produces there are different messages that read somewhat like a comment or observation on life or what’s going on in society. This was done with shows Lorre produced like Dharma & Greg and Two and a Half Men. And these vanity cards appear at the end of The Big Bang Theory—the #1 comedy on TV for many seasons. On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the message that flashed across at the end of The Big Bang was the lyrics to George Harrison’s song, “Beware of Darkness”:

Watch out now, take care,
Beware of greedy leaders
They’ll take you where you should not go
While Weeping Atlas Cedars
They just want to grow, grow and grow
Beware of darkness

Then another quote, this one from Monty Python:

Run away! Run Away!

Roger Waters from Pink Floyd on Inauguration: "The resistance begins today"

Roger Waters, English singer, songwriter, bassist, and composer, is the co-founder of the rock band Pink Floyd—internationally known for albums like The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. On January 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration, Waters posted a video for his Trump-slamming performance of “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” in Mexico City last October. A message also went up on his Facebook: “The resistance begins today.”

The performance took place in Zόcalo Square before 300,000 fans. During the song, the huge screens flash graphics of ugly Trump faces with text like “Charade” and “Gotta stem the evil tide.” There is an image of Trump doing a Hitler Nazi salute and the KKK. At the end, disgusting quotes from Trump are seen on the screen. The final text: “Trump eres un pendejo” (Trump, you’re an asshole).”

Some of the lyrics to “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”:

Big man, pig man, ha ha charade you are
You well heeled big wheel, ha ha charade you are
And when your hand is on your heart
You’re nearly a good laugh
Almost a joker
With your head down in the pig bin
Saying “Keep on digging.”
Pig stain on your fat chin
What do you hope to find
When you’re down in the pig mine
You’re nearly a laugh
You’re nearly a laugh
But you’re really a cry

Petition to White House Correspondents' Association: "Stand up to Trump's blacklist"

At his January 11 press conference, Trump refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, saying, “You are fake news.” Angelo Carusone from Media Matters posted a petition, “Tell the White House Press Corps: Stand up to Trump’s blacklist,” to be delivered to the White House Correspondents’ Association, which says:

If Trump blacklists or bans one of you, the rest of you need to stand up. Instead of ignoring Trump’s bad behavior and going about your business, close ranks and stand up for journalism. Don’t keep talking about what Trump wants to talk about. Stand up and fight back. Amplify your colleague’s inquiry or refuse to engage until he removes that person/outlet from the blacklist.

The goal is to get 300,000 signatures. As of January 22, nearly 290,200 people had signed. The petition includes a background that says in part:

Trump has a history of doing this—and worse.

He has literally banned the Des Moines Register from covering his events. He banned Univsion from attending his events. He revoked The Washington Post’s credentials for a period in retaliation for a headline that he didn’t like. He revoked Politico’s credentials for a while to punish them for an article he didn’t like. BuzzFeed—which Trump called “a pathetic pile of garbage” during the press conference—has been on a blacklist since June of 2015. The Daily Beast is on the blacklist and is almost always denied credentials as a result. This list isn’t exhaustive, either.

But journalists covering Trump don’t learn. Time and time again, as one outlet after another is frozen out, reporters continue to go about their interactions with Trump and his people as if nothing is wrong.

Enough is enough. Some principles are more important than competition among news outlets....

To read the petition and full background go here.

Citizen Therapists Against Trumpism: "We cannot remain silent as we witness the rise of an American form of fascism"

Citizen Therapists for Democracy, an association of psychotherapists, states that their mission is to: “Learn and spread transformative ways to practice therapy with a public dimension; Rebuild democratic capacity in communities; and Resist anti-democratic ideologies and practices.” The website of Citizen Therapists for Democracy contains “A Public Manifesto” from Citizen Therapists Against Trumpism. It has been signed by 3,500 people and says in part:

As psychotherapists practicing in the United States, we are alarmed by the rise of the ideology of Trumpism, which we see as a threat to the well-being of the people we care for and to American democracy itself. We cannot remain silent as we witness the rise of an American form of fascism. We can leverage this time of crisis to deepen our commitment to American democracy....

Why speak collectively? Our responses thus far have been primarily personal—and too often confined to arm-chair diagnoses of Donald Trump. But a collective crisis faces our nation, a harkening back to the economic depression and demoralization of the 1930s (which fed European fascism) and the upheaval over Jim Crow and Black civil rights in the 1950s.... As therapists, we have been entrusted by society with collective responsibility in the arena of mental, behavioral, and relational health. When there is a public threat to our domain of responsibility we must speak out together, not just to protest but to deepen our commitment to a just society and a democratic way of life. This means being citizen therapists who are concerned with community well-being as much as personal well-being, since the two are inextricably joined.

To read the whole statement go here.

Punk Band United Nations on Inauguration Day: "Never Again Is Fucking Happening Again"

United Nations, hardcore supergroup led by frontman for the band Thursday, Geoff Rickly, released a new song on January 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration. The song is called “Stairway to Mar-a-Lago”—Mar-a-Lago is Trump’s estate in Florida which he says will be his “winter White House.”

Some of the lyrics go:

Dimwitted bigot
Misplacing sympathies
From on your cross
Tell them who matters
Policing cities in ruin

It blows my mind
How these Nazis
Took the stage
And pandered to
Your deepest fears
Dead and cold
The Gipper must be
Rolling in his grave

Never again,
Again and again
Never again is
Fucking happening
Again

New from Outernational: "Decision"—"How will you live? What will you decide?"

The band Outernational released a new song and video on the morning of the Trump inauguration, titled “Decision.” Miles Solay of Outernational wrote, “I am writing to you from the USA on the morning that a fascist regime is being coronated. I will be in the streets of Washington, DC today and tomorrow. The regime of Donald Trump and Mike Pence is illegitimate because fascism is illegitimate. If ever there was a time in our lives to act as if the future depended on us, now would be that time. GET INVOLVED AND TAKE TO THE STREETS WHEREVER YOU ARE.”

The lyrics of “Decision” include:

Decision!
Enforced!
You can’t say you hate this
While you’re waiting for the cure...

Deception!
All the lies!
America was never great
Eat your apple pie and genocide

Decision!
Of your life!
How will you live?
What will you decide?...

Listen and download audio here.

New Anti-Trump Song by Entrance: "Not Gonna Say Your Name"

“There are people who say we ought to give you a chance. But there’s not a chance in hell that we’ll sit back and watch you try to turn back the clock and sigh and say, oh well.”

This is how “Not Gonna Say Your Name” starts—a new song released on January 16 by Los Angeles-based musician Guy Blakeslee (aka ENTRANCE). The song’s video features clips of anti-Trump protests that broke out in the days after the election.

Blakeslee says, “I really wanted to write a song expressing my own feelings about the election and the state of things in our country—like many I was in a state of mourning. I wondered, how can I sing about this without saying his name?” All proceeds from song purchases are going to Planned Parenthood. Blakeslee said: “I decided to use the song to benefit PP because one of the things that is so shocking about the election result is that it sends such a negative message to women and girls.... It’s the least I could do - for all of the women in the world, in my life, and especially for my mother - to fight back and make a clear statement that we will not accept this backwards agenda.” In a piece in TheTalkhouse, Blakeslee wrote:

When the result was called at the crack of dawn that November morning, I knew I had to come back home as soon as possible and join with my fellow Americans in resisting this imminent slide toward fascism, tyranny, intolerance, bigotry, sexism, xenophobia and unchecked capitalist pillaging.

In a psychological state quite similar to mourning, I was inspired and comforted watching from afar on social media as friends and family joined hundreds of thousands of others in the streets and wished I could be there with them to say NO to hatred and regression and YES to love and continued communal progress.

While in Amsterdam a few days later, the idea for this song (“Not Gonna Say Your Name” ) came to me; I was writing a lot of angry words and I was desperately trying to figure out how to say something positive, to make some kind of contribution and offer a different way of thinking about the situation instead of just complaining and fixating on this person that so many of us can’t help but despise.

To read the whole piece by Blakeslee go here

To watch the video of “Not Gonna Say Your Name” go here.

News of Girl Scouts Marching for Trump Inauguration “filled me with rage”

The Girl Scouts of America have come under severe criticism for its decision to have 75 Girl Scouts march in Trump’s inauguration parade. People are saying they should not participate—given Trump’s ugly comments about women and Pence’s extreme anti-abortion views. Jean Hannah Edelstein, a New York-born, London-based journalist and the author of Himglish and Femalese: Why Women Don’t Get Why Men Don’t Get Them, wrote in a January 18 opinion piece in the Guardian:

The news that the Girl Scouts are sending a contingent to participate in Donald Trump’s inauguration filled me with real rage. How can an organization that promises to build “girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place” send them to celebrate the ascent of a leader who would likely consider them fair game for sexual assault if they grow up to be “beautiful”?

...what would be emotionally and physically safe for a girl about watching the swearing-in of Mike Pence as Vice President, a man who’s sworn to overturn the laws that allow them to use the bathrooms where they feel safe? What of Muslim Girl Scouts, who’ve been told that their names will be put on a list, or undocumented girls, who are also welcome to join Girl Scouts? Should they march, or should only the girls who Donald Trump might one day rate “a 10” be encouraged to participate?

...Yes, it’s a tradition: they’ve marched at inauguration for decades. But does tradition justify collaboration with an administration that promises to oppress the young women it’s supposed to serve? As shown by John Lewis and the other members of Congress who are choosing to skip the inauguration, sometimes human rights are more important than protocol. The Girl Scouts is an organization that has stood up for the human rights of girls and women for many years. Why quit now?

Read this whole piece here.

Charles M. Blow on the Day Before Inauguration Day: "Are You Not Alarmed?"

New York Times columnist, Charles M. Blow’s piece on January 19, 2017 is titled, “Are You Not Alarmed?” and says:

I continue to be astonished that not enough Americans are sufficiently alarmed and abashed by the dangerous idiocies that continue to usher forth from the mouth of the man who will on Friday be inaugurated as president of the United States.

Toss ideology out of the window. This is about democracy and fascism, war and peace, life and death. I wish that I could write those words with the callous commercialism with which some will no doubt read them, as overheated rhetoric simply designed to stir agitation, provoke controversy and garner clicks. But alas, they are not. These words are the sincere dispatches of an observer, writer and citizen who continues to see worrisome signs of a slide toward the exceedingly unimaginable by a man who is utterly unprepared.

In a series of interviews and testimonies Donald Trump and his cronies have granted in the last several days, they have demonstrated repeatedly how destabilizing, unpredictable and indeed unhinged the incoming administration may be. Their comments underscore the degree to which this administration may not simply alter our democracy beyond recognition, but also potentially push us into armed conflict...

This is insanity. But too many Americans don’t want to see this threat for what it is. International affairs and the very real threat of escalating militarization and possibly even military conflict seems much harder to grasp than the latest inflammatory tweet.

Maybe people think this possibility is unthinkable. Maybe people are just hoping and praying that cooler heads will prevail. Maybe they think that Trump’s advisers will smarten him up and talk him down.

But where is your precedent for that? When has this man been cautious or considerate? This man with loose lips and tweeting thumbs may very well push us into another war, and not with a country like Afghanistan, but with a nuclear-armed country with something to prove.

Are you not alarmed?

To read the whole piece go here.

Green Day: Trump and "Troubled Times"

Green Day continues to call out Trump as a fascist. A video of the song “Troubled Times” from their latest album, Revolution Radio, was released on Monday, MLK Day. A statement from Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said, "Today we celebrate love and compassion more than ever." The song/video doesn’t name Trump but the message is clear through the imagery. There’s a Trump-like figure with KKK teeth wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap—spewing hateful, racist garbage before crowds as Kluckers come out of the White House. Cops beating up Black people. But there are also images of resistance: People with signs saying “Stop racism, islamophobia, and war,” “No border wall,” and “Against racist hate.” Clips from the Civil Rights Movement and the the women’s suffrage battle. At the end, the stakes of the situation are underscored with a nuclear mushroom cloud.

This isn’t the first time Green Day has called out Trump. Shortly after the election, during their MTV and American Music Awards performances of the song “Bang Bang,” they added the chant: "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA." Armstrong said, "It was a good start to challenge [Trump] on all of his ignorant policies and his racism."

The lyrics to "Troubled Times" are searing:

What good is love and peace on earth?
When it's exclusive?
Where's the truth in the written word?
If no one reads it
A new day dawning
Comes without warning
So don't blink twice

We live in troubled times
We live in troubled times

What part of history we learned
When it's repeated
Some things will never overcome
If we don't seek it

The world stops turning
Paradise burning
So don't think twice

We live in troubled times
We live in troubled times

Rapper T.I.: "Be Aware or Be Bamboozled"

On MLK Day, Rapper T.I. (Tip Harris) sent out a series of tweets and videos addressed to Black celebrities and athletes who are meeting with Trump.

“Attn.!!!! Be clear.... There IS an agenda behind all these meetings. “There’s a strategic plan that people are trying to make you a part of.... Do not accept any invitation to have any meeting, no matter how positive you think the outcome may be.” “Given what’s going on between him & Congressman Lewis... All y’all looking CRAZY right now!!!! Be Aware, BE Alert, Or Be Bamboozled.”

One tweet has a photo of Malcolm X with a quote from him: “The first thing the (white racist) does when he comes in power, he takes all the Negro leaders and invites them for coffee. To show that he’s all right. And those Uncle Toms can’t pass up the coffee. They come away from the coffee table telling you and me that this man is all right.” T.I. writes: “Sound familiar? Malcolm knew it then.... Be Aware, Be Alert, or Be Bamboozled.”

One tweet addresses Trump: “Should it ever seem at times like we are against you, I assure it is a result of you defining yourself as the representative of those who are and who always have been against us... The deck has always been stacked against us in this country. With every generation there has been strategic steps to oppress, imprison, and control us.”

See T.I.’s tweets and videos here.

Statement from Michael Dietler, professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago, at Chicago Protest Against Trump-Pence Regime and Police Terror on MLK Day

A small but determined group of protesters rallied in the cold Chicago rain on MLK Day, where Christian clergy, representatives from the Muslim community, and youth spoke along with other fighters in the movement to Stop Trump and Pence. After the rally the protest took off in two parallel marches down both sides of State Street, stopping on the corners to speak to people who were out on the cold, wet street. Protestors criss-crossed back and forth across State Street, blocking traffic briefly a number of times. Some people along the route joined in the march briefly, and others took up posters and/or bundles of the Call and were organized to organize others in the fight to stop the fascist Trump-Pence regime.

Speakers at the rally addressed the need and possibility of stopping the Trump-Pence regime from taking power and the recently released Justice Department report detailing years of abuse of Black and brown people by the Chicago police. They included Rev. Gregg Greer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Rev.Pughsley; Salman Aftab from the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections; Raja Yaqub from the American Muslim Aliance; and a middle school student who spoke about the terror Pence will bring to the LGBTQ community with his promotion of electro-shock torture “conversion therapy.” The following statement from Michael Dietler, professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago was read.

This day, of all days, should raise awareness of the danger that Donald Trump poses to this country, and to the world. The contrast with Martin Luther King could not be stronger.

Today the nation honors a fearless champion of human rights and human dignity, a man of principle who dedicated his life to the service of others and was willing to be sacrificed in the struggle against injustice. We also honor all those heroes of the Civil Rights movement, those thousands of ordinary people who courageously put their bodies and their lives on the line to oppose the racist, oppressive, violent regimes that tried to deny people their rights.

In ironic contrast, this Friday, a new president will be sworn in who waged a disgraceful campaign of lies and deceit, of racist bigotry and hatred, of misogyny, fear, and ignorance. Donald Trump has no principles, no concern for anyone but himself. He has spent his life in the relentless pursuit of personal wealth and power, using any means available without regard to the consequences for others.

He is a liar, fraud, and a dangerous egomaniac who has already normalized racism, xenophobia, and misogyny and prepared a cabinet of robber barons ready to pillage the country. Now is the time for all good people of conscience to come together to oppose this destructive force, before it is too late. Let the voice of the people rise again in solidarity with the spirit of the Civil Rights movement: justice and equality for all! Stand up against racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and greed!

Clip from Ava DuVernay Documentary 13th—Searing Exposure of Trump on the “Good Old Days”

Ava DuVernay is an American director, screenwriter, film marketer, and film distributor. Her film Selma, which told the story of the campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King for equal voting right and the famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965,was nominated for Best Picture at the 2014 Oscars. And DuVernay became first Black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

DuVernay’s recent Netflix documentary 13th just picked up three Critics’ Choice Awards and is on the Oscar shortlist for best documentary. 13th, named for the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery with the exception of punishment for crime, digs deeply into and exposes the rise of mass incarceration in the USA. 13th includes a series of powerful clips that shows Donald Trump and footage from the Civil Right era—where Trump is talking about “the good old days.”

During the film’s press screening at the New York Film Festival in October, DuVernay talked about how she debated whether to include Trump, who at the time was the Republican presidential candidate, in the documentary. She said, “Take him out? Leave him in? No, he doesn’t deserve a place in this thing, and such. But you gotta show that stuff because it’s too important and it can’t be forgotten,”

13th is available to stream on Netflix.

Pete Vernon in Columbia Journalism Review: "Trump and his team have shown a willingness to retaliate, bully, and ban journalists"

At his January 11 press conference, Trump refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, saying, “You are fake news.” In an article in the Columbia Journalism Review titled “Trump berated a CNN reporter, and fellow journalists missed an opportunity” Pete Vernon says:

CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta stood pleading with Trump to acknowledge his question, referencing earlier attacks made by Trump and his press secretary about the accuracy of a CNN report detailing Trump’s ties to Russia. “Mr. President-elect, since you have been attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance?” Acosta yelled above the scrum of reporters.

“No! Not you. No! Your organization is terrible,” the President-elect shot back. When Acosta persisted in shouting for recognition, Trump pointed a finger at him and said, “Don’t be rude. No, I’m not going to give you a question.”

Trump then turned to the next question, and the press conference proceeded from there. It was a striking moment not only for the direct confrontation between the two men, but also for the fact that it seemed to have no effect on other journalists in the room. No one immediately leapt to Acosta’s defense....

I wished those journalists in attendance had picked up Acosta’s line of questioning, or even refused to continue asking questions, until the President-elect acknowledged the organization he had earlier attacked....

Next Friday, the new administration begins. As a candidate, and now as the President-elect, Trump and his team have shown a willingness to retaliate, bully, and ban journalists whose questions he doesn’t want to answer. As an industry, we must be prepared for more moments like today’s, and we must be ready to respond accordingly.

Peter Vernon’s article is available online here.

Theologians Raise Opposition to Jeff Sessions for "positions that compromise the rights of these vulnerable populations"

A group of Christian theologians of various denominations delivered an open letter to the heads of the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose the nomination of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General. The signatories include Peter Goodwin Heltzel, New York Theological Seminary; Jeannine Hill Fletcher, Fordham University; Gary Agee, Anderson University (Indiana); Cornel West, Harvard University; James Cone, Union Theological Seminary; Jim Wallis, Sojourner; and others.

The theologians’ letter says in part:

Vulnerable populations in our country—victims of police brutality, undocumented workers, LGBTQ persons, women, people of color, and people of non-Christian faiths—are placed at increased risk of further harm when our laws are not upheld. Yet, throughout his career, Senator Sessions has taken positions that compromise the rights of these vulnerable populations. His racist comments reflect prejudice against people of color. His opposition to immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and equal access for persons with disabilities make it unlikely that he shares the Christian vision of justice and protection of the vulnerable that we embrace.

The letter and signatories are available online here.

Powerful Video Produced by Katy Perry: #DontNormalizeHate

A moving and deeply thought-provoking PSA video produced by Katy Perry asks the question: is history repeating itself? The short video features actor Hina Khan, a Muslim of Pakistani heritage, and begins with the voice of 89-year-old Haru Kuromiya—recalling how, when she was a girl during World War 2, her family, along with about 120,000 other Japanese Americans, were first put on a registry and then forced by the U.S. government into concentration (internment) camps.

According to the LA Times, “Codirected by filmmakers Aya Tanimura and Tim Nackashi, the #DontNormalizeHate PSA landed the early support of director Spike Jonze and actor-activist George Takei. But it was Perry whom Tanimura credits for making the short possible.” The video has close to 300,000 views since it was posted on YouTube—it should be seen by millions. Watch it below:

Bruce Springsteen: "The country feels very estranged..."

Bruce Springsteen on Marc Maron’s WRTF podcast on January 2 (at the end) is asked what his biggest fear is about Trump and says:

That a lot of the worst things and the worst aspects of what he appealed to come to fruition. When you let that genie out of the bottle – bigotry, racism, when you let those things out of the bottle, intolerance, they don't go back in the bottle that easily if they go back in at all. Whether it's a rise in hate crimes, people feeling they have license to speak and behave in ways that previously were considered un-American and are un-American. That's what he's appealing to. And so my fears are that those things find a place in ordinary, civil society; demeans the discussions and events of the day and the country changes in a way that is unrecognizable and we become estranged, as you say, you say hey well, wait a minute you voted for Trump, I thought I knew who you were, I’m not sure. The country feels very estranged, you feel very estranged from your countrymen. So those are all dangerous things and he hasn’t even taken office yet.

The podcast is available here

Children's and YA authors refuse "to quietly accept or assent to this 'Gleichschaltung,' this getting in line with fascism and making it mainstream"

Recently, Threshold, an imprint of the book publisher Simon & Schuster, gave a $250,000 book deal to Milo Yiannopoulos, writer for the neo-Nazi, white-supremacist Breitbart News Network and supporter of Trump. There was immediate outrage against the deal from writers, bookstores, book reviewers, and others. (See “Outrage at Simon & Schuster’s Book Deal for Pro-Trump Racist.”) Now more than 160 children’s and young adult (YA) book authors and illustrators with Simon & Schuster have sent a letter protesting the deal to the Simon & Schuster CEO and “all the readers and supporters of books for children.”

As technology editor at Breitbart, Yiannopoulos promoted “GamerGate,” a vicious flood of degrading attacks and terroristic threats against prominent women in the video game development community. This summer he was banned from Twitter after his followers carried out a racist harassment campaign against Black comedian/actor Leslie Jones.

The letter from the authors and illustrators reads in part:

Threshold has placed Simon & Schuster’s considerable reputation and weight behind one of the most prominent faces of the newly repackaged white supremacist/white nationalist movement and financially supported a man who routinely denigrates, verbally attacks, and directs dangerous internet doxxing and hate campaigns against women, minorities, LGBTQ individuals, Muslims, and anyone he chooses to target who supports equality and human decency. Irrespective of the content of this book, by extending a mainstream publication contract, Threshold has chosen to legitimize this reprehensible belief system, these behaviors, and white supremacy itself....

As Simon & Schuster authors and illustrators who are already published, with books in the release pipeline, with contracts in place, we do not have to quietly accept or assent to this “Gleichschaltung,” this getting in line with fascism and making it mainstream. We reject the wisdom of this decision. This man, and this book, are not America. This man, and this book, are not the bulk of Simon & Schuster. This man, and this book, are not us, the authors and illustrators of Simon & Schuster. We believe that the children we write for deserve a better America.

Among the signers of the letter are winners of Newbery, Caldecott, and National Book Award honors, including Cassandra Clare, Laurie Halse Anderson, Christian Robinson, Dan Santat, Marla Frazee, Ellen Hopkins, and Rachel Renée Russell. The Publisher’s Weekly article on this, including the text of the full letter and the list of signatories, is available online here.

Charlotte Church, Singer, Refuses Invitation from Tyrant Trump

Charlotte Church is a Welch singer who performs in many genres and has a big following. She has sold over ten million records worldwide.

The Trump team, which has already been turned down by most of the entertainers they have asked to perform at the inauguration, sent an invitation to Church. Church tweeted her reply directly to Trump @realDonaldTrump:

“Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration, a simple Internet search would show I think you’re a tyrant. Bye.”

Her message was followed by four poop emoji.

This is the link to her tweet.

Australian Tennis Star: T-Shirt Statement on Trump

At the Australian Open tennis tournament, Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios made a statement about Donald Trump with his T-shirt. During his match with Rafael Nadal he wore a shirt that had Trump’s face covered with devil-like illustrations and the words “Fuck Donald Trump” at the bottom.

Nick Kyrgios wearing anti-Trump T-shirt

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: "Sessions has 30-year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants, disregard for the rule of law, and hostility to the protection of civil rights"

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing the confirmation of Sessions as Attorney General, saying:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations committed to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, and the 144 undersigned organizations, we are writing to express our strong opposition to the confirmation of Senator Jefferson B. Sessions (R-AL) to be the 84th Attorney General of the United States.
Senator Sessions has a 30-year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants, disregard for the rule of law, and hostility to the protection of civil rights that makes him unfit to serve as the Attorney General of the United States. In our democracy, the Attorney General is charged with enforcing our nation’s laws without prejudice and with an eye toward justice. And, just as important, the Attorney General has to be seen by the public—every member of the public, from every community—as a fair arbiter of justice. Unfortunately, there is little in Senator Sessions’ record that demonstrates that he would meet such a standard.

To read the whole letter go here

Shaun King: "One of the most dishonest men on Earth is about to become our leader"

Shaun King’s column in the Monday, January 9 New York Daily News was titled “Americans must call Trump out on lies, not get so used to them that we become desensitized to his dishonesty.” King writes, in part:

Last night, Meryl Streep, in an acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award that she won at the Golden Globes, reminded the audience that our incoming President once openly mocked a reporter with a physical disability from the stage of a rally....Trump has now outrageously said he has no recollection of ever meeting Kovaleski and was not aware of his disability, but that is another outrageous lie. He did not meet Kovaleski once or twice. He did not meet him three or four times, or even half a dozen times, but met with Kovaleski at least a dozen times across the years. They met in Trump’s office, at events, and at press conferences. They were so close that Kovaleski described them as being “on a first name basis for years.”

To fight back against Streep reminding us of what he did, Trump is lying about lies about lies. His lies have so many layers that it often seems like he gets lost and simply cannot keep up....

Our incoming President of the United States is a liar. He tells them often. He lies far more often than he tells the truth. We must call him out on it. We must not become desensitized to his lies. We must not get so used to them that they become normal to us.

One of the most dishonest men on Earth is about to become our leader. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t deeply concerned about what comes next.

To read the whole piece by Shaun King, go here.

Meryl Streep at Golden Globe Awards Speaks Out on Trump: "When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose"

On Sunday night, January 8, Meryl Streep received The Cecil B. DeMille Award, an honorary Golden Globe Award given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” In accepting the award, she said, in part:

An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that—breathtaking compassionate work. But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

Watch Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech here

Jello Biafra on Trump: "What we're looking at here is Jim Crow 2.0"

Jello Biafra is the former lead singer for the band Dead Kennedys, known for songs like “California Über Alles” and “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” In a recent interview in Rolling Stone magazine he said:

As laughable as Rick Perry has been as governor of Texas and other [presidential] campaigns, he’s also very dangerous. At first they were saying Secretary of Agriculture for him, but then suddenly Secretary of Energy. That dude is in charge of our nukes now and he’s also part of a fundamentalist Christian doomsday cult. ... It was basically yet another cult like the one Sarah and Todd Palin prescribed, whose whole mindset was “Jesus is coming soon, and in order to expedite we should be wasting every last natural resource and clear-cutting every tree we can right now because Jesus is coming back again. It’s OK to run up further budget deficits, because Jesus loves America, he’s going to put the money back.”...

People are freaked out that Trump has made the head of Exxon the Secretary of State, and the guy is so tight and in bed with Putin—well, there’s another part of Rex Tillerson I hope people are going to highlight, too. He’s the one who finally admitted climate change existed as head of Exxon, but then he said mankind will adapt and so it’s no big deal....

What we’re looking at here is Jim Crow 2.0, and they’re going to be even more hardcore about that in the 2018 election, to keep anybody with a conscience from being able to vote. Look at who the new Attorney General is going to be, the same guy who in the Eighties said he thought the people in the Ku Klux Klan were all right “until I saw some of them smoked pot.”

Cornell William Brooks: NAACP opposes nomination of Jeff Sessions "bodily, spiritually, morally, by encouraging civil disobedience"

Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, and five other civil rights leaders were arrested January 3 after sitting in at Jeff Sessions’ office in Washington, DC, demanding the withdrawal of his nomination by Trump for Attorney General. In a January 5 interview on Democracy Now, Brooks said:

Our objections are, fundamentally, Senator Sessions represents a kind of dim and dystopian view of American civil liberties and civil rights. And so our objections are at least threefold, first of which is that he has demonstrated an unwillingness to acknowledge the reality of voter suppression that we have seen from one end of the country to the other, as attested to in the Fourth Circuit decision that found voter suppression in North Carolina, the Fifth Circuit decision which found voter suppression in Texas. He has not acknowledged the reality of that, and certainly not the reality of voter suppression in his own state...

In terms of immigration rights, he is one—among one of the most conservative, ultraconservative, extremist senators in terms of his opposition to comprehensive immigration reform. In addition to that, he has voiced an openness to a immigration ban on a global religion, namely Islam, which cannot be squared in any way, shape, fashion or form with the U.S. Constitution.

Number three, his views on criminal justice reform stand in stark contrast to both red state and blue state governors. In other words, he stands for law and order in Nixonian and draconian terms, at a moment in which we have over 2 million Americans behind bars, 65 million Americans with criminal records, 1 million fathers behind bars....

Brooks said the NAACP is “unapologetically opposed” to Sessions and is calling for civil disobedience protests:

The board of directors of the NAACP voted to oppose this nomination. And we’re doing so not only as a matter of policy, but we’re doing so bodily, spiritually, morally, by encouraging civil disobedience—that is to say, standing in the tradition of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, standing in that tradition by sitting down. And so, we understand that the odds may be difficult, but we, as the NAACP, don’t gauge our principled opposition to a nominee based upon odds and probabilities, but rather the rightness of the cause....

Read the whole interview here.

Joshua Pechthalt, Calif. Federation of Teachers President: “The similarities with the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s...are chilling”

In the November-December issue of California Teacher, Joshua Pechthalt, the president of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), which is part of the American Federation of Teachers, has a piece titled “Responding to election of Donald Trump: Reassess, Mobilize, Defend.” Pechthalt writes:

In the last few weeks, I have had many discussions trying to sort out the implications of a Trump presidency. His nomination for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, who has been a pro-voucher, pro-charter school advocate, demonstrates he wants to privatize and charterize public schools. President-elect Trump is making clear where he wants to take the country.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has said positive things about the KKK and will likely head the Justice Department, indicates this administration will not be an advocate for criminal justice reform, voting rights, and countless other social justice efforts. More disturbing will be Trump’s appointments to the Supreme Court. A generation of justices will be in the majority and committed to an agenda that is opposed to union rights, women’s rights, voting rights, environmental protection, and other matters that will affect our children and grandchildren.

Trump has also strengthened his relationship with Steve Bannon, the former leader of Breitbart News and one of the leaders of a movement known as the alt-right. The alt-right sees this appointment as an opportunity to fan the flames of white nationalism, racism and anti-Semitism. One needs only to watch the Nazi salute at a recent gathering of alt-right supporters in the nation’s capital to be alarmed. The similarities with the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s, and the growing neo-fascist movement now gaining traction in Western European countries, are chilling and require a response...

The issue of California Teacher containing the article by Pechthalt is available online here.

Thousands Sign Petition Against University of Tennessee Marching Band Participation in Trump Inauguration

The University of Tennessee marching band is scheduled to march in Trump’s Inauguration parade, but a lot of alumni of the school and residents of Tennessee are protesting this. More than 3,340 people have already signed an online petition calling on the president and director of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to stop the university marching band from playing in the inaugural parade. The change.org petition, signed “Concerned Citizens and Alumni,” says in part:

As either proud residents of Tennessee or proud University of Tennessee alumni, we are greatly disturbed by the behavior exhibited by Donald Trump both during and after the recent presidential campaign. He has made racist and sexist remarks that should never come out of the mouth of someone in public office.

As residents of Tennessee, we believe that the attendance at the upcoming inauguration of a band representing the state of Tennessee would condone this behavior. As alumni, we believe that no university should risk its reputation and credibility by welcoming such ignorance and celebrating a man like Trump. It is for this reason that we urge that the band not march at the upcoming inauguration.

San Francisco teacher calling on educators across the country to take up the "NO!"

Rosie O'Donnell on Trump: "Less than 3 weeks to stop him"

On January 1, comedian and TV entertainer Rosie O’Donnell tweeted:

DONALD TRUMP IS MENTALLY UNSTABLE -

LESS THAN 3 WEEKS TO STOP HIM AMERICA

 

The day before, in response to a Donald Trump New Year’s Eve tweet, O’Donnell tweeted:

@realDonaldTrump - we know what to do RESIST YOU - and everything you represent #notANYONESpresident #resist #liar #cheater #fraud #crook

She also tweeted:

Nobody can go back
and start a new beginning,
but anyone can start today
and make a new ending.
~ Maria Robinson

Then on January 3, @ROSIE retweeted:

#NoFascistUSA ‏@RefuseFascism

The amount of flak @Rosie O’Donnell is taking right now for stating fact, as if SHE’s out of line, is criminal. #NoFascistUSA #DontNormalize

Petition at Olivet Nazarene, Christian University, Speaks Out Against Trump's "well-documented sexism, his political alliances with white supremacists, and his hostility toward immigrants and refugees"

Olivet Nazarene is a Christian university located south of Chicago in Illinois. When school officials announced that the Olivet Nazarene band would be taking part in Trump’s inauguration, there was immediate opposition. An online petition, “Withdraw Olivet Nazarene University from Inaugural Parade,” has gathered over 2,000 signers. The petition, addressed to the college president and administrators, says in part:

Sadly, President-elect Trump has consistently articulated and advocated policies that undermine the Christian commitments of communities like Olivet. His well-documented sexism, his political alliances with white supremacists, and his hostility towards immigrants and refugees are just a few positions incompatible with Christian teachings in general and the Nazarene message of holiness in particular.

Any university presence at the inauguration would suggest toleration or, even worse, endorsement of the President-elect’s objectionable attitudes on these and other issues. Such a presence is simply unacceptable.

We call on you to decline this and any other invitations to participate in President-elect Trump’s inaugural festivities. We make this request not out of partisan opposition. Both educational and religious organizations should be capable of holding differing political opinions within the bonds of community. Yet, conservatives and liberals alike acknowledge that President-elect Trump has demeaned and alienated many, with little or no effort made towards reconciliation. For Olivet to embody the faith it proclaims, we have a responsibility to stand with those marginalized by the President-elect’s divisive rhetoric rather than march in celebration of it.

Rebecca Ferguson Says She'll Sing at Trump Inauguration Invite IF She Can Sing "Strange Fruit"

Rebecca Ferguson is a British singer and songwriter. Her 2015 album “Lady Sings the Blues,” covering classic songs by Billie Holiday, made the charts in the UK. Ferguson says she was asked to sing at Trump’s inauguration and says she will do it.... IF she can sing “Strange Fruit”—a song first recorded by Billy Holliday in 1939 that scathingly indicts the lynchings of Black people in the American South. Ferguson wrote on TwitLonger:

I’ve been asked and this is my answer. If you allow me to sing “strange fruit” a song that has huge historical importance, a song that was blacklisted in the United States for being too controversial. A song that speaks to all the disregarded and down trodden black people in the United States. A song that is a reminder of how love is the only thing that will conquer all the hatred in this world, then I will graciously accept your invitation and see you in Washington. Best Rebecca X

Gregg Popovich, Coach of NBA San Antonio Spurs: "[Trump] is in charge of our country. That's disgusting"

Soon after the election, Gregg Popovich, one of the top coaches in the National Basketball Association (NBA), was asked to comment on Trump’s victory. The following are excerpts from his comments:

It’s our country, we don’t want it to go down the drain. Any reasonable person would come to that conclusion. But it does not take away the fact that he is fear-mongering—all the comments, from day one—the race baiting, trying to make Barack Obama, the first Black president, illegitimate. It leaves me wondering where I’ve been living and with whom I’m living.

And the fact that people can just gloss that over and start talking about the transition team, and we’re all gonna be kumbaya now and try to make the country good without talking about any of those things. And now we see that he’s already backing off of immigration and Obamacare and other things, so was it a big fake? Which makes you feel it’s even more disgusting and cynical that somebody would use that to get the base that fired up. To get elected. And what gets lost in the process are African-Americans, and Hispanics, and women, and the gay population, not to mention the eighth-grade developmental stage exhibited by him when he made fun of the handicapped person. I mean, come on. That’s what a seventh-grade, eighth-grade bully does. And he was elected president of the United States. We would have scolded our kids. We would have had discussions and talked until we were blue in the face trying to get them to understand these things. And he is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting.

See a YouTube of Popovich (along with another NBA coach, Stan Van Gundy) commenting on Trump here.

Mormon Tabernacle Singer Quits Over Trump Inauguration: "I could never throw roses to Hitler."

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is scheduled to sing at Trump’s inauguration and 19,000 members of the Mormon Church have already signed a petition against them performing. Now, a member of the choir, Jan Chamberlin, has resigned over this, saying, “I could never throw roses to Hitler. And I certainly could never sing for him." Her letter, which was posted on Facebook, says:

Since “the announcement” [of the Choir performing at the inauguration], I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony. I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul.

I’ve tried to tell myself that by not going to the inauguration, that I would be able to stay in Choir for all the other good reasons.

I have highly valued the mission of the Choir to be good-will ambassadors for Christ, to share beautiful music and to give hope, inspiration, and comfort to others.

I’ve tried to tell myself that it will be alright and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man.

But it’s no use. I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could never look myself in the mirror again with self respect...

I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and fascism by singing for this man...

Tyranny is now on our doorstep; it has been sneaking its way into our lives through stealth. Now it will burst into our homes through storm. I hope that we and many others will work together with greater diligence and awareness to calmly and bravely work together to defend our freedoms and our rights for our families, our friends, and our fellow citizens. I hope we can throw off the labels and really listen to each other with respect, love, compassion, and a true desire to bring our energies and souls together in solving the difficult problems that lie in our wake...

History is repeating itself; the same tactics are being used by Hitler (identify a problem, finding a scapegoat target to blame, and stirring up people with a combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear, and gathering the funding). I plead with everyone to go back and read the books we all know on these topics and review the films produced to help us learn from these gargantuan crimes so that we will not allow them to be repeated. Evil people prosper when good people stand by and do nothing.

We must continue our love and support for the refugees and the oppressed by fighting against these great evils.

For me, this is a HUGELY moral issue....

I only know I could never “throw roses to Hitler.” And I certainly could never sing for him.

To read the whole letter go here.

Rockette Speaks Out Against Trump: "A moral issue, a women's issue"

The Radio City Rockettes, whose trademark routine is a line of dancers doing eye-high leg kicks in perfect unison, are scheduled to perform at Trump’s inauguration. Right away there were signs that some of the dancers are very disturbed about this. In a shameful move, the union representing the Rockettes, the American Guild of Variety Artists, sent an email to the dancers saying they were “obliged” to perform at the inauguration. Later the company that owns the Radio City Rockettes, the Madison Square Garden Company, told Rolling Stone magazine that individual dancers “are never told they have to perform at a particular event, including the inaugural. It is always their choice.” But one can imagine the pressure being put on these women to perform and what it could mean for their careers if they refuse.

Recently, MarieClaire.com wrote a piece about this controversy, including quotes from an exclusive interview they did with “Mary,” one of the Rockettes. The following are some excerpts from this article:

The dancer next to Mary was crying. Tears streamed down her face through all 90 minutes of their world-famous Christmas Spectacular as they kicked and pirouetted and hit mark after mark on the glittering Radio City Music Hall stage. This was Thursday, three days before Christmas, the day the Rockettes discovered they’d been booked to perform at the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

“She felt she was being forced to perform for this monster,” Mary told MarieClaire.com in an exclusive interview. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable standing near a man like that in our costumes,” said another dancer in an email to her colleagues.

For Mary? “If I had to lose my job over this, I would. It’s too important. And I think the rest of the performing arts community would happily stand behind me.” ...

