Revolution #474, January 16, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

FLASH: A letter from the Initiators of RefuseFascism.org

January 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is from RefuseFascism.org, January 18, 2017.

To all the fighters, artists, scientists, teachers, students… to everyone who has signed the Call to Action and taken up the fight to Stop the Trump/Pence Regime from taking power:

First, much appreciation to the over 6,000 who have signed The Call; to all who have donated; to all who have spread the word on social media; to the musicians and artists against fascism; to all who have taken to the streets in cities across the country, including those camping out in front of City Hall in Los Angeles; and most of all, to those who are braving the cold and rain in Washington, DC to fight night after night to rouse millions of people to say NO! to a Fascist America.

Here we can not list all of what you and we have done. Know this: RefuseFascism.org has already put the truth before millions of people – the truth that many would not speak: that the Trump/Pence regime is fascist by any definition, that you can’t wait fascism out, you can’t conciliate with fascists, and you can’t work with or collaborate with fascism. We have rightly said that if we do not prevent the Trump/Pence regime from consolidating its hold on power, we will all be standing on different dangerous ground with a qualitatively more difficult fight to overcome what this regime is intent on doing.

We stand on the cusp of a historic moment – when what we do is impacting millions of people, and still has the potential to move them to take unprecedented acton. Yet, developments in the struggle have not turned out as was needed. It now seems much more likely than not that masses of people in their millions are not going to flood into the streets in the day and half before the inauguration to create the kind of political crisis that could prevent the inauguration. At the end of this letter, we are making an important adjustment to our plans that essentially call for adjusting and intensifying our work over the next several days.

To understand this juncture, and what to do, we need to step back and confront again the situation humanity faces.

We wrote in the Call to Action: "Fascism is a strong word. It is a very serious thing. It has direction and momentum that must be stopped before it becomes too late. Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive ‘traditional values.’ Fascism feeds on and encourages the threat and use of violence to build a movement and come to power. Fascism, once in power, essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights." Is this not what we have seen emerging every day since the election?

In the face of this, we have spoken truthfully that the people’s only recourse was and remains mass action of millions of people acting together outside the normal political processes to force every faction of the political power structure to respond to our actions and our demand.

Today, two days out from the scheduled inauguration of Donald Trump and his government of reactionary fascists, the situation is perilous and in tremendous flux. Representative John Lewis has made Trump’s illegitimacy a mass question. Trump’s venomous racist twitter response to Lewis has opened up the potential for many people to take a more resolute stand against the regime. We are calling for people to wear an "I" along with the "NO!" starting on Wednesday 1/18 and continuing.

Currently over 60 Congress people are boycotting the inauguration revealing the even larger cracks in the power structure, even as, for now, the center is holding. There is scandal and dissension roiling among those who wield power. And yet, Trump/Pence looms.

In the midst of this fraught situation Refuse Fascism is in the mix – disrupting the Jeff Session’s Hearing in an action seen around the world, marching in the streets of DC with hundreds joining the marches on the Trump International Hotel over the weekend and shutting it down for a period of time, with pictures and video spreading on the web, and on local news in DC. Everywhere the volunteers have gone, the response has been positive from many sections of the people. There is a simmering depth to the anxiety and outrage that people feel about what is looming. But, the masses of people in their thousands and millions have not yet stepped out of business as usual to get in the streets and stay in the streets the way people in South Korea or Tahrir Square in Egypt did several years ago.

The reasons for this are many and we are not going to attempt an analysis here ... certainly President Obama, VP Biden, and Bernie Sanders all telling people that "it’s over," that Trump won and that people should work with him where "we can" and wait and see what he does has lulled people into not seeing the urgency of acting before these fascists have their hands on the repressive apparatus of the government, have the full power of the state to intimidate and suppress the dissent and the truth.

But, the important and urgent point is this: the situation is very much "in play." We are in an extreme situation and dissension in all strata of society is sharp. There are all kinds of protests by many different forces that are going to unfold over the next several days. Refuse Fascism is going to keep pushing with our basic message and our actions in DC and around the country. The NO! needs to spread like never before. There are many factors that could come into play to push things over the edge where people feel that enough is enough, that they must act, they must disrupt their lives to prevent a great catastrophe. This could be a new damning revelation about Trump, a tweet from Trump that is the last straw, an act of repression or violence from his fascist followers… any of these or other factors could kick things onto a whole other level of struggle on all levels of society. This is a historical moment when what seems impossible on the surface could be possible, but only if there are people with the vision and determination to lead.

Even if this doesn’t happen before the inauguration, the struggle around and in the wake of the inauguration could become more intense. There are many groups and sections of the people planning significant protests and cultural outpourings and events from NY to California over the next 2 days. Here in DC, a group called "Disrupt J20" plans to act on inauguration day. The next day hundreds of thousands are expected for "The Women’s March On Washington." Depending on how all of this plays out and interacts and interpenetrates with other developments, including the things that Trump will do on "day one," the situation continues to hold the potential to develop into a more sustained resistance. In sum, there are many different factors that could still come together to give rise to the kind of political crisis that is needed to prevent the Trump-Pence Regime from gaining power, or to prevent it from consolidating its hold on power, and then to drive it from power in the days immediately after the inauguration.

In sum, it is our assessment that we need to go all out and intensify all our efforts over the next days before the inauguration to inspire and move masses of people into active resistance to stop this regime, even as we recognize that the battle may continue for several days after the inauguration if not prevented to stop the Trump-Pence regime from consolidating its power. We are proposing and calling for a change in our plans – to continue to call people to get into and stay the streets on Friday and beyond, calling for resistance and no business as usual next Monday and Tuesday.

The following from Refuse Fascism’s Mission and Plan is as true and urgent as when put forth 6 weeks ago:

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.

Let’s rise to this moment and fight with all we’ve got. We have brought forth an incredible, diverse and determined group of people who recognize the danger, who have sounded the alarm, and are prepared to lead millions of people to defeat this fascist regime. We do this not for ourselves alone, but in the Name of Humanity.

This letter was prepared by Andy Zee in consultation with and on behalf of The Initiators of RefuseFascism.org

 

 

       

 

 


 

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Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

 

STOP THE TRUMP-PENCE REGIME!

Daily Updates

Updated January 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 30, 2017

Toronto, Canada

Hundreds of people jammed the street in front of the U.S. consulate, which was forced to shut down for the day.

(pic credit: Twitter/@michalrozworski)

 

New York City

Students from NYU, Pace, New School, and Columbia University rally at Bryant Park in Manhattan, standing up against Trump's Muslim ban.

(pic credit Twitter/@RefuseFascism)

 

Washington, DC

Hundreds protested against Trump in front of the U.S. Supreme Court

(pic credit: Twitter/@WhipHoyer)

 

Columbus, OH

The police used pepper spray against hundreds of people who were in the street near the Ohio statehouse peacefully protesting.

Protesters getting pepper sprayed by police after they were asked to move from the street pic.twitter.com/zhAZtqdnG4

— Shawn Lanier (@ShawnNBC4) January 31, 2017

 

UK: Thousands in Over 27 Cities Denounce Trump's Muslim Ban

On Monday, protests against Trump's ban on Muslims immigrants and refugees erupted in at least 27 cities in the United Kingdom. In London, thousands gathered outside 10 Downing Street in London, the offices of the prime ministers, as well as thousands in other cities in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Among the signs/chants were "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA" and "A diverse world is a beautiful world."

January 29, 2017

Protests Across the Country Condemn Trump's Anti-Muslim Ban

Sunday, January 29, massive crowds rallied and marched in the streets of New York City and Boston and at airports from coast to coast, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Boise, Las Vegas, San Diego, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.

Read more

View from the Newseum this afternoon #MuslimBan pic.twitter.com/0JScYG705a

— Brittany Harris (@brittharr) January 29, 2017

 

Washington DC march against the ban.

This is what democracy looks like #laxprotest pic.twitter.com/jhGH2W14sH

— Craig Register (@craigregister) January 29, 2017

Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, CA

January 28, 2017

Immigrants Detained Immediately After Trump's Anti-Muslim Order—Thousands Protest at JFK Airport, Many More Across the Country

8:30pm: NYC police are now blocking anyone without a ticket from entering JFK airport.

Read more

Protest of Trump's Muslim ban at JFK international arrivals terminal. pic.twitter.com/qyLxa8eYco

— Melissa Gira Grant (@melissagira) January 28, 2017

JFK Airport, NYC, January 28 (twitter/@melissagira)

January 26, 2017

Philadelphia: Thousands March Against Trump in the Middle of the City

Read more

Shia LaBeouf Arrested at His Anti-Trump Art Project HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US

Read more

January 25, 2017

Outside court hearing for demonstrators arrested January 25 for disrupting Sessions confirmation hearing.

Early morning of January 25 Protesters unfurled a 70-foot by 35-foot banner from a high-rise crane a few blocks from the White House in Washington, DC, for several hours. According to the press, a statement issued by Greenpeace quoted one of the people who unfurled the banner, "I fear not only the policies of the incoming administration, but also the people emboldened by this election to commit acts of violence and hate. Now is the time to resist." (Photo: Ken Cedeno/Greenpeace)

January 24, 2017

Evanston, Illinois, H.S. Walkout Against Trump-Pence

On Tuesday, hundreds of students from Evanston Township High School in Evanston Township, IL, walked out of class midday for a march and rally in the town square, chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go." The protest was started by one student putting out the call on facebook and bringing together about a dozen students as a core of organizers. At the rally, this student said "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention. Protesting is only step one."

One student told the press that she cried for three days after the election. Another said "we are scared and angry." Others recognized the danger under Trump-Pence to people who are different, which includes some of these youth that took part in the protest.

Read more about it, and watch the video of the rally HERE.


Evanston Township High School students

January 23, 2017

Chicago: Youth Take to Streets against Trump

On Monday a Refuse Fascism crew went back out to downtown Chicago to challenge people to stay in the streets, no business as usual. Some of the local press came: Fox TV, ABC and photographer from the Tribune. Some people who had marched at the Inauguration Day protests and the Women's March this weekend joined. A crew of Black students from a downtown alternative high school played a big role in carrying signs, banners, chanting loudly and challenging others to join. Several college students joined up, one from Brazil.

We marched down the main shopping street for 3 blocks before the cops came and threatened arrests. But people had their eyes on marching to Trump Tower. Cars honked for us and people from all walks of life gave support. A white grade schooler from Wisconsin visiting Chicago with his mother joined for a few blocks, and the Black youth gave a warm cheer. A man on his way to the commuter train changed his plans, ran with us, and videotaped the speak-out in front of Trump Tower.

High school students, a white college student from Florida, young Black student, and others spoke to why they were out in the streets against Trump. A Latino brother who said he had been in "the life" in his youth said that people killing each other is just getting played by the system and challenged the youth to set their sights on and be part of driving Trump out.

In front of the Supreme Court, Washington, DC, January 23

"Fascism always seeks to impose an absolutist and fantastical version of reality on society and to straitjacket any attempts to get at the objective truth of anything." —From "Lives in the Balance... Which Will Win? Trump's First Days: The Heavy Hand of Fascism and the Spark of Resistance"
Click image to enlarge or tweet

January 22, 2017

Sunday, Carl Dix in front of the White House: Don't let fascism become new normal. No business as usual in DC & everywhere tomorrow!

January 21, 2017

Sunsara Taylor and RefuseFascism at the Women's March

Stay in the Streets! Don't Normalize Fascism! Drive Them From Power!

Share this video everywhere!

January 20, 2017

Thousands are marching in DC—Stand up, join in!
In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America

People from Black Lives Matter chain themselves to protest Donald Trump, Washington, DC, January 20.
People from Black Lives Matter chain themselves to protest Donald Trump, Washington, DC, January 20. (Photo: Sipa via AP)

Plane in NYC pulling banner "We Outnumber Him. Resist!"


Highway I395

January 19, 2017

Hundreds of people, including RefuseFascism, confronted racist Trumpites outside the "DeploraBall" on Thursday night at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, where "alt-right" white supremacists were celebrating the fascist Trump-Pence regime. One racist whined about the protest against their ball: "This was our election. We emerged victorious." The police moved against the protestors, using pepper spray on some people. The protestors stood their ground, making clear their determination to continue in the coming days and draw in many more people.

Projection on the National Press Club, Washington DC, "Impeach the Predatory President"

A hat "Make America Great Again" is burned

Tear gassing people outside deplorable ball for protesting

Tear gassing people outside deplorable ball for protesting

January 18, 2017

Wed Night-Dramatic Street Theater at the Capitol: "KKK Supports Trump" Carl Dix Calls Trump out as ILLEGITIMATE!

Brutal Arrest, Outrageous Charges – NYPD Assaults Refuse Fascism Activist

Brutal Arrest, Outrageous Charges – NYPD Assaults Refuse Fascism Activist

January 17, 2017

Read more

January 17, 2017

Marchers in the streets after 5:30 pm.

From WUSA9, 1/17/2017

From WUSA9, 1/17/2017

ABC News interviews Refuse Fascism Activist at Senate hearing for Trump’s appointed “education” secretary Betsy DeVos

January 16, 2017

Carl Dix at McPherson Square:

#NOFACISTUSA! Headed to Trump Hotel! Headed down P Street near 14th

January 15, 2017

January 15, Washington, DC:
Carl Dix: Something Started... It has to grow... 100's to 1000's

January 16, 2017

Read more

Carl Dix at McPherson Square
Washington, D.C. – 1/15/17
On STOPPING Trump – Pence Before They Start

SPEAKOUT: Washington DC at Trump International Hotel

See more videos from the SPEAKOUT HERE

Washington, DC Die-In at Trump International Hotel

Washington, DC—Die-In at Trump International Hotel

Washington, DC—at Trump International Hotel

Washington, DC

Ja Jornada continues coverage of Refuse Fascism

(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.)

Washington, DC

January 14, 2017

The Fight to STOP the Fascist Trump/Pence Regime is ON:
Night after night, Hour After Hour. Stay in the Streets, Don't Let Them Take Power!

January 15, 2017

Read more

Washington DC 8pm:

Washington DC 7pm:

Washington DC 5pm:

Washington DC 5pm:

Washington DC 6pm:

Washington DC 6pm:

 

 

       

 

 


 

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Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

This Week in Fascism:

The Parade of Ghouls, Clashes at the Top and the Challenge Grows Sharper: We Must Prevent the Trump-Pence Regime from Ruling

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Basic Summary: Donald Trump has not yet become president, but he is setting terms and advancing toward his goal. The fascism that Trump-Pence portends is not here, but the train is coming into the station—unless people act. There have been conflicts at the top, sometimes erupting with intensity, but these die down and the normalization continues. The one thing that could break the deadlock—huge mass outpourings from all over society—remains dammed up; despite repeated sparks of struggle throughout the week, the eruption of the kind of mass upsurge we need has not yet happened.

There is still time, but there is not much time; the next several days, obviously, will be decisive. The key? Confronting the reality of what this would mean; and joining with those now boldly acting to STOP it.

Getting the Ghouls Approved

Beginning on Tuesday, the Trump-Pence ghouls who will occupy the cabinet and other key posts began their parade through the Senate for confirmation. This included Jeff Sessions, the one person in the last 50 years turned down for a federal judgeship because of his racism, now nominated for attorney general; Rex Tillerson, the head of Exxon now up for secretary of state; General John F. Kelly, the nominee for secretary of homeland security; General James Mattis, nominated as secretary of defense; and Mike Pompeo, nominated to be director of the CIA. Despite important struggle waged by protesters in disrupting the Sessions hearings, and despite some heated exchanges, most of these nominations seem on track for confirmation. To get a sense of just how reactionary these nominees are, go here.

Much was made in the press of the differences expressed with Trump by different nominees on different issues. Trump’s stated positions on torture, on the character of Russia, on the importance of a wall on the Mexican border, on registering Muslims in the U.S. and banning travel of Muslims into the U.S., and whether grabbing women by their genitals constituted sexual assault(!) were at times mildly demurred from by the nominees. In the main this was a matter of telling the senators what they wanted to hear, or needed for political cover, in order to get these nominees through the Senate, which has the ability to hold up or even vote down a nominee, and to create a situation in which voting the nominee down would seem “unreasonable.”

The real differences that may exist between Trump and some appointees on particular issues will not deter Trump from enforcing what he wants to do—cabinet members will either go along with this (and their previous opposition will be used to show how “reasonable” the Trump position must be)1 or else they will be removed. In addition, the key policy positions of national security adviser and chief strategist, now held by the hard-core fascists Mike Flynn and Steve Bannon, are not subject to Senate approval.

The open racist Jeff Sessions—whose positions include upholding mass incarceration and severe mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession, removing any legal safeguards for any undocumented immigrant from deportation, opposition to federal law providing protection to abortion clinics, and opposition to any attempts by the federal government to even make a show of intervening with especially egregiously brutal police departments, almost none of which he was even questioned on—will almost certainly be confirmed. While disruptions from the audience by Carl Dix and other Refuse Fascism members, Code Pink, Democracy Spring, and nearly a dozen students from Howard University in the NAACP broke the suffocating and normalizing business as usual of these hearings, Sessions was barely challenged by most of the Democrats on any of his outrageous, reactionary, and racist positions. (In contrast to the tepid questions of other Democrats, at the end of the second day of hearings, three Black congressmen, Representatives John Lewis and Cedric Richmond, and Sen. Cory Booker, testified in opposition to Sessions and called out his barely disguised racism.) Indeed, the arch-reactionary senator Ted Cruz congratulated the Democrats on their “admirable restraint.”

Can anyone deny that Trump has made real progress in consolidating his fascist machine in all this? And can anyone deny the urgent need for resistance to prevent this from going further?

The Fight Over Russia

Oddly enough, it was Rex Tillerson, the comparatively “mainstream” nominee for secretary of state, who may face the most significant opposition. And this is because of the big fight within the power structure that did go on this week, which was over Trump’s orientation and policy toward Russia and Tillerson’s history of ties to Russia, and Putin in particular, in his capacity as head of Exxon.

Over the past few weeks, the various U.S. intelligence agencies, along with the Obama administration, asserted that Russia attempted to intervene in the U.S. elections (through hacking the computers of the Democratic Party) and that this intervention was designed to favor Trump. While these allegations cannot be accepted at face value, at minimum they show that there are significant sections of the U.S. ruling class that want to prevent Trump from changing the U.S. policy toward Russia (and with that, other important positions as well), using these allegations as a crowbar to pry him away from his flirtation with Putin.

Trump for his part has not only until very recently absolutely refused to accept these conclusions, he has called into question the reliability and honesty of the intelligence agencies themselves. While both sides of this dispute—Trump on the one hand and his opponents on the other—are fighting over how best to effect U.S. domination and plunder of the entire planet, and in that sense this dispute “does not matter” to those who want a truly better world free of any of that kind of domination, in a deeper sense this dispute matters a great deal. Each faction in this dispute has a great deal at stake in winning out, and this is why all along commentators have remarked on how “extraordinary” and “unprecedented” it is for these disputes to play out in public. (For more on this, see “Trump, Russia, and Hacking Elections: The Ruling Class Shitstorm, the Battle in the Streets, and What Humanity Needs Right Now.”)

On Tuesday, January 10, this went to another level when CNN leaked the news that the intelligence agencies had told both Trump and Obama that there were credible sources who said that the Russians had information on Trump that could be used to blackmail him, and that there had been contacts between forces around Trump and Russian intelligence as recently as this summer. CNN noted that these reports had not been verified, but maintained that it was nevertheless newsworthy since Trump and Obama had been briefed on them. Buzzfeed followed this by leaking one particularly salacious but unconfirmed allegation contained in the briefing report.

Did Trump then go on the defensive? Quite the contrary; he accused the intelligence agencies of leaking the report and compared them to Nazi Germany (not for the real crimes of these agencies, but because they had the temerity to even write down these allegations about Trump!). By week’s end, even though Trump had half-conceded at his news conference that Russia had done the hacking of the Democratic Party, he still maintained his generally favorable orientation toward Putin and Russia. Other forces in the ruling class—in this case principally Republicans—were continuing to seek ways to force Trump to change his views. On Sunday, Trump’s team of Pence and Reince Priebus came out to defend Trump on this, while the outgoing CIA director criticized Trump. So this particular contradiction remains very sharp. But note well: At this point Trump shows very little sign of changing his position (indeed he is now “floating out” withdrawing the sanctions put on Russia for its hacking).

Again, can anyone deny that Trump has made real progress in consolidating his fascist machine in all this? And can anyone deny the urgent need for resistance to prevent this from going further?

Trump Attacks the Press

On Wednesday, the day after the leak erupted, Trump took the occasion of his first press conference in six months to launch an all-out attack against Buzzfeed and CNN. This reached a peak of intensity when CNN newsperson Jim Acosta attempted to ask a question and Trump continually denied him from the podium a right to speak or question. Then, after several rounds of this, Trump’s press aide threatened Acosta with ejection if he persisted.2

Trump not only succeeded in humiliating and silencing Acosta, he did something worse: he made the rest of the press go along with it. Not a single reporter came to Acosta’s defense on the spot, when what should have happened was a mass refusal to proceed with the press conference until Acosta got to raise his question. In some ways, it was this instance in which Trump’s fascist agenda was most advanced during the whole week. So, again: Can anyone deny that Trump has made real progress in consolidating his fascist machine in all this? And can anyone deny the urgent need for resistance to prevent this from going further?

The Democrats: John Lewis’ Dissent and the Shameful Capitulation of Obama and Sanders

On Friday, John Lewis, a longtime congressional representative from Georgia and a former Freedom Rider and leader of the civil rights movement (Lewis was leading those attacked on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965, a major moment in that movement and in the history of this country), entered into the fray. Actually, he had already testified against Sessions, one of the few witnesses who actually exposed the racist meaning behind Sessions’ call for “law and order” (and in a violation of congressional protocol, Lewis was put last among the witnesses, when all but one of the Republican senators had insultingly left the room).

But now Lewis went another round and stated that, due to Russia’s alleged meddling in the elections, he did not view Trump as the legitimate president and would not attend his inauguration. Trump then hit back at Lewis—not for raising the alleged Russian connection, but for the conditions of the masses of Black people in Lewis’ district, claiming that Lewis (who, after all, nearly lost his life at Selma) was just “talk, talk, talk.” Trump also called the Black community of Atlanta “crime-infested”—reminiscent of Nazi language and imagery used in attacking Jews.

This asinine, unprincipled, and utterly racist attack by Trump began to turn the dispute over Trump’s legitimacy from one focused on Russia’s alleged hacking to one in which that issue became melded to a degree with Trump’s position toward Black people—a position which would lead anyone with an ounce of justice to find Trump illegitimate. Trump’s deep-dyed racism goes back decades. It reached low points in his call for the execution of five Black and Latino juveniles in New York (including Yusef Salaam, an initiator of refusefascism.org) in 1991, then his continued insistence up to today that they should be in prison despite their exoneration after serving years in prison, his insistence on “law and order above all” during his campaign, which is just a racist codeword for totally unleashing the police, and his flirtation during and after the campaign with the Klan and with neo-Nazi groups (along with his appointment into high positions of Bannon, Sessions, DeVos (nominee for secretary of education), and others who, like them, richly deserve the “title” of racist pig), now implicitly came into play as grounds for illegitimacy, even if beneath the surface. Even with all this, even with the racism just dripping from Trump and his attacks on Lewis, the Trump hyenas insisted that Lewis was “dividing the country” and needed to unite it. (As for that latter bullshit, right now this society urgently needs to be divided and divided out sharply, between those who are installing fascism and/or conciliating or collaborating with it, and those who are fighting it.)

By Sunday, two dozen house members had joined Lewis’ boycott of the inauguration—the beginning of what could be a serious fissure at the top.

       

Nonetheless, most leading Democrats continued their shameful dance of normalizing Trump all week long. Bernie Sanders, in a CNN town hall meeting on Monday, tut-tutted about Trump’s racism, sexism, and xenophobia, but then moved quickly to talk about “working with him where we can.” Barack Obama, in his farewell address and elsewhere, continued to prate on about the “great arc of U.S. history” and told those under his influence to continue to work within the system for change, mentioning elements of Trump’s offensive in negative ways (so as not to lose the crowd), but not calling out Trump himself, and certainly not calling for any resistance to the actual inauguration and assumption of Trump to the presidency but instead very definitely continuing to counsel against it. In short, Obama continued to emphasize the importance of the so-called “peaceful transfer of power” to Trump at a time when serious resistance of a kind not seen for many decades is urgently needed.

By Sunday, when asked about Lewis’ refusal to attend Trump’s inauguration, a top Obama aide went on TV to remind one and all that Trump was “freely elected” (as was Hitler, by the way, whose party, unlike Trump, received a plurality of votes) and suggested that Trump “reach out” to Lewis so they could iron out their differences. Meanwhile, Sanders weaseled every which way he could but refused to call Trump illegitimate, saying that those would be “just words.” Yes, they would be “words,” Bernie—consequential words, as they would imply that people should NOT allow Trump to wield the powers of the state, including the army, police, etc., and that you would be encouraging them to actually fucking DO something about the monstrosity about to go down.

