Revolution #473, January 9, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/we-begin-saturday-january-14-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Download a PDF version HERE

January 8, 2017

 

 

In The Name of Humanity, Refuse to Accept a Fascist America

STOP THE TRUMP-PENCE REGIME BEFORE IT STARTS

 

We Begin: 4 PM Saturday January 14th

McPherson Square, I Street and 14th St. NW

WASHINGTON, D.C.

 

Take to the Streets
March to the Halls of Power
every day and every night
Jan. 14-20 Don't Stop

 

We Begin Jan 14 at 4PM... March into the night...every night

Grow in Numbers...

We will be:

First: Hundreds & thousands taking to the streets

Then: Becoming ten and a hundred thousand

Grow each day to become millions across the country as the week of Jan. 16-20 unfolds...

 

Join us and make history.
Bring your signs, your friends, your love and your righteous anger.
With courage, conviction, and deep determination we won't stop.

 

In the name of humanity, our aim is nothing less than
preventing a Trump-Pence Fascist Regime

 

refusefascism.org

@RefuseFascism   #NoFascistUSA
info@refusefascism.org   (917) 407-1286

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/faqs-on-stopping-trump-pence-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

FAQ's On Stopping Trump-Pence

January 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

How could Trump-Pence actually be prevented from ruling?

By the intersection of two things: first, massive protest and resistance from tens of millions of ordinary people, daring and determined to actually prevent this fascist regime from taking over and implementing its program, beginning more or less immediately and growing to a crescendo in the next few weeks, and through that creating "a crisis of rule"; and second, coupled with this, attempts by different factions in the established power structure that have real differences with Trump-Pence to solve the crisis by preventing them from taking the reins of power.

These protests could be something with the character of the protests against police murder over the past few years, or the Occupy protests before that—but larger by several orders of magnitude and even more determined. Such protests would have to have the effect of figuratively "stopping society in its tracks" and would raise real questions as to whether people very broadly would recognize the legitimacy of such a regime to even rule in basic ways and enforce its edicts.

The "not normal" character of Trump-Pence—the radical changes they embody in how people are to be ruled in this country (in short, the fascist ethos and measures they campaigned on) and in regard to U.S. international policy—have not only created tremendous anguish and anger among many millions of ordinary people, but among ruling factions which have up to now nevertheless chosen to go along with this. But should there be a political eruption "from below," their concerns over Trump would combine with immediate questions as to whether their basic stability and perhaps even the entire system would be endangered by continuing to stick with Trump-Pence.

As that dynamic developed, scandals that up to now have been covered up could erupt, or be treated in a different way so as to raise fundamental constitutional issues, and ways would be found to prevent the coming to power of Trump-Pence.

Has anything like that ever really happened?

Yes, it has. In the early 1970s, in the U.S., Spiro Agnew, the vice-president, and then Richard Nixon, the president, were both forced to resign. The Nixon-Agnew regime, though having fairly decisively won the 1972 election, had alienated tens of millions from the very system itself and had also undertaken highly repressive, extraordinary and unconstitutional measures to settle conflicts within the ruling circles. Nixon was forced out, and Gerald Ford—who had not been elected as either president or vice-president—ascended to power.

There are more recent examples as well, from other countries. As 2011 dawned, President Hosni Mubarak had ruled Egypt for decades and seemed to be immovably implanted in power. But Mubarak was forced to leave office and actually arrested after being confronted by massive demonstrations that braved very severe repression, focused in the main square in Cairo, along with opposition from all sectors of society manifesting in different ways. From the time of the first demonstrations to the removal of Mubarak took less than a month. There is also the current situation in South Korea in which massive demonstrations against the legally elected president have resulted in her impeachment and suspension from office in a period of a few months. There are in fact more than a few examples from the past several decades in which mass demonstrations from below have created or exacerbated splits and divisions among ruling elites and led to constitutionally extraordinary changes in government. In the cases cited here, each of the presidents removed had actually received not only majorities of the popular vote but, in the case of Nixon for instance, a true "landslide" victory.

No two societies or periods of time, of course, are exactly alike, and history is not made by analogy—but there are nonetheless underlying dynamics common to these societies that make it possible to learn lessons.

Why do you think we can get millions or, as the mission and plan for this state, tens of millions of people to do this, in such a short period of time?

Because Trump-Pence in fact would NOT be "normal"—because they are in fact fascist and their attacks on immigrants, Muslims, women, Black people, the press, the sciences, the rule of law itself are so odious to the basic values of tens of millions and their threats to the environment and to many countries are so very dangerous to humanity itself—there is an extraordinary depth to people's anguish over the prospect of this regime, and an extraordinary breadth of the people who feel that way. While the demonstrations immediately following the elections (themselves unprecedented) have temporarily ebbed, the anguish and anger remain, finding expression in many different statements, including artistic ones, and in people's felt and expressed desire to act and to protect those most vulnerable. These millions can be reached with a way to act that seems commensurate with the challenge of actually preventing this; the thousands in the initial actions can become organizers of organizers of organizers, and there can be rapid geometric growth—again, due to the extraordinary circumstances and the deep feelings of tens of millions.

How do you envision this happening?

Early this week, the call for this campaign will hit with tremendous impact via ads in major news outlets, in print and online, co-ordinated with massive and burgeoning social media efforts. Spokespeople will be made available to media in a concerted effort to get the word out and to involve as diverse a group of initiators and other possible spokespeople as possible in doing that. And with this, plans will be announced to "bring DC to a halt" in the week before the scheduled inauguration. Shortly after that we envision the growth of demonstrations and other forms of protest—including especially non-violent direct action disrupting business as usual, occupying public spaces, assemblies and meetings in institutions and workplaces, strikes, etc.—in cities across the country. As people see that there are many who feel like they do and, more than that, are determined and acting to do something about what would almost certainly be a horrific regime, they will themselves become inspired and compelled to join in these. This would have to quickly spread and find ways to overcome resistance and obstacles; but once people are aroused and acting on their highest aspirations, tremendous creativity and resources can become unlocked and things can spread like wildfire. While this is far from assured, historical experience shows that there is a reasonable chance that in the face of extreme provocation from the ruling powers, people can act in extraordinary ways.

As this develops, we envision public spaces being occupied in major cities and millions travelling to DC to protest the inauguration in the days leading up to it (and the millions in the DC and Baltimore areas who DID oppose Trump-Pence making resources and shelter available). This is a highly mobile and highly interknit society in which there is still relative freedom of movement and outlets for expression*; if such a thing could happen in a highly repressive and non-interlinked society like Egypt, it could certainly happen here.

As all this emerges and then comes to a head, we would expect that even further scandals around Trump would surface from various sources, that different sections of the population with different concerns would get drawn into this, and that the social will to stop Trump-Pence from ruling would emerge and the political/legal means to accomplish that would be found.


*Indeed, the prospect of the radical curtailment of those freedoms in a Trump-Pence regime is one thing that should impel people to act now.

How do I answer those who say that it's too early to say that Trump-Pence is for-sure fascist?

First, let's look at the case that is made in the mission and plan for this initiative:

More fundamental [than the illegitimate character of the electoral college] is the illegitimacy of such a fascist regime.

As many have noted, Hitler himself came to power through the process of elections and established legal procedures. We can see in retrospect the profound and terrible error of those who hoped it would blow over, who believed that Hitler would expose himself and fall from power on his own, who had faith that the "wise leaders" of the system would somehow intervene, or even those who confined their resistance to helping others survive until the regime would somehow fall on its own.

This is not an exaggerated comparison. Trump has made clear through his campaign and now in his appointments and behavior in its aftermath that he intends to radically attack the rights of immigrants, Muslims, Black people, women, gay and trans people, the disabled, and many others who have been historically oppressed in this society. He has made clear that he will pursue a geopolitical policy that will be very short on facts and long on aggression, threats of aggression, insane nuclear proliferation, torture and threats of torture, and continually going to the brink of war and no doubt beyond, and all while stoking the fires of xenophobia and scapegoating. He has made clear that not only has he no respect for the freedom of the press and expression, but that he intends to attack it – both through threatened legal prosecution and suppression, and through unleashing his newly empowered and extremely toxic minions. As for academic freedom, the "watch list" is an early warning sign of what is in store. Trump and his top operatives, like Flynn, take lying to a new level, trampling on facts and even the very idea of objectivity and truth. He has already begun to seed the government with Christian fundamentalist theocrats and breathed new life into anti-Semitism. He has not only threatened to overturn Roe v. Wade and continued to hold out the threat of punishing women (and Pence's state, Indiana, prosecuted and actually imprisoned a woman for a miscarriage during his time as governor), but – using his "bully pulpit" – Trump has created an atmosphere around women that has further empowered rape culture and already damaged the lives and chances of every woman and girl in this country. His views, policies, and appointments on the environment will seriously and qualitatively exacerbate a situation that is already heading to disaster. He has, perhaps most egregiously of all, super-charged the notion that this is a "white man's country," in which the rights and existence of Black people and other people of color count for nothing and he has put proven white supremacists – people of the ilk of Bannon and Sessions – in positions of power to use that force of the state to directly back that belief up; while he has, at the same time, given impetus to every fascist, neo-Nazi and bigot to directly express themselves by violently going after people who are not white, male, Christian or straight. There will not only be no checks whatsoever on the white supremacy and vile racism that permeates the police departments and prison guards of this country, the very worst within them will be given carte blanche and encouragement from the highest offices of the land – as they have already. The days of white vigilanteism and, yes, lynch mobs – days that never really went away, as the terrible cases of Trayvon Martin and the Charleston massacre remind us – will now be back with a vengeance and, again, with encouragement from the highest offices of the land.

To treat such a regime as legitimate, to allow it to come to power, to do so when the historical precedents are so plentiful and fraught with lessons – this would be the height of moral and political irresponsibility. Talk of making Trump a "one-term president," or of building for the 2018 elections is foolishness. It discounts the damage that will be done to real people, in their billions, in the meantime. It further takes on faith that the already distorted and weighted procedures that gave Trump the presidency will still be in place – when there is nothing to suggest that Trump will not act further to cut down and cut off even those rights that do exist, and plenty to suggest that he will. Hopes in checks and balances in an era of virtually unbridled executive power and at a time when Trump himself will not only make at least one very decisive Supreme Court appointment and will be able to fill, very quickly, the 30% of the federal bench that now lies vacant is similarly vain.

It is the moral duty of us all to seriously confront the potential consequences of what this regime could do in power, and then to act accordingly.

Beyond that, there is this: waiting to see in similar situations has led to horrors. They have told you what they will do and they have begun to show you: why would you want to risk everything based on a hope that has no basis in the material world?

But some people have argued to me that we have to go along with the fact that Trump-Pence were legally elected and that it would be dangerous to overturn this.

First, had the shoe been on the other foot—had Trump-Pence won the popular vote by a convincing 2.8 million votes while losing the electoral college (which itself is a relic of slavery), had facts come to light suggesting extraordinary circumstances influencing the outcome of the elections, etc.—they would have not only been all over the courts demanding extraordinary remedial legal action, they would have already mounted major demonstrations in the capital, as well as doing other things—as they had in fact threatened to do. Second, the most important point in evaluating this particular question is this: should this regime take power, based on what they have already said and done, it would be such a breach of the most fundamental rights that people hold dear and essential to political life—freedom of speech, freedom of political expression and association and freedom of the press; the legal rights to social and political participation, along with the guarantee of safety from the state and due process of law for all nationalities and genders and religious faiths; along with a highly aggressive foreign policy and a president who, as candidate, has already promised to ignore the Geneva Conventions on war crimes; etc. etc.—that to accede to this regime's ascension to power would so violate those principles as to render them meaningless. In short, there is a greater good at stake that demands extraordinary action.

Aren't we running the risk of making his supporters angry?

Yes. But you are not going to, nor should you want to, mollify fascists by laying low—again, this has been tried in the past with disastrous results. Right now, in the flush of victory, these people are already committing hate crimes—if you give them a veto power over your taking political action by the fear they strike in you, you have already given up. And the consequences of that are unacceptable.

But this is still a very difficult proposition and far from assured. Suppose we lose—won't this demoralize people and discourage them from acting once the regime assumes power?

The assumption behind this question is that the circumstances will be more favorable later. Yet the experience with fascist or even authoritarian regimes does not provide comfort for that point of view. When Hitler became chancellor (with a plurality but not a majority of the votes, by the way), he had only two other Nazis in a cabinet of eleven people. Yet he moved quickly to peel off his opponents in and out of government, to eviscerate and then abolish civil liberties, and in relatively short order to consolidate what became an extremely repressive and powerful regime, which carried out extraordinary crimes against humanity. Experience today with the—again, legally elected—Erdoğan regime in Turkey would also argue that the likelihood is that effective opposition and resistance become more, not less, difficult as time goes on. These regimes administer shock after shock to keep any resistance off balance and intimidated, and peel away sources of opposition systematically and in a divide-and-conquer manner.

Trump for his part has promised and already shown that he is likely to move in very extreme ways, creating faits accomplis and "moving the goalposts" fairly quickly, and that he will also not be shy about using the extraordinary powers created by the 2001 "Patriot Act" and other repressive legislation and presidential orders; further, it is also prudent to assume, from what he has said and how he has behaved, that he would not hesitate to act outside the law, carrying out edicts and leaving people to somehow seek redress in the wake of his illegally repressive actions; it is also likely that Trump would summon "cyber-mobs" as part of his repertoire.

Moreover, Trump has promised an extremely reckless and dangerous foreign policy, aimed at making a qualitative leap in U.S. dominance in the world. Counseling people to hold back now, no matter how well-meaning the intentions in doing so, could literally end up putting at risk the continued existence of the world as we know it.

In short, should we hold back now it will almost certainly become immeasurably more difficult to fight back once Trump-Pence are in power and using the vast state power at their disposal to implement their program. The path of holding back, of waiting and seeing, of calculating odds is littered with corpses. Far better to fight as hard as we can now, however difficult the circumstances, fostering an ethos and framework of resistance as we go for victory and going all out in a telescoped period of time for what is indeed our best shot.

There are, of course, no guarantees of victory for people who have right on their side. The only guarantee that has ever existed is that if you don't fight for justice you will certainly not get it.

Let us fight.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/reality-check-jan-08-2017-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Reality Check

January 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“Staying positive,” “celebrating how far we’ve come,” “making clear that we will be here for the next four years”... these are the phrases on all too many lips right now. These are the phrases of adjusting to—yes, normalizing and not stopping—what will be a HORROR, for humanity around the world.

It has to be clearly confronted: this regime is not just a swing of the pendulum, even a very bad swing. This regime will be a FASCIST regime. That is not rhetoric that is a truthful description. If you cheer when someone calls this the “Fourth Reich,” that’s supposed to mean something. Look: this fascist regime will set about violently recasting American society, this fascist regime will eviscerate civil and political rights as they do so, this regime will subjugate and persecute (both legally and with mobs) those they deem “not worthy” of their project, carrying out oppression on a whole other level. Trump and Pence campaigned on that, and in two weeks—unless they are stopped—they will have the wherewithal TO do it. Further: this will be a FASCIST regime that even now, before they have ascended to power, is trifling with nuclear war! This has to be clearly confronted, no matter how nightmarish that may be.

Confronting this fact means 1) that we go into the streets NOW, and not wait until they are in power, and 2) that we do not celebrate anything until we have prevented these fascists from taking power.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/sunsara-taylor-jan-8-hitting-the-ground-in-dc-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

January 8: Hitting the Ground in DC with RefuseFascism.org

by Sunsara Taylor

January 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Saturday, driving down to DC: We got the call that Judge Jeanine wanted Carl Dix on her Fox News TV show. She'd seen his appearance, together with Cornel West, on The O'Reilly Factor and wanted her own chance to distort and attack the views of those opposing Trump. Needless to say, we were all thrilled with his performance. He was relentless in exposing the fascist program and dangers of the Trump-Pence regime, their complete illegitimacy, and calling for millions to rise up to stop them. Check it out here:

Sunday morning: We fanned out to several different progressive churches—spreading the Call from RefuseFascism.org to Stop the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime Before It Starts and making connections.

1:00 pm: After thawing out, we regrouped for a brief discussion of the first FAQ on RefuseFascism.org. This FAQ points to the combination of factors that could come together to prevent Trump-Pence from assuming the full reins of power. One is real conflicts among the rulers. These are sharpening up and rising more to the surface each day, most recently between the U.S. intelligence agencies and Trump. But, these conflicts won't go anywhere good without the second major factor addressed in the FAQs: a massive society-wide outpouring of millions and millions determined to prevent the imposition of a fascist America. This “uprising from below” could create the kind of political crisis that compels different factions in the established power structure which have real differences with Trump-Pence to solve the crisis by preventing them from taking the reins of power. This level of determined resistance has a basis in the deep shockwaves of anger and anguish that have been sent through the hearts of millions by the fascist character of the Trump-Pence regime—this is what we are tapping into and organizing.

2:30 pm: Before heading back out again, we filmed a quick video calling for night marches starting on January 14 and growing, night after night—from hundreds to thousands, and from thousands to millions. These marches will be focused in DC, beginning 4 pm January 14 at McPherson Square (I Street and 14th Street NW), but also take place across the country among those who cannot make it to DC. You hear that, everyone? If there is any possible way for you to get down to DC, get your butt down here. Come and #FloodDC! Stay in the streets, refuse to leave, right at the seat of power. Yes, we mean YOU. Check this video out and then spread it everywhere on social media—use #NoFascistUSA.

4:00 pm: Some of us attended the mass meeting of people planning protests to #DisruptJ20, to carry out nonviolent protest and political resistance on the day of the inauguration. About 300 people were there, representing different movements and organizations. We were glad to hear about their plans—many manifestations of resistance on J20, protesting the Alt-Right “Deploraball” on J19, a Climate Convergence on the 18th, and more—and spread broadly the invitation to them all to join in the efforts leading up to J20. Check out the events they are spearheading here.

6:30: I made an appearance on Fran Luck's radio program, Joy of Resistance Multicultural Feminist Radio, on WBAI. Fran is, like myself, a co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org and we got into the urgent necessity of stopping this regime before it consolidates its hands on power, really confronting the full horror of what a fascist America would mean for humanity, and then some of the basis and means through which this fascist regime could be stopped. Fran highlighted the recent full page ad in the NY Times that RefuseFascism.org placed, and both asked probing questions and threw her weight behind the urgency of rising up now.

Digging in Deep with Students: Throughout the day, we had several opportunities for very deep exchanges with a group of university students. When they asked us what we were all about, we offered to show them our new video we had just finished editing. When it finished, all ten of them burst into applause. Several spoke with great emotion about how, in the days after the election, they and many of their friends were crying repeatedly and feeling deeply depressed. A young Black man told of his father's experience growing up in Jim Crow segregation and how offended he was when Trump asked Black people, during the campaign, “What do you have to lose?” He said, “What we have to lose is all the things my father's generation fought for: the Voting Rights Act, the basic right to be treated as equals, the ability to feel safe... I am scared.” A young white student told us that just a couple months ago he had written a paper exploring the question of whether Trump is really a fascist or not, “I concluded that he is a fascist.”

These students, and many of the others we are just beginning to connect up with down here, are giving voice to the deep reservoir of opposition to Trump-Pence that exists. We made plans with some of them to join with our teams reaching out to local campuses and communities tomorrow and the next day.

Tomorrow: Stay tuned...

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/all-hate-is-not-equal-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

All Hate Is NOT Equal

January 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

When Donald Trump took out a full page ad in the New York Times calling for the death penalty in the case of the Central Park 5—five Black and Brown teenagers (in the case involving the brutal beating and rape of a female jogger)—even before they were convicted, this was fomenting hate. And when he has continued up to this day to call for their imprisonment—even after they were exonerated, even after they spent over 10 years in adult prisons, even after a serial rapist confessed to and was proven to have committed this crime—and now that same Trump is president-elect—that is hatred with power behind it. That is an expression, a celebration, of the oppression of whole peoples this system has demonized and treated as pariah groups since day one. A hate and celebration that continues and is about to be juiced up—that is, put on steroids—with the Trump-Pence fascist regime. Again: hatred with state power behind it.

When Trump calls immigrants from Mexico—people who are forced to leave their loved ones because this capitalist imperialist system has fucked up their countries even more than it has fucked up this one here—when Trump calls them "rapists, murderers, and drug dealers," this too is a concentration and celebration of oppression, and incitement to hate.

When Steve Bannon—Trump’s Strategic Adviser—publishes articles calling on his listeners and readers to proudly hold high the Confederate flag of slavery—when he gives a platform for white supremacy—this is a call for and celebration of hate, of oppression, that reaches millions.

When the police over and over, again and again, murder Black and Latino people—for raising their hands, or not raising their hands—for making eye contact—for running away—for throwing rocks—for having a toy gun—when those same police are rarely if ever arrested for it—this begins to tell us the cold-blooded truth—that this oppressive shit is deeply baked into the crust and toppings that make up this system—and that these pigs are enforcers of all of it—all of its injustices.

No one can compare the white supremacy, the oppression of whole peoples—Black, Latino, Native American, which go to the very roots of the U.S. empire—with the “hate” four Black youth in Chicago are accused of inflicting on a mentally disabled white youth.

What these youth are accused of doing is wrong. It is anger that is misdirected. Directed to the wrong place.

It goes against the revolution that is needed to do away with the oppression these youth are responding to. Lashing out, taking revenge, is the system’s way. To get rid of this oppression you got to go to the roots of it—the base—BAsics—the leadership of Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party—and fight it in the way it can really be eliminated—that is, by becoming part of the revolution to emancipate all humanity. 

This hatred—white supremacy—has always had power behind it in America, it has always been the dominant ideology of this country. Right now, it is that hatred that is about to come into power, putting the power of the state behind it on a whole deeper level. This must be stopped, NOW.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/interview-with-revolutionary-artist-dread-scott-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Interview with Revolutionary Artist Dread Scott:

J20 Art Strike, Other Stirring of Resistance in the Arts, and the Fight to STOP the Fascist Regime

January 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution/revcom.us recently talked with revolutionary artist Dread Scott. This is an edited excerpt from the interview.

Revolution: A call has come out from prominent artists and critics calling for a January 20 Art Strike against Trump’s inauguration. You are one of the signers. Talk to us about this call.

"Art strike" meme
Click to enlarge
| Read the call

Dread Scott: The J20 Art Strike is an idea that does have a lot of well-known and respected artists as well as critics and historians that are calling for museums and galleries and other art institutions to shut down on inauguration day. And it’s thought of specifically in the context of J20 actions, disruptions that are called for by various groups around the inauguration. So it would be a very good thing if cultural institutions did decide to shut down or participate in other ways and weighed in to say, NO!, we are not going to normalize this fascist regime coming into power. So the thrust and intent of what the call is something that’s right on time. There’s a call for a strike, and if that happened, that would be good, a very good thing.

That being said, some people in culture put out this call—but then there’s the question of transforming this idea of a relative handful but well-known artists and people in culture into actual action. I think that’s the question. And it’s also related to Refuse Fascism. Here’s a call that is very sharp in calling out what this Trump-Pence regime is about. It has very well-respected signatories and has activists organizing around it like mad, furiously, to bring millions of people out into the streets to say, we don’t accept this regime and we will stay in the streets. And yet there’s a gap between that call and those millions—and people are working to close that gap.

With the Art Strike call, the fact that people like Cindy Sherman and Richard Serra have signed on is a very good basis with which to go forward. But then it does have to go forward and not just be a statement, but get some of these institutions to actually take this up.

Revolution: And the vision of the Art Strike call is for these different institutions to shut down or take other actions, and making an impact society-wide?

Dread Scott: Well what it says is, J20, an act of non-compliance on inauguration day. No work. No school. No business. Museums, concert halls, galleries, studios, art schools, colleges, close for the day. Hit the streets. Bring your friends. Fight back. So it’s an anti-fascist cultural front. So the idea is to have these institutions close. Their thinking, some of the initiators of it, are on two tracks. One, get the institutions to want to close. And two, they believe that some of the people who work at the institutions might have more of an interest and desire to close them than the leaders of the institutions. They think that if the leaders of these major, major museums won’t close them, what if the staff decided to not show up—then they’d be forced to close.

Revolution: Recently there was the controversy around St. Louis Art Museum loaning an art work for the inauguration, and then an artist and art historian led a protest against that.

Bob Avakian: Observations on Art and Culture, Science and PhilosophyBob Avakian: Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy

"If you don’t have a poetic spirit – or at least a poetic side – it is very dangerous for you to lead a Marxist movement or be the leader of a socialist state." – Bob Avakian

This provocative collection of reflections and observations by Bob Avakian on art, culture, science and philosophy offers a rare treat. Excerpted from formal talks as well as more informal discussions and conversations, many of the texts in this collection allow the reader to experience firsthand the freewheeling Bob Avakian—in the process of developing his thinking and reenvisioning the communist project on a wide range of controversies, from the dictatorship of the proletariat to discussions of truth, beauty, science and imagination.

$14.95
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Dread Scott: Yeah, that was significant. The St. Louis Art Museum wasn’t making a lot of hay about loaning this piece but when word got out, lots of people said, why are you supporting him? In particular, the piece in question, the title is The Verdict of the People. It’s a historical painting that shows the counting of ballots. When people found out about the loan, there was a petition signed by a couple of thousand people, started by somewhat prominent artist and art historian, and they said what business does the St. Louis Museum of Art have to loan its legitimacy and stature to this fascist regime. And they had called on the museum to not loan out the work. This was significant.

The way fascism works is that all sorts of institutions have to change and support it. Or not—people have a choice to make. The people at the tech company Oracle, when their CEO said he’ll work on the Trump transition team, one of the prominent people at the company said no, I’m not supporting Trump. The CEO had said to Trump, we’re at your service. And this other high-level manager resigned and said, I’m not here to support Donald Trump—I’m not going to help build a data base of Muslims. That spirit of non-compliance and defiance needs to be widespread throughout society. So what’s being called for by this artist and art historian is, why should this museum praise this racist, fascist xenophobe warmonger? Why should that be normalized and accepted and promoted?

Revolution: What other types of resistance are you aware of among artists and in the cultural sphere?

Dread Scott: Part of what I’m aware of is what is on revcom.us and Revolution newspaper. The section you have on Voices of Conscience in the Time of Trump-Pence is actually very important. It’s the most sweeping thing I know that’s out there like this. It’s a compendium that people should check out. A lot of it is an aggregator of resistance. But it’s very helpful to get an understanding of what’s there.

Some other things: In talking to people around Refuse Fascism and its call, there are a lot of artists, reflective of broader society that are deeply anguished and upset about what’s going on, and are looking for ways to act. Some are acting, others are looking for ways to act. There are a lot of women artists that are going to the day after the inauguration women’s march. And people are very, very angry. There’s an art show called #PussyPower in Brooklyn, which I haven’t seen, but it’s got both young and older feminist artists that are furious that this misogynist bastard, the embodiment of rape culture, is about to be in the White House.

I know artists are starting to make art for some of the demonstrations coming up. Many artists are trying to find out how to make posters for people to carry in some of the demonstrations. There’s an artists collective called Justseeds that is working with a foundation called the Amplifier Foundation to produce art for the women’s march. Some of the artists are radical anarchists, feminists, they’re trying to figure out how to respond in this moment. Artists are running the gamut from trying to figure out how to make work for this moment, to figuring out how to make their public voices be part of stopping this move toward fascism. I think it’s not all worked out yet. People are trying to figure out ways to act.