“There is a divide in the company now, which saddens me most,” Mary says. “The majority of us said no immediately. Then there’s the percentage that said yes, for whatever reason—whether it’s because they’re young and uninformed, or because they want the money, or because they think it’s an opportunity to move up in the company when other people turn it down.” ...

Mary says that to her knowledge, no women of color have signed up to perform that day. “It’s almost worse to have 18 pretty white girls behind this man who supports so many hate groups.” ...

“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue—this is a women’s rights issue,” she continues. “This is an issue of racism and sexism, something that’s much bigger than politics. We walk into work and everyone has different political views. The majority of the stage crew are Trump supporters; there’s a ‘Make America Great Again’ bumper sticker on the crew doors at the side of the stage.”

But the majority of the staff skews liberal, she says, especially considering the many LGBT employees at Radio City. “It’s the ensemble. It’s the people in our wardrobe and hair department, some of whom are transgender,” she says. “These are our friends and our family, who we’ve worked with for years. It’s a basic human-rights issue. We have immigrants in the show. I feel like dancing for Trump would be disrespecting the men and women who work with us, the people we care about.”

On December 29, former Rockette Autumn Withers said in an interview on cable news channel MSNBC that the group has performed at previous inaugurations but Trump is different:

[W]e’ve never had an incoming president who has publically and repeatedly demeaned women and said derogatory things about women. And I think that’s what makes this is a really unique situation and elevates it above a situation of just doing your job as a Rockette as you would for any other event and elevates it to a moral issue, a woman’s rights issue. What does this say, the optics of having the Rockettes perform at Trump’s inauguration? How does that normalize these comments and remarks that Trump has made to women at large and is that OK?

He has talked about grabbing women’s genitals, he has called them names from dogs, pigs, slobs, crooked, nasty. And to have a beautiful line of women dancing behind him I think on a larger level kind of normalizes his derogatory comments. I have Republican female family members and even when you bring up his comments they’re very uncomfortable and they still agree that this is a women’s rights issue....

The whole MarieClair.com article is available here.

To listen to the MSNBC interview with Autumn Withers, go here.

1,500 Past and Current Fulbright Scholarship Recipients: "The consequence [of Trump becoming president] could be dire for both international cooperation and peace"

The Fulbright Program, funded by the U.S. government and private sources, gives prestigious scholarships to about 8,000 recipients yearly—for students, academics, artists and others in the U.S. to study and do research abroad and for recipients in other countries to do the same in the U.S. After the presidential election, three past and current Fulbright grant recipients wrote an open letter expressing alarm at Trump’s victory. The letter has gathered signatures from over 1,500 other past and current Fulbright scholarship recipients from 95 countries.

Their letter says in part: “We have, for the last eighteen months, watched the electoral process unfold in the United States as the president-elect openly engaged in demagoguery against a number of vulnerable populations, courted hate groups, threatened the press, and promised vindictive actions against his opponents. This is not populism; it is recklessness. The consequence could be dire for both international cooperation and peace. We are now worried by the prospect of his inauguration into one of the world’s most powerful offices with the power to carry out his stated intentions. While we respect the American electoral system, we write to express our deepest concerns.”

The letter and list of signatories are available online here.

Franz Wasserman, Survivor of Nazi Germany: “We have to counter this trend toward fascism in every way we can.”

Franz Wasserman, 96 years old, was a youth in Germany during the 1930s and saw the rise of the Nazis first-hand. He’s never considered himself an activist. But with the election of Trump, he felt he had to act. He wrote a letter to U.S. senators warning of the parallels between Trump and Hitler—and shared it with others. Jerry Lange, a columnist for the Seattle Times, received a copy, and he wrote a piece on Wasserman that appeared on December 26.

Wasserman begins the letter: “I was born in Munich, Germany, in 1920. I lived there during the rise of the Nazi Party and left for the U.S.A. in 1938. The elements of the Nazi regime were the suppression of dissent, the purging of the dissenters and undesirables, the persecution of communists, Jews and homosexuals and the ideal of the Arians as the master race. These policies started immediately after Hitler came to power, at first out of sight but escalated gradually leading to the Second World War and the holocaust. Meanwhile most Germans were lulled into complacency by all sorts of wonderful projects and benefits.”

Today, Wasserman writes, “The neo-Nazis and the KKK have become more prominent and get recognition in the press. We are all familiar with Trump’s remarks against all Muslims and all Mexicans. But there has not been anything as alarming as the appointment of Steve Bannon as Trump’s Chief Strategist. Bannon has, apparently, made anti-Semitic remarks for years, has recently condemned Muslims and Jews and he and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the pick as National Security Adviser, advocate the political and cultural superiority of the white race. At the same time Trump is trying to control the press... We can hope that our government of checks and balances will be more resistant than the Weimar Republic was. Don’t count on it.”

The Seattle Times article with quotes from Franz Wasserman and his story is available here.

Feminist Scholars: "We cannot and will not comply. Our number one priority is to resist."

The following “Statement by Feminist Scholars on the Election of Donald Trump as President” is posted at a number of sites on the Internet and so far has more than 900 signatories:

“On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, a sizeable minority of the U.S. electorate chose to send billionaire Donald Trump, an avowed sexist and an unrepentant racist, who has spent nearly forty years antagonizing vulnerable people, to the White House. Spewing hatred at women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and those with disabilities is Trump’s most consistent, and well-documented form of public engagement. Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women because, as he quipped, his celebrity made it easy for him to do so. We can only assume that the hostile climate and anxiety about what is to come were contributing factors. The political shift we are witnessing, including the appointment of open bigots to the president-elect’s cabinet, reaffirms the structural disposability and systemic disregard for every person who is not white, male, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, and middle or upper class.

“As a community of feminist scholars, activists and artists, we affirm that the time to act is now.  We cannot endure four years of a Trump presidency without a plan. We must protect reproductive justice, fight for Black lives, defend the rights of LGBTQIA people, disrupt the displacement of indigenous people and the stealing of their resources, advocate and provide safe havens for the undocumented, stridently reject Islamophobia, and oppose the acceleration of neoliberal policies that divert resources to the top 1% and abandon those at the bottom of the economic hierarchy. We must also denounce militarization at home and abroad, and climate change denial that threatens to destroy the entire planet.

“We must also reject calls to compromise, to understand, or to collaborate. We cannot and will not comply. Our number one priority is to resist. We must resist the instantiation of autocracy. We must resist this perversion of democracy. We must refuse spin and challenge any narratives that seek to call this moment “democracy at work.” This is not democracy; this is the rise of a 21st century U.S. version of fascism. We must name it, so we can both confront and defeat it. The most vulnerable, both here and abroad, cannot afford for us to equivocate or remain silent. The threats posed by settler colonialism and empire around the globe have never been more real, nor has our resolve to oppose these injustices ever been stronger. Concretely, within the U.S., we oppose the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the establishment of a registry for Muslim residents.

“We owe this moment and the communities we fight for our very best thinking, teaching, and organizing. We must find creative solutions to address the immediate needs of those who will be acutely affected within the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency. We must push ourselves into new, and more precise and radical analytical frameworks that can help us to articulate the stakes of this moment.

“The most important thing we can do in this moment is to make an unqualified commitment to those on the margins through our actions, insist that the media be allowed to do its job; and protect the right to protest and dissent. We recognize clearly that our silence will not protect us. Silence, in the aftermath of 11/8 is not merely a lack of words; it is a profound inertia of liberatory thought and praxis. So - what are we waiting for? We are who we are waiting for. We pledge to stand and fight, with fierce resolve, for the values and principles we believe in and the people we love.”

The statement and list of signatories is available here.

 

Center for Constitutional Rights: “We must resist and prevent at all costs a slide into American fascism”

Shortly after Trump’s election, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York City issued this statement:

"We send love and solidarity to all those who are hurting and afraid that Donald Trump’s America excludes them. We share the despair of the millions who are in shock that a candidate supported by the KKK has won the presidency of the United States.

"If there is a silver lining in this election result it is that it is impossible now to deny the racism, sexism, and xenophobia that have been part of America for centuries. Our duty is to stand together with all those who dissent from this bigotry and to defend and protect vulnerable communities. That has been CCR’s mission for 50 years, and we will work harder than ever to defend civil and human rights and the U.S. Constitution.

"The dangers of a Trump presidency go beyond the attacks on people of color, women, Muslims, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQI people, and people with disabilities. His campaign was marked by the strategies and tactics of authoritarian regimes: endorsing and encouraging violence against political protesters, threatening to jail his opponent, refusing to say he would accept the results of the election if he lost, punishing critical press. Together with all those who value freedom, justice, and self-determination, we must resist and prevent at all costs a slide into American fascism.

"Resistance is our civic duty."

Lauren Duca, Teen Vogue Editor: Trump's "Gaslighting" and the Fight for the Truth

Lauren Duca is an editor for Teen Vogue magazine and has been a contributing reporter/writer for several other magazines including Huffington Post, Vice, New York, and The New Yorker. In a December 10, article published in Teen Vogue titled “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America,” she writes:

“Trump won the Presidency by gas light. His rise to power has awakened a force of bigotry by condoning and encouraging hatred, but also by normalizing deception. Civil rights are now on trial, though before we can fight to reassert the march toward equality, we must regain control of the truth. If that seems melodramatic, I would encourage you to dump a bucket of ice over your head while listening to ‘Duel of the Fates.’ Donald Trump is our President now; it’s time to wake up.

“‘Gas lighting’ is a buzzy name for a terrifying strategy currently being used to weaken and blind the American electorate. We are collectively being treated like Bella Manningham in the 1938 Victorian thriller from which the term ‘gas light’ takes its name. In the play, Jack terrorizes his wife Bella into questioning her reality by blaming her for mischievously misplacing household items which he systematically hides. Doubting whether her perspective can be trusted, Bella clings to a single shred of evidence: the dimming of the gas lights that accompanies the late night execution of Jack’s trickery. The wavering flame is the one thing that holds her conviction in place as she wriggles free of her captor’s control.

“To gas light is to psychologically manipulate a person to the point where they question their own sanity, and that’s precisely what Trump is doing to this country.... At the hands of Trump, facts have become interchangeable with opinions, blinding us into arguing amongst ourselves, as our very reality is called into question.... The good news about this boiling frog scenario is that we’re not boiling yet. Trump is not going to stop playing with the burner until America realizes that the temperature is too high. It’s on every single one of us to stop pretending it’s always been so hot in here...

“The road ahead is a treacherous one. There are unprecedented amounts of ugliness to untangle, from deciding whether our President can be an admitted sexual predator to figuring out how to stop him from threatening the sovereignty of an entire religion. It’s incredible that any of those things could seem like a distraction from a greater peril, or be only the cherry-picked issues in a seemingly unending list of gaffes, but the gaslights are flickering. When defending each of the identities in danger of being further marginalized, we must remember the thing that binds this pig-headed hydra together. As we spin our newfound rage into action, it is imperative to remember, across identities and across the aisle, as a country and as individuals, we have nothing without the truth.”

To read the whole article go here.

Journalist Summer Brennan: "I promise to be a siren going off..."

On December 19, Summer Brennan, an award-winning investigative journalist, author, and visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, tweeted:

“Trump is a fascist. I promise to be a siren going off about this national disaster until it is averted or stopped. #resist”

Constitutional Law Scholars to Trump: "We feel a responsibility to challenge you in the court of public opinion"

In an open letter to Trump dated December 13, constitutional legal scholars associated with law schools across the U.S. wrote, “Some of your statements and actions during the campaign and since the election cause us great concern about your commitment to our constitutional system.”

The open letter gets into some of these issues: First Amendment protection of the rights of free speech and free press; “poisonous anti-Muslim rhetoric”; violation of government checks and balances; threats to overturn the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion; appointment of Alabama Senator Sessions, with a “troubling history on voting rights and civil rights,” as Attorney General; “baseless charges concerning voter fraud”; and “inflammatory rhetoric” that has been “taken as invitation to discriminate and to act out in all kinds of hate-filled ways.”

In the point on anti-Muslim attacks, the open letter notes: “To make matters worse, your proposed national security advisor, Michael Flynn, has described what he calls ‘Islamism’ as a ‘vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people’ that ‘has to be excised.’ Such rhetoric is shocking in its  ignorance and bigotry; it must not become normalized. We continue to hear talk of a ‘Muslim registry’ being created by your administration—or a nationality-based registry that would be a proxy for religious discrimination. To our national shame, the federal government during World War II carried out—and the Supreme Court’s discredited Korematsu decision upheld—the mass internment of Japanese Americans based upon no individualized suspicion of wrongdoing; the federal government under President Ronald Reagan subsequently apologized and paid reparations. We urge you to reconsider your naming of Flynn and to renounce a Muslim registry or anything like it.”

The open letter concludes: “Although we sincerely hope that you will take your constitutional oath seriously, so far you have offered little indication that you will. We feel a responsibility to challenge you in the court of public opinion, and we hope that those directly aggrieved by your administration will challenge you in the courts of law. We call upon legal conservatives who cherish constitutional values to join us in speaking law to power. And we call upon citizens, lawyers, educators, public officials, and religious leaders to use every legal means available to protect the most vulnerable members of our society and our constitutional guarantees. At no point that any of us can remember has this need been more imperative than it is now.”

See a pdf of the open letter and list of signatories here.

America Ferrera: Future under Trump is "terrifying" but "we can't give up the fight"

America Ferrera is an actress who has won many awards, including an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award. In a December 14 interview, she was asked, “How are you feeling about the future of our environment during the Trump administration?”  She said:

“When you have a president-elect who says he doesn’t even know if climate change is real, for the next four to eight years, the future looks pretty horrible. We know that climate change is real, and yet he’s still questioning it. So, that’s pretty terrifying. We haven’t had any time to waste for a long time now, and it’s a pretty devastating thing to start moving backward. So yes, I think that it’s really daunting. But we have to be committed to staying alert and staying awake and staying educated and using our voices to push back. It doesn’t mean it’s gonna be easy, or there’s ever going to be a defining last fight where we win and we never have to go back and defend the idea that climate change is the real thing we need to pay attention to. But we can’t give up the fight.”

Celebrities Refuse to Perform at Trump Inauguration

During his presidential campaign, many musicians, actors, and other celebrities spoke out against Donald Trump. And now he and his team are having a hard time getting musicians to perform at his inauguration. A number of celebrities have been asked and refused, and some have made it clear that if they are asked, they will refuse.

Read more here

Open Letter Protesting American Library Association Press Release: "I am absolutely not ready to work with President-elect Trump"

On November 20, Sarah Houghton wrote an Open Letter to Julie Todaro, President of the American Library Association, protesting a press release from the ALA in which Todaro stated, “We are ready to work with President-elect Trump, his transition team, incoming administration and members of Congress to bring more economic opportunity to all Americans and advance other goals we have in common.”

Houghton has been an active member of the ALA for 16 years and says, “I have never before this week considered canceling my membership.” Houghton says in her letter: “I am absolutely not ready to work with President-elect Trump. He has stood for racism, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination for his entire life—including during his campaign. Those are all things ALA stands firmly against. Explain to me why we’re ready to work with a bigot? Because I’m not ready for that at all. The rest of this release went on to detail some of the things libraries do for communities—coming off as a weak and pandering missive begging for scraps and, in truth, coming from a place of fear.”

Houghton points to another ALA press release that highlights “how libraries can advance specific policy priorities of the incoming Trump administration in the areas of entrepreneurship, services to veterans and broadband adoption and use” and says:

“This trajectory away from justice and toward collaboration with a fascist regime disturbs me greatly. These comments are tone deaf and, not only do not represent my values as a librarian, but do not represent the shared values of the American Library Association and its membership. There is a time to walk a middle road, to give voice to a moderate viewpoint of an organization’s membership. This is not that time. This is the time to stand tall and proud, and give voice to the fiery ethics and values that our profession has held dear for so long in the face of fascism and bigotry.

“I have no intention of supporting this incoming administration in any way whatsoever. With the transition team and other appointments being floated in the press, President-elect Trump has made it clear that racism, sexism, bigotry, assault, discrimination of all kinds, and the destruction of basic civil liberties are foundational to his administration’s philosophy. I refuse to be complicit in the work of the Trump administration and cannot in good faith remain part of a professional organization that chooses to be complicit.”

Read the whole letter here.

Celebrity Chefs vs. Trump

Anthony Bourdain, currently host of CNN’s travel and food show Parts Unknown, was asked in a recent interview about sushi chef Alessandro Borgognone’s decision to move his restaurant to Trump’s Washington, DC, hotel. Bourdain said he would “never eat in his restaurant” and felt “utter and complete contempt” for the chef. He explained, “I’m not asking you to start putting up barricades now, but when they come and ask you, ‘Are you with us?’ you do have an option. You can say, ‘No thanks, guys. I don’t look good in a brown shirt. Makes me look a little, I don’t know, not great. It’s not slimming.’” In a tweet on December 22, Bourdain said, “I am not ‘boycotting’ anything. I choose to not patronize chefs who tacitly support deporting half the people they’ve ever worked with”—clear reference to Trump’s threat to deport millions of Mexican immigrants.

José Andrés operates more than a dozen restaurants in cities including Washington, DC; Miami; Las Vegas; and Los Angeles. In 2015, after Trump made disgusting racist comments about Mexican immigrants, Andrés withdrew the commitment he’d made to open a restaurant in Trump’s new DC hotel. Trump sued him for breach of contract, seeking $10 million in damages. Andrés countersued, and said, “More than half of my team is Hispanic, as are many of our guests. And, as a proud Spanish immigrant and recently naturalized American citizen myself, I believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status.” Andrés tweeted on December 19: “I am a proud immigrant!! To my fellow immigrants thank you for the amazing work you do every day. #ToImmigrantsWithLove” Trump is required to appear to be deposed in Andrés’s suit, just weeks before his scheduled inauguration.

Fiona Apple's Christmas Song: "Trump's nuts roasting on an open fire..."

At the December 18 “We Rock with Standing Rock” benefit concert in Los Angeles, singer Fiona Apple did a fiery performance of her version of the Christmas standard “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” that begins: “Trump’s nuts roasting on an open fire...” She ends with “Donald Trump... Fuck You!” to the loud cheers of the audience. Watch it here:

George Polisner, Executive of Tech Company Oracle: "I am here to oppose [Trump] in every possible and legal way"

George Polisner, a top executive at the tech corporation Oracle, publicly resigned from the company on December 19 after Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz announced she was going to join Trump’s presidential transition team. Catz was among the executives from major tech companies, including Amazon, Google, and Apple, who met with Trump last week—a shameful meeting that helped to lend legitimacy to the Trump-Pence fascist cabal. When Polisner learned of this, he sent his letter to Catz and at the same time posted it on the LinkedIn website.

His resignation letter says in part, “Trump stokes fear, hatred and violence toward people of color, Muslims and immigrants. It is well-known that hate crimes are surging as he has provided license for this ignorance-based expression of malice.... He seeks to eviscerate environmental protections, the public education system, LGBTQ rights and women’s rights.”

And Polisner says in the letter: “I am not with President-elect Trump and I am not here to help him in any way. In fact—when his policies border on the unconstitutional, the criminal and the morally unjust—I am here to oppose him in every possible and legal way.” (emphasis in the original)

Polisner told the UK Guardian that he decided to make his resignation letter public because he “decided it was too important to die as a private letter” and that “I thought I could either be a role model in terms of a path forward or a cautionary tale.”

Read George Polisner’s resignation letter here.

Actor Michael Sheen: "In the same way as the Nazis had to be stopped in Germany in the Thirties, this thing that is on the rise has to be stopped"

Michael Sheen is a Welsh stage and screen actor whose work includes starring roles in the 2008 film Frost/Nixon and the current Showtime series Masters of Sex. On December 17, the Sunday Times of London ran a profile on him, titled “Michael Sheen gets political. This time it’s for real.” The writer of the profile had expected Sheen to discuss his role in the upcoming sci-fi film Passengers. “Instead, Sheen, 47, wants to talk about politics. Lately, it’s been bothering him a lot. No, that’s not nearly strong enough. What he calls the ‘demagogic, fascistic’ drift of politics in the western world in the past few years, culminating in Donald Trump’s election victory, has left Sheen horrified, furious and determined to do everything he can to counter it. It’s why, after several years of increasing commitments to a broad spread of causes, including the NHS, Unicef, the Freedom of Information Act, fighting homelessness and campaigning against fracking, the actor is preparing to go all in. He plans to start fighting the rise of the ‘hard populist right’—evident in France, Austria, Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Britain and the United States—via grassroots organizing in his beloved Port Talbot (he pronounces it “P’Talbot”) and see where it takes him.” (Port Talbot is Sheen’s hometown in Wales.)

Later, the profile quotes Sheen saying, “In the same way as the Nazis had to be stopped in Germany in the Thirties, this thing that is on the rise has to be stopped. But it has to be understood before it can be stopped.”

The whole profile is available at the Times website here (the site requires registration for free access).

100+ Professors at Notre Dame Say: We are coming forward to stand with the professors you have called "dangerous"

A website called “Professor Watchlist,” run by a group called Turning Point USA, has posted the names of more than 200 professors they accuse of putting forward “leftist propaganda” and “discriminating” against right-wing students. This campus witch-hunt is a sign of the time of Trump.

Among the names appearing on the Watchlist are two Notre Dame academics: philosophy professor Gary Gutting and Iris Outlaw, director of Multicultural Student Programs and Services. The Watchlist said Gutting was added because he wrote that the country’s “permissive gun laws are a manifestation of racism,” and Outlaw because she “taught a ‘white privilege’ seminar that pledged to help students acknowledge and understand their white privilege.”

In response, more than 100 Notre Dame faculty members published an open letter in the Observer, the student newspaper at Notre Dame, defying the Professor Watchlist. Their statement said in part: “We surmise that the purpose of your list is to shame and silence faculty who espouse ideas you reject. But your list has had a different effect upon us. We are coming forward to stand with the professors you have called ‘dangerous,’ reaffirming our values and recommitting ourselves to the work of teaching students to think clearly, independently, and fearlessly.

“So please add our names, the undersigned faculty at the University of Notre Dame, to the Professor Watchlist. We wish to be counted among those you are watching.”

The full letter and list of the names are available at the Observer site.

Return to top

In his December 5 piece titled "Trump's Agents of Idiocracy," in the New York Times, columnist Charles Blow wrote:

"What if Trump has shown himself beyond doubt and with absolute certainty to be a demagogue and bigot and xenophobe and has given space and voice to concordant voices in the country and in his emerging Legion of Doom cabinet? In that reality, resistance isn't about mindless obstruction by people blinded by the pain of ideological defeat or people gorging on sour grapes. To the contrary, resistance then is an act of radical, even revolutionary, patriotism. Resistance isn't about damaging the country, but protecting it..."

Read the whole column here

Return to top

MIT Faculty: "The President-elect has appointed individuals to positions of power who have endorsed racism, misogyny and religious bigotry, and denied the widespread scientific consensus on climate change."

More than 500 members of the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have issued a statement opposing Trump’s official appointments and “upholding the value of science and diversity.” The signers include people from every academic department at MIT, nine department and program heads, and four Nobel Prize recipients. Notable signatories to date include Susan Solomon, Co-Chair of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web inventor; Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor Emeritus; Joichi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab; and Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize winning author.

This is an important development, and this kind of stand needs to spread to other campuses and through the academic community, even as people get more clarity on the actual fascist nature of Trump and the incoming regime. Read the MIT faculty statement here.

Return to top

Shaun King: "No, we should not wait and see what a Trump administration does. We should organize our resistance right now."

New York Daily News columnist Shaun King's writes: "Now, in the name of a peaceful transition, both President Obama and Hillary Clinton are striking a conciliatory tone. I understand that such a tone is a tradition in American politics, but everything about Donald Trump and this election breaks with tradition. President Obama may feel obligated to strike such a tone, but I don't have such an obligation. Perhaps President Obama feels that by striking such a tone, it makes it more likely that Donald Trump will be moderate after his inauguration. I don't believe that for one second."

His column concludes: "We can't wait until he does those things before we act against him. We must outsmart and out-organize his team. I implore you to ignore anybody saying anything other than that. They've been wrong all year. We must act and we must act now."

Read Shaun King's piece here.

Return to top

Singer John Legend

"Trump is saying Hitler-level things in public... And I feel like it's dangerous for us to be complacent"

Read John Legend's comments here.

Return to top

Green Day at American Music Awards, November 20: NO TRUMP! NO KKK! NO FASCIST USA!

During the live TV broadcast of the American Music Awards on Sunday night, November 20, the punk rock band Green Day let loose with a defiant condemnation of Donald Trump. In the middle of performing “Bang Bang,” from their latest album Revolution Radio, the band, led by singer Billie Joe Armstrong, broke into the chant: 

“No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” 

ABC TV executives were reportedly thrown “completely off guard.” The audience gave Green Day a standing ovation. 

This is the kind of bold, truth-telling denunciation of Trump—calling out what he actually represents—that we need much more of, right now! 

Watch a video clip here.

Return to top

“Farewell, America” by author Neal Gabler, November 10

Whatever place we now live in is not the same place it was on Nov. 7. No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently ...

With Trump's election, I think that the ideal of an objective, truthful journalism is dead, never to be revived. Like Nixon and Sarah Palin before him, Trump ran against the media, boomeranging off the public's contempt for the press. He ran against what he regarded as media elitism and bias, and he ran on the idea that the press disdained working-class white America. Among the many now-widening divides in the country, this is a big one, the divide between the media and working-class whites, because it creates a Wild West of information – a media ecology in which nothing can be believed except what you already believe.

With the mainstream media so delegitimized — a delegitimization for which they bear a good deal of blame, not having had the courage to take on lies and expose false equivalencies — they have very little role to play going forward in our politics. I suspect most of them will surrender to Trumpism — if they were able to normalize Trump as a candidate, they will no doubt normalize him as president. Cable news may even welcome him as a continuous entertainment and ratings booster. And in any case, like Reagan, he is bulletproof. The media cannot touch him, even if they wanted to. Presumably, there will be some courageous guerillas in the mainstream press, a kind of Resistance, who will try to fact-check him. But there will be few of them, and they will be whistling in the wind. Trump, like all dictators, is his own truth.

Read more here.

Return to top

Architect Resigns from Association for Pledging to “Play Nice” with Trump

Two days after Trump’s election, Robert Ivy, the CEO and executive vice president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), sent a memorandum to the organization's members saying, “The AIA and its 89,000 members are committed to working with President-elect Trump to address the issues our country faces, particularly strengthening the nation’s aging infrastructure. … It is now time for all of us to work together to advance policies that help our country move forward.”

When Frederick “Fritz” Read, the founder and head of Read & Company Architects in Baltimore, saw this, he acted immediately. He sent a letter condemning Ivy’s statement and declaring his resignation from the AIA. He wrote: “The alacrity with which Robert Ivy hopped out there to promise the President-Elect that the AIA will play nice with his administration, without even a pro forma caution that what Mr. Trump has promised and threatened are deeply antithetical to the values that many of us cherish, is the final straw for me, the last bit of evidence I needed, that our only serious interest as an organization has become a craven interest in securing our piece of the action. The AIA does not represent my personal or professional interests. Please consider this my resignation from the AIA, effective immediately, and remove both my name and that of my firm from your membership records. I am appalled.”

In a subsequent email to an official of the Baltimore AIA chapter who talked about how AIA relations with the U.S. government have always been and should continue to be “neutral,” Read wrote: “Am so curious how a pledge made explicitly on behalf of all 89,000 members of open-ended and unqualified support for a climate-change-denying, xenophobic, racist, sexist, repeated bankrupt can possibly be understood as a statement of organizational neutrality. … Ours is not an honorable history of willingness to forgo enrichment simply on principle, and this statement slips all too closely to the worst of that: are we all too young or forgetful to recall that Albert Speer was one of ours?” Speer was Hitler’s chief architect who headed major projects under the Nazi regime and became Minister of Armaments and War Production during World War 2.

Under mounting criticism from architects, architecture faculty, and other architecture professionals, Ivy and other leading AIA officials were forced to apologize to the membership for their craven remarks about working with the Trump administration.

Read more about this here at Architect News online

Return to top

Center for Biological Diversity: “Lash Out at the Darkness and Fight Like Hell”

In the November 10 issue of their online newsletter “Endangered Earth,” the Center for Biological Diversity included a statement saying, “We're only thinking about one thing right now: stopping Donald Trump from destroying the planet.” The statement goes on to say, “If President Trump carries out the disastrous promises he made while campaigning, the Environmental Protection Agency will be gutted, the Endangered Species Act will be repealed, old-growth forests will be clearcut, hard-fought global climate change agreements will be undermined, and polluters will be given free rein over our water and air.”

And the center vowed, “There's no way in hell we're letting that happen.” Read the entire statement here.

Read the Center's piece here.

Return to top

Jewish historians speak out on the election of Donald Trump

Hostility to immigrants and refugees strikes particularly close to home for us as historians of the Jews. As an immigrant people, Jews have experienced the pain of discrimination and exclusion, including by this country in the dire years of the 1930s. Our reading of the past impels us to resist any attempts to place a vulnerable group in the crosshairs of nativist racism. It is our duty to come to their aid and to resist the degradation of rights that Mr. Trump's rhetoric has provoked.

However, it is not only in defense of others that we feel called to speak out. We witnessed repeated anti-Semitic expressions and insinuations during the Trump campaign. Much of this anti-Semitism was directed against journalists, either Jewish or with Jewish-sounding names. The candidate himself refused to denounce—and even retweeted--language and images that struck us as manifestly anti-Semitic. By not doing so, his campaign gave license to haters of Jews, who truck in conspiracy theories about world Jewish domination.

Read entire statement here

Return to top

Issa Rae, Actor: "The scariest part is how normal it's becoming to some people"

Issa Rae is star of the HBO series Insecure. Sunday night, January 9, on the red carpet at the Golden Globes awards in Los Angeles., she was asked what she thought of Trump. Rae said:

Every single time I see a tweet from that man, every single time I see the administration that he’s bringing in, it just gets worse and worse. And the scariest part to me is how normal it’s becoming to some people. And I think we just have to keep calling things out, it’s like nope, you’re lying, nope, that’s not true, nope, that doesn’t work that way. As long as we don’t continue to let him slide, then there might be some hope, but it’s scary.

Actor Debra Messing: "This is a regime that will strip away the rights of millions..."

Debra Messing, best known for her starring role in the TV comedy series Will & Grace, tweeted on December 18:

This is a regime that will strip away the rights of millions. Threaten the lives of millions. And threatens the planet. #NOFASCISTUSA

Messing is one of the signatories of the Call to Action of RefuseFascism.org. On Wednesday, January 4, when the Call appeared as a full page in the New York Times, she tweeted a photo of that Times page with the #NoFascistUSA hashtag and link to refusefascism.org.

Literary Magazine Editor Philip Elliot: "Fascism is rising. Not just in the U.S. but across Europe too"

Philip Elliot is the editor-in-chief of Into The Void, a print and digital literary magazine based in Dublin, Ireland, “dedicated to providing fantastic fiction, nonfiction, poetry and visual art from all over the world.” In a recent roundtable with several editors, the online journal The Review Review asked the question “How Will a Trump Presidency Impact Literary Magazines?” Elliot answered:

Fascism is rising. Not just in the U.S. but across Europe too. In the West we’re experiencing similar circumstances that led to its rise a century ago and now the wheel has turned again. People say to me, especially because I live in Ireland, that I’m overreacting to this; that’s it’s just more politics, everything will blow over, etc. They fail to see the bigger picture. What’s been put into motion here, catalyzed by the election but arisen from a far more complex sense of discontent and fear, is the greatest threat to our newly-progressive societies that we’ve ever seen. More than anything else, my fear is that we as artists and curators of art will allow our way of thinking to become the “It’s just politics, it will all blow over soon” attitude. I fear that because nothing terrible is going to happen right away, we will normalize this whole affair and accept it. What people forget is that Hitler began his slow climb to absolute power in 1918. Bad things are coming, that’s for certain, but they will come slowly, and they will come under the guise of good. As writers, we peer under the masks of things for a living and that skill is more important now than ever. Art’s duty to criticize the bad and protect the good is infinitely more important in times of darkness. It reminds us what we can be. And it must also remind us of the terrible evil we once did. Because if we truly remembered, how could we have let this happen again? At Into the Void, we’ll be paying close attention to work that criticizes the actions of our supposed leaders in the months and years to come.

Elliot’s comments and others can be found here.

Petition Against Museum Loan of Art for Inauguration: "We object...to an implicit endorsement of the Trump presidency"

When the St. Louis Art Museum announced that they were making an artwork from their collection available on loan to serve as a centerpiece of the Trump inauguration luncheon, art historian Ivy Cooper and artist Ilene Berman began an online petition calling for the cancellation of the loan. According to the petition, the 1855 painting, “Verdict of the People” by George Caleb Bingham, “depicts a small-town Missouri election, and symbolizes the democratic process in mid-19th century America.” The petition goes on to say:

We object to the painting’s use as an inaugural backdrop and an implicit endorsement of the Trump presidency and his expressed values of hatred, misogyny, racism and xenophobia. We reject the use of the painting to suggest that Trump’s election was truly the “verdict of the people,” when in fact the majority of votes—by a margin of over three million—were cast for Trump’s opponent. Finally, we consider the painting a representation of our community, and oppose its use as such at the inauguration.

Art can be used to make powerful statements. Its withdrawal can do the same. Join us in our campaign.

As of January 6, close to 2,700 people have signed the petition, which is available here.

Gothamist.com on Refuse Fascism NY Times Ad: "It's a Noble Cause..."

In a January article at Gothamist.com, an article by Rebecca Fishbein titled “Celebrities, Activists Publish Anti-Fascist, Anti-Trump Ad In NY Times“ said, in part:

Rosie O’Donnell, Debra Messing, and a handful of celebrities and activists have joined forces with RefuseFascism.org, a Cornel West and Carl Dix-helmed group dedicated to opposing the incoming Trump Administration and calling Trump’s presidency “illegitimate.”

The group took out a full page ad in the Times yesterday calling for a month long resistance effort against Trump: [facsimile of the ad is included]

Refuse Fascism is also asking for donations to help reprint the Times ad in papers across the country, as well as “to support volunteers going to D.C., to produce millions of copies of Refuse Fascism material and get them out everywhere, and to support organizers and speakers.”

It’s a noble cause, and there’s nothing wrong with celebrities speaking out. Influential people should be speaking out against Trump, and advocating activism, and fighting him at every turn....

Rafael Jesús González, Poet and Literature Professor: “Full-fledged U.S. fascism has come”

Rafael Jesús González, poet and Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing & Literature, has taught at the University of Oregon, Western State College of Colorado, Central Washington State University, the University of Texas El Paso, and Laney College, Oakland where he founded the Mexican and Latin American Studies Dept. In a New Year’s Eve blog post, González wrote of Donald Trump:

Shall I repeat the litany of his faults—his misogyny, his racism, his homophobia, his bigotry, his profound ignorance? His analysis, his description, his judgment of anything does not go beyond stock superlatives; he knows nothing of ideas, much less policy, not an iota of science. “I am a business man,” he says proudly as if that justified all his conniving, his dishonesty, his thievery. Should we doubt it, he has his billions to prove it. So the empire now gets its own, homegrown Caligula. Sociopathic megalomaniac, he too may come to declare himself divine. True, we have been governed by criminals before (can one govern an empire and not be criminal?), but this is a case apart.

It is the cruelty I fear, the utter heartlessness in the face of suffering, the willingness, nay, the intent to cause suffering and pain. Nor compassion nor justice is a hallmark of the 1%, the Republican Party he represents and that brought him to power. (Being a Democrat is no guarantee of decency, but it seems that a decent Republican is an oxymoron.) With Republican control of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive (the proposed Cabinet reads like a Hitlerian wish-list), full-fledged U. S. fascism has come, a fascism prepared to destroy the Earth itself for the sake of wealth and power. Can it be called anything but madness?

He went on to write:

Democracy once lost is very hard to restore. Our resistance must be immediate and overwhelming, our love fierce, our joy protected. Our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities must be made bulwarks of justice, of refuge. Our schools sanctuary of freedom of thought and inquiry, our churches voices for justice rooted in compassion. Much is demanded of us and great may be the sacrifice, but if we all share it, it will be much, much less. Let us then take to the streets and public places dressed in our most joyful colors, making music with our drums and flutes, dragging our pianos out our doors if we must, dancing, singing, chanting, turning all our art into protest and celebration—and make our spaces truly our own.

Read the whole piece by Rafael Jesús González, titled “Thoughts for the Last Day of the Year 2016,” available in English and Spanish here.

More Than 1,100 Law Professors Tell Senate to Reject Sessions Nomination

More than 1,100 law school professors from across the country are behind a letter sent to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, January 2, calling for the rejection of Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions for attorney general. The letter says (in full):

We are 1140 faculty members from 170 different law schools in 48 states across the country. We urge you to reject the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for the position of Attorney General of the United States.

In 1986, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, in a bipartisan vote, rejected President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of then-U.S. Attorney Sessions for a federal judgeship, due to statements Sessions had made that reflected prejudice against African Americans. Nothing in Senator Sessions’ public life since 1986 has convinced us that he is a different man than the 39-year-old attorney who was deemed too racially insensitive to be a federal district court judge.

Some of us have concerns about his misguided prosecution of three civil rights activists for voter fraud in Alabama in 1985, and his consistent promotion of the myth of voter-impersonation fraud. Some of us have concerns about his support for building a wall along our country’s southern border. Some of us have concerns about his robust support for regressive drug policies that have fueled mass incarceration. Some of us have concerns about his questioning of the relationship between fossil fuels and climate change. Some of us have concerns about his repeated opposition to legislative efforts to promote the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ community. Some of us share all of these concerns.

All of us believe it is unacceptable for someone with Senator Sessions’ record to lead the Department of Justice.

The Attorney General is the top law enforcement officer in the United States, with broad jurisdiction and prosecutorial discretion, which means that, if confirmed, Jeff Sessions would be responsible for the enforcement of the nation’s civil rights, voting, immigration, environmental, employment, national security, surveillance, antitrust, and housing laws.
As law faculty who work every day to better understand the law and teach it to our students, we are convinced that Jeff Sessions will not fairly enforce our nation’s laws and promote justice and equality in the United States. We urge you to reject his nomination.

To read the statement with list of signatories go here.

 

Outrage at Simon & Schuster's Book Deal for Pro-Trump Racist

When the book publisher Simon & Schuster recently signed Milo Yiannopoulos, writer for Breitbart News Network, to a $250,000 book deal for the Threshold imprint, there was immediate outrage. Breitbart is a neo-Nazi, misogynistic, white-supremacist website whose former owner, Steve Bannon, is now Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor. As technology editor at Breitbart, Yiannopoulos promoted the vicious campaign known as “GamerGate,” a flood of viciously degrading attacks and terroristic threats against the very small number of prominent women in the video-game development community. Among the despicable things he’s written is: “...Donald Trump and the rest of the alpha males will continue to dominate the internet without feminist whining. It will be fun! Like a big fraternity...” And Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter this summer after his followers mounted a racist harassment campaign against Black comedian/actor Leslie Jones.

After the Simon & Schuster signing of Yiannopoulos, the Chicago Review of Books tweeted:

In response to this disgusting validation of hate, we will not cover a single @simonschuster book in 2017.

A bookstore in Dublin, Ireland, tweeted that it would not be carrying any Simon & Schuster titles:

Sometimes it’s a tough call for bookshops between respecting free speech and not promoting hate speech. Sometimes not. Byebye

Writer Danielle Henderson’s memoir is scheduled for publication by Simon & Schuster next year. Henderson wrote in a series of tweets:

I’m looking at my @simonschuster contract, and unfortunately there’s no clause for “what if we decide to publish a white nationalist”

But know this: i’m well aware of what hill I am willing to die on, and my morals and values are at the top of that list.

I will happily go back to slinging coffee—I’m not afraid to stand for what I believe in, and I make a MEAN cappuccino foam

Comedian Sara Silverman tweeted:

The guy has freedom of speech but to fund him & give him a platform tells me a LOT about @simonschuster YUCK AND BOO AND GROSS

Shannon Coulter, a marketing specialist who started a campaign to boycott Ivanka Trump products, tweeted (“@Lesdoggg” is Leslie Jones’ Twitter handle):

@simonschuster are you concerned $250k book deal you gave Milo Yiannopoulos will read as condoning the racist harassment @Lesdoggg endured?