It would be hard to overstate the damage done by these top Democratic politicians who have, over and over again, proven themselves to be representatives of the interests of the ruling class of capitalist-imperialists, continually normalizing Trump and refusing to call a fascist a fascist. Bob Avakian’s point that for the people at the top of the pyramid of this society, those who rule the empire, fascism is one possible solution to the problems they face, and if they have their differences with the fascists now about to take power, they will keep them “in house”; but revolution, leading to communism—OR, in this case, even something far short of revolution, a struggle aimed at STOPPING the installation of a fascist regime, which would involve bringing masses of people into the streets and “destabilizing” their rule, is NOT acceptable to them.

So, we ask again: Can anyone deny that Trump has made real progress in consolidating his fascist machine in all this? And can anyone deny the urgent need for resistance to prevent this from going further?

The Urgent Need to STOP This

At the same time, there have been numerous individuals and groups who have spoken out against Trump in the past week, sometimes at great risk, and there have also been the actions of Refuse Fascism, this week focused in DC. In addition to the disruption of the hearings, Refuse Fascism also ran its Call to Act as a full-page ad in the Washington Post, announced a major concert in New York for this week, produced some very good memes and other materials, held demonstrations in a number of cities, and most importantly took to the streets of DC, providing a concrete outlet for people and a daring plan.

Even with all this dedicated and important work, as we write this Sunday night (with the volunteers in DC in process of attempting to surround Trump Hotel), it is clear that the resistance to the installation of this fascist regime—resistance aimed at actually preventing it—has a long way to go and a short time to get there. Over and over again, people are attracted to this but then run into obstacles among those they know and sometimes get worn down or discouraged. There is a pull away from confronting the real horrors of what this regime will mean for humanity and the necessity therefore to STOP it, and a pull to seek some lesser and easier way to resist.

The FAQ’s published by Refuse Fascism actually do answer many of the questions that people have been confronting and these should be vigorously used. The FAQ’s draw on the Call to Act and the Mission and Plan to make a convincing case as to how this could happen. In short, we need the intersection of a mass eruption from below with real conflicts in the power structure—conflicts brought on both by the actual differences over HOW to handle the intense contradictions they now face generally and by how to deal with a demand from millions that this regime not be allowed to rule.

This IS possible, on both counts. The contradictions in the power structure of society have asserted themselves in unprecedented ways during this past week, even as the Trump-Pence fascist machine has marched forward. Over and over, the question of legitimacy, or who has the right to wield the armed force of the state, has forced itself into public debate. Nearly every day of the past week this phrase was on people’s lips, and while Bernie Sanders may disingenuously and shamefully dismiss this as “just words,” in many ways legitimacy is the most important word in the dictionary right now. This is precisely because fascism is a very radical solution to the very deep social contradictions the ruling class faces, and one fraught with all kinds of risks—including getting the people to go along with radical new and extremely reactionary “legitimating norms.”3

What is missing right now is the sufficient numbers “from below”—from the people of all strata of this society who basically get, on one level or another, the depth of the threat we face and the need for radical, unprecedented action to stop it. That and that alone would enable things to come together to actually prevent this.

The FAQ’s answer a number of things that have been brought up, and should continue to be wielded. But here we also have to say that, in particular, fear—fear of possible chaos, particularly coming from the fascist defenders of Trump should he be denied the presidency—cannot limit our imaginations or aspirations. Nor can we allow it to cloud our objective understanding of the catastrophe that this regime will almost certainly mean for hundreds of millions here and literally billions around the world. Hoping for the best in the face of this is NOT a strategy—at least not a strategy to forestall this.

Yes, there will be resistance and “push-back” coming from the stone-to-the-bone racists and reactionaries who have grouped themselves at the core around Trump; but will it be easier to deal with this when these same forces have their champion in power, with the legal means to deploy the armed forces that HE will command, with the prison and legal system that HE will be honeycombing with his appointments, with the press turned utterly servile (as we saw in preview on Wednesday), with rights (including citizenship rights) stripped from those who dissent while at the same time having them subjected to cyber-attacks and threats and actual violence, and with what will be the legally allowed opposition cringing in fear and working to find ways to “work together”?!? The question both demands to be asked and it answers itself. It will in fact be far harder, immeasurably harder—far better now to brave these forces when they do not yet have their hands on state power, than waiting for a presumably better time that in all likelihood will never come... or, if and when it does come, will happen only after terrible damage has already been done.

To speak of the great struggles of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s once more—was it easy, back then, to take direct action to stand up against the KKK, the mobs and the sheriffs who had no compunction about dealing brutality and death to people demanding basic rights and human dignity? It’s easy to forget now how people were told, as Nina Simone put it in one of her great songs (“Mississippi Goddam”), to “go slow.” But, as Nina sang about that mentality, “that’s just the trouble.” We cannot go slow; we cannot fail to rise to what we must rise to, even with the risks.

If you let yourself face the full depth of the situation... if you understand it deep down, on any level at all... you MUST act on your understanding.

Humanity depends on it.


1. For instance, Colin Powell—who was secretary of state under George W. Bush—had a reputation as more “moderate” than secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and other key Bush-Cheney appointees; Bush turned this to his advantage by having Powell testify at the UN that Iraq’s possession of “weapons of mass destruction” was “a fact.” Of course, there were no facts backing this, as Powell well knew; but Powell’s reputation gave his assertion more credibility than it would have had coming from the other Bushites. [back]

2. CNN (along with the other “liberal media” that Trump is generally attacking so hard right now) is a propaganda organ of the ruling class, a point deeply gone into by Bob Avakian in the filmed talk REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Within the spectrum of the mainstream news media, however, they are in the center, upholding at least a pretense of reporting stories that are objectively verifiable. While they do (often) print utter falsehoods, in the main they cast their reporting in ways that accept the underlying framework of understanding the world that the ruling class of this country promotes through their control of education, culture, the media, etc. To take one example from BA’s talk, CNN and other mainstream broadcast commentators continually use the phrase “the good guys” in reporting on U.S. troops in conflict with other armed forces. This is NOT objective reporting, as the U.S. Army is far from being the good guys in any of the conflicts they are involved in (e.g., Iraq, where the “good guys” have been responsible directly for the literal torture and murder of tens of thousands of Iraqis, the exile of millions more, and the plunging of the country into religious civil war that has taken still more tens of thousands of lives—for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than the U.S. desire to heighten its domination and exploitation of the Middle East; also, note that “Mad Dog” Mattis, the nominee for secretary of defense who also got a free pass in the Senate confirmation hearings, lived up to his nickname thereby giving overall leadership to the practice of “night raids” in which U.S. troops would terrorize Iraqi families in the middle of the night, carrying out mayhem and often murder, under the pretext of looking for terrorists). So no, they are not “good guys,” and yes, the media is biased (as this example shows), but no, this does not justify a fascist, or anyone else, silencing and intimidating the press. [back]

3. By the term legitimating norms, we refer to an imposed, but to an extent accepted, consensus as to how society should be ordered, what rights and duties people have, etc. With Trump these “new norms” would include the outright suppression of the press and of political expression more generally; the use of state power and armed thugs to silence dissent and to persecute people deemed “undesirable” (in this case, Muslims, immigrants generally, Black people, women, LGBT people, and others); the breakneck, totally unregulated destruction and plunder of the environment; and a more openly warlike foreign policy, including a renewed and extremely dangerous nuclear arms race. [back]

 

 


 

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

Revolution #474 January 16, 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/carl-dix-something-started-it-has-to-grow-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

January 15, Washington, DC

Carl Dix: Something Started... It has to grow... 100's to 1000's

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A volunteer with the national office staff briefly talked to Carl Dix–one of the co-initiators of Refuse Fascism, about what went on in the streets of D.C. Sunday night.

Talk about what happened tonight...

We assembled at McPherson Square. We gathered forces, and we marched to the Trump hotel.

We blocked the two main entrances. DC police reinforced the security of the hotel and put up barricades. Someone who was inside, and gave us a report, said they put the hotel on lockdown. Look, our aim is to do a lot more than shut down entrances to the Trump International hotel. In fact, we’re going to the Trump hotel as part of serving notice that we refuse to accept a fascist America.

We refuse the whole fascist package—for example, the muzzling of the press that we saw this week, the horrors this fascist regime means for humanity and the planet. And people feel in their guts and their hearts everything that Donald Trump represents. How he bullies people. His hotel is a disgusting symbol of all that. Like we said: Donald Trump, go back to selling your crass shit.

And we’re going to be going back, tomorrow, which I’ll get to. But this is is all aimed at building up forces to bring to a halt business as usual in DC. And for that to be part of creating a situation where this fascist Trump-Pence regime cannot rule.

To do that, we have to call into the streets many of the millions of people who feel the impending horror of the Trump/Pence regime taking the reins of power. Something they don’t want to see happen, but have not yet stepped out. We have to reach out, challenge them, get them off the couch, out from behind the computer, and into the streets.

We began from our stepping-off point. We marched into Chinatown and other neighborhoods, and gathered people and spirit and enthusiasm as we went. Then, after we shut down the two main entrances to Trump International Hotel, we marched along Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House.

Talk about who came out, and who joined in...

We started, I didn’t count the crowd but we started with less than a hundred at the start, dozens, mainly volunteers from Refuse Fascism who had come into town, and Food Not Bombs was feeding people, and some local DC people were there. But as we went through the streets, we called out to people to join with this. We talked about where we were going. We talked about why we were doing this. We were figuring we would pick up people in Chinatown—it’s actually a major shopping area now where chain stores do put Chinese lettering on their stores but they don’t cater to Chinese people. But it’s an area where people hang out. Even before we got there, people were chiming and joining in. The chants were rhythmic. People were dancing with us. We had a lot of extra signs—stop the Trump-Pence fascist regime before it starts. NO—In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America. And people responded.

All along the way, an array of people were getting in. Mostly younger people, some really young. We picked up half a dozen Black teenagers on bikes who became the lead contingent. We picked up some white skateboarders. But before that we’d pass hotels, restaurants, cafes – people would come out to see what was going on, and we’d bring some of them in. This was people of different nationalities.

We did a speak-out on the way to the White House, and got a picture of what was motivating people who joined in. People talked about—one of the first people who spoke was someone who had been on the caravan from LA. He talked about how as a queer man I can’t sit back and let Trump take the reins of power. I’ve seen what that would mean, and I can’t let that go down. There were young Black women talking about the message they’re getting from Trump that their lives don’t count, and that was something they were not willing to sit back and take. A couple of Washington Capitals hockey fans with their jerseys joined in and were vehement about how much they hated Trump – one said “I can’t even call his name, I have to call him president-elect asshole.”

An older Black guy talked about what Trump would mean, not just for Back people, but for everyone. And we had to come together to stop this. And that was a theme of a lot of people, and they saw what we were doing was building that unity. We at least tripled our numbers.

We were calling on people to come into the streets. What happened was very important, and spirited. And yet it was only a beginning. Something started that has to grow in the next few days.

Talk about going forward ...

We are aiming, on Tuesday, to really bring D.C. to a halt! We need thousands to do that. We started today, we grew by hundreds. But this is just a beginning. Through the next days, we see the hundreds grow to thousands, the thousands to much much more ... to actually prevent this regime from coming to power. 

As we’ve laid out, we’re gonna be gathering every day in D.C. through Thursday, working to bring out more and more people every day, to build on the numbers. We’re going to be going into the neighborhoods. When schools open back up on Tuesday, we’re going out to the high schools.

Tomorrow we are going back to Trump Hotel, to SHUT IT DOWN. We’re gonna step out from McPherson Square at 4 o’clock, and swing through neighborhoods and back to the Hotel. And we’re working to have the numbers to surround the block the hotel is situated on. This is a powerful message to Trump and the world – and an advance in doing what is needed to actually prevent the regime from coming to power.

Then, on Tuesday, January 17th, three days before Inauguration, we aim to BRING DC TO A HALT!  Again, we’re gonna step out from McPherson Square at 4 o’clock. This will take a lot of people. One of the things that a number of speakers said today, including me, is that the numbers of people who hate everything Donald Trump represents are out there, and it’s the mission of those of us who are here to bring them out with us.

Because of what this regime represents, how hated it is, hundreds can grow to thousands and more very quickly. Today, we saw real evidence of this, in all of those—from different backgrounds—who joined us as we marched through neighborhoods, who joined us at the Trump hotel, wanting to express their anger, their disgust, and having a chance to act! This will take people getting off the stands and getting into the game, acting on their anguish and for humanity, getting into the streets, everywhere and especially in DC!

Look, we really need to prevent this regime from coming to power, to bring out the tens of thousands BEFORE the Inauguration, causing the kind of political crisis that we describe in the Refuse Fascism Call to Action. We need all those people who understand the dangerous threat the Trump-Pence regime represent and all those who hate what Trump stands for. We need you'll out in the streets—this week, this Monday and Tuesday. Both days, McPherson Square, I and 15th NW, 4 pm, be there!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/469/sparks-of-outrage-and-protest-potential-for-mass-resistance-to-stop-the-fascists-from-consolidating-power-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Sparks of Outrage and Protest Against the Fascist Trump-Pence Regime

Updated March 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A fascist regime that represents an unprecedented danger to humanity has assumed the reins of power in the U.S. Starting right from the inaugural speech and every day since then, the Trump-Pence regime has carried through new outrages—and they surely have more to come. Right now, the different forces in the ruling class are either supporting this enthusiastically or going along with at most a few petty amendments.

As Carl Dix, Sunsara Taylor, and Andy Zee—three people who kicked off refusefascism.org—said in their January 25 letter: “That does NOT mean that the possibility of ousting this regime through truly massive action is over, and that all people can do is work on local projects or hope for some pendulum swing somewhere down the road—while Trump-Pence carry out truly monstrous things and put the whole planet in jeopardy. Far from it. Precisely because this regime is fascist and a qualitative change from the ‘normal workings’ of this system, and because millions of people—correctly—view this regime as utterly illegitimate, the possibility of crisis erupting at any time is great....”

And they also noted: “So we stand at a new juncture. The regime is in power, and moving quickly. At the same time, millions have registered their opposition and many are looking for a way to fight. Over these next few weeks, revcom.us will be covering the regime and the resistance to it with the same intensity and level of analysis that we have since the election.”

There are millions who hate what is represented by this fascist regime, and some of this outrage continues to surface in different kinds of resistance, as seen here on this page. There are also many in different spheres—academia, sciences, arts and entertainment, journalism, and others—who are raising their voices against Trump-Pence and their fascist outrages. See these voices here. It’s crucial to grasp that these sparks and voices represent a much bigger and broader anger and opposition to the fascist regime.

We encourage Revolution/revcom.us readers to send us news and reports, pictures, and videos of the ways people are resisting (send to: revolution.reports@yahoo.com).

 


"This Is Not Normal"

 

Some recent protests...



Flagburner Gregory "Joey" Johnson speaking in San Francisco, December 10, 2016.

Protest of Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, December 10, Los Angeles.Protest of Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, December 10, Los Angeles. Photo: Special to revcom.us

Boston student walkout, December 5
Student walkout in Boston, December 5. Photo: Twitter/campuslately

 

Texas students join thousands to protest neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, December 6Hundreds of A&M students with homemade placards and banners joined thousands of people to protest neo-Nazi (aka "alt-right") Richard Spencer, December 6. (AP photo)

December 7--Japanese American community groups led a protest in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles to oppose Trump's threats against Muslims and immigrants.
December 7—Japanese American community groups led a protest in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles to oppose Trump's threats against Muslims and immigrants. Photo: Twitter/@josie_huang