There are artists who are increasingly signing on to the NO! statement from RefuseFascism.org. Including I just heard recently that an artist named Simone Leigh, who’s very well-known, signed the call. Couple of months ago she had a show at the New Museum, which is a medium-size non-collecting museum in New York. As part of that show she did a public series of events called “Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter.” It was a very defiant—using that institution to challenge murder by police, which is running rampant in this country. She’s a very well-respected, not young but not old, Black woman artist who just a couple of months ago very publicly was calling for an end to mass incarceration and murder by police. And she’s now saying we have to sign this NO! call, and calling on people to be out there.

Simone Leigh added her name to the signers of the NO! call that includes many in culture broadly. In the visual arts alone, signatories includes very significant artists: Charles Gaines, Dawoud Bey, Julie Mehretu, Danny Simmons, and me. I’ve signed this call and am organizing artists to sign it and take up the spirit of it, because it is urgently needed. The Call begins, “In the Name of Humanity,” and this really is an important point of departure. As a revolutionary and communist, I really appreciate that this call starts here and then in a very bracing way calls out the fascism that is at the heart of the Trump-Pence program and calls for mass defiance and resistance to stop it—BEFORE it starts. There are millions and millions of people all over the world, including many in this country, that are counting on us to not let Trump-Pence bolt fascism into place. No walls. No deportations. No racism. No pussy-grabbing. No science denying. No suppression of dissent. No nukes.

There’s the Degenerate Artists Against Fascism that Ted Sirota, the jazz musician in Chicago, has got going, as part of RefuseFascism.org.

There’s a lot of stuff percolating. And when you have people like Richard Serra, who’s probably the most significant postwar American artist signing a call for an art strike—this reaches into all kinds of places, from art school students to other major, major artists, people trying to figure out what to do, how to act, from art shows to demonstrations to using their public voices. It’s a very good basis with which to go forward.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/update-on-earth2trump-resistance-roadshow-tucson-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Update on Earth2Trump Resistance Roadshow: 500 in Tucson, Arizona

January 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Earth2Trump Roadshow in Tucson, January 7. Credit: Twitter/@TucsonRomero
Earth2Trump Roadshow in Tucson, January 7. Photo: Twitter/@TucsonRomero

Earth2Trump Resistance Roadshow

On January 7 in Tucson, Arizona, 500 people attended the latest sold-out concert organized by the Center for Biological Diversity, part of their 16-city roadshow against Donald Trump, called Earth2Trump. The two parts of the roadshow kicked off in Seattle and Oakland on January 2 (see a revcom.us correspondence on the kickoff here) and is due to arrive in Washington, D.C., on January 20 to be part of the protests against Trump’s scheduled inauguration. Earth2Trump organizers describe the roadshow as “building a vast network of resistance to incoming President Trump” and “to all forms of oppression and attacks on the environment.” At each stop, there is a free show that includes live music and speakers. The Tucson event followed a show in Reno with 200 people the night before, and equally packed events in Oakland, Seattle, and Portland earlier in the week.

At the shows and on line, people have also been signing the national Pledge of Resistance to Donald Trump’s Assault on America’s Environment, Democracy and Civil Rights, which reads in part:

I pledge to stand in resistance to Donald Trump’s assault on America’s clean air, clean water, climate, wildlife, civil rights, reproductive rights, gender and racial equality, and freedom of speech and religion.

I pledge to stand in solidarity with those threatened by violence and intimidation because of who they are, what they believe or their opposition to Trump’s dangerous agenda.

Donald Trump is an unprecedented threat to our nation’s democracy, health and environment. He must not be allowed to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, gut the Clean Air and Endangered Species acts, raid our public lands, eliminate regulations protecting poor communities from pollution, deport millions of people, take away our reproductive freedom, or force millions to live in fear. I pledge to resist Trump through action.

As of this writing, 23,450 people have signed the pledge.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/uc-student-employees-union-plans-to-join-walkout-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

UC Student Employees Union Plans to Join a Students and Workers Walk-out and Direct Action Campaign beginning January 20

January 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

UAW Local 2865 represents over 12,000 academic student employees—readers, tutors, TAs and others—at the nine University of California teaching campuses. In December, the local announced a decision to join University of California students and workers in a walk-out and direct action campaign beginning January 20—“Against Fascism and Attacks on Public Education, Students, and Workers.” The union has raised 10 demands to the UC Administration, beginning with “Denounce Donald Trump’s government.” Other demands include “Restore free education”; “End state policies that enable racial segregation at all levels of education”; and “Designate Sanctuary School status to protect undocumented members of our community.”

Their statement also says:

Our labor as students and workers plays a key role in providing Trump with a material basis for his power in the presidency, most evident in the military research and production that takes place throughout UC campuses. When Trump is talking about mandating Muslims to register in a national database, deporting undocumented migrants, bringing “law and order” to “inner cities,” and “bombing the shit out of ’em,” he is talking about utilizing the machinery that is produced as a result of our own labor.

We take action against the Trump administration to declare our noncompliance as long as he is in office.

We say, “NO!”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/468/what-is-fascism-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

What IS Fascism?

December 5, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Fascism 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.”

At the same time—and this can be seen through studying the examples of Nazi Germany and Italy under Mussolini—while it will likely move quickly to enforce certain repressive measures in consolidating its rule, a fascist regime is also likely to implement its program overall through a series of stages and even attempt at different points to reassure the people, or certain groups among the people, that they will escape the horrors—if they quietly go along and do not protest or resist while others are being terrorized and targeted for repression, deportation, “conversion,” prison, or execution.

 

 


 

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

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

NO! Because...

December 12, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Because alt-right is just a euphemism for Nazi...

Because the immigrants, from the start of his campaign to now...

Because the friend of Mattis’ “exterminate the Muslims” post, extreme vetting, and “waterboarding and worse—if people want it”...

Because he “grabs ’em by the pussy”... brags about it... and then gets anointed president...

Because “law and order” really means lock up Black and Latino youth by the millions and brutalize and kill the ones who are left...

Because nuclear codes in the hands of a bullying fascist...

Because Pence and gay people...

Because stripping citizenship from flag burners...

Because the Electoral College is slavery’s hand reaching up from the grave...

Because revenge through tweets with the power of the state...

Because Pence, Bannon, Sessions, Flynn, DeVos, Pruitt, Mattis, and the rest...

Because “first they came for...”

Because the vicious ugliness of spirit...

Because the good Germans said they never heard the cries from the camps...

Because the planet.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/465/a-timeline-with-lessons-for-today-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

A Timeline with Lessons for Today:

Hitler’s Rise to Power

November 14, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In 1933, Adolph Hitler became chancellor of Germany. That event set in motion some of the greatest horrors of the 20th century. Here’s something most people don’t know, or if they do know it, far too many fail to confront the implications: Hitler and the Nazis came to power through established channels of democracy and elections. The following timeline traces key events in Hitler’s rise to power.

* * *

1919

In the aftermath of Germany’s crushing defeat in World War 1, the country is in widespread economic, political, and moral crisis. An attempt at communist revolution is drowned in blood. At the same time, fascist organizations are given great leeway to organize.

1921. Adolph Hitler becomes the leader of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (the Nazis). He combines populist patriotic appeals to the ruined middle class with a program calling for the violent subjugation of neighboring countries to the east. He taps into and whips up ignorant, violent fear and hatred of Jews. He calls for revoking the citizenship of Jews. In his blustering persona and agenda, Hitler champions and symbolizes unapologetic and belligerent revival of German nationalism. Much of the German ruling class media, and much of society, dismiss him as a buffoon.

1923

The Weimar Republic is the democratic form through which the German capitalist-imperialists rule Germany. Hitler leads 2,000 armed fascists in the city of Munich in an attempt to overthrow the republic. His aim is to establish a fascist regime without pretense of civil liberties or elections. The attempted coup is a failure but it serves as a rallying cry for fascists throughout Germany.

1924

Hitler’s 24-day treason trial becomes a widely publicized manifesto for his fascist agenda. He denounces the Weimar Republic as “traitors” whose weakness brought humiliation and defeat in war. Hitler is convicted of treason but serves less than a year in jail. In prison Hitler writes his infamous book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). The book asserts racist theories adapted from those widely promoted in the United States at the time. It articulates an agenda of genocide against Jews, war on cosmopolitan (tolerant and enlightened) thinking and values, and absolute rule by naked terror. It calls for restoring German power by invading and conquering lands to the east. There is no basis now for anyone to claim ignorance of Hitler’s program.

1925

Emerging from prison with a national audience and more powerful backing from sections of the German ruling class, Hitler and his backers determine the best way to achieve their goals is through legal means and elections. At the same time, Nazi “brownshirts”—armed gangs of fascist terrorists—step up violence against Hitler’s opponents, especially radicals and communists.

1928

Hitler’s party wins just 2.6 percent of the vote in national elections.

1929

Global economic crisis is triggered by the crash of the U.S. stock market. The crisis devastates the German economy. The Nazis gain a larger following, and are seen as the best option by growing sections of the German ruling class.

1930

Hitler’s party wins 18.3 percent of the vote in elections to the Reichstag (parliament, or congress).

1931

Hitler and the Nazis join parliament and form coalitions with more established reactionary parties. Nazi officials are elected or appointed in key regions of Germany

1932

Hitler places a strong second in the presidential elections. At the same time, nearly a third of the vote goes to communists or social democrats who oppose Hitler. The Nazis target Germany’s large communist movement for the most violent attacks. Ferocious street clashes rage between fascists and communists.

January 1933

Clashes between Nazis and communists are invoked by the Nazis to demand “law and order” and an end to civil liberties. Nazi militias and paramilitary thugs are formally integrated into official police forces as “auxiliary police.” In the fifth election in five turbulent years, the Nazis win 44 percent of the vote. This is not a majority but it is a plurality—a larger share of the vote than any other party. Hitler is appointed chancellor by Germany’s President Hindenburg. Hitler’s cabinet is made up of one-third Nazis who control the forces of repression and ministry of propaganda. The remainder of the cabinet is made up of traditional establishment conservative and reactionary figures—old-school monarchists and representatives of newer capitalists including a mass-media mogul. Their agendas overlap with Hitler, even though in the main they do not share his fixation on exterminating the Jews. They provide critical connections and imbue legitimacy on the regime.

February 1933

The Reichstag building is set on fire. Historians have generally concluded that the Nazis planned the arson and carried it out for their own ends. The incident is blamed on a communist conspiracy. A huge propaganda blitz whips up anti-communist hysteria. Nazi militias and official police round up communists.

March 1933

Despite terror and intimidation, millions continue to vote for the communists in national elections. The dozens of communists in the Reichstag are jailed or in hiding. The Reichstag passes an act giving Hitler absolute power for four years. Remaining political parties are banned. Germany’s existing prison system cannot accommodate the tens of thousands of opponents of the regime rounded up by Hitler—overwhelmingly communists. The first of what will be many concentration camps is set up to detain them. Later, millions of Jews and others will be shipped to what become death camps.

1934

The Nazis declare they are the party that can unify the country, impose law and order, and restore traditional values. Unions are abolished and replaced by Nazi labor organizations. Hitler’s rivals in government are rounded up and shot. After President Hindenburg dies, Hitler assumes the position of Germany’s president as well as chancellor.

In the next 11 years, six million Jews, Roma people (“Gypsies”), gay people, people with disabilities, communists, and dissidents are rounded up and shipped to death camps in Germany and German-occupied Europe. Under Hitler, German imperialism wars with rival imperialists (France, Britain, and the U.S.) and invades and occupies Eastern Europe, enslaving and slaughtering peoples considered “inferior.” Germany invades the (then) socialist Soviet Union, resulting in the deaths of some 27 million people in the Soviet Union. Germany’s defeat in that invasion is the single most defining event that leads to the defeat and collapse of the Nazi regime.

* * *

History does not proceed by repeating itself, and the future is unwritten. But history DOES provide lessons and it would be very unwise, to understate the case, to draw comfort from the fact that at this point in the United States, President-elect Donald Trump heads a larger and contradictory alliance of right-wing forces. At first, Hitler ruled as part of a larger coalition of forces. Further, as Trump goes forward with repressing some of the groups he has targeted, it would be very wise to take a lesson from Martin Niemöller, the German clergyman who, after the war, made the following famous statement:

First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

 


Resources / References / Background Material:

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich—A History of Nazi Germany, William L. Shirer (1960)

Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The “Final Solution” in History, Arno J. Mayer (1989)

Martin Niemoller and the Lessons for this Moment,” by Toby O’Ryan, Revolution/www.revcom.us (October 20, 2005)

Revolution Responds To Question on Nature of Holocaust,” Revolution/www.revcom.us (October 31, 2010)

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/467/glossary-dont-conciliate-dont-accommodate-dont-collaborate-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

A Glossary for These Times

"Don't Conciliate... Don't Accommodate... Don't Collaborate"

November 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

Rise Up... Get Into The Streets...
Unite With People Everywhere
to Build Up Resistance in Every Way You Can

Don't Stop: Don't Conciliate...
Don't Accommodate...Don't Collaborate

Read more    
Reproduce and Distribute Leaflets and Posters HERE

In the face of Donald Trump’s election, revcom.us put out a call to “REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America,” saying, “Don’t Conciliate... Don’t Accommodate... Don’t Collaborate.”

Let’s break these terms down, and look at some history:

Definition: “Conciliating” means trying to pacify an antagonist by glossing over crucial differences and seeking “common ground.” Nowadays it goes like this: one after another, Democratic politicians—Bernie too!—declare their willingness to “work with Trump where we have common ground,” like rebuilding the U.S. infrastructure and creating jobs.

Some history: After Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party came to power in Germany in 1933, they organized major road-building and other public works projects, and later employed even more people by cranking up military production. Some celebrated this as “The German Economic Miracle.” But this was part of Hitler consolidating his political power and popularity, and getting ready for World War 2. It was not separate from his persecution and extermination of the Jews, Roma, and others, nor from unleashing his war machine on neighboring countries, killing tens of millions—it was completely bound up with that.

Those who “found common ground” helped legitimize one of the most murderous regimes in human history. And those who seek common ground with Trump are legitimizing his whole package of persecution of Muslims, mass deportations, violence against women, destruction of the environment and much more, regardless of any “criticisms” they may make of this (if they dare).

Lesson: Don’t Conciliate—Don’t delude yourself or others with talk about “common ground.” Recognize and call out this fascist onslaught for what it is and fight them hard, now, before they have a chance to completely lock society down.

Definition: “Accommodating” means accepting and adapting yourself to the new situation. “Go along to get along, don’t take any risks, learn to live with it... and maybe you can do something positive along the way.”

Some history: When the Nazis took power, most influential Germans went on with their “normal” lives. Many formerly avant-garde or “leftist” artists “kept working”—even if it meant producing art for Nazi-themed-and-organized shows. Professors were silent as their Jewish colleagues were driven out of the universities, and then into concentration camps. A once-liberal cleric wrote “guidelines” targeting and isolating Christian pastors of Jewish descent. After the war he tried to justify this kind of behavior, saying “it was sometimes unavoidable first to emphasize that one was in agreement with the major goals of the state in order to gain any kind of hearing for what one was really aiming for.”

In reality, these people betrayed whatever “good things” they thought they were “really aiming for,” and set a horrible example for the broader population. Historian Robert Ericksen later asked whether the “ordinary Germans who became killers for the Nazi state felt that they had received permission from their churches or from their universities.”

Lesson: Don’t Accommodate—People must continue to organize and act with ever greater determination, defiance, and effectiveness to STOP Trump and his gang, taking bold measures, putting careers and bodies on the line to do that.

Definition:Collaboration.” The logic of conciliation and accommodation leads directly to collaboration—actively working with the regime to carry out its objectives, sometimes out of sheer self-interest, sometimes with the deluded idea that you can “change things from within,” or at least “do a little bit of good.”

Some history: Under Nazi rule, all Jews were forced into crowded, walled-in ghettos with little food or sanitation... and then the regime began shipping people out from there to concentration camps, where they were worked to death or murdered.

The Nazi authorities worked with the Judenrat—councils of better-off Jewish people who acted as the “civil authority” inside the ghetto, and kept things running smoothly, including by selecting and putting people on the death trains. Some of the Judenrat thought that by doing this they would be in a position to “reason” with the Nazis so that, for instance, they would “only” murder criminal, or lower-class uneducated Jews and would spare the professionals who were more “valuable” to the German economy. Others thought they would at least save their own skins. What kind of logic is this?!? And the irony is that in both cases they were proved wrong—the Nazi death machine swept up and murdered every Jewish person it could, including finally the Judenrat themselves.

Lesson: Don’t collaborate, and don’t tolerate collaboration. Those who assist the regime in carrying out crimes against the people should be exposed, denounced, and ostracized.

*   *   *

Looking back on the bitter experience of conciliation, accommodation, and collaboration in Germany during the Nazi era, Martin Niemöller (a religious leader who at first went along with Hitler, then opposed him and was sent to a concentration camp) summed up:

“[We make] the excuse that ‘it would have cost me my head if I had spoken out.’ We preferred to keep silent.... I ask myself again and again, what would have happened, if in the year 1933 or 1934, 14,000 Protestant pastors and all Protestant communities in Germany had defended the truth until their deaths? If we had said back then, ‘It is not right when Hermann Göring simply puts 100,000 communists in concentration camps in order to let them die.’ I can imagine that perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 Protestant Christians would have had their heads cut off, but I can also imagine we would have rescued 30 to 40 million people, because that is what it [cost us].”

This is the orientation that these times demand.

 

 


 

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

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

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

Updated February 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Also see videos and statements from initiators and others on the importance of Refuse Fascism

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):

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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/471/revolution-interview-yusef-salaam-central-park-5-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

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/come-together-truce-to-stop-the-trump-pence-regime-before-it-starts-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

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/472/fighting-to-prevent-trump-pence-from-coming-to-power-is-our-best-chance-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Fighting to Prevent Trump-Pence from Coming to Power Is Our Best Chance

January 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

(The following is adapted from a letter shared with us by a reader in writing to people about signing the Call to Resist.)

We face the most serious situation in this country in nearly 150 years: in a few weeks a fascist regime will be implanted. I don’t use that word lightly: I use it to describe a certain kind of rule, pioneered by Hitler and Mussolini, finding expression in Chile and other Latin American countries in the ’70s and ’80s, and today taking shape in Turkey. The logic of fascism, once implanted, is to constantly “double down” and push further, and today this logic continues to assert itself even before ascending to power. While forces like Obama and others in the ruling structure of society oppose and fear aspects of what Trump-Pence threaten to do, they are mainly normalizing the transition and working for stability. So, despite the anguish and opposition of tens of millions, despite ever more and newer and worse outrages, the ascension of the Trump-Pence regime to the reins of power proceeds apace.

But this is not yet a “done deal.” This does not have to stay this way. There have been times when masses of people in the millions have streamed into the streets to resist blatant tyranny, often with little warning and minimal prior organization, and become unstoppable... as recently as Tunisia and Egypt several years ago, South Korea a few weeks ago, and other instances as well... The basis for such a thing exists—in the millions and millions who are sickened by this prospect, who are already protesting and raising their voices in many different ways, but who need to come together as a force now to PREVENT this.

The following paragraph captures the dynamic I’m talking about:

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 The Mission and Plan for a Month of Massive Resistance)

Some ask, “But how can that really happen?” There is no guarantee as to how these things turn out... but sometimes such mass upheavals can create a political crisis throughout all of society, reaching to the very top and, as the vision above says, forcing every faction in the power structure to respond. The ways are suddenly found, where seemingly none existed, to oust the tyrant and open up hope. Indeed, once there is sufficient will, there is no shortage of ways that can be found. Of course, sometimes the upheavals don’t work, crashing up against the rocks. And in either event there are real sacrifices and real costs.

But there IS one guarantee and that is this: if we DON’T try this, there will be a fascist regime consolidated in a country that already has repressive capacities far beyond Germany in 1933... in a society where the established parties and forces have gone along with and gotten in on the implantation of this regime and where a section of people have had all their worst aspects validated and stoked and marshaled into a force... and where nuclear weapons are not only available, but are already being brandished before the destructive demagogue has even gotten into office.

You can call this a long shot; but it is our best shot at averting nearly unimaginable horror. And sometimes, when the underdog throws all they have into it and rises to the occasion, the long shot comes in. If enough of us throw into this now, and organize others, we have a chance...a real chance... our best chance of preventing catastrophe.

There is a ton that you could do. Go to the website. Listen to the initiators. Get involved. Sign the call, today. This goes up this week in the New York Times and other significant outlets and you can donate and spread it and make this something that everyone in society is checking out and thinking about and looking toward.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/f--k-you-donald-trump-keep-your-feds-hands-off-chicago-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

The Revolution Club in Chicago Says:

F***K YOU DONALD TRUMP—KEEP YOUR FEDS' HANDS OFF CHICAGO

January 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 3 Trump tweeted “Chicago murder rate is record setting - 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!”

The Revolution Club in Chicago Says: F***K YOU DONALD TRUMP—KEEP YOUR FEDS’ HANDS OFF CHICAGO

Trump and his “feds” coming to Chicago because of the murders here will only make things 100 times worse. Trump is clearly NOT talking about reopening schools, bringing meaningful jobs into the city, overcoming homelessness, funding and developing cultural programs, redoing health care and child-raising support systems top to bottom.

NO. Trump is talking about more killer pigs who already act like an occupying army in our communities. Pigs who repeatedly murder and almost never face charges. The police have already murdered two unarmed people in the first four days of 2017. Trump is talking about massive racial profiling through massive stop-and-frisk. He is talking about MORE jails. And he is talking about flooding the city with federal agents to spy on and repress people who actually try to mobilize masses to go up against this. Along with this, will be the unleashing of the vile racist “blue lives matter” thugs we already saw in Mt Greenwood. NO! NO! NO!

To the youth caught up in murderous rounds of revenge and retaliation we quote from our call:

Stop Killing Each Other. Come Together—Truce—To Stop the Trump/Pence Regime Before It Starts!

[T]oo many of our loved ones have lost 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 about to come into power in less than a month. Yes, it’s true, no president prior gave a damn about a Black or Brown life. But it’s also true that sh*t 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..... Join the fight to Stop The Trump/Pence Regime Before It Starts!

We are not talking about just defending the way things already are, or being satisfied with some reforms, because the way things are is a horror—we are talking about getting into making revolution against the whole system... and it is time right now to say NO! to Trump—to fight to prevent his fascist regime from ruling over people.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/469/trump-the-cia-and-the-hacking-controversy-some-points-of-orientation-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

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/trumps-nukes-tweets-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

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/472/beware-incidents-pretexts-and-traps-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

BEWARE: Incidents, Pretexts and Traps

January 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Children napalmed in Vietnam war
Residents run from their South Vietnam village after napalm was dropped on it. The U.S. dropped 373,000 tons of napalm—jellied gasoline that burns at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—on the Vietnamese people, burning their flesh to the bone and causing agonizing pain and almost certain death.

Highway of death, Iraq
Highway of Death: On the night of February 26–27, 1991, thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians were retreating to Baghdad, after a ceasefire was announced, when President George Bush ordered his forces to slaughter the retreating Iraqi (Photo: Tech Sgt. Joe Coleman)

March 20, 2003, U.S. bombing of Bagdad, Iraq.
March 20, 2003, U.S. bombing of Bagdad, Iraq. (AP photo)

Children killed in 2006 by U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.
Many of the civilian deaths in Iraq were women and children. These children were killed in 2006 by U.S. airstrikes. (AP photo)

Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht–a night of massive violence, destruction, terror and death aimed at Jews in Germany. Hundreds of Jewish people were killed, tens of thousands of Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps.

Fascists—as well as “ordinary” imperialists—use, and when they see it as necessary, create incidents to justify monstrous acts. If people are not going to be used, played, manipulated into compliance or even active complicity with great crimes and fascism, this needs to be understood, and acted on.

Here, we look at several such examples, in order to identify a pattern of incidents, pretexts, and traps, and to learn from those patterns in the context of the rise of an American fascist poised to enter the White House.

America’s Record of Pretexts and Crimes

First of all, it is an established fact that U.S. administrations have repeatedly used incidents, invented or real, to carry out terrible war crimes and crimes against humanity. “Normal” U.S. administrations, of both parties, have done this. A few examples:

Incidents and Pretexts... in the Hands of Fascists

The incidents just listed, horrible as they were, took place under the normal operating procedures of this system. This is the history of the United States. But at a moment when we face an attempt to install a fascist regime in the United States, it is critical to confront how fascism takes systematic lying and seizing on incidents—real or not—to carry out crimes against humanity on a whole other level. Let’s look at how incidents were invoked to carry out and justify the historic crime of the Nazi Holocaust, that murdered six million Jews along with communists, Roma people, LGBT people, people with disabilities, and dissidents.

One of the most infamous of such incidents leading up to the Holocaust was the 1933 Reichstag fire. In February 1933, Adolph Hitler was convinced there was a need to move much faster, much more violently, and much more ruthlessly to push civil liberties and rule of law aside in order to terrorize and crush forces in society he saw as an obstacle to his agenda.

       

Hitler seized on the burning down of the Reichstag—the building housing Germany’s legislature—to do that. In the aftermath of this fire, several communists were arrested and put on trial. One was convicted, the others acquitted. But just one day after the fire, before the trial began, Hitler prevailed on Germany’s President Hindenburg to sign a decree that essentially wiped out constitutional protection of individual and civil liberties. And in the immediate aftermath of the fire, Hitler was given what was, up to that point, a whole new level of access to the German mass media to instigate mob terror. He declared, “Fellow Germans, my measures will not be crippled by any judicial thinking... don’t have to worry about justice; my mission is only to destroy and exterminate, nothing more!... Certainly, I shall use the power of the State and the police to the utmost, my dear Communists, so don’t draw any false conclusions; but the struggle to the death, in which my fist will grasp your necks, I shall lead with those down there—the Brownshirts.” (The Brownshirts were Nazi thugs comparable to the KKK in the U.S.). All the communists elected to Germany’s legislature were rounded up immediately, and thousands became some of the first ones interned in Nazi concentration camps—crushing Hitler’s most defiant opposition and paving the way to the death camps.

They were elected...
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On November 7, 1938, a seventeen-year-old German Jewish refugee in France, Herschel Grynszpan, shot and mortally wounded a German diplomat in Paris. Grynszpan’s father had been among ten thousand Jews deported to Poland in boxcars shortly before this. Hitler seized on this as the pretext for Kristallnacht—a night of massive violence, destruction, terror and death aimed at Jews in Germany. Hundreds of Jewish people were killed, tens of thousands of Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned. Some 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed or damaged. In response to worldwide outrage, Hitler blamed “the Jewish world conspiracy” for making Germany look bad.

Critical Patterns to Learn From

The use of pretexts—real or invented—to justify war and repression is part and parcel of the normal workings of capitalism-imperialism. But, again, this takes on a whole other, and critically ominous dimension with the ascendance of fascism, and fascist rulers. Remember: Hitler invoked the Reichstag fire to impose fascism.