 

 

Poet Nikky Finney: Talladega College should stand with others "protesting the inauguration of one of the most antagonistic, hatred spewing, unrepentant racists"

The January 2 announcement that Talladega College, a historically Black college in Alabama, would send its marching band to be part of Trump’s inauguration march was met with immediate outrage from many students and alumni. Nikky Finney, a poet whose 2011 work Head Off & Split won the National Book Award, is an alumna of Talladega and currently a chair in creative writing and Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina. Finney said of Talladega’s decision:

The news that Talladega College has forgotten its steady and proud 150 years of history, by making the decision to not stand in solidarity with other clear-eyed and courageous people, academic institutions, and organizations, protesting the inauguration of one of the most antagonistic, hatred-spewing, unrepentant racists, has simply and unequivocally broken my heart today. Historical Black colleges are duty bound to have and keep a moral center and be of great moral consciousness while also teaching its students lessons about life that they will need going forward, mainly, that just because a billionaire—who cares nothing about their 150 years of American existence—invites them to a fancy, gold-plated, dress-up party, they have the moral right and responsibility to say “no thank you,” especially when the blood, sweat, and tears and bodies, of black, brown, and native people are stuffed in the envelope alongside the RSVP.

This should have been a teachable moment for the President of Talladega College instead it has become a moment of divisiveness and shame. Bags of money and the promise of opportunity have always been waved in front of the faces and lives of struggling human beings, who have historically been relegated to the first-fired and the last-hired slots of life. It has been used to separate us before. It has now been used to separate us again.

Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons Coach: "We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus"

Speaking about Trump after his election victory, Stan Van Gundy, coach of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Detroit Pistons, said in part:

We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus, and I have problems with thinking that this is where we are as a country. It’s tough on [the team], we noticed it coming in. Everybody was a little quiet, and I thought, “Well, maybe the game the other night.” [The Pistons were badly beaten in the game that night.] And so we talked about that, but then Aron Baynes said, “I don’t think that’s why everybody’s quiet. It’s last night.”

It’s just, we have said—and my daughters, the three of them—our society has said, “No, we think you should be second-class citizens. We want you to be second-class citizens. And we embrace a guy who is openly misogynistic as our leader.” I don’t know how we get past that.

Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.” I would have believed in that for a long time, but not today.... What we have done to minorities... in this election is despicable. I’m having a hard time dealing with it. This isn’t your normal candidate. I don’t know even know if I have political differences with him. I don’t even know what are his politics. I don’t know, other than to build a wall and “I hate people of color, and women are to be treated as sex objects and as servants to men.” I don’t know how you get past that. I don’t know how you walk into the booth and vote for that. I understand problems with the economy. I understand all the problems with Hillary Clinton, I do. But certain things in our country should disqualify you. And the fact that millions and millions of Americans don’t think that racism and sexism disqualifies you to be our leader, in our country....

We presume to tell other countries about human-rights abuses and everything else. We better never do that again, when our leaders talk to China or anybody else about human-rights abuses. We just elected an openly, brazen misogynist leader and we should keep our mouths shut and realize that we need to be learning maybe from the rest of the world, because we don’t got anything to teach anybody...

To see a YouTube of Van Gundy’s remarks (along with another NBA coach, Gregg Popovich) go here.

Scientist Lawrence M. Krauss on "Donald Trump's War on Science"

Lawrence M. Krauss is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and director of its Origins Project. He was one of the producers of the documentary film The Unbelievers, which promotes a scientific view of the world. An article by Krauss appeared in the December 13 issue of The New Yorker titled, “Donald Trump’s War on Science.” In this article Krauss says:

The first sign of Trump’s intention to spread lies about empirical reality, “1984”-style, was, of course, the appointment of Steve Bannon, the former executive chairman of the Breitbart News Network, as Trump’s “senior counselor and strategist.” This year, Breitbart hosted stories with titles such as “1001 Reasons Why Global Warming Is So Totally Over in 2016,” despite the fact that 2016 is now overwhelmingly on track to be the hottest year on record, beating 2015, which beat 2014, which beat 2013. Such stories do more than spread disinformation. Their purpose is the creation of an alternative reality—one in which scientific evidence is a sham—so that hyperbole and fearmongering can divide and conquer the public.

Bannon isn’t the only propagandist in the new Administration: Myron Ebell, who heads the transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency, is another. In the aughts, as a director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, he worked to kill a cap-and-trade bill proposed by Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman; in 2012, when the conservative American Enterprise Institute held a meeting about the economics of a possible carbon tax, he asked donors to defund it. It’s possible, of course, to oppose cap-and-trade or carbon taxes in good faith—and yet, in recent years, Ebell’s work has come to center on lies about science and scientists. Today, as the leader of the Cooler Heads Coalition, an anti-climate-science group, Ebell denies the veracity and methodology of science itself. He dismisses complex computer models that have been developed by hundreds of researchers by saying that they “don’t even pass the laugh test.” If Ebell’s methods seem similar to those used by the tobacco industry to deny the adverse health effects of smoking in the nineteen-nineties, that’s because he worked as a lobbyist for the tobacco industry.

When Ebell’s appointment was announced, Jeremy Symons, of the Environmental Defense Fund, said, “I got a sick feeling in my gut.... I can’t believe we got to the point when someone who is as unqualified and intellectually dishonest as Myron Ebell has been put in a position of trust for the future of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the climate we are going to leave our kids.” Symons was right to be apprehensive: on Wednesday, word came that Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, will be named the head of the E.P.A. As Jane Mayer has written, it would be hard to find a public official in the United States who is more closely tied to the oil-and-gas industry and who has been more actively opposed to the efforts of the E.P.A. to regulate the environment. In a recent piece for National Review, Pruitt denied the veracity of climate science; he has led the effort among Republican attorneys general to work directly with the fossil-fuel industry in resisting the Clean Air Act. In 2014, a Times investigation found that letters from Pruitt’s office to the E.P.A. and other government agencies had been drafted by energy lobbyists; right now, he is involved in a twenty-eight-state lawsuit against the very agency that he has been chosen to head...

And the Trump Administration is on course to undermine science in another way: through education. Educators have various concerns about Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education—they object to her efforts to shield charter schools from government regulation, for example—but one issue stands above the rest: DeVos is a fundamentalist Christian with a long history of opposition to science. If her faith shapes her policies—and there is evidence that it will—she could shape science education decisively for the worse, by systematically depriving young people, in an era where biotechnology will play a key economic and health role worldwide, of a proper understanding of the very basis of modern biology: evolution....

Taken singly, Trump’s appointments are alarming. But taken as a whole they can be seen as part of a larger effort to undermine the institution of science, and to deprive it of its role in the public-policy debate. Just as Steve Bannon undermines the institution of a fact-based news media, so appointments like Ebell, Pruitt, McMorris Rodgers, Walker, and DeVos advance the false perception that science is just a politicized tool of “the élites.”

...It is not only scientists who should actively fight against this dangerous trend. It is everyone who is concerned about our freedom, health, welfare, and security as a nation—and everyone who is concerned about the planetary legacy we leave for our children.

To read the whole article go here.

Mormon Church Members Protest Mormon Tabernacle Choir Singing at Trump's Inauguration

Some members of the Mormon church are protesting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing at Trump’s inauguration. A petition saying “Mormon Tabernacle Choir Should NOT Perform at Trump Inauguration” has now been signed by close to 19,000 people. It says in part: “As members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we strongly urge the Church to stop this practice and especially for an incoming president who has demonstrated sexist, racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic behavior that does not align with the principles and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The online petition can be found here.

Law Students Speak Out Against Trump's Attorney General Nominee: "Sessions stated that he believed the Ku Klux Klan was okay"

After Trump nominated Alabama white supremacist and Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, the American Constitution Society (ACS) at Harvard Law School—one of the most prestigious law schools in the world—wrote a letter to Trump opposing the nomination and began distributing it for signatures through ACS chapters across the country. As of December 22, it was signed by 1,060 law students from many different schools.

The letter points at some of Sessions’s outrageous record:

*“As a four-term member of the U.S. Senate, former Alabama Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Senator Sessions consistently opposed laws advancing civil rights, environmental protections, reproductive rights, criminal justice, voting rights, immigration and marriage equality.”

*“During the unsuccessful confirmation hearing [for federal judgeship in 1986], witnesses testified under oath that Sessions described a white civil rights attorney as a ‘race traitor’; referred to a black attorney as ‘boy’; and called the ACLU, NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, National Council of Churches and other groups ‘un-American organizations.’”

*“During the 1986 hearing, a former colleague also testified that Sessions stated that he believed the Ku Klux Klan was okay, until he learned its members smoked marijuana.”

The letter and signatories are online here.

National Nurses United: Trump pick for Health and Human Services would throw "our most sick and vulnerable fellow Americans at the mercy of the healthcare industry"

National Nurses United (NNU) is the largest union of registered nurses in the United States. It recently organized a national network of volunteer RNs to go to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to meet the first aid needs of thousands who were there to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline. On December 22, the NNU sent a letter calling on the Senate to reject Trump’s nominee for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Tom Price.

According to a NNU press release, the letter says in part: “If confirmed, it is clear that Rep. Price will pursue policies that substantially erode our nation’s health and security—eliminating health coverage, reducing access, shifting more costs to working people and their families, and throwing our most sick and vulnerable fellow Americans at the mercy of the healthcare industry.”

Price has played a major role in attempts by Republicans to undercut or repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obama’s healthcare law (see “Tom Price, Trump’s Pick for Health and Human Services: A Slasher of Healthcare for the Poor and Women“). The NNU letter says: “Even today, four years after enactment of the Affordable Care Act, we have seen a drop in U.S. life expectancy rates for the first time in decades, millions of people who self-ration prescription medications or other critical medical treatment due to the high out-of-pocket costs, and continuing disparities in our health care system based on race, gender, age, socio-economic status, or where you live.

“While our organization repeatedly voiced concerns that the ACA did not go far enough, repealing the law, especially the expansion of Medicaid which extended health care coverage to millions of low and moderate income adults, and limits on some of the most chronicled abuses in our present insurance based system, would only exacerbate a healthcare crisis many Americans continue to experience...”

Read the NNU press release here.

Thousands of Doctors Speak Out Against Trump's Pick to Head Health and Human Services

On November 29, the American Medical Association (AMA), which represents about a quarter of doctors in the U.S., issued a statement saying that it “strongly supports” Trump’s nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Tom Price, and calling on the Senate to “promptly consider and confirm” him for the position.

In response, three physicians from the University of Pennsylvania—Drs. Manik Chhabra, Navin Vij and Jane Zhu—posted a statement online opposing the Trump nominee.  The statement has been signed by over 5,500 doctors as of December 16.

Their statement, “The AMA Does Not Speak for Us,” says in part:

We are practicing physicians who deliver healthcare in hospitals and clinics, in cities and rural towns; we are specialists and generalists, and we care for the poor and the rich, the young and the elderly. We see firsthand the difficulties that Americans face daily in accessing affordable, quality healthcare. We believe that in issuing this statement of support for Dr. Price, the AMA has reneged on a fundamental pledge that we as physicians have taken — to protect and advance care for our patients.

We support patient choice. But Dr. Price’s proposed policies threaten to harm our most vulnerable patients and limit their access to healthcare. We cannot support the dismantling of Medicaid, which has helped 15 million Americans gain health coverage since 2014. We oppose Dr. Price’s proposals to reduce funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a critical mechanism by which poor children access preventative care. We wish to protect essential health benefits like treatment for opioid use disorder, prenatal care, and access to contraception.

We see benefits in market-based solutions to some of our healthcare system’s challenges. Like many others, we advocate for improvements in the way healthcare is delivered. But Dr. Price purports to care about efficiency, while opposing innovations by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to improve value and eliminate waste in healthcare. He supports plans to privatize Medicare, a critical program which covers 44 million of our elderly patients.

The AMA’s vision statement includes “improving health outcomes” and “better health for all,” and yet by supporting Dr. Price’s candidacy — and therefore, his views — the AMA has not aligned itself with the well-being of patients.

For the complete statement and list of signatories, go here.

Return to top

Merrill Miller, Associate Editor of TheHumanist.com: "Now is the time for us to stand in solidarity with those who face oppression"

Merrill Miller is associate editor of TheHumanist.com and Communications Associate at the American Humanist Association. The January/February 2017 issue of the Humanist includes an article by Miller titled, “Who Will We Speak For? Humanism’s Role in Defending Human Rights and Civil Liberties.” The piece starts with the famous quote from Protestant pastor Martin Niemöller, who spent seven years in one of Hitler’s concentration camps, about how he had not spoken out when the Nazis attacked different sections of the people until there was no one left to speak for him.

Miller writes: “For many humanists and those in the progressive community at large, these past weeks have, in some ways, felt like decades. We’ve seen Hillary Clinton win the popular vote for president by an enormous margin and still lose the Electoral College to Donald Trump, who is now president-elect. We’ve seen Stephen Bannon, who fueled the fires of racism, sexism, and bigotry in his time at Breitbart News, named as a chief strategist for the Trump administration, as climate change deniers and individuals with no respect for church-state separation (Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, for one) are being nominated or considered for other top positions. We’ve heard talk of legislation that would chip away at our constitutional right to free, peaceable assembly, such as Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen’s bill to classify street protests as a form of ‘economic terrorism’...

“Humanists are in a unique position to demonstrate outrage...We must harness that capacity for outrage now—not just to defend church-state separation but to protect all of our basic human rights and civil liberties.

“We can start by directing that outrage at the notion that the government would profile and register people based on their race and religion, as the Muslim registry would do. While current discussions of this registry would focus on immigrants, Trump said during his campaign that he would require all Muslims to register, presumably including US citizens. Humanist groups should reach out to their local mosques and Islamic community centers and ask them what their community needs are and how to help...

“Now is the time for us to stand in solidarity with those who face oppression, whether they are undocumented immigrants in danger of losing their basic human dignity or women in danger of losing their hard-won reproductive rights. We must stand up for all people of color and LGBTQ individuals, who are terrified by the bigotry unleashed by Trump’s campaign and his coming presidency. We must stand up for healthcare for the elderly and for everyone in our nation or else more than 22 million people (as estimated by Vox) will be without it, even though a national, single-payer healthcare system should be considered a human right. We must stand with the labor movement to fight for economic justice for all low-wage workers, whose rights will be threatened by Republican-controlled executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of government. We must do all that we can to protect these and other vulnerable communities and individuals, because the very foundations of our democracy, our civil liberties, and our human rights are at stake. If humanists and nontheists don’t speak up for these marginalized groups while we can, there is a distinct possibility that when we’re specifically threatened, there will be no one left to speak for us.”

To read the full article go here.

Andrea Bocelli Fans Raise Uproar to Stop Him from Singing at Trump Inauguration

Apparently Donald Trump is a fan of the famous Italian opera tenor Andrea Bocelli. When word went out that Trump had approached Bocelli to perform at his inauguration, and there were reports that Bocelli had tentatively agreed (which, if true, is utterly shameful), there was a huge uproar of protest from Bocelli’s fans. Some threatened to #BoycottBocelli if he decided to sing on January 20. Here are a few tweets, among many: “Dumped @AndreaBocelli CD’s in trash, won’t be buying tickets to Feb. Orlando concert after all. DONE with him. Will #boycottBocelli forever.” “Please accept the inauguration offer because the Klu Klux Klan makes great fans!” “Contact @AndreaBocelli's booking agent & manager to warn of #BoycottBocelli if he sings for fascist Trump.” One fan wrote on Facebook: “Mr Bocelli, please do not sing for Donald Trump. He stands for racism, misogyny, and hatred of others. Music is beautiful, sacred. Don’t let this man buy you and desecrate art, hope, and beauty.”

In the face of the outrage from so many of his fans, Bocelli announced he would not be performing at the inauguration. Trump’s people claimed that they had rescinded the invitation.

Earlier, in the summer, the widow and daughters of another famous Italian tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, asked Trump to stop using his recording of Puccini’s aria “Nessun Dorma” at his campaign events. They said that “the values of brotherhood and solidarity which Luciano Pavarotti expressed throughout the course of his artistic career are entirely incompatible with the worldview offered by the candidate Donald Trump.”

Hollywood PR Agency Cancels Parties to "defend the values we hold dear"

Sunshine Sachs is a PR agency that represents stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Natalie Portman. Every year they usually hold a big holiday party, on both the East and West coasts. But this year they didn’t feel the usual “holiday cheer.” CEO Shawn Sachs said, “However I felt the morning after [Trump was elected] was nothing compared to how I felt talking to people in this office, those who felt their citizenship—in a matter of moments—was gone or had been lessened... Being the diverse workplace we are, many of us felt under assault.” So Sunshine Sachs cancelled its annual bicoastal holiday celebrations, and will donate the money that would have been spent for the lavish galas to 16 different organizations, including the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, the Environmental Defense Fund and Planned Parenthood. The agency sent out an email saying their decision was a gesture to “defend the values we hold dear.”

George Takei Speaks Out Against Trump on Nuclear Weapons and Registry for Muslims

Responding to Trump saying he wants to “strengthen and expand” the nuclear capabilities of the U.S., actor George Takei tweeted on Thursday, December 22: “Trump wants to expand our nuclear arsenal. I think of my aunt and baby cousin, found burnt in a ditch in Hiroshima. These weapons must go.”

Takei and his family spent years in one of the U.S. concentration (“internment”) camps for people of Japanese descent during World War 2. In his November 18 op-ed for the Washington Post titled, “They interned my family. Don’t let them do it to Muslims,” Takei wrote:

“During World War II, the government argued that military authorities could not distinguish between alleged enemy elements and peaceful, patriotic Japanese Americans. It concluded, therefore, that all those of Japanese descent, including American citizens, should be presumed guilty and held without charge, trial or legal recourse, in many cases for years. The very same arguments echo today, on the assumption that a handful of presumed radical elements within the Muslim community necessitate draconian measures against the whole, all in the name of national security....

“Let us all be clear: ‘National security’ must never again be permitted to justify wholesale denial of constitutional rights and protections. If it is freedom and our way of life that we fight for, our first obligation is to ensure that our own government adheres to those principles. Without that, we are no better than our enemies.

“Let us also agree that ethnic or religious discrimination cannot be justified by calls for greater security....”

In a December 8 interview on CNN, Takei said that during World War 2, before they were sent to an internment camp, his family was placed on a registry of Japanese Americans and subjected to a curfew: “We were confined to our homes from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the morning, imprisoned in our homes at night. Then they froze our bank accounts. We were economically paralyzed. Then the soldiers came... I remember the two soldiers walking up our driveway, marching up our driveway, shiny bayonets on the rifle, stopping at the front porch and with their fists started banging on the front door and that sound resonated throughout the house....”

Takei connected that history to what is happening today: “It is an echo of what we heard from World War II coming from Trump himself. That sweeping statement characterizing all Muslims. There are more than a billion Muslims in this world. To infer they are all terrorists with that kind of sweeping statement is outrageous, in the same way that they characterized all Japanese Americans as enemy aliens.”

Patti Smith's rendition of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" at Nobel Prize ceremony resonates powerfully today

At the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, singer Patti Smith performed a moving tribute to Bob Dylan, the winner of this year’s laureate for literature. She chose to sing one of Dylan’s songs—“A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” released in 1963, a time when the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam War protests were a sign of the times.

Check out the performance here:

The final stanza, especially, resonates very powerfully today:

“And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.”

Danny Glover: "We have to fight him every inch"

At a December 7 rally in Washington, DC, to support striking federal workers, actor Danny Glover criticized people who say Trump should be given “a chance.” Glover said, “Give him a chance what? We know who he is. We know exactly who he is. We have to accept that. But we have to fight him every inch. We have to fight him every moment.”

Time magazine had just come with their annual “Person of the Year” issue with Trump on the cover. Glover said, “It’s irresponsible to make him Person of the Year. Based on what? Based on the fact that he won the Electoral College? Based on the fact that he lied to people? Based on the fact that all the stories of all he’s done to women and what he thinks about women? Based on his racism? A racist as Person of the Year? I’m appalled, I’m appalled. I’m angry now that Time magazine would name this person Person of the Year. It’s incredible.” He said this was a “slap in our face” and “the most disrespectful thing.”

Rosie O'Donnell: "Not My President"

Actor and TV personality Rosie O’Donnell has been calling on people to stand up against Trump in a number of recent tweets. In response to someone who tweeted, “we need to organize an anti-Trump inauguration,” O’Donnell tweeted: “no one go – film urself – periscope STANDING keep saying ‘NOT MY PRESIDENT – LIFE – WITH MILLIONS OF OTHERS.” She also wrote “its called STAY HOME – DO NOT WATCH IT.” And she quoted from writer and journalist Norman Cousins: “There is nothing more powerful than an individual acting out of conscience.”

IBM Employees Denounce CEO's Collaboration with Trump

On November 15, IBM Corporation CEO, Ginni Rometty, published an open letter to Donald Trump, offering the tech giant’s cooperation to “advance a national agenda” and offering “ideas that I believe will help achieve the aspiration you articulated” in his Election-night acceptance speech.

The following week, Elizabeth Wood, a senior content specialist in IBM Marketing, wrote her own open letter, denouncing Rometty’s shameless offer to collaborate with the new fascist regime, and resigning from her position.

Wood’s letter said (all emphasis in original):

Your letter offered the backing of IBM’s global workforce in support of his agenda that preys on marginalized people and threatens my well-being as a woman, a Latina and a concerned citizen. The company’s hurry to do this was a tacit endorsement of his position. ...

“The president-elect has demonstrated contempt for immigrants, veterans, people with disabilities, Black, Latinx, Jewish, Muslim and LGBTQ communities. These groups comprise a growing portion of the company you lead, Ms. Rometty. ...

When the president-elect follows through on his repeated threats to create a public database of Muslims, what will IBM do? Your letter neglects to mention.1

Read Wood’s entire letter here.

Wood’s action inspired others at IBM to stand up. In early December, 10 current IBM employees started a petition to Rometty insisting that IBM has “a moral and business imperative to uphold the pillars of a free society by declining any projects which undermine liberty, such as surveillance tools threatening freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure,” and that “history teach[es] us that accommodating those who unleash forces of aggressive nationalism, bigotry, racism, fear, and exclusion inevitably yields devastating outcomes for millions of innocents.”2 And they specifically demand that IBM execs respect the right of individual employees to “refuse participation in any U.S. contracts that violate constitutional and civil liberties.”

The petition circulated privately at first, and went public on December 19. It now has at least 500 signatories—employees, former employees, IBM stockholders and others in the tech community. The petition is available online here.


1. On December 16, after Wood’s letter was published, as well as a statement from at least 800 tech workers saying they would refuse to work on such a Muslim registry, IBM, as well as Google, Apple and Uber, all told BuzzFeed that they also would refuse. [back]

2. This history includes the fact that IBM put its precursor to the computer—the IBM punch card sorter system—at the service of Hitler’s genocide of Jewish people. In IBM and the Holocaust, Edwin Black writes: “IBM Germany, using its own staff and equipment, designed, executed, and supplied the indispensable technologic assistance Hitler's Third Reich needed to accomplish what had never been done before—the automation of human destruction. More than 2,000 such multi-machine sets were dispatched throughout Germany, and thousands more throughout German-dominated Europe. Card sorting machines were established in every major concentration camp. People were moved from place to place, systematically worked to death, and their remains cataloged with icy automation.” [back]

Writers Resist NYC: Louder Together for Free Expression

On January 15, writers across the U.S. and other countries are holding Writers Resist events to “focus public attention on the ideals of a free, just, and compassionate society.” The “flagship” event on that day is slated for New York City and is co-sponsored by the writers’ group PEN America. It is described on the PEN America website as a “literary protest” that will be held on the steps of the New York City Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan “to defend free expression, reject hate crimes and uphold truth in the face of lies and misinformation.”

The protest “will bring together hundreds of writers and artists and thousands of New Yorkers on the birthday of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. American poet laureates Robert Pinsky and Rita Dove will each offer hope and inspiration with original ‘inaugural’ poems written for the occasion.”

And, “After the readings and performances, a group of PEN America leaders and any who wish to join will walk the blocks to Trump Tower together to present PEN America’s free expression pledge on the First Amendment signed by over 110,000 individuals to a member of the President-elect’s team. We are confident the reading at the library and the subsequent march, as two distinct but powerful events to uphold free expression and human rights for all, will be powerful.”

According to Writers Resist organizers, in addition to NYC, January15 events are planned for “Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Seattle, Spokane, Los Angeles, London, Zurich, Boston, Omaha, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Madison, Milwaukee, Bloomington, Baltimore, Oakland, Tallahassee, Newport, Santa Fe, Salt Lake, and Portland (Oregon AND Maine) and many other cities.”

For more on the protest and participants, go here.

500 Women Scientists: "We reject the hateful rhetoric that was given a voice during the U.S. presidential election..."

An online letter by a group of women scientists against Trump’s attacks on science and on his hateful poison directed at different sections of the people has gathered over 11,000 signatures from around the world as of December 23. In an article published by Scientific American, ecologist Kelly Ramirez said that, after the Trump-Pence victory, she and a small group of scientist friends began discussing “how can we take action?” On November 17, they posted their letter with signatures of 500 women scientists.

The letter begins: “Science is foundational in a progressive society, fuels innovation, and touches the lives of every person on this planet. The anti-knowledge and anti-science sentiments expressed repeatedly during the U.S. presidential election threaten the very foundations of our society. Our work as scientists and our values as human beings are under attack. We fear that the scientific progress and momentum in tackling our biggest challenges, including staving off the worst impacts of climate change, will be severely hindered under this next U.S. administration. Our planet cannot afford to lose any time.

“In this new era of anti-science and misinformation, we as women scientists re-affirm our commitment to build a more inclusive society and scientific enterprise. We reject the hateful rhetoric that was given a voice during the U.S. presidential election and which targeted minority groups, women, LGBTQIA [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual], immigrants, and people with disabilities, and attempted to discredit the role of science in our society. Many of us feel personally threatened by this divisive and destructive rhetoric and have turned to each other for understanding, strength, and a path forward. We are members of racial, ethnic, and religious minority groups. We are immigrants. We are people with disabilities. We are LGBTQIA. We are scientists. We are women.”

The letter outlines a number of actions that the signers pledge to take “to increase diversity in science and other disciplines.” The complete letter (available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Dutch, and Farsi), signatories, and other related information is available online here.

Mystery Writer Elizabeth George: "I will not ever accept what's going on right now in the US as the new normal"

Elizabeth George is a U.S.-based writer of mystery novels set in Great Britain. She is widely known for her series of books featuring Inspector Thomas Lynley. In a recent post titled “Mea Culpa” on her website, part of a series of essays on the 2016 elections, George wrote in part: “...what I cannot forgive is the effort being made on all sides to normalize what is going on, to say ‘let’s give him a chance.’ To this I say that, for me, what’s going on is not the new normal. So far and at the time of my writing this, Donald Trump has given cabinet positions to two of his billionaire friends, has chosen a Wall Street bigwig from Goldman Sachs to head the Treasury Department, has selected a foe not only of women’s rights to choose but also of insurance supplied contraception as his head of Health and Human Services, has chosen a racist as his attorney general, has chosen a climate-change denying non-scientist to head the EPA, has chosen a woman who sank the educational system in Detroit to be the head of the Department of Education.... If at some horrible point in the future, Muslims are told that they must register, I intend to register as a Muslim and I encourage everyone else to do the same. I will not ever accept what’s going on right now in the US as the new normal.”

She closes the essay with: “Normal is actually standing for something and drawing a line in the sand across which racial hatred, religious intolerance, sexual aggression, misogyny, fascism, Nazism, white supremacy, Hitler salutes, the Ku Klux Klan, and LGBTQ persecution dare not cross.

“That’s the new normal, that’s the old normal, and that’s the only normal that I will ever accept or support.”

Read the whole piece by Elizabeth George here.

Playwright and Literature Professor Ariel Dorfman: "Now America Knows How Chile Felt"

Ariel Dorfman is a Chilean-American playwright, novelist, human rights activist and an emeritus professor of literature at Duke University. In an op-ed titled “Now, America, You Know How Chileans Felt” that appeared in the New York Times on December 17, Dorfman describes how after Salvador Allende had won the presidential election in 1970, U.S. President Richard Nixon and the CIA worked to undermine the results, including the assassination of a general who stood in the way of the U.S. plans. When the U.S. was not able to block Allende’s inauguration, “American intelligence services, at Henry A. Kissinger’s behest, continued to assail our sovereignty, sabotaging our prosperity (‘make the economy scream,’ Nixon ordered) and fostering military unrest. Finally, on Sept. 11, 1973, Allende was ousted, replaced by a vicious dictatorship that lasted nearly 17 years. Years of torture, executions, disappearances and exile.”

Dorfman notes the irony of the CIA “now crying foul because its tactics have been imitated by a powerful international rival,” referring to allegations of Russian interference in U.S. elections. He writes that when Donald Trump dismisses those allegations, “he is bizarrely echoing the very responses that so many Chileans got in the early ’70s when we accused the C.I.A. of illegal intervention in our internal affairs.” And Dorman writes, “The United States cannot in good faith decry what has been done to its citizens until it is ready to face what it did so often to the equally decent citizens of other nations. And it must resolve never to engage in such imperious activities again.”

Ariel Dorfman’s piece is online here.

Neveragain.tech: "We refuse to facilitate mass deportations of people the government believes to be undesirable"

On December 13, a group of people who work in tech organizations and companies based in the U.S. issued a strong statement pledging “solidarity with Muslim Americans, immigrants, and all people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the incoming administration’s proposed data collection policies.” They said they refuse to build databases of people based on their religious beliefs and to facilitate mass deportations. Their statement was also in defiance of top execs from major tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Tesla, and Alphabet (Google), who a day earlier met with Trump, adding to the efforts to normalize fascism.

The statement says: “We have educated ourselves on the history of threats like these, and on the roles that technology and technologists played in carrying them out. We see how IBM collaborated to digitize and streamline the Holocaust, contributing to the deaths of six million Jews and millions of others. We recall the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. We recognize that mass deportations precipitated the very atrocity the word genocide was created to describe: the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey. We acknowledge that genocides are not merely a relic of the distant past—among others, Tutsi Rwandans and Bosnian Muslims have been victims in our lifetimes.

“Today we stand together to say: not on our watch, and never again.”

As of the evening of December 14 the statement has close to 800 signers. The statement and other resources are available here.

Return to top

In a piece titled "Forward Ever, Normal Never: Taking Down Donald Trump" in Monthly Review, Susie Day writes:

"People often compare the ascendance of Trump and his cabinet of deplorables to the rise of the Nazis—taking momentary refuge in the fact that 1933 Germany didn't have the nuclear option.  Apropos of Trump's take on flag burning, one of the first things Hitler did as chancellor was to rescind freedom of speech, assembly, the press. . .  Then the arrest of political opponents, the forcing of Jews to register their propertywear Stars of David.  Remember those "good" Germans, who may have lamented, but went along because they could—because they still fit in to what remained normal?'

Read the entire article here

Return to top

Cornel West: “Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here”

...In this bleak moment, we must inspire each other driven by a democratic soulcraft of integrity, courage, empathy and a mature sense of history – even as it seems our democracy is slipping away.

We must not turn away from the forgotten people of US foreign policy – such as Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Yemen's civilians killed by US-sponsored Saudi troops or Africans subject to expanding US military presence.

As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump's neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do.

For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.

Read entire statement here

Return to top

Guns N’ Roses Invites Mexico Fans Onstage to Destroy Trump Piñata

On November 30, in the middle of a song they were performing at Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, the band Guns N’ Roses cut the music and brought a giant piñata of Donald Trump onstage. According to an online TIME magazine report, Axl Rose, the band’s front man, said, “Let’s bring up some people and give them a fucking stick... Express yourselves however you feel.” Fans got up on the stage and began swinging at the piñata.

Return to top

Undocumented in Trump’s America
By Jose Antonio Vargas, November 20

On election night, while making my way through a crowd gathered outside the Fox News headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, a white man wearing a Mets cap patted my back and said through the noise: "Get ready to be deported." Rattled, I made it inside the green room and waited to go on the air.

I am an undocumented immigrant. I outed myself in a very public way in The New York Times in 2011, and since then have appeared regularly on cable news programs, especially on Fox, to humanize the very political and polarizing issue of immigration ...

What will you do when they start rounding us up?

Read entire article here

Return to top

An abortion doctor on Trump's win: "I fear for my life. I fear for my patients."
By Warren M. Hern, November 11

As I've headed to work in recent days to see abortion patients in my office, I have felt bereft: All the premises of my life, work, education, and future were gone. Something very profound in the meaning of the America I know has been destroyed with the election of Donald J. Trump as president ...

Under an unrestrained Donald Trump and this Republican Congress, I fear for my life, I fear for my family, and I fear for my future. I fear for my staff and my patients.

Even more, I fear for my country, and I fear for the world.

Read entire article here

Return to top

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: "We cannot let justice be denied by waiting. History has shown us over and over what horrors that leads to."

In a December 1 article for the Washington Post online edition, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar calls for resistance against Trump. Writing from his viewpoint of protecting this country’s “most sacred values,” Abdul-Jabbar criticizes others and their “hide-beneath-the-bed tactic”—like Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, who says “we should take a look-and-see approach” and Black Entertainment Television founder and Hillary Clinton supporter Bob Johnson who said African Americans should give Trump “the benefit of the doubt.” He writes that the appointments Trump has been making already show that “these people and their contra-constitutional view are a clear and present danger” and calls for civil disobedience in different forms.

See Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s article here.

Return to top

In a November 10 speech in the Irish Parliament, Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin made a strong speech denouncing Donald Trump as a fascist—and condemning the Irish government's conciliatory response.

After the election of Trump, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny called to congratulate him and ask whether the annual White House celebration of St. Patrick’s Day was still on. Irish Senator Aodhan O'Riordáin, fired off this response in the Irish Seanad (Senate):

Edmund Burke once said the only way evil can prosper is for good men to do nothing. American has just elected a fascist and the best thing that good people in Ireland can do is to ring him up and ask him if they can still bring the Shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m embarrassed about what the Irish government has done I can’t believe the reaction from the government. And I don’t use the word fascist lightly. What else would you call somebody threatens to imprison his political opponents? What else would you call somebody who threatens to not allow people of a certain religious faith into their country? What would you say, or how would you describe somebody who is threatening to deport 10 million people. What would you say about somebody who says that the media is rigged, the judiciary is rigged, the political system is rigged. And then he wins the election and the best we can come out with is a call to say is it still ok to bring the shamrock...I am frightened. I am frightened for what is happening in this world and in our inability to stand up to it. I want to ask you, leader, to ask the Minister of Foreign of Affairs into this house and ask him how we are supposed to deal with this monster who has just been elected president of America because I don’t think any of us in years to come should look back on this period and say we didn’t do everything in our power to call it out for what it is.

See the whole speech below.

Return to top

Andrew Sullivan: "The Republic Repeals Itself"

Andrew Sullivan is a well-known conservative writer and online commentator, currently a contributing editor to the New York magazine. We want to bring to our readers’ attention a November 9 online article by Sullivan titled “The Republic Repeals Itself.” While we have differences with Sullivan overall and with this particular article in certain dimensions, we think he makes important points that are worthy of reflection.

Read Andrew Sullivan's piece here.

Return to top

 

 

 

       

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/an-urgent-message-to-all-faiths-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

From the Faith Committee of RefuseFascism.org

An Urgent Message to all Faiths—
The world cannot afford a fascist America.
Why we must do whatever we can to stop it!

December 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In 1937, Martin Niemöller, a German pastor and theologian who initially welcomed Hitler’s 1933 appointment as Chancellor of the German Reich. However, after publicly renouncing the regime, he was arrested and imprisoned in German concentration camps. The powerful and poetic statement(below) expresses Niemöller’s deep regret for not having acted sooner to take a decisive stand against the rise of fascism in Germany.

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

NOTE: Donald Trump and Mike Pence have clearly articulated a hateful and dangerous agenda that they plan to pursue after January 20—for example:

  • Building a wall on the southern border with Mexico
  • Mass deportations of undocumented migrants;
  • Restricting the rights of women to reproductive health care, including abortion;
  • Instituting a Muslim registry and threatening to stop all immigration from Muslim-majority countries;
  • Backing out of the Paris Climate Treaty;
  • Threatening the press;
  • Implementing Stop and Frisk nationally;
  • Re-starting the nuclear arms race.

To facilitate the accomplishment of this agenda, they are surrounding themselves with:

  • White supremacists,
  • Climate-change deniers,
  • Anti-immigrant activists,
  • Anti-Muslim activists,
  • Radical opponents of organized labor, and
  • Activists seeking to roll back the rights women and LGBTQ persons.

Why We MUST APPEAL TO ALL PEOPLE OF FAITH TO ACT NOW!

The human costs of a fascist regime in the United States will be incalculable. No-one will be safe if this agenda is allowed to move forward.

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote these words in his Letter from Birmingham Jail:

More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

This is why we, as people of religious faith, must decide now where we are going to stand. Our diverse faiths do not call us to passivity. They call us to take a bold stand for justice and peace, to proclaim a clear “NO!” in the face of all that we recognize as evil, and to take risks to do what must be done on behalf of the good and the right. It is crucial that we take a stand early on, rather than waiting until fascism’s intentions are fully revealed and atrocities have already been committed. By the time power has been consolidated, it is too late. Those who might speak out are eliminated one by one until there is no one left to speak.

So, what can we do?

  • We can encourage people to sign the Call to Refuse to Accept a Fascist America at www.refusefascism.org:
  • We can rally our communities to join street protests on New Year’s Eve and then again during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, January 14-16;
  • We can organize teach-ins;
  • We can get the word out to others in our faith groups;
  • We can volunteer our time and our skills to local organizing efforts in our own communities;  
  • We can join mass rallies on January 19 and 20 in Washington, DC, and in communities around our nation to let the world know that we will not accept a fascist America!

It’s important that we do more than merely register our distaste for Trump and all that he stands for. We need to rally the religious communities with which we work to take a strong stand and make a difference. Stand with us in the name of Humanity!

Signers:
Rev. Gregg L. Greer
Rev. Doris Johnson
Cornel West
Rev. Frank Wulf

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/what-would-it-mean-mad-man-in-white-house-finger-on-nuclear-trigger-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

What Would It Mean to Have a "Madman" In the White House With His Finger on the Nuclear Trigger?

December 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“Nuclear war would wipe out most of life on Earth, as we know it. Humankind and most of the animal life would disappear because of the rising of the dust and smoke and fire of a nuclear mushroom cloud. The sun would be blocked for a significant, long period of time. The Earth would begin to freeze, literally. We would not be able to grow food. Radiation sickness would be everywhere. So we’d either die from the radiation sickness, or we’d die from hunger, very quickly. Life on Earth would essentially stop.” (See “Interview with Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, on the Danger of Nuclear War: ‘The planet would survive. But humankind would disappear’.”)

"Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all." -- Donald Trump, December 23, 2016

Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima
Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima.

Nagasaki mail carrier Sumiteru Taniguchi's back injuries, taken in January 1946, from the U.S. atomic bomb attack on August 9, 1945.
Nagasaki mail carrier Sumiteru Taniguchi's back injuries, taken in January 1946, from the U.S. atomic bomb attack on August 9, 1945.

On December 22, Donald Trump tweeted:

The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.

When questioned about this by an MSNBC reporter, he said

Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.

The “fuck you” tone, the fascistic threats of “strengthening and expanding” nuclear weapons, the threats of an arms race, and the obscene brazenness of these threats, is not only a cold statement of aims—but it imminently escalates the danger of nuclear war—by design or accident.

