Revolution #475, January 23, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #475 January 23, 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...
Click to enlarge

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.

~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~~

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.

 


 

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

Revolution #475 January 23, 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/womens-march-january-21-2017-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

January 21 Women's March:

In the U.S. and Around the Globe, Millions in the Streets Determined to Fight Trump

Updatd March 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Right from Trump’s January 20 inaugural speech, 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. The very next day, millions of people in cities across the U.S. and around the world turned out for the Women’s March, expressing serious but exuberant opposition to Trump. The marches drew in many, many people who do not normally demonstrate and are far from politically radical, but who cleared the day and in some cases traveled hundreds and even thousands of miles to make their statement. This in turn represents a broader layer of humanity and, potentially, billions of people. In short, this was something to take real heart from, and to welcome.

People deeply fear that Trump and his whole fascist regime—if they are not stopped—will bring down horror upon horror on women, and everyone! For millions of women and men, January 21 was a day to speak out—to challenge the Trump/Pence regime’s assaults on and threats against women’s rights and human rights in general. The marches showed people’s determination to fight for women’s right to abortion and reproductive rights overall and to defend Planned Parenthood. Many also came out to speak out against Trump’s vicious attacks on immigrants and Muslim people. In the Washington, DC, march, singer/actor Janelle Monáe concentrated the feelings of many when she called out murders by police and led the crowd in a chant of “Sandra Bland! Say her name!”

The sentiments of the crowds—hatred of Trump; fear and anger that women’s rights and the rights of others are being taken away; determination to fight the fascist attacks—were reflected in the signs and chants:

“We don’t like that guy in the White House... we are not kidding”
“Keep your laws off my body”
“I’m here for my future”
“Dump the Trump”
“Hitler is not my president”
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal”
“We’re not going away”

There were more than 670 planned events in the U.S. for the Women’s March and in 70 other cities around the world. Estimates are that close to four million people—of all ages and nationalities, women and men—demonstrated in hundreds of cities and towns across this country and more than 250,000 in other countries. People came out in major cities as well as many, many smaller cities and towns. All this underscores the fact that many, many millions of people really oppose Donald Trump and what his regime represents.

Among the Women’s March protests in the U.S.: 500,000 in Washington, DC; 200,000+ in New York City; 250,000 in Chicago; 100,000 in Denver; 125,000 in Boston; 500,000+ in Los Angeles; 100,000+ in the San Francisco Bay Area; 25,000 in San Jose; 50,000 in Philadelphia; 50,000 in Seattle; 75,000 in Portland, Oregon; 22,000 in Houston; 20,000 in Phoenix; 15,000 in Cleveland; 60,000 in Atlanta. Also in St. Louis; Columbia, South Carolina; Park City, Utah (at the Sundance Film Festival); Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Albany and Ithaca, New York; Sacramento, California; Nashville, Tennessee; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Antonio, Texas; Hartford, Connecticut; Juneau, Alaska; and every state in the country.

Demonstrations in solidarity took place on every continent in the world. They included: Auckland, New Zealand; Nairobi, Kenya; Mexico City; Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich, Germany; London, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh (Scotland), and Belfast (Northern Ireland), UK; Paris and Marseille, France; Barcelona, Spain; Brussels, Belgium; Dublin, Ireland; Budapest, Hungary; Accra, Ghana; Cape Town, South Africa; Prague, Czech Republic; Geneva, Switzerland; Kolkata, India; Bangkok, Thailand; Tokyo, Japan; Sydney and Melbourne, Australia; Athens, Greece; Florence and Rome, Italy; Oslo, Norway; on an expedition ship in Paradise Bay, Antarctica.

Washington, DC

 

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!

 

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

Los Angeles, CA

New York City

New York City

Atlanta, GA

Boise, ID

Nashville, TN

Park City, UT

Philadelphia, PA

Pittsburgh, PA

Sioux Falls, IA

Springfield, MO

Chicago, IL

Sacramento, CA

London, England

Mexico City, Mexico

Montreal, Canada

Stockholm, Sweden

Toronto, Canada

Vancouver

Edinburgh, Scotland, Teachers March

 

 

       

 

 


 

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

Revolution #475 January 23, 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 #475 January 23, 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/474/protests-around-the-nation.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Inauguration Day Protests Against the
Fascist Trump-Pence Regime Around the Nation

Updated January 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Inauguration Day, January 20, protests erupted in DC and around the country, some with hundreds, others with thousands of people, with a determination urgently needed right now. This is very important, a beginning of unprecedented protest, that has begun to change the terms for everyone. It must now go forward, growing in determination and strength. It must STAY IN THE STREETS, and create a political crisis that prevents the fascist regime of Trump-Pence from ruling.

In Washington DC, Refuse Fascism arrived at McPherson Square at 9am with the message "In the name of humanity we REFUSE a fascist America," distributing the flier "There Is an Urgent Need—and There IS Still Time in These Next Few Days—to Prevent This Fascist Regime from Ruling." Agitation from Sunsara Taylor and others emphasized the need to bring forth millions to bring DC to a halt, to create a political crisis that could STOP this regime from consolidating power, and force it out.