These are lessons we all must learn from, and then struggle with other people to learn from. The stakes right now are very high, and the dangers very great. There will be incidents, real and created; these will be turned into pretexts to silence all protest and to give the government huge repressive powers. Do not let them spring the trap; keep your eyes on the real issues, and fight with others do to the same.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/trumps-stay-strong-israel-tweet-genocidal-implications-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Trump's "Stay Strong Israel" Tweet

Genocidal Implications for the Palestinians... a Model for America Über Alles

January 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 23, the Obama administration refused to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli “settlements” in Palestine. (For background, see “Obama Abstains on a UN Resolution Condemning Israel... Trump Lashes Back: Not a ‘Sign of Hope,’ a Preview of Incoming Horrors.”)

In response, Donald Trump tweeted: “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

Trump’s tweet portends a paradigm shift away from any pretense of the U.S. restraining Israel’s ongoing and escalating ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The implications for the Palestinian people are literally genocidal.

Settlements... Ethnic Cleansing... and Genocide

Israel is built, literally, on the land and bones of Palestinian people. Thousands of Palestinians were slaughtered and millions driven from their homes in the war to establish the state of Israel in 1948. Then in 1967 Israel seized more land through war, and began building “settlements” on these lands. These settlements have amounted to ongoing and escalating ethnic cleansing of Palestine by 800,000 heavily armed Israelis, backed by the violence of the Israeli government. (See Revolution special issue, “Bastion of Enlightenment... or Enforcer for Imperialism: The Case of ISRAEL.”

The Obama administration has raised formal diplomatic objections to the advance of these settlements, and actually does see the rapid expansion of settlements as something that hurts the interests of the U.S. and Israel. All the while, the Obama administration has pumped billions of dollars of aid into Israel in various forms, provided Israel with cutting edge military technology, enabled Israel’s nuclear arsenal, and (for the most part) shielded Israel from UN condemnation. And Obama has repeatedly insisted that Israel is an outpost of democracy, enlightenment, and tolerance while it massacres Palestinians in Gaza and encircles them with walls and settlements in the West Bank region (the area west of the Jordan River, actually the eastern part of Palestine).

To take one very basic example of what this means: Israeli settlements systematically steal all the available water supplies in the region where they are set up, providing settlers with West European lifestyles, swimming pools, lawns and gardens in militarized suburban-style enclaves. Other land seized from Palestinians is used for large-scale corporate farms with vast water demands. The result: Palestinian small farmers who manage to retain their land cannot water their crops, feed their children, or maintain minimal sanitation. And this is a widespread and systematic phenomenon. (See “Troubled Waters—Palestinians Denied Fair Access To Water,” Amnesty International. Also see  the video "Farming Without Water. Palestinian Agriculture in the Jordan Valley")

What Trump Is Threatening Would be Far, Far Worse

There are very direct parallels between what Israel is doing now to how the Nazis systematically drove the Jews of Germany, Poland and, other countries into smaller and smaller desperate ghettos, before implementing the “final solution.”

What Trump is threatening would be far, far worse than what Israel is doing now with U.S. backing—unimaginable as that is.

Trump’s “stay strong” tweet followed his appointment of David Friedman to be ambassador to Israel. Friedman is not only an exponent of unfettered expansion of Israeli settlements, he personally funds some of them. An Israeli newspaper described him 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.”

And Trump has repeatedly insisted that the United States will trample on promises made to the Palestinians by the U.S. and the UN for decades, by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is the historic capital of Palestine. It is a city considered sacred by Islam, Christianity, as well as Judaism. Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (which so far no country on Earth does) would spit in the face of the aspirations of the Palestinian people and provoke outrage among people all over the world.

The status quo is utterly intolerable. The Palestinian people in the West Bank are encircled by a towering wall, their land is broken up by militarized settlements, and they live in constant fear of Israeli violence. In Gaza, two million Palestinians live in what amounts to a massive outdoor prison, subject to periodic Israeli massacres.

But removing all diplomatic constraints on Israeli settlements would be a green light to further isolate Palestinians in shrinking enclaves, separated from each other, subject to more overt and direct Israeli military rule, deprived of any pretense of democratic rights, and increasingly in conditions that make human survival untenable. It would mark a leap into a qualitatively worse situation.

The Madness and the Logic Behind It

In the eyes of Trump, Pence, and ruling class forces around them, the status quo in Israel is untenable. That is not—for them—because of what it means to the Palestinian people. Nor is it because Israel is a nation built on ethnic cleansing. And for them, it is definitely not because of the IM-morality of invoking the Holocaust—a great crime committed against Jewish people—to justify Jewish people carrying out great crimes against the Palestinians.

       

But the Trumpites do see a need to violently reshuffle the deck in the U.S.-Israel relationship. The coherence and stability of Israel depends on a sense of security for Jewish Israelis (overwhelmingly of U.S. and European descent), and crushing the lives and spirits of the Palestinian people. If that coherence starts to unravel, cracks and even deep fissures could widen in what today is a seemingly invincible juggernaut (Israel). Sections of the Jewish Zionist settler population could begin to lose confidence in the viability of Israel, and even the acceptability of Zionism, to one degree to another.

And in the eyes of the hard-core Zionist rulers of Israel, and their Trumpite promoters, things like a unanimous vote of the UN Security Council (with the U.S. abstaining) condemning settlements, undermine the legitimacy and credibility of Israel in dangerous and unacceptable ways.

The Trumpites see negotiation, a pretense of a “two-state solution,” and maintaining a pose of supporting human rights of the Palestinians as undermining the stability of Israel. The “two-state solution” itself is an imperialist scheme that 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.

Israel as a Model Ally for America Über Alles

Trump’s disdain for any pretense of reining in Israel is, in and of itself, reason for everyone to throw their all into making sure he does not actually attain the power to rule the U.S. Beyond that, it is a concentration of the Trumpite vision of Making America Great Again. Or, to quote that vision in the original German: “America Über Alles.”

“Great” in their eyes includes the vaporization of almost 200,000 people with atomic bombs in Japan. It includes massacring millions of Indochinese in a war of empire in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It includes the invasion of Iraq (before it turned into a fiasco for the U.S.). And “great again” means more of that, and worse. (For a picture of what “Make America Great Again” means for the world, read the American Crime series.)

Trump is not just an epitome of the Ugly American—pissing on world public opinion, gratuitously insulting foreign governments, trampling diplomatic convention, and throwing around cavalier threats to use nuclear weapons. He is all that. But there is a method to his madness.

Throughout his campaign, Trump threatened U.S. allies that they would only get U.S. protection (in the Mafia sense) if they “fulfill their obligations to us.” Quotes like this were overwhelmingly misinterpreted or spun in ways that obscured reality by mainstream media as “isolationist,” or narrowly defining U.S. interests in economic terms. The particular quote about allies “fulfilling their obligations” was in relation to Europe, South Korea, and Japan, but, along with other statements and the overall demeanor he projected in relation to the rest of the world, represented Trump’s determination to recast the world into one where U.S. domination is unchallenged and where U.S. allies are whipped into line, and know their place in the global pecking order.

Trump and his cabal see the need to violently re-assert U.S. global dominance in the most extreme ways. In that light, Trump and his inner circle of fanatic militarists and Christian fascists see a value in overtly taking the leash completely off Israel, and throwing red meat to the rabid Zionists running that state. That is part of the message they are sending to the world. Israel is a model of the Trump vision of a U.S. ally.

Trump’s fascist reconfiguring of U.S. foreign policy would create all kinds of chaos in the Middle East. It would put the reactionary rulers of U.S. allies like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey in extremely untenable positions. The credibility of those regimes rests, in part, on presenting themselves as defenders of the Palestinian people (and defenders of Islam). What Trump proposes to do would create new dangers and opportunities for global rivals like Russia and China, and regional powers like Iran, with a wide range of terrible and unpredictable results up to and including nuclear war. And what Trump is setting out to do would undoubtedly ratchet up the level of the hellish clash between Western imperialism and fundamentalist Islamic Jihad.

Trump’s “solution” to everything his policies would provoke is what he repeatedly promised in his campaign: torture (“a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding”), censorship, legal persecution and mob violence against dissent, and war—including a vastly increased likelihood of using nuclear weapons. (See: “What Would It Mean to Have a ‘Madman’ in the White House With His Finger on the Nuclear Trigger?”). His promise that come January 21, all constraints on Israel will be removed is a piece of that picture.

For what a Trump regime would mean to the Palestinian people, to the Middle East, and for what it would mean to humanity, it must be stopped before it starts.


May 2014, a 54-year-old man sits in front of his demolished home in the Palestinian Bedouin community Jabal al-Baba, with the Israeli settlement of Maaleh Adumim in the background. Photo: AP (Click photo above to enlarge)

2005 map of West Bank of Palestine
This 2005 map of the West Bank of Palestine shows part of the reality of the on-going ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people. The land allotted to Palestinians has been chopped down to the atomized, disconnected portions shown by the two darkest shades of brown on the map. The West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip, is less than 30% of the land of historic Palestine (before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948) and in 1991 it was promised to Palestinians as part of the "two state solution." Map: PalMap.org (Click map above to enlarge)

Map showing theft of Palestinian land

Above: An area of Gaza City destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in August 2014. Israel committed war crimes, pounding Gaza in a massively disproportionate assault: over 6000 airstrikes, plus tank shelling in which 2,251 Palestinians were killed, including 1,462 Palestinian civilians, of whom 299 were women and 551 children. That was with U.S. support from the Obama administration. Imagine what it would mean for a Trump regime to "unleash" Israel in a qualitatively more aggressive way. Photo: AP

The Case of Israel: Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?

For background on the nature and role of Israel see the special Revolution/revcom.us issue: The Case of Israel: Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/466/trump-installs-his-fascist-team-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Trump's Team of Theocrats, War Criminals, Ghouls, & Neo-Nazis

Updated January 31, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

If Donald Trump is allowed to take office he will put in place a cabal of

 

Trump's team so far includes:

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/avakian/science/33ba-science...revolution-the-decisive-role-of-leadership-pt-2-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

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 "IV. The Leadership We Need."

Excerpt 2 from the section:
The Decisive Role of Leadership

Here we get back to a point that was made, toward the beginning of this presentation, on the base and the superstructure—the economic system, the mode of production, and how it sets the terms for things in society overall, and how, in turn, the superstructure that arises on that economic base serves to reinforce it. In other words, the political and ideological superstructure—the political system, the laws, the culture, the ideas that dominate in the society—have to be in accordance with that mode of production, or the society can’t function. So if you go down the road of saying we’re gonna use capitalist means to get a lot of wealth, if that’s the mode of production that’s operating, then you have to have a superstructure of laws, political institutions, culture and ideology, and so on, that goes along with and enforces that capitalist system, even if you once had a different set of ideas.

Think about this specifically in terms of the culture and the ideology. I talked about this earlier, the idea that the bourgeoisie always promotes—that the great thing about bourgeois society, the major change it brought about, was elevating the individual to the prime place in society, putting forward the sanctity of the individual and the importance of individual rights. I discussed how that’s a complete farce and completely in conflict with how bourgeois society actually operates—by exploiting masses of people and crushing and pulverizing literally billions of people around the world. But the idea of individualism is very much in keeping with and very much serves the bourgeois exploitative mode of production. The idea that everybody should be out for themselves is reinforced by the fact that you are in competition with everybody else—for jobs, for promotions, for scholarships, for admission to college, for whatever it might be. So that is encouraged and fostered by the mode of production, by how the economic system works and how it affects people. And then, in the superstructure, it is reinforced with the idea that the most important thing is the “self”—the “self” is the center of everything. No matter what else is going on in the world, the most important thing, the thing that you should be concerned about, above all, is yourself. That’s the only way you can go through the world. This is constantly pumped at people, and it constantly gets reinforced even when people try to break with it. It requires a tremendous struggle to get out of the framework that, when everything is said and done, “I am the most important thing in the world.” And, besides the way in which this goes along with the bourgeois notion that the striving for individual acquisition/private accumulation of wealth is the most legitimate and productive motive force in social development, it conforms to the interests of the ruling class because, if you have a society where everyone is thinking that way, you’re never going to be able to bring about any kind of significant social transformation. You’re going to remain stuck within a system where people are being exploited and oppressed, but everybody is out for themselves in competition with everybody else.

Now, imagine if you had a radically different superstructure—if you had art and culture, widely and consistently disseminated over the TV, the internet, and so on, promoting the idea that people should think first and foremost about the greater good of the people in the world as a whole, instead of themselves. That would definitely undermine the way this system works. Or take another example of how the superstructure has to relate to the base. If you look at ads on TV or watch the news on TV, they’re always promoting these entrepreneurs, people who start up little businesses; there are ads for getting business cards so you can more effectively advertise your business; and “Oh, I have this little clever idea about making muffins, so I started a business”; and on and on and on. Now imagine if, instead of that, they continually told people the truth: “It’s not that often that a small business becomes a big money-making enterprise; a high percentage of small businesses fail, sooner or later, and many of them fail quickly; so forget it, don’t get all caught up in the mythology of business entrepreneurship.” Imagine if, every time you turned on the TV, you heard that kind of message! Well, that would not serve the functioning of this system. They want people to think that everybody can succeed in business, if they try hard and have the right initiative. In reality, of course, only a small number of people can actually be big-time capitalists, but it’s very good for the big capitalists, and for the system overall, if everybody thinks they might have a chance to do it. So, if you had a whole set of ideas being promoted that were actually telling people the truth about this, it would completely undermine that.

Or what if program after program on television, and everything you saw through the internet, were telling people: “Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. The reason this country is so wealthy and powerful is not because there have been a bunch of people who innovated a lot of things. It’s because we brought millions of people from Africa in chains and drove them viciously to produce wealth, while we killed off large sections of the indigenous population and stole their land; through a war of aggression we seized half of Mexico’s territory and extended the slave system into large parts of that territory; we grabbed up places like the Philippines and Puerto Rico as colonies as we moved to dominate more and more of the world; and now we’re plundering throughout the world, especially the Third World, ruthlessly shackling large swaths of humanity to our juggernaut of exploitation, threatening and unleashing massive slaughter and destruction to enforce all this. That’s really why we’re so wealthy and powerful.” Well, you’d get some assholes who’d say, “OK, good, as long as I get mine.” But a lot of people would say, “Wait a minute—that’s how all this has come about? What’s going on here? I don’t want to live in a world where that’s what we’re doing.” So you can’t have ideas dominating in the superstructure, in the culture, in the media and so on, that are completely out of keeping with the functioning of the underlying economic system and the interests and needs of the ruling class of that system—which is, in a real sense, as Marx put it, the personification of the exploitative dynamics of that system.

This is what has happened with the restoration of capitalism in China, and with what the ruling elites in countries like Angola are doing. If you’re going to go down the capitalist road and use the capitalist mode of production as the basis economically for your society and your means of accumulating wealth, then you’ve got to promote the ideas that go along with that—such as the idea that if a few of us make a lot of money, then we can do something good for the masses of people, even as we’re brutally exploiting and oppressing the masses of people and collaborating with capitalist exploiters in other countries. (And these days China is playing a big role in plundering Africa and exploiting the people there.) So you see that what your economic system is, is going to set the terms for what kind of political structure, but also what kind of ideas, gets instituted and promoted to reinforce that economic system.

Only with a vanguard that has a scientific approach and understands that you have to transform the mode of production, fundamentally, and, along with it, all the other aspects of those “4 Alls,” could you correctly deal with this howling contradiction, of tremendous natural wealth in these countries on the one hand and, on the other hand, the terrible situation for the people, where, even while a small handful become incredibly rich and certain other strata are elevated to privileged middle class positions, the masses of people are chained in poverty and misery. It goes back to this basic point: There is all this tremendous wealth, but if you have a mode of production that relies upon capitalist accumulation—in this case, local capitalists in league with the international capital of the imperialist system—there’s no way that the tremendous natural wealth is going to be utilized for the benefit of the masses of people, and above all their need to be freed from exploitation and the poverty and misery that flows from that.

 

 

 

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/collaborators-walk-of-shame-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Collaborators' Walk of Shame

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

 

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

On Friday, July 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?

Don King

Trump and Don King
Don King with Trump. (AP photo)

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

Jim Brown and Ray Lewis at Trump Tower
Jim Brown and Ray Lewis at Trump Tower, December 13. (AP photo)

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/472/reactionary-storm-over-the-incident-in-chicago-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Reactionary Storm Over the Incident in Chicago—Ominous Sign of What's to Come if Trump-Pence Fascist Regime Is Allowed to Rule

January 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This country is days away from installing a fascist regime at its helm. In South Carolina the sentencing hearing is underway for Dylann Roof, the young white supremacist who gunned down nine African Americans during their Bible studies at an historic Black church in Charleston. And yet what is the story leading off the national news, going viral on social media, and portrayed as the most despicable and depraved act by the current administration, CNN and every right-wing mouthpiece? An incident in Chicago where four Black youth are alleged to have kidnaped a white man with mental problems and tormented him, including forcing him to yell “fuck Trump” while someone could be heard in the background saying “fuck white people.” 

In response, a virulent national lynch mob is demanding that these youth be charged with a hate crime in addition to the aggravated kidnaping, battery with a deadly weapon, and other serious charges they already face. Across social media people like reactionary radio host Glenn Beck claimed this was the result of the Black Lives Matter movement and too “lenient” policing. Beck told his more than one million Twitter followers, “Stand up with me and demand justice in Chicago for the beating of a disabled trump supporter by BLM [Black Lives Matter].” Mike Cernovich, a major architect of Trump supporters’ social media campaigns, claimed victory for getting the Black youths charged with a hate crime.

Think about it. Overnight, four young Black people in Chicago became the personification of evil—not the incoming Trump-Pence fascist regime that is threatening to eviscerate political and legal rights in this country and do monstrous things to seven billion people on this planet, including ratcheting up the possibility of nuclear war. 

It is also an ominous indication of what is to come in Trump’s “Make America Great Again”—a part of which translates into “Make America White Again” with the whipping up of white supremacy and lynch mob hysteria against Black people.

The beating and tormenting of the young man was obviously wrong and should not be done to any human being. And, whatever actually happened, this incident has nothing to do with and is, of course, in no way condoned by those who oppose and are trying to stop the Trump-Pence regime from ruling or by the Black Lives Matter movement. Moreover, this was an isolated situation.

This is in contrast to Trump, who actually fomented violence at his rallies and gleefully said he would pay people’s legal bills for beating up peaceful protestors. Trump openly condones, winks at and effectively fans violence and hatred against various sections of the people who are deemed “undesirable”—and that is precisely part of what makes him a fascist. 

Early in the presidential campaign, two white men in Boston beat a homeless man of Mexican heritage with a metal pole and urinated on him, saying, “Donald Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported.” Trump’s first response? “The people who follow me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again.” 

Since Trump’s election, across the country there are reports of Latino students being threatened and tormented by other students chanting, “build the wall” and “go back to Mexico.” Sexual assaults on young girls have risen in the wake of Trump’s bragging about it. Mosques in California and Georgia have received letters threatening that Donald Trump is “going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” A professor at Orange Coast College was forced into hiding because of death threats she received after a lecture that criticized Trump’s election.

Where is the national outcry and wall-to-wall coverage of all these hate crimes and bullying on the part of Trump and his supporters?

Unless there is massive political struggle by millions of people that prevents this, Trump will be commander-in-chief, with Christian fascist Pence at his side, in a few weeks. NO! NO! NO!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/press-release-refusefascism-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

From RefuseFascism.org:

Congress Certifies Trump. Growing 1000s Say NO! Vow To STOP Trump/Pence Fascist Regime Before It Starts!

For Immediate Release January 6 – 3:30pm

Interviews Available

RefuseFascism.org

Contact: Larry Everest 917-553-8972 / 917-407-1286

LarryEverest@RefuseFascism.org

January 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Today Congress certified Donald Trump's election. Democrat Joe Biden said, "It's over." But growing 1000's, including many prominent voices are saying it is NOT over! "We certify this fascist regime as illegitimate," Carl Dix, one of RefuseFascism.org's initiators, declared today. "We are going to #FloodDC!"

Growing numbers of prominent voices, including Cornel West, Alice Walker, Rosie O'Donnell, Ed Asner and many others, along with thousands of signers, called for millions to take the streets in political protest and resistance to prevent what they argue is a fascist regime from taking power in a full-page signed ad in the New York Times on Wednesday. “Stop the Trump/Pence Regime Before It Starts!” it states.

"Today's Congressional vote underscores the urgency and truth of our Call to Action, Dix says, which states:

"[Stopping Trump/Pence] 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."

For Interviews with Initiators of RefuseFascism.org and signers of the Call to Action, including concerning plans to #FloodDC, contact: Larry Everest 917-553-8972

Go to RefuseFascism.org for Initiators, Call to Action, Plan to STOP Trump/Pence, schedule of Protests and Events
@RefuseFascism Facebook: RefuseFascism #NoFascist2017

BACKGROUND

Prominent scientists, actors, musicians, intellectuals, activists, religious leaders, and over 3,000 others, have called for massive protests and resistance to “Stop the Trump/Pence Regime Before It Starts!” in a full-page signed ad on January 4 in the New York Times.

The declaration, "NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America" 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."

They state: “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.” To achieve that they call for “protests that don’t stop—where people refuse to leave, occupying public space, and more and more people stand up with conviction and courage.”

Signers to this “Call to Action” from RefuseFascism.org include: Imam Aiyub Abdul-Baki, Justice Committee, Islamic Leadership Council of New York; Ed Asner, actor; Bill Ayers, activist, educator; Charles Burnett, filmmaker; Isabel Cardenas, Salvadoran-American activist; Margaret Cho, comedian, actor; Chuck D, rapper, author; Joe Dante, filmmaker; Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA; Alex Ebert, musician; Niles Eldredge, evolutionary biologist; Eve Ensler, playwright; Merrill Garbus, Founding band member, tUnE-yArDs; Pastor Gregg L. Greer, Freedom First International, SCLC; Lalah Hathaway, singer; Marc Lamont Hill, CNN commentator and professor, Morehouse College; Chase Iron Eyes, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; 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; 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; Michelle Phillips, musician; Milton Saier, PhD, Professor of Molecular Biology UCSD; Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five; Michael Shannon, actor; Danny Simmons, visual artist; David Strathairn, actor; Alice Walker, author; Cornel West, writer and professor; Saul Williams, poet and performer. (Organizations, institutions listed for ID purposes only)

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/south-korea-11-weeks-of-protest-10-million-people-demand-the-president-step-down-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

South Korea

11 Weeks of Protests, 10 Million People: Demand the President STEP DOWN

January 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Protesters call for impeached President Park Geun-hye to step down during a candle light vigil in Seoul, South Korea, January 7.
Protesters call for impeached President Park Geun-hye to step down during a candle light vigil in Seoul, South Korea, January 7. (AP photo)

On January 7, over half a million protesters took to the streets of Seoul, South Korea, to demand the impeachment and immediate removal of President Park Geun-hye. Other protests took place in cities all over the country. These protests marked the 11th week in a row that people have taken to the streets in Seoul to demand an end to Park’s presidency.

South Korea is a country of 50 million people. For almost three months now, there have been protests every week, some with as many as two million people. Cumulatively, over 10 million people have taken to the streets to demand Park step down.

Park Geun-hye, elected South Korea’s first woman president in 2012, was already very unpopular. But in October public sentiment against her went to a whole new level. A scandal broke out involving her friend, informal adviser, and spiritual guru, Choi Soon-sil. Park is accused of giving Choi access to secret government documents and Choi is said to have used her relationship with Park to force companies to donate millions of dollars to foundations she runs. At the start of November Choi was arrested and charged with abuse of power, extortion, and attempted fraud—charges that could give her up to 15 years in prison.

But the arrest of Choi did not quell the protests, which got even bigger and more determined. As long as Park is in office, she has immunity from criminal charges, but protesters say she must step down AND be jailed.

Reportedly lawmakers were hesitant to take measures to oust Park but in the face of all this, the ruling class looked for a way out of the crisis. On December 9 the National Assembly voted overwhelmingly (234-56)—including Park supporters and her opposition—for impeachment and a court was given six months to rule on the vote.

The next day,  half a million people demonstrated—celebrating the vote but also demanding that the court rule immediately to impeach and that Park face criminal charges. Protests continued every week: On Christmas Eve. 500,000 marched toward the presidential Blue House, where Park lives, chanting, “Arrest Park Immediately.” Some were dressed up like Santa and sang Christmas songs with lyrics changed to mock Park. Huge demonstrations were also held on New Year’s Eve.

Before this crisis, there was already a lot of hatred and mistrust among the people for Park and the legacy of her whole family. 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) 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.

       

Now people look at this scandal, involving corruption with companies like Samsung and Hyundai. They look at how Park has suppressed journalists. They see how she has instituted repressive measures like declaring demonstrations illegal. They look at the allegations that Park blacklisted some artists for their political beliefs. And many see Park as continuing in her father’s footsteps. And the protests have come to encompass broader concerns about the country’s political system, the power of the presidency, the power of big corporations, and government suppression of the press.

Another big demand that has emerged from the protests has to do with Park’s failure to protect people in the tragic ferry disaster in 2014 in which 300 people died, mainly high school students. For many people, this concentrated the illegitimacy of her rule. Kim Joonhyung, a professor at Handong Global University, says that people’s feelings about the illegitimacy of Park’s presidency and the government itself can be traced back to this ferry disaster: “There was a feeling that if the state doesn’t care about people’s lives, we don’t want to pass this government on to our children.... At the same time, the Korean people feel more empowered they can change their situation. It is a big turning point.”

Park is fighting back. Oral arguments in her impeachment trial began on January 5, but she did not show up and her lawyers say she will not testify. Her lawyers tried to say the protests of millions of people are illegitimate, saying Park is the victim of “mob rule.” They said the protests “are not the will of the people, yet the National Assembly inserted them into its grounds for impeachment.” Park maintains she is innocent, her lawyers say she only made “trivial” mistakes.

In the eyes of millions, Park has lost her legitimacy to rule. And the whole ruling class in South Korea faces great necessity, to try to deal with this whole situation to prevent a legitimacy crisis that goes beyond Park. Millions of people in South Korea are acting on something that others in history have proven to be true: That just because a president is elected, it doesn’t mean the people can’t force them out of power.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/donald-trump-has-told-you-what-kind-of-fascist-repression-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Donald Trump Has TOLD YOU What Kind of Fascist Repression He Means By "Help" For Chicago

January 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 3 Donald Trump tweeted “Chicago murder rate is record setting - 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!”

During his campaign, he told you what that means.

Trump’s nominating convention featured former New York mayor, Rudolph “Adolph” Ghouliani, screaming about “law and order” and “blue lives matter.” And this was a major theme of Trump’s campaign.

During the campaign, Trump said, “Chicago needs stop-and-frisk ... with good strong, you know, good strong law and order.”

Chicago actually already has stop-and-frisk policing. A piece in Time magazine (September 27, 2016) summed up that the impact was “singling out black communities as problem areas, and [saddling] them with unique forms of surveillance and control.” And, “Chicago’s violent crime rates would get significantly worse after implementation of stop-and-frisk.”(emphasis in original)

From 2002 to 2011, New York City had a massive Stop-and-Frisk policy. During that time, Black and Latino residents made up close to 90 percent of nearly four million people stopped, frisked, humiliated, insulted, threatened, and abused by police. Overwhelmingly they were not even charged with committing a crime. A federal judge ruled NYC’s Stop-and-Frisk unconstitutional.