Trump’s Finger on the Nuclear Trigger

Nuclear weapons were introduced into war when the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. At Ground Zero in Hiroshima, almost everything was simply destroyed and every human being died. Even two miles from the blast, human skin was severely burned. The wind blew at 1,000 miles per hour—shattering the bodies of thousands of people as it hurled them through the air or brought buildings crashing down upon them. When the firestorm died down, the former city was a scorched plain. A heavy black rain brought radioactive dust back down to earth. Some of the dead had been vaporized, many others lay where they died, in their thousands and thousands. When President Harry Truman was told of the Hiroshima bombing, he said, “This is the greatest thing in history.” (See “American Crime Case #97: August 6 and 9, 1945—The Nuclear Incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”)

In the decades that followed, there were repeated incidents that came within a hair trigger of setting off such a nuclear war, including during the Cuba Missile Crisis, in 1962. (See “Massive Death by Nukes... And Close Calls.”)

Since the 1980s, it has been the policy of both the U.S. and Russia to decrease their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. That has not, actually, decreased the danger of nuclear war. During his administration, Barack Obama moved to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He installed missiles in Eastern Europe that have been seen as a provocation to Russia. He has instituted a trillion-dollar program to upgrade the U.S. nukes. And the U.S. has built up “missile defense” systems that increase the viability—at least in the eyes of the U.S. military—for “winning” a nuclear war. In that sense, Obama has built and handed a loaded nuclear gun to Trump.

Under Obama, drones, invasions, occupations, assassinations, and coups (and the threat of nuclear attack) have been combined with diplomacy, sanctions, and other forms of “soft power” that advance U.S. interests, including projecting the U.S. as the global champion of human rights and democracy. The Iran nuclear deal—a product of vicious sanctions aimed at creating suffering among the populace and squeezing the regime—put severe restrictions on Iran’s nuclear technology capacity. It is a model of the Obama approach. And it is reviled by the Trumpites because, in their eyes, Iran and other countries that challenge U.S. power need to be pulverized, not just restrained.

       

And Obama has been careful, in that context, to avoid overtly expanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He has insisted his goal is to “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.”

Let’s stipulate, for the minute, that it is part of the insanity of this system that these different imperialist and regional powers gamble with the continued existence of humanity as part of their calculations as to how to advance their own narrow, exploiting-class interests. It’s crazy, it’s sick, and it’s part of why this system has to be overthrown and something far better put in its place. Having said that, in one tweet and an explanation, Trump has made that much worse—perhaps exponentially worse. He has at best destabilized what was already a criminally unstable status quo.

Even before he has assumed office, Trump has thrown out the window all pretenses that the U.S. is trying to prevent nuclear war. He rants, “Let it be an arms race.” And he brags that in a race to destroy human life, “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

There’s no mystery about whether rival powers and other challengers to the U.S. will stand by while the U.S. builds up overwhelming nuclear weaponry. Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association, characterized Trump’s tweet as “Pouring more gasoline on the fire is exactly the opposite of what is needed.” And calculations are being made now by the rulers of other countries as to what risky moves they might need to make now to preempt nuclear blackmail by the U.S.

Method and Madness

There is a “logic” behind the madness Trump is projecting around using nuclear weapons.

If you are coming from the interests of humanity, there is a very clear answer to why the world cannot tolerate a nuclear arms race. Because nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction whose objective is to massacre huge numbers of humans, are a crime against humanity. They should be “forever banned,” right now. Not “strengthened” and “expanded.”

But in the eyes of the Trump-Pence regime, “strengthening” and “expanding” the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and making it clear they won’t hesitate to use it, is essential. When Donald Trump talks about “Making America Great Again,” he, and the sections of the ruling class who have rallied around him, are talking about dramatically reinforcing and strengthening U.S. domination over other imperialists and the world as a whole. When they talk about bringing the world “to its senses,” they mean other countries going along with that domination. And, in their eyes, this requires profound, violent recasting of the way things have been for decades, including rewriting the rules not of whether, but how overtly to threaten humanity with nuclear war.

To them, the threat to U.S. power posed by the rise of Russia and China, along with challenges from fundamentalist Islamic Jihad, from regional powers like Iran, and from “wild card” states like North Korea, is close to reaching a point of no return. And these different crises interpenetrate with each other in a volatile mix. As they see it, Obama has been far, far too soft, when what is needed is to project the U.S. as a power that will obliterate all who stand in its way without regard to pretenses of respecting human rights, rule of law, and concern for the danger of nuclear war.

Deeply embedded in the fascist mix around Trump are people like Lt. General Michael Flynn, appointed to the very powerful position of National Security Advisor. Flynn has said Islam is a “political ideology” that “hides behind this notion of it being a religion” and is “like a malignant cancer that has metastasized.” (see video) Think about the implications of that analogy, and the fact that this former general will be a top adviser to Donald Trump. And then think about Trump having his fingers on the launch codes for the U.S. nuclear arsenal!

At the same time, these other powers are not exactly willing to lie down for the U.S. They are working to heighten their ability to counter U.S. military force and themselves cannot necessarily afford to back down—certainly not each and every time.

Here, the madness factor enters in. This is actually an articulated doctrine for behavior of U.S. presidents, attributed to former president Richard Nixon. Nixon told advisers to spread rumors to the leaders of the Vietnamese revolutionary war against the U.S. invasion that he was a madman who had no hesitation to launch nuclear weapons. Trump takes that further. In campaign rallies and interviews, Trump has worked to cultivate that image, with statements like “I would bomb the shit out of ’em,” “I wanna be unpredictable,” and “I love war.” What is even more dangerous with Trump is that it is not at all clear what may be bluster and bluff and what is real—please note again his point at the top of this article, threats to greatly strengthen and expand U.S. nuclear capability and to outmatch and outlast every rival in an arms race.

As for Trump taking to Twitter to overturn existing nuclear weapons policy, the medium is part of the message. Given the understanding among at least sections of people about what nuclear war would mean, every previous U.S. administration has felt compelled to produce long, detailed policy positions on nuclear policy. Great pains have been taken to create the appearance—for the domestic public and global audience—that the U.S. rulers are aware of the risk involved, and would not use nuclear weapons without careful consideration of all factors involved. In announcing his policy, before he is president, in a tweet, Trump advertised how thoroughly he will disdain any and all conventions that have maintained a tense, profoundly dangerous status quo in nuclear weapons.

The situation the world confronts is this: The wide range of obstacles and challenges to actually implementing “America über alles,” combined with Trump’s outlook and threats, are already intensifying the odds that one or another of a whole set of conflicts (or even accidents) could trigger a nuclear holocaust that could end life on Earth.

That regime cannot come to power!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/massive-death-by-nukes-and-close-calls-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Massive Deaths by Nukes... and Close Calls

December 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 22 and 23, Donald Trump stated his future policy on nuclear weapons: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes," and "Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."

~~~~~~~~~~

Nuclear weapons were introduced into war when the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. At Ground Zero in Hiroshima, almost everything was simply destroyed and every human being died. Even two miles from the blast, human skin was severely burned. The wind blew at 1,000 miles per hour—shattering the bodies of thousands of people as it hurled them through the air or brought buildings crashing down upon them. When the firestorm died down, the former city was a scorched plain. A heavy black rain brought radioactive dust back down to earth. Some of the dead had been vaporized, many others lay where they died, in their thousands and thousands.

When President Harry Truman was told of the Hiroshima bombing, he said, “This is the greatest thing in history.” (See “American Crime Case #97: August 6 and 9, 1945—The Nuclear Incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”)

In the decades that followed, there were repeated incidents that came within a hair-trigger of setting off such a nuclear war. During the Cuba Missile Crisis, in 1962, “a series of misperceptions, miscalculations, and command-and-control problems almost started an accidental nuclear war—despite the determination of both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to avoid one. In perhaps the most dangerous incident, the captain of a Soviet submarine mistakenly believed that his vessel was under attack by U.S. warships and ordered the firing of a torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead. His order was blocked by a fellow officer. Had the torpedo been fired, the United States would have retaliated with nuclear weapons.” U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was quoted as saying of that incident: “I feared I might never live to see another Saturday night.” (“World War Three, By Mistake,” Eric Schlosser, The New Yorker, December 23, 2016)

In the period that followed, a “nuclear arms race” like the one Trump is frothing at the mouth over, consumed a huge amount of the resources created by humanity. At its peak, both the United States and the Soviet Union each had well over 5,000 nuclear weapons. Each one more efficient, more deadly, and more “deliverable” than the bombs used to vaporize Hiroshima and Nagasaki and terrorize Japan. In preparing for a broadcast in 1982, Ronald Reagan “joked,” “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” The Soviet Union responded by putting their nuclear launch protocol on high alert for 30 minutes, according to a Tokyo newspaper.

With the unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. and the Russian Federation (which succeeded the Soviet Union) began negotiations to reduce their nuclear arsenals to the point that each one was assured they could destroy the other. Despite the reduction in the number of nukes, the danger of a nuclear war was not reduced. Aging nuclear weapons, rapid escalation in the ability to hack into computer systems, misreading of signals sent by the U.S. and Russia, highly automated alerts that are frequently false, and a whole range of potential accidents and “human error” have led to repeated close calls where nuclear war almost started. Earlier this month, former Secretary of Defense William Perry said, “The nuclear danger today is more acute than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.”

Further, with the proliferation of nuclear technology, a whole range of regional actors, with conflicts of their own, face off with nuclear weapons, including Pakistan and India. And it is highly likely that between his declarations that the U.S. will back anything Israel does, and his ghoulish embrace of nuclear weapons, a Trump presidency would send a green light to Israel to use their substantial nuclear arsenal.

This is the stage onto which Donald Trump would set foot. If he is allowed to assume the presidency.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/the-planet-would-survive-but-humankind-would-disappear-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

REVOLUTION INTERVIEW:

Interview with Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, on the Danger of Nuclear War:

“The planet would survive. But humankind would disappear”

December 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Revolution Interview is a special feature to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music, literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own, and they are not responsible for the views expressed elsewhere in Revolution.

 

Bruce K. Gagnon is the Secretary/Coordinator for the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He has been an antiwar and antinuclear war activist since the early 1980s. He has organized protests, spoken out against and written about the danger of nuclear war and weaponization of space ever since. He is the author of Come Together RIGHT NOW: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire.

Revolution: Thank you so much for pulling yourself away from your family gathering on Christmas Eve to talk to us in these urgent times. Donald Trump tweeted that “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” Can you tell our readers, particularly those who didn’t live through the periods in U.S. history where the threat of nuclear war hung over people in a very visceral way, what a nuclear war would mean.

Bruce K. Gagnon: Basically, it would mean the end of the world, as we know it. The planet would survive. But humankind and most of the animal life would disappear because of the rising of the dust and smoke and fire of a nuclear mushroom cloud. The sun would be blocked for a significant, long period of time. The Earth would begin to freeze, literally. We would not be able to grow food. Radiation sickness would be everywhere. So we’d either die from the radiation sickness or we’d die from hunger, very quickly. Life on Earth would essentially stop.

Revolution: What is the danger right now of a nuclear war? What is the state of nuclear weapons in the world?

Bruce K. Gagnon: There are well over 10,000 nuclear weapons around the world. The U.S. and Russia have most of them. But many other countries have them, including Israel, France, China, India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom. And the big problem is that negotiations for nuclear disarmament have ground to a halt. That is because the United States has introduced a new variable into the equation. This is so-called “missile defense.” The idea of “missile defense” is that it is the shield you would use after you launched a first-strike attack. In fact, the U.S. space command conducts war games every year where we try to take out their nukes in a first-strike attack. But inevitably [in these “war game” exercises] they fire some kind of retaliatory capability, which is then theoretically picked off by these so-called “missile defense interceptors”—the shield.

This used to be illegal missile defense under the ABM, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, between the United States and Russia. But when George W. Bush became president, one of the first things he did was withdraw the U.S. from that treaty.

Ever since that time, the Pentagon has been developing and testing and now deploying these “missile defense systems” on ground-based launch systems and on destroyers, and basically encircling Russia and China with these systems. And [Russia] has said that because of the destabilizing introduction of missile defense, all negotiations are off the board. They say they can’t afford to reduce their retaliatory capability at a time when the United States is introducing “missile defense.”

Revolution: Can you provide some background to what it means that Donald Trump will have his hand on the nuclear trigger?

Bruce K. Gagnon: Barack Obama introduced a massive modernization of U.S. nuclear weapons: a very expensive modernization program over the next 10 years. It was approved by the Congress. So the fact is, Obama has really escalated the current situation in two ways. Number one by talking about modernization, bringing that forward, and getting the money for it. And secondly, Obama has created this escalation during his time in office by surrounding Russia and China with these so-called “missile defense systems.” Sadly, nobody made a big deal out of this because it was a Democrat, a so-called liberal doing this. When Trump does this, people get so upset. But in that sense, Trump is just repeating Obama’s policy. And adding a new dimension by broadcasting it on his very popular Twitter account.

Revolution: I appreciate you setting the record straight on what Obama has done, even as I would argue that a Trump regime would take an intolerable situation and make it much, much worse. But would it be fair to say that in a sense, Obama has handed Trump a loaded nuclear gun?

Bruce K. Gagnon: Sure, exactly. Every president has handed that loaded nuclear gun. Surely. That’s the reality of our times.

Revolution: Finally, let me ask you about what is involved in the president launching nuclear weapons. If the president enters the nuclear codes, missiles launch within minutes, is that right? There’s no review process, right?

Bruce K. Gagnon: I don’t frankly know how many minutes it is, but it is a very short period of time. There’s no question about that. You’ll probably remember the movie Dr. Strangelove. Even in that film, and that was made many years ago, it depicted a very short span of time to be able to recall a decision to launch nuclear weapons.

But that time has become even less now. That’s because most of these systems have been put on “launch on warning” status. They have developed technology where rockets can get across the world in just a matter of minutes. So there really is not time to pack in a long decision-making period. It’s really been turned over to computers under this “launch on warning” status. So that means that accidents and other such things, flocks of geese, and other unknowns, or unsuspected realities, can cause a nuclear war to happen.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/trumps-nukes-tweets-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Trump's Nukes Tweets

Some brief observations by Raymond Lotta

December 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trump says he wants to 'strengthen and expand' nuclear capabilities. To do what, against whom?

» This kind of open, brazen, fascistic threat of nuke expansion and use, and the obscene casualness of it (again, “Trump to humanity and planet Earth: fuck you”), is not only a cold statement of aims—but imminently escalates the nuclear danger...of expansion and use by nuclear powers—use by design or accident.

» The roots and dynamics lie in the intensification of geopolitical rivalry and a view on the part of a section of the U.S. ruling class that the perception of U.S. “weakness” and “lack of resolve” is reaching a precipitous inflection point, i.e., China and Russia on the move, Islamic fundamentalism emboldened. In particular: China as the fundamental strategic adversary—geo-economic and geostrategic—but also a Russia-China connection (Shanghai Cooperation Organization, trade ties, military) and Trump saying “no tolerance for that.” Trump wants some cooperation with Putin to defeat “radical Islam” and perhaps push back China; Putin is seeking to cement a Russian military presence in strategically significant areas—notably the Middle East, Europe, and the Far East—that challenges the U.S. So there is considerable complexity in Trump’s inter-imperialist “courtship” with Putin (and vice-versa).

» On the dialectic between continuity and discontinuity. Yes, Obama once again providing the “loaded gun”—the trillion-dollar nuclear weapons “modernization” plan, no real dismantling of arsenals, etc. Truly outrageous—and nakedly imperialist. But this is a qualitative ratcheting up and shift.

» The “lunacy” and “unpredictability” of Trump and his circle. On the one hand, it serves a strategic calculus (see the Kissinger Face the Nation interview, and others about “madman”); on the other, a real aspect of lunacy and unpredictability that literally threatens humanity and the planet.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/470/point-of-orientation-on-the-struggle-to-prevent-the-trump-pence-fascist-regime-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Point of Orientation on the Struggle to Prevent the Trump-Pence Fascist Regime

December 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

One Single Unifying Objective: Stop this Trump-Pence fascist regime before it starts

Today we face the serious threat of fascism—of an openly terroristic form of rule directed against the masses, with few if any legal safeguards. And we face this not as a possible prospect in the future, but as the outcome of the inauguration of Trump and Pence in the highest, most powerful offices of the land in little more than a month. The facts and urgency of this case are spelled out in “A Month of Resistance To Stop This Fascism” (the Mission and Plan, for short) and exposed in a wealth of other material at this site, and don’t need to be repeated here.

Coming from the standpoint of emancipators of humanity, of people who see the burning need for a revolution to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time, we understand the need, right now, to throw our all into preventing this Trump-Pence fascist regime from coming to power. In doing this, there are contradictions—relationships between different things—which we need to understand and apply.

First, all forms of rule in any system dominated by capitalism-imperialism are dictatorships of the capitalist-imperialist class (or bourgeoisie). This is basic. As Bob Avakian has put this:

When a monopoly of political power—and, in a concentrated way, the monopoly of “legitimate” armed force—is in the hands of one group in society, and that group excludes others from that monopoly of power and force, then that is a dictatorship of the ruling group—or class—regardless of whether or not that ruling group allows those it excludes from power, and over whom it rules in fact, to take part in elections to vote for different representatives of the ruling class, as happens in the U.S. and a number of other countries. Political rule in the U.S., regardless of whether or not there is an open and undisguised tyranny, is and always has been a bourgeois dictatorship, a dictatorship of the ruling capitalist class (or, in the early history of the U.S., before the defeat and abolition of the slave system, through the Civil War, what existed was the dictatorship of the ruling classes—the slaveowning as well as the capitalist class, or bourgeoisie).
BAsics 1:23

We now face the prospect of a more or less “open and undisguised tyranny” coming to power, in the form of the Trump-Pence regime. This is fascism: that is, “the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as ‘enemies,’ ‘undesirables,’ or ‘dangers to society.’”

       

A further point: as such a regime is being instituted, and once it has been instituted, it is foolish to count on “cooler heads” among the capitalist-imperialists to prevent it. Again, we’ll draw on BA:

These right-wing politicians (generally grouped within the Republican Party) can, will, and do actively mobilize this essentially fascist social base...yet, on the other side, the sections of the ruling class that are more generally represented by the Democratic Party are very reluctant to, and in fact resistant to, mobilizing...the base of people whose votes and support in the bourgeois political arena the Democrats seek to gain. This (Democratic Party) side of the ruling class generally is not desirous of—and in fact recoils at the idea of—calling that base into the streets, mobilizing them either to take on the opposing forces in the ruling class and their social base or in general to struggle for the programs that the Democratic Party itself claims to represent and actually in some measure does seek to implement....

As an amplification of the basic point here, it is important to recognize this: Within the framework of the capitalist-imperialist system, and with the underlying dynamics of this system, which fundamentally set the terms, and the confines, of “official” and “acceptable” politics, fascism—that is, the imposition of a form of dictatorship which openly relies on violence and terror to maintain the rule and the imperatives of the capitalist-imperialist system—is one possible resolution of the contradictions that this system is facing—a resolution that could, at a certain point, more or less correspond to the compelling needs of this system and its ruling class—while revolution and real socialism, aiming toward the final goal of communism, throughout the world, is also a possible resolution of these contradictions, but one that would most definitely not be acceptable to the capitalist-imperialist ruling class nor compatible with the imperatives of this system!
BAsics 3:11

This perfectly describes the situation today: the forces grouped around Trump-Pence are putting in place a ruling group and regime that will viciously bring the hammer down on tens of millions in this country in a way that goes way beyond “the everyday workings” of capitalist dictatorship; they will much more seriously threaten the very prospect of human existence, through both an increased possibility of nuclear war and a much more breakneck pace of environmental destruction; and yet Obama and the like tell us to “give him a chance,” to “hope for success.” NO!

The certainty, should the Trump-Pence clique come to power, that they would do all this—that they would essentially “keep their promises” (not so much for “jobs” but to viciously repress the masses of people and seriously threaten concentration camps and even an outright “fast” genocide at some point, that they would “make America ‘white’ again,” so to speak through terrorizing, imprisoning, and expelling whole sections of people, racial and religious “minorities,” as well as unleashing violence against women, gay people, and others who do not conform, and eviscerating any semblance of dissenting or even inquiring political and intellectual expression)—poses an enormous challenge.

To make it very clear: If people are beaten down and repressed it is NOT better for revolution. If the masses are decimated, and all their strivings for something better are decimated, if their organizations—including the vanguard—come under severe and open violent repression, we’ll be that much further away from what we need.

To prevent this from happening, it is important right now that the entire movement for revolution join with and work to help mobilize everyone who opposes, or could be won to oppose, this regime to prevent its taking power. Those in the movement for revolution, for these next five weeks at least, need to focus their efforts on THIS. Actually winning—actually joining with others to do what is called for in the call to action “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America” and the Mission and Plan, and in so doing preventing this regime from seizing power, must be the number one task.

Those in the Revolution Clubs and others who struggle to mobilize people for revolution should make clear that they ARE fighters for the emancipation of all humanity and followers of BA, that we need a revolution, that people should be going to revcom.us every day to learn what is going on and how it fits into making that revolution... but they should most of all emphasize that right now the most pressing thing is for EVERYONE who gets what this Trump-Pence regime is all about to get organized to win the enormous battle now being joined.

Further: right now, in this immediate period, when there is a pressing need to mobilize tens of millions of people (and to reach probably 100 million to do that), we cannot spend time in long discussions with people, or with each other for that matter. We are in a major political battle, in which the lives of millions, possibly billions, are directly in the balance. It is really as if a tsunami is looming directly offshore and we have a very limited time to get people to safety. We need to go to people most of all with the Call to Action and the Mission and Plan and, once they indicate basic agreement, immediately get down with them on what needs to be done and how they can contribute and organize others to contribute.

Revcom.us will be extremely important in this period. Every day it will post new exposures of what the Trump-Pence regime is putting into place and planning to do, answer new arguments and questions that are coming up, spotlight resistance and the building movement to prevent this, and showing how all this links to revolution and communism. As people are awakening and drawn to this site, they will meet and get into Bob Avakian—what he is all about and what he has brought forward, the new communism.

The task is urgent. The challenge is clear. The way forward is there. The time is NOW!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/469/sparks-of-outrage-and-protest-potential-for-mass-resistance-to-stop-the-fascists-from-consolidating-power-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Sparks of Outrage and Protest Against the Fascist Trump-Pence Regime

Updated April 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A fascist regime that represents an unprecedented danger to humanity has assumed the reins of power in the U.S. Starting right from the inaugural speech and every day since then, the Trump-Pence regime has carried through new outrages—and they surely have more to come. Right now, the different forces in the ruling class are either supporting this enthusiastically or going along with at most a few petty amendments.

As Carl Dix, Sunsara Taylor, and Andy Zee—three people who kicked off refusefascism.org—said in their January 25 letter: “That does NOT mean that the possibility of ousting this regime through truly massive action is over, and that all people can do is work on local projects or hope for some pendulum swing somewhere down the road—while Trump-Pence carry out truly monstrous things and put the whole planet in jeopardy. Far from it. Precisely because this regime is fascist and a qualitative change from the ‘normal workings’ of this system, and because millions of people—correctly—view this regime as utterly illegitimate, the possibility of crisis erupting at any time is great....”

And they also noted: “So we stand at a new juncture. The regime is in power, and moving quickly. At the same time, millions have registered their opposition and many are looking for a way to fight. Over these next few weeks, revcom.us will be covering the regime and the resistance to it with the same intensity and level of analysis that we have since the election.”

There are millions who hate what is represented by this fascist regime, and some of this outrage continues to surface in different kinds of resistance, as seen here on this page. There are also many in different spheres—academia, sciences, arts and entertainment, journalism, and others—who are raising their voices against Trump-Pence and their fascist outrages. See these voices here. It’s crucial to grasp that these sparks and voices represent a much bigger and broader anger and opposition to the fascist regime.

We encourage Revolution/revcom.us readers to send us news and reports, pictures, and videos of the ways people are resisting (send to: revolution.reports@yahoo.com).

 


"This Is Not Normal"

 

Some recent protests...



Flagburner Gregory "Joey" Johnson speaking in San Francisco, December 10, 2016.

Protest of Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, December 10, Los Angeles.Protest of Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, December 10, Los Angeles. Photo: Special to revcom.us

Boston student walkout, December 5
Student walkout in Boston, December 5. Photo: Twitter/campuslately

 

Texas students join thousands to protest neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, December 6Hundreds of A&M students with homemade placards and banners joined thousands of people to protest neo-Nazi (aka "alt-right") Richard Spencer, December 6. (AP photo)

December 7--Japanese American community groups led a protest in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles to oppose Trump's threats against Muslims and immigrants.
December 7—Japanese American community groups led a protest in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles to oppose Trump's threats against Muslims and immigrants. Photo: Twitter/@josie_huang

Earlier Sparks of Outrage and Protest

~~~~~~~~~~

On Saturday, December 10, in San Francisco, 500 people marched in the rain to deliver the message “This Is Not Normal!” The action was initiated by people who had never organized a protest before. The march involved a broad range: people from the LGBT community, tech workers, students, artists, feminists, and others. The Revolution Club led many chants taken up by the march, like “We will not conciliate! We will not accommodate! We will not collaborate!” and read the statement “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America” from the rally stage. Joey Johnson, revolutionary communist and notorious flag burner, spoke to the huge stakes for humanity in stopping the fascists, and pointed to Trump’s threat to jail and strip citizenship from people burning the American flag as one concentration of the fascist program.

On the same day, in Los Angeles, thousands of people from many walks of life converged downtown to demand the complete stop of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The DAPL threatens the water source for the Standing Rock Sioux people and sites that are important to their culture, and if completed will add significantly to the the global climate change endangering the planet. More than 600 copies of Revolution newspaper were distributed along the march, and hundreds of people carried posters declaring “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.”

On Monday, December 5, hundreds of Boston high school and college students walked out of classes and rallied at Boston Commons. According to the Boston Globe, the students delivered a list of demands to the Massachusetts governor and the Boston mayor, “to protect minorities and immigrants, support public education, and denounce white nationalists who have been energized by a Trump victory.”

Trump has threatened to immediately deport millions of immigrants and cancel Obama’s temporary deferrals of deportations of young undocumented people. In response, students across the country are organizing and acting—through walkouts, rallies, and petition campaigns—to demand that their schools become “sanctuary campuses” that protect undocumented immigrants, as well as LGBT people and other who may come under attack from the government as well as fascist mobs. (See “Students Across the County Demand Sanctuary Campuses: Schools Should Be Safe Zones from Fascist Attacks—No Matter What”)

On December 6, at Texas A&M University, neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer’s appearance on the campus was met with righteous protest by hundreds of students and hundreds of others from Houston, Austin, and other cities and towns in Texas. This school is known as one of the most conservative state universities in the country—so this raucous protest of thousands was very significant. (See “Thousands Protest Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer at Texas A&M”)

On December 7, on the anniversary of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that began the war between U.S. and Japan, a number of Japanese American community organizations in Los Angeles led a protest in the Little Tokyo neighborhood against Trump’s attack on immigrants and Muslims. They compared what Trump is saying and threatening to the U.S. government’s vilification, mass round-ups, and imprisonment in concentration camps of people of Japanese ancestry during World War 2. There were calls for Little Tokyo to become a sanctuary for those singled out by Trump, and for people to “put their bodies” between those targeted and the authorities. 

The Jewish group IfNotNow, which came together in 2014 to opposes the horrific U.S.-backed Israeli war on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, has been protesting Richard Bannon, the white-supremacist, anti-Semitic neo-Nazi who is Trump’s “chief strategist.” On December 8, IfNotNow in New York City posted on their Facebook page: “This morning, we delivered white roses to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and demanded that they join our call to #FireBannon. The white rose was used by students from The University of Munich as a symbol of nonviolent resistance to the Nazi regime, and now we claim it as our own—to demonstrate our resistance to state-sponsored hate as the #JewishResistance.”

On December 10, 200 people marched around the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to protest Trump who was attending the Army-Navy football game. The Baltimore Sun said that the protesters chanted “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here” and “We reject the president-elect” and held up signs like “Resist” and “Make fascists hide again.”

On Friday, December 9, at the annual awards ceremony of the International Documentary Association (IDA) held at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles, TV writer and producer Norman Lear said from the stage that the country is entering “a very dangerous time” with the election of Trump, which poses “serious obligations”: “If, for example, he or his administration in any way threatens the free speech rights of our documentary filmmakers, the IDA and every supporter in this room must—will, I am sure—hunker down together and fight our asses off.” According to Hollywood Reporter, “Feelings on this topic were clearly running high all around, as an audience member yelled, ‘He’s a fascist!’ during Lear’s speech.”

Spurred by the rise of Trump, a website called “Professors Watchlist” has been posting names professors they accuse of “leftist propaganda”—more than 200 names so far. This kind of fascist witch-hunt on campuses will only become more extreme if the Trump regime is allowed to firm up its grip on power. When two professors at Notre Dame university appeared on the list, more than 100 faculty members at the campus took a stand against the witch-hunt with an open letter saying the watch list should add their names in order to reaffirm “our values and recommitting ourselves to the work of teaching students to think clearly, independently and fearlessly.” See the “Other Voices Against Trump” page at www.revcom.us for this statement and other voices of resistance, including MIT professors, Cornel West, New York Times columnist Charles Blow, and others.

There are various calls for protests in Washington, DC, as the date for Trump inauguration approaches. On December 10, Shaun King—New York Daily News writer and widely followed social media commentator—sent out a tweet saying: “Many people asking me if people should clog the streets of DC to prevent the inauguration ceremony. On general principle alone, YES.” A few days earlier, filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted: “Disrupt the Inauguration. The Majority have spoken—by nearly 2.7 million votes &counting! Silence is not an option.”

Update: On December 12, there were protests in a number of cities around the country in response to a "Women and Allies" call to "deliver the message in a unified voice that we are ready to stand against any government action that would serve to erode the rights of women and other vulnerable groups." See "'Women and Allies' Actions Oppose Trump-Pence Attacks."

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/470/emergency-meeting-confronts-the-danger-interview-with-sunsara-taylor-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Emergency Meeting Confronts the Danger, Reveals the Potential, Makes the Plans to STOP a Trump/Pence Regime Before It Starts—Interview with Sunsara Taylor

December 20, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Atta read the opening of the Call to Resist

Atta read the opening of the Call to Action.

Prof. PZ Myers spoke about Trump's assault on science
Prof. PZ Myers spoke about Trump’s assault on science.

Jeremy Scahill exposed what led up to the fascists Trump and Pence
Jeremy Scahill exposed what led up to the fascists Trump and Pence.


Carl Dix broke down the plan to bring forward millions to STOP Trump and Pence.

Immortal Technique Immortal Technique

Sunsara Taylor emceed the evening
Sunsara Taylor emceed the evening.

All photos: revcom.us

One Single Unifying Objective: Stop this Trump-Pence fascist regime before it starts

Editor’s note: A really critical emergency organizing meeting to stop the Trump and Pence regime before it starts took place on December 19 in New York City’s Cooper Union. At least 260 people came out on very short notice. In the wake of the emergency organizing meeting, Revolution talked to Sunsara Taylor, an initiator of Refuse Fascism, and the host/mc of the event, about what was accomplished.

Revolution: You had an incredible breadth and lineup of speakers from many perspectives. People should watch the video of the event! But can you talk about the significance of last night’s meeting and what it accomplished?

Sunsara Taylor: Millions and millions of people feel deep in their gut, deep in their bones, that something terrible has happened with Trump and Pence looming as the incoming regime. But people really need a deeper understanding of just how bad it is—and what we must do, right now, to STOP them before they come to power. So we had a lineup of speakers who brought that alive.

PZ Myers, a science professor in Minnesota, flew out on very short notice. He’s one of the co-initiators of Refuse Fascism. He painted a picture of the outright assault on science and scientific thinking of Trump and Trump's vicious inhumanity.

Fran Luck, the Executive Director of Joy of Resistance Multicultural Feminist Radio at WBAI in New York and a co-initiator of Refuse Fascism, painted a picture of the utter assault on women. Trump, bragging about sexual assault. Pence, with his theocratic determination to obliterate and criminalize abortion and all birth control.

Isabel Cardenas, an immigrant rights leader and co-initiator, sent a video greeting warning people that Trump intends to carry through on his threats and we have to take him seriously and stop him.

Jeremy Scahill, from The Intercept, painted a picture of the war criminals being packed into the Trump cabinet and administration. And the theocrats, like Betsy DeVos who would be head of the Department of Education and utterly destroy it.

Carl Dix spoke about how there has been police terror against Black people. There’s been assaults on women. There’s been attacks on immigrants. But Trump and Pence are putting all that on steroids. And why we call that fascism, and why that must be stopped.

All this, together, was a fuller, deeper wake-up call. And confrontation with truly terrifying truths and the full scope of the fascism this regime is bringing.

Revolution: And the emergency organizing meeting brought out how there is a basis to stop this before it starts, right?

Sunsara Taylor: Yes, this fight is not over! Trump and Pence are illegitimate. They don’t have any right to be running people’s lives, to be running the country, and running the world. They didn’t win the popular vote and even more importantly, they are fascists.

We have 30 days before they’re in office and the way to deal with fascism is to stop it before it starts. To bring forward those millions who are in anguish, who are in outrage, who are in terror right now and translate that into organized resistance.  As it says at RefuseFascism.org, “This is not some idle dream but something which could be made a reality if all those who hate what is represented by this fascist regime translate their outrage into firm determination and massive mobilization to create the conditions which make this possible.”

There was the diversity of voices coming together to sound the alarm and sound the resistance. Chase Iron Eyes, another initiator of RefuseFascism, Skyped in from Standing Rock, where he is part of the fight of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe against the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline, and the struggle against genocide of Native peoples.

Immortal Technique, a rapper known for his courageous political stands spoke about what this regime means, including attacks on Blacks, immigrants, and Native people.

Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books, laid out the power of No! What it means for millions to say “No!”  To spread the image and the word and the slogan NO! into every corner of society.  How this can and must build until there are millions refusing to leave DC in the days leading up to the scheduled inauguration. Gloria Steinem sent a message. Pastor Doris Johnson from South Queens made a statement on behalf of the Christian community. She talked about how a Trump regime would increase the immiseration of people already living on the edge.

And Imam Aiyub Abdul Baki, of the Justice Committee of the Islamic Leadership in New York, spoke about the terror against Muslims in the wake of this election. And he summoned people to stand together and resist.

So you had quite a diversity of voices. It was emblematic of what is needed, even as it needs to reach far broader. And this was livestreamed through refusefascism.org, and the Huffington Post put it on their Facebook live. Tens of thousands of people tuned in for some portion of the evening. That showed a huge appetite among people for hearing these truths spoken in unvarnished terms, and finding out how to stop this before it starts.

Revolution: So now let’s get into the plan to stop this.

Sunsara Taylor:  The main message of the evening was to let people know, look, if you’re horrified, and you’re feeling terrified about this regime of fascism, you are not alone. And frankly, there are millions, and tens of millions of people who feel the way you do. And the mission and the charge for people right now need to be to find their courage and to act decisively, and not prepare to survive or attempt to survive the fascism that is coming, but to act now with every fiber of our being and with everything we’ve got to stop them from coming to power. And so this was being charged, the one overriding theme.

Over the holidays, religious people, secular people and others, need to act. Have salons, fundraising, discussions, and gathering money for the effort to defeat fascism through the holidays.

New Year’s Eve needs to be defiant, outcries in the streets at Trump properties, in Times Square, or at public gathering places across the country, candlelight vigils, mass protests, marches in the streets, drumming, defiant and loud, whatever you have, people come together and steal the headlines.  Announce this new year as a year of defiance and resistance. No Fascist New Year!

It is very urgent that we raise thousands, tens of thousands, millions of dollars because January 2 and 3 we want to publish the Call to Action, In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America in publications across the country. People who are out there, isolated, by themselves, all alone, feeling that they’re outraged, and they know somebody... and they’re scared, who’s gonna be the first to act. If they know that they’re not alone. And we have a plan. We have a way to act. Take the initiative in whatever way they can. The message is NO! And this is the message on New Year’s Eve, too. NO! No Trump & Pence. No roundups, no deportations, no torture, no sexual assault, no registry, no war crimes, No Trump! No Pence! No Fascism! It’s the power of NO! And this message will go out to the publication ad, the Call to Prominent People on January 2 and 3.

And then we will have two weeks of rolling decentralized protests and resistance, everybody who is active, whatever organization you are part of, religious community, or secular community, atheist community which you are part of, or every student group, or community group. Find your own way to act, everybody saying NO. People should paint NO on their bodies and on their clothes, on posters, lawn signs, bumper stickers and windows. So NO is all over the place.

On January 14 and 15, MLK weekend, people begin to amass in Washington, DC. Especially with the greatly heightened terror that Trump and Pence are threatening against Black people in this country, there needs to be outcry with everybody against that, MLK day weekend in the streets of DC and across the country.

Then January 17, 18, and 19 growing numbers of people flooding DC and not leaving. Marches of millions and millions, day after day, and people staying through the night, and people who can’t be there marching on their state capitols, or their local town squares across the world, we say NO. And the aim is to translate the anguish and the agony and the fear and the outrage into action and defiant resistance, refusal to back down, and the creation of such a massive demand in the streets that everyone in power has to respond to our demand.

Revolution: And people can just start organizing, and they can connect through the refusefascism.org site, right?

Sunsara Taylor: Yes! Go to www.refusefascism.org right now – or call the number: (917) 407-1286. Set up a protest or a vigil right now in your town for New Year's Eve—start wearing and spreading the No! Everywhere, and get everyone you know involved. Donate—give everything you can and be part of raising more funds. Everyone has an urgent and very needed role to play—now is the time to act.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/470/chicago-emergency-organizing-meeting-we-refuse-to-accept-a-fascist-america-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Chicago Emergency Organizing Meeting for "NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America!

December 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Forty people of all ages and walks of life, from the city and suburbs, came together in Chicago on Monday night to urgently take up the call to “Prevent the Trump/Pence Regime from Taking Power! Stop It Before It Starts!”

A number of people came early to watch the first hour of live stream of the inspiring emergency meeting in New York. The powerful Call was read again to unite everybody about why we must refuse to accept a fascist America, the vision and plan for how the Trump/Pence regime could be prevented from taking power, and to get organized to do that.

Speakers went into what this fascist program will mean and why we have to stop it before it starts. A young organizer who does local, national, and international organizing, spoke of how the youth in the inner cities are already literally under the gun of the police, they are marginalized and discriminated against, with no jobs and no future, and how under Trump their suffering will go to another level. He talked about the coup in Honduras in 2009 when the president was kidnapped in a fascist coup, how the radio stations and media were shut down, and the government rounded people up and “disappeared” them. He said there has to be a massive mobilization of the youth, and to do that, they need to know what fascism is and how it happens, and what it will mean and they need to be mobilized to act.

A social activist minister spoke of the danger and “urgency of now.” “We don’t accept this administration. Everyone can understand this, we have to clearly and simply get across to people what fascism is, and what the future will be with this administration,” naming the growing American militarism and the white supremacy of this regime. “Everything we do has to be strategic,” he said, aimed at stopping this regime before it starts “with simple, comprehensive actions. “

A well-known jazz musician said his Jewish family’s history in the Holocaust, burned the lesson into him early in life that fascism and genocide should never happen again. He said the election of Trump compelled him to act. He initiated a Facebook group, “Degenerate Artists against Fascism,” named after an art show in 1937 of what Hitler deemed “degenerate art.” The Nazis stole the paintings of many artists from galleries, put them in this show in order to attack the art and the artists, and to outlaw this art and even certain kinds of music, including jazz. Artists and musicians were attacked and even sent to the death camps. “We have to stop this before it starts,” he said. The Facebook group has over 1000 people, and they are strategizing on how to spread the resistance much broader, including going to school assemblies and doing teach-ins, and making public acts of resistance.

Trump-Pence in power will signal a terrible leap backward in every sphere of society

A correspondent for Revolution newspaper spoke to the disastrous leap backward it would be if this regime is not stopped from coming into power—how fascism relies on widespread political and social repression and a deep poisoning of the “soul” of society. “We cannot wait to see what happens or take the defensive posture of trying to fend off the fascist attacks once the regime is in power. This fascist regime must be stopped before it starts. We must be the ones to stop it, starting now. We have to act in accordance with the actual emergency situation this is. The most pressing thing for everyone is to get organized and organize others to WIN this huge battle. We have to be organizers of organizers. We can learn quickly as we act and expand the resistance exponentially to the millions who oppose what this regime is about and galvanize them to come into the street until there is such a political crisis that this regime cannot take office.”