Earlier Sparks of Outrage and Protest

~~~~~~~~~~

On Saturday, December 10, in San Francisco, 500 people marched in the rain to deliver the message “This Is Not Normal!” The action was initiated by people who had never organized a protest before. The march involved a broad range: people from the LGBT community, tech workers, students, artists, feminists, and others. The Revolution Club led many chants taken up by the march, like “We will not conciliate! We will not accommodate! We will not collaborate!” and read the statement “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America” from the rally stage. Joey Johnson, revolutionary communist and notorious flag burner, spoke to the huge stakes for humanity in stopping the fascists, and pointed to Trump’s threat to jail and strip citizenship from people burning the American flag as one concentration of the fascist program.

On the same day, in Los Angeles, thousands of people from many walks of life converged downtown to demand the complete stop of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The DAPL threatens the water source for the Standing Rock Sioux people and sites that are important to their culture, and if completed will add significantly to the the global climate change endangering the planet. More than 600 copies of Revolution newspaper were distributed along the march, and hundreds of people carried posters declaring “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.”

On Monday, December 5, hundreds of Boston high school and college students walked out of classes and rallied at Boston Commons. According to the Boston Globe, the students delivered a list of demands to the Massachusetts governor and the Boston mayor, “to protect minorities and immigrants, support public education, and denounce white nationalists who have been energized by a Trump victory.”

Trump has threatened to immediately deport millions of immigrants and cancel Obama’s temporary deferrals of deportations of young undocumented people. In response, students across the country are organizing and acting—through walkouts, rallies, and petition campaigns—to demand that their schools become “sanctuary campuses” that protect undocumented immigrants, as well as LGBT people and other who may come under attack from the government as well as fascist mobs. (See “Students Across the County Demand Sanctuary Campuses: Schools Should Be Safe Zones from Fascist Attacks—No Matter What”)

On December 6, at Texas A&M University, neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer’s appearance on the campus was met with righteous protest by hundreds of students and hundreds of others from Houston, Austin, and other cities and towns in Texas. This school is known as one of the most conservative state universities in the country—so this raucous protest of thousands was very significant. (See “Thousands Protest Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer at Texas A&M”)

On December 7, on the anniversary of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that began the war between U.S. and Japan, a number of Japanese American community organizations in Los Angeles led a protest in the Little Tokyo neighborhood against Trump’s attack on immigrants and Muslims. They compared what Trump is saying and threatening to the U.S. government’s vilification, mass round-ups, and imprisonment in concentration camps of people of Japanese ancestry during World War 2. There were calls for Little Tokyo to become a sanctuary for those singled out by Trump, and for people to “put their bodies” between those targeted and the authorities. 

The Jewish group IfNotNow, which came together in 2014 to opposes the horrific U.S.-backed Israeli war on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, has been protesting Richard Bannon, the white-supremacist, anti-Semitic neo-Nazi who is Trump’s “chief strategist.” On December 8, IfNotNow in New York City posted on their Facebook page: “This morning, we delivered white roses to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and demanded that they join our call to #FireBannon. The white rose was used by students from The University of Munich as a symbol of nonviolent resistance to the Nazi regime, and now we claim it as our own—to demonstrate our resistance to state-sponsored hate as the #JewishResistance.”

On December 10, 200 people marched around the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to protest Trump who was attending the Army-Navy football game. The Baltimore Sun said that the protesters chanted “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here” and “We reject the president-elect” and held up signs like “Resist” and “Make fascists hide again.”

On Friday, December 9, at the annual awards ceremony of the International Documentary Association (IDA) held at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles, TV writer and producer Norman Lear said from the stage that the country is entering “a very dangerous time” with the election of Trump, which poses “serious obligations”: “If, for example, he or his administration in any way threatens the free speech rights of our documentary filmmakers, the IDA and every supporter in this room must—will, I am sure—hunker down together and fight our asses off.” According to Hollywood Reporter, “Feelings on this topic were clearly running high all around, as an audience member yelled, ‘He’s a fascist!’ during Lear’s speech.”

Spurred by the rise of Trump, a website called “Professors Watchlist” has been posting names professors they accuse of “leftist propaganda”—more than 200 names so far. This kind of fascist witch-hunt on campuses will only become more extreme if the Trump regime is allowed to firm up its grip on power. When two professors at Notre Dame university appeared on the list, more than 100 faculty members at the campus took a stand against the witch-hunt with an open letter saying the watch list should add their names in order to reaffirm “our values and recommitting ourselves to the work of teaching students to think clearly, independently and fearlessly.” See the “Other Voices Against Trump” page at www.revcom.us for this statement and other voices of resistance, including MIT professors, Cornel West, New York Times columnist Charles Blow, and others.

There are various calls for protests in Washington, DC, as the date for Trump inauguration approaches. On December 10, Shaun King—New York Daily News writer and widely followed social media commentator—sent out a tweet saying: “Many people asking me if people should clog the streets of DC to prevent the inauguration ceremony. On general principle alone, YES.” A few days earlier, filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted: “Disrupt the Inauguration. The Majority have spoken—by nearly 2.7 million votes &counting! Silence is not an option.”

Update: On December 12, there were protests in a number of cities around the country in response to a "Women and Allies" call to "deliver the message in a unified voice that we are ready to stand against any government action that would serve to erode the rights of women and other vulnerable groups." See "'Women and Allies' Actions Oppose Trump-Pence Attacks."

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/marcha-vs-fascist-trump-pence-regime-in-downtown-los-angeles-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Marcha vs. Fascist Trump-Pence Regime in Downtown Los Angeles

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Sunday, January 15—150 people hit the streets of downtown Los Angeles against the Trump-Pence fascists. The rally and march were called as part of an urgent and historic effort to mobilize resistance of millions in the next days to create a situation where the a Trump-Pence regime is prevented from seizing the reins of power. The march was led by several co-initiators and signatories to the Call to Action of RefuseFascism.org—including Isabel Cardenas, a Salvadoran-American activist; Fr. Richard Estrada, a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles; and members of the Revolution Club, Los Angeles.

A significant contribution to the protest came from an immigrant man who'd lost two limbs when he fell from "La Beastia"—the train that moves tens of thousands of Mexicans and Central Americans through Mexico on the perilous trip north to the U.S. He told the story of the how he was saved by people in Chihuahua, Mexico, and discussed the human cost of the anti-immigrant repression by the U.S. government. The Aztec Dancers organized for the march—25 of them driving an intense percussive beat throughout downtown. There were high school students and people who came to the event off seeing interviews on Spanish-language TV throughout the week. Some people shopping on Broadway jumped into the march, which built in strength and numbers through downtown L.A.

The march arrived at the L.A. City Hall at 4 pm, hooking up with the encampment that is staying at the City Hall until the Trump-Pence regime is stopped. Major television coverage of the rally and march included KABC Channel 7 News, Fox 11 News, KMEX Channel 34 Spanish News, Telemundo Spanish News, La Nuestro Central American News, and other media.

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

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

Updated March 23, 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):

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

We are USC Faculty.

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

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

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

We are committed to:

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

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

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

We will Fight On!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole article here

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

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

Here are some excerpts from Bennett’s statement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Tim Roger’s article in its entirety here.

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

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

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

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

Read more

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The statement said in part:

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

Berkeley Law School Faculty and Staff: #NoBanNoWall

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

Their statement reads:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The PDF of the poster is available here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hear Meryl Streep’s whole speech here.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prochnik writes:

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

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

To read the whole article, go here.

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

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

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

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

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

From a reader:

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

When Popovich was asked about Black History Month he said,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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/473/the-time-is-now-get-organized-to-stop-trump-pence-regime-before-it-starts-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 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/474/get-into-the-game-there-Is-still-time-to-win-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 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/473/former-members-of-black-panther-party-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 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/department -of-justice-report-on-chicago-police-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 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/473/musicians-against-fascism-concert-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 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/471/initiators-and-others-speak-out-on-refuse-fascism-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Initiators and Others Speak Out:
NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America!

Updated January 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Here are words from some of the initiators of Refuse Fascism and others, at the Emergency Meeting in NYC, December 19, 2016:

Read the Call to Action | Sign the Statement   

"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      

Pianist/composer Arturo O'Farrill:
"We're gathered to usher in a new era; a new era of strong, powerful resistance; an era of cooperation and communication"

January 20, 2017

The night before Trump’s inauguration, there was a Musicians Against Fascism concert at Symphony Space in New York City featuring outstanding jazz musicians. This was a benefit for refusefascism.org. The host for the evening, five-time Grammy winner Arturo O’Farrill, made these opening remarks:

Read more


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: 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.

Read more


From Dave Zeiger, Displaced Films:
It CAN'T happen here? Don't become Kurt Gerron.

January 12, 2017

Read more


Carl Dix, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and one of the co-initiators of RefuseFascism.org, speaks at New Year's Eve protest at Columbus Circle, NYC. Carl lays out the vision and plan for taking the "No Trump! No Pence! No Fascist 2017!" message to every corner of society in the coming days and building massive resistance culminating in people coming to Washington, D.C. before the MLK holiday. Carl Dix is heading to DC, and calling on people to join him there, and to stay in the streets and disrupt business as usual to prevent the Trump-Pence regime from ruling.


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

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.


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

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.

Read more




Upon adding her name to the Call to Action to Stop Trump and Pence Before They Come to Power, Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker observed:

"A Southerner, Fascism was well known growing up. So this “new” fascist America is a redux. All the more unbearable for being so. Who wants to go back there?"


Revolution Interview

Yusef Salaam of the Central Park 5, An Innocent Black Man Trump Campaigned to Execute in 1989:
We Can't Wait 4 Years, We Must Change the Course of History Now

December 28, 2016

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Interview with Sunsara Taylor

Emergency Meeting Confronts the Danger, Reveals the Potential, Makes the Plans to STOP a Trump/Pence Regime Before It Starts

December 20, 2016

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From the Faith Committee of RefuseFascism.org

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

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

Read more


LISTEN: Andy Zee and PZ Myers on The Michael Slate Show, KPFK in Los Angeles

Listen HERE


Interview with Musician, Ted Sirota

"If people speak their conscience, especially in a situation as morally outrageous as this one, others will follow suit."

December 24, 2016

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Pastor Gregg L. Greer: Appeal to people of faith!

December 24, 2016

Read more

Pastor Gregg L. Greer is President of Freedom First International (SCLC)

 

       

 

 


 

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

Revolution #474 January 16, 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/472/beware-incidents-pretexts-and-traps-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 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.

Read, Sign & Distribute The New Updated Refuse Fascism Call to Action:

Read the statement     |     Sign the statement     |     Download 2-sided Flier (8-1/2"x11" PDF)

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #474 January 16, 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/473/cnn-runs-story-trump-didnt-like-gets-denounced-and-censored-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 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/466/trump-installs-his-fascist-team-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

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

Updated February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Donald Trump has been putting in place a cabal of:

 

Trump's team so far includes:

Sebastian Gorka—Islamophobic Warrior, Rising Star in the Trump/Pence Regime

Sebastian Gorka is emerging into the public eye as a key figure in the Trump/Pence regime’s plans to “eradicate” jihadist forces like ISIS as part of a much broader attack and aggression against Muslim countries and people as a whole.

Gorka is part of the core of people around Steve Bannon, the former editor of Breitbart News, who see America and the “Christian West” as locked in an existential struggle with the Muslim world and non-European/dark-skinned people generally. Bannon is Trump’s chief of strategy, and clearly very close to him in his thinking and policy. Gorka worked for Bannon at Breitbart for the last two years.

In January, Bannon recommended Gorka to be deputy assistant to Trump, and he was then named to the “Strategic Initiatives Group” (SIG), newly created by Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. SIG appears to be meant to serve Bannon’s fascist ideological “oversight” of the White House national security apparatus. And in the last month, Gorka has been trotted out for numerous press interviews to defend the Trump regime.

Gorka was considered a “fringe” figure during the last 15 years, working at a series of lecturer positions in U.S. security and military training institutions. His trademark was his bitter disagreement with the mainstream of U.S. imperialist policymakers under Clinton, both Bushes, and Obama over whether or not to target the Islamic religion as a whole, and the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, as “the enemy” of the U.S. empire.

Read here

Thomas Homan, a Pig's Pig, Is Trump's New Head of Immigration Department: Fascist Regime Gears Up for Mass Sweeps and Deportations

The appointment Monday (January 30) of Thomas Homan to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is the latest flashing red signal that the Trump regime is gearing up to begin deporting millions of immigrants from Mexico, Latin America and elsewhere.

First came last Wednesday’s executive order from Trump to build “the Wall,” which also ordered the hiring of 15,000 more Border Patrol and ICE agents. That order also changed federal policy to facilitate Border Patrol and ICE working closely with local and state police.

On Thursday, Mark Morgan, the head of the Border Patrol, was forced out of his post. Morgan wanted to stay and sucked up to Trump by publicly criticizing Obama’s immigration policies. But he was opposed by the Border Patrol union, which ran an op-ed on the neo-Nazi Breitbart.com in November saying Morgan was “a disgrace.”

The Border Patrol are front-line enforcers of the U.S. immigration policy.

Read here

Trump's Pick for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder: Enemy of the Minimum Wage and Workplace Regulations

The supposed mission of the federal Department of Labor is: “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.” Trump’s nominee for secretary of this department is Andrew Puzder, a champion of unrestrained exploitation of workers by the capitalists, free of government regulations.

Read here

The Fascist Resumé of Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon

One of Donald Trump's first decisions as president-elect was to name Steve Bannon his chief strategist and senior counselor. Bannon managed Trump's campaign. Before that he was the owner and hands-on force behind the website Breitbart News Network. Mainstream news and Bannon himself call Bannon's politics "conservative," "alt-right," or "white nationalist." It's worse than that.

"Hoist the Confederate Flag"

On June 17, 2015, Charleston, South Carolina: nine people at a Bible study class in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were murdered by white racist Dylann Roof. Roof said he carried out the massacre to start a "race war" to turn America back to the days of open segregation. He posed online with pro-Hitler symbols and a confederate flag. Part of the response, very broadly throughout society, was an eruption of outrage against the confederate flags, flags of slavery and lynching.

Breitbart's response: an article headlined "Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage." Steve Bannon ran Breitbart when this article was published. He signed off on it, and as a hands-on editor likely instigated it....

Read here

Trump's Choice for Defense Secretary: Marine General James "Mad Dog" Mattis

Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis as his Secretary of Defense.  He’s the latest addition to Trump’s storm trooper team.  Mattis’ mantra: "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

Mattis' got his nickname “Mad Dog” for his role in leading U.S. troops in laying waste to the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November 2004, massacring insurgents and civilians alike.  Most of that modern city of 300,000 was completely destroyed, reduced to rubble. At least 60 percent of those killed were women, children, and the elderly. A correspondent wrote: "There has been nothing like the attack on Fallujah since the Nazi invasion and occupation of much of the European continent—the shelling and bombing of Warsaw in September 1939, the terror bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940."

Read here

Trump's National Security Adviser: Lt. General Mike Flynn—"At War with Islam"

This week Trump named Lt. General Mike Flynn to be his National Security Adviser, one of the most powerful foreign policy positions in the government. The National Security Advisor is generally the president’s main foreign policy advisor and key coordinator of implementing his decisions. Flynn is seen as one of Trump’s closest and most rabid advisors. (During the Republican National Convention, he joined in the anti-Hillary Clinton chants of "Lock her up!")

Flynn, a retired three-star Army general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA, the Pentagon’s spying arm), claims the U.S. is in a global war, not just against Islamic jihadists but against Islam itself. It’s not really a religion, Flynn argues, but a dangerous political ideology. Flynn has called Islam a "cancer" and said "fear of Muslims is rational." In April 2015 he told Fox News, “I've been at war with Islam, or a component of Islam, for the last decade.”

Flynn vitriolically argues that the U.S. shouldn’t be restrained by human rights, international law, rules of engagement, or other forms of “political correctness” but should ruthlessly fight this “existential enemy.” (This stance and his open criticism of the Obama administration’s “softness” toward and “lying” about Islamic fundamentalists probably led to his 2014 firing as head of the DIA.)

Read here.

Trump's CIA Pick: Mike Pompeo—Advocate of Torture & Tearing Up Rule of Law

Mike Pompeo wants to expand the government’s ability to spy on millions. He advocates legalizing and carrying out torture. He champions gutting fundamental civil rights. Now Trump has named this Congressman and former Army officer to head the Central Intelligence Agency—the CIA—one of the most powerful and deadly arms of the U.S. government’s repressive apparatus.

Pompeo opposed ending the ability of the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect phone records, or metadata, in bulk. Instead, he called for Congress to expandspying and “pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed.” (Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2016)

Read here.

Ben Carson: A Housing Slasher, an Uncle Tom Defender of Segregation, a Christian Fundamentalist Nut Case... and Dangerous New Member of Trump's "Legion of Doom"

By any conventional standards, Ben Carson is an obscene joke as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Less than a month ago, Carson’s close friend Armstrong Williams said Carson felt he would “cripple the presidency” in a cabinet position, because, “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency.”

But there is a fascist method to this madness. Trump’s choice of Carson to head up HUD puts someone who wants to decimate public housing and shut down any governmental interference with segregation, and who is a Christian fundamentalist lunatic to boot, in a powerful position in the U.S. government.

Ben Carson says any attempt by the government to address housing discrimination is a “mandated social-engineering scheme.” He says the micro-thin safety net that provides poor people, inner city residents, and Black and Brown people with barely livable shelter­—if that­—in dangerous projects and filthy homeless shelters is too much—that it just encourages “dependency.” What do you think an appointment like this means to people for whom the existing, shitty government programs are a matter of survival?

Read here

Trump's Ambassador to Israel:
Signaling an Iron Fist in the Middle East

On December 16, Donald Trump announced the nomination of David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel.

An Israeli newspaper described Friedman as "more hardline in his views than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," the current leader of Israel and notorious for invading the Gaza Strip and slaughtering thousands of Palestinian civilians. An Israeli commentator said Friedman "might find a place" in one of Israel's extremist parties, "but only on its right-wing fringes." Military historian Andrew Bacevich said that if you are looking for stability in the Middle East, this signals changes that will "put us in exactly the opposite direction ... increase the possibility of violence" and "extend the conflicts that have engulfed that part of the world."

Friedman is a fanatical supporter of Israel and an all-around fascist. His orientation is to give full support to the most right-wing positions and the most rabid forces in Israeli society, and to attack and demonize the Palestinian people and anyone who supports or even sympathizes with them, including a large number of Jews in both Israel and the U.S.

Read here

Mike Pence: A Christian Fascist Who's a Heartbeat Away from the U.S. Presidency

The United States will now have a vice president who wants to ban all abortions, overturn laws barring discrimination against LGBT people, fully unleash the police to stop and frisk Black and other oppressed people, and carry out other extreme steps that will lead to horrible new leaps in repression. Mike Pence cites Bible verses to back up such ugly policy stands. He is a Christian fascist who will be #2 in the White House.

One of Trump’s sons reportedly said before the election that his father’s vice president will be “the most powerful vice president in history,” in charge of domestic and foreign policy while Trump concentrates on “making America great.” Trump’s people denied the report—but, in any case, Pence will wield enormous sway. He is already playing a major role, including choosing cabinet and other officials. He met top Republicans in the House of Representatives and told them to “buckle up” to move quickly, making clear he’ll play a leading role in pushing fascist laws through Congress. As writer Jeremy Scahill put it (in an article at TheIntercept.com), “Mike Pence will be the most powerful Christian supremacist in U.S. history.”

Pence is part of a Christian fascist movement that aims to impose on society a government, laws, and dominant morality based on strict interpretations of the Bible. According to a Slate.com article, when Pence was a congressman from Indiana, “Aides and other politicians often saw him reading his Bible, and Pence would cite specific verses to justify policy arguments. ‘These have stood the test of time,’ he told one staffer. ‘They have eternal value.’” He made an anti-evolution speech on the floor of the House saying he believes in “intelligent design” (an unscientific claim that life is too complex to have evolved and must be the work of God) and arguing that it be taught in schools.

Read here.

Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions: An Enforcer of White Supremacy and Extreme Patriarchy

This week Donald Trump selected the longtime Alabama white supremacist (and U.S. senator) Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to be the next Attorney General of the U.S.

Sessions first gained national attention in 1986, when he was nominated for a federal judgeship by Ronald Reagan. In his confirmation hearings, it was exposed that in 1984 when he was a U.S. Attorney in Alabama, Sessions led the prosecution of three Black civil rights workers for attempting to register Black people to vote in areas of Alabama where virtually no Black people had been able to vote—near the infamous town of Selma. They faced 100 years in jail. The three were acquitted by a jury in four hours.

In his confirmation hearing, an associate testified that Sessions had called a white civil rights lawyer a “disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases.

A Black former assistant US attorney, testified that Sessions “stated that he believed the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Operation PUSH and the National Council of Churches were all un-American organizations teaching anti-American values.” And that Sessions said he believed the Ku Klux Klan was OK until he learned its members smoked marijuana, something the former U.S. attorney testified was not a joke, but something he took as “a serious statement” of Sessions' views.  Sessions made this contemptible statement about the KKK in the aftermath of a trial of two Klansmen for slitting the throat of a Black man in Mobile, Alabama.

Read here.

Tom Price, Trump's Pick for Health and Human Services: A Slasher of Healthcare for the Poor and Women

Trump’s choices for his cabinet include enemies of public education, housing and the environment to head departments dealing with those issue. Now, for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Trump has picked Tom Price, a ghoul who aims to gut healthcare, especially for the poor, and ban abortion.

Tom Price is a surgeon, a congressman from Georgia, and a member of the fascist Tea Party caucus. Price has been a prominent part of repeated efforts in the Congress to push through bills that would undermine or repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obama’s healthcare law. A statement by a group of doctors, signed by thousands of physicians, said that Price’s policies attacking public healthcare “threaten to harm our most vulnerable patients and limit their access to healthcare.” (See “Thousands of Doctors Speak Out Against Trump’s Pick to Head Health and Human Services” at our “Voices of Conscience and Resistance in the Time of Trump-Pence” page.)

The reality is that ACA (or “Obamacare”) is not a real solution to the glaring situation where tens of millions of people can’t afford healthcare, with thousands dying needlessly, in a country that has a technologically advanced—and very profitable—healthcare “industry.” In the face of growing outrage among the people over this, sections of the ruling class felt it necessary to contain healthcare costs and expand insurance coverage to some extent. The ACA was a capitalist plan to maintain the profitability of capitalists who have major stakes in healthcare while taking into account the interests of other capitalists, and to make some concessions in order to tamp down a source of political outrage against the system. But from the start, the ACA been the target of Price and other Republicans who promote the view that the government has no responsibility for anything having to do with the well-being and welfare of the people—and that any attempt to soften the predatory impact of the capitalist “market” on people does harm to the interests of their capitalist system.

Read here.

New "Education" Secretary DeVos: Cut Public Education, Impose Christian Fascism

Donald Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

Betsy DeVos heads The American Federation for Children. This is an organization that describes itself as “the leading national advocacy organization promoting school choice, with a specific focus on advocating for school vouchers, scholarship tax credit programs and Education Savings Accounts.” (emphasis added)

Translation:

School choice: Allowing white parents to avoid sending their children to integrated public schools. This strips public schools of funding. It leaves them with a high number of special-needs students and without resources to provide a decent education to children.

School vouchers: A tool for channeling state funding into private, religious (overwhelmingly Christian) schools. And thus having the government fund Christian schools, even though that is supposed to be unconstitutional. Parents get vouchers and can use them to pay tuition for segregated, Christian schools.

Read here

Rick Perry—Christian Fascist Lunatic To Be Energy Secretary

Trump’s choice for Energy Secretary is Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas. All the mainstream press pointed out that while running for president in 2012, Perry stated in a televised presidential debate he planned to eliminate three federal departments but then forgot the name of the third, the same Department of Energy he’s now been appointed to head.

As funny and bumbling as this makes him look, there are much more frightening ramifications tied up with Perry’s appointment than being a buffoon. The Department of Energy is in charge of designing nuclear weapons, watching over the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and developing and guiding energy policy. It is very influential in deciding the direction of basic science in the U.S.

Now U.S. nuclear and energy policy will be in the hands of a man with a stated hostility to facts and science and with deep connections to Christian fundamentalist fanatics.

Read here

Scott Pruitt is Trump's Pick to Head the EPA: A Regime Dead Set on Destroying Life on Earth

Scott Pruitt is Donald Trump’s nominee for head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt has been a rabid attack dog for the fossil fuel industry. He fought even the very limited steps the Obama administration took to try to contain global climate change. He has fought clean air and water rules that have been in effect for decades. Pruitt, and the Trump regime, represent an extreme escalation of the danger humanity faces. 

Scott Pruitt is a climate change denier. He would head the EPA for a president who belligerently, and with no scientific backing at all, declares climate change a hoax. Pruitt is obsessed with shredding obstacles to fracking. In Oklahoma, that has led to disastrous environmental disaster already. In a state that use to be essentially without earthquakes, fracking has lead to a situation where one Native American Indian reservation suffered 816 earthquakes in one year. He was point man in fighting to extend the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline. He is a cheerleader for coal mining. His record as Attorney General in Oklahoma was one of literally transcribing lying propaganda from oil industry lobbyists and submitting it on official government letterhead to federal agencies.

Read here

 

 

 

       