Trump has said that violence in Chicago could be stopped in a week if police were “very much tougher.” Trump claims “The police in this country have done an unbelievable job of keeping law and order, and they're afraid for their jobs, they're afraid of the mistreatment they get... they can't act. They're afraid for losing their pension, their job. They don't know what to do.”

In the U.S. police have done “an unbelievable job” of locking up over two million people in prison, killing over a thousand people a year, terrorizing and brutalizing millions more, including young children, and even when caught on video murdering people, they get away with it over and over again. And when Trump says they can’t do their job because people are outraged about this, protesting it, and exposing it, he’s telling you that when police murder people, especially Black and Brown people, they are doing their jobs.

       

It has been important and necessary that people have been protesting, shining a light on police brutality and terror, and demanding it to STOP. That movement must not stop, but grow and be built toward revolution—an actual revolution that overthrows this system at the soonest possible time—because there is no solution to these outrages under this system, and as long as we live under this system, this will go on... and on.

Which brings us back to the profound danger represented by Trump. As we wrote in Point of Orientation on the Struggle to Prevent the Trump-Pence Fascist Regime:

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.

Do our youth need to stop killing each other? Of course! (See “The Revolution Club in Chicago Says: F***K YOU DONALD TRUMP—KEEP YOUR FEDS’ HANDS OFF CHICAGO.”) But when Trump threatens these pigs will be “very much tougher” he is threatening to make life much worse, much more dangerous for the oppressed for whom this system has no future. Trump is an admirer of another “tough on crime” leader—Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines who pledged to stop the drug epidemic there by killing 30,000 drug users and dealers in the slums and said he would hand out presidential pardons for mass murder—including to himself—at the end of his term. Duterte’s cops and vigilantes have already killed about 7,000 people.

Our youth need a future. Not death squads and fascist police running amuck.

Trump’s tweet is ominous indeed, and one more very compelling reason why we need to STEP UP our efforts to Stop Trump-Pence BEFORE they come to power.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/san-francisco-artists-create-anti-trump-mural-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

"Cultivating Resistance": San Francisco Artists Create Anti-Trump Mural

January 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Cultivating Resistance, a mural by the San Francisco Poster Syndicate
Photo: Special to revcom.us (Click image to enlarge)

An angry and intense anti-Trump mural has gone up in the San Francisco Mission District. The mural, by the San Francisco Poster Syndicate, is a bold call to resistance in the face of the horrors of Trump.

Entitled “Cultivating Resistance,” the work depicts a fiery-haired and small-handed Trump spouting “Twitter birds” labeled “lies,” “misogyny,” “Islamophobia” and “xenophobia.” To Trump’s right a pipe spews oil and riot clad police guard a crumbling classical-style building symbolizing democracy. A cowboy chorus line dances in front of a bulldozer and Trump advisor Steve Bannon, dressed in the white, pointy hooded robe of the KKK, holds a judge’s gavel and the scales of justice. On the bottom of the mural are forces of resistance, surrounded by water that holds the hope of putting out the fire surrounding Trump. People point accusing fingers at Bannon; a woman dressed in Muslim garb joins hands with a woman carrying a baby. Figures representing the artists print and distribute silk-screened posters. A woman and a man release a dove that is flying into Trump’s face and appears to be scattering the “Twitter birds.” At the bottom, a Black and Native American man are planting and watering a tree of resistance.

Anti-Trump poster
Photo: Special to revcom.us (Click image to enlarge)

The Mural is in Clarion Alley, a part of the vibrant San Francisco artistic and activist scene. Clarion Alley is a small street in San Francisco’s Mission District filled with murals in a wide range of styles drawing from traditional Chicano mural art, graffiti-style writing, Central American political art, and much more. There is a mural by Emory Douglas in the style he created for the Black Panther paper in the 1960s, and there is a beautiful portrait of Prince. Some are a surreal view of a whole different reality. Like the Trump mural, many have an explicitly political message, memorializing those killed by the police, or who were victims of street violence, challenging gentrification, white supremacy, homophobia and transphobia, or calling out for a better world. More than 200,000 people visit the alley each year.

The San Francisco Poster Syndicate describes itself as “an organization of faculty, students and former students at the San Francisco Art Institute.” The group’s purpose, according to their Tumbler is “to bring art and design to many different people’s movements in hopes that their message can be heard and seen more loudly.” The Poster Syndicate often creates silkscreen art, which they produce and distribute at major political actions.

The Poster Syndicate has also created a poster stating “ENOUGH WITH THE TWITTER. COME OUT ON THE STREET JANUARY 20, 2017.” They plan to be out in the alley the two Sundays before the inauguration to distribute the posters.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/muslim-community-meeting-takes-up-the-call-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Muslim Community Meeting Takes Up the Call to Stop the Trump-Pence Regime Before It Starts

January 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Monday, January 2 a very important meeting brought together over 50 immigrant Muslim community leaders and activists from different organizations in the Chicago area to hear a panel from Refuse Fascism and get organized to stop the Trump-Pence regime before it starts.

Everyone got a copy of the call to action “NO! Inthe Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!” Many people read it as they waited for the program to start. At the end, 30 people signed the group endorsement of the Call.  Urdu media with national and international reach covered the event.

The host, who organized the event, introduced the panel by speaking of the urgency of the situation with the election of Donald Trump. He said the outcome of the election was “not what we expected” and Trump has made clear he is committed to his promise of attacks on our community and other communities. He said the reason he invited RefuseFascism to speak was because “they speak in the name of all humanity... to prevent what WILL happen under Donald Trump.” He cited the facts that Hitler was legally elected, that the Japanese Americans were legally rounded up and put in concentration camps in the U.S. in World War 2, and that the aftermath of 9/11 and the Patriot Act threatened the liberty of all Americans. “We have to act to preserve the institutions that preserve human dignity from collapsing. We can’t do that alone, we have to come together. This group (Refuse Fascism) is doing this because they think it is the right thing to do. These speakers were all born and raised in America but that’s the spirit I have found them taking—everyone working together.” He emphasized the importance of action, and called on everyone to donate to refusefascism.org and organize people to act to stop this fascist regime.

Panelist Rev. Gregg Greer, from the Faith Committee of Refuse Fascism, read from the Call to Action and said “this event tonight is critical.  We have a common bond and face a common threat. If we look at the actions and promises of Trump, he has promised mass deportations of immigrants... Four weeks ago I was on a train in the middle of Indiana when the Border Patrol came on board and pulled people off the train. This was nowhere near the border, and Trump is not even in office, yet this is already happening. We cannot wait to act, we must band together now.”


Carl Dix, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and an initiator of Refuse Fascism, lays out the vision and plan for spreading the “No Trump! No Pence! No Fascist 2017!” message to every corner of society and building massive resistance, culminating in people coming to Washington, DC, before the MLK weekend. Dix said he is heading to DC soon and called on people to join him—to stay in the streets and disrupt business as usual to prevent the Trump-Pence regime from ruling.

Dee Williams from the Revolution Club of Chicago emphasized the dangers of fascism and why we have to do everything possible to stop the Trump-Pence regime before it starts. She laid out the PLAN to do this and why mass resistance is the only thing that can stop it, and why you need to be part of it.  She addressed the real fear that people feel, and called on people to find their courage and act decisively, that it will make all the difference for humanity if everyone who understands how dangerous this is stands up in resistance and calls on others to stand with them. She painted a picture of what millions saying NO! in the streets, refusing to accept a fascist America, would look like and called on them to take this up right now. 

Ted Sirota, organizer of Degenerate Artists against Fascism, compared Trump’s program with the fascism in Nazi Germany. He said the biggest problem in Nazi German was the “Good Germans” who didn’t stand up. “Trump is spreading hate against Muslims, Mexicans and Black people... He promotes militarism, climate denial and a Christian fascist agenda that aims to clamp down on anybody that doesn’t fit in their world... These fascists have brought us together, we must resist them before they attack us.... We face the most perilous three weeks in U.S. history. But the media is not talking about that, they want you to look away. Michelle Obama said today, ‘I promise to be there to help Donald Trump succeed.’ NO! We have to be there to make sure they don’t succeed.” 

The audience paid close attention to the presentations, which were then summarized in Urdu. Another strong call for people to act now was made. The quote from Martin Niemöller on the “Urgent Message to all Faiths” was also read in English and Urdu. $325 was raised on the spot and people were urged to go online to donate. 

There was some initial group discussion in Urdu and then the group broke for dinner and informal discussion about outreach and action. A “What You Can Do” flyer for this meeting was also distributed. One woman said, “This is right on the pulse of what people are thinking about.” She talked about the great fear in their community, including among the children, and wrangled over the ways for people to take a stand. She planned to take the Call to Action to her Sunday school of grade school and high school students to read and discuss and make plans. One person said it will be important to get the Call out to the mosques on Friday where many more people can be reached to spread it and organize thousands more. Another person volunteered to quickly translate it into Urdu.  Others took NO! signs to get up in the windows of stores in the area. A high school student took buttons and stickers.

This meeting was an important step in spreading the message of RefuseFascism into a section of the people who are already being terrorized by the Trump program. And more importantly of people seriously taking up the task of spreading this broadly to the Muslim community together with all the others who oppose a fascist America.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/shaun-king-oppose-trump-with-fierceness-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Shaun King Writes:

“We’re Not Opposing Donald Trump With The Unified Fierceness He Deserves”

January 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

An important piece titled “We’re Not Opposing Donald Trump With The Unified Fierceness He Deserves,in today’s New York Daily News, by activist and columnist Shaun King begins:

“A man who some believe to be a pretty terrible human being is scheduled to become our next President in less than three weeks. I won't make yet another rundown of all of the awful things he has said and done. I've done that a dozen times. Pretty much every reputable news outlet in the country has covered Trump's lies, deceit, failed commitments, his unethical business dealings, and his personal admissions on mistreating and sexually assaulting women.”

Shaun King makes other very important points in his piece, and concludes:

“South Korea should be our role model. For months on end, in fierce opposition to corruption with their President, millions of people filled the streets in protest. At first, what it would accomplish was not clear, but the people knew that corruption necessitates opposition. As the opposition grew and grew and grew, it gripped the nation and eventually broke the back of the administration, causing the ouster of their President.

Trump deserves this type of opposition. It will not grow from the establishment, but from the will and energy of the people. If Donald Trump is going to be opposed, it's going to come from the people and it must start now.”

Spread this piece everywhere, now!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/reality-check-jan-05-2017-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Reality check

January 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It is UNCONSCIONABLE for people like Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer and union head Rich Trumka to be talking about how to work with Trump on legislation for jobs and protectionist trade legislation.

This would be tantamount to Italian unions working with Mussolini to make the trains run on time—and who cares where they’re going and what they’re doing. Worse: this would be tantamount to working with Hitler on his vast public works project (from sports arenas to the “autobahn” [highway system]) while ignoring the thrust of his program. Indeed, all too many people in Germany went along with Hitler because “he improved the economy.”

Some basic points to Bernie Sanders and the rest: Trump and Pence are FASCISTS. You don’t throw the whole rest of the world into the flames of hell, you don’t train people (further) in looking at the workers of the world as their competition and enemy, you don’t cave into the white chauvinism and American chauvinism dripping from the whole Trump “jobs” thing and his “Make America Great” poison by figuring out “how we can work with him.” And you don’t cover that up by once in a while making some weak-ass whimper of protest as people are persecuted and civil rights eviscerated and then turn around once again to talk with real passion about working with Trump to pass public works programs. “How we can work with him where we agree?!?!?” Again, this is “how do we work with Hitler where we agree.”

This is not just morally disgusting, this is POLITICALLY DANGEROUS, a pied piper stunt to draw the people who supported Sanders away from real opposition and resistance and into conciliation and, yes, collaboration!

NO!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/earth2trump-roadshow-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

#Earth2Trump Roadshow Kicks Off in Oakland and Seattle—Headed to DC

January 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The #Earth2Trump Roadshow kicked off in Oakland and Seattle on January 2, and is coming to a town near you in January, on its way to Washington, D.C. on January 20 for Trump’s planned inauguration. 

The website www.earth2trump.org says: “The roadshow is rallying and empowering defenders of civil rights and the environment to resist Trump's dangerous agenda. Stopping in 16 cities on its way to Washington, D.C., it’s bringing thousands of people to protest at the presidential inauguration.”

The Oakland launch event featured cultural performances and speeches and was highlighted by the reading of the Pledge of Resistance for the tour:

Pledge of Resistance to Donald Trump's Assault on America's Environment, Democracy and Civil Rights

I pledge to stand in resistance to Donald Trump's assault on America's clean air, clean water, climate, wildlife, civil rights, reproductive rights, gender and racial equality, and freedom of speech and religion.

I pledge to stand in solidarity with those threatened by violence and intimidation because of who they are, what they believe or their opposition to Trump's dangerous agenda.

Donald Trump is an unprecedented threat to our nation's democracy, health and environment. He must not be allowed to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, gut the Clean Air and Endangered Species acts, raid our public lands, eliminate regulations protecting poor communities from pollution, deport millions of people, take away our reproductive freedom, or force millions to live in fear.

I pledge to resist Trump through action.

I pledge to speak out, make phone calls, sign petitions, join rallies, support conservation and civil rights groups, educate my family and friends, and keep a compassionate, loving heart while fighting fiercely for the values I cherish most.

One hundred fifty to 200 people attended the Oakland kick-off for the tour. The tour is being anchored by the Center for Biological Diversity, and is supported by many environmental, union, and other organizations. As part of the climax of the launch event, people wrote their own personal statements of why they were resisting Trump, and these were put into a large globe-shaped ball to be carried across the country to D.C.

A high school climate activist who spoke at the event talked of her family living in another country who was forced to move to higher ground because the ocean is rising. She said, “I will not sit idly by while the seas rise.” She said many speak of protecting the earth for future generations, but that this means acting NOW: “We will protect this earth, now, for this generation.”

A professor emeritus from a local college who spoke said that we are “facing the demise of the human race as we know it” and described what is coming as “a culture of empire, greed, and fear.” And he said it is time to “get over our depression and tap into our anger.”

 

#Earth2Trump Roadshow

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

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/470/point-of-orientation-on-the-struggle-to-prevent-the-trump-pence-fascist-regime-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

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/trump-and-black-people-you-have-no-idea-how-bad-it-can-get-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

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.

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/473/revolution-interview-with-scott-gilbert-refusefascism-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Revolution Interview

Scott Gilbert, RefuseFascism-Boston
"In the Name of Humanity, Never Again"

January 9, 2017 | 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.

 