Everyone heard the vision (see box at top right) and the national plan and schedule from now until January 20. Then people broke into four working groups: outreach broadly, an outreach group for youth and students over the holidays and as soon as school starts after the holidays, fundraising, and social media. Plans were laid for a major outreach action the day after Christmas and a major protest at Trump Tower on New Year’s Eve. There was a lot of determination to stop this fascist regime and a lot of grappling about how to immediately bring many more people (and who those people are) into organizing many others.   Massive dissemination and showings of the link to the video of the NY program will be very important in rapidly organizing people and enabling them to organize others.  It gives them an understanding of what the situation is, why it has to be stopped before it starts, what is the picture of what this would look like and the plan for doing it.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/470/los-angeles-emergency-organizing-meeting-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Los Angeles Emergency Organizing Meeting

December 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Wednesday night, December 21, 68 residents, activists representing several organizations from diverse backgrounds, artists, filmmakers, students, and clergy gathered at the United Methodist Church in LA for an emergency organizing meeting, taking up the call to build and mobilize to say NO! STOP a Trump/Pence Fascist Regime Before It Starts.

The group first watched key speeches from the Emergency Organizing Meeting of the REFUSE FASCISM launch event that took place Monday night in NYC. Rousing applause burst from the crowd at powerfully stated truths presented in these talks, and fiery "boos" and gasps marked the moments in which the coming horrors of this regime were nakedly described. The gravity of this situation and what is at stake in this struggle seemed evident to the entire room by the end of Sunsara Taylor's final speech, marking a solemn atmosphere, of a crowd determined to derail the horrific course of coming fascism, by taking up this struggle with all their intelligence, experience, creativity, and effort.

The meeting was led by Annie Day, a revolutionary communist, along with two co-initiators of this Call: Rev. Frank Wulf, pastor of the hosting church, and Isabel Cardenas, a long-time Salvadoran activist, each of whom sharply described the urgency and necessity of what was being organized that night. Taking inspiration from the presentations, dozens of those in attendance rose to the challenge of contributing ideas and their previous organizing experiences to spread this message and call to resistance throughout the city.

Taking from the itinerary for the Month of Resistance set forth by Carl Dix and other presenters, those present quickly worked to hammer out several concrete plans of actions and a time line for key demonstrations, walkouts, and gatherings. Seemingly endless proposals came forward from the crowd, and those able to contribute and participate in these plans linked together and exchanged contact information and set dates to meet up, ensuring then and there that these efforts wouldn't start and end at this meeting, but go on to materialize into action. Those with talents of web and graphic design, visual art, and social media coordination came forth and volunteered their abilities to this critically important struggle. By the end of the meeting everyone left with concrete things to do, places and dates to meet up and carry forth these efforts. Social media plans were developed, plans to get “NO!” spread all over the city through posters and outreach to artists, outreach to networks of religious institutions of different faiths over the next two days, and fundraising efforts begun. A door-to-door canvassing team was assembled which will focus THIS Friday night on the bars of West Hollywood, which will be crowded with people right before the holiday. A filmmaker volunteered to produce short videos for YouTube and social media. A local artist contributed a painted banner design utilizing the "NO!" message behind a painting of Yoda from Star Wars. People volunteered to contact media outlets to run ads and segments spreading the “NO!” and refusefascism.org and the Call. A graphic designer will design and contribute custom stickers to spread the message throughout the city. And literally dozens of further contributions were volunteered. The course of the event seemed to give a realistic model of the kind of broad unity and plans of action that MUST be made a reality in cities across this nation in the coming month.

We finalized the plans for the New Year's Eve protest and for Saturday, January 14, which we're sending to the refusefascism.org website! The only Trump property in LA is a golf course in a place that's hard to get to. So instead, we're protesting at Breitbart's headquarters, 6:00 pm on New Year's Eve. This will culminate in a march through West Hollywood, which will be VERY populated. There were other important ideas and plans developed to reach other groupings of people gathering for New Year's Eve celebrations. Then on Saturday, January 14, converge on City Hall in a protest that doesn't stop!

$744 was raised for materials and people took stacks of posters and flyers in the thousands.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/san-francisco-bay-area-emergency-organizing-meeting-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

San Francisco Bay Area Emergency Organizing Meeting

December 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Just under 70 people came to the December 21 meeting in Berkeley, which began with a reading of the Call. Then meeting organizers showed a section of the video from Monday’s emergency meeting in NYC. In the clip, Jeremy Scahill exposed the vile histories of the prospective members of the Trump-Pence regime; and then Carl Dix spoke with intensity about the extreme urgency our current situation—that fascists are getting set to come to power and it is up to us to join together to stop them—and sketched out a vision of the next 30 days and what we must do to reach out and unite millions to stop this.

People spoke out, some quietly, most passionately. The meeting had been organized in two days, mostly through emails. Those who responded were a diverse group that included women who had lived under the Nazis in Germany, organizers of the Occupy movement, students from Ivy League colleges who ran into this on their holiday breaks, environmental activists, media activists, revolutionaries, and more.

A woman said she was the child of Holocaust survivors. Her mom had seen fascism building under Hitler’s German—the street fights, then the other kids at school “started coming after her, throwing rocks.” Then there were the Nuremberg laws—Jews couldn’t even buy flowers, Jews couldn’t work in non-Jewish homes. And it closed in on them. “They were regular middle class folks who thought it could never happen to us.” They thought they could vote the Nazis out. But it kept building and building. She said her mother had escaped Germany when she was 14, but her grandparents and so many others in her family were killed in Auschwitz. The woman said she grew up with this, always hearing “eternal vigilance, eternal vigilance,” and she asked herself what does that really mean? She ended by saying, “I have seen it turn now. We need to stop it before it happens, because it is not much of a line before it crosses over and it is too late.”

Questions came up: What about the divisions in the left? Will you join with what other groups are doing to oppose Trump? What about the people who are not ready to “put their bodies on the gears of the machine”—how to include a diversity of actions? Who is organizing this?

The Revolution Club member leading the meeting and others spoke to these questions and urged people to visit the refusefascism.org website. They emphasized that the unique, urgent task of this initiative is to unite the broad sections of people who are deeply opposed to Trump—but who are now scattered and dispersed—to take a determined stand, wage a massive fight to prevent Trump-Pence from taking power.

Throughout the meeting there was struggle around the need for everyone in the room to become organizers. To call on and activate their friends. To put their NO! symbol in the windows of their cars and homes, on their clothing. A woman who identified herself as a Bernie supporter pointed out that people in the room were objectively on the front lines, that they are facing what is happening, and are not in denial.

Beginning plans were made. Someone volunteered to coordinate a day of freeway bannering before the New Year. There will be another organizing meeting next Wednesday, this time across the Bay in San Francisco, location TBA. Some people volunteered to start fund-raising, including holding house parties. A group was formed to do social media, and others raised that they would outreach to organizations. There will be a protest and march at 9 pm at Justin Herman Plaza on New Years Eve in San Francisco's Embarcadero where many thousands of people go to celebrate and watch fireworks. Near the end of the meeting someone raised that Trump owns 30% of the second tallest skyscraper in San Francisco, not far from the Embarcadero, and that maybe the New Year's Eve march should begin there. People left with bags of flyers and took silk-screened patches of the "NO!" to wear. A woman who had been a child in Nazi Germany said that the meeting inspired her and that "this is the first time [since the election] I've felt hope."

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/ny-organizing-meeting-big-plans-for-new-years-eve-no-fascist-2017-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

New York Organizing Meeting Makes Big Plans for New Year's Eve: "No Fascist 2017!"

December 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Group photo with some of the people who attended the NYC organizing meeting, December 21
Group photo with some of the people who attended the NYC organizing meeting, December 21. Photo: revcom.us/Revolution

On December 21, 50+ people met in New York City to bring into reality the plan that had been laid out two days earlier at the Emergency Organizing Meeting at Cooper Union . Those who came included people who came off Monday’s organizing meeting; at least a dozen students from different high schools and colleges/universities; people in the environmental movement; alternative media people; those involved in the stop police brutality struggle; and others. Some were there who have already been organizing protests against Trump on their own and now want to kick in on this whole vision of “Stopping the Trump/Pence Regime Before it Starts.”

Carl Dix, one of the initiators of the “Call for a Month of Resistance,” opened the meeting, talking about just how serious the situation we face is... with the fascist Trump/Pence regime and how we have to act, starting right now, to organize to stop this regime before it starts. He said someone had said to him, “You’re laying out a monumental task,” and Carl said, “We have a monumental problem.” He talked about how we have to get this “NO!” out there everywhere, starting now—at family gatherings, cultural events, everything that’s going on. And a very important nodal point here in New York will be New Year’s Eve—where there should be demonstrations, vigils, rallies—all focused on putting out “No fascist 2017!” This is a day where New York becomes a big focus all across the country and even the world, with millions of people coming into Times Square. And this has to be a day where the message of “NO!” gets out really big and hits the TV coverage and newspaper headlines.

Sunsara Taylor, another initiator of the call, also made some opening comments. She talked about how there are millions of people deeply upset and agonizing over Trump/Pence and how it is up to the people now to stop this; how in this society people are trained that what it means to be politically involved means just voting and then if you don’t like it you can write a letter, etc. “But that this effort is fundamentally different, that we have to rely on ourselves, the masses of people, to reach out and stop looking up to some savior in the political establishment and instead look to the millions and millions here who feel like we do, and hundreds of millions around the world who will be affected by what they [Trump/Pence] would do.”

There was lively discussion with lots of people kicking in different ideas, creative ways for how to get this message out all over the place, and starting the very next day—how to reach out to all kinds of different people, people involved in different struggles, points of view—but around one over-arching theme: No! No Trump. No Pence. No Fascist America. People broke into working groups—students/youth; social media; outreach; New Year’s Eve actions; media. In the student group there was talk about organizing walkouts at high schools right away. One person who has been organizing protests at Nike Town to move out of Trump Towers , one of Trump’s big assets, made plans with others to go the next night to get the “NO!” out to as many people as possible. People were figuring out creative ways to get the “NO!” logo out—like there was one idea to make something where it would be lit up on a lantern that could be carried at night; another person said they were going to get it copied on acetate so that people could shine it out from their phones. There were at least a half dozen people who signed up to have house meetings to have someone come and talk about the plan and get others organized into this whole effort, as well as raise money. Someone who works in public access TV said they could try and use this to get the “NO!” message out.

The biggest focus of the group discussion, and then when people broke up into working groups, was making concrete plans for New Year’s Eve—to really figure out how to make the biggest impact on that day/night, that will reverberate throughout the country and the world—starting the whole year off with the “NO!” message reaching many, many millions of people who need to join in and make a New Year’s resolution: “No Fascist 2017!”

At the end of the meeting people lined up to make “NO!” messages and challenge people to be in the streets on New Year’s Eve and then the whole group gathered to send a video “NO!” message.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/science/31ba-science...internationalism-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Excerpt from the sections:
Internationalism and an International Dimension

and

Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism

Download PDF of entire work

Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the new work by Bob Avakian, The New Communism. In addition to excerpts already posted on revcom.us, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both revcom.us and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. A prepublication copy is available on line at revcom.us.

This excerpt comes from the section titled "III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution."

From the section:
Internationalism and an International Dimension

In addition to what has been said about how, when it comes down to the struggle for the seizure of power, there will be aspects of a civil war between two sections of the people—and in addition to what has been emphasized about the need to deal with the problem of encirclement, suppression and pulverization—another dimension of this that has to be taken into consideration is that this will not only be a struggle that must be internationalist in its basic orientation, but it is also likely to have a significant aspect of being international. The point has been made that the borders of this country are anything but sacred to us. If you look at the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic, specifically in regard to what is now the Southwest of the U.S., you can see that it is taking account of the close interconnection—historically, in the present time, and looking to the future—between what goes on in (what is now) the U.S., and what goes on to the south. And, given that, when it comes down to it, there would almost certainly be, in significant measure, the interconnection and interpenetration of revolutionary struggle in (what is now) the U.S. and revolutionary struggle to the south, strategic thinking and work needs to be carried out, in terms of the international dimension of this.

 

From the section:
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism

What do I mean by revolutionary defeatism, and why is it so important? Revolutionary defeatism means that you oppose the actions of your own government and ruling class in carrying out their wars, which are wars for empire. It means that you welcome any setbacks they suffer in those wars, because that weakens their oppressive hold over masses of people, here and in the world more generally. Now, we do have to recognize that we have a different situation than back in the day with the war in Vietnam. In those days, the National Liberation Front (NLF) in Vietnam was a revolutionary organization of the people in South Vietnam who were waging the fight, along with the government and people in North Vietnam, against the U.S. imperialists. And the leader of that struggle, until he died in the late 1960s, was Ho Chi Minh, who called himself a communist but was actually more of a revolutionary nationalist. Beginning soon after the end of World War 2, Ho Chi Minh led the armed struggle of the Vietnamese people to drive out the French, who had colonized Vietnam, and then to drive out the Americans, who, beginning in the 1950s, attempted to replace the French as the colonial master of Vietnam. Now, back in those days we used to go to demonstrations and people would march through the streets chanting, “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is gonna win.” It felt very good, and it was right to do it. It was right to be on the side of the Vietnamese people and Ho Chi Minh leading them. It wasn’t just that you wanted your government to lose the unjust war it was waging, you could actually be on the side of the people fighting against your government, because those people represented a righteous cause, they represented a real struggle against imperialism. They weren’t going around attacking civilians. They were fighting against the military of U.S. imperialism that had invaded their country and was bombing it massively. So, in those days, you could actually be with the people fighting against the U.S. government, the U.S. imperialists.

Today, unfortunately, the situation is different and not as favorable in the short run. Nobody coming from a decent place should want to root for these reactionary Islamic jihadists who are in fact also enforcers of brutally oppressive relations—particularly, but not only, horrific patriarchal relations—and who, in the service of that, carry out all kinds of depraved slaughter of ordinary civilians. So you cannot, if you’re coming from the right place, identify in any way with these forces and support them. Now, there are some people around the world who call themselves leftists or even communists or Maoists, people like this guy Ajith, who try to put a pretty face on these Islamic fundamentalist jihadists and insist that they are anti-imperialists, that they’re waging an anti-imperialist struggle. But the fact is that, while they may fight against the U.S., they do not represent a positive, progressive, let alone a revolutionary force; and where they have succeeded in exercising power, their rule is brutally oppressive. That has been shown repeatedly in the real world. In your mind, you can try to make these people into something other than what they are, but that can only do a great deal of harm, because in the real world they are not a positive force, even while, coming from where they’re coming from, they’re opposing U.S. imperialism, to some degree, although not in any thoroughgoing way and not toward any positive end.

This makes for a difficult situation because, especially given how parasitic U.S. society is—where significant sections of the people, particularly among the middle strata, receive some share of the spoils from imperialist domination and plunder in the world—when the U.S. government is able to point to the continuing atrocities carried out by these Islamic fundamentalists, this reinforces the tendency for people to side with, or at least not to seriously oppose, their own country and government in the wars it is waging against these Islamic fundamentalists. It makes it easier for people to go along with what is, and take the position: “I don’t really like these wars, but look at these other people; we have to do something about groups like ISIS.” Never mind the fact that Saudi Arabia, a big ally of the U.S., beheads a lot more people than ISIS does, and embodies and enforces all kinds of horrendous oppression, against women and others. But still, people can say, “Well, look at these people, like ISIS.” This makes it easier for people not to do the hard thing of going up against their own government in the wars it is waging.

Yes, it is true: the Islamic fundamentalists who are opposing these imperialists are no good, they don’t pose a positive alternative. But that does not make the wars of empire being fought by this government just wars. This situation has gone on way too long and needs to be frontally and deeply challenged. These are wars for empire. These are unjust wars. They are carried out with massive means of destruction, killing civilians in the hundreds of thousands, torturing people in the service of these wars. This should be opposed and opposed strongly. It is not acceptable that people just take the stand, “Yes, I wish those wars would be over with, but we gotta do something about these Islamic fundamentalists.” It is crucial that people come to see what the nature of these wars being waged by their government actually is, and why these wars have to be actively opposed; and even if you can’t, and shouldn’t, support the other side, you still have to have the basic approach of welcoming the defeat of your own government in the wars it is waging. The defeat of these imperialists should be welcomed because, number one, their wars are unjust, even if the people opposing them are also unjust. And, two, every such defeat weakens this system and its ruling class and brings closer the time when people can actually bring it down and bring something liberating into being in its place.

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

Materialism vs. Idealism
Dialectical Materialism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights

Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
            A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation

The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Internationalism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
   Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Fundamental Orientation

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
   Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”

Appendix 1:
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/470/electoral-college-set-up-to-protect-slavery-today-protecting-white-supremacy-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

The Electoral College:
Set Up to Protect Slavery, Today Enforcing White Supremacy

December 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by about 2.5 million votes. But the Electoral College decides who becomes president. And the Electoral College will—if things remain on course—make Donald Trump the next president.

What is the Electoral College? In short, it is an institution that was set up to protect slavery and one that continues today to be an instrument for enforcing white supremacy.

“The Proslavery Origins of the Electoral College”

How does the Electoral College work? Each state is assigned a number of votes in the Electoral College more or less based on population. And in almost every state, all the state’s Electoral College votes go to the candidate who gets the most votes from voters.

What’s behind that? In an article appropriately titled “The Proslavery Origins of the Electoral College,” legal historian Paul Finkelman writes, “the records of the [founding Constitutional] Convention show that in fact the connection between slavery and the [Electoral] college was deliberate, and very much on the minds of many delegates, including James Madison.”

Madison and others who wrote the U.S. Constitution aimed to create a unified, powerful state that could stand up to domination or interference by European powers, carry out genocide and theft of land from the Native peoples, and enforce exploitation in the form of capitalist wage-slavery as well as outright enslavement of Black people. As part of promoting the illusion that “We the people” were running society, the framers of the constitution deemed it important to extend the right to vote, including for president, to large numbers of white people. And to exclude slaves and Native peoples (and women) from that right. (For an understanding of the implications of this arrangement and how central it is to the history and present day nature of the U.S., see Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, by Bob Avakian.)

But... having the president elected by popular vote posed “one difficulty ... of a serious nature,” as Madison put it. Madison, one of the most influential of the “Founding Fathers,” noted that the “right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes.” In other words: if the president really was elected on the basis of one man, one vote, the slave states would not have sufficient say in national politics.

Madison himself was a slave owner. So were just under half of the other authors of the U.S. Constitution. And as a condition of signing on to the Constitution, they demanded influence in government beyond the number of white voters in the South.

The “solution” the founders of the U.S. came up was this: First, for purposes of representation in the national government, slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person. Slaves were not really considered human beings; they were considered property, deprived of any rights at all, and at the total mercy of merciless slave owners. But they got counted for the purpose of figuring out how much representation slave states would have in the government. White voters in slave states were essentially given a huge number of extra Electoral College votes each through this “three-fifths rule.”

An Instrument to Enforce White Supremacy

Even after the formal end of slavery, the Electoral College has continued to give greatly disproportionate influence to votes of white people. This was a deciding factor in the election of Donald Trump.

       

For most of the first 100 years after the Civil War, Black people in the South were still counted for purposes of assigning votes in the Electoral College. In fact, they were counted as a full person, not just three-fifths of a person. But through KKK terror and discriminatory laws, Black people were overwhelming prevented from even registering to vote in the South.

That changed in the 1960s. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed only after massive and courageous sacrifice by Black people in the South, and other people, Black and white—especially students—from around the country. To some extent, these laws ended the racist voter registration requirements that prevented millions of Black people from voting.

But those advances have been dramatically rolled back. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court basically stripped the Voting Rights Act of any real enforcement power (in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder). For example, shortly after the evisceration of the Voting Right Act, a “Voter ID” law went into effect in Alabama. It was intended to, and did, drive Black people off the voting rolls. A lawsuit challenging Alabama’s Voter ID law pointed out that a disproportionate number of disfranchised voters are African-American and Latino and predicted that in the 2016 election Alabama’s Voter ID law would disenfranchise more than 280,000 citizens in the state.

Voter ID laws are based on lies that there is massive voter fraud (read: massive Black and Latino voter fraud). Trump froths at the mouth about “millions of people who voted illegally” in the last election. There is no evidence that anything like that is true, and many serious studies that prove it is not true. But what is true is that nationwide, 13 percent of African-Americans do not have photo IDs; five percent of white people do not have photo IDs (American National Elections Study, 2012).

And Southern states have increasingly kept Black people from voting by closing polling places. In the 2016 presidential election, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas reduced or closed a huge number of polling places.

Most states have laws that disenfranchise anyone convicted of a felony. Since Black people are disproportionally convicted of felonies, these laws unequally impact Black people—in fact, over two million Black people are barred from voting due to a past conviction. (One in 13 Black people has been disenfranchised in this way, the figure for white people is one in 54.)

Further, the Electoral College system gives greatly weighted value to the sparsely populated, more rural stateswhich are predominantly whitebecause each state gets three votes in the Electoral College regardless of its population (any additional votes are proportional to population). And Republican-dominated state legislatures frequently engage in gerrymandering—drawing congressional and state legislature districts in ways that isolate and minimize the impact of non-white voters—which can then only be challenged through a protracted battle in the courts which may or may not overturn these plans. In turn, this has made it easier for these state governments to pass Voter ID and other discriminatory laws, furthering their dominance.

* * *

Today, as in slave days, Black people are “counted” in allotting Electoral College votes. But millions of them do not have the right to vote. And so—as was the case under slavery—the Electoral College remains an institution that serves to multiply the power of white voters in the South. And while not the focus of this article, the Electoral College setup works to disenfranchise Latino and Native Americans as well.

Donald Trump was elected through the Electoral College, which was set up to protect the interests of slave owners and that today still serves to protect white supremacy. That is not a legitimate election, and he is not a legitimate president.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/469/trump-the-cia-and-the-hacking-controversy-some-points-of-orientation-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Trump, the CIA, and the "Hacking" Controversy: Some Points of Orientation

Updated January 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

Update 1/6/17: As the date of Donald Trump's scheduled inauguration approaches, the political storm continues to rage over alleged CIA findings that Russia hacked computers of the Democratic and Republican parties and worked to favor the election of Donald Trump. What does that signify? What does it mean to people who find the prospect of a Trump regime terrible or intolerable? The following article, originally posted December 12, contains important analysis on what is going on with the "hacking" controversy and what interests are at work. We re-post it now as it continues to be very relevant.

A major political storm has erupted over alleged CIA findings that Russia not only hacked computers of the Democratic and Republican parties’ national committees, but actually worked to favor the election of Donald Trump through selective leaks mainly targeting Hillary Clinton and her campaign.  Trump tweeted and his spokespeople ridiculed the allegations as groundless.  They pointed to CIA fabrications before the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq that the Iraqis had “weapons of mass destruction” (no such weapons were ever found).  They said the charges were a ruse designed to delegitimize Trump’s election. At the same time, some prominent Republican senators and former high intelligence officials in Republican ranks publicly broke with Trump, calling for further investigation and hearings. Others, including senior Democrats aligned with Clinton’s campaign, are supporting a call for the CIA findings to be made available to electors that comprise the Electoral College so they can assess the scope of this alleged Russian interference and its connections with the Trump campaign, and determine if “Trump is fit to serve as President,” posing questions of legitimacy of the electoral outcome.   

What is going on?  And what interests lie behind this?

On one level, we can’t definitively determine the truth of these specific charges.  It is true that damaging e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign were leaked; it is true that imperialist powers wage fierce cyber-warfare (invasion of each other’s computer networks for intelligence) against each other; but beyond that no real proof has been produced and some of the key players—most notably, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who released many of the e-mails from the Democratic National Committee—have disputed these allegations.

On the other hand, there are a few things that CAN be said. 

First, U.S. presidents usually spend a big part of their time on coming to office learning about perceived threats to imperialist interests from the CIA; it is unprecedented for an incoming president to launch an attack ON the CIA.  On the other hand, intelligence agencies usually “fit themselves” to serve the way the incoming president views U.S. strategic (that is, imperialist) interests.  So Trump’s attacks on the CIA are highly unusual, to put it mildly.  Further: the political parties of incoming presidents usually close ranks around that president; yet today high-ranking Republicans like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are coming into conflict with Trump over whether to hold hearings on these allegations, or simply put them to rest.

These open arguments point to even sharper conflicts underneath. Up to now, both Democrats and Republicans have mainly taken a hard line against Russian attempts to assert its imperialist interests in different spheres such as in Syria and Ukraine, even while working with them at times. McCain and others in advocating for the hearings has repeatedly called out Putin, the Russian leader, as a “butcher” and a “thug.” As of posting, Trump seems to be tending in a different direction, including choosing as advisors people with ties to the Putin regime, for example Trump's nomination of Rex Tillerson, the head of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of State. Tillerson is reportedly against sanctions imposed by the U.S. against Russia following its annexation of the Crimea from Ukraine. Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser in waiting, has also had ties with Russia.

Some of these differences are linked to different approaches and responses to a host of difficult and intractable contradictions faced by the U.S. ruling class—both internationally and within the U.S. itself. Much of the conflict right now within the capitalist-imperialist class centers on how to approach and deal with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, including reactionary movements rooted in this ideology, like ISIS, mainly centered in Iraq and Syria, or the Taliban in Afghanistan. Trump seems to favor a different and closer alignment with Russia in dealing with these movements, even while they are engaged in intense rivalry for domination in these regions.

Bob Avakian has made the following point on this phenomenon:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these "outmodeds," you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these "historically outmodeds" has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:28

This clash between the two outmodeds—with the U.S. playing the most aggressive and murderous role by far—has been a disaster for the people of the world, with the dynamic further intensifying in the aftermath of the Arab Spring1. The war the U.S. launched in 2003 against Iraq not only caused unspeakable carnage, it developed into a significant setback for U.S. imperial interests.  Neither Bush nor Obama fundamentally succeeded in solidifying U.S. domination over the Middle East.  In some respects their grip was actually shaken and certain strategic weaknesses of the U.S. military were revealed and even exacerbated.  This was a major point of attack by Trump against both Obama and, it should be noted, George W. Bush as well.

To be clear: both sides of this dispute are fighting FOR U.S. domination of the region (as part of dominating the globe) and both are willing to shed however much blood of the people of this region that proves necessary for that domination.  But within that reactionary unity, there is a great deal of struggle and there are possible splits within the imperialist camp, precisely because they have run into difficulties in pursuing those interests. This is manifest sharply in approaches to the civil war in Syria and the situation in Iraq, and Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Second, it is very significant that this finds itself touching on questions of the legitimacy of this election.  But this is knotty.  For masses of people, Trump’s illegitimacy focuses on his extremely reactionary stance toward the people here and all over the world and, most of all, the fascist program he aims to impose and is already putting into place, even before reaching office.  This program will be nothing short of catastrophic for the people and because of that Trump must be prevented, by massive political struggle involving millions, from consolidating his rule. It is also illegitimate because Trump’s ascendancy to President-elect, despite losing the popular vote, is based on the Electoral College, which is a product and legacy of slavery and white supremacy and its continued manifestations. (See, "The Electoral College—A Legacy of Slavery and Living Expression of Oppression—Cannot Be Used to Legitimize This Team of Fascists.")

       

At the same time, for sections of the imperialists who oppose Trump, their concerns focus on both significant differences over what strategy will best advance the interests of the U.S. Empire and whether Trump is “fit to be commander-in-chief”—that is, does he have the right experience and “temperament” to cold-bloodedly carry out what is required of whoever assumes the top imperialist office?  This has mainly flared in the international arena.  At the same time many ruling class figures, concentrated in the Democratic Party do have differences with Trump around how he will rule “at home” as well; these differences are not insignificant but they do not override the unity between ruling class politicians as to the need to carry out that rule OVER the people.  This is why, in the main, top Democrats like Obama have been arguing to give Trump a chance and work with him, while hoping to “influence” him.  The conflict over the CIA assessment is part of that struggle to “influence” Trump by other ruling class factions.

Third, faced with this situation, it will be very important that people NOT get caught up in pinning their hopes on one or another representative or section of the imperialists.  If the imperialists are allowed to set the terms of the struggle and determine its parameters, and masses of people allow their activity to be confined to being marshaled by one or another camp of imperialists to fight around what THEY deem to be significant, that struggle will only and can only end up in continued imperialist domination. 

Here we’ll draw on “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer”; though written nearly 20 years ago, the principle below applies very much to the situation we face now.  Bill Clinton, then the president, faced an attack by Christian fascist Republican politicians who formed the spearpoint of an entire offensive of what was called at the time “the politics of poverty, punishment and patriarchy,” an attack most fundamentally directed against masses of people, but which also involved conflicts among different sections of the imperialists and which took the form of a move to impeach Clinton.  Even as things have changed, some of the same questions, and some of the same forces, are in the field today. 

Here’s what BA wrote:

It is extremely important to step back from the immediate situation and the terms in which things are presented to us, and ask: How did we get to the situation where the choices, the framework and limits we are supposed to accept are marked at one end by outright fascists and at the other end by someone [this refers to Bill Clinton] who, as even a mainstream columnist describes him, is the most conservative Democratic President since Truman, who heads a Democratic administration that has served as an aggressive and effective instrument in a many-sided reactionary offensive against the basic masses and broader sections of people? Where will we be, before long, and what will the future look like, if people, especially those who see the need to oppose this reactionary offensive, nevertheless are convinced to confine their political objectives and activity within the logic and dynamic that has led us to the present situation? And, most importantly, how do we get out of this situation? The answer is that it must and can only be done by mobilizing broad ranks of people, uniting people from many different strata and walks of life, to build determined resistance to this whole reactionary program and to transform the whole terms of political contention and struggle, the whole "political terrain"—resistance that is not limited to and does not rely on the very political structures, institutions and processes that are the means through which this reactionary offensive is being carried out and given "legitimacy."

With that kind of “determined resistance to the whole reactionary program” from below, struggles between different ruling class forces can assume heightened significance.  The proposal now being circulated for a month of massive resistance to prevent the consolidation of fascism urgently presents a picture of such resistance, and argues for it and its possible effects:

Imagine if people, in the tens of millions, filled the streets, powerfully declaring that this regime is illegitimate and demanding that it not be allowed to rule!  The whole political landscape would be dramatically transformed, every faction within the established power structure would be forced to respond—and all this could well lead to a situation in which this fascist regime is actually prevented from ruling. This is not some idle dream but something which could be made a reality if all those who hate what is represented by this fascist regime translate their outrage into firm determination and massive mobilization to create the conditions which make this possible.

This could be done—such a thing is necessary and possible precisely because Trump is NOT normal; he represents the imposition of a fascist form of capitalist dictatorship, and millions are rightly revolted by this—by what he has declared as his intentions and what he has already done even before assuming office.  But not by lining up behind a program and leadership that locates any possible illegitimacy of Trump in his failure to “stand up” consistently enough for imperialist interests against other imperialist powers. 

The final point is this: revolutionaries need, in waging this struggle, to compellingly put forward the way out of this madness altogether.  Through www.revcom.us and spoken agitation people need to learn about the blueprint for an entirely different society in which the politics of society are not dominated by imperialist forces struggling over how best to dominate the masses, but in which the masses of people are led to wage struggle to transform the world to do away with exploitation and oppression, and, yes, led to carry out vigorous struggle over how to do that; that blueprint exists in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian and adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party.  More, revolutionaries, in waging this struggle to stop the Trump/Pence regime, should bring forward the strategy that could actually defeat these imperialists and the leadership we have to do that: BA—an entirely different kind of leader with an orientation toward liberating and unleashing masses, and a method and approach that can enable them to ever more consciously transform the world and themselves—and the vanguard he leads.

 

______________

1. Beginning in December of 2010 and lasting for 10 months, the “Arab Spring” was a powerful series of uprisings that rocked the nations of the Middle East and North Africa. By the end of February 2012, tyrants had been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen with major uprisings in 14 different countries. [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/fascist-apparatus-in-place-to-round-up-muslims-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

A Fascist Apparatus Is in Place to Round Up Muslims

December 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

December 12 protest at the Justice Department in Washington D.C. against Trump's threatened registration of Muslims.
Protest at the Justice Department in Washington D.C. against Trump's threatened registration of Muslims, December 12. Photo: @Nina_0421/Twitter.

In the wake of the December 19 Berlin attack, before any concrete information about who was responsible for the attack came out, Trump reaffirmed his plans for creating a registry of Muslims in the U.S., immediately banning Muslims from entering the U.S., deporting many Muslim immigrants, and more. Trump has made demonizing Muslims a core element of his plans for the presidency, including bringing into the core of his presidency fanatic generals who believe in a Christian war against Islam.

If the Trump-Pence fascist regime is allowed to take power, such plans and worse will in fact be carried out. The legal basis and the machinery to do this are already in place, and have been so since steps taken by the U.S. in the wake of 9/11.

The National Security Exit-Entry Registration System: Registration of Muslims

Trump said: “You know my plans” and “All along, I’ve been proven to be right. One hundred percent correct,” when asked on December 21 about plans for registering Muslims and banning Muslim immigrants.

The National Security Exit-Entry Registration System (NSEERS) was initiated in 2002 to target people in the U.S. who came from 25 predominantly Muslim countries. NSEERS required mandatory registration of immigrants from these countries. Strict penalties were imposed for failure to register or for late registration.

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, “In the wake of NSEERS, more than 13,000 men who complied with the program faced deportation charges. Families were torn apart, small businesses in immigrant neighborhoods closed their doors, and students discarded their educational aspirations.”

Most ominously, NSEERS created a national database of names, addresses, family members, and contact information on immigrants. This was information that could be used to carry out massive roundups and deportations.

The U.S. government claims it stopped enforcing NSEERS in 2011. In fact, what was done was to remove the 25 predominantly Muslim countries from the list of countries being monitored, while leaving the structure intact. On December 22 this year, President Obama announced he was ordering a dismantling of the NSEERS program, in order to slow Trump’s promised registration of all Muslims in the United States. This is the same Obama who has been rightly called the “Deporter in Chief” for deporting a record-breaking number of people from the U.S. during his presidency.

Trump adviser Kris Kobach helped design and implement the original NSEERS program while working for the George W. Bush administration. On November 15, Kobach said that the reinstatement of this program is a possible recommendation he might make to Trump once he takes office.

The Trump-Pence regime will bring disaster...

People of Japnese descent lined up at a train that will take them to the concentration camp at Gila River, Ariz., 1942.
People of Japanese descent lined up to be taken to the concentration camp at Gila River, Ariz., 1942. (Photo: Clem Albers/National Archives)

While NSEERS may have been stopped, for now, the fact is that the U.S. government already has developed and put into effect other ways to investigate and track people coming into the U.S. According to the New York Times, the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security had already called for NSEERS to be ended in 2012, saying, “Information obtained from fingerprints, flight manifests, travel and identification documents and intelligence sources is more valuable in determining who poses a potential national security risk.”

One of Trump’s most vocal fascist supporters, Congressman Peter King of New York, has called for the federal government to create a program similar to one that was put in place in New York City in 2006. According to the Huffington Post, “Officers in the since-disbanded Demographics Unit [of the NYPD] infiltrated Muslim student groups, kept track of Muslims who changed their last names, eavesdropped on conversations between Muslims, spied on Muslim-owned businesses, recorded imams’ sermons, and put undercover officers and informants inside mosques.”

Profiling, Mass Roundups, Disappearances

“We did it during World War II with Japanese.”—Carl Higbe, head of the pro-Trump PAC Great America, on Fox News The Kelly Files, November 16, 2016, referring to the internment of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans during World War 2.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks, the government moved swiftly to erect an apparatus of detentions, surveillance, and public slander of Muslim people in the country. A systematic program of racial and ethnic profiling was begun. Before the end of 2001, more than 1,000 Muslim men were rounded up without charges and detained by federal authorities.

Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft justified these roundups, saying, “Foreign terrorists who commit war crimes against the United States, in my judgment, are not entitled to and do not deserve the protections of the American Constitution.” And who is a terrorist? Anyone the government declares is a terrorist.

One of these men was Mohammed Rafiq Butt, who had come to New York to work and send money back to his children in Pakistan. The FBI arrested him when neighbors called in a “tip” and turned him over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) on September 20, 2001. Never charged with a crime, he was held on a visa violation and ordered deported. He died in a New Jersey jail on October 24. Other prisoners told Butt’s relatives that he had complained of chest pains for two days, but officials refused to take him to the hospital. The INS claimed Butt had a heart attack and refused to release information about his death to Human Rights Watch, telling the group they must produce a document signed by Butt consenting to release the information! Rafiq Butt’s cousin said that an autopsy performed in Pakistan revealed marks on his body, suggesting he had been subjected to severe torture before his death. The coroner found multiple fractures in Rafiq Butt’s legs and chest, as well as deep bruises on his body.

       

The number of people detained in this wave of roundups grew to 5,000 within a few more months. People were picked up in the dead of night; grabbed off buses, trains, and planes; arrested based on anonymous “tips”; pulled from their cars at traffic stops; seized when their homes were raided by gun-wielding federal agents; saw their children being terrorized.

The U.S. government seized on the events of 9/11 to vilify, persecute, and terrorize a whole section of people based on the language they spoke, where they were born, the color of their skin, and the religion they practiced.

Using Torture

Trump said (February 17, 2016): “Torture works. OK, folks?... And waterboarding is your minor form. Some people say it’s not actually torture. Let’s assume it is. But they asked me the question: What do you think of waterboarding? Absolutely fine. But we should go much stronger than waterboarding.”

In the fall of 2001, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other mainstream media outlets discussed the need for the government to use torture to extract information from Muslim “suspects.” The New York Times Magazine (October 27, 2002) questioned a senior law enforcement official in Washington about a detainee who threatened to kill himself after being held for months in solitary confinement. The official told them, “If your subject has a complete breakdown the barriers to resistance are lowered. Once a person is at that point, he has lost the will to deceive, and you can be pretty certain that he’s not lying.”

Patriot Act—Machinery of Massive Repression on Steroids

In late October 2001, the “USA Patriot Act” was rushed through Congress, and the law is still in effect. The Patriot Act established the legal basis for raids, roundups, disappearances, indefinite detentions without charges, official racial profiling, the denial of access to family and attorneys, charges based on secret evidence, trials before military tribunals, deportations, threats of the death penalty based on secret evidence, and more. Under this sweeping law, the president can designate individuals, including U.S. citizens, as “enemy combatants” who have no constitutional or human rights.

If the Trump-Pence regime is allowed to come to power, these repressive powers of the government will not just continue but will take horrible new leaps. They have made it clear they will “keep their promises”—as we have said, “not so much for ‘jobs’ but to viciously repress the masses of people and seriously threaten concentration camps and even an outright ‘fast’ genocide at some point, that they would ‘make America “white” again,’ so to speak through terrorizing, imprisoning, and expelling whole sections of people, racial and religious ‘minorities,’ as well as unleashing violence against women, gay people, and others who do not conform, and eviscerating any semblance of dissenting or even inquiring political and intellectual expression.” (See “Point of Orientation on the Struggle to Prevent the Trump-Pence Fascist Regime.”)

This poses an enormous challenge, which we must not fail to act on.

* * *

“In 1939 we did not understand—we refused to believe—both out of ignorance and a desire not to see... If only we had realized; if only we had understood; if only we had been able to turn the historical tide back to the year 1939 we should have shouted ‘Revolt at once!’ For then we were at the height of our strength. Then we were possessed of vigor and self-respect.”

From the memoirs of Izhak Zuckerman, one of the few surviving leaders of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/when-is-terrorism-not-terrorism-in-the-twisted-world-of-donald-trump-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

When Is Terrorism Not "Terrorism," in the Twisted World of Donald Trump?

December 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Only hours after the attack on the Christmas market in Berlin where all kinds of people go this time of year to shop, eat, drink, and hang out, Donald Trump issued a statement claiming: “Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday. ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.”

In reality, at the time he made his statement, Trump had no idea who was at this market, who carried out the attack, or why.

In reality by far the greatest numbers of victims of terrorist attacks, where the religious affiliation of victims can be determined, are Muslims.1

But Trump used this incident in Berlin to threaten new repression, new terror, new wars: “These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners.”