The march stepped off with about 300 people and through a very determined march grew to over 4,000, drawing in people who came from all over the country to protest as well as many from DC. As a revcom volunteer put it, there were democrats, feminists, environmentalists, communists, socialists, anarchists, LGBT, muslims, buddhists, atheists, and more. The march moved through different neighborhoods and through downtown. It marched into and through the transportation center Union Station where the chants echoed and drew widespread support, including many joining in. After staging a die-in to signify the carnage that would be unleashed if Trump continues the Nuclear Arms Race. Then the die-in rose up with "Rise up with the people of the world, rise up!" and surged onto Highway 695 which runs through DC, bringing traffic to a halt. The march headed back to McPherson Square with plans to meet the next day.

Other protests also kicked off around DC, including a protest involving hundreds of people took place downtown, where police used pepper spray and attacked the march.

In Chicago, some 2,000 people took to the streets downtown, starting with a 3 pm rally at Daley Plaza, where the "NO!" signs from RefuseFascism.org were everywhere. Six hours later, people were still going throughout downtown, shutting down business as usual. Students from the University of Chicago and University of Illinois walked out and joined the protests. There were many high school students—many Latino youths, mainly from Chicago but also from the suburbs. A group of Latinos came from a public school military academy, and hundreds walked out of a high school in a Mexican neighborhood. There were people of all ages and nationalities—and young and older women planning to also march in the women's march next day. The passers-by and tourists were vocally supportive, some high-fiving leafleters passing out Refuse Fascism's call for people to stay in the streets until the fascist regime is stopped.

As people from the afternoon rally took to the streets, many people joined in and merged with other protesters near Trump Tower. At the height of rush hour, protesters occupied major streets in front of the Trump building, where police tried to pen them in. Radio traffic reports read out loud the banner saying "Trump/Pence regime are illegitimate fascists." The marchers took off in different directions, snarling traffic all over downtown during rush hour. There were multiple roving groups of protesters, making the police scramble, and their constant sirens and flashing blue lights as they tried to cut off groups of protesters called a lot of attention to the fact that something big was going on. The police were vicious at times, attacking people and violently arresting some protesters, as well as running into people with their bikes. In the face of this, there was great resolve to stop Trump. Downtown and shopping area streets were shut down multiple times. One particularly tenacious group made it onto Lake Shore Drive, a major thoroughfare in the city, shutting it down for over 40 minutes as literally hundreds of police on bikes on foot, and in cars with sirens blaring, raced to try and stop them.

In Berkeley, CA, hundreds of Berkeley High School students who walked out marched on to the University of California Berkeley campus to join the rally of 5,000 against Trump.

In Oakland, CA, some 3,000 people marched from UC Berkeley through Oakland streets. One chant: "Ole, ole, ole, ole, Fuck Trump, Fuck Trump!" The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) shut down the port for the day.

In San Francisco, CA, protesters started early Friday morning to block the gates of the ICE (the federal immigration agency) offices in San Francisco, calling out Trump-Pence fascist program targeting immigrants as well as women, Muslims and others, and hundreds of anti-Trump protesters marched in financial district

In Los Angeles, thousands of people in a number of different protests marched in the rain against Trump, converging at City Hall. One protestor said, "This is not the same thing as any other time in history where you've had a new president. As a teacher, I feel like we're in a lot of danger here."

In NYC, an event at Whitney Museum as part of the nationwide #J20 Art Strike. Artists, writers and others spoke of their "plans for acts of creative resistance to the toxic political climate surrounding the ascendance" of Donald Trump, and dozens of Refuse Fascism activists protested at Trump Tower.

In Denver, CO, hundreds of people marched through downtown Denver Friday morning, carrying cash-leaking effigies of Trump and signs against his attacks on rights.

In Austin, TX, thousands, including University of Texas and high school students, marched and rallied against Trump, including completely filling and shutting down the Congress Avenue Bridge. In the evening a diverse crowd of thousands rallied and marched for hours through downtown, and there was a rally for LGBTQ rights which drew about 1,000 people at the state capitol building.

In Boston, MA, hundreds of protesters marched and rallied in the downtown area. Anti-Trump slogans were heard in different languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Chinese.

In Portland, OR, thousands gathered at Pioneer square to hear speakers addressing climate change, immigration and civil rights. American flags were burned. A march headed toward City Hall.

In Eugene, OR, 100 or more protesters took to the streets.

In Tucson, AZ, protests coalesced at a railway, which was blocked with pallets, and protesters rallied in support. Police pepper sprayed and beat one young protester.

In Columbus, OH, hundreds of students at Ohio State University walked out of classes and rallied on campus. In the city of Columbus, thousands protested.

For reports of protests around the world on Inauguration Day, click HERE

Washington, DC


Die-in, 2 pm Friday.


Highway I395

In the middle of the inauguration, six activists from AllofUs stood up, revealing the message "RESIST" across their t-shirts. They said they did this "to show the world, and our fellow Americans, that the resistance starts now."


Taking over Highway I395 (The Beltway) in DC, January 20.

People from Black Lives Matter chain themselves to protest Donald Trump, Washington, DC, January 20.
Stopping traffic on the Beltway. Photo: Special to revcom.us

Washington DC, January 20
Photo: Special to revcom.us


Sunsara Taylor: Message for the people of the world

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!"