Revolution recently interviewed Scott Gilbert, an activist with Refuse Fascism, whose family's experience with Nazi Germany is very relevant to what is happening today.

~~~~~~~~~~

Revolution: I’m here with Scott, and I know you’ve changed your life around to jump into the call put out by RefuseFascism that says “NO! In the Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America!” I understand this is, in part, rooted in your own personal history. Do you want to tell me a little bit about that?

Scott Gilbert: Sure. I grew up in the ’60s when there was a lot of political turmoil—and I say that in a good way that people were taking on a lot of backward ideas, everything from the war in Vietnam to fighting for women’s rights.

And as I was growing up as a young man, I lived in a household where my mother had post-traumatic stress disorder. She was a Holocaust survivor.

The family of Anne Frank and Otto Frank were close friends of my grandparents’ family. My grandfather was arrested in 1933, and the rest of the family moved first to Paris and then to Amsterdam, fleeing the new regime of the fascist government of Hitler and the Nazis. By that time, many people felt there was no way to oppose Hitler because he was already in power. I read The Diary of Anne Frank as well as other books and novels from that period of time. I made a promise to myself and anyone who would listen and say “Never Again.” That I refused to be what is now coined in the phrase, “a Good German.”

Part of the irony of that is that my grandfather was an officer in the German army during World War 1, and he himself was a “Good German.” My grandfather just kind of kept on going... he just lived his life... I don’t want to say a normal life... he just lived, despite all the stuff that was going on. I guess he was thinking, “It can’t happen here.” He went along with events that were developing in the early ’20s throughout the ’30s until Hitler came to power, and then he was targeted.

The sad part of it for me is, “what could have been done more to prevent it?” It was a major turning point in Europe—fascism was a new phenomenon. Prior to this, the forms of oppression were oligarchies and royalty.

Revolution: Do you want to say anything about how they went into hiding—your family? And even though ordinary people did things like this, the big lesson of the Nazi period is: wouldn’t it have been better if it didn’t get to that point?

Scott Gilbert: Right. As I said, my grandfather was arrested in 1933. He was a prominent Jewish man in the financial world. When this happened, he immediately arranged for his wife and daughter (my mother) to move to Paris where there were friends who helped out. They lived there a year until my grandfather was able to get out of jail. People were not yet being executed, in the main, at this point in time. Things actually hit somewhat of a political lull as Hitler consolidated his power. My grandfather moved his family to Amsterdam, Holland, as did Otto Frank and many thousands of others. Holland was seen as a refuge. They could move around freely. There was not a lot of anti-Semitism. Over the next several years while the situation became worse and worse in Germany, Jews, Gypsies, gay people, “Undesirables” either lost their rights or citizenship. The invasion of Poland occurred on September 1st, 1939.

My grandparents began to think about whether the family should move to England or the U.S. But in the time that they waited, Germany invaded Holland on May 10th, 1940. My family was forced to live in hiding, a similar story to Anne Frank, which they did for the next 18 months. Only through some connections was my family able to eventually get to Portugal and take a boat to the United States, where they landed at Ellis Island and the famed Statue of “Liberty.” What many people do not know is that the United States government was already turning these refugee boats around and was not accepting these people. Some of the boats went to South America because the captains of these ships refused to go back to Europe knowing full well what would happen to the people on board, while other boats went back to Europe and many of the passengers were subsequently interned or killed. My grandparents, through their connections when they got to New York, were able to get off that boat, but there were very few who were able to do so. This is not the way we need to battle the Trump-Pence fascist regime, with connections and luck. We need to be proactive.

Revolution: Let’s move to the uncanny similarities and parallels between the history of Germany and what we are living through at this moment in 2017. Could you describe some of the things people were saying and thinking as fascism was coming to power in Germany and some of the parallels of that to here in the U.S. now?

Scott Gilbert: To start out with, I just have to say that the United States is an imperialist nation. It has soldiers “protecting U.S. interests” in many countries around the world; and it is responsible for the deaths of many people around the world through its economic, political, and military policies. But, if the Trump-Pence regime comes to power, that will be a whole other level of repression—fascism, here in the U.S., as well as around the world.

Germany was a crushed nation politically and economically in 1919 after World War I. Germany had been politically destroyed by the powers that won World War I. Germany was in debt and they had the Treaty of Versailles—the victorious powers (the United States, Great Britain, France, and other allied states) imposed punitive territorial, military, and economic reparations and provisions on defeated Germany. Economically, Germany was doing very poorly—the Deutsche Mark became worthless and many people were out of work. There was also the overriding fear by the leaders and others in Germany at that time that Bolshevism (communism) would take over Germany. The Soviet Union was seen as Germany’s main danger externally. It was in this construct that the Nazi Party arose and the rise of fascism, but this did not happen overnight. Hitler was becoming a known figure, the Nazi party was growing, and then there was the attempted coup on November 8,1923 by Hitler and General Ludendorff. There was also the beginning of attacks on different sections of people in Germany by the members or associates of the Nazi party.

There were many people who were disillusioned by what they called the liberal democrats' bankrupt policies that caused the German people to suffer, and many felt that the government at that time, the Weimar Republic, was politically weak and soft and did not stand up for the nationhood of Germany. Hitler wanted to, and fed on the concept, of bringing Germany back as a prominent imperialist nation, to “Make Germany Whole Again” for the German people. Hitler grabbed onto this hard. Step back a minute and look at this—the striking parallel with Trump’s expression “Make America Great Again” and Hitler’s expression “Make Germany Whole Again.”

Many people think that Hitler just came to power in 1933, that there was a coup, if you will. In fact, there was an election in March 1932 and then a run-off in April 1932 where Hindenburg became president. Due to the political makeup of what was going on, he asked Hitler to be the Chancellor. Hindenburg easily could have dismissed Hitler at any time because he appointed him. He did not. The political tenor was consolidating, though not solidified, for the Nazis. Even after all the intimidation and attacks and killings in the streets and Nazi sympathizers going after certain sections of people, including the Jews who made up only about 1% of the population in Germany at the time, even then Hitler did not win a plurality in the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament, on March 5th, 1933. He won 43.9 percent of the vote at the time. The Nazi party did not yet have control. As an example, of the 11 people in the cabinet, only 3 of them were Nazi Party members. The other 8 were not. There were 196 Nazi Party members in the Reichstag, which only represented 33 percent. Hitler had not yet consolidated power. It was only through backroom dealings with the Catholic Party, the Liberal Party, and the Nationalist Party was he able to come up with enough votes in the Reichstag for Hitler to become Chancellor and de facto leader of Germany. The German government then voted (look at laws here that were voted on such as the Patriot Act!) and changed the German constitution giving Hitler dictatorial powers, and the courts went along with this. President Hindenburg died in 1934, and the Nazi government decided to leave that position vacant.

You cannot wait and see, with fascists.
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Today, in the U.S., Trump is actually being able to hand pick his whole cabinet, and we need to seriously look at who these people are. I was reading an article online recently about General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who is supposed to become the Secretary of Defense, who said, and I quote, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” Or what Steve Bannon, Chief of Staff to-be, led Breitbart to headline: “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy”; “Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?”; “Gay rights have made us dumber, it’s time to get back in the closet.”; “Hoist it high and proud: the Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.” It is this kind of thinking that is in the top tier of this country’s leadership that is very frightening.

Looking at what is going on today, the Trump-Pence people have not yet consolidated its fascist regime. But, many of the people who supposedly opposed Trump in the “American Reichstag,” our Congress and Senate, and the Heads of State, are going along as if everything is normal. Here are some sharp examples: Hillary Clinton said, “We need to give Trump a chance”. President Barack Obama said, and I am not making this up, “Ultimately, we’re on the same team.” Think about that! The people in the highest echelons of this country are not even trying to distance themselves from Trump. It is this kind of thinking that is going on today that was going on in Hitler’s time. Some people are saying, “We just have to give him time” or “We have to rely on reasonable leadership to prevent this fascism to consolidate power.” We should not allow this regime to even begin to think about taking power—he and his cabinet and all the people around him. It’s an illegitimate election, both from a moral standpoint as well as from a plurality standpoint.

Another similarity. Hitler was able to bring together different peoples who felt they needed to make Germany great again. Claudia Koontz, who has written a book about this called The Nazi Conscience, actually coined the phrase “Ethnic Fundamentalism.” What she is saying is that the two key elements that Hitler brought together were Christian fundamentalism and ethnic nationalism. The Nazis used these two components to make Germany, as I said before, “Whole Again.” Look at the parallels today in what is being pushed for here in the U.S. One, the rise of the Christian fundamentalists and Christian fascism. Mike Pence is a perfect example of this type of thinking. He wants to put this into practice when he talks about “embracing a culture of life in America”—a Christian fundamentalist culture with all its oppressive machinations. Two, the attacks on different sections of people in this country. The mass roundups and deportations of Hispanics and others who are “illegal” in this country, the killings of these people on the borders by the U.S. version of Hitler’s storm troopers, the Minutemen. The killings of people of color, mainly Black, with impunity, now that new laws exist such as “Stand Your Ground.” You know the famous cases of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and on and on. Trump’s 1989, 27 years ago! call for the death of the Central Park 5 who were proven innocent when he said, “Maybe hate is what we need if we’re gonna get something done.” The rise of the KKK and other neo-fascist groups here in the U.S. So, again, the parallel is the attacks on different sections of people in the United States that have been on the rise to what happened in Nazi Germany with the attacks on different sections of “undesirables.”

Another parallel is, I’ll quote Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and ideologue who popularized the term “alt-right” at a Neo-Nazi panel discussion in Washington, DC, on November 19th, 2016, just days after the elections, “America was, until this past generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.” And he also said that in the era of President-elect Donald Trump whites “were awakening to their own identity.” These are very noteworthy and staggering statements for someone to say easily in 2016, and not to have many people or the mainstream media confronting that. What does Spencer mean when he says “us”? He means “Good Americans”—the Aryans of the United States. That is exactly what Hitler was saying back in the ’20s and early ’30s—that the Nazis were going to “Make Germany Whole Again.” So when Hitler used the phrase, he even talked about loving the people. A lot of times Hitler sounded middle of the road to even progressives, when, in fact, he was only talking about the Volk, he was only talking about the Aryan people. Everyone outside of that was the enemy. You listen to Donald Trump talking about building a wall, having a Muslim registry—these are extremely serious steps in trying to control sections of people in the United States. I do not think it has become a parallel yet, but the similarities are compelling and everyone needs to take his statements seriously.

Another parallel: I was recently reading a section in Claudia Koontz’s book, The Nazi Conscience, about Hitler and how he had this uncanny ability to speak out of “both sides of his mouth.” One side where he would attack certain sections of people while from the other side, more importantly, rants about “Making Germany Whole Again.” Depending on where he spoke, especially once he came to power in late 1932 before consolidating fully, and I’m going to read here, I’m going to quote: “Attired in a white shirt, tie, and black suit with a discrete swastika lapel pin, Chancellor Hitler fulminated about hostile foreign powers, the Bolshevik menace, the cultural decline and spineless liberals. Exuding ethnic fundamentalism, he said barely a word about Jewry. Many observers approvingly commented that Hitler had mellowed.” Does this not sound like what some of these leaders and media pundits are saying about Donald Trump? That he is mellowing? Again, this is very, very scary stuff.

In 1933, the first group that Hitler fervently went after were the communists. They made up a small but significant section of the people. They represented the main political group that the Nazis thought they had to silence first. There had been major battles and fights in the streets where people were being killed from both sides, and that there were some people opposing the rise of fascism, but given the particularities of how it turned out, weren’t able to succeed in stopping Hitler and the Nazi fascists.

Today we have a similar type of situation. Are we going to wait for him to get to power or are we going to step up and say NEVER AGAIN!?

We do have an advantage over the peoples of Germany in the 1920s and ’30s —we have history to draw from today. We can look at the similarities and parallels of what went on in fascist Germany and learn from those lessons to prevent them from happening here.

Revolution: So one of the things the Call makes the point: It says, “We are millions. Our only recourse now is to act together outside of normal channels. And we’re talking about creating a political situation where 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.” My question for you is, why do you see this is possible and how do you see that actually developing?

Scott Gilbert: That’s a great question. I think I see it on several levels. One of the parts of what is happening that is not a parallel between Germany and the U.S. today is that there have already been tens, if not, hundreds of thousands of people in the streets the day after and the days following this illegitimate election. That is a great starting point. But, we need to not leave it there. We need to build on that. And we need to create a situation such as happened in 1968 in the United States when Lyndon Baines Johnson was forced out of office; the situation in 1973 when Nixon and Agnew were forced out of office; that enough people come into the streets with their different perspectives to Refuse Fascism. We need youth and we need older people who have experience to draw on—I don’t see another way of really preventing this from happening—that we all have knowledge of this now. People cannot say they didn’t know.

Another difference today is social media. As Hitler was very good at using the new tool of loudspeakers and that kind of media, Donald Trump has been using Twitter. But because he’s using Twitter, millions and millions of people here and around the world know exactly what this man and his cabinet and his regime are about. They can’t hide that. So we can’t just let this go and give him a chance. That’s not acceptable.

I have had friends recently say to me that I’m crazy in even thinking about something on this scale. Well let me pose the question to them and others: Not only is this possible, but if we don’t do this, what will the U.S. look like? I have friends who talked about how they will leave the country if Donald Trump becomes president. Again, I say to them, “we need to stand and fight. Leaving is not the solution because we have to think about it from the perspective of all of humanity, not just those living here.” We have a particular role, because we do live here, to take this on now. Many people are scared, and rightfully so. We need to help them turn that fear into action and opposing the rise of the Trump-Pence fascist regime. I remember going to my first demonstration against the war in Vietnam in 1965, and was told by basically all my classmates and teachers that I was already crazy and a dreamer, and that we will never be able to stop the U.S. government. Yet, we know what happened.

It is possible to stop this government from taking power, but we have a lot of work to do in a short period of time. There are millions of people who have already said they are against what is going on, whether it be from an ethnic perspective, a woman’s perspective, a scientific perspective—they are out there, and we cannot rely on the government to do this for us (though there are clearly some “cracks” among ruling circles creating more favorable conditions for us). The government has already proven that. We have to rely on ourselves and find the ways to do this, and it is possible. I can guarantee you that if we don’t do this now, it is going to be harder to try and do this in the future.

It is worth taking a moment and going back and reading Pastor Niemöller’s poem: “First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist; 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; Finally, they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out.”  Everyone who has a beginning understanding of what is transpiring in the United States today has a responsibility to step out. Someone recently said to me, “but how can you do that? You need to stay within the norms.” And my response is, “This is not normal times. We cannot wait.” For myself, I’ve decided not to work the week leading up to the events of January 20th in opposing the Trump-Pence regime. It is possible to do this if we all take this up seriously. We need to create enough public opinion Against Fascism to prevent Trump-Pence coming to power.

In the Name of Humanity, Never Again. We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/meryl-streeps-courage-trumps-vision-of-the-world-and-what-are-you-going-to-do-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Meryl Streep's Courage, Trump's Vision of the World... and What Are You Going to Do?

January 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On the road in to the Golden Globes
Los Angeles, January 8--Activists with RefuseFascism.org went out to a street in Beverly Hills where hundreds of limos were making their way to the Golden Globe awards, with actors, directors, producers and other movie industry people on board. The activists reached many with their large "NO!" posters, RefuseFascism.org stickers, and the Call to Action. Photo: Special to revcom.us

Meryl Streep, the actor widely recognized as one of the most versatile and creative in her field, on Sunday was awarded the Golden Globes Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. Over her career she has won an Academy Award three times and been nominated at least 19 times, and nominated at least 30 times for a Golden Globe award.

On Sunday she added to her lifetime achievements. She turned her acceptance speech over to setting a standard, a moral compass, for people in the arts and elsewhere who have a prominent public voice. Instead of the usual thank yous, among other things she said, “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 contrasted that to Trump mocking and humiliating those that are different, and the real damage that kind of thing does to the soul of society, especially from a would-be president. (And yes, he did mock a journalist for being disabled! It’s on video.)

Then the wanna-be Hitler demonstrated for all who are paying attention what society would be like under his rule. This would-be president tweeted that Meryl Streep is “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood” and “a Hillary flunky who lost big.” His senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway, got on TV Monday morning to say “I’m concerned that somebody with a platform like Meryl Streep is also, I think, inciting people’s worst instincts.”(!)

Well fuck you Trump and minions. This blow-hard fascist would hold the reins of the most powerful country in the world? Imagine a society where acceptable culture is defined—and enforced—by a tyrant such as this! Imagine what would become of those who would speak like Meryl Streep if this regime’s rule is consolidated!

Meryl Streep didn’t say everything I would wish someone in her position would say. But she exhibited courage and principle, and concern for humanity. She brought thoughtfulness and a moral compass. Humanity needs, right now, much more of this. In the wake of Trump’s bitter tweets (and the slop of ugly rants from his minions online), it’s heartening to see many public statements and tweets from others in the arts and Hollywood supporting her.

This is a time for courage and principle. Remember the searing film and Broadway musical Cabaret about the poisoning of culture as the Nazis rose to power in Germany? We can’t let the soul of society be so poisoned again.

To Hollywood, to all in the arts:
In the name of humanity, through your art, with your voice, DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN! Let’s stop this regime before it starts!

RefuseFascism.org. Join in. Now.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/nationwide-strike-of-citizen-poets-against-trump-jan-15-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Nationwide Strike of Citizen-Poets: Poets Against Trump—Set for January 15

January 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A January 6 online piece for the New York City publication The Villager by Andy Kaufman—poet, writer, and editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry—begins:

Rage, rage against the dying of the light—
and the coming of the Trump... .

In the article, Kaufman announces that on Sunday, January 15, “I will lead, with Michael Rothenberg of One Hundred Thousand Poets For Change, a nationwide strike of citizen-poets: Poets Against Trump. From New York to Los Angeles and New Orleans to Austin, poets will assemble at their respective city halls and other locations to voice their opposition and commitment to struggle.

“In Manhattan, we will gather on the steps of City Hall at exactly 1 p.m. Not only are all poets welcome to read but visual artists can bring works of protest art. Any caring citizen with something to declare in the space of a short poem can have his or her say, too.”

Andy Kaufman’s piece for The Villagers is available here. The contact for the National Poets Strike is: poetsprotest@gmail.com

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/i-gotta-ask-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

I Gotta Ask

January 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader

If a person threatens "I am going to kill you" and in fact has a weapon and is in a position to do so...
do you wait to see whether or not they do it?

If a person says "I am going to rape you" and is in fact in a position to do so...
do you wait to see whether or not they do it?

So...

If a person says he is going to create a Muslim registry and in fact appoints the people to do so, when that will lead to attacks on people of a whole religion...
do you wait to see whether or not they do it?

If a person says he is going to remove the citizenship of people who engage in constitutionally protected speech that he doesn’t like, and is in fact able to do that...
do you say, "They don't really mean it”?

If a person labels immigrants “criminals” and says he will deport millions...
do you say, “We’ll have to wait and see whether he does it”?

If a person calls for the death penalty for five Black youth innocent of the crime they are charged with, and then says once in power he will bring in police who will be “very much tougher” than they are now...
do you wait to see whether or not he will carry through?

If a person says they will bring back torture in the form of waterboarding, and “far worse”...
do you say they probably won’t do that?

If a person says they will do everything possible to end the right to abortion—by appointing judges who will overturn Roe v Wade and defunding Planned Parenthood, thus denying women basic health care and birth control—and in fact puts in place the people who are ideologically, politically and morally in a position committed to do so...
do you wait to see whether or not they carry through?

If the person tweets that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” and then appoints people who don’t believe climate change is real as the heads of departments charged with protecting the environment...
do you say, “We’ll see whether he goes ahead with his plans”?

If a person says “Let it be an arms race, we will outmatch them at every pass ... and outlast them all,” and would be the person responsible for the nuclear trigger...
do you wait to see if he doesn’t really mean it?

If the person is not making campaign promises, but in fact is putting the people in charge to implement all of this as he moves to assume power...
do you say we can’t tell for sure whether he will do it?

When do you stop waiting?

It’s PAST time to step into the streets to stop the Trump-Pence regime before it starts!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/gregg-l-greer-a-growing-number-of-american-citizens-now-see-this-mans-agenda-as-dangerous-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Gregg L. Greer: "A growing number of American Citizens now see this man's agenda as dangerous"

January 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Pastor Gregg L. Greer, of Freedom First International-SCLC and one of the signatories of the Refuse Fascism Call to Action, wrote “An Open Letter to America—Why opposing the Trump Regime must be the clarion call of the moment,” dated January 7. He says in the letter:

We the people can no longer sit idle and allow the constitutional rights of our citizens to be taken for granted and so easily dismissed. Many of the reasons have already been detailed and explained by myself and a growing number of concerned prominent citizens...

The appeal is direct in saying, that NO! IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY WE REFUSE TO ACCEPT A FASCIST AMERICA!” Why because Donald Trump and Mike Pence have clearly articulated and initiated a hateful and dangerous agenda that they plan to pursue over and beyond mainstream acceptable American values 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.

Not only is this standing reprehensible and not acceptable mainly because citizens must always insist that the people have the right to judge of its merits. We (I) say now- A growing number of American Citizens now see this man's (Donald Trump) agenda as dangerous and also as his, “Imperial Presidency,” is one that wants to use foreign and domestic issues to expand power. In doing so, the President-elect now wants to enjoy virtually unlimited power without checks and balances. This is a hideous denigration which has so no place in American public policy and is outside of the mainstream of public interest.

Pastor Greer’s letter is available online.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/from-8-march-women-organisation-iran-afghanistan-in-solidarity-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

From 8 March Women Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan)

In Solidarity with
"NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE TO Accept a Fascist America!"

January 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We all know that 20th January Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the president of the US. This has concerned hundreds of million not only in the US but also all over the world.

Trump based his electoral campaign on male supremacy, white supremacy, national chauvinism, the threat of attacking refugees and Muslims and the nuclear arm race. So degrading women, humiliating gays, racism and discrimination against non-whites, oppressing other nations and religions, threat of another nuclear arm race and as a result the threat of a dangerous and destructive war with weapons of mass destruction is an integrated part of his programs. He has also promised to greatly increase the CO2 emissions and is threatening the whole planet and the life of the next generations too.

He has gathered the most backward, outmoded and reactionary values and ideas to constitute the kind of rule he is planning for: fascism. This is how a representative of a capitalist imperialist is planning to rule the US and oppress and exploit other countries and follow its global interest. The rule that would be a threat to humanity and the whole planet and can match with Germany Nazi nonetheless with access to much more powerful weapons of mass destruction.

We are extremely disgusted by the way that the women have been humiliated and degraded by someone who is going to rule over the most powerful country in the world.

The Iranian women have had the experience of a theocratic regime that came to power based on religion and backward and anti-women values. Many did not believe that such a backward idea against women would be possible to enforce. But the compulsory veil for women immediately after they took the power was the first attack against women’s right that gave rise to days of protests of tens of thousands women in Tehran. The regime relying on its conservative bases from one side and dismissing the seriousness of these attacks as trivial and secondary by many including the progressive and revolutionary forces from the other side undermined the support that the women’s movement needed and deserved. The religious anti-woman regime in Iran continued to increase the pressure on women and increasingly deprived them from other social activities. The attack against women in a short time extended to attack against the national minorities, and then restriction of individual rights and attacking religious minorities, communists and other opposition’s group continued until the point to imprison torture and execute tens of thousands of members and supporters of revolutionary organisations and other opposition groups and the reign of terror that still continues.

Women have since been resisting and fighting with rise and fall this anti-women regime. We Iranian women are well aware that our liberation depends on our struggle for a revolutionary overthrow of this fundamentalist Islamic regime.

 We fully and deeply understand what the degradation of women means. We can feel the pain of discrimination whether imposed on women or on any other sections of the society.

We would like to express our full appreciation to your effort to organise and unite all those who cannot stand aside and see a fascist America is taking form.

We totally support your fight and struggle to unite and organise the people from all walks of society, to stop, a regime headed by Trump/Pence to take control and carry on with a truly horrendous program.

No matter where we are, we greatly feel the threat that Trump/Pence and their clique are imposing not only to the US but to the world as a whole and cannot remain indifferent but are determined to be part of the fight.

This is our duty to fight against oppression of women, against the racism, and against inciting hate and fear on refugees and the people from different race and religion.

This is our duty to do whatever we can to stop the madness drive to nuclear arm race and the threat it poses to humanity and the planet as a whole.

All these at the present situation are tied to refuse and resist a fascist America.

Your struggle against a fascist America headed by Trump/Pence is our struggle and the struggle of all the revolutionaries and freedom lovers of the world and those who are struggling for a world without oppression and exploitation.

On 20th January we will be with you and millions of people in the US and all over the world and determined to refuse to accept fascism.

Your Struggle is Our Struggle

 

8 March Women Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan)
26/12/2016

www.8mars.com
zan_dem_iran@hotmail.com
https://facebook.com/8Mars.org

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/mexico-nationwide-marches-and-highway-blockades-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Mexico: Nationwide marches and highway blockades

January 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Protesters march against fuel price hikes in Mexico City, Saturday, January 7.

Protesters march against fuel price hikes in Mexico City, Saturday, January 7. All photos: AP

University students protest, MexicoUniversity students march against fuel price hikes in Mexico City, January 8.

Drivers honk their horns to show support for demonstrators protesting outside the headquarters of the government-run PEMEX oil company in Mexico City, January 8.Drivers honk their horns to show support for demonstrators protesting outside the headquarters of the government-run PEMEX oil company in Mexico City, January 8.

Cop removes a demonstrator who, along with others, blocked a main road for about an hour during protests against gas price hikes in Mexico City, January 4. More than 600 protesters were arrested.Cop removes a protester who, along with others, blocked a main road for about an hour during protests against gas price hikes in Mexico City, January 4. As of January 8, police have arrested 1,500 people and killed six.

Protesters hold a sign that reads in Spanish "Pena Out! No to the gasoline price hike!" January 7
Protesters hold a sign that reads in Spanish "Peña Out! No to the gasoline price hike," January 7.

Throughout Mexico, people are in the streets! Taking over the Mexican side of the Tijuana border crossing... seizing tankers and blocking oil company installations in the town of Rosarito Beach, just south of the border... blocking highways and taking over toll booths all over the country... blocking refineries in southern states... expropriating gas from gas stations and distributing it free... blocking all train traffic from the U.S. into Nogales, Sonora... marches that varied from several dozen to tens of thousands... the first week of 2017 was what the New York Times has called “A Turbulent Start to the New Year.” On January 1, in the “gasolinazo,” or “big gas hit,” the Mexican government floated gas prices to international levels, resulting in pump price increases of 14 percent to 20 percent.

At the urging of the U.S. over the course of several administrations, the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto pushed through the privatization of the Mexican oil company PEMEX, opening it up to foreign investment and control for the first time. Previously, PEMEX was owned and completely run by the government, and it regulated and subsidized prices of gasoline and other oil-related products. The removal of gas subsidies was one palpable result. Mexicans already paid twice as much for gas as a proportion of their income compared to Americans, so, for many, the price hikes literally take food from their children.

Revealingly, Mexican President Peña Nieto appeared on television to ask for understanding from the people. Regarding the gasoline price increase, he asked, “Here I ask you, what would you have done?” in the face of the rise of international oil prices and Mexico’s dependence on gasoline imports. In other words, FUCK YOU, PEOPLE!

Last year, Peña Nieto was the first if not the only foreign leader to invite Donald Trump for an official visit. The fury this visit provoked in Mexico was so great that it forced the resignation of Luis Videgaray, the finance minister who arranged the visit and also was one of the chief architects of the PEMEX privatization. Trump defended him in a tweet as “brilliant” and “wonderful”: Nuff said! Now Peña has appointed Videgaray as minister of foreign relations to work with the Trump-Pence regime, hence doubling down on the unpopularity of the measures and responding with more repression.

Calls for Peña to be removed as president were practically universal in the protests. Throughout Mexico people are demanding the resignation of President Peña Nieto and his government. His popularity rating has precipitously dropped below 25 percent. For some months there has been an increase in the calls for change: a change of president. On January 9 in Mexico City, housewives, university students and academics, workers, unemployed, single mothers, youth, senior citizens, shippers, representatives of trade union and social movements, feminists, merchants, lesbian-gay community members, and rockers joined in a march called through social media. Throughout the march, chants could be heard of “Fuera Peña, fuera Peña” (“Down with Peña, Down with Peña”). In a concert in October 2016, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd called for his resignation. The Mexican Conferencia Nacional de Gobernadores (Conago; National Conference of Governors) warns that governability and social stability is in danger. On January 9, the Confederación Patronal de la República Mexicana (Coparmex; Mexican Confederation of Business Owners), one of the key private institutions in Mexico, refused to sign on to Peña Nieto’s new economic development plan for Mexico.

As of January 8, police have arrested 1,500 people and killed six (police claim they were looters but in at least one demonstration in a southern town in Hidalgo, video shows that two marchers were shot dead with no provocation). The government has also used hundreds of fake social media accounts to justify the repression.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/ocr-the-truth-about-fascists-trump-and-pence-and-the-necessary-fight-to-stop-them-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

From Aurora Roja, voice of the Organización Comunista Revolucionaria, Mexico

The truth on the fascists Trump and Pence, and the necessary fight to stop them

January 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This recently was posted by the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico on their blog, Aurora Roja.

In the face of the election of the fascists Trump and Pence in the United States, many false illusions have been spread to put people to sleep in the face of the perilous danger they represent for the whole world. Here we present the truth about these false illusions.

1. “It does not affect us here”: The truth is that it is a deadly threat for the whole planet.

America Was Never Great--Fallujah
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You cannot wait and see with fascists