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/science/34ba-science...revolution-leading-core-of-intellectuals-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 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 from the section:
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This

This puts in the proper perspective the absolute necessity, and the crucial role, of a revolutionary communist vanguard party. At the same time, we do need to clearly recognize and confront the contradictions bound up with this. I touched on this somewhat before, but I want to come back to it and go into it from some different angles. In Ruminations and Wranglings, I examined the role of intellectuals as a leading core of the Party and the revolution—the political and literary representatives of the proletariat, in the fundamental sense—and the contradictions involved with this. I pointed out that this applies, regardless of where the people come from who make up this leading core, as intellectuals. Whatever their background is, the same basic contradictions apply.

To put it very simply, what do I mean by intellectuals? Not necessarily somebody with a Ph.D. or some specialized formal education. I mean people who have developed the ability to work with ideas and grapple with theory systematically, if not always correctly. Now, let me get into that “if not always correctly” point a little bit. It’s not just a matter of reading and studying theory. It’s a matter of correctly dealing with theory in relation to the real world, and going back and forth between theory and the practice of implementing that theory to change the world, and drawing the lessons from that, as well as drawing lessons from life more broadly. If you set out, like the forces in El Salvador, or Angola, or Cuba, on the wrong basis, you will draw the wrong lessons and your theory will not be in accord with actual reality and the way it needs to be transformed in order to emancipate people. I think of what Mao said one time about the big socialist of Lenin’s time, Kautsky. He was a reformist socialist, but he was the big shot in the socialist movement in Lenin’s time, until the Russian revolution. The party headed by Kautsky in Germany was the biggest socialist party in the world: it had millions of supporters, it had seats in the Parliament of Germany, it had leading positions in a lot of trade unions. Well, in his typically provocative “Maoesque” way, Mao said: Reading and studying theory is important, but it’s not just a matter of reading. With people like Kautsky, the more they read, the stupider they get.

This gets to a very basic point: What method and approach are you applying when you’re grappling with theory? Is it scientific, or is it some other kind of method and approach?

It’s worth getting into this further here. Spontaneously, among the masses of people, there is both a lot of respect, even exaggerated respect, for intellectuals, and a lot of resentment toward them, at one and the same time. But, given where we are, right now, in the actual development of human society—not in any sense of how things were bound to go, but where things have actually developed to—it’s a simple fact that the leading core of the revolution that is needed is going to be, of necessity, people who have developed intellectual skills and abilities. You cannot lead a revolution just on revenge—we’re back to the Ajith polemic—you cannot just go on simple class feelings, just on a hatred for oppression, or a sense of resentment toward those a little better off. And you cannot do it with an anti-intellectual attitude. The theory that we need to lead this revolution has to deal with very complex reality, and it takes work and struggle to develop the ability to grapple with theory on that level. Now, again, this applies regardless of where the people come from who make up the leading core. We know of the phenomenon of people who come out of very hard conditions who, for a combination of reasons, have been able to develop into advanced intellectuals. We’ve cited the example of our comrade, whom we lost, Wayne Webb (Clyde Young), who came out of prison—he didn’t come out of a university with the privilege of having a highly developed education there, he came out of a hard life and out of prison, but he turned himself into a prison intellectual, and into a revolutionary and a communist. That was a great thing, a very inspiring thing, but it’s not an exceptional thing. Well, it’s exceptional in one sense, but it’s not exceptional in the sense that only one or two people can do that. But, again, it takes work. It’s very hard to develop yourself as an intellectual in prison—that should be obvious. The conditions are not very conducive to that, to say the least. There’s a lot pushing in the opposite direction. So, to fight through and do that is a real achievement—and especially to do it for the emancipation of humanity is something very precious—but it’s not something that only one or a few people can do. In fact, others have done or are doing this, and we need many more people to do it.

But it is also necessary to understand that, once you do that, you are different than you were before. It doesn’t mean that you’ve forgotten everything you’ve learned through your life experience, or that you’ve turned into some kind of intellectual snob—unless you have. That’s been known to happen, too. But, in any case, you still have all that life experience, yet you’re not the same. And, mainly, that’s a positive thing: You’ve become an emancipator of humanity, you’ve become a revolutionary intellectual, capable of grappling with these complex ideas, and leading other people to do so. But, whether you come out of prison, wherever you come from (I sound like Peter Tosh now: “don’t care where you come from”... but anyway) whether you come out of prison, whether you come out of the housing projects, whether you come from somewhere on the border of Mexico, or from Mexico, or from Guatemala, or whether you are a South Asian refugee—whatever background you have and wherever you come from—if you develop these skills and abilities, you are different than you were before. You have become an intellectual—and that’s not a dirty word. Wherever they come from, intellectuals who actually take up the cause of the emancipation of humanity, and the communist outlook and method that’s necessary to lead to that emancipation, are tremendously precious. We should never have a narrow-minded philistine attitude of looking down on, devaluing and denigrating, intellectual development, or people who have that development, unless they’re using it for purposes that are against the interests of the masses of people. And even then, we should struggle with them, at least for awhile, to see if we can win them away from that. But we should have a real, scientific appreciation for the importance of intellectual development. We should nurture it and develop it among people from everywhere.

At the same time, there are real contradictions bound up with this. You have to deal in the realm of ideas and a lot of theoretical abstraction in order to be able to develop line and policy to lead the revolution, in order to deal with all the complex contradictions that I’ve been talking about and that we confront out there in the world, so to speak. And, when you get into the position of having those abilities and skills, and dealing on that level with the realm of ideas, there is a pull away from what it needs to be put to the service of. It is a very strong pull, if you think about what I said earlier—living in a society where you’re constantly told that “self ” is the most important thing and whatever skills you develop you should use for yourself, first and above all. It’s a pull on everybody. It’s not just people who have a fancy education, in a formal sense—a university degree or a Ph.D., or whatever. There is a crucial role for communist intellectuals and communist statesmen, if you want to use that term, in actually developing the struggle that can lead to the revolution we need. You need to be able to deal not only with contradictions in the abstract—at a high level of theoretical abstraction—you also need to be able to deal with people, and the contradictions as they express themselves in and through real live people. The process of revolution is not a process of turning on a machine. Revolution is made by people. To deal with all this takes solid core and elasticity. It takes firmness and flexibility (or, with regard to flexibility, what is described by the French word souplesse) to be able to handle these things in a way that’s neither giving up on the whole thing nor, on the other hand, rigid and inflexible, dogmatic and doctrinaire.

 

 

 

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/474/taking-to-the-streets-january-15-speakout-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

STOP THE TRUMP-PENCE REGIME BEFORE IT STARTS

SPEAKOUT at Trump International Hotel,
Washington DC, January 15

January 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/the-fight-to-stop-the-fascist-trump-pence-regime-is-on-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

The Fight to STOP the Fascist Trump-Pence Regime Is ON:

Night After Night, Hour After Hour. Stay in the Streets, Don't Let Them Take Power!

January 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Washington DC 8pm:

 

 

Washington DC 7pm:

 

 

Washington DC 5pm:

Washington, DC, January 14. There is a plan. There is a vision. For the best chance we have to STOP THE TRUMP-PENCE regime before it starts. It is up to the People, IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY, to refuse a fascist America. And on January 14, this was boldly manifested in the streets of Washington, DC. A determined chant of the night rang out in neighborhood after neighborhood: "Night after night, hour after hour. Stay in the streets, don't let them take power!" And a big challenge was issued to EVERYONE—on the streets, in their cars, getting the tweets, watching the videos: Off the sidelines, into the streets... Join Us, Join Us, Join Us!

At 4 pm, 100 demonstrators gathered at McPherson Square to openly defy and kick-start a whole week of action to prevent the fascist Trump-Pence regime from taking power—with the goal of organizing hundreds, then thousands, ultimately millions to take to the streets, creating a political crisis that can prevent Trump from taking power.

A group of women from the We Shall network came all the way from Atlanta to be part of the Refuse Fascism actions in DC. One woman said: "Basically what we came down for is to let everyone know, not only is it that 'we shall not be moved,' but 'we shall overcome,' and we shall be triumphant in everything that we do, OK? It's very important for us to know the power in our numbers."

A journalist from Europe, speaking about the difference it makes for people in other countries to see this kind of opposition to Trump, said: "I'm sure people are noticing. Because obviously what happens in the United States has an impact on rest of the world. And what government, who's in power makes a difference. It also makes a difference to what extent the government is supported by the population and what is the prevailing sentiment in America and which way is America tending. So I'm sure that people are going to be paying attention."

For hours people marched IN THE STREETS, through neighborhood after neighborhood, blocking busy intersections all night, holding mini rallies before people gathered on the sidewalks. The overwhelmingly positive response from people on the streets, the connection with people was palpable. Many people taking stacks of flyers to get out. Some joining the march for a few miles. At one point some people came out of a restaurant and hugged people to thank them for taking on Trump, saying that this means a lot to them. Five Latino youths joined the march for a couple of miles, one of them said they were doing so because their mom was undocumented. A woman in her car, crying—said: "What you are doing makes me cry, I really appreciate it." Lots of people thanking the marchers.

The demonstration blocked many intersections for various amounts of time in the city, the highpoint being at a Metro stop in Chinatown, where dozens of people of every nationality, sex, and gender joined in when the march stopped, taking over the whole street. Speaking to the people at the Metro plaza, demonstrators called on people to chant with the march and put their fists in the air. Many did, chanting and thrusting fists in the air. People took flyers, stickers to get out on their own, and were called upon to come to McPherson Square the next day at 4 pm—to continue to take to the streets to call on even more to join in.

This was all great—and shows once again the real basis for this struggle to get rid of Trump-Pence to grow by leaps and bounds in a very short time—hour by hour, day by day. But all along the way, the leaders of the march on the bullhorns put out a very sharp challenge to people: that they need to actually "step off the curb," get off the sidelines, and go from cheering this on to actually JOINING those in the streets who aim to WRITE HISTORY. Nothing less is required, nothing less will actually give us the best chance of stopping the fascist Trump-Pence regime.

People were called on to confront the fact that the Trump-Pence regime IS a fascist regime. Those on the streets who united with the march, but expressed disbelief that Trump could actually be stopped, were challenged to look at how it IS actually possible, that there are examples, even recent ones where the masses of people have driven out dictators—like in Egypt or what is happening in South Korea right now.

Many people did join the march: A young woman who joined said: "I couldn't think of a place I'd rather be at a time like this in history. It's... I wanna say unprecedented, but it's history repeating itself in a really evil and ugly way. And I can't imagine being anywhere else, right around the corner from the Inauguration." An Asian woman who joined the march in Chinatown said: "I've been following other protests and unless we join together, that's the only way for people to actually have their voice heard and make something happen. Trump is illegitimate. Because a man of his character should never even be considered to run for a position like that. But this needs to grow, much, much more—EXPONENTIALLY—in the coming days."

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/jeff-sessions-a-piece-of-trumps-legion-of-doom-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Jeff Sessions: An Agent of White Supremacy, Attacks on Immigrants and Women, a Piece of Trump's "Legion of Doom"

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

from RefuseFascism.org

Tuesday morning, RefuseFascism.org Co-Initiator Carl Dix and several other protesters disrupted Senator Sessions confirmation hearing and were removed in handcuffs. Dix was dragged out chanting, “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA.” Another RefuseFascism.org protester was dragged out saying: “We refuse to accept a fascist America. We have to be in the streets starting January 14 to stop the Trump/Pence fascist regime from coming to power.” The hearing was disrupted several other times by Refuse Fascism people, and also by protesters dressed as KKK’ers, Code Pink activists with signs “End racism, stop Sesssions,”  immigrants rights activists, and people chanting “Black Lives Matter!”

Three things stand out about the man Trump is naming to be the country’s “top law enforcement officer”.

ONE: Sessions is a lifelong racist; he is steeped in the culture of white supremacy, and has for decades used the powers of his offices to impose it. He has contempt for immigrants, and thinks that all immigrants, whether legal or “illegal”, create “cultural problems” in this country. He has voted to restrict abortion rights at every opportunity he’s had, “given a pass” to violent assaults on abortion clinics, and doesn’t think grabbing a woman’s genitals is sexual assault.

Sessions first gained national attention in 1981 when he was a U.S. Attorney in Alabama. He tried to railroad three Black civil rights workers on fabricated charges of “voter fraud”. They faced over 100 years in federal prison, but were acquitted after a very short jury deliberation.

A few months later, Ronald Reagan tried to elevate Sessions to a position as a federal judge. Sessions was not approved by the Senate then, mainly because elements of his racist past came out. This included his statement of approval for the KKK: he said he “used to think the Ku Klux Klan was OK until I learned they were pot smokers.”

TWO: Sessions made his name in the Senate by being utterly opposed to all attempts at “immigration reform” that would include any possibility of providing a “pathway to citizenship”, or even temporary legal status, for immigrants. He is, in the words of the head of an immigration reform group, “the most anti-immigrant senator in the chamber”.

Sessions wants to dramatically reduce all immigration, as well as deporting people in the U.S. without papers. He thinks the U.S.’s changing demography – meaning that white people are fewer proportionally than they were a few decades ago – is a danger that must be reversed. As characterized by a critic, Sessions thinks his efforts to attack and deport immigrants, and to prevent further immigration is a “fight for the soul and identity of America”, not a “policy disagreement”.

THREE: Sessions has a “100% pro-life (translation – anti woman, anti-right to abortion) voting record...” and has consistently voted for ‘pro-life’ legislation and in opposition to taxpayer funding of abortions”. He also voted to defund Planned Parenthood. He opposes Roe v. Wade (the Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to abortion.)

Sessions opposes the right to marriage between same sex people. He voted to amend the U.S. Constitution so that it defines marriage as being between one woman and one man. He voted against the Mathew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act which says violence against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity is a crime.

Jeff Sessions, this mild mannered “Southern gentleman”, who Donald Trump is “unbelievably impressed” with, is thoroughly white supremacist, woman hating, gay and lesbian despising. A fitting addition to Trump’s Legion of Doom – that must be prevented from ruling.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/writers-resist-literary-protests-held-january-15-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Writers Resist!
"Literary Protests" Held January 15 in New York City and Scores of Other Cities in the U.S. and Internationally

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In 90 cities across the country, as well as in London and Zurich, poets, writers, and artists came together on January 15 for Writers Resist!, a spirited “literary protest” launched by poet, activist, and founder of the feminist literary group VIDA, Erin Belie, and co-sponsored by PEN America, the international organization of poets, essayists, and novelists that defends writers under attack. The theme was “Writers Resist, Louder Together”—a declaration that writers must and will stand up to the threats to free expression by President-elect Donald Trump.

The flagship event took place in NYC. On the steps of the New York Public Library, some 1,500 people gathered to hear readings by an array of noted writers and artists, including U.S. poets laureate Rita Dove and Robert Pinsky; novelists Michael Cunningham, Jacqueline Woodson, and Francine Prose; graphic novelist Art Spiegelman; singer Rosanne Cash; performance artist Laurie Anderson, and many more. A number of those reading spoke to Trump’s racism, misogyny, and xenophobia.

One of the organizers spoke of an unprecedented situation for the organization: whereas historically it has fought for the rights of writers under siege in other countries, now it must prepare to fight in a way it never has to defend free expression in the U.S. Andrew Solomon, head of the U.S. chapter of PEN, spoke powerfully to the danger to all who value dissent and free cultural and political expression represented by Trump’s attack on flag burning. He concluded by quoting from a South African colleague and urging people to take this pledge: “You will remain shocked by the horror you are encountering.” Following the readings, hundreds marched 14 blocks towards the Trump Tower chanting “Writers Resist, Writers Together.” The partners to the event included Asian American Writers Alliance, The Nation, and Revolution Books in Harlem. Organizers for Refuse Fascism were there and saturated the crowd with the Call to Action: NO! This Fascist Regime Must Be Stopped Before It Starts!

In Los Angeles Writers Resist was held at Beyond Baroque Literary Art Center in Venice. Co-sponsored by PEN America, it was a fundraiser for the ACLU. The overflow crowd of 200-250 people was very multinational and of all ages. The room was transfixed as more than two dozen authors, poets, journalists, playwrights, academics, and human rights activists read from either their own work or the work of others. Some of the readers were professors (e.g., from the University of Southern California, UC Irvine, UCLA, Austin Peay State University) while others were award-winning writers for The Nation magazine and The New Yorker.

The program began with one author reciting a version of the statement made by Pastor Niemöller who survived a Nazi concentration camp: “First they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak up.... and when they came for me, there was no one left to speak up.” The participants spoke with passion and humor. A few spoke openly of the fascism of Trump, even as the guidance of the day was to avoid saying his name. People read works ranging from speeches by Martin Luther King (his “I Have a Dream” speech, and his letter from the Birmingham Jail), to a historical reflection of the WW 2 Japanese American concentration camps, to a poem by Langston Hughes, and a reading of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. A highlight of the program was a powerful reading of the June Jordan 1980 “Poem about My Rights” that linked to the need for rebellion and resistance. There was a sense of community—feeling stunned and sickened by the rise of an American Hitler, but also a sense of resolve to resist in various ways, including real welcoming of the literature from refusefascism.org.

 

 


 

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

Revolution #474 January 16, 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/protests-in-cities-around-country-condemn-trumps-anti-immigrant-attacks-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 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.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/evanston-illinois-unarmed-black-grad-student-beaten-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Evanston, Illinois: Unarmed Black Grad Student Beaten, Arrested, and Tried—for Driving His Own Car

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In October 2015, Lawrence Crosby was driving his car in Evanston, just north of Chicago, when he was pulled over by police. Crosby was a Ph.D. candidate at the Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. He got out of the car with his arms raised, as ordered. But within seconds he was attacked by at least five cops who wrestled him to the ground, handcuffed him, and then kicked and punched him. Crosby was arrested and put on trial for two felony charges—and, fortunately, acquitted.

This would have been one of the countless incidences of racist police profiling and violence that only a few people know about—except the Evanston police were just recently forced to release the dash-cam video of their pigs violently assaulting Lawrence Crosby. The video shows the police goons mobbing Crosby, who is not resisting at all. He calls the cops “sir” and tells them calmly that he is a grad student at Northwestern, that the car belongs to him, and that he has documents to prove this. But the cops continue their assault, even as they yell at him to “stop resisting.” To these cops—and to pigs in cities across the U.S.—a Black man raising any questions about the unjust actions of the police is grounds for brutal beating... and even the taking of a life. Even as they released the video of the cops beating Crosby, an Evanston police official said “it was determined that the force used in this incident was in compliance with our procedures as it pertains to this type of situation.”

Off-camera on the dash-cam video of the beating of Crosby, a woman who had called the police and told them she thought Crosby was stealing a car, is heard telling a cop, "I didn't mean to like racially profile. I feel bad." The cop tells her that “he’s got a different issue going on now.” No—racial profiling was exactly the issue. Lawrence Crosby’s only “crime” was Driving While Black.

What does it tell you when a grad student at a major college, who happens to be African-American, is treated this way by the pigs? That the police—and the oppressors’ system they serve—consider a whole people as “criminals” who must be terrorized into submission. And as bad as this situation is now, think about how much worse it will get for Black and other oppressed people if the Trump-Pence fascist regime is allowed to rule—with their “law and order” program of giving even more free rein to the racist, murdering pigs. This must not be allowed to happen, and it is in the hands of the millions who hate all this to act now to stop it. Go to RefuseFascism.org for more.

And furthermore—this system of capitalism-imperialism brings down intolerable horrors and suffering on billions of people worldwide. This system subjects women, half of humanity, to degradation and sexual violence. It is driving the whole planet and life on it toward environmental catastrophe. It’s a system that has now produced a fascist cabal set to rule the most powerful imperialist power. Whether or not there is an open tyrannical form of political rule, this is a dictatorship of the ruling capitalist class that uses its police, military, and state power against the people here and around the world. This system is totally illegitimate and must be overthrown, through actual revolution. Learn about how we can make such a revolution; the leadership we have for this revolution in Bob Avakian; and a vision and concrete plan, written by Bob Avakian, for a radically new society to replace this system.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/social-emergency-forum-mit-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is the text of an invite to a January 19 event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):

Social Emergency Forum:

In the name of humanity, refuse to accept a fascist America
A call to action for Academics and Intellectuals
Part of a National Month of Resistance

 

We are living in extraordinary times. 

What we are seeing is every bit as terrifying as we rightly feared. We cannot underestimate the harm that the Trump/Pence regime represents to this country and the world.  Our Anguish is right and just. Our Anger must now become massive resistance in our millions before Donald Trump is inaugurated and before he has the full reins of power in his hands.

We cannot sit back. We must take the offensive NOW!

Our only recourse now is to act together outside normal channels. Every faction within the established power structure must be forced to respond to what we do - creating a situation where the Trump/Pence regime is prevented from ruling. We call on each and everyone who opposes what this regime stands for, and what it will do, to take part in and actively build this resistance and refusal.

These challenges open possibilities.  

The vast majority of people are profoundly discontent. There is a huge reservoir of humanity asking big questions.

Join this teach-in to discuss these questions and plan our actions moving forward.

Speakers Include:
Nancy Gertner, retired federal judge and Professor of Law, Harvard University
Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Carr Center for Human Rights, Harvard University
Jonathan Walton, Professor, Harvard Divinity School, Minister, Memorial Church
Lucas Stancyzk,  Postdoctoral Fellow, Watson Institute, Brown University                        

 

Thursday, January 19th, 2017, 6:30 – 9:00 PM
MIT Media Lab E14 6th Floor, Cambridge, MA

 

contact: refusefascismboston@gmail.com, refusefascism.org  #NoFascistUSA

Download PDF of this invitation

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/earth2trump-roadshow-hits-chicago-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Earth2Trump Roadshow Hits Chicago

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

As reported by revcom.us, the Earth2Trump Roadshow, organized by the Center for Biological Diversity, kicked off on the West Coast on January 2 and is headed east, in two routes, on its way to Washington, DC, for the scheduled Trump inauguration.

The northern route of the roadshow stopped in Chicago on January 15 on its way to DC to call on thousands to resist the “dangerous agenda” of Trump. The MC said, “What’s at stake is what we all hold dear—our planet and its protection and the equality and dignity of all people.” The MC said the only way to defeat this is to unite everyone and all the movements who share these values, that people must make the sacrifice and put their bodies where their values are. “We all have to rise. When ICE [Immigration Control and Enforcement] comes to get your neighbor, we have to show up.”

The Earth2Trump Roadshow’s Pledge to Resist was read. The point from the pledge of standing “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” was emphasized with the news today from a Muslim woman who had spoken at the tour’s sendoff in Washington state that her mosque had been burned down, and that “the reason this is happening is because Trump has invited this violence.”

A local Chicago alderman, a member of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said he spoke as a queer man, a son of immigrants, and a graduate of the Chicago public schools. He called on the need to strengthen sanctuary cities and said he was afraid of what would happen to immigrants—Obama deported more than two million people and Trump has promised to deport two to three million immediately, he said. And he was frightened of what will happen to the environment. But he said fear cannot stop us: “Don’t agonize, organize.”

A member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe as well as the American Indian Center and the Illinois Water Protectors, spoke about the horrific crimes against indigenous people over generations. He said one of the important lessons of Standing Rock was that when they stood up to the Dakota Access oil pipeline, they got support from people all over the world.

A writer and veteran of the Iraq war in 2003 spoke powerfully about the crimes of U.S. imperialism around the world and within the U.S. He talked about the 1,000 military bases the U.S. has around the globe and said, “The U.S. is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world and it must be dismantled and opposed.” He said, “Humanity faces the greatest challenge in existence today with climate change and nukes.” He called out Trump as a fascist—to an outburst of applause from a substantial section of the audience—and said the power of the system “relies on fear and violence” and that has to be countered with “discipline, sacrifice, compassion, and love.”

I was struck by the broadness of mind of the speakers, their determination to identify the horrors that Trump will bring, but more than that their determination to unite all who can be united to resist them.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/chicago-organizing-for-refuse-fascism-at-defend-abortion-rights-rally-march-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Chicago: Organizing for Refuse Fascism at Defend Abortion Rights Rally and March

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

January 15—Women—young, middle-aged and older—came in groups of twos and threes for the protest against the major annual anti-abortion event in Chicago. When we unfurled the banner, “Abortion On Demand and Without Apology,” two men stepped up and agreed to carry the banner so we could distribute the Call to Action for Refuse Fascism. This bright orange banner was the largest, most striking banner in the march and expressed the outrage and in-your-face mood among the vast majority. Six “NO!” picket signs were carried by women in the crowd. The organizers stressed in their publicity that women should make their own signs, and that’s what many did. Some were very creative, bold, including one from a high school student: “Jesus doesn’t have a dick. So why do you want to stick it in my vagina?” Another woman made a large sign with a red-robed woman’s figure with the words “I’m not your handmaid,” in reference to Margaret Atwood’s book The Handmaid’s Tale that takes place in a nightmarish society where all abortions are banned.

Protesters came in waves until we reached about 500—almost double the year before, even though the organizing effort was much smaller. There were a relative handful of Black people. The crowd was at least 90 percent women, and the majority were under the age of 30. There were a few high school students, who were from a suburban high school. Women were responding to the heightened attacks on women’s right to control our own reproduction and our lives from the Trump/Pence regime, even though the publicity for the march was solely in the context of a protest against the so-called “right to life” anti-woman rally by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. 

Chanting began almost immediately, spirited and getting louder and louder as the antis gathered across the street and our ranks swelled. In the midst of this, two of us were able to distribute almost 500 copies of the Call to Action, with several women taking bundles of 5-10 copies. A middle-aged Black woman and her high school-aged daughter took 25 copies to distribute in a Detroit suburb. Most people were excited to see the title of the Call, “No! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to accept a fascist America.” Women expressed fear at how far back women’s rights to control our bodies and our lives could go under the Trump/Pence regime. Most women I was able to talk with in any depth were more afraid of Pence than Trump. There were several groups of young women from Indiana—where Pence was the governor—who were very vocal about what it’s like to live there, not only the anti-abortion and anti-LGBT laws Pence enacted but also the chilling atmosphere overall.

A lot of people took the Call, said they would read it, and go online, sign up and donate. We encouraged them to post on their Facebook page that they had signed the Call and donated, and encourage friends to do that and join them in the streets this coming weekend.

The rally at the end of the march was spirited and very interesting. Several organizers stressed that we had to take to the streets next weekend. This was a sea change from the organizing meeting I attended in mid-December, when I was the only one who spoke about the attacks on women coming from the Trump/Pence regime and the need to put this annual protest in that context. Every time somone spoke of protesting next weekend, there was a loud cry of approval from the crowd.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/sounds-of-degenerate-art-exhibit-chicago-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

"Sounds of Degenerate Art" Exhibit in Chicago

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Scene from