Chicago

Marching on Michigan Avenue

Students

Berkeley/Oakland

San Francisco

Heriberto Ocasio has been blocking an entrance to the ICE office in SF since 8am to protest Trump

Los Angeles

New York City

Whitney Museum

Refuse Fascism protest outside Trump Tower in NYC

Denver, Colorado

Boston

Eugene, OR

Eugene, Oregon, January 20.

Tucson, AZ

Tucson, January 20
Tucson, January 20

Portland, OR

Portland, January 20

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, January 20

Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, OH

Hundreds of students at Ohio State University walked out of classes and rallied on campus

 

 

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/protests-around-the-world.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Around the World People Protest Trump-Pence Regime

Updated frequently

 

January 20

 

Mexico City

Protest vs Trump at U.S. Embassy in Mexico City

Protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City burned an American flag—with the stars replaced with swastikas—to protest the Trump inauguration. People chanted, among others: "Down with Trump! No more walls, no more deaths!" Protest leaders said the action was against the "consolidation of fascism" in the United States.

In Mexican society, Trump is much repudiated for his hate speech toward Latino immigrants, his promise to build a wall on the border, and his intentions to deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Opposition to Trump also connects up with sharp discontent in Mexican society and the anger toward and calls for the ouster of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto.

"Trump hates gays, lesbians. Everyone is resisting. We are mobilizing against all that this is going to mean for humanity. We do not accept a fascist America,” said a representative of the Movimiento Popular Revolucionario (Revolutionary People’s Movement). The Binational Coalition against Donald Trump initiated the campaign "A Day Without Migrants" calling on the migrant community in the United States to go on strike against the persecution of immigrants and demanded the Mexican government defend fellow Mexicans.

 

London

A banner unfurled on Tower Bridge in London as part of the Bridges Not Walls protest against U.S. President Donald Trump on the day of his inauguration.

Protesters gathered at the U.S. Embassy in London.

 

Brussels

People hold candles as they protest in solidarity with the Women's March in Washington at the same time as the U.S. Presidential inauguration, in Brussels on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. The event organized by a multicultural grassroots coalition of women in the Brussels area seek to counter the rise of the far right agenda—be it in Europe, the U.S. or beyond. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

 

Berlin

Greenpeace protesters stage an anti-Trump demo at Germany's Berlin Wall memorial on January 20, 2017, holding placards that read, "Mr President, walls divide. Build bridges!" (Photo by AP)

 

Warsaw, Poland

People hold a "Down with Trump" banner in front of the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, as Trump was being sworn-in in Washington as the 45th president of the United States. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

 

Manila, Phillipines

Demonstrators burned an American flag with "ban Trump" pictures on it outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila. People called for an end to U.S troops in the country.

 


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Revolution #475 January 23, 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/465/other-voices-on-trump-resistance-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

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

Updated October 24, 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):

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Calls Colin Kaepernick a Hero and Wants to Take a Knee with Him

From a reader

Jody Williams, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, called Colin Kaepernick a hero for taking a knee in protesting police murders of Black people.  Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work seeking the ban of anti-personnel mines, gave her support to Kaepernick during her October 15 acceptance speech when she was receiving the Human Rights Awards from the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, New York.

In an interview after her speech, she talked about why the athletes are taking a knee:

(It's because) the seeming inability of this country to deal with racism in general, but in particular, the police brutality against primarily Black men. There certainly has been violence against Black women but the killings of Black men have been very, very disturbing to many people. I think [they] helped spark the Black Lives Matter movement.

So when Kaepernick decided to use his fame to take a knee, and by doing so, make a public statement about the need to deal with this, I thought it was outstanding, personally.

And when others joined him, it I think was a pivotal moment in race issues in the country. We may not see a dramatic change immediately, but that Kaepernick took a knee, and then other Black athletes and white athletes joined in in their own way and found the support of the team owners, etc.—it reminds me of the chain of people protesting apartheid outside of the South African Embassy. You know, the impact of doing it again and again and again, famous people and not-so-famous people—it does make a difference.

Then she talked about the importance of those who have a disproportionate influence speaking out:

They mean that important figures have decided that they will use their fame to make a difference. And that also empowers the not-so-famous to stand up and make a difference. I think it's terrific. I think it's long overdue.

Despite the fact that, you know, Muhammad Ali—going to jail instead of going to war, and the two athletes in the Olympics raising their fists—famous people have done it before, but not to this extreme.

I wish I could take a knee with Kaepernick.

When I first saw that he took a knee, I [thought], "Oh, yes! If I could only go to a football game and take a knee with him, I would be so proud." Whether he ever plays football again, the man has made a statement that affects our culture. And for that alone, he is a hero.

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Hertha Berlin Soccer Team Takes a Knee in Solidarity with Kaepernick

Hertha BSC (Berliner Sports Club), a German association soccer club based in the Charlottenburg area of Berlin, took a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and the NFL players’ protest during their home game on Saturday, October 14. Hertha’s starting lineup, coaching staff, general manager, club officials, and substitutes joined in the protest before the start of the game.