The Washington Post reported that when asked about his plans to register Muslims within the U.S. and ban Muslims from entering the country, Donald Trump responded, “You know my plans.” And Trump, who made demonizing and threatening Muslims a key element of his campaign, and who has brought fanatic “war-on-Islam” crusading military men into the core of his cabinet, declared, “All along, I’ve been proven to be right. One hundred percent correct.”

Contrast that with...

In the warped worldview of Trump and his advisors, no evidence is ever needed to equate all terrorism with a Muslim war against Christians. On the other hand, no crime committed in service of or “inspired” by Christian fundamentalism is terrorism.

On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof—a publicly declared Nazi-loving, Confederate-flag-waving, virulent white supremacist—slaughtered nine Black people engaged in Bible study in a Charleston, South Carolina house of worship. The earliest news accounts reported that Roof told victims, “I have to do it.... You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.”

Trump’s response: “The tragedy in S.C. is incomprehensible. My deepest condolences to all.” 

“Incomprehensible”??!? A white terrorist had come into a Black church, murdered people and gave an ugly racist explanation to one of the few survivors. 

Condolences to “all”? Who are the “all”? Why not condolences to the murdered victims and their families?

When a man who declared he was saving fetuses from being chopped up and sold, shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last fall, Trump was asked on Meet the Press whether “heated rhetoric” about Planned Parenthood contributed to the attack.

Trump insisted, “We don't even know the purpose. I mean, he hasn't come out, to the best of my knowledge, with a statement as to why it happened to be at that location.”

The interviewer followed up with, “We have reporting that he [the murderer] was talking about baby parts and things like that from law enforcement officials during his interview.”

Trump responded, “Well, I will tell you there is a tremendous group of people that think it's terrible, all of the videos that they've seen with some of these people from Planned Parenthood talking about it like you're selling parts to a car. I mean, there are a lot of people that are very unhappy about that.” Here Trump was referring to and giving credence to totally discredited claims that Planned Parenthood sells “baby parts.”

In other words, Trump refused to acknowledge, let alone condemn, the on-record anti-abortion motives of a terrorist who attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic. But he expressed sympathy and understanding for the mentality of the attacker and others like him.

So in the sick and twisted fascist mind of Donald Trump, when is terrorism not "terrorism"? When Christians do it in the service of a fascist agenda!!

 

* For example, in early July 2016, a coordinated bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq resulted in the deaths of over 300 people and injured hundreds more. The attack targeted Shia Muslims. ISIS claimed responsibility. The attack garnered only passing mention in Western media.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/469/trump-and-black-people-you-have-no-idea-how-bad-it-can-get-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Trump and Black People: You Have NO Idea How Bad It Can Get

December 14, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

February 6, 2017: We are reposting this article, originally written in early December, due to its continuing relevance.

Some well-known Black people have gone around saying, “Well, we’ve gone through a lot, we’ll get through Trump”—and some people are echoing this.

Reality check: you have no idea HOW bad Trump is going to be for Black people. Yes, there’s been a reign of terror by police against Black people... yes, there’s been the ugly unending discrimination in every realm of society, from education to health care to housing and jobs... yes, there’s been the constant insult and threat; and now all that is going on steroids.

Read, Sign & Distribute The New Updated Refuse Fascism Call to Action:

Read the statement     |     Sign the statement     |     Download 2-sided Flier (8-1/2"x11" PDF)

Just think of what he’s done already: He took out ads calling for the death penalty against the Central Park 5. The Central Park 5 were Black and Latino youths who were unfairly charged with rape, and who were found innocent years later—after serving long, hard years in jail. And what did Trump say, just this year, when asked about this? That he doesn’t care what the evidence said, he says they’re guilty and they should be back in jail. And then there’s whole birther thing he got behind and got in front of—all that was just a way to say that Black people should have NO rights.

Trump’s convention featured the former New York mayor, Adolph Ghouliani, screaming about “law and order” and “blue lives matter,” and this was a major theme of his campaign. Trump even said he wants to do stop-and-frisk in every major city. And he applauds the Philippine ruler Duterte, who murders suspects straight-up in the street, without even a trial—over 2,000 already since this summer. What do you think he’s gonna do now? Why do you think that every racist pig and prison guard and every sick white racist vigilante wanna-be is drooling? You don’t think they’re gonna go crazy? And is there any doubt who they’re gonna go crazy against?

And then there’s Trump’s picks. His attorney general is Sessions from Alabama—who got turned down for a federal judgeship by Republicans back in the 1980s for being too much of an out-there racist. His top advisor is Bannon, who brags that the website he ran was the “platform for the alt-right”—and the alt-right are a bunch of Nazis. There’s Ben Carson in charge of housing, that Tom who opposes all government assistance and says that if Black people are poor it’s their own fault. What do you think is going to happen to the rights to free expression and political resistance, to voting rights, to hate crimes (they’re already going through the roof), to public housing and so on down the line?

And the jobs Trump promises? If they happen at all, they’ll be minimum wage or below (and don’t be surprised when he puts even more people in prison to work for next to nothing).

Yes, there’s been a reign of terror. But this is gonna be a reign of terror ON TOP OF a reign of terror. Here’s a parallel to think about: After the Civil War, there were 11 years of Reconstruction in the South, where the former slaves got democratic rights and some land. Then there was a close, contested election in 1876, and a deal got made where the winner agreed to pull out federal protection. In the next few years, the Ku Klux Klan killed thousands of Black people, stripped people of their rights, and took almost all the land that people had been able to obtain. This kind of slam back and worse could be what goes down.

But there’s a bigger question. Trump’s already made clear he’s going after Muslims, after immigrants, after women, and after gay people with a vengeance... he’s made clear he’s gonna foul the environment on a level never seen before (and it’s already close to disaster)... he’s made clear he’s gonna be a warmonger. The kind of narrowness that comes at things from “what might this do to me” out, as if that’s the only question, is never any good and never justified—no matter where it comes from.

There’s a chance now to stop the horror, to stop it before it starts. Not a cinch, not a guarantee, but a chance—one worth fighting for. And the stakes for anyone who cares about the fate of Black people, as well as the people and planet as a whole, are very, very high.

(To find out more, go to refusefascism.org.)

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/obama-abstains-on-a-un-resolution-condemning-israel-trump-lashes-back-not-a-sign-of-hope-a-preview-of-incoming-horrors-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Obama Abstains on a UN Resolution Condemning Israel... Trump Lashes Back:
Not a "Sign of Hope," a Preview of Incoming Horrors

December 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Yesterday, the United States abstained from voting on, and did not veto, a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel. That's news. For 45 years, the United States has vetoed almost every UN resolution criticizing Israel. This vote (and the U.S. not vetoing it) was greeted with applause by a packed UN Security Council chamber. It reflects serious differences between the Obama administration and Israel, and between what has been Obama's policy and what Donald Trump threatens to do. And it was seen by some as a hopeful sign that the Obama administration was erecting barriers to what Trump has vowed to do—give uncritical and unlimited support to every crime Israel commits against the Palestinian people. In response, Trump lashed out with the ominous tweet: "As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th."

These events are not a basis for hope. They are not an indication that the U.S. and the UN will now rein in some of Israel's most egregious crimes against the Palestinian people. They do not prevent, but portend, terrible giant leaps backward that a Trump regime would bring to an already intolerable situation in the Middle East and the world.

Israel's Settlements and the Role of the U.S.

 


Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against the construction of Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley, in the West Bank, November 17, 2016. (Photo: AP)

 


Amona, an unauthorized Israeli outpost settlement in the West Bank, is seen east of the Palestinian town of Ramallah. (Photo: AP)

 

The Security Council resolution condemns Israel for building "settlements" in areas of Palestine that the UN recognizes as territory that should be administered by Palestinians. Those settlements are highly militarized encampments of heavily armed Israeli settlers engaged in expanding the terrorist ethnic cleansing of sections of Palestine.

The settlements violate international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention—which has been adopted by nearly every country on Earth—prohibits an occupying power from transferring its citizens into the territory it occupies and from transferring or displacing the population of an occupied territory within or outside the territory (See "Occupation Inc." from Human Rights Watch.)

The wording of the UN resolution condemns "all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia [among others], the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions." And it expresses "grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines."1

Every other country represented on the UN Security Council voted for the resolution. Because the U.S. abstained (didn't vote), and didn't veto the resolution, it passed.

Trump's Thuggish Intervention—Even Before He Is Supposed to Take Office

Before the vote, Donald Trump attacked the decision of the Obama administration on Facebook and Twitter and vowed to reverse it. And in a stunning move, Trump called Egypt's ruler, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and "convinced" him to withdraw the resolution (Egypt was the resolution's original sponsor). There is no official record of what kind of "offer he can't refuse" was made in this phone call, but immediately afterward, according to official statements from Sisi's office, "The presidents [note: presidents plural—even though Barack Obama is the currently elected president of the United States!] agreed on the importance of affording the new US administration the full chance to deal with all dimensions of the Palestinian case..." ("Egypt: Trump convinced Sisi to withdraw UN resolution," Al Jazeera, December 23, 2016)

Take note: Here you had Trump, before he is even in power, pushing aside supposed foundational rules that have governed how things work in the U.S. (like you don't get to be president until your predecessor's term is up!). Consider this thuggish move one more flashing red-light warning sign of how little respect a Trump regime would have for rule of law when he is in power. And if Trump has this little respect for the supposed safeguards of the rule of law, as well as what have been standing precedents of policy, when it pertains to his fellow members of the ruling class, what will he care when these are supposed to protect the masses from the state power he will soon be wielding?

After Trump's phone call to Sisi, other countries assumed sponsorship of the resolution, and it passed.

What's Behind the Non-Veto?

As an expression of U.S. financial, military, and diplomatic backing for Israel, the U.S. has vetoed hundreds of UN resolutions criticizing or condemning Israel.2 Today's departure from that policy does reflect increasing strains in the "special relationship" as both sides refer to U.S. backing for Israel. Even more specifically, it reflects real concerns by the Obama administration that Trump is going to throw out the "rule book" when it comes to Israel in a way that, as they see it, U.S. interests around the world will be greatly endangered.

Samantha Power, U.S. representative to the UN, began her statement on the resolution with a quote: "[T]he immediate adoption of a settlement freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in [peace] talks. Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be freely and fairly negotiated." She then attributed the quote to its author, Ronald Reagan. She began her speech this way to make the point, especially to those in the U.S. ruling class who were lashing out at Obama, that formal opposition to Israeli settlements has always been a principle of U.S. foreign policy. At the same time, she presented a long defense of Israel, and defended the U.S. decision to abstain, rather than vote for the resolution.

As the U.S. has worked to cobble together global coalitions, and patch together motley collections of tyrants to serve its interests in the Middle East and beyond, Israel's ongoing and escalating crimes against the Palestinians have presented real problems. Including that Israel's egregious crimes have created real problems for U.S. rulers in their efforts to present themselves as champions of freedom and democracy around the world.

       

At the same time, the rulers of the U.S. are stuck with and sticking by Israel as a unique enforcer and base for the U.S. empire. There is no regime in the Middle East, other than Israel, with anything close to the economic and military power, and (so far) reliable base of support among its own population.

These real contradictions reached unprecedented levels of tension during the Obama administration. But it was always the purpose of Obama's policies to strengthen Israel, and its relationship with the U.S. He said this over and over, and backed it up. In 2014, Obama increased U.S. military aid to Israel at the very time it was bombing hospitals, UN schools, and residential districts in the Gaza-strip region of Palestine, murdering 2,250 people, most of whom were civilians, including more than 500 children.

Israel's Special Place in the Trumpite Holy War on Islam

The Trumpites have a very different conception of how to defend and expand the U.S. empire, and a very different solution to the current state of tension between the U.S. and Israel. They see what is going on in the world as a continuation of a 500-year conflict between Christianity and Islam. Their vision is for global holy war of "Judeo-Christian civilization" against Islam and anyone else who gets in their way.

In a presentation that Trump's chief strategist and senior counselor, Steve Bannon, gave two years ago at a conference held inside the Vatican, Bannon quite clearly laid out a "holy war" perspective of "Judeo-Christian capitalism" versus Islam. He traces this back to religious wars of the past and in the process accuses "secularism" of sapping the "strength" of the West. To get more of a sense of this, read the following question/answer from Bannon's presentation:

Questioner: One of my questions has to do with how the West should be responding to radical Islam. How, specifically, should we as the West respond to Jihadism without losing our own soul? Because we can win the war and lose ourselves at the same time. How should the West respond to radical Islam and not lose itself in the process?

Bannon: From a perspective—this may be a little more militant than others. I think definitely you're going to need an aspect that is [unintelligible]. I believe you should take a very, very, very aggressive stance against radical Islam. And I realize there are other aspects that are not as militant and not as aggressive and that's fine.

If you look back at the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam [editor's note: Islam full stop, not "radical Islam"], I believe that our forefathers kept their stance, and I think they did the right thing. I think they kept it out of the world, whether it was at Vienna, or Tours, or other places... It bequeathed to us the great institution that is the church of the West.

And I would ask everybody in the audience today, because you really are the movers and drivers and shakers and thought leaders in the Catholic Church today, is to think, when people 500 years from now are going to think about today, think about the actions you've taken—and I believe everyone associated with the church and associated with the Judeo-Christian West that believes in the underpinnings of that and believes in the precepts of that and want to see that bequeathed to other generations down the road as it was bequeathed to us, particularly as you're in a city like Rome, and in a place like the Vatican, see what's been bequeathed to us—ask yourself, 500 years from today, what are they going to say about me? What are they going to say about what I did at the beginning stages of this crisis?

Because it is a crisis, and it's not going away. You don't have to take my word for it. All you have to do is read the news every day, see what's coming up, see what they're putting on Twitter, what they're putting on Facebook, see what's on CNN, what's on BBC. See what's happening, and you will see we're in a war of immense proportions. It's very easy to play to our baser instincts, and we can't do that. But our forefathers didn't do it either. And they were able to stave this off, and they were able to defeat it, and they were able to bequeath to us a church and a civilization that really is the flower of mankind, so I think it's incumbent on all of us to do what I call a gut check, to really think about what our role is in this battle that's before us.

("This Is How Steve Bannon Sees The Entire World," BuzzFeed, November 15, 2016)

(For more analysis of how this "holy war" madness fits into the overall package of the Trump-Pence regime, see "As Democrats Still Call for 'Working With' Trump... Trump Goes Further with Fascist Team and Fascist Threats.")

That vision demands a much closer U.S.-Israel relationship. That is the meaning of Trump's repeated insistence that there will be "no daylight" between the U.S. and Israel under his rule.

Obama's mix of criticism of Israel, combined with unwavering support, has infuriated not just the Trumpites but other major, powerful sections of the ruling class (including significant players in both the Republican and Democratic parties). His ruling class critics have demanded a much closer and less critical relationship between the U.S. and Israel. And Obama's approach has infuriated the fanatical Zionists who dominate Israeli society, who disdain almost any acknowledgement of the Palestinian people as human beings.

In the rabid Zionists in power in Israel, the Trumpites find perfect military and ideological partners in a holy war of "Judeo-Christian civilization" against Islam (and anyone else who gets in their way).3

The Trumpites, or at least the dominant core of them, obliterate the real, and important, distinction between fundamentalist Islamic Jihad on the one hand and Islam on the other. And if you follow the logic-of-the-logic of many of their claims and threats, this DOES add up to a holy war against Islam (and all Muslims). Add to this equation Trump's stance of: If we have nukes, why can't we use them, and the picture assumes genocidal dimensions.4

The Trumpites demand a totally "free hand" for Israel in crushing the Palestinians, and—with its own substantial nuclear arsenal—running amok in the region without the constraints of U.S. diplomatic intervention. In light of how wildly Israel has lashed out at its "neighbors," with invasions, bombing, and massacres, up to now... the destabilizing and—again—even genocidal implications of "taking the gloves off" Israel under a Trump regime are almost unimaginable.

In that light, the unusual event of Obama having the U.S. ambassador to the UN stand aside and allow a condemnation of Israeli settlements doesn't mitigate, but highlights, what an extreme departure the Trump regime would be in how the U.S. relates to Israel, to the Palestinians, and to the world. This is what Trump was foreshadowing when he ominously tweeted, after the vote, "As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th."

The policy of U.S. backing for Israel's crimes—coupled with restrained objections—has been in effect for nearly 50 years. It has always meant a living hell for the Palestinians. And more and more, the U.S.-Israel partnership has been a factor in fueling all kinds of reactionary violence in the Middle East.

But this status quo would be undone in a much worse way should Trump become president. A Trump regime would uncork a seismic, unpredictable eruption of reactionary violent conflict in the Middle East and beyond, in ways that are hard to imagine, with a substantially greater risk of nuclear war.

It must be stopped before it starts.

1 The "two-state solution" seeks to legitimize the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist settlers with the backing of Western imperialism, and confine the Palestinian people to small, isolated areas within their homeland, subject to Israeli military encirclement and terror. This "two-state solution" has been the official position of the UN and the U.S. government more or less since the establishment of Israel. It is not a just solution to the violent dispossession of the Palestinian people. But even this pretense of providing for the rights and humanity of the Palestinian people has been increasingly pushed off the table by the rulers of Israel and the U.S.  back

2 Among UN resolutions vetoed by the U.S.: many condemning Israel for invading its neighbors; many criticizing the conditions under which the Palestinians live under Israeli occupation; at least one condemning Israel for supplying apartheid South Africa with nuclear weapons technology; one protesting Israel's closing of Palestinian universities; one condemning the Israeli parliament for formally declaring intent to assassinate the late Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat; several protesting massacres in Gaza; and hundreds of other resolutions even mildly critical of Israel.  back

3 In the symbiotic relationship between the Trumpites and the rulers of Israel, the prominent role of neo-Nazis and anti-Semites in networks of core Trump supporters is not an issue—for either side. Richard Spencer, the neo-Nazi who has been promoted by Trump's closest advisor Steve Bannon, has upheld Israel's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians as a model for the U.S. in relation to immigrants, Black people, and others who don't fit into the fascist vision of a "white America." (See "'Alt Right' Leader Ties White Supremacy to Zionism—Leaves Rabbi Speechless," Forward, December 7, 2016.) And the Zionist rulers of Israel have a long history of collusion and active collaboration with anti-Semitic fascists, including negotiating with Hitler, seeking his backing for a "Jewish homeland" outside of Europe; and—after the establishment of Israel—providing military and intelligence aid to the anti-Semitic fascist junta that ruled Argentina in the 1980s (as documented, for example, in Jacobo Timerman's book, Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number).  back

4 In August, MSNBC reported: "Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump. And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked at one point if we had them why can't we use them." ("Trump asks why US can't use nukes": MSNBC, August 3, 2016)  back

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/trumps-fascist-witch-hunt-now-turns-to-state-dept-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Witch Hunt in the U.S. State Dept.

Trump's Fascist Team Goes After Women and Gender-Equality Programs

December 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trump-Pence regime

Just days after the Trump team launched a witch hunt against people in the Energy Department working on limiting climate change, the fascists are now going after State Department programs relating to women and LGBT equality.

On Wednesday morning, December 21, the State Department leadership sent out memos to a long list of department offices and bureaus mandating that they respond—by 5 pm that day—to a request for information from the Trump transition team. According to Josh Rogin of the Washington Post, who broke the story, the memo ordered each office to provide information on all existing programs and activities that “promote gender equality, such as ending gender-based violence, promoting women’s participation in economic and political spheres, entrepreneurship, etc.” The memo didn’t ask for names of the officials who work on these programs but required each office to “note positions whose primary functions are to promote such issues.”

Rogin quotes an anonymous State Department official saying, “It’s not clear to us what the intent is behind this request. The Trump team could be looking to advance gender issues and make it a priority—or you could look it as a witch hunt.” Are you kidding? “Not clear what the intent is”?? This IS a witch hunt to identify, threaten, and weed out anyone and any program at this key government department that may be not in sync with the Trump-Pence agenda in any way. And it’s a preview of what’s to come.

It’s not that the State Department under Obama has meant anything good for the world—just look at the horrors created for millions of people in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere by U.S. foreign policies spearheaded by Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. But it has had some programs that in no way address the fundamental roots of the problems but promote some reforms, like protecting adolescent girls from such things as forced marriage, genital cutting, and blocked access to education.

Now here’s the cabal getting set to take over the reins of government, headed by two fascist misogynist ghouls: Trump, a walking embodiment of rape culture—of crude degradation, vindictive revenge, and sexual violence against women. And Pence, a Christian fascist who wants to impose even tighter and more blatant patriarchal rule over society, including banning abortions and promoting anti-LGBT bigotry. These are people who are not for even lip service to equality for women and LGBT people.

The Trump-Pence team will bring on horrific new leaps in repression, suffering, and death at the hands of the U.S. imperialist rulers—if they are allowed to take hold of the reins of government power. They must be stopped before they start.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/470/collaborators-walk-of-shame-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Collaborators' Walk of Shame

Updated March 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Jamiel Shaw Sr.

Jamiel Shaw Sr.
Jamiel Shaw Sr.

From a reader:

Anyone with a heart aches at the 2008 murder of Jamiel Shaw Jr.—a Black youth who was a high school football star in Los Angeles and who had his eyes set on college ball and perhaps a professional career.

But as happens all too often in the inner cities, it seems another young man walked up on him and asked: “Where you from?” What followed next was the sound of two bullets fired from a .45 caliber gun, one to the torso... another to the head... and Jamiel Shaw Jr.’s blood covered the pavement a few feet from his parents’ home.

Pedro Espinoza, an undocumented 19-year-old immigrant, was convicted of this crime. He now sits on death row at San Quentin prison awaiting execution.

Now, Jamiel Shaw’s father, the senior Shaw, is supporting an incomparably greater crime than what happened to his son. He sat in the gallery at Donald Trump’s February 28 speech to Congress. At one point, Trump introduced Jamiel Shaw Sr. while promoting a new Homeland Security program that is part of the intensification of suppression of undocumented immigrants. Trump said:

“We must support the victims of crime. I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called VOICE―Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests. Joining us in the audience tonight are four very brave Americans whose government failed them. Their names are Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver, and Jessica Davis.... His father [the father of Jamiel Shaw Jr.], who is in the audience tonight, has become a good friend of mine.”

It is both shameful and criminal what Jamiel Shaw Sr. is doing. He is allowing his loss, his pain, to be used to demonize, ostracize, criminalize, and terrorize—to unleash the brutal arm of a fascist state and its street thugs—against the entire group of Mexican people and immigrants who are not white.

Fascism is a living process. It grows... rapidly. It takes leaps. It comes after this group then this group. First they come for Mexicans. Then they come for immigrants. Then they come for Muslims. Then they come for the youth in the inner cities. Then they come for...

Jamiel Shaw Sr. is aiding and abetting the fascist Trump/Pence regime.

Collaborating with them. Singling out and making it easy for them to come after Mexicans and immigrants, especially (for now) those without papers as: “lawbreakers,” “murderers, rapists and drug dealers.”

Demonizing a whole people. Justifying and legalizing immensely greater crimes against people from Mexico, Central and South America—unleashing a greater crime against HUMANITY in the name of making “right” a wrong that was done to you. Give us a fucking break!

Jamiel Shaw Sr. is being played big time.

Played like a Black overseer on the slave plantation—to keep the whip cracking and the slaves working, keeping them in the dark about what is really going on, keeping the plantation secure and safe—ironically keeping safe and secure its foundation and authority of white supremacy.

Today, keeping safe and secure the agenda of Trump/Pence is to put “America First.” This is what U.S. troops do around the world, killing the innocent, killing hundreds of thousands of people, uprooting millions more, bombing the hell out of the country based on that lie about weapons of mass destruction.

That is what “America First” means in the world.

Shaw Sr. calls people who cross the border “lawbreakers.” He says they should be punished.

This is shameful. Disgraceful! How many laws, Mr. Shaw, do you think Black people broke in an effort to live as full human beings? What about during slavery? What about the abolitionists, Black and white? What about the fight for civil rights? What about Jim Crow?

What should people be willing to do to prevent the police murder of people like Mike Brown? Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice? Antonio Zambrano-Montes? Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez?

What are people willing to do—in the name of humanity, to oust fascism?

Being a collaborator for the Trump/Pence fascist regime is inexcusable! It is the outlook of a narrow slavish seeker of revenge.

Think about it: Any crime against other people is justified to set “right” what was done to me. This is unacceptable! It is a mental (ideological) chain that contributes to sapping our strength and holding the people down.

Humanity can do better than that!

Martin Luther King III

Steve Harvey meets with Donald Trump
Martin Luther King III meets Trump.

On MLK Day, January 16, 2017, Martin King III made the Walk of Shame into and out of Trump Tower, to meet with Trump. He then came out talking about the “constructive” meeting he had. King III said he talked with Trump about voting rights and that Trump likes the idea of registering everyone with photo voting ID. Registering everyone? Wonder what a Trump regime would do with that?

This meeting was two days after Trump's vehemently racist attack on Congressman John Lewis. About that, MLK III said, “In the heat of emotion a lot of things get said on both sides”(!) and it's time to move forward and come together as a country.

MLK III is lending not just his own reputation but his father's in the service of leading Black and progressive-minded people into the deadly embrace of a fascist Trump-Pence regime.

Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey meets with Donald Trump
Steve Harvey meets Trump, January 13. (AP photo)

On Friday, January 13, TV personality Steve Harvey joined the parade of shameful collaborators consorting with Donald Trump by meeting with him at his plantation—known as the Trump Tower. Harvey said after the meeting, “We had a great conversation. We’re gonna get some things started. They have a plan for the inner cities, but they need help. And so that’s why they called me. So, we’ll see what I can do.”

It’s a fascist, white-supremacist, anti-immigrant “plan” for the inner cities. And this clown, Steve Harvey, says he’s going to collaborate with these horrible outrages.

As criminal as that is, Harvey wasn’t acting on his own. Harvey told reporters, “It’s just me following orders from my friend President Obama who said ‘Steve, you’ve got to’—as he told everybody—‘get out from behind your computers, stop tweeting and texting and get out there and sit down and talk. So I stepped from behind my microphone and I came and talked to the guy that’s going to be the 45th president of the United States. I did what I was supposed to do.”

Obama is lending the power and prestige of his office to legitimize a fascist and his regime, and pave the way for a “smooth transition.” And Steve Harvey is acting as a despicable emissary in this low and shameful crime.

Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner

A number of news sources have reported that Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) will be attending Trump’s inauguration. Caitlyn Jenner is probably the most well known transgender person in the world, and millions had supported her sex change as popularizing transgender rights. But as Eliza Thompson, an associate editor for Cosmopolitan.com, said in the headline for her January 11 article: “Caitlyn Jenner's Attendance at the Inauguration Would Be Unforgivable: She cannot simultaneously advocate for transgender rights and support Trump.” Thompson wrote, “Caitlyn’s decision to come out will likely remain a landmark in the march toward trans acceptance and equality, but supporting Donald Trump would be an unconscionable step in the wrong direction.”

In 2016, during the presidential campaign, Jenner made the totally idiotic statement about Trump that “I think he would be very good for women’s issues.” Jenner’s embrace of the Trump-Pence fascist regime is not just a betrayal of LGBTQ and women’s rights. It is a betrayal of humanity for her to act as a high-profile cheerleader legitimizing the American Hitler and his Nazi minions.

Billy C. Hawkins

Billy C. Hawkins
Billy C. Hawkins

The president of Alabama’s Talladega College, Billy C. Hawkins, just announced (Jan. 5) that this oldest Black liberal arts college in the U.S., set up just after the Civil War by freed slaves in 1867, will send its marching band to be part of the Trump-Pence Inauguration. This is in the face of many students, alumni, and others who called on the college to not participate in the inauguration. Nikky Finney—poet, literature professor, and an alumnus of Talladega—said that the school had “sold out the history of Talladega College for chicken change” and “maybe a tin star on a hatemonger’s parade route” (quoted in New York Times, January 5, 2017). Hawkins’s justification is that the inauguration is “not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power.” Yes—transfer of power to the fascist Trump-Pence regime! It is akin to leading your college band to march for Hitler, or march for the KKK moving into the White (Supremacist) House. How is that not political? How is that not ugly betrayal wrapped in sugar-coated words?

Trump and Don King
Don King with Trump. (AP photo)

Don King

The award for December 29 goes to boxing promoter Don King, who appeared before TV cameras with Donald Trump and mouthed Trump’s slogan, “Make America great again.” “Only in America” is it possible to fetch a Black man in minstrel black face to the estate of the fascist, white supremacist, sexual-assaulting misogynist pig—to skin and grin while holding American and Israeli flags—as he dances down the walk of shame for collaborators for the incoming Trump-Pence regime.

Leonardo DiCaprio


The award for December 21 goes to Leonardo DiCaprio.

Leonardo DiCaprio met with Trump to discuss "green jobs." That is, all the jobs people could be put to work doing (like making solar panels) to "save" the environment. Leonardo, you may think you can “change his mind,” but what you are really doing is normalizing Trump and his fascist program. And be careful what you wish for...remember what the Nazis put at the entrance of Auschwitz and other concentration camps where they gassed and murdered Jews: "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free). 

Jim Brown and Ray Lewis at Trump Tower
Jim Brown and Ray Lewis at Trump Tower, December 13. (AP photo)

Jim Brown and Ray Lewis

Brown, a retired NFL star, claims a reputation for speaking out against how Black people are treated in this country. On December 13, after meeting with Trump at Trump Tower in NYC, he told the press, "...I fell in love with him [Trump] because he really talks about helping African-American, Black people, and that's why I'm here."

Ray Lewis joined Jim Brown in the collaborator walk of shame—being fetched to the Trump Tower and stepping in line to legitimize the fascist Trump/Pence regime. Ray Lewis, like Brown, is a former NFL great. He is also a gibberish-speaking Christian theocrat and blames especially poor Black people for the madness the system forces them to get caught up in. For some time this asshole has been a physical fitness trainer for the brutalizing murdering police in the city of Baltimore.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/apologists-for-fascism-lexicon-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

The Apologists for Fascism Lexicon

December 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The euphemism “white nationalism” is at least as odiferous as “alt-right.” You see it all over the place. A December 10 New York Times article, “An Alt-Right Makeover Shrouds the Swastikas,” has this:

But the alt-right movement is hardly monolithic, despite a well-publicized gathering last month in Washington—one that might have been mistaken for just another corporate conference were it not for the white-nationalist sentiments and the Nazi salutes. The factions within its ranks can differ on any number of subjects: white supremacy versus white nationalism, for example, or the vexing “J.Q.”—the “Jewish Question.”

“White supremacy versus white nationalism”—that’s a distinction without a difference. There is entirely too much of the press using “white nationalism” when “white supremacy” would do just fine.

At one point I was making some notes on an imperialist lexicon—you know, “collateral damage” means murdering innocent civilians; “enemy killed in action” means drone collateral damage; “fear for my life” means license to kill Black and Brown civilians; “externality” means consequences of an action (like producing/using fossil fuels) that are external to making profit and therefore don’t matter.

Keeping track of the euphemisms used by the fascists and their apologists would keep a lexicographer employed full time. Here’s some more:

“Americans alienated by the forces of globalization and multiculturalism and deeply frustrated with the inability of Washington to address their needs,” Washington Post, November 9. That means white people who’ve bought into Trump’s white-supremacist, misogynist, America über alles shit.

“A largely overlooked coalition of mostly blue-collar white and working-class voters who felt that the promise of the United States had slipped their grasp amid decades of globalization and multiculturalism,” New York Times, November 9. That means those white people too.

We gotta stop this. I don’t mean the euphemisms, and I don’t mean just the apologies for fascism. I mean fascism itself. NO!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/new-york-city-ids-for-undocumented-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

New York City IDs for Undocumented Immigrants

When they say, "Don't worry, we'll destroy the info you give to us," DON'T BELIEVE IT!

December 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

New York’s “IDNYC” is the nation’s biggest city ID card program. Mayor Bill de Blasio said this plan was a way to promote, “equality, opportunity, and diversity.” Now it could very well become a way for thousands of immigrants to get deported.

The ID program was billed as a way to help undocumented people get out of the shadows. People who didn’t have a government-issued ID were told that now, with this IDNYC, they would be able to do things like register at public schools, get a library card, take the GED test, sign up at a bank or credit union, and file a report with the NYPD. Cardholders were offered discounts at pharmacies and stores and free admission to museums. The application didn’t ask people if they were “undocumented,” but required them to give all kinds of personal information. People were told all the information they handed over would be destroyed by December 31, 2016. To many of the estimated 500,000 undocumented immigrants in New York City as well as others who hadn’t been able to get a government ID and still others lured by the “perks” of discounts, this seemed like a good thing—and close to one million people signed up.

Now, the “promise” to destroy all the information people turned over has been challenged by a lawsuit filed in November by Ronald Castorina Jr. and Nicole Malliotakis, two Republican members of the New York State Assembly from Staten Island in New York City. The lawsuit says the city should be barred from destroying these records. Before this, Malliotakis and Castorina had already filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking to obtain the records for all IDNYC cardholders, which the city denied.

The suit argues that destroying the records would threaten national security and that the data should be preserved and made accessible under New York’s freedom of information law. A judge from the State Supreme Court on Staten Island has now delayed any destruction of the information at least until a full hearing can be convened in January.

Now think about this. What does this mean with the specter of the Trump-Pence fascist regime coming to power—a regime which has promised to register Muslims and deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.?

In addition to undocumented immigrants, many other vulnerable sections of the population signed up for IDNYC—like those living in homeless shelters, transgender people, and victims of domestic violence. Many African Americans (especially those who have gotten out of prison) have gotten these IDs.

Now think again. What would a Trump-Pence fascist regime do with such information and a list of people that it basically considers “undesirables”?

When the program was launched, civil liberties advocates and others sounded the alarm, warning of the dangers of a program where the government collects identity documents that immigration authorities or law enforcement could request, with a judge’s approval.

       

The government’s gathering of information from this ID program affects immigrants who have come from all over the world—including from Mexico and Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia (including Bangladesh, Pakistan, India), China and more. Not all of the immigrants from these countries in New York (and throughout the U.S.) are undocumented, but they ARE all targets of Trump’s white supremacist, xenophobic venom and repression.

The IDNYC program should also be looked at in the context of what the U.S. government has done to set up a database for Muslims and Trump’s plan to register Muslims. The National Security Exit-Entry Registration System (NSEERS), initiated in 2002, required people coming from 25 predominantly Muslim countries to register. In the wake of this, more than 13,000 men who complied with the program faced deportation charges. NSEERS created a national database of names, addresses, family members and contact information on immigrants who “fit the profile”—which could be used to carry out massive round-ups and deportation. (See revcom.us article, “Profiled and Persecuted: How the U.S. government is terrorizing immigrants from 20 Arab and Muslim countries.”) Now Obama has announced he will dismantle the NSEERS program so Trump can’t use it. But do people really think Trump won’t have access to all this information? What’s happening with the information from the IDNYC program should be a lesson.

Trump threatens to deport 4.4 million immigrants

The law that created this ID program was negotiated with the NYPD, and explicitly stated that the documents would only be kept for two years. But it also said they would be made available through a judicial subpoena and there are apparently other “loopholes” for releasing the information as well. Cardholder information is supposed to be confidential but this information can be shared if the cardholder gives consent, if it becomes necessary to share this information with another city agency to determine eligibility for other programs, or when the city is ordered to share it in a court of law.

Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, commenting on the unclarity about how a Trump administration would use this information, said, “That’s the wild card. Are they going to utilize the entire muscle of the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to try to get this information?”

Malliotakis, one of those behind the lawsuit to block destroying this information, argues that the documents should be maintained because deleting the records would leave authorities “no way of knowing who these people are, how they obtained this documentation.” YES. That is exactly the reason people wanted their information DESTROYED—because they didn’t want the government to have a list of WHO THEY ARE and be able to use this to hound, persecute, and deport them!

Think about all this and what it means if Trump is allowed to take office. This is the Trump who is notorious for his racist attacks on Mexicans and immigrants, calling them drug dealers and rapists. This is the Trump who, right after being elected, vowed in an interview to deport millions of immigrants. This is the Trump who has threatened to withhold federal money from cities that provide safe havens for undocumented immigrants. Think about what he and his fascist regime would do with all this information.

Yet another reason to STOP THE TRUMP-PENCE REGIME BEFORE IT STARTS!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/unapologetic-and-all-but-outright-genocidal-racism-from-friend-and-advisor-of-trump-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Unapologetic and All-but-Outright Genocidal Racism, from Friend and Adviser of Trump

December 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Remember how much shit Obama got for being a member of a church pastored by Jeremiah Wright? Because of angrily expressing his views about racism in Amerikkka, Wright, who is Black, was deemed inappropriate to be a pastor and friend to a U.S. president. Obama publicly distanced himself from Wright in a major speech.

On December 23, the Washington Post reported on a set of remarks from Carl Paladino, a “friend” and adviser to Trump who reportedly is playing a role in the “transition effort.” The comments were part of a survey by the magazine Artvoice:

Artvoice: What would you most like to happen in 2017?

Carl Paladino: Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.

He then went on with comments about Michelle Obama that descended deeper in the sewer. We refuse to repeat here what this vicious lowlife asshole said. It was an insult revealing the mentality that Black people are sub-human, and it is directly reminiscent of “jokes” made by the Nazis about Jewish people.

This is an undisguised genocidal mentality, speaking about Obama in his position as the most famous, powerful BLACK man in the country in order to spew out a vision of ALL Black people—bascially that they should be wiped out.

Paladino’s views are not a secret; he’s been in the news many times for similar shit. And he’s not just another asshole with a mic. This Nazi was a Republican candidate for governor of New York, and he is on the school board in Buffalo, New York (where he tried last week to require that every school there hang pictures of Trump after he takes office).

And he told the Washington Post that he and Trump are "friends" and that he is involved in Trump's transition efforts.

A minor Trump spokesperson publicly denounced Paladino’s remarks. But Paladino said, “I don’t think Mr. Trump particularly cares what I have to say. He knows me. I was active with him, and I still am active with him.”

Unapologetic and essentially genocidal white supremacy—on steroids. This is what is being cohered and unleashed, and embraced and depended on, by the one who would hold the reins of U.S. power.

NO! Stop this fascist regime before it starts!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/470/andrew-jackson-racist-demagogue-genocidal-indian-killer-champion-of-slavery-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Andrew Jackson: A Racist Demagogue, Genocidal Indian Killer, Champion of Slavery

December 19, 2016, updated March 15, 2017| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Tonight Trump will pay homage and lay a wreath on Andrew Jackson’s grave before delivering what is billed as a campaign speech in Nashville, Tennessee. In that light, we are reposting this article.

When Trump was elected Rudy “Adolph” Giuliani said: “This is like Andrew Jackson’s victory. This is the people beating the establishment.” And Trump himself weighed in on the legacy of Andrew Jackson while running for president. He opposed replacing Jackson’s face on the $20 bill with that of abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Trump claimed, “Andrew Jackson had a great history.”

What was that history?

The Engine Behind Andrew Jackson: A Voracious Appetite to Expand Slavery

Slavery played an essential role in the rise of the United States as a global power. As Bob Avakian says:

There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.
BAsics 1:1

Andrew Jackson was president of the United States from 1829-1837. He was a populist hero to large sections of whites, especially in the South, promising them prosperity on the basis of the expansion of slavery, and he promised them land stolen from Native peoples. He appealed to the most backward, narrow, racist sentiments of whites. Jackson railed against “elites” in the North—sections of the established banking and political structure that he saw standing in the way of the rapid expansion of slavery. His presidency was a vehicle through which slavery expanded dramatically into lands from which Native peoples were expelled by the U.S. military, and subjected to genocidal “relocation” from the South to Oklahoma.

 Under Jackson's presidency, native peoples were expelled by the U.S. military, and subjected to genocidal
Under Jackson's presidency, native peoples were expelled by the U.S. military, and subjected to genocidal “relocation” from the South to Oklahoma as illustrated on this map.