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It doesn’t affect us? On what planet do you live? Position yourself on the Earth, where a fascist “president-elect” of the United States affects everyone. Trump defends the use of unbridled violence, terror, torture, and even nuclear weapons, to “restore U.S. greatness.” His plan includes more devastating wars for empire, blatant white supremacy, and the persecution and subjugation of Blacks, Latinos, indigenous peoples, and other people of color in the U.S.; the persecution, deportation, and/or internment of immigrants and Muslims; the violent subjugation of women under a vicious patriarchal order, the continued repression of homosexuals, lesbians, and trans people, and the accelerated destruction of the environment and life on Earth. No one should close their eyes or remain quiet in the face of such crimes against humanity. Let us not accept that “we” end up in the Río Bravo [Grande]. We must take sides for humanity. If this fascist regime is consolidated in the U.S., it would mean a terrible leap forward in the brutal destruction of human lives by the capitalist-imperialist system and it will reinforce the growing fascist forces in other parts of the world.

Let us also face the fact that Mexico and the Mexicans are a central target in Trump’s racist and chauvinistic (patriotic) diatribes: Mexicans and Muslims are, to Trump, what the Jews were to Hitler. He slanders Mexican migrants as “rapists and criminals,” threatens to tax or confiscate migrants’ remittances to pay for the expansion of the border wall, deport two or three million people shortly after taking office, eliminate the temporary measures that protected some immigrants from deportation, and increase the militarization of the border. He emboldens fascist hordes who are already attacking immigrants and people of Latin American descent in general in the United States. The possible massive deportation of fellow Mexicans will greatly intensify the suffering in Mexico, in the current situation of very little economic growth and lack of employment, budget cuts (in education, health, etc.), the depreciation of Mexican currency, and the coming decrease in remittances, which are an important support for many families, as well as the sharpening of the war against the people: murders, disappearances, kidnappings, torture, and unjust imprisonment at the hands of the state and its partner, organized crime.

It is up to all of us to stand up and fight to stop the fascist regime that Trump/Pence and their team seek to impose, joining our voices and our bodies in the efforts of the fighters in the U.S. who declare “NO! In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America!” We need the closest unity among the people in the U.S., Mexico, and around the world to combat and defeat this threat for all mankind. It is up to us here in Mexico to expose and combat this fascism as part of the struggle to overthrow the system that spawned it, and create a much better world.

2. “What’s done is done” — They already elected him, nothing can be done: The truth is that it is possible and very necessary to prevent them from consolidating a fascist regime.

In the face of fascism, this saying means accepting what is unacceptable and accommodating instead of resisting. NO! No way! We must call out and fight right now to prevent this regime from taking office and to have full power to carry out this fascist program. There is no reason to respect Trump’s election: Both the elected candidate and the process itself are completely illegitimate. He lost the election by more than 2.7 million votes, and it was only thanks to the Electoral College, an institution created in the past to defend slavery in the United States, that he was elected president. Even more importantly, the fascist regime he represents is a grave danger to the future of humanity and is therefore illegitimate.

Many who saw Trump as a danger when he was a candidate now seek to collaborate with the “president-elect,” especially the political leaders of the system. Obama said he would do everything he could to make Trump “successful,” because his success would be “America’s success.” Hillary Clinton said that we have to “give him a chance.” The big media lie saying that Trump is becoming “moderate,” to “normalize” this fascism. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who once said that Trump was a fascist similar to Mussolini, now claims to be “optimistic” and “resolved” to work with the Trump government and to collaborate with fascism. So this despicable chief assassin [Peña Nieto], who is responsible for the massacres in Ayotzinapa, Nochixtlán, Tlatlaya, Tanhuato, Apatzingán, and so many other crimes, now boasts of kissing the ass of those who plot open terror in the service of greater exploitation and oppression of the whole world. And not only are the PAN and the PRD [Mexican ruling parties] on this tip, but also Andrés Manuel López Obrador [AMLO; a so-called opposition Mexican ruling class figure], who says he would support Peña Nieto, according to him, in order to protect the migrants, but in fact AMLO does this in order to show the Mexican ruling classes who are collaborating with Trump’s fascism, how “reasonable” he is. AMLO says that we should not worry because supposedly Mexico is sovereign and that if somebody honest was president (supposedly he is referring to himself), Trump would respect him, which in fact implies that he is willing to collaborate with this fascism that is trying to consolidate itself in power in the U.S. All these “leaders” represent the interests of the capitalist-imperialist system, they conciliate with the fascist program that is an extreme expression of the same system, and they strive to disorient and disarm the masses who are going to suffer major horrors under this regime.

The Trump/Pence regime causes anguish, fear and outrage among millions in the U.S. and among billions worldwide, and if this outrage turns into massive and determined resistance on the streets of the U.S., and if there is resistance in Mexico and other countries, this can lead to a political crisis that prevents Trump and Pence from consolidating their fascist regime. Mexico, with so many ties and people within the United States, has an important role to play in international protest in unity with the broad masses protesting within the U.S. The struggle of millions can bring down presidents. For example, we saw it in Egypt a few years ago, when millions protested and Mubarak fell. The time to stop fascism is now, BEFORE it imprisons or kills its opponents and eliminates any right to dissent. This struggle is crucial to stop fascism. In addition, preventing this regime from governing would contribute to creating much more favorable conditions to hasten the revolution to end the system that produced it.

The question for everyone is: Which side are you going to get with? Will you be with those who resist, with the masses who are confronting and will confront this capitalist-imperialist beast and fight for a more just world? Or will you accommodate with a fascist America with all the horrors that entails?

3. “It’s going to be good, it’s an opportunity for independent development”: The truth is that Trump promises to oppress and exploit Mexico more ruthlessly.

Independent development? In your dreams! Trump and Pence are not going to “leave alone” Mexico or any other oppressed country. Quite the opposite. They seek greater conquest, “jump-started” domination, a more voracious, more hegemonic, and more ruthless American empire than ever, to be reinforced as the undisputed number one exploiting power in the world. Listen to what Trump says: He is not an “isolationist” as misguided commentators say; he is an imperialist who demands “greater advantages” for the U.S. (as he said about renegotiating NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement]). In other words: Greater super-exploitation of workers, greater plundering of natural resources, greater devastation of the environment, and greater servility on the part of its junior partners who govern the oppressed countries. The United States would not exist as it is, if it had not robbed large territories from Mexico by means of war. The domination of Mexico has been a key piece for the American empire, economically and strategically. This domination is the most important root of the economic, political and social catastrophe in Mexico. The capitalist-imperialist system imposes dependent capitalist development in Mexico (and the other oppressed countries), a highly destructive “development” governed by profitability and the strategic interests of imperialism, and especially of U.S. imperialism. No president at the head of American capitalism-imperialism is going to let go of his domination over Mexico. Trump seeks to double down on it, and only communist revolution will break the chain of the world capitalist-imperialist system; will establish a new socialist economic and political system and will create a development that corresponds to the interests of the people, independent of imperialist domination, as a transition towards the emancipation of all humanity, a communist world.

4. “Trump is just more of the same”: The truth is that fascism is the blatant terrorist dictatorship of the imperialist capitalists.

It would be a very serious mistake to underestimate the danger of fascism and not to fight against it, by thinking that “it’s no big deal”.

Trump and Pence represent the same system and the same capitalist-imperialist ruling class as the previous governments in the U.S., but the fascist regime they will impose (if we do not stop it) will not be the simple continuation of “the same.” Let’s look at the Nazi regime in Germany in the 1930s. It drastically changed the whole society and incinerated six million Jews, as well as communists, Roma people (gypsies), and dissidents in general. Let’s look at the Pinochet regime in Chile in the 1970s: It unleashed a reign of terror, disappearing and murdering opponents and banning all forms of protest for many years. Was it “the same” as the Allende government or even the Christian Democrats who took office when Pinochet was finally removed from power? It should be obvious that the answer is, no.

What is fascism? Paraphrasing revcom.us: It is the exercise of the blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through the use of open violence and terror, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, using the power of the state and mobilizing organized groups of fanatic thugs to commit atrocities against the masses, in particular against the masses of people designated as “enemies,” “undesirables,” or “dangers to society.”

We need to fight to stop fascism, because it will greatly intensify the suffering of humanity and put its future in grave danger. We need to stop this regime, before it takes the reins of power in the U.S., because it will use this power to intimidate and violently repress all voices of opposition, critical thinking and dissent, and to reinforce its brutal domination in the world. Stopping fascism is a vital and urgent necessity, precisely in order to fight for the greatest goal of emancipating humanity from all kinds of oppression and subjugation.

The revolutionary communists are very aware that the United States, while it has the capitalist-imperialist system, is committing and will commit horrific crimes against the people, in the United States and throughout the world, whether its state is bourgeois democratic or fascist. We know that under Obama, nearly three million immigrants were deported, that Bill Clinton and Obama built hundreds of miles of wall on the border. We know that the two governments waged criminal wars for empire in the Middle East and other regions; in the 1990s, Clinton continued the sanctions and bombings that killed 500,000 Iraqi children caused by denying them drinking water, medicines, food, and public health; in the U.S., they reinforced the oppression of women, undermined the right to abortion won in the 1960s, oppressed Blacks, Latinos, indigenous peoples, defended the slow genocide of these nationalities through police murder and mass incarceration, and increased environmental disaster, among many other atrocities. And we know, to a large extent their actions paved the way for the establishment of fascism in the U.S., even if they have their differences with the fascists on how best to defend the system that they all represent. Nevertheless, it is essential to fight the attempt to impose fascism, not in order to restore bourgeois democracy, but to contribute to creating the best conditions to overthrow the capitalist-imperialist system as a whole.

5. “The democratic institutions (in the United States or the UN) will not allow them to do it”: The truth is that they will act quickly to try to consolidate their control of the state in the U.S. and to suppress whatever is an obstacle to their plan. The UN has no power to stop them.

First, the democratic institutions of the capitalist-imperialist system are also instruments of the monopoly of power by the bourgeois class. Although the way to exercise that power in a bourgeois democratic state is very different from a fascist regime, both are forms of dictatorship of the same class. That is why the Democratic Party in the U.S. has conciliated with the fascists, and now it will not mobilize people and will not lead a determined struggle against the fascist regime of Trump and Pence because they fear the “danger” of mass rebellion and are much more opposed to a true revolution, than to the fascism that will be imposed by other sections of their own class.

In addition, if the fascists take power, they will already have control of the Congress, and Trump will appoint fascism-minded judges to the Supreme Court and federal courts. They will take control of the different branches of the government and they will suppress institutions that do not agree with their agenda. Regarding the UN, it is a multilateral institution without real power, dominated by the same capitalist-imperialist system that created it. Trump also said that “as for the UN, things will be different after January 20.”

No “savior” will come from above, from the halls of power, to lead the determined and massive struggle necessary to prevent this fascist regime from taking office in the U.S. But there ARE many millions of people in the U.S. and around the world worried and outraged by the Trump-Pence victory, who can and do need to get organized to do prevent this from happening.

6. “They talk about Trump in order to distract us from the real problem, which is the government in Mexico”: The truth is that the real problem is the world capitalist-imperialist system and the Mexican government is its loyal servant.

Fighting against the Trump-Pence regime will not to distract us from the problem. In and of itself it is central to the problem. As we have said, “the government in Mexico” is the defender and servant of the capitalist-imperialist system, and above all of U.S. imperialism. Of course we need to fight against the Mexican government, but not only against “the government,” but against the system that this government represents and defends. Mexican President Peña Nieto and his government call us to take up “national unity”, not to fight against the regime of Trump and Pence, but to collaborate with this fascist, imperialist, racist, and misogynist regime, and perhaps try to bargain some small concessions in order to protect and expand imperialist investments, which are decisive for maintaining capitalism in Mexico and the state that defends it. None of the bourgeois political parties are mounting any serious resistance against the threats and slanders of Trump (and others in his cabinet) against migrants and Mexicans in general. They assure us that they are “prepared” for the deportation of millions of Mexicans: Oh yes, like when they promised us that the energy reform would lead to lower prices for gasoline and electricity! Whoever believes them must not have been paying attention!

We must fight against fascism, not to maintain or reinforce the “democratic” form of the same system that is exploiting, oppressing, killing, and subjugating us, but to weaken it and to strengthen and prepare the broad sections of society that need a real revolution to truly end this system of destruction and death, to emancipate the people in Mexico, and to contribute to this same revolution throughout the world.

Down with Trump, Down with Peña, Down with the whole system!
Everyone into the streets against the fascist regime of Trump/Pence and its bootlickers in Mexico!
The problem is the capitalist-imperialist system, the solution is the communist revolution!

Aurora Roja, voice of the Organización Comunista Revolucionaria, Mexico

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/outrageous-hypocrisy-of-US-indignation-at-interering-in-elections-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

The Outrageous Hypocrisy of U.S. "Indignation" at "Interfering in Elections"

January 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

A regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment focuses on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

In Tehran, Iran on August 19, 1953, mobs joined by the military took over streets chanting
Case #98 1953: CIA Coup in Iran: Torture and Repression—Made in the U.S.A. In Tehran, Iran on August 19, 1953, mobs joined by the military took over streets chanting “Long live the Shah! Death to Mossadegh!” They ransacked pro-Mossadegh newspapers and attacked his supporters.

Members of the youth wing of the Indonesian Communist Party being hauled to a Jakarta prison, October 30, 1965.
Case #100 1965 Massacre in Indonesia. Members of the youth wing of the Indonesian Communist Party being hauled to a Jakarta prison, October 30, 1965. (AP photo)

Honduran troops inside the presidential palace during the arrest of the president during the 2009 coup.
Case #75 Obama, Clinton and the 2009 Military Coup in Honduras. Honduran troops inside the presidential palace during the arrest of the president during the 2009 coup. (Photo: rbreve/flickr)

The leaders of the U.S. are livid with indignation, shocked, by the allegations of their own intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. How dare they violate our sovereignty, especially since (as the U.S. rulers never tire of saying), the very essence of America is its “democratic principles,” its “free and fair elections,” and its noble and self-sacrificing efforts to spread that democracy around the world.

This sanctimonious horseshit was sharply punctured by a January 6 op-ed in the Boston Globe by Stephen Kinzer, “We’ve been hacking elections for more than a century.” Kinzer was a New York Times correspondent and is now a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, and he lays bare an ugly slice of the reality of how the U.S. interfered in elections in other nations, and knows a thing or two about the reality of U.S. respect for other nations’ elections and sovereignty.

Kinzer runs through 13 cases between 1898 and 2014 of the U.S. blatantly interfering in elections of other countries.  The cases he cites are: Cuba, 1898; Hawai’i, 1900; Italy, 1948; Vietnam, 1955; Indonesia, 1955; Lebanon, 1957; Dominican Republic, 1965; Chile, 1964; Chile, 1970; Israel, 1975; Nicaragua, 1984; Honduras, 2009; Ukraine, 2014.

In Hawai’i (which had been an independent country), the U.S. annexed it and then staged elections in which most native Hawai’ians were not allowed to vote.

In Lebanon, it funded pro-U.S. candidates to Parliament, who then “chose” the leader the U.S. wanted as president. When people rose up in protest the U.S. sent troops to suppress them.

In the Dominican Republic, the U.S. backed a military coup against popularly elected President Juan Bosch. When people rose up against the military dictatorship, the U.S. sent 23,000 troops to crush the rebellion, killing about 4,000 Dominicans and setting up a brutal dictatorship.

In Chile in 1970, the CIA spearheaded a multi-pronged effort to block Salvador Allende’s election, including the assassination of a Chilean general who refused to lead a revolt against Allende. Allende was elected in spite of this, so the U.S. organized a coup against him in which hundreds of thousands were tortured, “disappeared,” imprisoned, or murdered. According to Kinzer, “An American official asserted that intervention in Chile was made necessary by ‘the stupidity of its own people,’ which they expressed by voting for a candidate we opposed.”

In the Ukraine Kinzer says: “as protesters gathered there in an effort to overthrow their elected government, a senior State Department official appeared in the crowd to encourage their revolt. She was caught telling an aide which Ukrainian politician was ‘the guy’ Americans had chosen to be Ukraine’s next leader, and asserting that the United States would ‘midwife this thing.’ A few weeks later our ‘guy’ became prime minister—setting off a crisis that ended with Russian military intervention.

This is a small sample of these interventions. Check out the American Crimes series for more examples, or Google “U.S. interfered in elections in”, and you will be reading for hours. All of this bears out what BA says in BAsics 1:3: 

The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy, but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/26-protestors-arrested-for-disrupting-the-sessions-hearing-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

26 Protesters Arrested for Disrupting the Sessions Hearing!

January 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The confirmation hearings for Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, did not go as hoped for, or planned, for these imperial politicians. Time and time again the hearings were disrupted—by a broad array of fighters from many different movements and sections of the people who came together with the same common determination to denounce Sessions’ appointment and these hearings.

Even before Sessions had a chance to open his mouth, he was greeted by two hooded ‘members’ of the Ku Klux Klan with big foam sports ‘hands’ declaring their full support for Sessions, joined by others from Code Pink (see interview with Medea Benjamin). All of them were dragged out of the chambers and arrested. Shortly after that, Carl Dix, an initiator of RefuseFascism.org, and another activist with RefuseFascism stood up and declared for all to hear: “No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA! Millions must pour into the streets to prevent Trump-Pence from taking power. RefuseFascism.org.” Dix was followed by two other groups of organizers with the RefuseFascism movement who stood up and continued: “NO Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA!” They too were hauled out of the room.

But the people were not done. Again the hearings resumed, getting back to the ‘solemn’ process of putting their rubber stamp of approval on this pig. Once again, this time people chanting “Black Lives Matter” stood up, one after another, and raised signs and made statements as they were escorted out of the room. And still later, seven people involved with the regional organization CASA Latino stood up and called out Sessions’ anti-immigrant attacks, including his threats that people of the Muslim religion should be treated as suspects, his support for the Klan, and more. On January 14, protests are planned against Trump’s threat to immigrants in 22 cities across the country.

And at the same time that the hearing was taking place, a group of Howard University students, from the NAACP Chapter and members of Democracy Spring—with the support of the Howard University Student Association—took over Sessions’ nearby office and were arrested and dragged out when they refused to leave. In all, 26 protesters were arrested for refusing to allow the fascist regime’s first appointment to be sanctified without a message being delivered that for millions of people in this country, this approaching horror is unacceptable.

In addition, on the day before this hearing, Reverend William Barber, the top official of North Carolina’s NAACP, led a march of 500 people speaking out against Sessions’ appointment before delivering a petition against Sessions to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. Barber said that “Sessions’s immoral record shows consistent support for ideological extremism, racist and classist policies, and the writing of discrimination into laws.”

The impact of all of these different expressions of opposition and resistance have delivered a powerful challenge to the hearings as a whole. They make clear that many different and growing sections of society are awakening to the danger, the horror represented by the Trump-Pence regime and are compelled to speak out, and to act with courage and daring to oppose, resist, and do all they can to stop Sessions.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/reality-check-cracks-and-fissures-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Reality Check:
Cracks and Fissures in the Power Structure—And the Need to Flood the Streets of D.C.

January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Trump is illegitimate and a fascist, and because of everything that means he and his henchmen must be prevented from ruling.  THAT is why millions must take to the streets to actually make that urgent need a reality.

The controversy over Trump’s alleged ties to Russia is extremely volatile, and intense differences over how to deal with Russia is one big reason why some forces at the top of the power structure are unhappy with Trump.  Allegations are being made which have put Trump on the defensive; right now these are being used by powerful rival forces to influence Trump, to hem him in, and to undermine his ability to carry out parts of his program.   Right now, these allegations are being used in a conflict over how Trump should rule, not whether he should rule.  Left to itself, nothing good will come of this struggle which, after all, is over how best to “project power” (that is, to unjustly dominate whole sections of the world). 

However: IF people do answer the call and flood the streets of DC, beginning 4 o’clock this Saturday afternoon, January 14, and IF this flood grows and is not stopped, then those conflicts at the top may not be able to be contained within the framework of “a seamless transition” and jockeying for position within that, and could form part of “the mix” that could actually prevent this regime from taking power.  So: keep our eyes on the prize, keep fighting around the essential reasons why these fascists must not rule, don’t become a cheering section for one or another section of rulers... but DO remain aware of the cracks and fissures in the power structure that could be turned to favorable advantage.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/sunsara-taylor-day-three-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Running with the Resistance—on the Ground in DC, Daily Dispatches from Sunsara Taylor

January 10: “No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA!"—26 Arrests Protesting Fascist Jeff Sessions; Connecting at Howard University

by Sunsara Taylor

January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Day three in DC started very, very early.  There's just ten days left till the inauguration that must not happen, so we have a lot to pack in.

Before 6:30 am, Carl Dix and other volunteers were lined up outside the Russell Senate Office Building, waiting for entry into the confirmation hearings of KKK-sympathizer Jeff Sessions, along with activists from the NAACP, immigrant’s rights, Code Pink, Democracy Spring and Howard University.

By 9:30 am, every major network had their cameras rolling inside.  Sessions hadn't even made it to his seat before the disruptions began.  Two men dressed in fake KKK outfits jumped up and shouted greeting to Sessions: “We're here for you, boy!”  As the police roughly dragged them off, in mock shock, they exclaimed, “What?  You can't arrest me, I'm white!” 

Republican Dixiecrat Richard Shelby gave nauseating testimony about what a “good guy” Sessions is.   Susan Collins used a mention of her disagreements with Sessions to buttress her claim that he wasn't a racist dog that everybody knows him to be.  She dredged up the fact that Arlen Spector—the pig who gleefully took up the task of skewering Anita Hill 20 years ago on behalf of the Republicans—regrets only one vote in his career and that is when he voted against Sessions in the 80s.  With character witnesses like that...

Unable to contain herself at the obscenity of all this inappropriate praise, a woman burst out laughing.  Police ejected her from the proceedings.  Yes, they banned laughter.

Sessions gave special recognition to the many law enforcement officials he had personally invited.  “Law and order” is a code word for state-backed terror and murder against Black people and Brown people, and the sight of all these high-level enforcers rising was chilling.  Except, the moment was not theirs.  Along with them, a cannabis activist rose and was quickly dragged away by police.

Just as Sessions had returned to his script, naming his family members and doing his best to appear less like the Grim Reaper, Carl Dix's voice rang out: “No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA!”  Over and over, Carl shouted this, calling on people to flood into the streets of DC starting January 14th to stop the Trump-Pence fascist regime from taking power.  All the cameras caught it and this lasted long enough to get the website, www.RefuseFascism.org, in several times.

Within minutes, people began tweeting their recognition and love:

I see you @Carl_Dix! Thank you for standing strong against Jeff Sessions brother. We see you!

— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 10, 2017

Proud to say I briefly represented Carl Dix in court in NYC Stop & Frisk case. Here he is speaking truth to power at Sessions hearing. https://t.co/CX7QtbScCT

— Tom Hillgardner (@TomHillgardner) January 10, 2017

Eventually, the hearing was pulled back to order and Sessions resumed.  For about 40 seconds.  Then the air was pierced once again with the chant, “No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA!”  A young woman was being dragged out, but her voice continued calling out the website RefuseFascism.org and calling for people to stop the Trump-Pence regime before it starts.

All day long this went on.  Across the hall, students from Howard University and members of the NAACP sat in at Sessions office.  Later, a group of immigrants’ rights protesters jumped up and got arrested.  In total, we have reports of 26 people arrested—most of them held outrageously long, getting out around midnight and later.  One of them is still detained until at least tomorrow afternoon.  Two more interruptions from members of the Revolution Club volunteering with RefuseFascism.org to STOP Trump and Pence before they come to power.

Even as many of our people were in jail and some were outside waiting and pushing for their release, we dispatched a small team to go out to a nearby university.  They went inside and made announcements in about 10 classes, some that were extremely supportive and responded with applause.  Others were discouraged by their professor's negative reaction.  I'll be learning and reporting more about this tomorrow, but here is a few video from some of these students:

This evening, Wesley Lowery, author of They Can't Kill Us All, spoke at Potter's House.  A couple volunteers went out there with some signs, hundreds of flyers, and other materials.  They listened and, during the Q&A they told people about Carl Dix and others still being in jail and called on people to flood into the streets of DC starting Jan 14th and building every day from there. One woman donated $150 on the spot to support those who had suffered arrest.

Meanwhile: The conflicts among the rulers continue to sharpen up and reveal themselves in various ways. 

But, as RefuseFascism has emphasized in its FAQs, none of this goes anywhere good without millions rising up to refuse and resist the imposition of a Trump-Pence fascist regime.  While this is not where we are yet at, and while this will require a tremendous leap after tremendous leap in a few short days and unrelentingly continuing after that until we prevail, today's robust protests and arrests at the Sessions hearing are good harbinger.  They both reflect a rising mood of rebelliousness and refusal among the people, and they can help usher in and broaden out such a mood very quickly. 

Now is the time to seize this new momentum, as well as the major full-page ad in tomorrow's Washington Post, and really galvanize, organize, and mobilize hundreds... into thousands... and millions in the coming days... to STOP this FASCIST, and therefore ILLEGITIMATE, regime before it comes to power.

All but one of the protesters has now been released.  It is outrageous that anyone is still being held and we will post numbers to call to support him tomorrow.  To close out tonight, let me give you Carl Dix, speaking right as he stepped out of jail:

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/obama-farewell-speech-a-criminal-attempt-to-lead-people-to-accept-the-fascist-trump-pence-regime-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Obama Farewell Speech:

A Criminal Attempt to Lead People to Accept the Fascist Trump-Pence Regime

January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Right now, humanity faces an immense threat as the fascist Trump-Pence regime prepares to take over the reins of power of a powerful imperialist country with the most destructive military in history—unless they are stopped by mass resistance and political crisis. Millions of people in the U.S. and around the world are filled with fear, anxiety, and anger.

At this critical historical juncture, outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama gave his final speech—and did nothing to sound an urgent alarm about the real and urgent danger looming over the world or to rally people to resist this and do what is needed. In fact, he did the opposite.

Obama's key message: "In 10 days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next." When there were audible sounds of dismay and discontent among the thousands in the audience at this reference to Trump, Obama chastised and silenced them, saying, "No, no, no, no, no" and continued, "I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me."

"Smoothest possible transition" to what?! To a Muslim registry and the deportation of millions of immigrants... full unleashing of murdering pigs and racist lynch mob mentality... bellicose bullying and aggression around the world, including threatened use of nukes... gutting of women's right to abortion... denial of global climate change as a "hoax," wreaking even greater devastation to the environment... and many more intolerable crimes against humanity that the Trump-Pence cabal has promised and is already moving quickly to put in motion.

Obama's call for the "smoothest possible transition" stands in starker contrast considering his following remarks in the speech on the threats to "democracy," both long-term and immediate. In some of what he evoked, for those seriously in anguish, one could potentially read specters of the incoming Trump-Pence regime, specifically "fear of people who look or speak or pray differently," "contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable," and "intolerance for dissent and free thought." These speak to some real differences in the worldviews and professed modes of rule between the Obama and the Trump-Pence regimes, whatever the actual reality.

It is important to recognize that the "peaceful transition of power" that the rulers are now in the process of carrying out is NOT the "normal" transfer of power from one section among them to another with a somewhat different take on how to carry out their imperialist interests. While this is still the system of capitalism-imperialism, what is underway now is in fact a radical shift and jolt, from a form of rule that people have experienced in this country over decades to an openly dictatorial, fascist form of rule which (to quote from "What IS Fascism?") tramples "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.'" Think about the historical example of how Hitler came to power—through the democratic process and elections—and then instituted fascism.

In this context, it is even more criminal that Obama and the Democrats are now trying to steer people away from what should have been done in 1930s Germany—rise up and stop the fascists before they consolidate their hold over the state and society.

Leading People Into the Killing Clutches of the American Fascists

Obama is a representative of a class that rules over a viciously exploitative system, the capitalist-imperialist system—as is Trump. And in that position, Obama himself has carried out many crimes of his own in his eight years, which has helped to lay some of the groundwork for the Trump-Pence fascists—such as ordering assassinations of those deemed "enemies" of the U.S., including American citizens, and other expansion of executive power. One of his top crimes now is how he is using his position, influence, and voice to try to lead people into the killing clutches of the American fascists, who will take these crimes to another level of intensity and horror.

The lengths that Obama and other Democrats are going to legitimize and normalize Trump shows how, when the choice is between existential threat to their system from instability and unrest on the one hand, and a fascist form of rule on the other, they will go with fascism. But their fear of rebellion from below also reveals that things are not yet all "sewn up" and that much rests on the people acting and fighting back in a determined way—to reset the terms through the action of thousands, who inspire and spark hundreds of thousands and then millions, visibly and militantly saying NO! to the fascist regime.

Early in the speech, Obama sang praises of "the great gift our Founders gave us. The freedom to chase our individual dreams through our sweat, toil, and imagination—and the imperative to strive together as well, to achieve a greater good." Obama said that "our progress has been uneven," but that "the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some."

It's in the context of this "long sweep of America" that he's urging people to accept, like he does, the "peaceful transition of power" to the Trump-Pence regime. But to the extent that there have usually been seamless and nonviolent transitions of power in this country, this has had much to do with the position of the U.S. in the world, dominating and exploiting huge areas of the globe. This has allowed the capitalist class of exploiters and oppressors to get large sections of the U.S. population to identify with the rulers, enabling those on the top to trade off one set of representatives for another, while the same overall system continues on.

This has meant horrors for billions of people, here and worldwide—from slavery and genocide of Native people that lie at the foundation of this country to the situation today. As Bob Avakian points out in Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy

Not only did slavery play a major role in the historical development of the U.S., but the wealth and power of the U.S. rests today on a worldwide system of imperialist exploitation that ensnares hundreds of millions, and ultimately billions, of people in conditions hardly better than those of slaves.1 Now, if this seems like an extreme or extravagant claim, think about the tens of millions of children throughout the Third World who, from a very, very early age, are working nearly every day of the year—as the slaves on the southern plantations in the United States used to say, "from can't see in the morning, till can't see at night"—until they've been physically used up, with their lives literally passing, bit by bit, day after day, from them into the machinery on which they're working (or which, in a real sense, is working on them, wearing their lives away) and into the products which they are producing through this labor. These are conditions very similar to outright slavery, and they often go along with superstructural expressions which are very close to slavery—ways in which, through customs and traditions, and sometimes even formal codes, the lives of these children, and others in these conditions, are controlled, confined and degraded. This includes overt sexual harassment of women, and many other degradations as well.

All this is the foundation on which the imperialist system rests, with U.S. imperialism now sitting atop it all.

All this is what Obama—and those before him—have presided over and is "passing the baton" on to Trump.

Trump-Pence Will Mean Vicious and Open Dictatorship