Sebastian Langkamp, Hertha’s defender, told Sky TV, “We’re no longer living in the 18th century but in the 21st century. There are some people, however, who are not that far ideologically yet. If we can give some lessons there with that, then that’s good.” The Club released a statement on Twitter that said, “Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore!”

Salomon Kalou, a forward for the team, who is from Ivory Coast, said their action was inspired by the NFL players’ protest against police brutality and murder of Black and other people of color, in the face of the attacks against them by Trump. He said, “We stand against racists and that’s our way of sharing that. We are always going to fight against this kind of behavior, as a team and as a city... [Racism] shouldn’t exist in any kind of event, in the NFL or in the football world, soccer as they call it there. It shouldn’t exist in any sport, period.”

German soccer club takes a knee

Hertha BSC (Berliner Sports Club), a German association soccer club based in the Charlottenburg area of Berlin, protests Saturday, October 14, in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and the NFL players

Credit: AP

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Richard E. Frankel, Professor of Modern German History, on Trump’s Pardon of Anti-Immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio: “To this German historian, the implications are ominous”

Richard E. Frankel is associate professor of Modern German History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is the author of Bismarck’s Shadow: The Cult of Leadership and the Transformation of the German Right, 1898-1945. The following originally appeared at historynewsnetwork.org, website of the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences at George Washington University.

In August of 1932, in the town of Potempa, nine Nazi Stormtroopers murdered a supporter of the German Communist Party, kicking him to death in his own apartment as his family watched in horror. Six were convicted with five receiving the death penalty. After the verdict, Hitler sent them a telegram in which he declared to them his “boundless loyalty.” Shortly after he came to power in 1933, he pardoned the killers. While former Sheriff Joe Arpaio never kicked anyone to death, his pardon by President Trump raises disturbing parallels.

Upon gaining power, Hitler immediately pardoned allies who’d perpetrated ghastly crimes against those deemed enemies of the nation. What do we make of Trump’s pardon of a political ally, a man duly convicted of systemic deprivations of people’s constitutional rights—people Trump never considered part of his America? As a professor of modern German history, this administration seemingly provides such unpleasant reminders of Germany’s dark past on a regular basis. What can German history teach us about this latest episode? How, for example, did the pardon of the Potempa killers help us better understand Hitler? What implications did it have for development of the Third Reich? And how does that knowledge help us better understand Trump and the danger that his pardon of Arpaio poses for the future of the United States?  Read complete article.

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Roger Waters: “I support my hero Colin Kaepernick, and all the fellow heroes in the NFL who stood up for rights and justice and equality”

At his September 28 concert in Boston, Roger Waters took a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and other sports stars resisting police murder and the recent attacks from Trump.

As he took the knee on stage in front of a massive screen with the word RESIST projected on it, Rogers said:

I support my hero Colin Kaepernick, and all the fellow heroes in the NFL who stood up for rights and justice and equality. They’re part of a far larger movement all over the globe standing up for equal civil rights and equal rights for all the peoples of the world no matter what their race, ethnicity or religion.

Rogers’ entire current Us + Them tour has been laced with statements of resistance against the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

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NBA Basketball Players and Coaches Speak Out in Support of the NFL Players' Protests Against Trump

From a reader:

On Sunday, September 24, the world saw NFL players, joined in some cases by coaches and owners, deliver a powerful statement by sitting, taking a knee, locking arms together, or remaining in the locker room during the singing of the national anthem at nearly every game played that day and at the Monday night game. They were responding to the vicious, racist attacks unleashed by Trump at his Nazi rally in Alabama Friday when he declared that when a player refuses to stand for the national anthem, the owners should "get that son of a bitch off the field now." The taking the knee protest was started last year by then S.F. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick against the police brutality and murder of people of color. As Carl Dix said, with Trump's fascist, racist rant against the NFL player protesters, this Klucker-in-chief was making clear what his "Make America Great Again" is all about.

The day following the NFL players' Sunday protests was the first day of NBA basketball practice, when all of the teams speak to the press. Many players and some coaches made thoughtful comments to the media, giving a glimpse of the impact the actions of the football players is having. It should be mentioned that last week, after Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors NBA team publicly said he wasn't going to be part of any team celebration at the White House, Trump tweeted that he was disinviting the Warriors.

Here are highlights from some of the comments from NBA players and coaches:

Jabari Parker, player for the Milwaukee Bucks:

I'm not really surprised at what he said, because basically that's the narrative of Mr. Trump and that's the type of person he is. ... I think that anybody with any responsibility has the opportunity to create change and to take a side. You have good and you have bad. There's no in-between, because when you're in the middle, you're in favor of the oppressor. That's a quote by Desmond Tutu.

As far as the flag goes, it's not like people are [protesting] for any ordinary reason. There's a huge meaning, a broad horizon to it. A lot of people are frustrated that nothing's changed from the time that we've learned it from kids until now. There's been a lot of bad going on with the oppression of colored folks and minorities...

Stan Van Gundy, head coach, Detroit Pistons:

There are serious issues of inequality and injustice in this country. People of conscience are compelled to oppose racism, sexism and intolerance of people of different sexual identities and orientation wherever and whenever they see it. I stand with those opposing such bigotry. I as an individual and the Detroit Pistons as an organization support diversity, inclusion and equality.