 In the winter of 1831, the Choctaw were force-marched from Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana to reservations in Oklahoma, some bound in chains and marched double file.  Thousands died along the way on this "trail of tears." In the winter of 1831, the Choctaw were force-marched from Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana to reservations in Oklahoma, some bound in chains and marched double file.  Thousands died along the way on this "trail of tears."

Genocide...

Once in office, Jackson championed and carried out brutal crimes against Native peoples. White settlers, some of whom were already settling illegally on Native lands, pressured the federal government to remove Indians from the Southeast to make their lands available.

Some 125,000 Native peoples lived on those lands that had been guaranteed to them through treaties. Jackson was able to gain Congressional passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which authorized the government to extinguish Indian title to lands in the Southeast.

In 1831, the Choctaw became the first Nation to be removed. In the winter of 1831, under threat of invasion by the U.S. Army, the Choctaw were force-marched from Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana to reservations in Oklahoma on foot. Some were bound in chains and marched double file. They were marched without food, supplies or other help from the government. Thousands died along the way. It was, one Choctaw leader told an Alabama newspaper, a “trail of tears and death.”

This genocidal crime was the model for additional ethnic cleansing to open up new territory for slave production of cotton. The Creeks were driven from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida in 1834. The Chickasaw were driven out of Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee in 1836. And lastly, in the infamous “Trail of Tears,” the Cherokee were force-marched from Georgia to Oklahoma in 1838. 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on the way.

       

Jackson famously tried to justify this with philosophical babble proclaiming, “But true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these vicissitudes as it does to the extinction of one generation to make room for another.” In other words, even though it might seem immoral to kill off the Native peoples, these supposedly “lesser” people must die so others could prosper.

...And a Dramatic Expansion of Slavery

 The removal of Native peoples from their southeastern lands served a dramatic expansion and intensification of slavery.

the
The "whipping machine" was both a literal machine that whipped Black slaves to force them to pick more and more cotton, and also a metaphor for the unceasing and inhuman torture inflicted every hour, every day, under slavery.

Picking cotton in Florida
Andrew Jackson’s presidency marked a massive expansion of slavery, accomplished along with and through the most extreme racist populism. Photo: Florida archives

In The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, Edward Baptist writes that in the eight years following Jackson's election, “U.S. government, the states, banks, private citizens, and foreign entities had collectively invested about $400 million, or one-third of the value of all U.S. economic activity in 1830 into expanding production on slavery’s frontier. This includes the price of 250,000 slaves moved, 48 million new acres of public land sold, the costs of Indian removals and wars, and the massive expansion of southwestern financial infrastructure. The number of hands on cotton plantations expanded dramatically, and the need to repay loans only accelerated the whipping-machine, collectively forcing the total picking that hands could accomplish just a little higher each day."

As Baptist recounts in his book, the “whipping machine” was both a literal machine that whipped Black slaves to force them to pick more and more cotton, and also a metaphor for the unceasing and inhuman torture inflicted every hour, every day, under slavery.

And speaking of the transformations that took place under Andrew Jackson, Baptist writes: "In 1830, the United States made 732,000 bales. As the harvest kicked into high gear in the fall of 1836, men who made a living by gambling on cotton were predicting a deluge of 1.5 million bales, each one a 400 pound snowy semi-cube wrapped in canvas. This was 600 million pounds of clean cotton—or, expressed in a different way more than six million person days of picking under the hot sun.”

* * *

Andrew Jackson’s presidency marked a massive expansion of slavery, made possible through massive violent ethnic cleansing of Native peoples. And this was accomplished along with and through the most extreme racist populism—appealing to and mobilizing large numbers of dispossessed white men by appealing to their basest and most narrow interests.

The fact that people like Rudolph Giuliani, from their own fascist perch, and Trump himself celebrate the legacy of Andrew Jackson foreshadows the kinds of hellish transformations a Trump-Pence regime would mean in the nature of U.S. society. That cannot be allowed to happen.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/469/baby-boomers-wake-up-tonight-we-gotta-party-like-its-1969-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Hey Baby Boomers, Wake Up! Tonight We Gotta Party Like It's 1969!

December 14, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Your generation fought for civil rights and then Black liberation. You overturned the suffocating gender roles that were handed down to you. You rebelled against and helped end a genocidal war in Vietnam. You got chased, insulted, spat on, ridiculed, arrested, gassed, beaten, and jailed, and some of you were even killed in the name of justice and decency and a better world. But you were ready for a brand new beat, and for a brief time you were able to make history dance to it.

And you drove two presidents from office when you did.

Now we’ve got someone about to assume the presidency who is a textbook-definition genuine fascist, a racist, an admitted molester, a religious demagogue, and a monumental swindler, and a fraud to boot. Someone who, before even assuming office, already has filled society with hate and fear and ignorance... already has assembled a team of neo-Nazis, militarists, religious fanatics, and racists to positions of power... already has made clear that he is putting the world and the future of life on this planet in danger—on a level way beyond what has been done before. This is way past normal. The Trump-Pence regime stands out as a horrific and grotesque threat to all kinds of people and the planet as a whole—and it would stand as a repudiation of everything that people in the ’60s fought and shed blood for, everything that you believed and lived for, back in what were truly great and historic days.

If you say you’re gonna wait and see, think about how that worked in Germany, with Hitler. If you’re figuring you fought your fight, now you want to head into the twilight and take it easy... well, go ahead, then. We got nothing for you.

But if you want to not just fight this fascism but stop it before it starts, if you have that spark, here’s our thing. Throw in with us for the next five weeks, with your support and resources and most of all your time and effort, and you’ll have a chance to leave a real legacy to the future: the defeat of an American fascism and the rekindling of the spark of the dream of a world of possibility for all people. Not a guarantee, but a chance—a fighting chance.

Boomers: We NEED You!

(To find out more, go to refusefascism.org.)

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/some-points-of-orientation-on-the-murderous-attack-on-shoppers-in-berlin-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Some Points of Orientation on the Murderous Attack on Shoppers in Berlin

December 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 19, a truck plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin, where all kinds of people were shopping, eating, and drinking. According to news reports, at least 12 people were killed, and dozens more were injured.

Shortly after the incident, a Pakistani asylum seeker in Germany who authorities said “matched the description of the truck driver” was arrested. Immediately, news reports speculated on possible links to ISIS or other fundamentalist Islamic jihadist terror organizations. Hours after the attack, police said there was no evidence connecting the initial suspect to the attack, and he was released. Now authorities have launched a manhunt for someone they say is connected to ISIS. A pro-ISIS news site claimed the attack was carried out “in response to appeals to target nationals of the international coalition” fighting ISIS. Reactionaries in Germany, in Europe, and in the U.S. have seized on this incident and the claims by ISIS to demand ratcheted up terror, repression, and deportation of Muslims and immigrants.

At this moment, it is impossible to know who was behind this, and what their motives were. Even so, it is critical to establish, stick to, and fight for some basic principles that correspond to the truth, and to the interests of humanity.

Terrorism Is a Crime Against Humanity... Who Are the World’s Biggest Terrorists?

The first thing that must be said is that targeting ordinary people for terrorist attacks or killing ordinary innocent people in order to achieve political objectives through terror is always wrong.

The United States carpet-bombed Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, in war for empire that led to the deaths of millions of innocent civilians in a declared aim to The United States carpet-bombed Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in a war for empire that led to the deaths of millions of innocent civilians, with one prominent U.S. Air Force General threatening to “bomb them back into the stone age.” Here, the horror after napalm was dropped on a village, June 1972. (Photo: AP)

1991–in a Baghdad hospital, one of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi infants suffering from diarrhea as a result of the destruction of the country's water and sanitation system. Child in a Baghdad hospital, 1991, one of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi infants suffering from diarrhea as a result of the destruction of the country's water and sanitation system.  In 1997, the UN reported that more than 1.2 million Iraqis, including 750,000 children below the age of five, had died since the beginning of the Gulf War as a result of this and of medical shortages caused by the war and sanctions.

October 2015, the U.S. bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 people including 14 medical staff. (Photo: AP)
October 2015, the U.S. bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 people including 14 medical staff. (Photo: AP)

The bodies of Afghan children who were killed by a U.S.-led NATO airstrike which killed several Afghan civilians, including ten children April 2013.  (Photo:AP)
The bodies of Afghan children who were killed by a U.S.-led NATO airstrike which killed many Afghan civilians, including ten children, April 2013.  (Photo:AP)

This is true in the case of the rulers of countries like the United States and Germany, who have a long history of this in their own countries and around the world. The capitalist-imperialist rulers of Germany, after all, rounded up and murdered millions of innocent Jews and others in the Holocaust. The United States carpet-bombed Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in a war for empire that led to the deaths of millions of innocent civilians, with one prominent U.S. Air Force General threatening to “bomb them back into the stone age.”

More recently, over the last 25 years, the U.S. has been responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent civilians in order to accomplish its political objectives. In 1990, the U.S. instituted sanctions against Iraq that had the effect of poisoning the water people drank and depriving people—especially children and elderly people—of essential medicines and medical care. When U.S. UN Ambassador and future Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked on 60 Minutes if it was worth it to kill 500,000 children to accomplish U.S. objectives, she said, “We think the price was worth it.” (See “Case #76: U.S.-UN Sanctions on Iraq—“A Legitimized Act of Mass Slaughter.”).

In October 2015, the U.S. bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, despite the fact that the hospital administrators were in constant contact with the U.S. military command before the attack, and during the attack made repeated phone calls to the U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan demanding it stop. How is a sustained bombing attack on a hospital, that killed 42 people, including 14 medical staff, and wounded dozens more, not terrorism?

The U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian air assault on Yemen includes systematically bombing schools and hospitals. How is that not terrorism? And the U.S. increased military aid to Israel while Israel was carrying out a massacre in the Gaza strip region of Palestine in the summer of 2014. During that massacre, Israel targeted children playing on a beach, UN schools, apartment buildings, and hospitals. Three quarters of the 2,000+ people killed were civilians, and a quarter of those killed were children. How is that not terrorism?

Because of the whole history of Hitler, and World War 2, the rulers Germany have avoided overt military intervention around the world. But Germany backed the murderous sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s. And Germany is a major arms supplier to Saudi Arabia and Israel. Around the world, the German news service Deutsche Welle summarized that last year “countries in the Middle East, South America, Africa and East Asia that are either involved in conflicts or have problematic human rights records have been splurging on German rifles, handguns and other handheld weapons.” Included in that deadly mix, Germany sells the guns and ammunition that arm a range of reactionary forces engaged in the slaughter in Syria. How is that not, at least, state-sponsorship of terrorism?

And terrorist attacks are a crime and outrage when carried out—albeit on a qualitatively smaller but no less immoral scale—by fundamentalist Islamic jihadists. Whatever their role actually was or was not in Berlin, they do advocate and carry out such attacks.

No to Roundups, Repression and Reactionary War

The Berlin attack has actually benefited the imperialists. That is the case regardless of who was behind it and what their intent. Besides causing the deaths and suffering of innocent people, these killings will now be seized upon to further repress people, and intensify a vicious and violent wave of official and unofficial attacks on immigrants in Germany and throughout Europe.

This incident cannot be allowed to justify and uncork a new, escalated wave of official and unofficial attacks on immigrants and Muslims in the U.S. and Europe, and even more vicious unjust wars by the U.S. and its allies. The Washington Post reported that when asked about his plans to register Muslims, Donald Trump—who made demonizing and threatening Muslims a key element of his campaign, and who has brought fanatic “war-on-Islam” crusading military men into the core of his cabinet—declared “You know my plans.”

People cannot lose sight of fundamental dividing line between right and wrong. Everyone of conscience must oppose attacks on Muslims and immigrants. And the authorities in Germany and throughout the West cannot be allowed to use this incident to ratchet up spying, surveillance, and repression against political protest and dissent. Remember: in the wake of the terrorist attacks in 2015 by avowed fundamentalist Islamic Jihadists, France launched a massive crackdown against the environmental movement, among other repressive measures.

A Clash of Two Reactionary Poles... And How to Break Out of That

The attack in Berlin comes in the context of reactionary global conflict between Western imperialism and fundamentalist Islamic Jihad. The main factor behind that conflict is the imperialist system itself. Capitalism-imperialism has given rise to massive suffering, death, and dislocation in the world, and ultimately bears responsibility for creating conditions that give rise even to very wrong-headed and cruel actions in opposition to it.

Germany’s powerful economy and wealth are rooted in a global system that viciously exploits and oppresses billions of people around the world. And the same could be said of the U.S., France, Britain, and other imperialist powers. But things like the attack in Berlin are most definitely NOT in the interests of masses of people all over the world, and can in no way be justified.

What is urgently needed right now in countries like the U.S. (and Germany) and all over the world, is massive political resistance and opposition to what the imperialists, with the U.S. first among them, are doing—the many crimes they have committed and are continuing to commit—and to the way in which they will seize on this incident to seek to justify and carry further these crimes. This challenge is particularly urgent and acute, in the context of the rise of fascist, white-supremacist, violently anti-immigrant movements and political parties throughout the West, concentrated in the incoming Trump-Pence regime in the U.S.

There is a way to break out of the whole paradigm where, for billions of people, the “choices” are posed as Western imperialism or fundamentalist Islamic Jihad.

A genuinely emancipating revolution—a communist revolution—involves millions and millions of people who are determined to bring about a radical change in society and the world. This communist revolution aims to overturn the grotesque and horrific systems and relations in the world that cause such untold and unnecessary suffering for literally billions throughout the globe, and which themselves also give rise to and are ultimately responsible for grotesque forms of opposition to this. The nature and aim of this revolutionary struggle is nothing less than the conscious and determined struggle of millions and ultimately billions, throughout the globe, to bring into being a whole new world without exploitation, oppression, and social inequalities.

Organizing for that revolution is urgent. And right now, that requires going all out to stop the ascension to power of a Trump-Pence regime, which would, among other horrors, pour gasoline on the reactionary conflict between fundamentalist Islamic Jihad, and Western capitalism-imperialism.

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/ft-worth-texas-white-man-chokes-7-year-old-black-child-pig-assaults-childs-mother-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Fort Worth, Texas:

White Man Chokes Seven-Year-Old Black Child, Pig Assaults Child's Mother

December 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Wednesday, December 21, a Fort Worth, Texas, pig violently attacked and arrested a Black woman, Jacqueline Craig. She had called police, demanding justice when a white racist neighbor choked her seven-year-old son. And this pig brutally arrested her 15-year-old daughter for trying to protect her mother from his outrageous, illegal assault. And then he arrested her 19-year-old daughter who was doing nothing but streaming the assault live on Facebook.

Watch the video! A cop arrives and first goes over to talk to the white neighbor. Then you see Jacqueline Craig telling the cop, “My son is seven years old, you don’t have the right to grab him, choke him behind no paper that he threw ... we have been living here four years, so you know that my house is a door in between yours, so you should have came to me. Don’t put your hands on my son.” The cop says, “Why don’t you teach your son not to litter?” Jacqueline Craig says, “He can’t prove to me that my son littered. But it doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t, it doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on him,” and the cop replies, “Why not?”

This cannot go down like that.

Over 2.7 million people have watched the video and many have posted expressions of outrage and fury. The next day, on Thursday, more than 150 people gathered outside the county courthouse to protest this incident—yet one more, on top of thousands and thousands of other incidents of racist brutality by the police.

It tells you something essential about the role of police, that this cop acted with such swaggering arrogance as he insulted, degraded, and then violently assaulted this Black woman and her daughters for trying to protect her seven-year-old son. It tells you that he was thinking and acting the way he is supposed to act under this system. It is more evidence that the role of the police under this system is exactly what Bob Avakian says it is:

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.
Basics 1:24

A Trump regime would be a reign of terror ON TOP OF a reign of terror. If we are going to get free, now is not the time to dial down outrage and resistance against police terror and murder. And, coming from the need to emancipate all humanity, coming from the burning need for a revolution to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time, there is a need—right now—to throw our all into preventing the Trump-Pence fascist regime from coming to power.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/470/millions-demand-south-korean-president-step-down-immediately-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Millions Demand South Korean President Step Down Immediately

December 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

For the fifth straight weekend, masses of protesters occupy major avenues in downtown Seoul demanding the ouster of Park, November 26.
For the fifth straight weekend, masses of protesters occupy major avenues in downtown Seoul demanding the ouster of Park, November 26. (AP photo)

Protesters in front of the National Assembly, Seoul, Korea, celebrate after hearing of President Park Geun-hye's impeachment, December 9.
Protesters in front of the National Assembly, Seoul, Korea, celebrate after hearing of President Park Geun-hye's impeachment, December 9. (AP photo)

In 2012, Park Geun-hye was elected South Korea’s first woman president. Now, she is facing a major political crisis. In a country of 50 million people, there have been eight straight weeks of protests, some with as many as two million people, demanding her resignation. People in Park’s own party have turned against her. And on December 9, the parliament voted overwhelmingly to impeach her.

Park faces numerous counts of constitutional and criminal violations ranging from failure to protect people’s lives to bribery and abuse of power. A court now has up to 180 days to deliberate the motion to impeach. But the protests against Park have not stopped. The day after the vote, half a million people demonstrated, celebrating the vote but also saying they don’t want to wait for a court to rule on the impeachment and they want Park to face criminal charges. The crowd chanted, “Park Geun-hye, get out of the house!” and “Come down and go to jail!”

The current crisis was precipitated by a scandal involving Park’s friend, informal adviser, and spiritual guru, Choi Soon-sil. There are accusations that Choi had access to secret government documents, intervened in state affairs, and abused her relationship with the president to force companies to donate millions of dollars to foundations she runs. Choi has been detained, charged with abuse of power, extortion, and attempted fraud and, if found guilty, could get up to 15 years in prison.

The backdrop for people’s hatred and mistrust of Park is her family legacy. Her father, Park Chung-hee, seized power in a military coup in 1961 and ruled as a brutal president and military general until he was assassinated in 1979. In 1972, he declared martial law, ushering in a period of open dictatorial rule with intense police surveillance and a National Security Act that gave the government freedom to imprison anyone it considered “anti-government.” The Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), formed under the guidance of the U.S. CIA, was Park’s apparatus for domestic security. Park Chung-hee oversaw the massive growth of Chaebols (global multinational companies) like Samsung and Hyundai; and the further integration of South Korea into global imperialism—while social and economic inequalities, the denial of workers’ rights, and human rights abuses all rapidly grew.

Today, this legacy of exploitation and oppression is echoed to the point where, according to news reports, many, perhaps most of those demanding President Park’s resignation are deeply dissatisfied with the persistent, deep inequalities in society in things like education and employment—and people feel President Park has only reinforced these inequalities. And President Park has always defended her father’s dictatorship, only issuing, after she became president, some apologies for what he did. In her few years of rule, she has also instituted repressive measures—like a year ago when in response to massive protests against the Free Trade Agreement/globalization, she declared the demonstrations illegal and banned protesters from using masks to protect themselves against tear gas. One AP report wrote, “The political turmoil around Park comes after years of frustration over a leadership style that inspired comparisons to her father, slain military dictator Park Chung-hee. Critics saw in Park an unwillingness to tolerate dissent as her government cracked down on press freedom, pushed to dissolve a leftist party and allowed aggressive police suppression of anti-government protests....”

Earlier, a deal between Park and her own Saenuri party fell apart. Park agreed to resign in April 2017. But then, parliament leader Chung Jin-suk said public anger had forced the Saenuri party to withdraw this proposal, that it had become “realistically hard to maintain.” And this whole crisis has intensified intra-party divisions within the Saenuri party. In the impeachment vote, nearly half of the128 Saenuri lawmakers voted for impeachment.

       

Park has apologized for her relationship with Choi Soon-sil, but denies any wrongdoing, and there have been reports that Park has indicated she will not step down—leading many in the government to worry that the political crisis could drag on for months. And Park is fighting back. On December 16 her legal team formally submitted a rebuttal of the impeachment charges.

Park’s popularity is now hovering around five percent. But the efforts to impeach her have become a rallying point for her conservative supporters who staged their own protest of tens of thousands on December 17. There were reports of clashes between these pro-Park demonstrators and some in the anti-Park protest of 600,000 people across the street.

*****

In 2013, a year after Park was elected, a New York-based research company, Eurasia Group, ranked South Korea first in terms of political stability among 30 emerging countries. Perhaps then it was unthinkable that Park would not complete her term of office. But now, she is facing the possibility of impeachment or being forced to resign—which would be a historic precedent for South Korea.

If Park is removed from office, this may take the form of a conviction for corruption. But the dynamics of this are much more complicated, deep, and far reaching. Increasingly, the massive and determined and sustained nature of the protests has intersected with inter-ruling class contradictions, creating a situation where in the eyes of millions, Park has lost her legitimacy to rule. And more than this, the whole ruling class in South Korea is now facing great necessity, to try to deal with this crisis and prevent a legitimacy crisis that goes beyond Park. The upheaval in the streets has created a situation where not just those who have opposed Park, but even those who have supported her, cannot stand up for her without risking losing their own legitimacy.

The protests, in words and deeds, have expressed the stance that just because a regime is in power, it doesn’t have to stay in power—that just because someone is elected for a five-year term doesn’t mean they can’t be forced out before that. And right now this has created a situation where Park may go down.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/christmas-day-die-in-at-trump-star-hollywood-blvd-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Christmas Day Die-in at Trump Star on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles

December 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The event was a “DIE IN” AT THE TRUMP STAR ON HOLLYWOOD BLVD. ON CHRISTMAS DAY! Thousands of people from all around the world go to movies and otherwise visit Hollywood Blvd. on this day, and this Christmas was no different. Hollywood Blvd. was packed... and “NO! In The Name Of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept A Fascist America! Trump-Pence Fascism MUST BE STOPPED Before It Starts” were the watchwords. During this week Donald Trump again escalated his nuclear threats—following up his genocidal tweet about expanding the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal with the following, “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” This is threatening mass murder on an industrial scale.

At the Hollywood Blvd. “Die In”—begun by a small handful of people setting out to lead millions into the streets in these next weeks—quite a commotion was caused. Hundreds grabbed up new posters and statements put out by RefuseFascism.org, posed with the posters at the Trump star and tweeted them out, and gave the finger to Trump by way of selfies. Whole families danced defiantly on his star, young people and older folks too.

There were many Latin American immigrants on the street. They quickly grabbed up posters, sharpening up the importance of reaching Latino immigrants in their millions in the days and weeks in front of us. A number of people voiced they’d hoped the Electoral College would not have elected Trump. Some said it if it’s not over, “it is very late in the game” (while we argued there is, in reality, a huge challenge and an actual basis to stop Trump-Pence). And others said they’d been looking for a vehicle and a plan to stop Trump. Some said, “We are not from here...”—hesitating for a moment and holding back from holding the posters—but then realized, through short discussion, that the future of the people on the planet is at stake, and Trump’s nuclear weapons plans underscore that.

Photographers from Agence France Presse and a news truck from Channel 11 Fox captured images. At 3 pm, a die-in was held, a serious punctuation point during the event. Handheld sirens wailed, confronting people with the grave danger Trump and fascist team, especially with their nuclear war threats, represent to the people of the world.

At the Trump star on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, December 25At the Trump star on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, December 25. Photo: Twitter/Nikolai Garcia

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/san-francisco-union-square-no-christmas-as-usual-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

San Francisco Union Square: #NoChristmasAsUsual Protest

December 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Thousands of people who gathered for the annual holiday festivities in San Francisco's Union Square December 25 were met with a #NoChristmasAsUsual protest to oppose Trump and his comments about expanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal and winning a nuclear arms race. A couple dozen protesters mobilized through Facebook and phone calls were joined by dozens more on the spot. They chanted "Donald Trump? Hell NO!" "Nuclear Arms Race? Hell NO!" "Deporting immigrants? Give him a chance? Hell NO!" "Fascism? Hell NO!" People held “NO” signs near the giant Xmas tree and huge menorah. There was a “countdown to a nuclear bombing” and die-ins. A jazz band playing Hanukkah songs for the official holiday celebrations gave shout outs to the protesters and broke into a spirited rendition of “The Harder They Come.” Hundreds of people took flyers for the New Year’s Eve protest. During the die-in people outlined the "bodies" in the ground with chalk. When city workers wielding mops came to wipe out the chalk outlines, others from the crowd immediately redecorated the ground with anti-Trump slogans. Many signed up with the Refuse Fascism initiative to STOP the illegitimate Trump-Pence regime from taking power and implementing their horrific agenda.

Die-in at Union Sq., San Francisco, December 25
Die-in at Union Sq., San Francisco, December 25. Photo: @RefuseFascism

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/466/trump-installs-his-fascist-team-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Trump's Team of Theocrats, War Criminals, Ghouls, & Neo-Nazis

Updated February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Donald Trump has been putting in place a cabal of:

  • Christian fundamentalist theocrats...
  • War criminals who have signed on to torture and murder innocent children...
  • Ghoulish enemies of public education, housing, and the environment...
  • Christian fundamentalists who want to force women into roles that would be a flip image of what women are subjected to under Islamic fundamentalist regimes...
  • And his chief strategist and senior counselor who brags about providing a platform for neo-Nazis.

 

Trump's team so far includes:

Sebastian Gorka—Islamophobic Warrior, Rising Star in the Trump/Pence Regime

Sebastian Gorka is emerging into the public eye as a key figure in the Trump/Pence regime’s plans to “eradicate” jihadist forces like ISIS as part of a much broader attack and aggression against Muslim countries and people as a whole.

Gorka is part of the core of people around Steve Bannon, the former editor of Breitbart News, who see America and the “Christian West” as locked in an existential struggle with the Muslim world and non-European/dark-skinned people generally. Bannon is Trump’s chief of strategy, and clearly very close to him in his thinking and policy. Gorka worked for Bannon at Breitbart for the last two years.

In January, Bannon recommended Gorka to be deputy assistant to Trump, and he was then named to the “Strategic Initiatives Group” (SIG), newly created by Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. SIG appears to be meant to serve Bannon’s fascist ideological “oversight” of the White House national security apparatus. And in the last month, Gorka has been trotted out for numerous press interviews to defend the Trump regime.

Gorka was considered a “fringe” figure during the last 15 years, working at a series of lecturer positions in U.S. security and military training institutions. His trademark was his bitter disagreement with the mainstream of U.S. imperialist policymakers under Clinton, both Bushes, and Obama over whether or not to target the Islamic religion as a whole, and the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, as “the enemy” of the U.S. empire.

Read here

Thomas Homan, a Pig's Pig, Is Trump's New Head of Immigration Department: Fascist Regime Gears Up for Mass Sweeps and Deportations

The appointment Monday (January 30) of Thomas Homan to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is the latest flashing red signal that the Trump regime is gearing up to begin deporting millions of immigrants from Mexico, Latin America and elsewhere.

First came last Wednesday’s executive order from Trump to build “the Wall,” which also ordered the hiring of 15,000 more Border Patrol and ICE agents. That order also changed federal policy to facilitate Border Patrol and ICE working closely with local and state police.

On Thursday, Mark Morgan, the head of the Border Patrol, was forced out of his post. Morgan wanted to stay and sucked up to Trump by publicly criticizing Obama’s immigration policies. But he was opposed by the Border Patrol union, which ran an op-ed on the neo-Nazi Breitbart.com in November saying Morgan was “a disgrace.”

The Border Patrol are front-line enforcers of the U.S. immigration policy.

Read here

Trump's Pick for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder: Enemy of the Minimum Wage and Workplace Regulations

The supposed mission of the federal Department of Labor is: “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.” Trump’s nominee for secretary of this department is Andrew Puzder, a champion of unrestrained exploitation of workers by the capitalists, free of government regulations.

Read here

The Fascist Resumé of Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon

One of Donald Trump's first decisions as president-elect was to name Steve Bannon his chief strategist and senior counselor. Bannon managed Trump's campaign. Before that he was the owner and hands-on force behind the website Breitbart News Network. Mainstream news and Bannon himself call Bannon's politics "conservative," "alt-right," or "white nationalist." It's worse than that.

"Hoist the Confederate Flag"

On June 17, 2015, Charleston, South Carolina: nine people at a Bible study class in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were murdered by white racist Dylann Roof. Roof said he carried out the massacre to start a "race war" to turn America back to the days of open segregation. He posed online with pro-Hitler symbols and a confederate flag. Part of the response, very broadly throughout society, was an eruption of outrage against the confederate flags, flags of slavery and lynching.

Breitbart's response: an article headlined "Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage." Steve Bannon ran Breitbart when this article was published. He signed off on it, and as a hands-on editor likely instigated it....

Read here

Trump's Choice for Defense Secretary: Marine General James "Mad Dog" Mattis

Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis as his Secretary of Defense.  He’s the latest addition to Trump’s storm trooper team.  Mattis’ mantra: "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

Mattis' got his nickname “Mad Dog” for his role in leading U.S. troops in laying waste to the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November 2004, massacring insurgents and civilians alike.  Most of that modern city of 300,000 was completely destroyed, reduced to rubble. At least 60 percent of those killed were women, children, and the elderly. A correspondent wrote: "There has been nothing like the attack on Fallujah since the Nazi invasion and occupation of much of the European continent—the shelling and bombing of Warsaw in September 1939, the terror bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940."

Read here

Trump's National Security Adviser: Lt. General Mike Flynn—"At War with Islam"

This week Trump named Lt. General Mike Flynn to be his National Security Adviser, one of the most powerful foreign policy positions in the government. The National Security Advisor is generally the president’s main foreign policy advisor and key coordinator of implementing his decisions. Flynn is seen as one of Trump’s closest and most rabid advisors. (During the Republican National Convention, he joined in the anti-Hillary Clinton chants of "Lock her up!")

Flynn, a retired three-star Army general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA, the Pentagon’s spying arm), claims the U.S. is in a global war, not just against Islamic jihadists but against Islam itself. It’s not really a religion, Flynn argues, but a dangerous political ideology. Flynn has called Islam a "cancer" and said "fear of Muslims is rational." In April 2015 he told Fox News, “I've been at war with Islam, or a component of Islam, for the last decade.”

Flynn vitriolically argues that the U.S. shouldn’t be restrained by human rights, international law, rules of engagement, or other forms of “political correctness” but should ruthlessly fight this “existential enemy.” (This stance and his open criticism of the Obama administration’s “softness” toward and “lying” about Islamic fundamentalists probably led to his 2014 firing as head of the DIA.)

Read here.

Trump's CIA Pick: Mike Pompeo—Advocate of Torture & Tearing Up Rule of Law

Mike Pompeo wants to expand the government’s ability to spy on millions. He advocates legalizing and carrying out torture. He champions gutting fundamental civil rights. Now Trump has named this Congressman and former Army officer to head the Central Intelligence Agency—the CIA—one of the most powerful and deadly arms of the U.S. government’s repressive apparatus.

Pompeo opposed ending the ability of the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect phone records, or metadata, in bulk. Instead, he called for Congress to expandspying and “pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed.” (Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2016)

Read here.

Ben Carson: A Housing Slasher, an Uncle Tom Defender of Segregation, a Christian Fundamentalist Nut Case... and Dangerous New Member of Trump's "Legion of Doom"

By any conventional standards, Ben Carson is an obscene joke as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Less than a month ago, Carson’s close friend Armstrong Williams said Carson felt he would “cripple the presidency” in a cabinet position, because, “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency.”

But there is a fascist method to this madness. Trump’s choice of Carson to head up HUD puts someone who wants to decimate public housing and shut down any governmental interference with segregation, and who is a Christian fundamentalist lunatic to boot, in a powerful position in the U.S. government.

Ben Carson says any attempt by the government to address housing discrimination is a “mandated social-engineering scheme.” He says the micro-thin safety net that provides poor people, inner city residents, and Black and Brown people with barely livable shelter­—if that­—in dangerous projects and filthy homeless shelters is too much—that it just encourages “dependency.” What do you think an appointment like this means to people for whom the existing, shitty government programs are a matter of survival?

Read here

Trump's Ambassador to Israel:
Signaling an Iron Fist in the Middle East

On December 16, Donald Trump announced the nomination of David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel.

An Israeli newspaper described Friedman as "more hardline in his views than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," the current leader of Israel and notorious for invading the Gaza Strip and slaughtering thousands of Palestinian civilians. An Israeli commentator said Friedman "might find a place" in one of Israel's extremist parties, "but only on its right-wing fringes." Military historian Andrew Bacevich said that if you are looking for stability in the Middle East, this signals changes that will "put us in exactly the opposite direction ... increase the possibility of violence" and "extend the conflicts that have engulfed that part of the world."

Friedman is a fanatical supporter of Israel and an all-around fascist. His orientation is to give full support to the most right-wing positions and the most rabid forces in Israeli society, and to attack and demonize the Palestinian people and anyone who supports or even sympathizes with them, including a large number of Jews in both Israel and the U.S.

Read here

Mike Pence: A Christian Fascist Who's a Heartbeat Away from the U.S. Presidency

The United States will now have a vice president who wants to ban all abortions, overturn laws barring discrimination against LGBT people, fully unleash the police to stop and frisk Black and other oppressed people, and carry out other extreme steps that will lead to horrible new leaps in repression. Mike Pence cites Bible verses to back up such ugly policy stands. He is a Christian fascist who will be #2 in the White House.

One of Trump’s sons reportedly said before the election that his father’s vice president will be “the most powerful vice president in history,” in charge of domestic and foreign policy while Trump concentrates on “making America great.” Trump’s people denied the report—but, in any case, Pence will wield enormous sway. He is already playing a major role, including choosing cabinet and other officials. He met top Republicans in the House of Representatives and told them to “buckle up” to move quickly, making clear he’ll play a leading role in pushing fascist laws through Congress. As writer Jeremy Scahill put it (in an article at TheIntercept.com), “Mike Pence will be the most powerful Christian supremacist in U.S. history.”

Pence is part of a Christian fascist movement that aims to impose on society a government, laws, and dominant morality based on strict interpretations of the Bible. According to a Slate.com article, when Pence was a congressman from Indiana, “Aides and other politicians often saw him reading his Bible, and Pence would cite specific verses to justify policy arguments. ‘These have stood the test of time,’ he told one staffer. ‘They have eternal value.’” He made an anti-evolution speech on the floor of the House saying he believes in “intelligent design” (an unscientific claim that life is too complex to have evolved and must be the work of God) and arguing that it be taught in schools.

Read here.

Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions: An Enforcer of White Supremacy and Extreme Patriarchy

This week Donald Trump selected the longtime Alabama white supremacist (and U.S. senator) Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to be the next Attorney General of the U.S.

Sessions first gained national attention in 1986, when he was nominated for a federal judgeship by Ronald Reagan. In his confirmation hearings, it was exposed that in 1984 when he was a U.S. Attorney in Alabama, Sessions led the prosecution of three Black civil rights workers for attempting to register Black people to vote in areas of Alabama where virtually no Black people had been able to vote—near the infamous town of Selma. They faced 100 years in jail. The three were acquitted by a jury in four hours.

In his confirmation hearing, an associate testified that Sessions had called a white civil rights lawyer a “disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases.

A Black former assistant US attorney, testified that Sessions “stated that he believed the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Operation PUSH and the National Council of Churches were all un-American organizations teaching anti-American values.” And that Sessions said he believed the Ku Klux Klan was OK until he learned its members smoked marijuana, something the former U.S. attorney testified was not a joke, but something he took as “a serious statement” of Sessions' views.  Sessions made this contemptible statement about the KKK in the aftermath of a trial of two Klansmen for slitting the throat of a Black man in Mobile, Alabama.

Read here.

Tom Price, Trump's Pick for Health and Human Services: A Slasher of Healthcare for the Poor and Women

Trump’s choices for his cabinet include enemies of public education, housing and the environment to head departments dealing with those issue. Now, for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Trump has picked Tom Price, a ghoul who aims to gut healthcare, especially for the poor, and ban abortion.

Tom Price is a surgeon, a congressman from Georgia, and a member of the fascist Tea Party caucus. Price has been a prominent part of repeated efforts in the Congress to push through bills that would undermine or repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obama’s healthcare law. A statement by a group of doctors, signed by thousands of physicians, said that Price’s policies attacking public healthcare “threaten to harm our most vulnerable patients and limit their access to healthcare.” (See “Thousands of Doctors Speak Out Against Trump’s Pick to Head Health and Human Services” at our “Voices of Conscience and Resistance in the Time of Trump-Pence” page.)

The reality is that ACA (or “Obamacare”) is not a real solution to the glaring situation where tens of millions of people can’t afford healthcare, with thousands dying needlessly, in a country that has a technologically advanced—and very profitable—healthcare “industry.” In the face of growing outrage among the people over this, sections of the ruling class felt it necessary to contain healthcare costs and expand insurance coverage to some extent. The ACA was a capitalist plan to maintain the profitability of capitalists who have major stakes in healthcare while taking into account the interests of other capitalists, and to make some concessions in order to tamp down a source of political outrage against the system. But from the start, the ACA been the target of Price and other Republicans who promote the view that the government has no responsibility for anything having to do with the well-being and welfare of the people—and that any attempt to soften the predatory impact of the capitalist “market” on people does harm to the interests of their capitalist system.

Read here.

New "Education" Secretary DeVos: Cut Public Education, Impose Christian Fascism

Donald Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

Betsy DeVos heads The American Federation for Children. This is an organization that describes itself as “the leading national advocacy organization promoting school choice, with a specific focus on advocating for school vouchers, scholarship tax credit programs and Education Savings Accounts.” (emphasis added)

Translation:

School choice: Allowing white parents to avoid sending their children to integrated public schools. This strips public schools of funding. It leaves them with a high number of special-needs students and without resources to provide a decent education to children.

School vouchers: A tool for channeling state funding into private, religious (overwhelmingly Christian) schools. And thus having the government fund Christian schools, even though that is supposed to be unconstitutional. Parents get vouchers and can use them to pay tuition for segregated, Christian schools.

Read here

Rick Perry—Christian Fascist Lunatic To Be Energy Secretary

Trump’s choice for Energy Secretary is Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas. All the mainstream press pointed out that while running for president in 2012, Perry stated in a televised presidential debate he planned to eliminate three federal departments but then forgot the name of the third, the same Department of Energy he’s now been appointed to head.

As funny and bumbling as this makes him look, there are much more frightening ramifications tied up with Perry’s appointment than being a buffoon. The Department of Energy is in charge of designing nuclear weapons, watching over the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and developing and guiding energy policy. It is very influential in deciding the direction of basic science in the U.S.

Now U.S. nuclear and energy policy will be in the hands of a man with a stated hostility to facts and science and with deep connections to Christian fundamentalist fanatics.

Read here

Scott Pruitt is Trump's Pick to Head the EPA: A Regime Dead Set on Destroying Life on Earth

Scott Pruitt is Donald Trump’s nominee for head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt has been a rabid attack dog for the fossil fuel industry. He fought even the very limited steps the Obama administration took to try to contain global climate change. He has fought clean air and water rules that have been in effect for decades. Pruitt, and the Trump regime, represent an extreme escalation of the danger humanity faces. 

Scott Pruitt is a climate change denier. He would head the EPA for a president who belligerently, and with no scientific backing at all, declares climate change a hoax. Pruitt is obsessed with shredding obstacles to fracking. In Oklahoma, that has led to disastrous environmental disaster already. In a state that use to be essentially without earthquakes, fracking has lead to a situation where one Native American Indian reservation suffered 816 earthquakes in one year. He was point man in fighting to extend the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline. He is a cheerleader for coal mining. His record as Attorney General in Oklahoma was one of literally transcribing lying propaganda from oil industry lobbyists and submitting it on official government letterhead to federal agencies.

Read here

 

 

 

       

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/tom-price-trumps-pick-for-health-and-human-services-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Tom Price, Trump's Pick for Health and Human Services: A Slasher of Healthcare for the Poor and Women

December 27, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trump’s choices for his cabinet include enemies of public education, housing and the environment to head departments dealing with those issues. Now, for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Trump has picked Tom Price, a ghoul who aims to gut healthcare, especially for the poor, and ban abortion.

Tom Price is a surgeon, a congressman from Georgia, and a member of the fascist Tea Party caucus. Price has been a prominent part of repeated efforts in the Congress to push through bills that would undermine or repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obama’s healthcare law. A statement by a group of doctors, signed by thousands of physicians, said that Price’s policies attacking public healthcare “threaten to harm our most vulnerable patients and limit their access to healthcare.” (See “Thousands of Doctors Speak Out Against Trump’s Pick to Head Health and Human Services” at our “Voices of Conscience and Resistance in the Time of Trump-Pence” page.)