Scene from “Sounds of Degenerate Art” (Photo: Facebook/Out of Line Art Gallery)

From a reader:

The “Sounds of Degenerate Art” exhibit and performance event at Out of Line Art Gallery in Chicago was filled to overflow for Sunday’s benefit for Refuse Fascism. Pulled together by gallery owner Ayala Leyser, the exhibit of visual art included prints of works by German artists George Grosz, Max Ernst, Raoul Haussmann, and Otto Dix—the paintings were declared by Hitler to be “degenerate art,” and most of the originals were destroyed by the Nazis. The gallery was also filled with the work of contemporary “degenerate artists” including paintings, lithographs, and sculptures, which spoke to the urgency of refusing the horrors we face with the Trump regime. These artists contributed up to half the price of their art to Refuse Fascism. Visit @DegenerateArtists on Facebook.

MC’ed by poet Kao Ra Zen, the “happening” brought together musicians whose performances ranged from poetry readings, performance art and blues music to a flute and vocal composition. Arch Harmon’s powerful poem “I Apologize” was a defiant denunciation of the oppression faced for centuries by Black people: “I apologize for being caught, for being sold, for being bought, for being told I count for nothing. Yeah, I apologize.” The blues singer and harp blower Matthew Skoller, whose next concert, on January 20, is “The Hell NO! Inauguration Blues,” introduced his song “Caress Me”: “They are trying to make us unlearn what makes us human—empathy. They try to make us selfish, because that’s where the profit is.”

Over $300 was raised at the door, and Refuse Fascism “NO!” buttons, leaflets, FAQs, and posters were distributed by the handful. Many of the 50+ people who attended had not been aware of Refuse Fascism before the benefit, and this audience and the many artists and musicians were really inspired by the hope and possibility of this movement.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/los-angeles-refusefascism-encampment-and-mlk-day-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Los Angeles Refuse Fascism Encampment and the MLK Day Parade

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hundreds of people along the MLK Day march took up the NO! posters from Refuse Fascism and expressed their hatred of the Trump-Pence fascists, Los Angeles, January 16.
Hundreds of people along the MLK Day march took up the NO! posters from Refuse Fascism and expressed their hatred of the Trump-Pence fascists, Los Angeles, January 16. Photo: Special to revcom.us

From readers:

Monday, January 16, MLK Day: Los Angeles City Hall, and the Refuse Fascism LA encampment there to stop the fascist Trump-Pence regime is the base from which a beginning, diverse grouping of people are cohering Refuse Fascism forces and reaching out into society to gather thousands more who can reach and lead millions with the objective of preventing Trump from ruling.

Encampment plans include daily and nightly outreach to districts and hubs; high schools and colleges; neighborhoods of the oppressed and middle classes; events, concerts, and protests.

Today was MLK Day, and a group from the LA City Hall encampment took Refuse Fascism to tens of thousands of people, especially Black people, who lined the parade route on Martin Luther King Blvd. and the Crenshaw District.

Refuse Fascism LA ran into a great desire to see Trump’s whole regime stopped. At the same time, hundreds asked “how?” “How could that happen—the inauguration is four days away?”

We boldly challenged them with the objective of people descending on DC in a crescendo this week, and millions more in major cities and small towns hitting the streets and declaring their intention to stop Trump and Pence. We said: “People, millions, need to hit the streets, now; they need to ‘rise up’—it is up to us.” That could force a political “crisis of rule” and legitimacy at the highest levels of this system... and challenge tens of millions more... and force the various factions of the U.S. power structure to respond to us, the millions and tens of millions.

And, as the group put it—”that means you...” taking this up now, spreading the materials from Refuse Fascism in your neighborhood, at your school and workplace, where you hang out.

We ran into a number of people who’d seen recent TV coverage of our protests and the Refuse Fascism encampment in LA. We called people to the encampment at 4 pm. We sent people to the refusefascism.org website for orientation.

This Refuse Fascism group, which included people who’d not been in a situation quite like this before, agitated with a bullhorn from one end of the parade to the other, and distributed 14,000 fliers calling people to LA City Hall at 4 pm every day, 3,300 of the Refuse Fascism Call to Action (which was very important and cut right to people’s questions and posed the challenge for them to take this up), 5,000 NO! stickers, 800 bilingual NO! posters, and some NO! T-shirts too.

The group met people who took up Refuse Fascism on the spot—at the parade and later at the MLK event in Leimert Park; for example, high school teachers who gave donations and took large numbers of materials for class sets. These teachers were encouraged to help their students walk out, to shut it down... this week! We did run into some students who said “we already tried that” (walk-outs) right after Trump was elected in November, so we got into it with them—the importance of those walk-outs, but also how ousting this fascist regime is going to take, yes, perseverance, but most importantly, ACTING right now, this week.

855 (735 English and 120 Spanish) copies of the recent issue of Revolution newspaper were distributed by a small team at this MLK Day Parade. This issue if Revolution is an extraordinarily important issue and we encourage everyone to do all they can to both bring it into the mix of protest marches and spread it broadly in society, amongst those most oppressed and targeted by Trump-Pence fascism, as well as very broadly amongst those in the middle strata of society, at this key moment.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/wed-jan-18-2017-wear-i-for-illegitimate-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Wednesday January 18, 2017
Wear the "I" for Illegitimate

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

ILLEGITIMATE

Donald Trump and his fascist regime are illegitimate.

Representative John Lewis has made the question of Trump's illegitimacy a mass question. Then, Trump's vile and impetuous Twitter response attacking Lewis revealed the depth of his venomous racism. The rawness of this has opened up the potential for many people to take a stand – making it known that they too regard Trump as illegitimate. Therefore, as part of and contributing to the movement to Stop the Trump-Pence Regime from being able to rule, we are proposing:

On Wednesday, January 18, wear the letter “I” for “Illegitimate” all day long.

WHY?

Because Donald Trump has said that he is going to put people in jail and deprive them of their citizenship for expressing political dissent.

Because it is illegitimate to suppress the media.

Because it is illegitimate to deprive entire sections of people of basic fundamental rights simply due to their membership in a particular group of people, starting with Muslims & immigrants.

Because it is illegitimate to threaten an entire group, or entire groups, of people with suspension of the right against illegal search and seizure without probable cause, with the only probable cause being that they are Black or Latino.

Because it is illegitimate to torture people, and to punish the families of people who are suspected of crimes.

Because it is illegitimate to say that merely because a judge comes from a minority nationality they should be disqualified for rendering legal judgment on Trump.

Because it is illegitimate to say that the 5 Black youth – the Central Park 5 – who Trump baselessly accused of a crime, even calling for their execution in full page ads in NYC. Then, 12 years later when they were fully exonerated, Trump said that they should be kept in jail anyway.

Because it is illegitimate, in sum, to institute a form of government that deprives people of their most fundamental rights. Everything here is what Trump has either promised to do or stated should be done.

Wear the “I” Because We Refuse To Accept An Illegitimate, Fascist, Trump-Pence Regime.

That's step 1. Step 2: make a video and post it on FB, Twitter, and/or Instagram. This will be the “I” Challenge – for Illegitimate.

Signed,
Carl Dix
Cornel West

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/new-arizona-bill-would-ban-courses-activities-promoting-social-justice-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

New Arizona Bill Would Ban College Courses, Classes, and Activities That Promote Social Justice

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Only days before the Trump-Pence regime is set to assume power, a new bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature that would ban any college courses, events, and activities that promote “social justice toward a race, gender, religion, political affiliation, social class or other class of people” or discuss “skin privilege” or racial equality. If this outrageous bill becomes law, any school found in violation would be subject to up to a 10 percent cut in their state aid. It would also ban courses and events that are “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” or advocate “solidarity” based on ethnicity, race, religion or gender. If enacted, whole departments could be challenged as violating these new norms.

In 2010 the Arizona legislature passed a bill that shut down Mexican American studies classes in Arizona secondary schools—in a state where 44 percent of the students are Latino. This bill takes that attack to a whole new level. It is declaring that academic freedom and First Amendment rights—what ideas students and professors will explore, discuss, advocate, or publicly promote on the college campuses in Arizona—will be subordinate to those with political power, who will determine which ideas are what they see as worthwhile and contribute to their societal goals.

This Arizona bill is not an isolated phenomenon but indicates where things are heading. Reactionary groups on college campuses across the country have been launching attacks against professors and courses that are seen as questioning American exceptionalism and undermining “traditional values”—in particular, patriarchal domination and white supremacy. For example, a website called “Professor Watchlist” has posted the names of over 160 professors they accuse of putting forward “leftist propaganda” and “discriminating” against right-wing students. All of this corresponds to the agenda that the Trump-Pence fascist regime is preparing to unleash. What is being demonstrated now in Arizona—in prelude to what will become the norm in the country if this regime is allowed to consolidate its rule—is that raw power dictates what “narrative” about this country’s history and present-day reality will be taught to the youth.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/martin-luther-king-iii-is-out-of-his-mind-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

A Rant from a Reader:

Martin Luther King III... Is Out of His Mind!

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At the beginning of MLK weekend, Trump attacked Congressman John Lewis in a rabidly racist tweet, because Congressman Lewis told the truth—that Trump is illegitimate.

Two days later, on MLK Day, Martin Luther King III meets—with Trump! And then he comes out talking about the constructive meeting he had. Will he also refuse to stand against the increase in Black and brown people being shot and beaten by police or vigilantes? Will he now be counseling Black people on how to be even more submissive than Jim Crow days? Will he lecture us on “coming together” as civil rights that do exist are crushed under a Trump-Pence fascist regime? Maybe he’ll get a position to counsel Black people in Chicago, where the Trump regime has issued a thinly veiled promise to unleash even more vicious repression on Black people (see “Donald Trump Has TOLD YOU What Kind of Fascist Repression He Means By ‘Help’ For Chicago“). King said Trump likes the idea of registering everyone with photo voting ID. Registering everyone? Just think about what a fascist Trump-Pence regime would do with a list like that!

In the streets

If anyone thinks this is exaggeration or name calling, the evidence is there for anyone willing to look. Two days before this shameful meeting today, Trump dripped with bloody racism in his tweeted rant against Congressman John Lewis. About that, MLK III said that “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... Really? Come together with a fascism nightmare looming over humanity? (See “This Week in Fascism: The Parade of Ghouls, Clashes at the Top and the Challenge Grows Sharper: We Must Prevent the Trump-Pence Regime from Ruling“)

Trump and Pence have assembled their ruling team including outright white supremacists in powerful positions—as attorney general and chief strategist. This in a country already rife with police murdering Black and brown people with impunity, mass incarceration, and generally no worthwhile future for our youth.

King III came out of this “meeting” talking to the press about moving forward, including on things like education... with Betsy DeVos? Her program has been Christian fundamentalism, crushing public education, and promoting state-funded private, segregated schools!

To everyone, don’t follow those footsteps. Humanity is depending on us for a far better outcome. Right now. This week.

RefuseFascism.org!

For further reference see: Trump and Black People: You Have NO Idea How Bad It Can Get

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/470/collaborators-walk-of-shame-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Collaborators' Walk of Shame

Updated March 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Jamiel Shaw Sr.

Jamiel Shaw Sr.
Jamiel Shaw Sr.

From a reader:

Anyone with a heart aches at the 2008 murder of Jamiel Shaw Jr.—a Black youth who was a high school football star in Los Angeles and who had his eyes set on college ball and perhaps a professional career.

But as happens all too often in the inner cities, it seems another young man walked up on him and asked: “Where you from?” What followed next was the sound of two bullets fired from a .45 caliber gun, one to the torso... another to the head... and Jamiel Shaw Jr.’s blood covered the pavement a few feet from his parents’ home.

Pedro Espinoza, an undocumented 19-year-old immigrant, was convicted of this crime. He now sits on death row at San Quentin prison awaiting execution.

Now, Jamiel Shaw’s father, the senior Shaw, is supporting an incomparably greater crime than what happened to his son. He sat in the gallery at Donald Trump’s February 28 speech to Congress. At one point, Trump introduced Jamiel Shaw Sr. while promoting a new Homeland Security program that is part of the intensification of suppression of undocumented immigrants. Trump said:

“We must support the victims of crime. I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called VOICE―Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests. Joining us in the audience tonight are four very brave Americans whose government failed them. Their names are Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver, and Jessica Davis.... His father [the father of Jamiel Shaw Jr.], who is in the audience tonight, has become a good friend of mine.”

It is both shameful and criminal what Jamiel Shaw Sr. is doing. He is allowing his loss, his pain, to be used to demonize, ostracize, criminalize, and terrorize—to unleash the brutal arm of a fascist state and its street thugs—against the entire group of Mexican people and immigrants who are not white.

Fascism is a living process. It grows... rapidly. It takes leaps. It comes after this group then this group. First they come for Mexicans. Then they come for immigrants. Then they come for Muslims. Then they come for the youth in the inner cities. Then they come for...

Jamiel Shaw Sr. is aiding and abetting the fascist Trump/Pence regime.

Collaborating with them. Singling out and making it easy for them to come after Mexicans and immigrants, especially (for now) those without papers as: “lawbreakers,” “murderers, rapists and drug dealers.”

Demonizing a whole people. Justifying and legalizing immensely greater crimes against people from Mexico, Central and South America—unleashing a greater crime against HUMANITY in the name of making “right” a wrong that was done to you. Give us a fucking break!

Jamiel Shaw Sr. is being played big time.

Played like a Black overseer on the slave plantation—to keep the whip cracking and the slaves working, keeping them in the dark about what is really going on, keeping the plantation secure and safe—ironically keeping safe and secure its foundation and authority of white supremacy.

Today, keeping safe and secure the agenda of Trump/Pence is to put “America First.” This is what U.S. troops do around the world, killing the innocent, killing hundreds of thousands of people, uprooting millions more, bombing the hell out of the country based on that lie about weapons of mass destruction.

That is what “America First” means in the world.

Shaw Sr. calls people who cross the border “lawbreakers.” He says they should be punished.

This is shameful. Disgraceful! How many laws, Mr. Shaw, do you think Black people broke in an effort to live as full human beings? What about during slavery? What about the abolitionists, Black and white? What about the fight for civil rights? What about Jim Crow?

What should people be willing to do to prevent the police murder of people like Mike Brown? Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice? Antonio Zambrano-Montes? Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez?

What are people willing to do—in the name of humanity, to oust fascism?

Being a collaborator for the Trump/Pence fascist regime is inexcusable! It is the outlook of a narrow slavish seeker of revenge.

Think about it: Any crime against other people is justified to set “right” what was done to me. This is unacceptable! It is a mental (ideological) chain that contributes to sapping our strength and holding the people down.

Humanity can do better than that!

Martin Luther King III

Steve Harvey meets with Donald Trump
Martin Luther King III meets Trump.

On MLK Day, January 16, 2017, Martin King III made the Walk of Shame into and out of Trump Tower, to meet with Trump. He then came out talking about the “constructive” meeting he had. King III said he talked with Trump about voting rights and that Trump likes the idea of registering everyone with photo voting ID. Registering everyone? Wonder what a Trump regime would do with that?

This meeting was two days after Trump's vehemently racist attack on Congressman John Lewis. About that, MLK III said, “In the heat of emotion a lot of things get said on both sides”(!) and it's time to move forward and come together as a country.

MLK III is lending not just his own reputation but his father's in the service of leading Black and progressive-minded people into the deadly embrace of a fascist Trump-Pence regime.

Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey meets with Donald Trump
Steve Harvey meets Trump, January 13. (AP photo)

On Friday, January 13, TV personality Steve Harvey joined the parade of shameful collaborators consorting with Donald Trump by meeting with him at his plantation—known as the Trump Tower. Harvey said after the meeting, “We had a great conversation. We’re gonna get some things started. They have a plan for the inner cities, but they need help. And so that’s why they called me. So, we’ll see what I can do.”

It’s a fascist, white-supremacist, anti-immigrant “plan” for the inner cities. And this clown, Steve Harvey, says he’s going to collaborate with these horrible outrages.

As criminal as that is, Harvey wasn’t acting on his own. Harvey told reporters, “It’s just me following orders from my friend President Obama who said ‘Steve, you’ve got to’—as he told everybody—‘get out from behind your computers, stop tweeting and texting and get out there and sit down and talk. So I stepped from behind my microphone and I came and talked to the guy that’s going to be the 45th president of the United States. I did what I was supposed to do.”

Obama is lending the power and prestige of his office to legitimize a fascist and his regime, and pave the way for a “smooth transition.” And Steve Harvey is acting as a despicable emissary in this low and shameful crime.

Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner

A number of news sources have reported that Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) will be attending Trump’s inauguration. Caitlyn Jenner is probably the most well known transgender person in the world, and millions had supported her sex change as popularizing transgender rights. But as Eliza Thompson, an associate editor for Cosmopolitan.com, said in the headline for her January 11 article: “Caitlyn Jenner's Attendance at the Inauguration Would Be Unforgivable: She cannot simultaneously advocate for transgender rights and support Trump.” Thompson wrote, “Caitlyn’s decision to come out will likely remain a landmark in the march toward trans acceptance and equality, but supporting Donald Trump would be an unconscionable step in the wrong direction.”

In 2016, during the presidential campaign, Jenner made the totally idiotic statement about Trump that “I think he would be very good for women’s issues.” Jenner’s embrace of the Trump-Pence fascist regime is not just a betrayal of LGBTQ and women’s rights. It is a betrayal of humanity for her to act as a high-profile cheerleader legitimizing the American Hitler and his Nazi minions.

Billy C. Hawkins

Billy C. Hawkins
Billy C. Hawkins

The president of Alabama’s Talladega College, Billy C. Hawkins, just announced (Jan. 5) that this oldest Black liberal arts college in the U.S., set up just after the Civil War by freed slaves in 1867, will send its marching band to be part of the Trump-Pence Inauguration. This is in the face of many students, alumni, and others who called on the college to not participate in the inauguration. Nikky Finney—poet, literature professor, and an alumnus of Talladega—said that the school had “sold out the history of Talladega College for chicken change” and “maybe a tin star on a hatemonger’s parade route” (quoted in New York Times, January 5, 2017). Hawkins’s justification is that the inauguration is “not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power.” Yes—transfer of power to the fascist Trump-Pence regime! It is akin to leading your college band to march for Hitler, or march for the KKK moving into the White (Supremacist) House. How is that not political? How is that not ugly betrayal wrapped in sugar-coated words?

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

Don King

The award for December 29 goes to boxing promoter Don King, who appeared before TV cameras with Donald Trump and mouthed Trump’s slogan, “Make America great again.” “Only in America” is it possible to fetch a Black man in minstrel black face to the estate of the fascist, white supremacist, sexual-assaulting misogynist pig—to skin and grin while holding American and Israeli flags—as he dances down the walk of shame for collaborators for the incoming Trump-Pence regime.

Leonardo DiCaprio


The award for December 21 goes to Leonardo DiCaprio.

Leonardo DiCaprio met with Trump to discuss "green jobs." That is, all the jobs people could be put to work doing (like making solar panels) to "save" the environment. Leonardo, you may think you can “change his mind,” but what you are really doing is normalizing Trump and his fascist program. And be careful what you wish for...remember what the Nazis put at the entrance of Auschwitz and other concentration camps where they gassed and murdered Jews: "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free). 

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

Jim Brown and Ray Lewis

Brown, a retired NFL star, claims a reputation for speaking out against how Black people are treated in this country. On December 13, after meeting with Trump at Trump Tower in NYC, he told the press, "...I fell in love with him [Trump] because he really talks about helping African-American, Black people, and that's why I'm here."

Ray Lewis joined Jim Brown in the collaborator walk of shame—being fetched to the Trump Tower and stepping in line to legitimize the fascist Trump/Pence regime. Ray Lewis, like Brown, is a former NFL great. He is also a gibberish-speaking Christian theocrat and blames especially poor Black people for the madness the system forces them to get caught up in. For some time this asshole has been a physical fitness trainer for the brutalizing murdering police in the city of Baltimore.

 

 


 

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Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

January 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following was received from the Revolutionary Communist Group of Colombia. The translation is the responsibility of revcom.us/Revolution.

The FASCIST Trump-Pence Regime Is an Alarming Danger for Humanity and We Have to Stop It!

Graphic image from Grupo Comunista Revolucionario, Colombia
Click to enlarge

On January 20, Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States is scheduled. If his fascist regime begins, the most powerful machinery of domination that exists today in the world, the Yankee imperialist state, will be led by this rabid fascist and the Christian fundamentalist Mike Pence and a whole team of white supremacists, xenophobes, Christian fundamentalists, and women-haters. The repercussions of the establishment of such a fascist regime constitute an alarming danger, not only for the United States, but for the whole of humanity.

Like bourgeois democracies, fascism consists in the exercise of dictatorship by the capitalist class, but by unleashing open terror and violence against those whom it considers “undesirable” and “enemies” and against the masses in general, passing over so-called civil and political rights, and in the vast majority of cases with the exaltation of nationalism and racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and tradition. Such a regime means all that.

The Trump-Pence regime is a grave danger for immigrants, Latinos and Muslims: As the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico, correctly puts it, “Mexicans and Muslims are, to Trump, what the Jews were to Hitler.” Like Hitler in Germany, Trump has used the exaltation of nationalism and the promotion of hatred of foreigners. He has fueled hatred and attacks against immigrants, has sworn to build (or rather expand) a wall on the Mexican border, branded Mexicans as “rapists and criminals” and threatened to deport more than 11 million “illegal” immigrants.

If his regime begins, this will deepen the stigmatization of Muslims and anyone who professes Islam or any faith other than Christianity. Trump threatened to not allow any Muslim to enter the United States, and Mike Pence assured that they will extend this to those of other religions if they come from countries or territories they regard as terrorists; and it’s not just a question of “incendiary statements:” Trump has appointed to high positions Christian fundamentalists such as Mike Flynn, who has repeatedly asserted that Islam is a “cancer,” that it is rational to fear Muslims and that Islamic cultures are inferior to the imperialist West. We cannot allow all this and more to take place!

The Trump-Pence regime is a grave danger for Black people: It will give more free rein to the white supremacy and racism that have characterized the United States since its founding, it will unleash lynch mobs and empower the police to continue murdering Blacks, especially young Blacks, with impunity. Steve Bannon, picked by Trump as senior adviser and chief strategist, makes clear what his government will mean for Blacks when he proclaims that the slave flag of the Confederacy must be “raised and waved with pride,” for it “proclaims a glorious heritage.” We cannot allow all this and more to take place!

The Trump-Pence regime is a grave danger for women: It will concentrate, as closely related elements, two expressions of brutal oppression against women: On the one hand, Donald Trump is the personification of the culture of rape, degradation and objectification of women that exists in this society, boasting of being a harasser of them who grabs them by the genitals, calling to “treat them like shit” and insisting that the value of a woman is determined by her “sex appeal.” Such a fascist regime will play a disgusting role in propagating in society all this misogynistic culture as “normal.” At the same time, Mike Pence—as a representative of the Christian Fascist movement that wants to impose a society based on a literal interpretation of the Bible—will push the efforts to gut the basic rights of women conquered with fierce struggle, especially the right to abortion. Blatantly showing his fascist fangs, Trump said he would nominate judges to the Supreme Court to overturn this right and threatened women who have an abortion and the doctors who perform them with jail time. We cannot allow all this and more to take place!

The Trump-Pence regime is a grave danger to the planet: Trump has publicly stated that he believes climate change is a “hoax” invented by China, and this is not just nonsense coming from his own fascist prattle; those who were picked to hold the highest environmental-related positions are Rick Perry, nominee for energy secretary, and Scott Pruit, who was picked to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who systematically and against all scientific evidence have denied the existence of climate change. So willing are they to silence anyone who opposes their anti-scientific verdict that they asked for the names of those who have researched and worked to prevent climate change in the last five years and the emails that they have exchanged about it! Climate change researchers and scientists have taken this threat so seriously that they have hastened to back up their research outside of the United States.

The extraction of fossil fuels such as oil will be exacerbated by destructive techniques such as fracking. Scott Pruit, shameless advocate of these measures, and Rex Tillerson, chief of Exxon-Mobil and future secretary of state, will be responsible for seeing that the destruction of the environment will further serve the Yankee imperialists’ interests. We cannot allow all this and more to take place!

The Trump-Pence regime is a grave danger to the truth and to critical and scientific thinking: For these fascists to attack all scientific evidence of climate change, to claim that the “big bang theory is ridiculous,” to attack proven facts like evolution and to, in its place, be determined to teach in schools that the Earth was created in six days, shows the fundamentalist and obscurantist character that their regime will have. These fascists have a total disregard for the truth and science.

Unashamedly, they massively propagate crude falsehoods, distortions and deliberate deceptions and attack anyone who criticizes them. And they will not just say it, this regime will strengthen the state repressive machine against those who think differently, and already warned those who hate what the system represents: “No one should be allowed to burn the American flag. If someone does, there must be consequences. Maybe the loss of citizenship or a year in jail!” We cannot allow all this and more to take place!

The Trump-Pence regime means imperialist and even dirtier wars: Trump has sworn to take the “fight against terrorism” to new levels without “hindrances,” such as a ban on torture. With the excuse that jihadists use methods of torture—taught and trained by the Yankees themselves—he seeks to establish its use as legal and legitimate. He promised the widespread use of the waterboarding and tortures “worse than the waterboarding.”

This bloodsucker will have the nuclear codes and will be in charge of “greatly reinforcing and expanding the nuclear capacity” of the United States. Contrary to what some deluded people think of the tactical changes in the Russia-United States relationship, the contradiction between the imperialists, instead of being mitigated, threatens to become more acute. The other imperialists will not stand idly by in the face of the moves announced by these fascists and they will also reinforce this type of weaponry, bringing the situation to the brink of a nuclear war, which, given the current technological development, means putting at risk human existence on this planet! We cannot allow all this and more to take place!

The Trump-Pence regime is totally illegitimate!

Some say that it is necessary to “wait and see what happens” because it remains to be seen if Trump will apply what he says or will take a moderate path. To begin with, the method that they apply is to choose to ignore the elephant in the room in order to avoid uncomfortable truths, creating false expectations about the Trump-Pence regime. But more importantly, history has shown how disastrous such passivity is.

Let us think for a moment about this little-known statement by Martin Niemöller, a German Protestant pastor who was arrested under the Nazi regime and who, like many of his generation, did nothing from the beginning to stop the fascists:

“We preferred to remain silent. Clearly we are not innocent and I wonder again and again: What would have happened if in 1933 or 1934, 14,000 Protestant pastors and all the Protestant communities in Germany would have defended the truth to their death? If we had said, ‘It is not right that Hermann Göring just puts 100,000 communists in concentration camps to die.’ I can imagine that perhaps 30,000 or 40,000 Protestant Christians would have died, but I can also imagine that we would have saved 30 or 40 million people, because that’s what [the silence cost us].”

It is true that history does not repeat itself, but it is also true that we do not have to repeat the same mistakes of the past, and the fascists will not “wait and see” how people respond to their government, but rather will go forward swords in hand to commit atrocities against the people, and they will promote the acceptance of these atrocities.

It is unacceptable to sit idly by. Nothing can give legitimacy to a regime like the Trump-Pence regime that will unleash monstrous crimes against humanity and which does not give a damn about destroying the planet in order to “make great again” an imperialist nation like the United States. Nothing can give legitimacy to a regime that plans to trample on millions and treat them as less than human. And a capitalist-imperialist system is no less illegitimate because its defenders at different levels, there and here, call to “keep calm” and accept this regime, as do bootlickers like [former Colombian President Álvaro] Uribe, [Colombian President Juan Manuel] Santos and even Timochenko himself [current commander in chief of the guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)], who by showing the real counterrevolutionary character of the FARC says that they hope that the Trump government “can play a prominent role for the benefit of world and continental peace.”

We communist revolutionaries have learned in blood that the alternative to the fascists is not, and never has been, bourgeois democracy or building a “real democracy.” We know that this has really served to mask and reinforce the dictatorship of the ruling classes over the people and that it has played a role in providing validity for ultra-reactionary positions within their “democratic system.”