J.J. Redick, player for the Philadelphia 76ers:

There's very few days that go by where I don't get pissed off at something Trump does, so this weekend was kind of like a normal thing... There's nothing that I would ever want to say to Trump or interact with Trump. I agree with LeBron [James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers] in the sense that what the White House and what the presidency used to represent does not represent that during these four years. It just does not. It's now a mockery of what the presidency and the White House stood for. So, I would have zero interest in ever going there. [Reddick is a white player.]

Gregg Popovich, coach of the San Antonio Spurs:

Obviously, race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly, it's not going to get better. "Oh, they're talking about that again. They pulled the race card again. Why do we have to talk about that?" Well, because it's uncomfortable. There has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change, whether it's the LGBT movement, or women's suffrage, race, it doesn't matter. People have to be made to feel uncomfortable, and especially white people, because we're comfortable. We still have no clue what being born white means....

You have advantage that are systemically, culturally, psychologically rare. And they've been built up and cemented for hundreds of years.... People want to hold their position, people want their status quo, people don't want to give that up. Until it's given up, it's not going to be fixed....

[Referring to NASCAR team owners who said NFL protesters should be fired and even leave the country...] I had no idea that I lived in a country where people would actually say that sort of thing. I'm not totally naive but I think these people have been enabled by an example that we've all been given. You've seen it in Charlottesville, and on and on and on.

Erik Spoelstra, coach of the Miami Heat:

I commend the Golden State Warriors for the decision they made [not to accept Trump's invitation to go to the White House]. I commend NFL players and organizations for taking a stand for equality, for inclusion, for taking a stand against racism, bigotry, prejudice...

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Professor's first act as American citizen—get arrested for protesting in support of DACA students

Harvard Professor Ahmed Ragab's first act as an American citizen was to get arrested for protesting in support of DACA students. Ragab drove directly from his citizenship ceremony to a protest in Cambridge, Massachusetts to stand in solidarity with other Boston area professors and protest the DACA repeal.

He wrote in part in a Washington Post opinion letter:

With the Trump administration abolishing DACA, my students now live in fear that the lives they have built will be wrestled away, that they could be thrown out of this country, which is theirs as much as it will ever be mine. Adding insult to injury, President Trump is using them as pawns in his political games. First, shirking his responsibility, he put their fate in the hands of Congress. Then he suggested that he would take action if Congress doesn’t, and that they will not be a deportation priority. Finally, he tweeted that they have nothing to fear “for six months.” Throughout, the abuse continues. These young people are to continue working, studying and serving this country while simply hoping that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents don’t show up, and they are expected to believe in a system that consistently rejects their rights and threatens their lives and families.

The discourse defending DACA focuses on these young people being in the United States “through no fault of their own.” This narrative vilifies their parents to avoid difficult, broader questions about immigration, racism and xenophobia. My “DACAmented” students are here thanks to their parents, who made many sacrifices to offer their children better lives. Two generations ago, James Baldwin wrote of “the American Negro”: “It is a terrible thing for an entire people to surrender to the notion that one-ninth of its population is beneath them. Until ... we are able to accept that we need each other, that I am one of the people who build the country, there is little hope for the American Dream.” Baldwin’s prescient diagnosis is still germane; our society still denies the contribution of millions of undocumented Americans to the making of this country, and dismisses their rights to the fruits of what they helped build. The American Dream lives in tortured dissociation: claimed to be for all, but denied to many.

So last week, my fellow Boston professors and I protested beside a statue of Charles Sumner, an abolitionist who nearly lost his life for rejecting the Fugitive Slave Act. We crossed Massachusetts Avenue to stand in the middle of the street. As a friend put it, we wanted to bridge the distance between law and justice with our bodies. Before we were arrested, the officers informed us that we were disturbing the peace. But the peace that we disturbed is but a veneer obscuring the injustices embedded in arbitrary immigration systems and institutional racism.

Banner unfurled at Boston’s Fenway Park:
“Racism is as American as Baseball”

Letter from a reader:

On Wednesday, September 13, a group of white people dropped an enormous banner, “RACISM IS AS AMERICAN AS BASEBALL,” over the famous “Green Monster” wall in Boston’s Fenway Park during a nationally televised game between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics.

The group stated “We are a group of white anti-racist protesters.  We want to remind everyone that just as baseball is fundamental to American culture and history, so too is racism. White people need to wake up to this reality before white supremacy can truly be dismantled. We urge anyone who is interested in learning more or taking action to contact their local racial justice organization.” “We are responding to a long history of racism and white supremacy in the United States that continues to pervade every aspect of American culture today.  We deliberately chose a platform in an attempt to reach as many people as possible.” After Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles was taunted with bags of peanuts thrown at him and being called the “N-word” by Boston fans earlier in the season, the group decided that something had to be done. Other Black players spoke up after Jones did, saying similar things happened to them when they played in Boston against the Red Sox. The Boston Red Sox was the last Major League Baseball team to have a Black player on its roster. Tom Yawkey, the owner of the Red Sox from 1933 to 1976, continuously rejected any attempts to integrate the team. He refused to sign Jackie Robinson, who called Yawkey “one of the most bigoted guys in baseball.” The current owner of the Red Sox, John Henry, is attempting to remove the name of the street, Yawkey Way, where Fenway Park is located and rename it with the name of a famous Red Sox player, like David Ortiz, who is known as “Big Papi.” In speaking to the issue of racism in Boston, the group that dropped the banner said, “…we saw, we see Boston continually priding itself as a kind of liberal, not racist city, and are reminded also constantly that it’s actually an extremely segregated city. It has been for a long time, and that no white people can avoid the history of racism, essentially. So we did this banner as a gesture towards that, to have a conversation about that.”