It remains to be seen whether the Trump-Pence fascists will lash out against and repress others within the ruling class they see as obstacles to their aims. Remember that Trump had threatened to both jail and use violence against Hillary Clinton in the course of the campaign—that is unprecedented in U.S. history. But what IS certain is that if the Trump-Pence regime is allowed to rule, it will not just mean increased hardships for and attacks on the masses of people, on a trajectory that has already been taking place in recent years. No—a Trump-Pence regime in power will mean vicious and open dictatorship against the people and violent suppression of not only actual revolution but of any serious resistance and even dissent and critical thinking broadly. It will mean qualitatively intensified levels of horror and suffering for billions of people worldwide.

This is not hyperbole. It is not a matter of "let's wait and see." Trump and other fascist ghouls have already threatened to use waterboarding and worse against anyone they allege is a "terrorist"—and they've labeled whole groups of people as "terrorists" until proven otherwise. They have already set their sights on overturning Roe v. Wade, depriving women of the right to abortion and greatly tightening the chains of patriarchal oppression. They have already made clear their intention to fully unleash the police on Black and other oppressed people, without the pretense of "oversight." You can go down the line—they have left no doubt that when they rule, they will act like... fascists.

The coming to power of a fascist regime may be a matter of a "long game" for different sections of the imperialists who sit atop this system. In his speech, as we mention above, Obama laid out the approach of those in the ruling class who think that the best way to pursue U.S. imperialist interests is to allow some space for dissent, scientific thinking, and diverse culture (while clamping down when necessary). And they hope to influence some of what is shaping up to perhaps "tone down" what they see as the rougher edges, the things that could backfire against U.S. imperialist interests, both "at home" and around the world. But for the masses of people, the fascist Trump-Pence regime will be a giant leap backward, both in terms of the oppression and suffering they face and their ability to resist this and to fight for anything larger beyond resistance.

And here's another basic truth: Capitalism in the world has produced fascists and fascist rule before, and will continue to do so in the face of deep challenges and conflicts. This is a system where the ruling classes bounce back and forth between a form of oppression under which there is some space allowed for dissent, even as that oppression continues and takes on even worse dimensions—and times when they simply dispense with even that space and rights altogether because the rulers deem it too dangerous to even allow. As long as we are locked into this outmoded system, billions of people here and around the world will continue to be relentlessly ground down. And with accelerating climate change and the heightened possibility of nuclear war, it could even call into question how long human life could continue.

As we fight together to prevent the disaster of the Trump-Pence regime, let's talk about the possibilities of an actual revolution to bring about a world without capitalism-imperialism, without any more basis for fascist rule. A world without borders, without masters and slaves of any kind. A world where people work and struggle together for the common good... where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets what they need to live a life worthy of human beings. This is the world that the Revolutionary Communist Party is fighting to bring into being, this is the world—and the struggle—that Bob Avakian has provided the invaluable and visionary leadership for, this is the world that—as you are fighting this monstrosity—you absolutely need to look into, check out, and get deeper into.

       

1 The overall, international network of imperialist domination and exploitation also involves, still today, a significant dimension of actual slavery. In addition to other forms of outright slavery, a major aspect of this is the "sex industry" and the international "sex trade," in which huge numbers of women, especially young women and even many very young girls, are forcibly entrapped, while major crime syndicates and more "legitimate" capitalists derive huge profits from this.[back]

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/professions-and-confessions-of-a-reluctant-activist-in-the-time-of-trump-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Professions (and Confessions) of a Reluctant Activist in the Time of Trump

January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

by Bonnie Darves (originally published January 11, 2017 by Common Dreams)

I missed the protests of the 1960s because I was too young. I was on the sidelines of 1970s activism because I was working and trying to get through college. In the 1980s I had young children. In the 1990s I was working a couple of jobs and did little more than sign the occasional petition. I have no excuses for not doing more to support or protect what I believe in, during the aughts and beyond, other than complacency—I am a journalist and I am well read, so I have absolutely no excuses.

That’s the mea culpa part. And that chapter is over. It ended effective Nov. 9, 2016, when I woke up, read the election results, and first stumbled around in a daze for a few hours, then began fretting, weeping, reeling and railing.

Sound familiar? Read on. Every day since Nov. 9, 2016, I have bristled at the unfolding diatribe and devastation issuing from the so-called president-elect’s compound. “What in the h_ _ _?” I ask of what remains of the benevolent universe, “is happening to my country?” Each new exhibition of racism and xenophobia, each reactionary rambling, each clear indication of a megalomaniac’s intention to dismantle our democracy and replace it with an authoritarian regime is a body blow. I take particular umbrage, as a healthcare journalist, at the rabid, rancorous push to get rid of the Affordable Care Act—this country’s first achievement in a long-overdue attempt to reduce the ranks of the uninsured and increase access to healthcare—and replace it with “To Be Announced.”

Last week, I came across the full-page ad in the New York Times sponsored by the grass-roots Refuse Fascism movement that seeks “in the name of humanity,” to disrupt the Trump-Pence regime before it can act on the racist, reactionary and increasingly rabid platform it’s trying to shove down America’s throat. I read every word, twice.

At first, I squirmed at the term fascism. It’s not in my lexicon. So I read a handful of scholarly summaries (including disputes) on the term. Here’s a short list for which there’s reasonable concurrence:

Fueled by forcible repression of opposition. Check.

Characterized by chauvinism and misogyny. Check.

Commandeered, typically, by a “strongman” whose statements are patently racist and xenophobic. Check.

Organized by a hierarchy of functions named from the top and sanctioned by the “leader” figure. Check.

Underpinned by actions to suppress unions, broaden state intervention, and employ technocracy and solidarity to place “productive sectors”—the economy in its entirety, in this case—under regime control. Check and double check.

Then, this usually mild-mannered suburbanite, and somewhat reluctant and admittedly inexperienced activist signed on and attended the first Refuse Fascism organizing meeting in Seattle. And then I went to work to enlist support for the cause. Next week, I will take to the streets of Washington, D.C. along with what I hope will be tens of thousands of Americans who show up to protest everything the Trump-Pence regime stands for and the inauguration itself.

Because the stakes are that high. Because the situation is that dire. Because if I value my First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful protest, I have no choice but to wrench myself from the mire of helplessness and hopelessness, stop whining and get moving.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Bonnie Darves is a Kirkland, Wash., journalist and poet.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/die-in-at-sf-twitter-hq-demands-ban-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Die-in at Twitter HQ in San Francisco, January 7
Twitter headquarters, San Francisco, January 7. Photos: Special to revcom.us

Twitter headquarters, San Francisco, January 7

Die-in at SF Twitter HQ Demands Ban on @realDonaldTrump for Hateful, Dangerous Tweets

January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

San Francisco—Saturday, January 7, a couple dozen activists staged a protest and die-in at Twitter headquarters, demanding that Twitter ban @realdonaldtrump for repeatedly tweeting dangerous hate speech: racism, lies, and threats of violence including up to inciting nuclear war.

Twitter’s own rules state: “In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we do not tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.”

“Because of Twitter’s anti-abuse policies, because of their stated commitment to social justice, and because they do business in San Francisco, they should ban @realDonaldTrump,” said A.E. Marling of refusefascism.org, lead organizer of the protest. “Giving voice to a fascist and allowing him to spew his hatred and ignorance not only threatens to destroy our democracy, but could also lead to the next world war.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/taking-out-refuse-fascism-at-obama-farewell-speech-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Taking out Refuse Fascism at Obama's Farewell Speech

January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Wall of NO! in Chicago, near Obama's farewell speech

On a cold, rainy, windy Tuesday night, January 10, close to 20,000 people came to the McCormick Place convention center to see Barack Obama’s farewell address. People had lined up the previous Saturday to get tickets and people were told to get there early.

Thousands were greeted by teams from RefuseFascism.org boldly taking out the message, “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA” and calling on people to go to Washington DC to be in the streets to “Stop Trump-Pence before it starts” The “No Trump, No KKK” chant echoed the chant by Carl Dix and others who had disrupted the confirmation hearing of racist lying-ass Jeff Sessions earlier in the day.

One team outside had a big banner with “NO! In the Name of Humanity We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America,” and agitated and chanted through a sound system. Another team, wearing “NO!” signs, stickers, and buttons, found a great spot where people poured into a building and up an escalator.

Flyers went out as people rushed into the Lakeside Center. People had been told through the press that they would go through airport-like security and that no leaflets or banners were allowed. Some of the people who didn’t take flyers indicated support and where challenged that this was not enough, they had to be organizers. We also made a point of shouting out the website refusefascism.org.

Nearby, on a brick building, was a breathtaking huge projection:

NO!
THIS FASCIST REGIME
MUST BE STOPPED
BEFORE IT STARTS
WWW.REFUSEFASCISM.ORG

This was a great opportunity to reach thousands with RefuseFascism’s urgent message, including many who will be targets of Trump-Pence’s fascist plans.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/environmentalists-nationwide-protest-trumps-global-warming-denier-nominees-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Environmentalists Nationwide Protest Trump's Global Warming Denier Nominees

January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Monday, January 9, in actions under the hashtag #DayAgainstDenial, environmentalists across the country marched to Senators’ home offices to demand that they oppose Trump’s cabinet nominees who “are hostile to combating climate change,” and those representing “big oil” like Rex Tillerson, head of ExxonMobil and Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State.

January 9, Santa Fe: #DayAgainstDenial protest outside the offices of the U.S. senators from New Mexico

January 9, Santa Fe: #DayAgainstDenial protest outside the offices of the U.S. senators from New Mexico. Photo: 350NewMexico

Sharon Kelly wrote at the DeSmogBlog:

The #DayAgainstDenial protests attracted hundreds of demonstrators in cities large and small, organizers said. More than 200 people arrived at Senator Susan Collins’ office in Portland, Maine, according to protesters, who said it was among the largest demonstrations ever organized outside Collin’s Portland office. Protests in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and San Francisco each drew crowds that numbered in the hundreds (despite sub-freezing temperatures across much of the U.S. on Monday).

The group 350.org sent out a message:

Yesterday, thousands of people took the next step to resist Trump's fossil fuel agenda with nationwide protests against the climate deniers in charge of his White House cabinet. Their message ended: "The actions yesterday are just one step in the resistance to Trump's agenda. We'll need to do more—but stepping out in the streets and jamming the phone lines, before hearings start, is crucial to building the movement we need for what’s to come.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/cnn-runs-story-trump-didnt-like-gets-denounced-and-censored-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

CNN Runs Story Trump Doesn't Like—Gets Denounced and Censored at Press Conference

January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At Trump’s press conference on Wednesday, January 11—his first in 168 days, and one that he packed with his own staff to cheer their führer from the sidelines—a shouting match erupted between Trump and CNN’s Jim Acosta.

It started with Trump denouncing Buzzfeed for posting a 35-page (unsubstantiated) report alleging Trump had corrupt ties to Russia, hired prostitutes there and other charges that put him in a bad light. Then Trump denounced CNN for covering the fact that this report had been made public. Trump said Buzzfeed would “suffer the consequences” and that CNN was “a disgrace.”

Once the floor was open, Acosta called out: “Since you are attacking our news organization, can you give us a question.” Trump shouted him down, saying, “No, not you, not you, your organization is terrible... quiet, quiet... No, I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.” And then took a question from another reporter. And Acosta says that afterwards, Trump’s incoming press secretary told him that “if I were to do that again I was going to be thrown out.”

Just think about this—at a press conference—supposedly a forum for public officials to be accountable to the people, the president-elect lashes out at the media for covering stories he doesn’t want them to cover. And then he shuts down the “offending” news organization from even being able to ask questions!

Two questions:

  1. What does it tell us about Trump’s high-handed, vindictive and dictatorial outlook—and about what his rule will be like if he is allowed to take the reins of power—when even reporting news that he does not want reported is cause for a public slap-down and shutdown of a major media organization?
  2. Why didn’t every other reporter there shout “let him speak” (instead of shouting for the chance to get their own question in)? And then when Acosta was not allowed to raise a question, shouldn’t they have all walked out? This is what must happen, throughout society. These are not normal times. A fascist regime is preparing to take power—and it’s on everybody’s shoulders to confront this and act to stop it.

That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learnor be forcedto accept.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/the-time-is-now-get-organized-to-stop-trump-pence-regime-before-it-starts-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

The Time Is Now. Get Organized to Stop the Trump-Pence Regime Before It Starts

A Talk for Mass Organizing Meetings, January 11 and 12, 2017

January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I’m going to get to WHY we have to put all of our energies now to stop this regime from ruling, from taking the reins of power, but if you’re here you already want to do that, so I’m gonna start with the big question that probably most of you have right now: how could this actually be done? By bringing DC to a Halt! Huge numbers of people getting into the streets day after day, night after night, creating a political crisis such that the Trump-Pence Regime is prevented from coming to power. Let's get into it.

Imagine this: hundreds, maybe thousands, of people form up this Saturday afternoon, the 14th, at 4 o’clock. Different kinds of people—people who’ve been active in movements or their communities or their workplaces and people who have not, people for whom this is their first time protesting, or first time in years, but they HAVE to do whatever they can to prevent the fascist from taking the reins. They saw the New York Times or Washington Post ad and got in touch... they saw the NO! in their neighborhood or where they work or hang out... they saw something on social media because of the hard work that is going to be done by people in this room... they saw something on TV and all that made it seem like “okay, this is real”—and there they are on Saturday afternoon the 14th before he gets sworn in—in order to prevent that from happening.

They start to march, not enough to stop Trump but enough to get the support of the passing cars and pedestrians. Cars honk in support, people join in, the march spills into the streets, people going into the night, the people in and around the march tweeting, texting, Facebooking, Instagramming and all the rest of that jazz, hey, here we are, come down... This march grows, people on the march take stacks of flyers, posters, palm cards, whatever else they can get their hands on that says NO! to Trump-Pence and the fascist regime they are aiming to install. People block traffic, they won’t be contained, they make it clear in all kinds of different ways that they are determined that this not be allowed to go down, and they call on everyone to join them. As the march grows, people split off and go into different places, different neighborhoods... Suddenly, that night, where no hope to prevent this fascist regime had existed before, now there is hope. Before people leave, they get organized for the days ahead.

All day Sunday people are fanning out with posters, stickers, leaflets of the NO!, printing more, and spreading the word in every which way to be at McPherson Square at 4 o’clock... that’s the gathering time. People going all that day to church services, to the new Museum of Black History and the Holocaust Museum and Museum of the American Indian—everywhere where people go to think about how we got to where we are today... people going to movie lines and coffee shops and brunch places... everywhere there are other people gathering... people going onto social media... spreading the word—4 p.m., we gotta prevent Trump. Where hundreds gathered the night before, now there are thousands. And the same thing happens—blocking traffic, gathering people, going into the night.

Organize others to organize others to organize others...
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Saturday, January 14. Be in DC!
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Monday, same thing, getting out all day to recruit more people to come that afternoon at 4. But all that day, people also getting with people they know or people they’ve met... people coming to the organizing hubs... and getting ready to think about how do we all flood into the city on Tuesday and make manifest that we are NOT going to accept the fascist Trump-Pence regime wreaking havoc and damage on humanity for the next four years, using the most powerful state in the world to silence people and to suppress people and to prevent people from raising their head.  Marches need to circle the capitol and other centers of power... stage sit-ins... not going to work... engaging in what we used to call “wildcat strikes,” where government employees just walk out... where young people leave their high schools and head downtown... where the colleges are emptying out... because people feel that NOW there’s a CHANCE.

All this time, from Saturday the 14th on, going to all the groups that are fighting Trump—the ones who came out to protest the march of ghouls in the confirmation hearings this week, the ones out there Saturday and Sunday protesting for immigrant rights, the ones out there Sunday and Monday in the movement for Black lives, commemorating MLK Day, the people getting ready for the women’s march—going to everyone and making common cause, because let’s face it, it would be far, far, far, far better to PREVENT this dangerous and unbalanced fascist from getting his hands on the reins of power than having to deal with him once he’s got them, and is able to use the force of state to implement his fantasies of waterboarding and worse, of going after the press, of taking citizenship away from people for burning a flag, and so on down the line.

And the debates will rage, passionate and serious and actually building up the unity.

“But they were elected, we need a peaceful transition of power.” “Well, Hitler came to power legally too—should people have not resisted him? Go to the Holocaust Museum—by the time they did it was too late. Trump is illegitimate BECAUSE he is a fascist.”

“But he hasn’t done anything yet.” “Well, actually he has—he has threatened the world with a new nuclear arms race, he has attacked and attempted to intimidate those who oppose him, he has incited violence and threatened the press and promised to use torture—and he isn’t even in power. And that’s why he has to be prevented from seizing power.”

“Yes, but what will you replace him with?” “Someone who is NOT a fascist!”

The more this debate rages, the better it is for us, the people who are trying to prevent what would truly be a catastrophe.

People will be jumping into cars and driving all night to get to DC, they’ll be taking planes and buses, and there’ll be churches in DC and ordinary people who throw open their doors and say, yeah, sleep on my couch or put your sleeping bag on the floor of my basement, I gotta step out of my comfort zone so we can stop what would be a monstrous thing, and matter of fact I want to help out any way I can.

And you’ll hear the people at the very top of society, the ones who have serious concerns about Trump but have decided to accept him and even “normalize” him, begin to raise questions whether maybe this is one of those times when extraordinary things must be done. They’ll be looking at you and wondering whether YOU are going to start to question the legitimacy of the government and they’re going to be calculating that. They’re going to look at whether having Trump come to power, someone who is so thoroughly repudiated by such a large and growing section of the people could be avoided—and we’ll be insisting No Trump, No Pence, No KKK, No Fascist USA. We’ll be raising our heads and debating not only how we win this battle and not just come out of it with someone just like Trump but without all the baggage—like Pence—but also how we got into this mess and what kind of society do we need and what kinds of changes have to be made for there to be a social order where humanity comes first.... because, after all, like the ad you saw, and some of you signed, in the New York Times and today in the Washington Post and tomorrow who knows where, it is in the name of humanity that we refuse to accept a fascist America.

No, it won’t be quite as smooth as I’m laying out. That’s the plan—and it’s definitely possible, it could definitely happen if enough people got with it now and stayed with it, something not that different just went down in South Korea—but it’s a plan, and you work with a plan and improvise, and we know there’ll be attacks of all kinds on this, including the kinds of attacks we’ve seen over these past few years against the movement against police murder, against the people who’ve been fighting so hard and set such a powerful example at Standing Rock and are STILL fighting, that always happens when you go up against the power. We’ll deal with those by using those attacks to underline even more how just our cause is, and to rally new people to come forward and pick up the banner, to make the attacks more politically costly to the other side than to the people, to make any attack on this cause politically boomerang against those who attack it...

So that’s vision and plan of how it could be done, with everyone here taking a part and going out and getting others, and coming out on Saturday. We are setting out to make history, creating such a political crisis from below by people like ourselves, in huge numbers, acting outside normal political channels with the determination to do what it takes to bring DC to a Halt, to not stop, because we refuse to live in a fascist America.

You here tonight know why this must be done. You know why millions must come in the streets and say NO!

Because we know what happens if Trump-Pence take power. You could walk through a list of everything that Trump has promised he will do, every threat he has made, the ugly slurs he has lodged against groups, the whipping up of a mob spirit against the press and protestors, including directly threatening people at his rallies and threatening other protestors with stripping their citizenship, the racism, the national chauvinism and xenophobia and war threats, the hatred and contempt for women that he just oozes and models... all these are horrific and should never be normalized, but they all flow from something bigger: Donald Trump is a fascist, and he is installing a gang of fascists at the helm of the most powerful state in the world. This is the Hitler of our day, people, with the ominous exception that this is a Hitler coming to power with nuclear weapons and at a time of environmental disaster. THAT is why he is illegitimate, THAT is why he must be prevented from ruling, and THAT is why we ALL need to be in the streets, beginning this Saturday, the 14th, at 4 p.m., in Washington, DC most of all and everywhere else as well.

Everyone here has a mission. A mission to get more people into this. A mission to organize others. We have organizing kits available online and materials for you, and we have a welcoming atmosphere where you can come and hash out what you’re running into.

We are about to do something really great for humanity and for future generations—so let’s get into it.


Presentation for Organizing Meetings prepared by Andy Zee on behalf of the Initiators of RefuseFascism.org

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/15-witness-against-torture-activists-arrested-in-dc-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

15 Witness Against Torture Activists Arrested in D.C. Shut Down Guantánamo!

January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This press release from Witness Against Torture was released Wednesday, January 11:

Clad in orange jumpsuits and Shut Down Guantánamo t-shirts, activists with Witness Against Torture took over the Hart Senate Building with a message for Senators, staffers, and the general public. They marked the 15th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The message was “Shut Down Guantánamo,” “No Torture Cabinet” and “Hate Doesn’t Make U.S. Great.” These statements were painted on a banner that activists dropped from a balcony as 9 members of the group dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods held a die-in, mourning those Muslim men who died at Guantanamo without ever being charged with a crime. The nine, and four others, were arrested by Capitol Police, as supporters sang “O America, don’t believe their lies. Their politics of hate will destroy our children’s lives.” The balconies were crowded with onlookers as the action unfolded. One of the two who unfurled the “No Torture Cabinet” banner was also taken into custody.

These actions took place as Senators were hearing testimony from President elect Trump’s picks for Attorney General and Secretary of State, which were interrupted repeatedly by WAT activists. Three of those are now in custody.

WAT released a statement reading: “President-Elect Donald J. Trump has nominated militarists for top cabinet positions. He has promised to ‘load up Guantanamo with really bad dudes.’ On the critical human rights and rule of law issues, Trump’s posturing represents backsliding to the worst of the Bush administration’s misdeeds and abrogation of the law.”

To read the entire press release, go here.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/dave-zeiger-it-cant-happen-here-dont-become-kurt-gerron-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

From Dave Zeiger, Displaced Films and an Initiator of Refuse Fascism:

It CAN'T happen here? Don't become Kurt Gerron.

January 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

NO! This fascist regime must be stopped before it starts

Kurt Gerron

It CAN’T happen here? Don’t become Kurt Gerron.

Kurt Gerron was a successful and beloved Jewish actor and director in Berlin during the heady days of the Weimar Republic. He lived and breathed film. Nothing else mattered. His most famous role was as Mack the Knife in Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera.

Then the Nazis came. He was fired from his directing job and unable to work. So he moved to Paris, to wait out the Nazis. They couldn’t possibly last. He eventually found work, but within a year the anti-Jewish fever had spread into Paris and he had to flee again, this time to Holland. Most of his friends—Peter Lorre, Billy Wilder, and many more, were going to Hollywood, but he was convinced that Hitler’s days were numbered and as long as he could get work, everything would be fine.

Things were ok in Amsterdam until the Nazis came, and tens of thousands of Jews, including Kurt Gerron, were shipped off to camps. But Gerron was sent to Thereisenstadt, the camp the Nazis had reserved for Jewish artists, intellectuals and athletes. It was their “model camp,” the one they allowed a representative of the Red Cross to visit to show the world how enlightened the camps were.

Kurt Gerron lived for film, but hadn’t been able to work in months. Then the Thereisenstadt Camp Commander offered him a job—make a film about Thereisenstadt, depicting it as a paradise. His choice? Make the film and live, or not make the film and be sent to Auschwitz. He made the film. Then he was sent to Auschwitz and murdered one day before the camps were closed as the allies advanced.

This story is grippingly told in the 2002 documentary film, Prisoner of Paradise, by Malcolm Clarke and Stuart Sender.

I urge all of you to watch that film. Then think about what we face today.

 


Trump and Pence have told us time and time again what they intend to do, and they are bringing into their ruling circle a rogues gallery of fascists—yes, fascists—to carry out their plans.

Fact: The “election” of Trump/Pence marks the victory of the most extreme right-wing forces this country has seen in decades, forces that have been building for this moment for thirty years.

Fact: They are poised to take power in a world that was thrown into chaos by the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan—invasions that created endless warfare in the Middle East and what is today the worst refugee crisis since World War II. In that volatile world, Trump has declared his determination to bring back torture and his brash willingness to use nuclear weapons.

Fact: They are eagerly preparing to destroy even the meager efforts made by Obama to stem climate change, and open the floodgates for the voracious oil industry.

Fact: They promise a paradise of jobs and prosperity for white workers by bringing back industry and rounding up millions of immigrants for deportation. They can’t bring back industry, but they will “keep their promise” by doing the latter, with a vengeance.

Fact: That’s just for starters.

DON’T WAIT AND SEE. YOU ALREADY SEE. DON’T THINK SOMEONE ELSE WILL STOP THEM. YOU HAVE TO. WE ALL HAVE TO DO ALL WE CAN TO CREATE A POLITICAL CRISIS IN THIS COUNTRY THAT CAN STOP THEM IN THEIR TRACKS—YES, EVEN BEFORE THE INAUGURATION.


Don't become Kurt Gerron. Here's what you can do:

Go to www.refusefascism.org
and connect with this growing movement.
Go to DC if you can.
Join with the groups going into the streets in your city if you can't.
DONATE
The ad declaring our intention to STOP THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME BEFORE IT STARTS with thousands of signers has already run in the New York Times and Washington Post, and hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed to spread it further and build this movement.


 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/jan-14-day-of-action-to-protect-immigrants-and-refugees-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

January 14—Protests Planned Across the U.S. in a Day of Action to Protect Immigrants and Refugees

January 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“The Trump team has already announced that some of their first acts of brutality will be to lash out against immigrants and Muslims. Their aim is to deport millions of immigrants, rip millions of families apart and drive tens of millions of immigrants, refugees and their families and friends into silence out of fear.”—from call for the January 14 Day of Action

You cannot wait and see with fascists
Tweet this

Protests are planned across the U.S. on Saturday, January 14 against the Trump cabal’s fascist threats to immediately ramp up repression and brutality against immigrants and refugees. Aside from deporting millions, Trump has also vowed to overturn Obama’s executive orders giving temporary deferral of deportations to some undocumented people, and to punish local and state governments that give sanctuary to immigrants without legal papers. Various immigrant rights, union, environmental, and other groups are involved in the call. Kica Matos, a director of immigrant rights at Center for Community Change in Washington, DC, one of the groups involved, told reporters, “This is a new world, and we are getting ready for the fight of our lives... There’s no question that we will have to use every tool in our arsenal to fight against the xenophobia and bigotry that has infected Trump’s plans when it comes to immigration. Is civil disobedience on the menu? Absolutely.”

There are more than 60 events across 20 states announced so far for the Day of Action—links to the events are available here.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/writers-resist-literary-protests-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Writers Resist posterWriters Resist poster

Writers Resist posterWriters Resist poster

Writers Resist posterWriters Resist poster
Posters for some of the events being held around the country from the Writers Resist poster gallery.

Writers Resist "Literary Protests" to Take Place January 15 Across the U.S.

January 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Sunday, January 15, writers across the U.S. and in a number of other countries are holding Writers Resist events to “focus public attention on the ideals of a free, just, and compassionate society.” Writers Resist was launched by poet, activist, and founder of feminist literary group VIDA, Erin Belieu. As of this writing, there are more than 90 Writers Resist events announced (see info and links here), including in NYC, 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.

PEN America, the writers’ group that is co-sponsoring the flagship Writers Resist event in New York City, says: “This literary protest will bring together hundreds of writers and their fellow New Yorkers on the steps of the New York Public Library in a collective stand to defend free expression, reject hatred, and uphold truth in the face of lies and misinformation.” The event “will feature readings and performances by some of the biggest names in arts and literature. Award-winning authors Andrew Solomon, Masha Gessen, Laurie Anderson, Rosanne Cash, Jeff Eugenides, Amy Goodman, Jacqueline Woodson, Monica Youn, A.M. Homes, Moustafa Bayoumi, Alexander Chee, Michael Cunningham, and others will read from a curated set of diverse writings and seminal texts that embody the ideals of democracy and free expression....” The NYC event includes plans for the participants to deliver a pledge to defend the First Amendment—signed by more 150,000 people, including all past U.S. Poets Laureate—to the Trump presidential transition team.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/la-jornada-mexico-coverage-of-no-action-nyc-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

La Jornada, Mexico, coverage of ¡NO! action in NYC

January 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Protest in front of Trump Tower, January 11. (Photo: AP)
Protest in front of Trump Tower, January 11. (Photo: AP)

On Wednesday, January 11, 2017, the Mexican daily, La Jornada, posted in its e-edition photos of an action outside of Trump Tower, New York City. Demonstrators carried placards and banners with slogans of RefuseFascism.org and images from revcom.us/Revolution. The posting included in part the following description: “Protesters against Donald Trump: A group of people protested against the U.S. president-elect outside of Trump Tower. The demonstrators chanted slogans against the magnate and held up placards with messages like: ‘Dump Trump.’” (The e-edition of La Jornada is the most read online newspaper in Latin America with 180,000 visits per day, and in Mexico, it has a national print edition with a circulation of 287,000 in Mexico City, and seven local editions in Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, San Luis Potosí, Puebla, and Veracruz. It was founded in 1984 to provide a press independent from the other major Mexico City dailies serving as government mouthpieces.)

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/musicians-against-fascism-concert-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

The Musicians Against Fascism Concert

January 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space
Thu, Jan 19, 2017 7:30pm
Tickets: http://www.symphonyspace.org/event/9581/Music/no-we-refuse-to-accept-a-fascist-america

“Facing a catastrophic regime change, on January 19 outstanding jazz musicians will gather together at The Symphony Space in NYC for a rare concert to say: ‘NO! In the name of humanity, we stand against a fascist America.’ An extraordinary evening of artistic passion, urgent commitment, hosted by five-time Grammy winner Arturo O’Farrill, this livestreamed concert takes place the night before the scheduled inauguration—with protests growing in Washington D.C. and around the country. ‘Musicians Against Fascism’ is a benefit concert for #RefuseFascism.org.”

To inspire and propel efforts of people throughout this nation and world to remedy this terrible moment for humanity, we ask that you join us at Symphony Space. Guests include Claudia Acuña, Fabian Almazan, Stephan Crump, Peter Evans, Mary Halvorson, Vijay Iyer, Amirtha Kadambi, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Roy Nathanson and the jazz passengers, Arturo O'Farrill, Matthew Shipp, Jen Shyu, Somi, The Westerlies – and more to come.

Tickets: $30.00

For those who cannot afford a ticket, 15 minutes prior to the concert, unsold tickets will be made available on a pay whatever you can basis.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/473/former-members-of-black-panther-party-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

From former members of the Black Panther Party

NO! In the Name of Humanity We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.

January 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

We former members of the Black Panther Party call upon ALL former members—and ALL people—to sign and ACT on the Call from RefuseFascism.org which appeared in the January 4 edition of the New York Times and appears this week in the Washington Post.

Today the fascist pig Trump, his pick for attorney general Jeff Sessions, and the rest of those who make up the Trump-Pence regime—this whole legion of doom is shouting: “Law and Order!” as they threaten to force people to respect the police and respect their whole way of governing and ruling... or else.

“Law and order” has always been a code word.

A code word for Black people.

It was used in the ’60’s and early ’70s to describe Black people who were restless, who were rebellious, who were in a defiant mood about their conditions of oppression, who demanded that 400 years of oppression be brought to an end NOW.