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, imperialist kingpins like Trump but who differ in how to maintain domination and looting of the entire planet, have called for accepting the Trump-Pence administration because “such are the rules of the game,” rules which they, as a class, define and which they decide when to pretend to observe and when not to. Aligned with the ruling classes are advocates of all stripes of this system, who call for accepting Trump’s administration because he was “democratically elected” and “this is how democracy works.” In effect, bourgeois democracy does work this way and this is the role played by the forces that uphold this banner: to channel, confine and control all the political activity of the people within the limits of the bourgeois electoral system and within the framework of the “politics of the possible.” They indoctrinate the people with the idea that what is possible is that which is not outside the framework of the capitalist-imperialist system (regardless of the particularities), while seeking to lead people to not oppose reactionary programs, legitimizing the system, thus opening up the road to fascist forces like those of Trump and Pence. Fascists like Hitler and Mussolini also came to power through “democratic means” and they brought disastrous horrors for tens of millions of people.

In these times the future of the world is up for grabs. The sharpening of the contradiction between the imperialists, the accelerated drive of the environmental catastrophe to a point of no return, together with the promotion and normalization of right-wing programs in the world that is already evident in countries such as France, Germany, Holland, Chile, and Colombia, among others, represent an alarming danger for humanity. But this is not inevitable, it can be stopped.

Millions of people in the United States and around the world are rightly outraged and distressed by what such an illegitimate regime might mean. And within the ruling classes themselves there is contradiction as to whether the Trump-Pence regime can represent their imperialist interests long term, insofar as it might unleash opposing forces that call into question their entire system. As the comrades of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, have said, “the current angst and outrage could be transformed, in a very short, telescoped period of time, into resistance which reaches such massive proportions, and is characterized by such a depth of determination, that it actually creates a ‘crisis of rule,’ and prevents the Trump/Pence fascist regime from consolidating its hold on the governance of society.” (revcom.us) [This passage is from the Mission and Plan of Refuse Fascism—revcom.us editor.] It is true that such a possibility entails much difficulty given that dispersion and confusion is widespread among the people, but at the same time it is true that there is a real material basis for stopping this fascist regime. There is no guarantee that this will happen, but what is guaranteed is that without struggle, this will not be achieved. And people in all parts of the world have to be part of this struggle.

It is narrow and misguided thinking to think that this is an issue that only matters to the people of the United States. These fascists do take into account in their calculations the world arena, but there are some short-sighted people who do not see the repercussions for the world as a whole. There needs to be global resistance to a global threat. In a highly integrated and globalized world like today, the impact of resistance to the fascist Trump-Pence regime in many countries like Colombia and others is incalculable. We are faced with a vital question and we must answer here and now: Which side are we on? On the side of those who represent terror, war and the destruction of the planet; or on the side of humanity? Let us side with humanity and act accordingly!

Revolutionary Communist Group of Colombia | January 15, 2016

 

 


 

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Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Assault Charges Against Joey Johnson and Another RNC 16 Defendant Dropped
ALL Charges Against the RNC 16 Must Be Dropped NOW!

January 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 11, the assault charges against Joey Johnson and another RNC 16 defendant were dropped! Johnson and RNC 16 were arrested and charged off of the burning of the American flag at the Republican National Convention (RNC) last summer that nominated the fascist Trump. This is an important victory, the result of determined political and legal battle that has been, and continues to be, waged to demand that all the charges be dropped.

Now is the time to step up the fight and demand that ALL the felony and misdemeanor charges be dropped against the other RNC 16 defendants NOW. On January 26, there is an evidentiary hearing on a motion to dismiss the charges against other defendants, on the grounds that their arrest and criminal charges constitute a violation of their First Amendment rights and illegal and politically motivated prosecution.

Burning the Flag at the RNC Was Right—America Was Never Great!

On July 20, 2016, Donald Trump was nominated at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland as their presidential candidate with a program of fascist law and order. Under the overall slogan “Make America Great Again,” the RNC bristled with threats of heightened aggression against other countries, blatant misogyny, and unbridled vitriolic racist attacks against Blacks, Chicanos, other Latinos, Muslims, and immigrants. All of which Trump the president-elect has continued to make clear he intends to implement with his cabinet of ghouls, murderers, and monsters.

Outside the RNC, Joey Johnson lit the American flag on fire as the Revolution Club chanted “1, 2, 3, 4—Slavery, Genocide, and War! 5, 6, 7, 8—America Was NEVER Great!” Johnson and the Revolution Club had a right to do what they did... and it was the right thing to do as a fascist was being nominated to be one of the two main presidential candidates. (See “Joey Johnson and the RNC 16 Put the System on Trial in Cleveland.”)

Joey Johnson Flag Burning Cleveland RNC

Joey Johnson with the support of the Revolution Club burned the American flag outside the Republican National Convention to protest the toxic chauvinism and reactionary ideas of all stripes surrounding Trump's nomination. Joey Johnson said, "We're standing here with the people of the world."

On November 29, Donald Trump threatened: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag—if they do, there must be consequences—perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” So make no mistake: The continued prosecution of the RNC 16 is part of a whole fascist assault on people’s rights and the rule of law, shredding of established constitutional rights, and imposition of open violent repression against dissent. Trump’s suppression of and threats against CNN and any media that dare to report anything that could put Trump in an unfavorable light make clear how any and all opposition or criticism will be treated under a Trump-Pence fascist regime.

Outrageous but Serious Charges

The flag burning in front of the RNC interrupted the “legitimacy” of the election charade—this was NOT what the ruling class wanted. Burning the U.S. flag is constitutionally protected “freedom of speech” (thanks to the landmark Supreme Court decision Texas v. Johnson), and the same Johnson who fought to win that right is the one who burned the flag this time. But these facts did not stop the pigs from breaking their system’s own laws in a pre-planned brutal assault and arrests of the RNC 16. The only charge against Joey Johnson and one of the other RNC 16 was assault on two men—Trump operatives connected with Alex Jones’s Infowars.com—who claimed to have been burned by the flag burning.

In August, Johnson’s attorney presented to the prosecutors, and later to the court, a video that the so-called “victims” of the “assault” Johnson and the other RNC defendant were charged with had posted online the night of July 20 of an interview with Alex Jones of infowars.com (see “Who Is Alex Jones and Infowars.com?”). In this video, the two “victims” say that they went to the July 20 protest to attack Johnson, and in fact did attack him, in order to try to stop him from carrying out the flag burning. Johnson’s attorneys argued that this video alone was enough to show the charges of assault were bogus and should be dropped immediately—but the prosecutor refused.

From the outset of these outrageous yet serious criminal charges, the RNC 16 attorneys have demanded in legal documents that the authorities turn over evidence that they argued would reveal how a whole slew of government agencies and fascists collaborated and conspired to attack the RNC 16 when they exercised what is supposed to be a constitutionally protected form of free speech—specifically, the relationship of Alex Jones to the U.S. Secret Service, which was the lead agency responsible for security at the RNC. The attorneys also demanded documents which would show the role of the FBI, which, along with the Cleveland Police Department, went to the homes of dozens of community organizers and activists, as well as people associated with supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party. The FBI and police questioned them about their protest plans for the convention, and the plans of other groups and individuals, and asked some people about previous addresses and their political and social affiliations. This was aimed at intimidating anyone who was considering protesting at the RNC. The documents demanded by the RNC 16 attorneys could reveal the policies and plans of these agencies and other state agencies against protesters carrying out constitutionally protected political activities.

In October, the prosecutor opposed a subpoena served on Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams and refused to turn over such documents. The prosecutor argued that “any requests for plans, strategies, tactics, methods of intelligence gatherings or briefings” was confidential. (See “‘We did nothing wrong—we have right on our side’—RNC Flag Burners Go On the Offensive.”) The lawyers had filed two motions: One to consolidate all the RNC 16 misdemeanor cases before one judge, given that all the charges arose from the authorities’ attempt to stop the flag burning; and another motion to dismiss all the misdemeanor charges. While many attorneys said the consolidation of the cases was unprecedented, it was granted by the court.

In early November, the lead prosecutor of these cases, Kimberly Barnett-Mills, wrote in letters to the defense attorneys that her office had “misplaced” the evidence in the “assault” cases. She claimed they had “lost” the statements and the video provided by the so-called “victims,” which were the basis of the assault charges. And Barnett-Mills wrote that she could not verify the replacement video again provided by “victims”! Yet she still refused to drop the charges at that time.

In December, when the RNC 16 attorneys appeared before the judge appointed to all the cases, they reiterated their arguments as to why the charges should be dismissed, including the confession video made by the Infowars “victims” and the “misplaced” evidence. At that court appearance, the prosecutor backed off of her initial refusal to turn over documents she deemed “confidential.” But it still remains to be seen whether they will fully comply with these requests. The judge set the hearing on the motion to dismiss the misdemeanor charges for January 26. The attorneys made clear to the court and the prosecutor that the courtroom would be packed with media and the public. The court ensured that room would be made for any and all who wanted to attend.

Then on January 11, the prosecutor filed the documents declaring they would not be “pursuing the prosecution” against the two defendants charged with assault, and the court dismissed the charges.

       

From the outset, the illegal assault, arrests, and ensuing and continuing prosecution against the RNC 16 was and is an attempt to intimidate people from opposing the message that odious and fascist program put forward by Trump—which will come to be if it is not stopped before it starts.

Making the Powers’ Attacks Boomerang Against Them

But as the RNC 16 declared in their determination to fight these charges, “The powers that be are NOT all-powerful. They have already been stung by our bold action. And there is a powerful basis to make this illegal and outrageous attack against us boomerang back against them, further exposing the illegitimacy of their system and advancing the movement for revolution. We had a right to do what we did at the RNC... and it was right! The flag burning burst through the suffocating, disgusting atmosphere in Cleveland, and news of it reached tens of millions of people. Since then, others coming from their own perspectives have taken up their own forms of protest. Millions are openly questioning America’s special ‘greatness’ and refusing to salute its symbols.”

The RNC 16 defendants and those demanding that the charges against RNC 16 be dropped have continued to put this case before the public—including setting up radio interviews and speaking engagements at law schools with Joey Johnson, making commitments to pack the courtroom at every court appearance, and calling on people to contact the prosecutors to demand the charges be dropped.

There is no doubt that these efforts, along with those of the RNC 16 legal defense team in court, resulted in the dropping of the charges against Johnson and the other RNC defendant. NOW is the time to step up the demand that ALL the charges be dropped against ALL RNC defendants. The upcoming hearing on January 26 is a time to pack the courtroom, contact the prosecutors, and demand the charges be dropped. Donations are needed for this fight and to get all the RNC 16 defendants back to Cleveland for the hearing!

 

 


 

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Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Outrage at the Confirmation Hearing of Betsy DeVos

January 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Outside the hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education
Some of the people from Detroit protesting Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Secretary nominee, raise Refuse Fascism signs outside the confirmation hearing, January 17. Photo: Special to revcom.us

January 17—A busload of parents, grandparents and their children in public schools, mainly Black and from Detroit, came to Washington, DC, to speak out against Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, at her Congressional confirmation hearing. They were organized by the group Journey for Justice Alliance. (See “New ‘Education’ Secretary DeVos: Cut Public Education, Impose Christian Fascism” for exposure of what she is about.)

The whole hearing was carefully controlled. The 50+ people from Detroit were herded into an overflow room where they couldn’t speak. Meanwhile, 30-40 paid “placeholders” were at the front of the line when people arrived at 10 a.m. to insure that seats in the hearing room were taken up by DeVos/Trump supporters.

Many of the Journey for Justice Alliance group were from Detroit and had direct experience with DeVos’s attacks on public education in Michigan. They were determined to expose and oppose DeVos and to denounce racial inequalities and white supremacy in education overall in the United States—and how this would take an enormous leap if Trump was allowed to rule and DeVos became head of the Department of Education. They were disgusted and outraged at how their voices were silenced at the DeVos confirmation hearing, while those who want to destroy public education and equal opportunities for Black and Brown children in education were given full rein.

People with Refuse Fascism were there and joined with the angry and disgusted people outside the building where the hearing took place. Many took NO! signs, flyers and stickers to take back and organize in Detroit, and one woman is trying to arrange to stay the week in DC and get involved in the actions here to stop the Trump-Pence fascist regime before it starts.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/chelsea-manning-sentence-commuted-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Chelsea Manning Sentence Commuted

Welcome Manning's Scheduled Release from Prison
Condemn Her Outrageous Seven-Year Imprisonment

January 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Chelsea Manning
How Chelsea Manning sees herself. By Alicia Neal, courtesy Chelsea Manning Support Network

On January 17, President Obama announced that he was commuting the 35-year sentence of Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.1 Manning is scheduled to be released in May 2017, rather than 2045.

As of May, Manning will have served seven years in a series of prisons, 11 months of it in 23-hour-a-day isolation that a UN Special Rapporteur on torture deemed “cruel and inhumane.” She has been denied critically needed medical care related to being a trans woman, and reportedly driven by this abuse to two suicide attempts.

Putting Her Life on the Line to Expose U.S. Crimes

Chelsea Manning was a U.S. soldier and intelligence analyst, stationed in Iraq in 2009, with access to files revealing war crimes committed during the U.S. occupation.

In 2010, Manning put her life on the line by providing these files to WikiLeaks (after the New York Times and Washington Post expressed little interest) so as to incite, in her words, “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.”

Manning said at the time: “This is one of the most significant documents of our time removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.” And she was right!

Manning exposed:

Stung by this act of incredible courage, the Obama administration came down on Chelsea like a ton of bricks. A lynch-mob atmosphere was whipped up against her, including open discussion of charging her with treason—a crime which can carry the death penalty—although she was never actually charged with treason. Obama publicly stated that she “broke the law” before she had even been tried. She was illegally held in solitary confinement for 11 months of the three years she spent awaiting trial. When, in the face of this she pleaded guilty to lesser charges, the prosecution ignored that and took her to trial on heavier ones, convicting her on most, and she was sentenced to 35 years in military prison.

This was, by far, the longest sentence ever given to anyone for leaking documents to the media. Even people who leaked actual military secrets—including General Petraeus—have received sentences of no more than one-to-three years.

But Manning’s “crime” was not the release of actual military secrets—it was that she ripped the covers off the war crimes of the U.S. military in Iraq. That, to Obama and the whole system, was completely outrageous, and an example had to be made of her. (And Obama would go on to break all records for prosecuting “whistle-blowers.”)

Even after sentencing, the persecution of Chelsea Manning continued. Although the Army accepted a psychiatric diagnosis of “gender identity disorder” (meaning that she does not identify with her biological gender), Chelsea had to fight tooth and nail for even minimal recognition of her status as a woman, for hormone therapy necessary to her transition to being a biological female, and for sex reassignment surgery, which she is still being denied.

In short, Chelsea Manning is a hero who put her life on the line for the betterment of humanity. She should never have spent one minute behind bars and, in fact, any society even attempting to achieve a just and decent world would celebrate Chelsea Manning’s courage and treat her as a role model for young children.

People have to be alert and defend Manning’s safety during the coming months—all the more so if the fascist Trump regime comes to power. And when she is freed, that will be cause for real celebration among justice-loving people. But the act of—finally—releasing her will never wipe away the crime of her seven years of imprisonment, much less the even greater crimes against the Iraqi people that Chelsea Manning dared to expose.


1. In August 2013 Manning issued this statement: “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.” So throughout article we refer to her as “Chelsea” and as “she,” even in reference to the time when she was publicly identified as “Bradley” and as “he.” [back]

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/gang-injunctions-and-databases-in-hands-of-trump-sessions-will-be-horror-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Gang Injunctions and Databases:
In the Hands of Trump & Sessions, It Will Be Horror Upon Horror

Youth in a neighborhood

Youth arrested by policePhotos: AP

January 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Imagine you're a youth on your skateboard or your bicycle, on the way to the store in a South Central L.A. neighborhood. A cop car rolls by, suddenly slamming on the brakes, forcing you off your board or your bike. Cops jump out, grab you, pat you down, and check your ID. Next thing you know, they're cuffing you, telling you your name is listed as an “associate” of a local gang—and that makes riding a skateboard or a bike a criminal offense. This is the first time you've ever heard that some cop put you on this list. Now you're on your way to jail, facing 6 months and a $1,000 fine.

Or say you're in school and your last class of the day ends. As you head toward home you see a classmate and decide to walk with him. Again you're stopped by the cops, and both of you are accused of being in a gang—so being together in public is a violation of the gang injunction. You're cuffed and taken to jail facing the same charges. What the fuck?!

In October 2016, the Southern California ACLU filed a complaint in federal court against the City of Los Angeles, demanding an immediate stop to the enforcement of its gang injunctions. The legal action brought to light the ugly reality that 10,000 youth—principally Black and Latino—are being unjustly forced to live under “probation-like conditions without a hearing.”

These gang injunctions are civil court orders gotten by the LAPD and the L.A. City Attorney targeting specific gangs and those they’ve identified as alleged members. The orders make it illegal for people the cops declare to be gang members or “associates” to engage in all kinds activities in their neighborhood that would otherwise be legal. These “nuisance activities” can include things like hanging out with members of your own family if they've also been identified as alleged gang members; having a beer in a public restaurant; wearing certain kinds of clothing; using a cell phone; or even riding a bicycle or a skateboard. Many of these injunctions include a curfew, making it a crime to be out in public after 10 p.m.

Living Under Siege

Young people in areas where gang injunctions are in force are often stopped indiscriminately by the police, arrested, and told they have violated the injunction for one of these or many other activities. It’s only then that the youth learn for the first time that some cop put their name on a list of those the police claim to be identified gang members.

One of the plaintiffs in the ACLU complaint told an L.A. radio station: “They basically just gave me the injunction paper and said, ‘Here you go, read it.’”  The injunction said he couldn’t hang out in public with certain friends or wear certain clothing because he was a gang member—if he did, he could be jailed for six months. He said he’s never belonged to a gang, but he has to be careful. “I don’t really go into public view much anymore.”

There are now 46 different gang injunctions in L.A. The cops use them to harass Black, Latino, and other oppressed youth in huge sections of the city. These gang injunctions play a key role in a whole system of police terror and control in poor Black, Latino and other communities, criminalizing normal life and forcing people to live in fear, always potentially on the run. They have had a devastating effect on the lives of the youth and others who are targeted. Many have lost jobs, educational opportunities, and even housing. It is almost impossible to get off the injunction; it can take years, and the final decision is entirely up to the City.

Because of the “success” the gang injunctions in the eyes of the authorities, their use has spread to other cities, including San Diego, San Jose, San Antonio, and Chicago. In truth, for the masses of youth in Black and Latino neighborhoods, gang injunctions have created militarized zones, and they have primed the pipeline to prison and mass incarceration.

       

A gang injunction led to the murder last year of Johnnie Anderson at the hands of the L.A. Sheriffs in Hawaiian Gardens in South Central L.A. Although he had not been part of a gang for years and had just returned to Hawaiian Gardens from working in Iowa, Johnny was still named in a gang injunction. Johnny and his wife were relaxing in the backyard of an unoccupied house when he saw the sheriffs roll by. Living under this Nazi-style injunction, Johnny knew the sheriffs would come back. He didn’t want to go to jail, so he got up, walked away, and ran into an adjacent back yard where he was shot and killed by a sheriff. He had done no harm to anyone; but his life was stolen in an instant.

It Will Get Worse for Black and Latino People Under Trump’s “Law and Order” America

These are the conditions that millions of oppressed people in this country are forced to live under today. Now join that with what Trump and his team of ghouls have promised to carry out. Trump’s nominating convention featured the rabid former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, who screamed about restoring “law and order” and “blue lives matter.” Those slogans go right along with a major theme of Trump's whole campaign: a call for enforcing a police state by turning the police loose in the inner cities on an even greater scale, spreading “stop-and-frisk” and “zero tolerance” policing across the country, and silencing even mild criticisms of the police. Trump applauds the Philippine ruler Duterte, who has unleashed his police and vigilante squads to murder “drug suspects” straight up in the street, without even a trial—over 6,000 already since this summer.

Trump's nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions from Alabama, is a life-long racist steeped in the culture of white supremacy. When he was nominated for a position as federal judge in the 1980s, Coretta Scott King, wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, wrote the Senate a scathing letter opposing the appointment: “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship.... if confirmed, he will be given a life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods.”

While L.A. has 10,000 mostly young people in their gang database, the state of California as a whole has an estimated 150,000 names in its CALGang database. Now put all of the gang databases around the country in the hands of these fascists—with the names of probably a million or more youth and others from oppressed nationalities—and think what will be done with these lists. The gang databases amount to nothing less than a registry of “undesirables” who will be in the cross-hairs of the fascists: Black and Latino people targeted for round-ups and more... inner cities put under actual martial law... mass incarceration transformed into internment camps. And police unleashed to murder with even more impunity, even more wantonly and blatantly—to deliver the unmistakable message that resistance will not be tolerated.

There’s a chance now to stop this horror on top of 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 and Latino people and all of the oppressed, as well as the people and planet as a whole, are very, very high.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/political-prisoner-oscar-lopez-rivera-sentence-commuted-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera: Sentence Commuted After 35 Years of Torture

January 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Oscar Lopez Rivera
Oscar Lopez Rivera
Photo: Wiki Commons

On January 17, President Obama commuted the sentence of Oscar López Rivera, a Puerto Rican nationalist and one of the leaders of the FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional)—an organization dedicated to fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico from U.S. imperialism. López Rivera, who is 74 years old, has been serving a 70-year sentence. He is one of the longest-incarcerated political prisoners in the U.S.—held in torturous conditions for over 35 years, nearly half his life. For decades there has been a fight to free Oscar López Rivera, along with many other political prisoners. He was scheduled to not be released until 2023, but under Obama’s commutation order, his prison sentence will now expire May 17.

Over one hundred years ago, the United States seized the island of Puerto Rico by armed force. Since that time, the U.S. has held Puerto Rico in colonial status—with 13 military bases on the island to threaten the Caribbean and Latin America. This oppressive situation—which has robbed the Puerto Rican people of their land, wrecked the agriculture of the island, and driven many to the cities of the United States—has given rise to constant resistance, including powerful movements for independence and national liberation. In the heat of the 1960s and 1970s, new organizations rose up to fight for Puerto Rican liberation—based both in the island itself and in the large Puerto Rican communities of U.S. cities.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. government hunted down, persecuted and arrested many members of the FALN, charging many of them with "seditious conspiracy" to overthrow the U.S. government.

In May of 1981, the U.S. government targeted and arrested Oscar López Rivera. He was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in federal prison for seditious conspiracy, use of force to commit robbery, interstate transportation of firearms, and conspiracy to transport explosives with intent to destroy government property. (The sentence was later increased to 70 years.)

At the opening of his trial, López Rivera denounced U.S. imperialism and then refused to participate. He said, "This is not even a trial, it's a kangaroo court. All the people here represent the government and FBI which has already tried me.... Puerto Rico is a colony by U.S. military conquest. Its people live under military rule, under genocide."

The U.S. government claimed that the FALN members they arrested, including López-Rivera, were “criminals” and “dangerous terrorists.” But the government’s charge of "seditious conspiracy" itself revealed the real political issue: The federal indictments of these fighters accused them of working together "to oppose by force the authority of the government of the United States...(for the purpose of) obtaining independence for Puerto Rico."

Federal seditious conspiracy laws make it a crime to challenge the power of the U.S. government, to try to overthrow or oppose it by force, or to conspire to possess any property of the United States without authority. They are laws designed to criminalize revolutionary and other anti-government activities. And in particular, these laws have been used against those fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico.

Oscar López Rivera and other arrested FALN members were singled out for extreme punishment in prison, including being kept in solitary confinement for long periods, which prevented them from having contact with people on the outside. He was subjected to cruel sleep deprivation experiments at ADX Florence prison in Colorado. He has spent 12 years in solitary confinement at a maximum security prison.

In 1999 President Bill Clinton issued a cruel offer to López Rivera and 13 other imprisoned FALN members. Clinton did not agree to free them by commuting their sentences unconditionally. The offer was for these prisoners to be released but serve the remainder of their sentences on the outside—which established a legal basis for a series of “conditions.” These “freed” prisoners would be under the close supervision of the state for the remainder of their sentences (which in many cases meant for the rest of their lives). Clinton’s offer insisted that the prisoners (personally, individually and in writing) "renounce the use, attempted use, or advocacy of the use of violence as a condition for release." And the prisoners also had to accept the conditions imposed on paroled "felons" with the federal parole commission having direct and close control over their lives, activities and travel—and able to constantly hold the threat of returning them to prison at any point.

In effect, the conditions for their release amounted to not being able to continue fighting for the cause of the liberation of Puerto Rico. Oscar López Rivera heroically rejected this vindictive and politically repressive offer.

Jan Susler, Oscar López Rivera’s lawyer, after hearing of Obama’s commutation, said his release is a huge win in the ongoing fight for Puerto Rican independence. “We have to celebrate every victory,” she said. “We have a lot of work left to do, and now Oscar will be able to join us, and we can work side by side.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/brutal-arrest-outrageous-charges–nypd-assaults-refuse-fascism-activist-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

From RefuseFascism.org

Brutal Arrest, Outrageous Charges – NYPD Assaults Refuse Fascism Activist

January 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Thursday, Jan. 12, New York police stalked, arrested, and brutalized a young person associated with Refuse Fascism. She and a friend were walking through Greenwich Village, on their way to a publicly announced Refuse Fascism event. She was carrying Refuse Fascism posters tucked under her arm. When her friend went into a store to pick up some food, a woman walking behind her read her sign aloud: "Stop Trump/Pence".

Seconds later this woman—an NYPD cop in plainclothes—and two other cops, also not in full police uniform, grabbed the young woman and began manhandling her. Several police cars arrived, and the assembled NYPD force pushed her up against a car, and shoved her face against the trunk. Many passersby were outraged. Two of them stood in front of her friend when it seemed the police were about to go after her. When the woman being arrested asked "why", a cop yelled "because you put a sticker on a pole, that's why."

The police subjected this woman to hours of abuse—political, physical, sexual, and psychological. One of them fondled her in the car as they took her to the local precinct.

At no point did the police read this young woman what are supposed to be her constitutional rights. But they repeatedly threatened to send her to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, even though she refused to consent to this outrage. They told her she had the mind of "a child".

In the jail the cops handcuffed her, then pushed and dragged her through the halls. The arresting cop said he was going to "break her fucking arms", and then dragged her up a flight of stairs. They threatened to throw her in solitary, then threw her to the ground, face down, while one of the pigs sat on her. When they did force her to go to Bellevue Hospital, they put her, still handcuffed, in a wheelchair for hours. She was told by a cop she had "zero rights". Several of the cops made a point of announcing their support for the fascist, Donald Trump. She was brought before the court and charged with graffiti and resisting arrest!