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A Voice of Conscience in Sports World— ESPN Reporter Calls Trump a "White Supremacist"

From a reader:

The shit hit the fan on Tuesday, September 12, after Jemele Hill, an anchor on ESPN's SC6 (SportsCenter at 6) news show, tweeted out on Monday that Donald Trump is a "white supremacist."

Hill has been known for not shying away from politics in her commentaries.

She began her tweets about Trump by first going after singer Kid Rock, a supporter of the fascist Trump/Pence regime, by responding to his tweet that he was thinking about running for the U.S. Senate and claiming he "loves black people," and then accused the "extreme left" of "trying to use the old confederate flag BS" to label him a racist. Hill responded by tweeting out, "He loves black people so much that he pandered to racists by using a flag that unquestionably stands for dehumanizing black people."

The Twitter thread by Hill continued after she was attacked for her tweet about Kid Rock. She posted her Trump tweets in reply to them:

Hill then was barraged with racist and anti-woman tweets calling her a "nigger" and a "bitch." The white supremacist supporters of Trump, including Breitbart and Fox News, called for ESPN to fire her. ESPN tried to throw her under the bus when they "disavowed" what she said, and put out a statement, "We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate." 

Then on Wednesday September 13 the White House called for ESPN to fire Hill—Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders responded to a question about the tweets by saying "That's one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN."

But broadly from athletes, Hill immediately got support from Colin Kaepernick, who tweeted out, "We are with you @jemelehill." Deadspin.com reported, "ESPN Issues Craven Apology For Jemele Hill's Accurate Descriptions Of Donald Trump." Reggie Miller, former NBA basketball all-star, tweeted out, "I'm on team @jemelehill..." Current NBA all-star Dwayne Wade responded to Miller's tweet with, "Sign me up!"

Hill, who grew up in poverty-ridden Detroit, has continuously brought politics into sports. In 2008, she compared rooting for the Detroit Pistons with rooting for the Boston Celtics, a team that traditionally became known as the team for white people to root for in a predominantly Black league, when she wrote, "Rooting for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim. It's like hoping Gorbachev would get to the blinking red button before Reagan. Deserving or not, I still hate the Celtics." (Listen to Bob Avakian's talk about the NBA, "Marketing the Minstrel Show and Serving the Big Gangsters," at revcom.us)

Earlier this year, Hill was reporting on Colin Kaepernick not currently being signed by an NFL team because of his political views by refusing to stand for the national anthem in protest of police brutality and murders against Black people. In reporting that Kaepernick had compared the cops of today with "slave patrols," she said the comparison of police to "slave patrols" was "inflammatory, but historically accurate."

After she was attacked for bringing politics into sports and ESPN was attacked as being liberal, she gave an interview to Yahoo.com (See https://finance.yahoo.com/news/sportscenter-anchor-jemele-hill-espns-politics-athletes-dragging-us-193537563.html)

I just hadn't noticed the correlation between us being called more liberal as you see more women in a position on our network... as you see more ethnic diversity, then all of a sudden ESPN is too liberal. So I wonder, when people say that, what they're really saying. The other part of it is that we're journalists, and people have to understand, these uncomfortable political conversations... the athletes are dragging us here. I didn't ask Colin Kaepernick to kneel. He did it on his own. So, was I supposed to act like he didn't? Gregg Popovich, every week at his press conferences, is having a 10-minute soliloquy on Donald Trump. Am I supposed to act like he's not doing that? You have athletes saying they're going to the White House, not going to the White House, that's all sports news. It didn't just start with this generation of athletes, it's always been that way. Sometimes when I hear a viewer say they don't want their politics mixed with sports, I say, "What did you think about Muhammad Ali?" And then all of a sudden it's glowing praise.

In another interview she said:

Whether we want to discuss it or not, athletes are dragging us into these conversations. It's not that Mike [her co-host, Michael Smith] and I wake up one day and say, "Hey, today we're going to be MSNBC." It's usually based off a news story that is relevant to sports.

If ESPN attempts to suspend or fire Jemele Hill for telling the truth, people need to come to her defense in a big way.

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Munroe Bergdorf, L'Oréal's First Trans Model Fired for Calling Out White Supremacy

Munroe Bergdorf, a transgender model was recently hired by L'Oréal to be featured in a YouTube ad for its True Match Foundation. However, Bergdorf's deal with the company did not last very long.

Bergdorf posted comments on Facebook calling out white supremacy, white privilege and systemic racism in the United States. She wrote:

Honestly I don't have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people" .... "Because most of ya'll don't even realize or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour. Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this shit." .... "Come see me when you realise that racism isn't learned, it's inherited and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege," she added. "Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth... then we can talk."