The reality is that ACA (or “Obamacare”) is not a real solution to the glaring situation where tens of millions of people can’t afford healthcare, with thousands dying needlessly, in a country that has a technologically advanced—and very profitable—healthcare “industry.” In the face of growing outrage among the people over this, sections of the ruling class felt it necessary to contain healthcare costs and expand insurance coverage to some extent. The ACA was a capitalist plan to maintain the profitability of capitalists who have major stakes in healthcare while taking into account the interests of other capitalists, and to make some concessions in order to tamp down a source of political outrage against the system. But from the start, the ACA been the target of Price and other Republicans who promote the view that the government has no responsibility for anything having to do with the well-being and welfare of the people—and that any attempt to soften the predatory impact of the capitalist “market” on people does harm to the interests of their capitalist system. (For more on the conflicts around ACA, in the context of the sharp struggle within the ruling class, see “The Shutdown, the Showdown and the Urgent Need to Repolarize... For Revolution”—including the sidebar on what health and medicine in a revolutionary socialist society would be like.)

The National Nurses United, the largest union of RNs in the U.S., said in a letter calling on the Senate to reject Price: “Even today, four years after enactment of the Affordable Care Act, we have seen a drop in U.S. life expectancy rates for the first time in decades, millions of people who self-ration prescription medications or other critical medical treatment due to the high out-of-pocket costs, and continuing disparities in our health care system based on race, gender, age, socio-economic status, or where you live. While our organization repeatedly voiced concerns that the ACA did not go far enough, repealing the law, especially the expansion of Medicaid which extended health care coverage to millions of low and moderate income adults, and limits on some of the most chronicled abuses in our present insurance based system, would only exacerbate a healthcare crisis many Americans continue to experience.”

As the statement by the doctors also points out, Price wants to “reduce funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a critical mechanism by which poor children access preventative care” and to “privatize” Medicare, which would mean serious reductions “for [a] critical program which covers 44 million of our elderly patients.” He’s advocated other measures aimed at cutting spending on public health (such as funding for combatting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis), and reducing regulations to promote more unfettered profit-making (such as opposing further regulations on tobacco use).

Price has repeatedly targeted abortion in Congress—and he now joins Vice-President-elect Mike Pence and other Christian fascists in Trump’s cabal who seriously aim to not just restrict but outright ban the right to abortion. In 2005 and 2007 Price, along with Pence and others in Congress, co-sponsored the so-called “Right to Life” Act, a profoundly reactionary—and totally unscientific—attempt to define human life as beginning at the moment of the fertilization of the egg. If this actually became law, it would effectively ban abortions—and treat abortion providers and women who try to have abortions as “criminals.”

But that’s not all. Defining a fertilized egg as a “human”—as Price, Pence and other Christian fascists want to do—would criminalize many forms of birth control, such as IUDs, the morning-after pill, and hormonal birth control pills. Price has also been heavily involved in the efforts by Republicans in the Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, which is a major provider of birth control, especially for poor people. This attack on birth control makes it clear that what the Christian fascists are about is not “preserving life” or “protecting women’s health” but strengthening the chains of blatant patriarchal control on women through forcing them to bear children against their will.

Tom Price—an enemy of healthcare for millions of people and women’s access to abortion and birth control—is yet another urgent reason that the fascist Trump-Pence regime must be prevented from coming to power.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/chicago-open-mic-after-50-shot-over-xmas-weekend-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

At Chicago Open Mic After 50 Shot Over Xmas Weekend:
"How ’bout a TRUCE to STOP TRUMP? Put that in a tweet!"

December 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The LYRIC Lagoon is a weekly open mic in Chicago with a conscious thrust and an attendance that numbers from 50 to 150, mainly youths. I attend it somewhat regularly to announce events and get out literature, and I went a couple of days after Christmas weekend when 50 people were shot in this city in conflicts among the people, with 12 dying. I knew the shootings would be on the minds of the youths at Lyric, many of whom have lost friends in the violence among the people.

When I got to the center on the South Side where the event is held, there were “NO!” posters displayed on the counter you walk by to go into the main hall. Also stacks of the Call, “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America,” and Revolution newspapers. At one point, the DJ bumped a beat which repeated “Dump Trump” over and over. On the wall of the stage, right next to a hand-written collage of the Principles of Kwanzaa, was the “NO!” poster.

The crowd was more mixed in terms of age than it sometimes is—while there were many high school youth as usual, there were a number of people in their 20s and 30s. There were a couple of performers who referred to revolution and Black people fighting their oppression, while others picked up the mood with dance beats or spoke of the struggles of coming of age. One poet gave a shout-out to his friend, Quintonio LeGrier, murdered by police last year on December 26.

I wanted to really be sharp when I got up on the mic, so I had written my piece down. This is what I did.

I want to talk about Chicago and the world it is in...
50 shot here—12 died. So much pain. It is grim.
Meanwhile the man who is set to rule the land
tweeted out that he’s got a new nuclear plan.
In 160 characters he threatened the world.
50 shot and 50 million could die from those words.
There’s no one but us to turn this around.
Are you saying “Fuck Trump” cuz you just like the sound?
We got to put the word out there in the street—
How ‘bout a TRUCE to STOP TRUMP? Put that in a tweet!
For the millions of Muslims they’ll round up in the night
And lock up in camps if we don’t get this right.
For all the immigrants who are up night and day
‘Cause Trump says he’ll hunt them and send them away.
For all of the women since Trump’s made it clear
Men can grab and molest them with nothing to fear.
For the LGBTQ who Trump and his crew
Will take all of the rights from before they are through.
For the sake of World and Humanity too
The future depends on what ALL OF US do.

No Trump, No Nukes, No Fascist USA!
Stop Trump/Pence before they Start!

If you write poetry the world needs you now!
If you do ART the world needs you now!
If you do Social Media the world needs you now!
If you do fundraising the world needs you now!
If you have a beating heart THE WORLD NEEDS YOU NOW!

Be in the streets New Year’s Eve!! No Fascist 2017
No “pussy-grabbing,” No immigrant bashing, No Wall, No Muslim registry, No White Supremacy, No Neo-Nazis, No gay-bashing, No climate-change-denying.
NO TRUMP! NO PENCE! NO FACIST USA!
7 pm at Trump Tower New Year’s Eve!

Sign up now!

There was applause at different points throughout the reading. Particularly loud on “How ’bout a TRUCE to STOP TRUMP? Put that in a tweet.” At the end, people passed around stacks of the Call and a clipboard for people to sign up.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/the-reality-of-israeli-settlements-escalating-ethnic-cleansing-of-palestine-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

The Reality of Israeli "Settlements": Escalating Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

December 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 23, in an unprecedented move, the United States allowed a resolution to be passed in the United Nations Security Council that condemns Israel for illegally building settlements in the West Bank region of Palestine. This is a region supposedly promised to the Palestinians by Israel and the United Nations. Those settlements are militarized encampments of heavily armed Israelis and are a key part of escalating ethnic cleansing of sections of Palestine. The "settlements" have grown dramatically during the Obama administration—today more than 500,000 Israelis live in them (See "Statistics on Settlements and Settler Population," B'Tselem - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.)

The U.S. move provoked a furious reaction from Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu and from Donald Trump, who tweeted "Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!" (For background, see "Obama Abstains on a UN Resolution Condemning Israel... Trump Lashes Back: Not a 'Sign of Hope', a Preview of Incoming Horrors")

What does rapidly escalating "settlement building" by Israel mean for the lives of more than 4.5 million Palestinians who inhabit the West Bank? Below is a sampling of video testimonies that give a glimpse into this reality:

1) "Israeli settlers take part of Palestinian city"

This 2013 report from Aljazeera English tells how the city of Hebron (the Israeli name for the city known as Al-Khalil by Palestinian Arabs) has become a flashpoint for Israeli attempts to colonize and annex the West Bank. Fanatical Jewish fundamentalist settlers have been taking over houses and buildings, which then come under Israeli military protection. They are biting off parts of the city piece by piece, while the Palestinian residents are put under curfew and face constant violence and harassment.

2) "Israeli Illegal Settlements - What You Need to Know in 60 seconds"

A dramatic 2015 infographic video tells how 60,000 illegal Israeli settlements over the last few decades are changing the demographics in order to lay the basis for Israeli annexation of the whole West Bank. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been evicted and more than 15,000 Palestinian homes destroyed.

3) "Living in East Jerusalem - Zuheir a-Rajabi"

A Palestinian documents the encroachments by Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, the traditional "Old City" home to Palestinians for centuries. He shows the violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers and soldiers.

4) "Living in East Jerusalem - Muna and Muhammad al-Qurd"

Two fearless Palestinian kids take us on tour through their East Jerusalem neighborhood, documenting how Israeli settlers are swallowing up Palestinian areas. Highlights include them playing in a playground reserved for settler kids, and confronting Jewish tourists who came to gawk at a Palestinian house that was grabbed by settlers.

5) "Living in East Jerusalem - 'Abd al-Fatah 'Abed Rabu"

A Palestinian farmer who has been evicted from his land to make way for Israeli settlements near East Jerusalem lives in a cave but still tends his land. He documents his daily work and his entanglements in an Israeli court where he is being prosecuted for his actions.

6) "Old Palestinian lady arrives home finds Jewish settlers have stolen her house"

This video shows the outrageous seizure of a house from a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem. The house was ordered to be expropriated by an Israeli court that ruled it was an illegal extension of the family's existing house. Arrogant Israeli settlers with sleeping bags push back an old woman who desperately tries to save her home.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/new-years-eve-a-festival-of-no-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

December 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following was received from refusefascism.org:

New Year's Eve—a Festival of NO!

For Immediate Release December 27, 2016 
Interviews Available 
RefuseFascism.org
Contact: Larry Everest 917-553-8972 / 917-407-1286
LarryEverest@RefuseFascism.org

Demonstrate to STOP the Trump / Pence Regime Before It Starts, New York City and EVERYWHERE!

NYC: meet @ 8:00 pm, Columbus Statue at Columbus Circle

Organizers are calling for a "Festival of NO!" across the country this New Year's eve.

"This New Year's Eve, be where the world needs you most...In the Streets saying #NoFascist2017!" RefuseFascism.org initiator Carl Dix declares.

Protests are already scheduled in Atlanta, Boston, SF Bay Area, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cites. CLICK HERE for beginning list and protest details.

Organizers write, "Bring drums, pots and pans, noise-makers, candles, glow-sticks, posters that say 'NO!' and everyone you know. Join thousands in cities and towns across this country, ringing in the new year in determination to STOP the fascist Trump/Pence regime BEFORE it comes to power."

"No 'pussy-grabbing'... No immigrant-bashing... No Muslim registry... No Wall... No White Supremacy... No Neo-Nazis... No gay-bashing... No climate-change-denying... NO TRUMP... NO PENCE... NO FASCIST USA!"

"Wherever you are New Year's Eve, take a pic with the word 'NO!' and post it here. If your city doesn't have a protest yet, start your own!"

These protests are part of a newly launched movement to rally millions to stop Trump/Pence before the January 20 inauguration through massive political protest and resistance.

RefuseFascism.org for Initiators, Call to Action, Plan to STOP Trump / Pence,
and to watch Dec. 19 Emergency Organizing Meeting
@RefuseFascism Facebook: RefuseFascism #NoFascist2017

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/cornel-west-carl-dix-alice-walker-david-strathairn-2000-more-issue-call-to-action-to-prevent-trump-pence-from-taking-power-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

December 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

The following was received from refusefascism.org:

Cornel West, Carl Dix, Alice Walker, David Strathairn, 2,000 more issue Call to Action to Prevent Trump/Pence From Taking Power

For Immediate Release December 28, 2016 
Interviews Available 
RefuseFascism.org
Contact: Larry Everest 917-553-8972 / 917-407-1286
LarryEverest@RefuseFascism.org

A Call to Action with a single unifying objective: NO! This Fascist Regime Must Be Stopped Before It Starts! has been issued by Cornel West; rapper Vic Mensa; director Joe Dante; writer Alice Walker; poet and musician Saul Williams; musician (MC5) Wayne Kramer; actor David Strathairn; revolutionary communist Carl Dix; biologist PZ Myers; painter Danny Simmons; Yusef Salaam, of the Central Park 5; Chase Iron Eyes and Everett Iron Eyes, Sr. from the Standing Rock Sioux and many others.

"In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America" has been signed by over 2,000 people including prominent scientists, artists, intellectuals, activists and religious leaders. It warns that Trump is "assembling a regime of grave danger" whose fascist character "renders it illegitimate and an immoral peril to the future of humanity and the earth itself."

"A Southerner, Fascism was well known growing up," Alice Walker states. "So this 'new' fascist America is a redux, All the more unbearable for being so. Who wants to go back there?"

The group has launched a campaign to raise $100,000 to publish its Call and reach and organize millions. This Call to Action is being issued days before planned New Year's eve protests—a "Festival of NO!"—across the U.S. Two weeks of rolling protests will follow, with NO! reverberating throughout society, culminating on MLK Weekend with massive demonstrations of many thousands in key cities, including Washington, DC, that grow to millions over the next week, protests that don't stop... where people refuse to leave and more and more people stand up with conviction and courage demanding: "NO! We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!"

Go to RefuseFascism.org for Initiators, Call to Action, Plan to STOP Trump / Pence, schedule of Protests and Events
@RefuseFascism Facebook: RefuseFascism #NoFascist2017

"Imagine if people, in the tens of millions, filled the streets, powerfully declaring that this regime is illegitimate and demanding that it not be allowed to rule!  The whole political landscape would be dramatically transformed, every faction within the established power structure would be forced to respond—and all this could well lead to a situation in which this fascist regime is actually prevented from ruling. This is not some idle dream but something which could be made a reality if all those who hate what is represented by this fascist regime translate their outrage into firm determination and massive mobilization to create the conditions which make this possible."

—From RefuseFascism.org, Plan to Stop Trump/Pence

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/whitefish-montana-vs-trump-time-usa-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Whitefish, Montana Vs. Trump-Time USA

December 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 2017, neo-Nazis armed with automatic weapons march through the middle of a small town where many Jewish people live, holding posters depicting the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

Hey everyone, this is a real plan announced by a neo-Nazi website this month.

Emboldened by the expectation of Trump-time USA, neo-Nazis have launched an online assault against Jewish members of the community of Whitefish, Montana, and now have called for a march of armed white supremacists in the near future. The online poster for the march features the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp. The online assault included publishing names and addresses of some of Whitefish's Jewish community, and reportedly there have been numerous death threats against them.

If it needs to be said, this is very bad, and it foreshadows what a Trump Amerikkka would be like, including slugs like this coming out from under the weeds and rocks, with backing from the forces of power, with real effects on real people's lives and being.

If this regime is allowed to take the reins of power.

The community of Whitefish has decided to not only dislike this, but to come together and actively oppose it. And this matters. In the words of one visitor to Whitefish (quoted in a post on Jax Politix), with the election of Trump, “The hate groups are growing exponentially and I really feel like non-Jews and non-people-of-color need to stand up and SHOUT, 'THIS IS NOT OK.'” In Whitefish, people are starting to do that.

Whitefish was targeted by these neo-Nazis because the mother of neo-Nazi Richard Spencer was supposedly forced to close her business there because of opposition from Jewish people. Richard Spencer, who once lived in Whitefish, is the neo-Nazi you saw on video leading Hitler salutes for Trump after the election, making speeches that “America, at the end of the day, belongs to white men.”

A CNN report says the town of Whitefish has made a collective decision to fight this. The Jax Politix post says the nearby town of Missoula has started a “Light in Every Window” campaign to support the Jewish community under attack. On December 5, the Whitefish town council passed a proclamation saying the town won't tolerate racism and bigotry. A Whitefish organization called “Love Lives Here” works to call out the racism of Richard Spencer. On the CNN report you can see people about town wearing t-shirts with a large cross-out symbol over the word “HATE.” Earlier this month the town had passed resolutions in support of LGBT people.

The people of Whitefish coming together to oppose this is very important. It is part of the soil for the urgently needed movement, people across the country and across the world coming together, STOPPING THIS REGIME BEFORE IT STARTS. The Whitefish community needs to be supported, including if and when the neo-Nazis bring their march to the town.

For more about Whitefish, Montana, read the post at Jax Politix.

From the Mission and Plan for A MONTH OF MASSIVE RESISTANCE TO STOP THIS FASCISM:

“Imagine if people, in the tens of millions, filled the streets, powerfully declaring that this regime is illegitimate and demanding that it not be allowed to rule! The whole political landscape would be dramatically transformed, every faction within the established power structure would be forced to respond—and all this could well lead to a situation in which this fascist regime is actually prevented from ruling. This is not some idle dream but something which could be made a reality if all those who hate what is represented by this fascist regime translate their outrage into firm determination and massive mobilization to create the conditions which make this possible.”

WE MUST STOP THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME—NOT “SURVIVE” IT!

 

Read the Call to Action

Sign the Call to Action. Join with over 2,000 others, including well-known people, to stop this regime before it starts.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/revolution-interview-yusef-salaam-central-park-5-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Revolution Interview

Yusef Salaam of the Central Park 5, An Innocent Black Man Donald Trump Campaigned to Execute in 1989:
We Can't Wait Four Years, We Must Change the Course of History Now

December 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution Interview
A special feature of Revolution to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.

 

Sunsara Taylor, writer for revcom.us/Revolution, recently interviewed Yusef Salaam, one of the initiators of RefuseFascism.org.

Yusef Salaam
Yusef Salaam (AP photo)

Sunsara Taylor: I thought it would be helpful to introduce yourself and talk a little bit about The Central Park Five, and your earliest encounters learning about Donald Trump.

Yusef Salaam: My name is Yusef Salaam; I’m one of the so-called Central Park Five. On April 19th of 1989, I became a part of a group accused of a crime we didn’t commit. A crime which we were exonerated of 13 years later. That crime was the rape and near murder of a white investment banker in New York City along with the assault of others who has been in Central Park that infamous night. Interestingly, Donald Trump became the figurehead of the mob mentality that New York City took against us. Sarah Burns recently wrote a book which encapsulates the thought process of New York at that time; it is called The Central Park Five, A Chronicle of a City Wilding. The city was wilding against us.

There were assumptions made, and the worst assumption of course came from Donald Trump. Two weeks in, Donald Trump used his money to pay for ad space in New York City’s newspapers, essentially calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty specifically for The Central Park Five. He wants “us” to be murdered. Mind you, many people don’t make $85,000 in a year, the tab it cost him to pay for the ads, but for him it wasn’t even crumbs off his table, it was dust. And here it was, he was making this grand assumption about Black and Brown people, an indictment because of the color of our skin, that we were the “worst of the worst” because we had been “accused.” Instead of the law being the law of the land for everyone, the law was not, and still is not, the law for Black and Brown folks. We are guilty and have to prove ourselves innocent.

So there we were, because of the accusation of “us” being near murderers and rapists, “us” being called “urban terrorists,” as Mayor David Dinkins had said back then, even though he has since apologized. “Super-predators,” as one of the presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, called “us.” She also has apologized. But Donald Trump has never apologized, and still stands on the side of the full-page ads he paid for decades ago. He still thinks and maintains that we had to be guilty of something.

And it’s unfortunate, because it’s that same thought process that a lot of people have. Where if you are accused of a crime, if your name is mentioned in the media as a person of interest, then you have to be guilty. And I don’t blame the masses, I blame the System imposed upon us. A system, although highly fallible, pushes the idea that it’s infallible. That the police department(s) of New York City, of the country, and perhaps of the world, are infallible. That they’re there to impose the law for the citizens they are sworn to protect, and make sure that things stay under control. This isn’t an indictment against the good officers; we're talking about the bad apples that spoil the bunch. In our case there was a willful overstepping of the boundaries of the law. We were scapegoated and railroaded into the System. A System where the overwhelming majority are Black and Brown folks.

Ultimately we spent upwards of 13 years in prison for crimes we didn’t commit. And when it was found that we didn’t do it, the System whispered, “We’re sorry. We apologize.” And then we began our tremendous uphill legal battle, trying to piece our lives back together, and also trying to seek some type of monetary justice. There was no speedy method to repair this wrong, but there was a speedy means to convict. Another 12 years passed, we didn’t receive an award until 2014.

Yusef Salaam enters court with his mother during the trial, 1990.
Yusef Salaam entering court with his mother, Sharonne Salaam, 1990. (AP photo)

ST: How old were you? And how old were the others who were accused? You emphasized that you were eventually exonerated legally. But even at the time, the only quote, unquote “evidence” the police produced was extracted through a tremendous amount of intimidation and mistreatment to very, very young people. What is the toll that this took on you?

YS: We were between the ages of 14 and 16. I was 15 years old. When you think about what scientists have stated, that a child’s mind is not fully developed until they reach the age of 25; we should have been afforded the opportunity to be children. Instead, the System turned on us in such a way that they said you know we need to treat these youngsters as adults. They began changing the laws based on the prosecution of The Central Park Five. This is one of the reasons why we have the cry to “raise the age.” When we were exonerated they never changed those laws back, it was now the law of the land. This took a heavy toll on us, we were pariahs, and we became the examples of what they wanted to bring down against Black and Brown folks. The future present of what was to happen.

We were being paraded in the media. Our names, phone numbers and addresses were published in the newspapers. All of this was as a result of us being accused. We weren’t even convicted yet. And then people like Donald Trump begin to chime in and other media personalities followed suit. One guy in particular was a guy named Pat Buchanan. He essentially said we should take the eldest one and hang him from a tree in Central Park, and take the others and horse-whip them.

Usually people don’t think about the collateral damage. What happens to the individual? What happens to their families? And what happens to the communities those families came from? You know, they changed the name of the building complex that I was living in because people didn’t want it to be associated with this horrific crime that had happened back in 1989, even though we were found to be innocent. But there was this cloud, a sort of dust that made people confused as to our guilt or innocence. The collective thought was “maybe they let them go because of some type of a technicality, or something like that” The truth in the case was never presented in the way we were introduced to the nation. The tsunami of media covering our innocence was dwarfed by 1989.

There were over 400 articles written within the first few weeks of this case in 1989 attacking us in the media. When we were found to be innocent, my mother testified at City Hall, in front of City Council, and stated it was a whisper that she wondered if the rats of New York City had heard. So to this day, there is this cloud of doubt in the minds of lots of people. It’s not until they get a chance to sit down and speak with some of us that they get the opportunity to really see and experience our innocence for themselves. There is usually a collective “how did I believe that these guys were guilty of these crimes?”

Not everyone has seen the famed film that Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon produced called The Central Park Five. I really encourage everyone to see that film because it really paints the picture of both sides, even though the Police Department says that they weren’t interviewed. They were asked to be interviewed and they declined.

That didn’t matter, all of the media coverage surrounding this case that had already been produced. The false confessions that had been made by four out of the five of us, these historical documents, these historical pieces of evidence, were used in order to paint the full picture of what happened. And just like in 1989, the film shows these false confessions to the public for them to decide again. The difference this time was that they showed these false confessions side by side, and you had an opportunity to hear Raymond Santana talk about his version of what happened alongside of Korey King Wise's version of what happened, and that of Kevin Richardson's, and of Antron McCray's. And it was almost the first time the public began to realize that these versions were inconsistent.

TV shows like the CSI and NCIS teach us something. They teach us that the science of forensics is very, very exact. So much so, that if a crime happened, forensic scientists can come in and recreate the crime scene, even if there’s no one there to tell it. They can tell by the splatter of blood whether the assailant was left-handed or right-handed, by the footprints what height the assailant is. You know, all of these things tell them bits and pieces of information. And here you have the retelling of this story by the famed filmmaker Ken Burns, you found out for the first time that these stories were completely inconsistent.

People were very upset, people were very, very upset because they felt like they had been hoodwinked. On the one hand, you had Mayor Koch stating this was the crime of the century. He said, people want to see how the justice system works, and they’re going to be able to see that through the Central Park Jogger Case. And then they railroaded us. We became modern day Scottsboro Boys1 Had they had their way, we would have also become a modern day Emmett Till.2 Every single one of us. Every single one of us.

Trump attacks Central Park 5

And the part that’s really, really scary, and I’m very, very concerned about, is that Donald Trump, throughout his campaign, he kept talking about making America great again, and it was almost like a code word that he was going to try to make America white again. We began to see the darker enclaves of society start to raise their ugly heads. The people, who absolutely believe in the annihilation of races other than their own, begin to raise their heads. The people who believe that slavery was good and should be continued, begin to rear their heads. The people who believe that we need to go to a state of Hitlerism, a state of alt-right, I didn’t say all right, this whole Nazi attitude and idea of making a superior race, is what Donald Trump was talking about.

If you talk to these people, they will most absolutely, certainly say, “No, I didn’t mean it like that.” But the people who have eyes to see and ears to hear know exactly what’s going on. Because, as people were being beat up as they came to the rally to protest against Donald Trump, Donald Trump told people that he would pay their bail money. Donald Trump said that he could go on Fifth Avenue right now, shoot someone and he wouldn’t lose any supporters. And true to form, this is exactly what his thought process was, and probably still is. The person(s) dying from his assault would be Black and Brown folks. While others take out their cell phones to broadcast it to the world.

And I think that the worst part is that now we as a country have to deal with this very real threat of a person who does not have our best interests at heart; a person who has repeatedly told us what his thoughts and ideas are throughout his campaign. And none of that stuff is good for any of us. And by “any of us” I mean the whole melting pot of people who are in the Americas. And then we have to think also about the rest of the world who is going to be affected by this new regime that Donald Trump is putting in place. You know, back in the day, it would be said that the president really doesn’t have any power; it’s only a position. But when you look at what Donald Trump is doing, he is putting persons in position so that when he says anything, these people will absolutely agree and carry out his orders.

We need to be very, very concerned about this. Fights have already broken out, people have been assaulted, and threats have been made. Statements like “go back to Mexico, or Africa” are the least of our worries. There are folks running around with the mentality of Klan. Folks who braggadociously brandish their Confederate flags and dare us to say something. When I would drive around, I would see that kind of stuff all the time. And now it’s a little bit scarier because you realize that just down the road are folks who have their Klan symbolism right out there in front of their homes, letting you know exactly what they think, and letting you know that now their time has returned. It’s a very scary time for us to be in.

ST: You recently became one of the co-initiators of the fight to stop the Trump-Pence regime before it comes to power, www.refusefascism.org. Could you talk about that?

YS: The pulse of America right now is one of anguish. The majority had their hopes squashed, because the Electoral College did not only give Donald Trump the presidency, but when recently challenged by “We the People” they reconfirmed. People began to have this “wait and see” attitude, one where we’ll just buckle down and prepare for the next four years, and then after that we’ll deal with things on a different level.

I really think we have to be wiser about what this really represents for us as a people. It doesn’t represent four years. It represents something much bigger and much greater than that. There’s a real threat out there. For example, for years you’d see YouTube videos talking about American concentration camps, these open-air camps, I mean prisons; I called them camps but they were really prisons. And they didn’t have anyone in them. This is in America... my thought was, what are they getting ready for? And what they’re getting ready for is what this day represents.

Here we are. We’re on the cusp and the brink of a precipice. But what’s different is we most certainly have everything in our power right now to change our tomorrow, to change the course of time and the course of history of what our tomorrow is going to be about. But if we sit back and wait and see; wait and say let’s buckle down and just prepare for the next four years without doing anything, I think that that is one of the worst things that we could do. We need to be very vigilant and prepare. Preparation is key, but in that preparation we also need to make sure that we align ourselves with people who are fighting for freedom, justice, and equality; people who are thinking about things on a completely different level, and that level is possibly and most certainly the ability for us to make sure that this person doesn’t even come into power.

I think that this is one of the most powerful things that we can do as a people. I have always encouraged people to stand on the side of history that is right and correct. And I think that this is something that is absolutely right, and absolutely correct, and something that we all should get behind, and push forward. Like we need to not just get behind, but also think about our position and this great ability of ours. We need to now collectively drop our shoulders down, and begin to push forward as a people to make sure that we can change the course of history.

That’s how I think about this whole process now. It’s not enough to wait and see. I think we already saw and anticipated what’s going to happen. It’s not going to be the best of times. No, this is going to be the worst of times. This is going to be much more worse than what we even imagined. And this is why I’m very concerned.

ST: Yusef, it's really important that people hear what you are saying and many more join in, as you say, right now. I want to thank you for doing the interview.


1.The Scottsboro Boys: In 1931, nine young Black men were framed for the rape of two white women and initially sentenced to death, except for the 12-year-old defendant who was given a sentence of life imprisonment. In a subsequent trial, four were acquitted, but the others spent years in jail and achieved their release only after a massive campaign against this injustice. [back]

2. Emmett Till: In 1955, Till, a Black 14-year-old in Mississippi, was horribly beaten, shot, and his dead body thrown in a river for allegedly whistling at a white woman. His body was so badly disfigured that even his own mother could hardly recognize him. [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/chicago-unwelcome-mike-pence-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

December 29, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Press release from Refuse Fascism Chicago:

UNWELCOME—Vice President Elect Mike Pence
Stop the Trump/Pence Regime Before It Starts!

Dec 29, 2016
Immediate Release
When: December 30 @ 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Where: Chicago Club, 81 E. Van Buren, Chicago
Contact: Refuse Fascism Chicago: 312-933-9586

On December 30, Governor Bruce Rauner is hosting a major fund raiser for Vice President-elect Mike Pence. This $10,000 per couple lunch will be met by protestors telling Pence YOU and TRUMP are NOT WELCOME. This protest is part of the growing momentum to build for outpourings on New Year’s Eve at Trump Tower properties here and around the world to say NO! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.

Vice President-elect Pence is a Christian fascist who will be #2 in the White House.

He wants to ban all abortions, overturn laws barring discrimination against LGBT people in the guise of “freedom of religion." He wants to fully unleash the police to stop and frisk Black and other oppressed people. Mike Pence cites Bible verses to back up these ugly policy stands. He made an anti-evolution speech on the floor of the House saying he believes in anti-scientific “intelligent design,” arguing that it be taught in schools. He supported making the Patriot Act permanent and wants to ban the burning of the U.S. flag.

Fascism is a very serious thing. It has direction and momentum that must be stopped before it becomes too late. Everyone with a conscience should be out on the street and be part of Stopping the Trump/Pence fascist regime before it gets started. NO! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse a Fascist America!

RefuseFascism.org is mobilizing here in Chicago New Year’s Eve at Trump Tower 7 pm. We need to reach tens of millions with the message NO! FASCIST 2017!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/come-together-truce-to-stop-the-trump-pence-regime-before-it-starts-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

A CALL FROM CHICAGO

COME TOGETHER—TRUCE—TO STOP THE TRUMP-PENCE REGIME

Updated January 25, 2017, first published December 29, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

One Single Unifying Objective: Stop this Fascist Trump-Pence Regime Before It Starts

Today, January 25, Trump sent out a tweet threatening to send the Feds into Chicago if Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on: 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24 percent from 2016). This is the second time in January that Trump has tweeted about the shootings in Chicago. The threats are escalating. His inaugural speech had a genocidal thrust toward communities of color... and these threats must be taken seriously. As Refuse Fascism has said, “Justifying violent repression of whole neighborhoods and sections of people viewed as ‘the enemy’ is a classic fascist tactic to consolidate power and frighten people into submission.”

We are reposting here a statement from the Revolution Club, Chicago sent to revcom.us after Trump’s first tweet.

 

Many of us from the bottom of society get caught up in a lot of fucked-up shit because of the brutal and harsh conditions we are forced to live under. We have seen way too many of our loved ones and homies lose their lives to senseless and unnecessary violence. This violence and destruction is promoted and encouraged by the forces who really run this shit. In other words, they would like nothing more than for us to continue to kill and destroy ourselves. We are being played over and over again!

Now is the time to stop being played. An openly racist, woman-hating, and fascist Trump regime is in power. Yes, it’s true, no president prior gave a damn about a Black or Brown life. But it’s also true that shit is going to get a whole lot worse if we allow Trump to take hold—a whole worse world of hurt and pain for people we hold near and dear and for people all over the planet.

Let’s be about real courage, real daring, real risk, and real meaning and come together and take on THESE fascists in massive defiant struggle.

We need to rise above the petty beefs and clique tripping and get organized to fight the power. This is not about any one individual. This is about the fate of humanity and the planet. Get in touch with your local Revolution Club. Go to www.revcom.us and www.refusefascism.org. Join the fight to Stop the Trump-Pence Regime!

Initiated by an ex-prisoner who was once caught up with everything wrong with the street life, and the Chicago Revolution Club.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/unarmed-black-man-shot-by-texas-pig-for-no-reason-paralized-for-life-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Unarmed Black Man Shot by Texas Pig—for No Reason—and Paralyzed for Life

December 29, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In July 2016 David Collie, a 33-year-old Black man in Fort Worth, Texas, was shot in the back by pigs, and he ended up being paralyzed. On December 27, the police cruiser dash cam video of the shooting was released. It shows the cop car pulling into a parking lot of a residential complex. Immediately, two cops with guns drawn rush toward Collie, who is walking normally with his shirt off on a hot summer night. Within 15 seconds, one of the cops fires and hits Collie in the back. He falls to the ground, and the video shows the cops just standing over him, not providing any medical aid.

David Collie spent two months in a hospital handcuffed to a bed, and he will never walk again. The cops said they were looking for a Black man with no shirt on who allegedly committed a robbery. They claimed Collie pointed a box cutter at them. In the video, he is not holding any object.

A grand jury refused to indict Collie for any crime, but he is still paralyzed for life. The cop who pulled the trigger has been placed on "restricted duty" only since the video was released and went viral. The cops have refused to hand over any records about the shooting to Collie's attorney.

David Collie was another Black man who "fit the description" and ended up a victim of this system’s armed enforcers. There is an epidemic of police murder and terror against Black and Brown people, and it must stop!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/chicago-pence-protest-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

Chicago: Fury and Defiance at Pence Appearance

December 30, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Chicago, December 30--protest against Pence
December 30, 2016. In downtown Chicago today, 150-200 protesters hurled fury and defiance against the whole Trump-Pence fascist regime. Pence’s $2,700 a plate speech was the first attempt by the fascists to show their faces since Trump’s Chicago rally last March was shut down by protesters and cancelled. High school students, reproductive rights organizers, LGBTQ activists, Christian activists, and revolutionary communists stepped up to the mic outside the Chicago Club, speaking with great passion to call on people to stop fascism. The call was read from refusefascism.org for people to become organizers of organizers so that millions come to DC to stop Trump-Pence from taking power. ANSWER coalition put out their call for shutting down DC on January 20. Musician Ted Sirota called for artists and musicians to unleash their creativity and inspire more people to join the resistance. Throughout the protest people cheered when the Festival of NO! on New Years Eve at Trump Tower was announced. People felt the urgency of the moment, and a group of high school students enthusiastically talked about how people get empowered when they see others take action. People took several thousand flyers in bundles with the Refuse Fascism call to distribute more broadly. (Photo: Special to revcom.us)

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/new-years-eve-nationwide-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

December 30, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Press release from RefuseFascism.org:

New Year's Eve - nationwide - be in the streets

NO! STOP Trump/Pence It Before It Starts! NYC & Nationwide

Dec 31: NYC 8 pm Columbus Circle / LA 6 pm Breitbart HQ

For Immediate Release December 31, 2016 
Interviews Available 
RefuseFascism.org
Contact: Larry Everest 917-553-8972 / 917-407-1286
LarryEverest@RefuseFascism.org

Demonstrate to STOP the Trump / Pence Regime Before It Starts, New York City and EVERYWHERE!

NYC: meet @ 8:00 pm, Columbus Statue at Columbus Circle

The newly formed RefuseFascism.org has organized New Year's Eve "NO Trump! NO Pence! NO Fascist 2017" rallies and protests across the country, including in New York City, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tucson, Houston, Cleveland, Seattle, Portland (ME), and Ventura (CA). CLICK HERE for list and details.

"This New Year's Eve, be where the world needs you most...in the streets saying #NoFascist2017!," Carl Dix, one of the group's initiators, says. "No 'pussy-grabbing'...No immigrant-bashing...No Muslim registry...No Wall...No White Supremacy...No Neo-Nazis...No gay-bashing...No climate-change-denying...NO TRUMP...NO PENCE...NO FASCIST USA!"

The New Year's protests are part of a "Month of Resistance" to rally millions to prevent a Trump/Pence fascist takeover through massive political protest and resistance. See, RefuseFascism.org's Call to Action, "In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America."

"Wherever you are New Year's Eve, take a pic with the word 'NO!' and post it @RefuseFascism," Dix said. "If your city doesn't have a protest yet, start your own!"

Video: Refuse Fascism

“Imagine if people, in the tens of millions, filled the streets, powerfully declaring that this regime is illegitimate and demanding that it not be allowed to rule! The whole political landscape would be dramatically transformed, every faction within the established power structure would be forced to respond—and all this could well lead to a situation in which this fascist regime is actually prevented from ruling. This is not some idle dream but something which could be made a reality if all those who hate what is represented by this fascist regime translate their outrage into firm determination and massive mobilization to create the conditions which make this possible.” - from Mission and Plan for a Month of Massive Resistance

RefuseFascism.org for Initiators, Call to Action, Plan to STOP Trump / Pence, Protests and Events
@RefuseFascism Facebook: RefuseFascism #NoFascist2017

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/when-fascists-come-to-power-en.html

Revolution #471 December 26, 2016

When fascists come to power...

December 31, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Rodrigo “Rudy” Duterte, President of the Philippines; self-confessed mass murderer.

Duterte built his rep as an “outsider” fighting the status quo, tapping into anger over the poverty, drugs, crime and corruption plaguing the Philippines. His method was to cover over the roots of these problems in the imperialist-dominated social-economic system, demagogically rail against the “elites”... and then ally with those elites to scapegoat the victims of the system, those driven by desperation to use or to sell drugs. Duterte targeted them as the source of society’s problems and made them the focus of popular hatred.

Duterte ran for president promising to kill 30,000 drug users and dealers; he was elected with 39% of the vote. During seven months in power, he has unleashed a reign of terror in the vast slums of Manila and other cities. Every night police kick down doors, kill people in front of their families, and drag their bodies into the streets with “drug dealer” signs hung on them. Most of these people are desperately poor drug users, very small-time sellers, or are completely innocent. In addition, vigilantes now roam the slums on motorcycles gunning down “suspects.” Already at least 7,000 have been murdered in police and vigilante killings, so many that bodies are stacking up in funeral homes as the poor scrape together money to bury their loved ones.

A Filipino human-rights activist told the LA Times that “The thing to keep in mind is that there’s nothing right now that [Duterte] cannot do,” because the other branches of government back him. “He’s pretty much given a blank check ...” But Duterte has also made clear that should opposition emerge from the judiciary or any other quarter, he will declare martial law in the nation, suspending all democratic rights. Duterte warns, “do not create a constitutional confrontation. We will all lose.”

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey, fascist thug, Islamic fundamentalist.

Like the alt-right and Christian fascists grouped around Trump, Erdoğan has worked for decades to bring his vision—of a fascist Turkish state assuming its “proper place” among the other “great [imperialist] powers,” held together by rabid Turkish nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism—into being. In 2016, competing ruling class forces staged a military coup that failed. Erdoğan responded with ever-growing waves of repression going far beyond the coup-plotters or even their sympathizers. In the weeks after, 50,000 people were arrested or fired, including 10,000 military personnel, 2,700 prosecutors and judges, 1,500 university deans and 15,000 other educators. 130 media outlets—radio and TV stations, news services, magazines and newspapers—were shut down, with at least one major newspaper put under state control.

In the months that followed, Erdoğan ended a truce with Kurdish rebels and launched major military assaults on the Kurdish region, placing many Kurdish towns under brutal siege and killing thousands.

And on December 30, a constitutional amendment to abolish the post of Prime Minister—a position that shares and competes with President Erdoğan for control of executive power—cleared committee to be voted in the parliament, opening the way for a major centralization of authority in Erdoğan’s hands.