The hours of abuse this woman was subjected to by police amount to torture. They are outrageous, and all charges against her must be dropped, immediately! What makes it even more outrageous is the overtly political nature of these charges, and the clear political bias these cops displayed. This kind of outrage must be denounced and opposed.

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/betsy-devos-and-jim-crow-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Betsy DeVos: "One-size-fits-all model of learning [does not] fit the needs of every child"

No different than Jim Crow

January 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The opening remarks by Betsy DeVos—Trump’s Secretary of Education nominee—at her confirmation hearing January 18 included this: “Parents no longer believe a one-size-fits-all model of learning fits the need of every child, and they know other options exist, whether magnet, virtual, charter, home, faith-based or any other combination. Yet, too many parents are denied access to the options, choices many of us have exercised for our own children.”

She claims to advocate for all children and that, if confirmed, she will be “a strong advocate for great public schools.” This is not even half true. Her life’s work has been to destroy public education, especially through promoting vouchers, which provide government money to pay for private (especially Christian) schools, and pushing charter schools, which are privately run but publicly funded.

Vouchers take money away from public schools in inner cities, which are already segregated, militarized, run down, and under-funded, and divert it to private—mainly white and religious—schools. DeVos, part of a family of billionaires, has spent considerable time and money toward changing the law in Michigan, her home turf, to allow vouchers. In Detroit, she’s been a driving force behind charter schools. Bad as Detroit public schools are—the district ranked last among 22 cities in eighth grade math proficiency among African-American students in 2013—two-thirds of Michigan charter schools ranked below Detroit public schools in eighth-grade math proficiency among Black students.

How is this any different from “separate but equal,” the Jim Crow (you know, back when America was “great” according to Trump) legal doctrine that maintained that segregation was constitutional while ensuring that education was in fact vastly unequal? Actually, what DeVos is pushing is not just a giant step back—it’s worse. DeVos-style education policy doesn’t just turn back to rigid segregation and doesn’t just maintain the current school-to-prison pipeline—it aims to destroy public education and make all education private and religious. In a word, it’s fascist.

***

For more analysis, see: “New ‘Education’ Secretary DeVos: Cut Public Education, Impose Christian Fascism.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/trump-pick-for-secretary-of-labor-andrew-puzder-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Trump's Pick for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder:
Enemy of the Minimum Wage and Workplace Regulations

January 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Stop the fascist Trump-Pence regime before it starts

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.

Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the corporation that runs the fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. This man exudes contempt for workers. His first memo as CEO of Hardee’s had this line: “No more people behind the counter unless they have all their teeth.” When California raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Puzder said, “How do you pay somebody $15 an hour to scoop ice cream? How good could you be at scooping ice cream?” He’s doesn’t think workers should take breaks and ridiculed California’s law mandating them: “Have you ever been to a fast food restaurant and the employees are sitting and you’re wondering, ‘Why are they sitting?’ They are on what is called a mandatory break [emphasis his].”

The Trump transition team told the New York Times: “Andy Puzder has firsthand experience saving and creating thousands of jobs, and he has an extensive record of fighting for workers. As secretary of labor, he will be able to apply his business successes in a way that will benefit all Americans—growing wages and creating opportunity.” The reality? Puzder is all for discarding working people and replacing them with machines: “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”

Puzder became CEO of CKE Restaurants in 2000. Since then, the Department of Labor—the department that he’s nominated to head—found wage violations at more than half of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. locations that it investigated. According to the Daily Beast website, the company has “been accused of discriminating against a female applicant with a disability; having general managers ‘on call 24 hours a day’ without overtime pay; failing to reimburse general managers for work-related expenses; allowing a work environment in which sexual harassment was permitted; and being a workplace that did not provide sufficient safety gear to prevent severe burns during cooking.” He is against the rules requiring paid sick leave for federal contractors and making more people eligible for overtime pay. He calls the Affordable Care Act a “government-mandated restaurant recession,” saying that rising premiums mean people have less money to spend eating out.

Puzder fits right in with the blatant misogyny characterizing Trump’s “Legion of Doom”—his group of advisors and cabinet nominees. He’s a long-time proponent of overturning the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. As a lawyer in the 1980s, Puzder helped write a Missouri law that restricted abortion—which was upheld in the 1989 Webster v. Reproductive Health Services Supreme Court decision that opened the way for states to impose significantly more limits on Roe v. Wade.

Puzder oversaw a series of pornographic Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s commercials—including one showing three models in bikinis and a “bacon three-way burger.” His defense of the ad: “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.... but I think this one ... kind of did take on my personality.” Puzder said that working with Trump’s team “would be ... the most fun you could have with your clothes on”—showing he is perfectly compatible with the disgusting cabal headed by a man who brags about sexually assaulting women.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/hundreds-hold-queer-dance-party-at-mike-pence-house-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Hundreds Hold "Queer Dance Party" at Mike Pence's House

January 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 18—Hundreds of people marched to the house of Mike Pence—Trump’s Christian fascist vice president—in the Chevy Chase section of Washington, D.C. and held an in-your-face “Queer Dance Party” there. The Facebook events page for this said: “The homo/transphobic Mike Pence has graciously invited us to shake our booties and bodies in front of/around his house in Chevy Chase. We plan on leaving behind [biodegradable] glitter and rainbow paraphinalia that he can NEVER forget. #WeAreQueer #WeAreHere #WeWillDance That’s right, get ready to WERK it and tell Daddy Pence: homo/transphobia is not tolerated in our country! WERK for Peace and DisruptJ20 are teaming up to bring you the best dance party in the nation, so you betta’ show up and weerrrrkkk!”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/on-peaceful-transition-of-power-legitimacy-illegitimacy-fascism-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

On the "Peaceful Transfer of Power," Legitimacy and Illegitimacy, and Fascism

January 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There is much talk today about “the peaceful transfer of power” and “legitimacy.” But what’s the reality behind these concepts?

First, on the “peaceful transfer of power”: this refers to the fact that through most of its history the ruling class of the U.S. has been able to switch power between different factions without falling into open clashes outside the legal framework. This is not to say that all kinds of extra-legal infighting does not go on between these factions—it does, and it can be very fierce—but generally speaking, they have been able to use the framework of their legal system to settle disputes among them. The glaring exception to this is the decidedly un-peaceful Civil War, through which the horror of slavery was finally ended—not through elections but by armed force.

This tradition—again, leaving aside the Civil War—goes back to the founding of the U.S. 240 years ago. The “founders” developed a unified state with a constitution to provide for passing laws and an army to enforce those laws. This new state had essentially four purposes:

  1. To prevent different European colonial powers of the day from gaining a foothold in different parts of the North American continent and becoming, or setting up, competing power centers;
  2. To develop the structures and procedures through which the dominant classes in society—the merchant-capitalists of the North and the slaveholders centered in the South—could struggle out conflicts and coordinate policy for the mutual advance of their class and individual interests;
  3. To create a framework in which individual small farmers, businessmen, etc. (the early middle class) could be allowed to pursue the goal of enriching themselves and to have some sense of stability in doing that and some sense of protection from the state in pursuing their economic and political objectives within the constraints of the system set up by the Constitution (and how, in return, they would identify with and become defenders of that system);
  4. Most fundamentally, to maintain the huge population of severely exploited Black enslaved people in a state of terror and subjugation, to continue the genocidal warfare and theft of land of the Native peoples who lived here, and if need be to crush revolts of disaffected poor white farmers or proletarians. For the exploited and oppressed sections of society—then and now—protection from the state and the means to politically wage struggle, as codified in the Bill of Rights, was either non-existent or (as time went on, and through a great deal of struggle and sacrifice) only honored in a curtailed and stunted way, and sometimes not at all. (This depended how great a threat the ruling class judged any particular movement among the oppressed to pose to their system.)

The Foundation of Political Power in the U.S.: Exploitation

Thus the political power codified in the Constitution rested on the foundation of this economic exploitation, land thievery, and forms of domination so horrific that they are painful to even contemplate today. As time went on, the first purpose of the state developed into a system of economically exploiting the entire world and preserving that domination through the most massive and destructive military machine in history, i.e., capitalism-imperialism, waging war all over the planet. And while slavery was eventually eliminated (again, in an extremely violent and very necessary civil war), the state has continued to keep the masses of Black people (as well as other “minorities”) in a state of check: exploited in the worst jobs or denied jobs, imprisoned en masse and murdered by police with impunity, and oppressed in a thousand other ways and through a thousand mechanisms, deeply embedded in every political, economic and civic institution, as well as the culture, of this society.

       

It is, in sum, the power to use the state to struggle out conflicts at the top and along with that to either sidetrack, contain or crush resistance coming from below—to keep the machinery of exploitation humming, in short—that is peacefully transferred every four years between one or another faction of the class that rules over this: the capitalist-imperialists.

Legitimacy and Illegitimacy

What then is legitimacy? You hear this term a lot too, especially since John Lewis said that Trump would be an illegitimate president.

There are two meanings here. First there is the question of whether those who rule are seen as legitimate. This too was provided for in the Constitution: they developed elections in which the new leader was said to express the will of the people. Yet the actual choices in these elections, as well as the terms and limits of debate, are dictated from above, by the most powerful class (or, while slavery still existed, classes); and every candidate fought for the reinforcement and extension of capitalism (and today capitalism-imperialism).

“Legitimacy” also means that most people most of the time recognize the right of the rulers to wield the machinery of violence of the state in defense of what has been imposed, and are generally recognized, as the “legitimating norms” of society (the basic principles as to how economic, political and civic life should be ordered... “the rules of the game,” so to speak), even as this is supposed to be done within certain limits.

You hear a lot of people say that “Trump is not normal.” And he’s not, but not only in the psychological sense. Trump will impose a new set of norms. The new norms of a Trump-Pence regime would constitute fascism, which we have defined as follows:

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.

What Is the Same, and What Is Different, About Fascism

Fascism is still capitalism-imperialism, still a system of exploitation and oppression, but one in which the intensity and forms of the repression and the strength of reaction is on a qualitatively different level. Because it also can involve suppression of other sections of the ruling class, and because its logic is to stay on the offensive and bludgeon its way out of any problems it creates (a very risky strategy), there is not only a lot of anguish and anger throughout society, there can be (and are right now) real qualms within the power structure. So, some forces right at the top of society are questioning the legitimacy of a Trump-Pence administration—which again means, literally, their right to wield force to back up their decisions; even if this is mainly being framed in terms of “Russian meddling” in the elections, it is not possible to fully separate this from the essence of the matter, which is the fascist character of what Trump-Pence are attempting to embark on.

At the same time, most of the imperialist politicians (including Obama) are NOT questioning legitimacy of a Trump-Pence regime and instead are harping on the importance of honoring the “peaceful transfer of power.” Even those who may be worried about the risks involved to their system with the Trump-Pence regime in power evidently think it would be even riskier to call into question his legitimacy. These politicians fear that taking out one thread invites the possibility of unraveling the whole thing and runs the risk of even greater instability, conflict, and questioning this could cause throughout society.

Once that begins, a lot of things can open up—including masses of people coming to question the foundations of legitimacy and to see other principles and values, and forces based on those principles, as actually being legitimate. If millions come to see things this way and if there are “jolts” in the imperialist system brought on by the workings of that system itself, and if there is a vanguard with ties to the masses... you can enter into a situation in which revolution becomes directly possible.

So these top politicians and most of the media are hammering endlessly at this “peaceful transfer of power” as the “great thing about America”—when in fact (as we have shown) a) all this has meant for centuries is the “peaceful” transfer of the power to oppress millions and today billions, and b) all this means today is the “peaceful transfer of power” to outright fascists who pose extraordinary dangers to humanity. While Trump and Pence may or may not have been lawfully elected, the point is that their fascist program should delegitimize their rule for any decent, humane person. After all, as refusefascism.org has said, Hitler also came to power through legal means—does that mean that people should not have done everything they could to stop him from being able to rule?

A Larger Question

All this should raise a larger question of legitimacy: what is legitimate about a system that celebrates such a transfer of power, whether peaceful or not? What is legitimate, and what is just, about a system that can only function through exploitation of people all over the world and in which power is wielded by the biggest exploiters—whether they succeed in smoothly transferring that power or not? What is legitimate about a system that not only produces and celebrates a Donald Trump, but actually selects him as its president? And why should we put up with such a system in which there is not only the constant, grinding oppression of the day-to-day dictatorship carried out by this state in normal times, but the open, blatant and qualitatively more severe repression of fascism always “waiting in the wings” (and now ready to assume center stage)?

Answer: there is nothing legitimate about such a system and we should NOT put up with it. There is a whole better way, codified in a qualitatively different constitution—the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian (BA) and adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. There is a strategy to get there, very clearly laid out in HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution. There is the larger framework of which that is all a part, in BA’s new book THE NEW COMMUNISM. And there is, right now, an urgency for everyone who grasps how dire the situation is to both resist the implantation and consolidation of this fascism, to seriously question how humanity got to this pass, and to dig into the viability of the whole other way charted out by Bob Avakian.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/474/come-to-dc-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

From a revcom volunteer in DC:

“I needed to be in DC not for myself. Humanity and the planet need me to be here.”

January 19, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

I heard the call and read the plan from refusefascism.org and revcom.us to come to DC the 14th and stay in DC until the illegitimate Trump-Pence regime is prevented from ruling. I fully supported this call with all my being. But my fears and anxieties kept me from making that leap that was needed to actually COME to DC. The leap to buy a plane ticket, take off work and go across country from one coast of the U.S. to the other and be among people I do not know, in a city I do not know, surrounded by Brown Shirt Altzi thugs, police, and feds terrified me. I racked my brain for days, asking myself if it was worth it, if the Refuse Fascism plan was even possible, until I thought about it in a different light by posing myself the following question: “For whom and for what?”

I needed to be in DC not for myself, or my interests, and my fears and anxieties are irrelevant. Humanity and the planet need me to be here, to stop what would be a complete horror for the masses of people all over the world, and not just people in the U.S. If we even had a 1% chance of possibly being successful, it is damn well worth it to prevent another Hitler. It IS scary, but we need to be brave and have the courage to stop this regime before it starts and think about all the people who would catch hell even more than they are now if the Trump-Pence regime were to take power. Realizing this, I bought my plane ticket immediately and came to DC and plan on staying. I challenge you all to take this up, and join us until we achieve victory to stop this horror.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/arturo-ofarrill-we-are-gathered-to-usher-in-new-era-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Pianist/composer Arturo O'Farrill:
"We're gathered to usher in a new era; a new era of strong, powerful resistance; an era of cooperation and communication"

January 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The night before Trump’s inauguration, there was a Musicians Against Fascism concert at Symphony Space in New York City featuring outstanding jazz musicians. This was a benefit for refusefascism.org. The host for the evening, five-time Grammy winner Arturo O’Farrill, made these opening remarks:

Tomorrow a very bad man will take the nation’s highest office. His biographer called him a sociopath. His behavior towards women is lamentable. His racism is legendary, He has lied repeatedly. He has questionable ethics and the conflict of interest between his ill-gotten office and his business dealings is shady at best, and criminal at worst.

By his own admission, he reads not and has never held public office. In press conferences and debates he has shown a limited vocabulary and a mean spirit; threatening to prosecute his opponent if victorious, in the best fashion of dictators and fascists. He treats the press with disdain and has no regard for the need to communicate policy. Instead his chosen method for communicating with the American people and the world is through petty tweets that show a fragile ego and a disposition towards simple insults. He mocks the disabled, wants to register millions based on their religious conviction.

Frighteningly he leaves a trail of catastrophic business failures—tens of thousands of lost jobs and ruined lives. He has surrounded himself with billionaire boyfriends, mostly white, mostly male and no Hispanics. Together they represent the worst of humanity. Vulture capitalists. Anti-Semites, racists and disturbingly, mostly unqualified for the jobs he has bestowed upon them.

Tomorrow America enters into alien territory. A fascist regime poised to do away with women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigrant rights and the right to affordable healthcare. Tomorrow we enter the dark ages.

But that’s not why we’re gathered here today. We’re gathered to usher in a new era; a new era of strong, powerful resistance; an era of cooperation and communication. We’re not here to be sectarian, denominational, ideological or political. On this stage tonight you will see atheists, Christians, Jews, conservatives, liberals, communists, socialists and capitalists. But this is not a platform to convert. This is a call to check your agenda at the door and join together and ask how a very bad man with no moral compass and no intellect was allowed to take the nation’s highest office.

We ask every human being in the room to search their souls and really face the issues. The manipulation by the very greedy to divide and confuse. The corporate media’s use for ratings that allowed a neo-fascist cartoon character to be considered a legitimate human being, despite an epic history of failure. Those of us who grew up in New York know all too well the effect of his colossal business failures. How did the nation get fooled???

We [have] gathered to put aside all that divides us and ask our art and our artists to help us find a reason that this happened and most of all help us find a way back to a time when our lives and our worldwide reputation weren’t defined by fear and failure. We also gather to give voice to a rage that many feel and don’t know what to do with. A sadness that is so deep. An illness that has no cure except in when we take action. And act we must. We must organize, demonstrate, be disobedient to our deluded, self-entitled masters. They feel that they have won by installing a silly puppet to satisfy their need for engorgement. But what they’ve done is embolden us to take the battle beyond the obvious.

And instead of being angry and hateful towards each other, we’re going to work intelligently past our dogmas to agree that we can no longer accept this system. We can no longer sit in silence as we live in our comfortable dogma prisons. We will demand the right for ourselves as we call this day to accountability.

We have an enemy and he or she is not black, white, gay, straight, liberal, conservative. Nor are they American, Syrian or Russian. They’re not communist or socialist or capitalist. Our enemy is our indifference to the suffering on this planet. Our enemy is our inaction and our divisiveness. Our enemy is the distraction of the smartphone, the tablet, the computer and our aversion to look one another in the eyes and converse about the true nature of suffering perpetrated by the powerful and the greedy. That’s why we gather on this stage.

At the end of the concert we’re going to ask everyone to connect, share contact info and to organize a new group of citizens under the name of one people, for whom revolution is not a partisan or political word, but a tenet for our very survival.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/emergency-forum-of-academics-to-resist-fascist-america-at-mit-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Emergency Forum of Academics to Resist a Fascist America Held at MIT

January 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 19, some 140 people attended an emergency forum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. The event, “In the Name of Humanity, Refuse to Accept a Fascist America—A Call to Action to Academics and Intellectuals,” was inspired by the Call to Action from RefuseFascism.org and was part of the National Month of Resistance.

A great sense of urgency pervaded the room. Professors from MIT, Harvard, and other nearby universities were there, along with students and activists. Many were entering into political life for the first time or “re-entering”—shaken and outraged by the Trump presidency.

The forum kicked off with a solidarity message sent by Fidel Fajardo-Acosta, a professor of English at Creighton University in Nebraska. He has been put on a new academic “watchlist” engineered by the fascist Turning Point group. The watchlist is designed to “name” and intimidate progressive and radical scholars and incite administrative and mob reaction against them. Fajardo-Acosta is standing firm. He saluted the emergency forum and called on people to fight attacks like the “watchlist” and take up the Call to Action of RefuseFascism.org

The first speaker at the forum was Tim McCarthy of the Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights. He described the current moment as a “train wreck” that we can’t be paralyzed by or perish in. He spoke about the tradition of resistance throughout U.S. history—and called for unity in taking on Trump-Pence: Don’t let people warn you off from working with communists, and don’t create false equivalences and divisions that prevent you from working with people in the Democratic Party. Lucas Stancyzk from the Watson Institute at Brown University spoke about the policies of neoliberalism that have been embraced by both Democrats and Republicans that have caused hardship and suffering and the need for a resurgent labor movement.

Political economist and writer for revcom.us Raymond Lotta got into what fascism is, the “window” and “responsibility” to prevent the Trump-Pence regime from fully consolidating its hold, and the need for the university to become a “zone of resistance” on a scale we have not seen before. (See "It IS Fascism—and the University Must Be a Zone of Resistance") Jonathan Walton from the Harvard Divinity School powerfully closed out the presentations. He began by welcoming a new generation of students searching for understanding and with the courage to resist. He went to the experience of Germany under Hitler, the Nuremburg Trials after the war, and what it revealed about widespread complicity under fascism, and called for resistance to a totally illegitimate regime today.

The talks were followed by questions and comments from the audience. A veteran of the civil rights movement in Alabama talked about the risks people took in dangerous conditions to do the right thing. Someone from the university community called for people to get out of their specialist silos and labs and wake up to the larger need for coalitions in action. There was questioning and controversy over whether going into the streets can really make a difference, and about the role of the Democratic Party. All in all, there was a lot of robust wrangling that continued afterward. Many in the audience were going to DC, while others were joining in Boston weekend demonstrations.

The Trump agenda of “making America great again” and cleaning up what he has called “the carnage” of the last few decades will have enormous consequences for intellectual and academic life. The MIT forum was an important gathering that has to serve as a springboard to inspire and launch serious resistance in universities.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/raymond-lotta-at-mit-emergency-forum-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

It IS Fascism—and the University Must Be a Zone of Resistance

by Raymond Lotta | January 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following talk was given by Raymond Lotta at a Social Emergency Forum held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge on January 19. The event was titled “In the Name of Humanity, Refuse to Accept a Fascist America—A Call to Action to Academics and Intellectuals.” It was inspired by the Call to Action from refusefascism.org and was part of the National Month of Resistance.

It IS Fascism—and the University Must Be a Zone of Resistance

I want to thank the organizers of tonight’s emergency forum at MIT for the opportunity to share in this urgent discussion. My focus is the stakes before us: what is unfolding in society... what we must clearly and fearlessly come to grips with... and what is required of us.

Confronting Fascism

We are facing an unprecedented situation in the history of this country: fascism acceding to power. Now I don’t use the word fascism lightly or for rhetorical effect. It is something very real. Let me draw on a characterization of fascism posted on Revolution/revcom.us:

Fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the capitalist-imperialist 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.”

At the same time—and this can be seen in 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.

Stop the fascist Trump-Pence regime

The brute reality is that in a matter of hours, the Trump-Pence regime is coming to power and working to consolidate power in the next immediate period. This regime is totally illegitimate for what it stands for and the catastrophe it will bring to humanity.

Look, they’ve already sent out questionnaires to government employees to ascertain who is engaged in climate change research, or done work around gender issues and equality. We’ve seen this movie before... with Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. But now it is issuing from the highest levels of government. And even if they walk some of this back... the agenda and threats are clear.

This is a president who has vowed to reinstitute and double-down on “stop and frisk”—even though it’s been ruled unconstitutional in New York. He has vowed to go after and punish sanctuary cities. Now it is a good thing, something we have going for us, that the number of sanctuary cities has grown and that more universities are committed to protecting immigrant students. But what happens when there is a terrorist incident somewhere, and FBI agents come on to campuses to detain students from certain countries of origin? Mayors and administrators have to stand by their word. Professors and students have to act. That means risking arrest and worse. And courage will be required.

Our Best Shot... Acting Now To Stop It

But our best shot is to prevent this regime from consolidating its rule. We have a window and a historic responsibility: to stop it from happening in the coming days and week. It means engaging in massive, society-wide resistance—on a scale and with intensity not seen in this country for decades and perhaps more. We are on the cusp of a potential turning point. Hundreds of thousands of people will be converging in Washington, DC this weekend. To demonstrate and to connect with others. More people must come... into the millions. And people must stay in the streets over the weekend... into next week.

A major political crisis has to be created from below, such as in South Korea, where massive demonstrations forced the impeachment of the president in a matter of months. I’m speaking of a crisis that compels every major faction of the power structure to react. There’s infighting at the top, and it’s sharpening—in Congress, within the military and intelligence agencies. And there are countless reasons (and skeletons in the closet) that could become writs to block or impeach this regime. But nothing will come of this unless there is that political crisis from below. It’s a long shot, but it’s our best shot.

And come Monday, those universities that are back in session must become “no business as usual”—teach-ins, no classes as usual, walkouts, into the streets... and if students decide to engage in direct nonviolent action and take over buildings, they need the encouragement and involvement of their professors. We are fighting fascism that is aiming to consolidate itself.

The Special Role of the University as a Site of Resistance

It’s important that we are meeting here at MIT. Because the university has a critical role to play in this emergency: it is the one institution in society where dissent and where critical and radical thinking have some initiative. It is a space that has helped incubate social movements—from civil rights to antiwar, women’s and environmental. Some of you in this hall helped make that happen.

But now the stakes and challenges are raised qualitatively. Because of what this regime represents AND the fact that the university will be targeted on a whole other scale: for educating and protecting undocumented immigrants... for facilitating scholarship that challenges the official narrative of “America’s greatness” and Trump’s sick vision of making “America great—read that as ‘white’—again”... for granting academic positions to professors from “suspect” countries and cultures.

The university must be turned into a zone of resistance. Not sealed off from but opening into society—setting an example and inspiring others to act—and joining with others in mass resistance. People cannot fall into—and it behooves everyone to follow out—the logic of “preserving” what we have or “my work.” That is the politically and morally unacceptable logic of turning inward and turning your back on what is demanded of us at this perilous time. It is the logic, whatever one’s intentions, of complicity, of going along with horrors you never imagined possible but helped make possible—because you didn’t raise your head and you didn’t raise your voice when the costs were high.

A Question and Challenge

I want to end with a challenge to all of you who are fighting this onslaught. Here we are, fascism assuming the reins of power. What kind of system has given rise to this? There is a need to question a social order in which the choice is between open fascism and all that entails—and a “democratically functioning” empire with all that entails.

But there is in fact another way altogether. It is communist revolution, the achievement of a society and world without exploitation and oppression. I would urge people to look at the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America by Bob Avakian. It is the vision and framework of a society on the road to emancipating all of humanity and protecting the planet.

I will end here. Let’s Stop This Regime!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/the-world-changed-this-weekend-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Updated January 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Where to be:

Washington, DC:

Wednesday 8:30 AM: Rally outside the arraignment of the Sessions hearing defendants demanding all charges be dropped (50-60 people are all being arraigned at the same time) Rally at 8:30am at 500 Indiana Ave NW the Superior Court of DC. See "Carl Dix on Disrupting the Sessions Hearing..."

Chicago:

Wednesday the 25th; Thursday, 26th: Assemble at State and Jackson at 4 pm and march!

Los Angeles:

Wednesday, January 25: Converge at LA City Hall (200 N. Spring St.), 12 pm. March! Surround the Federal Building "ICE" (300 N. Los Angeles St.), 2 pm.

New York City:

Wednesday January 25 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Refuse Fascism Organizing Meeting. LGBT Center 208 West 13th Street.

Protest Trump in Philadelphia: Thursday January 26

11:00 am & 4:00 pm, Thomas Paine Plaza, Philadelphia (Trump Speaks 12 noon ). NYers: Leave Union Square 8:00 am; return 5:00 pm. Donate generously, but no charge for round trip bus trip. Buses & vans leaving from locations throughout the region: all boroughs of NYC, NJ, DE, MD, CT. Call 917 407 1286 / Facebook event

The world changed this weekend.

First, Donald Trump made clear in an unprecedented inaugural speech and then an equally unprecedented appearance at the CIA that he is moving very rapidly to a fascist reordering of society.

Second, millions of the people in the U.S. and around the world came out in equally unprecedented demonstrations to make clear their abhorrence for everything Trump stands for.

The world changed, but it must change still more. Time is short. Once such a fascist reordering takes place, resistance and change become immeasurably more difficult.

We must not lose the momentum. Act in Washington, DC and all over.

Our Resistance must call even more people back into the streets. To stop this regime, we must stop business as usual this week. Every faction in the power structure must feel compelled to respond to what we the people do. This could force a political situation in which the Trump-Pence regime is prevented from consolidating, and could be ousted.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/fontana-california-police-execute-mentally-ill-blind-man-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Just Released Video

2015 Police Execution of Mentally Ill, Legally-Blind Man

January 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On November 15, 2015, James Hill, a 47-year-old mentally ill and legally blind man, was shot and killed at a convenience market by police in Southern California. In a graphic video released this week, it shows five Fontana pigs with guns drawn and a dog entering the store after Hill had entered. They corner him in the back of the store, and as he crouches and cowers at a counter, they blow him away. The pigs’ original story is that Hill came at them with a knife, but the video clearly shows that Hill, who was yards away from any of these lying, murdering pigs, was not threatening any of them.

Fontana is located 50 miles east of Los Angeles and at one time had one of the largest steel mills in the country. The majority of the over 200,000 population of the city is non-white.

Attorney Mark Geragos, who is representing Hill’s relatives, said, “The video puts the lie to the obviously falsified police account of what happened. In fact, this was an execution.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that “An LAPD study released last year found that more than a third of the people shot by Los Angeles police in 2015 had documented signs of mental illness.”

Gunning down a mentally ill, legally blind person is a totally illegitimate use of force. In a quote from his book BAsics, Bob Avakian addresses the 1998 Riverside, California, police murder of Tyisha Miller, a 19-year-old Black woman. Miller was passed out in a car, as a result of  a seizure, when the police claimed she woke up and had a gun; the cops fired 23 times, hitting her at least 12 times:

If you can’t handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation, but get off the earth. Get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled this situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome. And frankly, if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people’s police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people. Fuck all this "serve and protect" bullshit! If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it’s been in power has handled—and would again handle—this kind of thing, valuing the lives of the masses of people. As opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that’s one of the reasons why they like to engage in, and have as one of their main functions to engage in, wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people.

BAsics 2:16

Stop Police Terror!

Stop Police Brutality!

Stop Police Murders!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/the-sordid-history-of-trumps-america-first-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

The Sordid History of Trump's "America First"

January 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Mein TrumpfTweet this

In his inaugural speech, Trump declared: “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.” He chanted “America first” at an inaugural ball. He has an “America First Energy Plan” and an “America First Foreign Policy” posted on whitehouse.gov, the official website of the president of the United States.

This past summer, Trump told the New York Times, “America First is a brand-new modern term.” But “America First” actually has a sordid history. In 1940-41, the America First Committee had more than 800,000 dues-paying members. The pro-Nazi group wanted the United States to stay out of the war in Europe, and its positions were riddled with anti-Semitism, nativism, racism, and xenophobia. Some of America’s most “upstanding citizens” were members: Gerald Ford (later to be president of the United States) and Potter Stewart (who went on to become a Supreme Court justice) were members, as were the publishers of the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News. The chairman of Sears Roebuck was a founder and the first president of the America First Committee. Charles Lindbergh, the aviation pioneer, was America First’s most prominent spokesman. He was one of the three or four biggest celebrities in the world—and a Nazi sympathizer and anti-Semite.

Lindbergh visited Nazi Germany a number of times between 1936 and 1938. He later wrote glowingly: “The organized vitality of Germany was what most impressed me: the unceasing activity of the people, and the convinced dictatorial direction to create the new factories, airfields, and research laboratories.” He attended the 1936 Summer Olympics at the invitation of the high-ranking Nazi Field Marshal Hermann Goering, and in 1938 Goering presented Lindbergh, on behalf of Hitler, the Service Cross of the German Eagle for his contributions to aviation.

In a 1939 Reader’s Digest article, Lindbergh wrote: “[O]ur civilization depends on a Western wall of race and arms which can hold back... the infiltration of inferior blood.” In a 1940 speech, Lindbergh talked about America’s “Jewish Problem”: “Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.”

If you heard an echo of the Nazi “Deutschland über alles” (Germany above all) in Trump’s inauguration speech, you heard right. Trump has resurrected “America First” as a fascist rallying cry for a program of unrestrained chauvinism backed up by a beefed-up military aimed at those he deems his enemies.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/lives-in-the-balance-trumps-first-days-en.html

Revolution #474 January 16, 2017

Lives in the Balance... Which Will Win?

Trump's First Days: The Heavy Hand of Fascism and the Spark of Resistance

Updated with new introduction January 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 25: This article was written shortly after the Women’s March on Saturday, January 21. Millions took to the streets across the country and around the world. What the article calls for and what needed to happen in the days following the March was not achieved. We are continuing to call the attention of our readers to the analysis in the article. It remains timely and relevant.

 

On its first weekend in power, the Trump-Pence regime moved quickly to establish a fully fascist state. At the same time, millions of people around the world demonstrated against Trump and Pence in the Women’s March, demonstrating the tremendous potential for resistance.

The fate of billions now directly hangs on whether Trump-Pence will be able to fully consolidate this fascist state... or whether this massive opposition can be marshaled into a force to prevent its consolidation and move to oust it from power altogether.

Two futures contend. There is still time to stop this, but we must act soon.

Fascist Terms Are Set

History is filled with examples where people fought against tremendous odds and were fictorious...
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Through Trump’s inaugural address and then his speech to the CIA, as well as through use of the White House website and handling of the press, the Trump-Pence regime made chillingly clear its determination to radically and quickly reorder the current form of political rule in the U.S. into fascism. We’re going to walk through the key points of what this is, and in a separate appendix to this article we annotate each point with examples from Trump’s two speeches.

Trump’s inaugural address privileged those who voted for him as the legitimate citizens, directly addressing them above all. He claimed his supporters as a “movement” of “forgotten Americans,” who will now be taken care of... by him. He recited a list of their grievances—some real, some imagined, and all of them distorted through the fascist, racist funhouse mirrors of Trumpworld. He stoked their resentment against “the elites”—by whom Trump clearly means intellectuals, artists, scientists, political people who opposed his election for whatever reason, as well as those who attempt to win some reforms on the more egregious abuses of this system, and not the finance-capitalist billionaires, the “mad dog” generals, the stone-cold racists, and lunatic religious fanatics with whom he has stocked his cabinet—and he portrayed himself as the champion who will now vanquish those enemies.

The racism and sexism, the systemic discrimination that permeates U.S. society is totally denied in Trumpworld—while there may be some vague “prejudice,” that can be washed away in the blood shed by patriots. Trump goes so far as to say that “at the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will discover loyalty to each other.” Please note: “bedrock” and “total allegiance” (emphasis added). If you can’t see how stunning this statement is, then substitute the word Germany or the “volk” for “United States of America,” and tell us why such a statement would not work for Adolf Hitler. Those who are not white, those who may have at one time or another dissented, may be allowed into this brave new world, but only on condition of their submission and “total allegiance.” This is a world in which the fascists, and white people in general, will have rights and privileges and legal standing, and those who are not fascists—or who are not white males—will live as second-class citizens at best.

In line with this, in a move that was as unusual as it was ominous, Trump said nothing in his speech about the Constitution and the primacy of the rule of law over the whim of individual rulers, but said that he owed his allegiance—and presumably derived his authority—from “you the people.”

Trump aggressively threatened the entire rest of the world with American power, reviving and popularizing the fascist slogan from the 1940s of “America First,” and calling it a “new decree” and “a new vision that will govern our land.” In every encounter, according to Trump, the U.S. will assert its interests and mess over whoever must be messed over to gain them. Trump promised to “eradicate” those he deemed to be enemies “completely from the face of the earth.”

To understand the roots and the dynamics of Trump's ascension to power, get into these two works

by Bob Avakian:

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

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

At the CIA, Trump—who has falsely claimed that he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning—nonetheless said that once there, the U.S. should have taken the oil, and went so far as to enunciate the principle of “to the victor belong the spoils.” The U.S. military—already larger and more powerfully armed than the next six militaries after it combined—will now be further put on steroids. Trump said that he would support the CIA 1000 percent—meaning, given his campaign promises, that kidnapping, torture, assassination, unlimited drone strikes, and all-round brutality will no longer have even the pretense of checks. People should check out the American Crime series to get just a hint of the literally millions the CIA has had killed and tortured over the past 70 years, all over the planet, in the service of U.S. imperialism. Trump promises, in a world in which U.S. power faces new challenges, that he will take this exploitation and domination to a whole new level, enforcing it if need be with nuclear arms, and that he will let the CIA, the military, and the police totally off their leashes, supporting them “like never before.”

Trump unleashed a war against the press. Trump whipped up the CIA against the press in his speech to the agency, a blatant threat to the right to free expression. Further: he violated what has been an accepted norm for centuries that the army and other forces of the state are to remain “neutral” or “apolitical” in the sense of not siding with one or another faction of the ruling class; instead, Trump bragged in his CIA speech about his great support in the military, the intelligence agencies, and the police. This whole speech—given on an off-day of work, so that most of the people who attended were those who favored Trump and who gave him a chillingly enthusiastic welcome—smacked of forming a faction within the agency to directly serve his interests against other forces. This goes with Trump’s unprecedented seeding of his cabinet with “retired” generals. To return, however, to the muzzling of the press, it is true that the big media in U.S. society generally train people in the outlook of capitalism-imperialism and the ruling class, and generally act as stenographers for “government sources”; but Trump has already begun to intimidate and suppress anything in the media that he deems to get in his way and in the way of the radical re-ordering of society that he is moving forward with.

Trump made clear in his inaugural speech a genocidal thrust toward communities of color, painting stereotypes of subhuman communities and implying extreme repression to “stop the carnage.” It is not for nothing that Trump has expressed a certain kinship to Rodrigo Duterte, the ruler of the Philippines who has unleashed a reign of terror in the ghettos there, carrying out thousands of extra-judicial street killings in less than a year. You could say the same about Trump’s call for nationwide stop-and-frisk (against Black and Latino people “to stop crime”), or his appointment of the most consistently racist senator in the entire U.S. Senate to be his attorney general. And it is extremely significant—and extremely ominous—that one of the first things on the White House website was a call to take the supposed restraints off the police and to enforce law and order.

Trump and Pence have made the theocratic Christian fascist movement a key part of their ruling alliance, with Trump now draping himself in the clothes of someone “chosen by god.” How else to explain his seemingly serious remarks to the CIA on how god interrupted the rain so that he could give his inaugural speech? Or the chilling medieval passage in his inaugural speech in which, after detailing the changes he would make, he said that god and the U.S. military and police would protect us? Indeed, the Trump-Pence regime is an anthill of Christian fascist fanatics, beginning with Pence himself, but also including Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos, and Steve Bannon.

       

Trump attempted to impose an alternate reality of “Trumpworld” on public discourse, a world in which the facts are what Donald Trump says they are and those who disagree will be threatened and silenced. In this bizarro world, Trump’s attacks on the CIA all through December and January for their finding that the Russians had conducted “cyberwarfare” intended to help his election never happened; it was all an attempt by the press to create a feud. In this bizarro world, Trump’s inauguration attendance broke all records (when in fact it was rather pitiful by comparison with Obama's and other past inaugurations). In this bizarro world, the press secretary takes no questions but tells the press what is reality and insults and threatens them for reporting what actually did happen—for reporting the most simple and minimal facts which everyone can see. Yes, there is an egomaniac psychopathology to Trump, but that is not at the heart of this: Fascism always seeks to impose an absolutist and fantastical version of reality on society and to straitjacket any attempts to get at the objective truth of anything.1

Trump called out and attacked other sections of the ruling class—for the purpose of silencing them and bludgeoning their acquiescence in his fascist reordering of society. Trump directly blamed those who have ruled the U.S. for the past quarter century for the problems of the masses, claiming that they enriched themselves while plundering the people. And it is certainly true that sitting on the stage of the inauguration were big-time criminals and criminal accomplices who have indeed ordered and carried out terrible things. But Trump is essentially attacking and implicitly threatening them for not being criminal enough, in his eyes, and he’s doing this to extract their cooperation, or at least silence, in his move to fascism. Forget the lurid tales about Russian prostitutes—Trump figuratively pissed all over his rivals at his own inauguration. And then, at the banquet afterwards, like the pimp and con man that he is, he played the “nice guy,” the “schmoozer.”

Resistance to the “New Order”

Throughout the week leading up to the inauguration, resistance began to grow. By Friday, Trump’s inauguration was forced to share the headlines with demonstrations in the streets that went all day and into the night, full of spirit and determination.

Then, on Saturday, millions of people in the U.S. and around the world turned out at “The Women’s March,” expressing serious but exuberant opposition to Trump. These marches swept up many, many people who do not normally demonstrate and are far from politically radical, but who cleared the day and in some cases came hundreds and even thousands of miles to make their statement. This in turn represents a broader layer of humanity and, potentially, billions. In short, this was something to take real heart from, and to welcome.

At the same time, the ways must be found—now—to take this further. Haunting this march was a precedent: the weekend shortly before the launching of the war against Iraq by George W. Bush, in which perhaps eight million people around the world came out to voice their opposition. This, too, was a great thing; but Bush held in his hands the power of state, and he ignored the marchers and launched what has turned out to be an utter and truly horrific disaster not only for the people of Iraq, but for people all over the Middle East and, indeed, the world. The toll in deaths and trauma of that war is terrible to contemplate, it continues today, and it will continue for some time.

The vows back then to “punish them at the polls” were worse than meaningless; they derailed people from building the fierce, unyielding opposition that was required. People around Bush crowed that they were “creating reality on the ground” that others would have to relate to—an approach taken up by Trump, in spades—and they did in fact set new terms, effectively silencing most opposition for several years until the war they launched ended in such an utter disaster for U.S. imperialist interests in that region and around the world that they lost initiative.

Such an approach with Trump and Pence—the idea that the road forward is for people to take over and “revitalize” the Democratic Party—is wrong on many, many counts, but in terms of the current moment it is most wrong because it disarms people in the face of an extremely dire threat. The Trump-Pence “brand,” to use the parlance of the day, is not conservatism, or populism, or even “just” reactionary and ugly racism, sexism, and xenophobia (though it is indeed all that)—it is FASCISM. Fascism is greater than the sum of its parts—it is, to again cite the definition we’ve used in these pages over the past months:

...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.

The danger is this: while you are setting out to do “the hard work of grassroots organizing for the long haul,” Trump and Pence are gearing up the machinery of a fully fascist state, rousing their social base, and moving to crush the masses of people and any efforts at such grassroots organizing that they cannot neutralize in an extremely telescoped time frame.

As for the Democrats, and all those antiwar people who were drawn back then into working so hard to “remake” the Democratic Party only to find themselves supporting the essentially pro-war candidate John Kerry, we must quote the bitter truth put forth by Bob Avakian:

If you try to make the Democrats be what they are not and never will be, you will end up being more like what the Democrats actually are. (BAsics 3:12)

Now, to be clear, there is in fact a path of hope, a way forward. But to find that way, we have break out of the channels and, indeed, constraints that set the terms for our thinking.

What Is To Be Done?

The logic of fascism is to stay on the attack, to move quickly and to threaten and bludgeon anything or anyone who gets in their way. The method of fascism is shock and intimidation, one outrage after another, until people are reduced to crouching and cringing in the face of repeated and unpredictable blows.

We now face a situation in which Trump and Pence hold in their hands the power of state and in which they have begun to work that logic. But as yet, this power is not consolidated.

There is not much time... but there is yet a window that still exists.

If on Monday and Tuesday of this week, people answered the call of refusefascism.org in sufficient numbers to begin to stop business as usual, and to call forward others to do that...

If as the week went on, others answered that call, in a snowballing effect, and—as happened just last fall in South Korea when millions came into the streets and in the space of a few months drove the president from office—thousands and then millions came into the streets, in many different forms of protest...

If these men and women and young people refused to be divided and deterred, but stuck to the simple truth of the NO! to Trump-Pence fascism...

If this reached into every corner of civil society and the culture at large...

If this combined with over-reaching by Trump-Pence, or with yet another outrage that “crosses a line,” and if all this further opened people’s eyes to the true nature of this regime and what it would mean for humanity, and still more growing numbers of people, reaching into all of society including the government itself, found ways to resist...

If those who knew and had access to the facts were inspired to find the ways to get out any of the real stories behind Trump-Pence and their means and methods and motives and histories, and this created even greater unease, scandal, and crisis...

If the sheer numbers began to demoralize and even peel away or win over some Trump supporters (even as it would inevitably energize others), and the momentum began to shift further so as to make not just the lack of support but the fierce and growing opposition to this fascist regime clearer, and there were breaks in the opposition camp...

If forces in the power structure itself, some of whom are for various reasons disquieted by the move to fascism or seriously concerned by and opposed to some of what Trump is aiming to do (which, after all, IS a radical and extremely risky restructuring of how the ruling class “normally” rules), and some of whom may feel directly threatened by it, but who will not act unless the actions of all society begin to make them feel that they have to act... if those forces began to come out in serious opposition in an effort to put the regime on the defensive (as was done, in fact, in the 1970s when ruling class forces came together to force Nixon out of office)...

If, in short, a serious political crisis arose... then this regime could be stopped.

To those who say this can’t happen overnight, we are tempted to say it could best happen overnight; that comparable instances like South Korea last fall or Egypt in 2011, when the dictator of 30 years was driven from office in the space of less than a month, show the possibility of doing this; and that the terrible and grievous experience of Germany—where Hitler used the time he had after his initial ascent to power to step-by-step wipe out his opposition and radically (though “legally”) alter the laws of Germany—shows the dangers of not acting with speed. But instead, we’ll say only that this IS possible and that attempts to defeat and uproot this regime later on would be immeasurably harder than it would be right now.

This is not to say that this path would not be difficult, nor to minimize the dangers. It IS to say that the path of waiting to see would be worse.

The momentum from this weekend has created a rare opening; it will not last forever. Let history not judge that we squandered it.


1. Indeed, Trump’s narcissism is right out of the fascist playbook, in which the followers personally identify with and put blind faith in the “strongman,” seen as anointed by god to “redeem” the nation. [back]

[Scroll down for annotations]

Tahrir SquareEgypt, Tahrir Square, 2011
In the winter of 2011, five years ago, the people of Egypt flooded into Tahir Square and rose up in rebellion against decades of brutally oppressive rule by the Mubarak regime—a regime backed by and playing a key role in preserving the interests of the U.S. empire. They stayed in the Square in the tens and hundreds of thousands until on February 11 of that year, Mubarak was driven from office. (Photos: AP)

South Korea In South Korea, for almost three months now, people have gone into the streets, week after week, demanding the immediate removal of President Park Geun-hye. In a country of 50 million people, there have been 2 million at some of the protests. Park and her family are hated: Her father, Park Chung-hee, brutally ruled South Korea from 1961 to 1979 after seizing power in a military coup. Park Geun-hye is accused of corruption, the government has been forced to impeach her, and a court is now deciding whether to uphold this decision. Protests are continuing, with the people demanding the immediate ouster, arrest, and imprisonment of the president.

Annotations

Trump’s inaugural address privileged those who voted for him as the legitimate citizens...

Trump began the inaugural speech by addressing the people in general. He said that now “the people will become the rulers of this nation again.” Directly after that paragraph, however, Trump performed a rhetorical sleight of hand and made clear that he was addressing only those who voted for him, saying that “you came by the tens of millions to become part of an historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.” While he did take the oath of office, at no time in the speech did he mention the Constitution or the importance of the rule of law (there is no phrase to the effect that “this is a government of laws, not of men and women”). The entire thrust of the first part of his speech was to actually posit a new legitimacy of Trump voters.

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Trump aggressively threatened the entire rest of the world with American power...

In his inauguration speech, Trump said, “We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be only America first, America first.” And later, “America will start winning again, winning like never before.” Trump then made clear what that means, and what extreme military measures he will take, when he said, “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones—and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.”

In his speech to the CIA, Trump reiterated his threat: “We have to get rid of ISIS. We have to get rid of ISIS. We have no choice. Radical Islamic terrorism—and I said it yesterday—has to be eradicated. Just off the face of the earth.” Right in the beginning, Trump previewed a theme of his talk: “We’re going to do great things. We’re going to do great things. We’ve been fighting these wars for longer than any wars we’ve ever fought. We have not used the real abilities that we have. We’ve been restrained.” Then he said, “There can be wars between countries. There can be wars.” Trump talked about all the military people he is putting in his administration, saying, “the generals are wonderful and the fighting is wonderful.” And then he talked about the Iraq war in order to put forward his agenda for why the U.S. should utilize its military might ever more aggressively and more viciously in the world. He said, “The old expression: ‘to the victor belongs the spoils’—you remember? You always used to say ‘keep the oil’.” Trump then lied: “I didn’t want to go into Iraq.” But then he followed that up with, “Maybe we’ll have another chance.” In this way Trump made it clear that he intends to use the full extent of U.S. military might, including nuclear arms, to wipe anyone considered an enemy of the U.S. off the face of the earth. And by telling the CIA, “I am with you 1,000 percent,” Trump made clear he will back any and all measures, including torture and other unconstitutional practices, in the service of U.S. imperialist interests.

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Trump unleashed a war against the press...

Trump bragged about his support in the military, police, and CIA. He said in the speech at the CIA: “You know, the military, and the law-enforcement generally speaking—but, all of it—but the military, gave us tremendous percentages of votes. We were unbelievably successful in the election with getting the vote of the military and probably almost everybody in this room voted for me, but I will not ask you to raise your hands if you did. But I would guarantee a big portion. Because we’re all on the same wavelength, folks. We’re all on the same wavelength.”

A major part of his speech to the CIA was to continue his attack on the press. In the first minutes, he said, “I always call them ‘the dishonest media.’” He also said, “They [media] are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.” Trump filled his speech to the CIA with . lies about the turnout for his inauguration. These claims—or what were called “alternative facts” by those in the Trump camp—have been proven to be lies by photos, historical facts, and other evidence by the press. Trump called the press liars for saying the turnout was 250,000: “We had a massive field of people. You saw that. Packed... It looked like a million and a half people. Whatever it was... and I get this network and it showed an empty field. And it said we drew 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad. But it’s a lie.” And then Trump threatened: “So we caught them. And we caught them in a beauty. And I think they’re going to pay a big price.” So on day one of his presidency Trump has made it clear he is going to intimidate and suppress anything in the media that gets in the way of his fascist agenda.

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Trump made clear in his inaugural speech a genocidal thrust toward communities of color, painting stereotypes of subhuman communities and implying extreme repression to “stop the carnage”...

At the end of the first part of his inauguration speech, Trump mentioned the conditions of “mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities,” and blasted the education system, ending with “And the crime and gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.” It is this last sentence that carries the weight of the paragraph—clearly targeting Black and Latino youth caught up in the gang life as the source of the problem. And then he followed up with: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” In the one mention of the conditions of Black and Latino people in the inner cities, Trump clearly blamed the conditions on a section of the victims themselves, left out any mention of institutional and systemic racism, including mass incarceration and police brutality and murder, and went so far as to purloin a major slogan of the movement against police murder (No More Stolen Lives!) for his own purposes. In this context—and with a page posted at the White House webpage that very day titled “Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community” saying that “The Trump Administration will be a law and order administration”—this is a threat, not a promise.

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Trump and Pence have made the theocratic Christian fascist movement a key part of their ruling alliance...

In the CIA speech, as part of his diatribe against the press for reporting the fact that there was low attendance for the inauguration, Trump said: “And they said ‘Donald Trump did not draw well.’ And I said, ‘well it was almost raining.’ The rain should have scared them away. But God looked down and he said ‘we’re not going to let it rain on your speech.’” This is, on one level, lunacy—but it is deadly serious. Trump is claiming that he has the blessing of god, and he will use this claim to justify all sorts of horrific actions. In a similar vein, Trump declared in his inaugural speech, “We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we will be protected by God.” The close connection he makes here between the military/police and god is aimed at advancing the claim that whatever the military and police do is, again, blessed by god.

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Trump attempted to impose an alternate reality of “Trumpworld” on public discourse...

In the CIA speech, once again as part of his attacks on the press, Trump said, “And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you’re the number one stop is exactly the opposite. Exactly.” Here Trump simply denies the fact—amply recorded in his many tweets and quotes—that he has been repeatedly attacking the CIA and other spy agencies in the last couple of months.

~~~~~~~~~~

Trump called out and attacked other sections of the ruling class—for the purpose of silencing them and bludgeoning their acquiescence in his fascist reordering of society...

After some perfunctory acknowledgement of the presence of previous presidents at the inauguration and the help of the Obamas in the transition, Trump immediately launched into a verbal assault on the other sections of the ruling class: “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished—but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered—but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.” Trump didn’t name names—but it was clear he was including in this attack many of those in his audience he sees as ruling class opponents of his fascist vision and program.