Immediately the media attacked Bergdorf filled with vitriol, how can she say, "All white people are racist?" The media continued by spreading falsehoods and distorting her statements. In fact, Bergdorf's statements represent undeniable truths about the nature of this system and its foundation in white supremacy that continues up until today. Bergdorf did not remain silent after being fired. She took to Facebook again to clarify her statements, making a powerful point:

"When I stated that 'all white people are racist,' I was addressing that fact that western society as a whole, is a SYSTEM rooted in white supremacy—designed to benefit, prioritise and protect white people before anyone of any other race," she wrote. "Unknowingly, white people are SOCIALISED to be racist from birth onwards. It is not something genetic. No one is born racist."

To read more of Munroe Bergdorf's posts and her response to L'Oréal click here

Messages of Resistance at the MTV Video Music Awards

This week MTV held its annual Video Music Awards. This year's VMAs were far from apolitical—a number of artists made righteous political statements, many against white supremacy.

During her presentation for best pop video, Paris Jackson, daughter of Michael Jackson, condemned the white supremacists and Nazis that marched in Charlottesville. Jackson said, "I hope we leave here tonight remembering that we must show these Nazi, white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville and all over the country that as a nation with liberty as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence, hatred and their discrimination."

Katy Perry jokingly compared the votes for best video award for the show to the votes cast in the election, saying this is "one election where the popular vote actually matters." Somali nominee K'naan wore a mock "Make America Great Again" hat with a message scrawled in Arabic.

The night's big performance was by Kendrick Lamar, who started his song with a brief message about police brutality. Later in the night, singer Cardi B showed support by giving a shout out to Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who is being blackballed from the the NFL because of his refusal to stand for the national anthem in protest of police brutality and murder of people of color. Cardi said, "Colin Kaepernick, as long as you kneel with us, we gonna be standing for you baby."

Susan Bro, whose daughter Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville when a white supremacist slammed his car into a group of anti-racist protestors, took the stage at one point. She was joined by Robert Wright Lee IV, pastor and descendant of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. "We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism and hate," said Lee. "Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God's call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on."

Strong and steadfast, Susan Bro spoke about Heather and the foundation she has started in honor of her. She then presented the Best Fight Against the System Awards as a tribute to Heather's passion for social justice. Susan Bro said, "I want people to know that Heather never marched alone. She was always joined by people from every race and every background in this country."

The winners of the Best Fight Against the System Awards were: Logic ft. Damian Lemar Hudson, for "Black Spider Man"; The Hamilton Mixtape, for "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done); Big Sean for "Light"; Alessia Cara, for "Scars To Your Beautiful" (Body image); Taboo ft. Shailene Woodley, for "Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL"; and John Legend for "Surefire."

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Punk Rock Band Anti-Flag: Time to remove "all monuments to the Confederacy and the racism for which they stand"

Punk rock band Anti-Flag has released a new track, "Racists," in the wake of the recent fascist/white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. In the lyric video, photos of the KKK, Confederate flag, pro-Trump signs, and other images appear on the screen along with the song's words, including the chorus:

Just 'cause you don't know you're racist
A bigot with a check list
Just 'cause you don't know you're racist
You don't get a pass when you're talkin' your shit

Along with releasing the song, the band released a statement saying:

We stand in solidarity with those fighting racism and fascism in the streets of Charlottesville and beyond. We believe it is time for the removal of all monuments to the confederacy and the racism for which they stand. We must put these symbols of white supremacy into places where the proper context can be provided for what they actually are; outdated, backwards, and antithetical to what we believe the values of humanity should be. It is past time to have real conversations on systemic racism and America's history of it. There are museums memorializing the Holocaust all across Europe, while America continues to try to hide from its racist and murderous past and present

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NFL Player Anquan Boldin Quits Because of Charlottesville: "There's something bigger than football"

All-Pro National Football League wide receiver and Super Bowl champion Anquan Boldin has quit football, just two weeks after signing a contract with the Buffalo Bills, saying, “Just seeing things that transpired over the last week or so [in Charlottesville], I think for me there’s something bigger than football at this point.” In an interview with ESPN, Boldin said he was “drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority” and that “my life’s purpose is bigger than football.”

Boldin, a 14-year NFL veteran, said that he has been considering retirement for a while, but the events that unfolded in Charlottesville helped prompt his decision. He said, “I can remember as a kid wanting to get to the NFL and wanting to be a professional football player. I dedicated my life to that, and I never thought anything would take the place of that passion. But for me, it has.”

He went on, “I’m uncomfortable with how divided we are as a country. Is it something new to us? No. Is it something that we’re just starting to experience? No. But to see just how divided we are, I’m uncomfortable with that.”

Last year, Boldin was awarded the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his volunteer and charity work. In talking about that, he said, “Humanitarian work is something that I’ve been working on for years. Advocating for equality, criminal justice reform, all of those things are something that I’ve been working on for years. So this is not just a fly-by-night decision for me. It’s something that I’ve been dealing with for years, and it’s something that I’m willing to dedicate my life towards. Do I think I can solve all the problems that we have in this country? Of course not. But I think I do have a duty to stand up and make my voice heard and be a voice for those that don’t have a voice.