It was also used to describe those who boldly stepped forward, like the Black Panther Party, to serve these feelings amongst Black people with revolutionary struggle and leadership to get at the source of the problem: the system.

All of this was very contagious. It was spreading everywhere. It spread amongst ALL nationalities/races of people. It spread among all those who hate oppression.

It spread onto the college campuses, in the communities, at the workplace.

The then-president, “Tricky Dick” Nixon, as well as the Department of INJustice—especially the FBI—used “law and order” to slander, lie about, spread DISinformation about the Black Panther Party, and to justify the brutal and murderous campaign against the Panthers which was unleashed and led from the highest levels of the U.S. government.

“Law and order” was part of labeling the Panthers “enemy # 1” and the “greatest threat to the internal security of the U.S.”

Among other murderous crimes, this “law and order” labeling was the justification which led to George Jackson being set up and assassinated in prison. George had gotten involved in the struggle inside prison—in his own words he “went from the criminal mentality to the revolutionary mentality.” His transformation inspired many of us like him who were once caught up in “the life.” Comrade George became a revolutionary leader and joined the Black Panther Party while in prison at San Quentin in California. For this he was murdered.

It was also the labeling used by the government and its enforcement agents which led to the murder of Fred Hampton, a 21-year-old revolutionary leader and a visionary in the Black Panther Party. Fred was drugged by an FBI informant who was acting as his security. Comrade Fred was sleeping when he was shot to death—murdered—by the Chicago police.

“Law and order” was what the government generally used to launch their brutal, crippling, murderous campaign to destroy the Black Panther Party. A campaign with the official name COINTELPRO, which the government launched not only against the Panthers, but against Native American, Puerto Rican, Chicano, antiwar, and student radicals, i.e. against the whole movement of resistance, defiance, rebellion, and revolution of that time.

More than 25 other Panthers were killed by police, government agents, or those who worked with these groups. Hundreds of others were framed on so-called “criminal charges”—many still in prison today. Still others were driven out of the country.

What does it mean today that “law and order” is a central platform of the Trump-Pence regime?

To answer this it is important to grasp just exactly what is fascism.

At its core fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the capitalist ruling 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.”

We in the BPP experienced first hand some of the open terror and violence of the capitalist state. But fascism is a leap beyond what we experienced. It takes that terror and violence to a new level. It greatly intensifies it—it doubles down on it, puts it on steroids; it spreads its brutal repression amongst wider sections of people here and around the world.

We call on everyone to join us in the fight to stop fascism before it is able to get started.

Signed by former members of Black Panther Party,

Joe Veale

Terry Cotton

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/editor-of-neo-nazi-breitbart-news-and-criminal-pharma-exec-shut-down-at-uc-davis-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Editor of Neo-Nazi Breitbart News and Criminal Pharma Exec Shut Down at UC Davis

January 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 14—Protesters righteously shut down an event at the University of California, Davis campus, sponsored by the campus Republicans and featuring Trump supporters Milo Yiannopoulos and Martin Shkreli. Yiannopoulos is an editor at the neo-Nazi Breitbart News. Shkreli, former head of a pharma company, is infamous for trying to push through a 5,000 percent price hike for a drug to fight a parasitic infection particularly harmful to people with HIV. He is on bail after being indicted on security fraud charges, and a judge in New York gave him permission to travel outside the state to attend the UC Davis event and the Trump inauguration.

Protesters, including UC Davis students and others around northern California, shouted chants like "Shut it down," "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA," and "From here, to Mexico, all these walls have got to go!"

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/john-lewis-and-the-real-reason-trump-is-not-legitimate-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Rep. John Lewis' Stand Against Trump, The Fascism At the Heart of Trump's Illegitimacy, and the Importance of Splits at the Top

January 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

John Lewis, the Democratic congressman and veteran of the historic 1965 Selma march for voting rights, announced on Friday that he would not attend Trump’s scheduled inauguration. Lewis said that Trump was illegitimate due to alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Trump then fired back a typical asinine and racist attack against Lewis on Twitter, followed by several other congressmen declaring solidarity with Lewis, and a growing number of congressmen now also declaring that they will not attend the inauguration. At the same time, some fascist mouthpieces and/or ordinary morons are attacking Lewis for “dividing the country, when he should be uniting it.”

A few points:

Trump IS illegitimate—but NOT because Russia allegedly meddled in the U.S. elections. Trump’s illegitimacy overwhelmingly stems from the fact that he intends to implement a fascist regime—“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.’” (“What IS Fascism?”) Acting on that understanding, the groups and individuals who have come together in refusefascism.org have called for millions to act now to prevent Trump from ruling.

Lewis for his part has founded his indictment on what may be Trump’s ties with and intended policies toward Russia. But the heart of the question is not whether or not we should hope for one or another policy toward Russia, nor is it whether the U.S. elections were “compromised.” The argument over policy toward Russia is an argument among the U.S. rulers over how best to dominate the entire world and where Russia fits into that, whether it should be seen mainly as a rival or a possible ally. The argument over the alleged “compromising” of the U.S. electoral process covers over the fact that the whole process itself is a way in which the powers that be make legitimate what is in fact an empire of oppression and plunder by allowing people to choose which of two pre-selected candidates will fill that role.

The point, rather, is this: This election process, whether compromised or not, has yielded as its president-elect someone who intends to take the “normal” horrors of this system and “put them on steroids”—his inauguration portends exactly the change outlined in our second paragraph above, and for that reason is not only illegitimate but must be resisted, NOW, with all our might.

Lewis’ attack on Trump widens the fissures within the ruling structures themselves over this whole extremely intense and fraught situation: the prospect of a blatant fascist assuming power. These splits at the top, if they occur in the context of people not just boycotting the inauguration, but coming together before it in powerful demonstrations and actions, are a big part of what makes possible preventing this regime from ruling. These fissures, in other words, can create openings through which the very correct outrage of the people can erupt.

All this should powerfully argue to those who do oppose and hate Trump to get into the streets, NOW, to actually take advantage of the chance we really have. As we do this, let’s both boldly put forward the real reasons for Trump’s illegitimacy—the leap to fascism that he and Pence embody—and at the same time stretch a hand to everyone who will unite around this goal, even as they come from a whole mix of different reasons and influences.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/department -of-justice-report-on-chicago-police-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

 

January 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Department of Justice Report on Chicago Police:
Description of an Occupying Army Terrorizing the People

The Department of Justice has issued a 164-page report on the practices of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the second largest police department in the country. The city has entered into a consent decree to allow federal supervision of policing practices.

Scathing, excoriating, deeply disturbing, damning are just some of the words being used to describe the report’s findings of excessive and lethal force used against African-Americans and Latinos. It is a description of an occupying army terrorizing people. It is difficult to capture what all this has meant for real people over many years, deeply scarring and traumatizing generations.

Here are just a few of the findings that illustrate the general practices of excessive force, cover-ups, and overtly racist mind-set of the CPD police detailed in the DOJ’s report IN THE DOJ’s OWN WORDS (entire report available here):

CPD will take a young person to a rival gang neighborhood, and either leave the person there, or display the youth to rival members, immediately putting the life of that young person in jeopardy by suggesting he has provided information to the police. Our investigation indicates that these practices in fact exist and significantly jeopardize CPD’s relationship with the community....

One officer we interviewed told us he personally had heard co-workers and supervisors refer to black individuals as monkeys, animals, savages and “pieces of shit.”

One CPD officer posted a picture of a dead Muslim soldier laying in a pool of his own blood with the caption: ‘The only good Muslim is a fucking dead one.’ Supervisors posted many of the discriminatory posts that we found [on social media]....

We found many circumstances in which officers’ accounts of force incidents were later discredited, in whole or in part, by video evidence. Given the numerous use-of-force incidents without video evidence ... the pattern of unreasonable force is likely even more widespread....

In one case, a man had been walking down a residential street with a friend when officers drove up, shined a light on him, and ordered him to freeze, because he had been fidgeting with his waistband. The man ran. Three officers gave chase and began shooting as they ran. In total, the officers fired 45 rounds, including 28 rifle rounds towards the man. Several rounds struck the man, killing him. [The report notes he was unarmed. Yet IPRA (Independent Police Review Authority) found the shooting justified.]....

[Regarding the use of Tasers] An incident we reviewed, a man died after hitting his head when he fell while fleeing because a CPD officer shot him with a Taser. The man had only been suspected of petty theft from a retail store.... We saw other unnecessary use of Tasers against people fleeing after committing minor violations including a man suspected of urinating in public, and a 110-pound-juvenile who fled after officers caught him painting graffiti on a garage....

CPD’s pattern or practice of excessive force also includes subjecting children to force for non-criminal conduct and minor violations. In one incident, officers hit a 16 year old girl with a baton and then Tasered her, after she was asked to leave school for having a cell phone in violation of school rules....

It also appears that officers have been instructed on the language that they should use to justify force. We saw many instances where officers justified force based on a boiler plate description of resistance that provides insufficient specificity....

Our review of files for complaints [against police] that were investigated revealed consistent patterns of egregious investigative deficiencies that impede the search for the truth.... We also found that investigations foundered because of the pervasive cover-up culture among the CPD officers....

IPRA [Independent Police Review Authority] itself actively undermines the integrity of its investigations by actively enabling officers to receive coaching during the course of an investigative interview....

IPRA reports sometimes omitted mention of crucial physical evidence that appeared to undermine officer accounts. One ... involved an officer who shot an unarmed suspect in the back at close range. The officer had reported to arriving detectives that the man had pointed an object she mistook for a gun and opened fire.... However, less than 24 hours later, IPRA had obtained police video footage that showed the confrontation... recorded at close range, it showed the suspect running away from the officer. Nonetheless, IPRA issued a report that accepted the officer’s story at face value. The report did not even acknowledge the police video.

Protestors in Chicago shut down Michigan Avenue, a well-known high-end shopping and tourist area, on Black Friday in 2015 in protest of murders by Chicago police.

Some Truths That Must Be Said About the Report on Chicago Pigs

The first thing that must be said about the Department of Justice (DOJ) report on the Chicago police is that the DOJ would not even have conducted this investigation if people in the thousands had not taken to the streets, day after day, night after night, in the wake of the release of the video in November 2015 that showed a Chicago pig pumping 16 bullets into an unarmed teenager, Laquan McDonald. The DOJ report also covers one of the most recent police shootings, that of Paul O’Neal, who was shot as he ran away from police in the summer of 2016. Again, if it were not for people in the community taking to the streets in outrage over Paul’s murder, blocking trains and traffic on the South Side of Chicago, overcoming gang divisions to protest Paul’s murder, it likely would have been swept under the rug.

The second thing that must be said is that there is a pattern and practice on the part of the DOJ to NOT deliver justice. The DOJ drags out investigations, slaps on some cosmetic changes, and NOTHING fundamentally changes. IF there were really justice, the DOJ report would result in hundreds of arrests of police officers and city officials for crimes ranging from outright murder to manslaughter to torture to aiding and abetting such crimes.

A Chicago pig pumped 16 bullets into Laquan McDonald, who was unarmed. People took to the streets day after day in the wake of the release of the video of this murder.

The third thing that must be said about the DOJ report’s finding that the police are not supported and supervised by the department and that the police are poorly trained, is that it is a stinking load of manure. The report itself makes clear that the brass goes to great lengths to cover up and protect the rampant lawlessness of the police force. This IS what police on all levels are trained to do. And it’s proven by the very fact the police have “low morale” because they can’t terrorize the community with complete impunity.

The fourth thing that must be said is that as bad as things have been already for the people, the police union is openly salivating about the incoming Trump administration. Pigs on steroids with the backing of law-and-order Trump and his neo-Confederate attorney general Jeff Sessions. Sessions has come out strongly against the DOJ consent decrees as blaming a whole department for a few bad apples. So even the current appearance of reforms (or maybe even the reality of some minor reforms) is going to be wiped out. (The ugly reality of the CPD in the Trump era was on display on election night in Mt. Greenwood, an almost all-white neighborhood where many cops live. See “After Chicago Pigs Murder Unarmed Black Motorist on Way Home From Funeral...People Stand Up Against Killer Cops and Neighborhood Trumpite Goons.”)

Paul O'Neal, left, was shot and murdered by police as he ran away in the summer of 2016. People took to the streets, blocking trains and traffic on the South Side of Chicago.

The fifth thing that must be said about the DOJ report is that what it reveals was not hard to “uncover.” Many credible exposures had already been done about the Chicago Police Department by the media and even the city’s own task force. See, for instance, Code of Silence by the Invisible Institute. And yet through all the murders, all the torture, all the brutality, all the false arrests, all the complaints, and all the cover-ups documented—how many indictments? One—the cop who murdered Laquan McDonald. All the agencies implicated—the mayor, the city legal department, the police investigatory agency... all have blood on their hands. One after another those implicated are allowed to retire or resign with full pensions.

The sixth thing that must be said is that while no pigs and accomplices in city agencies will be indicted as a result of a scathing, deeply disturbing, excoriating report, there are a number of high-profile activists against police murder and brutality who are facing multiple felony charges and lengthy prison sentences for courageously leading protests against police terror. If there was any justice, their charges would be dismissed IMMEDIATELY.

But the most important thing that must be said is that what is revealed in the DOJ report on the Chicago police is universal to all police departments—and that these police are but the spear point enforcing a whole system of high unemployment and low wages when there is work... of piss-poor education... of terrible health care and epidemic levels of high blood pressure, diabetes, AIDS, and cancer... of mass incarceration and mass eviction and homelessness... of saddling people with onerous debts from court cases and then jailing them again when they cannot pay for court costs... of the terrible demoralization and hopelessness that leads people to lash out against others who look like them... and so much more. Yes, this is a system—a system of white supremacy that lies close to the heart of this larger capitalist-imperialist system—a system that MUST be overthrown at the soonest possible time, and the ground cleared to do away with all traces of this white supremacy.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/get-into-the-game-there-Is-still-time-to-win-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Get into the Game... There Is Still Time to Win!

January 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is taken from street corner agitation by Sunsara Taylor in Washington, DC, January 14.

Sunsara Taylor speaking in the street on January 14

 

January 14, Washington D.C., 5pm

Everyone knows that even the best teams can be beat in the right conditions, everyone knows that no game is over until it's really over. Well, what we are up against isn't even the best team—it's just the most thuggish, snarling, and hideous team, the one that has even the refs so intimidated they won't call their fouls... but we have some plays we haven't run yet, some really good plays, and their team is fighting and squabbling with each other. And we have some reserves and some plays that could win this game. Yes, even at this late hour...

What are they? The reserves are the millions who hate what this regime stands for and is promising, the millions who've been told they have to accept this. Those millions right now are still in the stands, still watching, or planning to "come in" later on. But if those millions stood up right this weekend and flooded the streets, it could change the whole dynamics of this game, which is not really a game at all... it has enormous stakes, for the lives of millions and millions of women, immigrants, Black people, Muslims, people around the world, the planet itself... it's not a game... and we cannot sit back and fail to play to our real strengths, our tremendous strengths, the millions and millions...

Where are these people? They are all over, they are sitting in the cafes and church pews, they are walking with their heads down to class, they are at the day labor corners and in the 'hoods, they are in the high schools, they are in the arts and the professions...

Who's going to go get them? We are! We are going to go out tonight, through the rain and the cold, calling out to those in the cafes and on the street... we are going to send this out through social media... we are going to call them forward... all of us here, we are going to do this, and we can do this—why? Because we speak for millions... How? By calling forward those millions... by shattering the brainwash that we have to look up for a savior from "on high" [government], instead look out at and rally onto the field the real force that can stop this, the millions and millions of people just like us... rallying hundreds to thousands... thousands to millions... growing in strength and numbers, night after night...

Tomorrow—surrounding Trump Hotel...

We have the power to stop this... no, not a guarantee, but a very real chance... extraordinary things are possible at a time of such great dangers... at a time when even at the top they are gripped with sharp conflicts and things aren't all sewn up... right now, if we act with daring and determination, if we act with creativity and imagination... if we are relentless and dogged... if we don't take no for an answer... if we stretch our arms out broadly and draw in all those who are unsure... who are new... who are perhaps afraid to hope but who are sick at heart and who together have tremendous power... we have a real chance...

History is filled with examples where people fought against tremendous odds and were victorious... it is also filled with examples where people sat back, passively hoping to wait things out only to be swallowed up by a horror beyond what they ever imagined...

History is unwritten and which one we get is up to us.

Now is the time to rise to greatness... to rally others to greatness... we have what we need to do this... let's make it happen—in the name of humanity!

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/trump-russia-and-hacking-elections-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Trump, Russia, and Hacking Elections: The Ruling Class Shitstorm, the Battle in the Streets, and What Humanity Needs Right Now

January 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As Donald Trump and his cabal of Christian fascists, white supremacists, misogynists, xenophobes, and war mongers hungrily stretch their fingers out to grasp the reins of power on January 20, and as the anger and anxiety of millions who are horrified by this prospect starts to take shape as protest, resistance, and outright rejection of a new fascist regime, a struggle of a very different kind is unfolding and sharpening, right within the halls of power.

In fact, a veritable shitstorm has broken out in Washington. Trump’s critics (including some prominent Republicans as well as Democrats and key institutions of the state such as the CIA) claim that Trump was the chosen candidate of Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has long been viewed by the dominant forces in the U.S. ruling class as a bitter foe. Some go further and hint that Trump himself was actively working with Russia, even that Trump’s people and Russian intelligence were exchanging information about each other’s adversaries.

Trump in turn, backed by his hard-core fascist allies (including powerful forces in the repressive apparatus) lashed back at his critics—mocking the CIA, saying they are either incompetent or lying, comparing them to Nazi Germany, and publicly denouncing and slapping down CNN, a major mainstream media outlet, as “fake news” for even reporting that Trump and Obama had been briefed that Trump was under investigation in relation to these allegations, a fact which had been leaked to CNN.

Multiple investigations are ongoing, being launched, or threatened. The FBI has apparently been “investigating” links between the Trump campaign and Russia since last summer, but kept this explosive fact secret throughout the election campaign, while in the same period FBI director Comey staged several public events to ruminate over Hillary Clinton’s (non-criminal) “carelessness” with her personal emails, thus maintaining a constant aura of criminality around her, which clearly helped Trump win the election. Now Comey is being investigated by the Justice Department’s inspector general for that and a leading congressional Democrat has called for a “9/11 Commission-style” congressional investigation of Trump’s links to Russia.

Republican senator Lindsey Graham said on Meet the Press last week that if Trump didn’t admit that Russia was involved in the email hacking, he would lose all confidence in Trump. And Republican senator John McCain said that Russian hacking was “an act of war”—flying in the face of Trump’s “it didn’t happen, and if it did it’s no big deal” stance.

In the face of all this, Trump made some conciliatory noises, seeming to admit that Russia was behind the hacking. But then he said that “if Putin likes Donald Trump [enough to hack the election] I consider that an asset, not a liability,” and in this and other ways has been continuing to make clear that he sees Putin and Russia as friends and allies. This led to bizarre confirmation hearings for some of Trump’s cabinet appointees, where Republican senators were demanding that nominees go on record with their disagreement with Trump’s views of Russia and some other questions as well.

In the midst of this, the director of the federal Office of Government Ethics took the unprecedented step of publicly stating that Trump’s refusal to divest his vast holdings is a major ethical violation, and “unpatriotic” to boot. Then John Lewis, a longtime Black congressman with roots in the civil rights movement, told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that in light of the role Russia is alleged to have played in getting him elected, Trump is not a “legitimate president,” and a number of other congressmen proclaimed they would not attend Trump’s inauguration. (See “Rep. John Lewis and the REAL Reason Trump Is Not Legitimate.”)

Yet Trump is not backing down. In fact, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on January 14, Trump suggested that he might do away with the sanctions that Obama just recently imposed on Russia for allegedly interfering in U.S. elections. Trump said, "If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?" Trump has also signaled a strategic break with existing U.S. policy towards China, which will almost certainly escalate political—and military—tensions in Asia, and which may go hand in hand with a policy of alliance with Russia.

Struggle Over How Trump Should Rule

To be clear, this is a struggle over how Trump should rule and not whether he should rule. In fact, the top leaders in the Democratic Party have made very clear that their goal is “a seamless transition of power.” “We are on the same team,” Obama said of Trump and himself right after the election. “It’s over,” Joe Biden shouted at lower-level Democrats protesting the “victory-by-Electoral College” of this hated and largely unpopular new ruler. “I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me,” Obama said in his farewell speech.

As Bob Avakian has brought out in his writings (see, for example, The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era), as sharp as the Democrats’ differences may be with the fascist forces within the ruling class, their greatest fear is that turmoil and division at the top, especially in a period of transition of power, could lead to the masses of people no longer leaving the running of society to the powers that be but taking independent political action in the streets and in other ways ... to social instability, rebellion, maybe even revolution. And while, for the Democrats, fascism may not be their preferred form of capitalist-imperialist rule, as long as it serves to keep their oppressive system in power here and dominant in the world, they will find “common ground” with the fascists—and train and lead the masses who look to them to do the same!

Nonetheless, these differences are extremely sharp, exactly because other ruling class forces fear that Trump’s program and ideology could end up being disastrous for U.S. imperialism, leading to isolation in the world, military defeats, and to greater turmoil and instability within the U.S. And while there are many things in the mix here, including Trump’s volatility and lack of self-discipline, the infighting is mainly concentrated now around how different forces in the ruling class see their rival imperialist power, Russia.

On one level, Trump disagrees sharply with the formerly dominant view in the ruling class that Russia under Putin is fundamentally a foe, even if at times and in limited ways it can be worked with to solve particular problems, like restoring imperialist order in the Middle East. Trump has indicated that he sees an alliance with Russia—to oppose Islamic fundamentalism and perhaps to combat China—as a major feature of his approach to the world. On this level, Trump presents his view as imperialist “realpolitik”—all the U.S. should care about is whether Russia can be an ally against a bigger problem (the jihadists). And in the wake of the recent uproar, Trump went so far as to say—referring to his ruling class critics—that “only ‘stupid’ people” disagree with him on this.

On another level, Trump does seem to have a strong affinity with Putin ideologically. Some of this probably does have to do with their common character as posturing misogynist macho bullies (or “strongmen,” as it is politely put). But it may also be tied in to the fact that Putin is closely allied with the resurgence of white, Christian, European identity movements and governments in Europe, which are very similar to the white supremacist “alt-right” forces in the U.S. that Trump is closely tied to, particularly through his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, a major promoter of the alt-right. It is possible that Trump and parts of his core see an international alliance with Putin against Islamic Jihad as inextricably bound up with their mobilizing of a fascist social base in the U.S. that is cohered around a view of white Christians of European descent being the “master race” that needs to fully and openly take the reins in the U.S.

Conflicts Among U.S. Rulers in the Face of Intractable Contradictions

Whatever Trump’s precise “vision” is (and whether any or all of the allegations about Trump “conspiring” with Russia to win the election are true or not), the point to grasp is this: U.S. imperialism faces, and has faced for decades, an interlocking web of intractable problems, both internationally and at home, including major economic dislocations, the demographic shift to becoming a majority nonwhite country, the emergence of rival global powers like Russia and China, and, at the nexus of much of this, the rise of hostile Islamic fundamentalist forces in the strategic Middle East as well as other parts of the world.

Some sections of the U.S. ruling class have tried to resolve these contradictions more or less from within the existing framework and norms of a “liberal, democratic, and diverse” U.S. society, and a certain strategic approach abroad, developed over decades or even centuries. But Trump spearheads those ruling class forces who want to resolve those contradictions through a sharp break with that old framework, involving the forging of a full-out fascist and much more blatant, unapologetic, and viciously white supremacist regime within the U.S. and a much more aggressive posture internationally.

But there is deep anxiety among other forces in the ruling class, both about this shift as a whole and about many particular components of it. In addition to profound differences about how to view and relate to Russia, Trump’s stream of “disparaging” attacks on the U.S. intelligence agencies that are a core part of the imperialist apparatus for dominating people at home and the whole world is another “danger” sign to some ruling class forces. As one mark of this, former acting CIA chief Michael Morell wrote an op-ed in the New York Times stating that Trump was doing disastrous damage to these agencies.

But even beyond these particulars, there is broad concern in the ruling class that the extreme changes Trump aims to bring about are simply too dangerous—that they could open up the whole system (and not just one leader or government) to a loss of legitimacy in the eyes of the masses in the U.S., and could make the U.S. more vulnerable to imperialist rivals and other foes internationally, as well as to “accidental” wars and other fiascos. Coupled with doubts about Trump’s experience, judgment, and self-discipline, there is real fear that, if left to its own devices, a Trump regime could prove disastrous to the U.S. empire at home and abroad.

All these differences are weighed against the need of the entire ruling class for an orderly transition and a strong executive at the helm of their system, in order to keep the masses in check and to navigate the many contradictions their system confronts, as well as to project an air of stability around the world and to be able to continue to crow about how THEY are able to have “peaceful transition.” And so, at this point, the character of the struggle does not seem to represent an effort by a section of the U.S. ruling class either to derail Trump before he comes to power or to cripple him once he does. As Senator Graham put it on NBC’s Meet the Press, “I want President Trump to be a good president.... I want to help him where I can.” In other words, he wants to get Trump on board with the rest of the U.S. ruling class on what they consider crucial to imperialist interests.

       

But there is a battle to “reshape” the policies and even the personnel of the incoming administration to be more in line with U.S. imperialist interests as they see them. And the forces waging this are posing to Trump that either “you are with us or against us,” hinting that if Trump refuses to come around on key questions, it could throw the legitimacy of his administration into question. On January 6, Obama said of Trump that “I said that after the election—we have to remind ourselves that we're on the same team. Vladimir Putin is not on our team.” Or as Graham put it on Meet the Press, “If after the briefing [by the intelligence agencies] he is still unsure [about Russia’s role], that will shake me to my core about his judgment.” (emphasis added)

And it is worth noting that a major article in the influential New York Times on the exposure of Russia’s alleged support for Trump said that this “undermines the legitimacy of the president who is about to direct them” (i.e., the intelligence agencies).

The Dynamic Between Infighting at the Top and Upsurge from Below of the People

None of this infighting in the ruling class is coming from a good place, to put it mildly, in relation to the interests of humanity. All of it is about strengthening a deeply oppressive system, and much of it raises the specter of a deepening spiral of aggression between the two major nuclear powers, the U.S. and Russia, that could lead to nuclear war, by design or by accident. It is not even about “fascist” vs. “liberal democratic” rule—none of the major ruling class figures are, for example, wailing on Jeff Sessions (Trump’s nominee for attorney general) for his long history of virulent racism, or on Vice President-elect Mike Pence, a woman-hating Christian fascist who is dedicated to eliminating abortion and rolling back gay marriage and other rights. In fact, the core reasons that actually (from the standpoint of the interests of humanity) make Trump-Pence illegitimate are virtually off the table in the current Washington shitstorm.

Nonetheless, there is an important potential interplay, a dynamic, between this struggle within the ranks of the rulers and the struggle from below of the masses. The more the rulers fight among themselves, the more masses broadly who are in anguish about the coming of Trump Nation, but who also feel it is inevitable, could start to think that maybe it is not, to sense vulnerability on Trump’s part and disarray among other ruling class forces. All this can contribute to a sense that there is at least a possibility of winning and, since there is, that this fight is worth throwing down for.

And the more people are drawn into the streets, and elsewhere, in determined struggle based on REFUSAL to accept a fascist America, the more forces at the top start to think that the rise of the Trump regime, rather than stabilizing the rule of their class as a whole, may actually strip the system itself (and not just one or a few leaders) of legitimacy in the eyes of the masses, setting loose increasing loss of stability, influence, and control, perhaps even setting the stage for a revolutionary transformation of society. As the Call to Action of Refuse Fascism notes, millions need to act “outside normal channels” and “[e]very 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.” If that dynamic gets going, the tenor of things at the top could switch to looking for some “mechanism” to remove Trump, as the ruling class did when Nixon was driven from office in the early ’70s.

At this crucial juncture, a key question for the Refuse Fascism movement is to continue to be grounded in and to even more deeply proceed from the core understanding that brought it together: that the illegitimacy of the Trump-Pence regime rests fundamentally on its fascist character... that this is a regime pledged to demonizing all people of Muslim faith, reducing women to subservient appendages of men, repressing and crushing Black and Brown youth, tearing apart millions and millions of immigrant families, forcibly silencing all opposition even from within the ruling class and brutally crushing any resistance from the masses... and being ready to go to—and perhaps over—the brink of nuclear war and environmental destruction as part of that... that all this will mean incredibly greater levels of horror for ALL of humanity—and this is why this regime must be stopped before it starts.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/protests-in-cities-around-country-condemn-trumps-anti-immigrant-attacks-en.html

Revolution #473 January 9, 2017

Protests in Cities Around the Country Condemn Trump's Anti-Immigrant Attacks and Call for Resistance

January 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 14, people marched, rallied, held vigils, in some 70 cities across the country in a national day of action to express their anger at the threats that president-elect Trump has made against immigrants—his slander of Mexican immigrants and promise to deport millions of the undocumented, and “build a wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border; and the threat of creating a directory, a list of the names of all Muslims present in this country. And despite the fear that these threats have created in immigrant communities, people were there to express their determination to resist—to say they will not be driven out—they’re “Here to Stay.”

In the Call to Action for the day, organizers wrote: “The Trump team has already announced that some of their first acts of brutality will be to lash out against immigrants and Muslims.... It is time for us to link arms and stand as a line of defense against Donald Trump’s promised reign of terror.”

Actions were held in cities large and small: Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Tucson, Albuquerque, Fresno, San Jose, Denver, Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas, and many more. In Broward County, Florida, a protest was held outside of a detention center where immigrants are imprisoned, awaiting deportation. Well over 2,000 rallied and marched in Washington, D.C.  

In Chicago over 1,000 packed the Chicago Teachers Union Hall for a Resistance-Unity-Respect Rally. Well over half of those who came were immigrants; most were Latino, but there were also groups of people from Korea and the Philippines and Muslims from different parts of the world. And there were also many young U.S.-born white and Black people, including youth. Organizers from RefuseFascism came with the poster: “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!“—in three languages; English, Spanish, and Arabic. They were extremely popular; some felt the three posters together expressed the idea of “In the Name of Humanity.”

Hundreds protested in L.A. A spokesperson for CHIRLA—Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights—said, “We’re not going to sit idly by while he destroys our community.”