“My passion for the advocacy work that I do outweighs my passion for football at this point,” he said. “So I’m not coming back to play for a contender or to do anything else. I’m done with the game of football.”

Artist Joseph Guay on his "Border Wall" Installation in Atlanta

Several weeks ago, a large art installation popped up along a busy Atlanta street. The project is "Border Wall," by Joseph Guay, who explains, "It is modeled after the proposed $20 Billion dollar wall for the US/Mexico 1,989 mile border. The purpose of this installation is to create social awareness on the issues surrounding immigration in the United States." Guay's wall is 40 feet long, 16 feet tall and made of steel, rebar, and concrete.

As part of his conception for the work, the "Border Wall" was constructed by undocumented Mexican workers. One side of the wall shows a giant image of Donald Trump, the other side is adorned with a massive Mexican flag. The "Border Wall" sits strikingly behind a barbwire fence in an abandoned parking lot. Guay has invited anyone who wants to express their thoughts on the Trump wall and on the issue of immigrants and immigration by posting and writing graffiti on the wall. In just a few weeks, the wall has been covered mostly with anti-Trump statements, messages of love for immigrants, and a number of Refuse Fascism NO! signs.

On his website, Joseph Guay says:

"The incredible souls that we label as illegals, poor immigrants, the people who want to steal our jobs...( undocumented Mexican labor workers ) have actually come together to help construct this wall. They believe in showing the world what a dividing wall looks and feels like. They believe in letting the American public know, in a peaceful way, that they are not here to take anything. They are actually here to give and help build our 'United' States. One worker has shared several stories of his difficult journey here. He also explained how other individuals raised $15,000 US in order to pay an illegal transporter to get them into this country... only to be treated like slaves on their arrival. Every story he tells makes me upset at the incorrect way we are dealing with this issue. I hope this project will give a better voice to the difficult topics individuals face that are only looking for a better life, and the difficult topics we face as a country. I can't help but ask myself... Does this wall stand for more than just a border crossing point? Maybe it's a symbol of division.... division of land, of cultures, of race, and equality. If we start going in this direction as a nation then where do we stop? I do not know, but I hope we can collectively explore the path together and find a more humane solution."

Artist Joseph Guay's “Border Wall” Installation in Atlanta  
Photo: special to revcom.us

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Mitch O’Connell, Artist, on his Anti-Trump Billboard in Mexico City: “Mexico came to mind because Trump started out his campaign by being cruel and mean to everyone in Mexico”

Chicago-based artist Mitch O’Connell’s artwork featuring an “alien invader” image of Donald Trump now towers above one of Mexico City’s busiest roads. The billboard features a monstrous image of Trump with a blue and red fleshless face and the slogan “Make America Great Again,” and an American flag waves in the background.

O’Connell said the idea came as he was designing a poster for a science-fiction and horror film festival. The artist said that he intended the project to be posted in a U.S. city but was denied a permit 30 times. “No one wanted to touch it because it's political," he said. O’Connell’s mind then turned to Mexico. He said, “Mexico came to mind because Trump started out his campaign by being cruel and mean to everyone in Mexico." With the help of an Argentinian artist living in Mexico City, O’Connell brought his controversial billboard to fruition.

O’Connell says, "With every month that passed since I did the drawing two years ago, he has become more like that crazy alien. It seems over time he became more and more like the movie, so it became more and more appropriate over time."

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David Strathairn: "July 15, We Have to Stand Up and Say NO!"

From David Strathairn:

Our form of a humane, compassionate, all-inclusive governance, guaranteed us by the founding principles of our constitution, a government, remember?, “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, is in a battle for its life against the vile, malignant, fascist agenda of the Trump/Pence regime.

This regime and it’s co-conspirators, is being allowed to infiltrate more widely, more deeply, and more insidiously, into the precious fabric of our daily lives, everyday, assaulting our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by spreading bias, hatred, greed, and distrust; threatening to tear apart our own nation’s vital need for communality and inclusiveness; displaying a disgusting example of basic human decency; attempting to establish economic policies that will only fill their already bulging pockets while fleecing tens of millions of people of essential human services; trying to pass laws of ethnic, religious, and gender oppression; seeking to control the way we chose our public servants; arrogantly and ignorantly destabilizing crucial global alliances to a frightening degree; and willfully denying, while adding to, the undisputed scientific facts that the health of our planet is under serious duress. And this is all happening right under our noses.

We have to stand up and say NO. However we can, Wherever we can. Before it’s too late. Add your voice on July 15th. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go.

Lily Eskelsen García, National Education Association: “We will not find common ground with an administration that is cruel and callous to our children and their families.”

Over the weekend, the National Education Association (NEA) met for their annual conference in Boston. The NEA has three million members at all levels of education and describes itself as the “largest professional employee organization” in the U.S. The tone of the conference was certainly different from years past—fear and defiance of the Trump Regime permeated the air.

Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the NEA, delivered a speech indicting Trump and his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, for their “profoundly disturbing” agenda aimed at destroying public education. She said, “I do not trust their motives. I do not believe their alternative facts. I see no reason to assume they will do what is best for our students and their families.”

While not naming them by name, García made clear that the NEA was taking a sharply different stand from heads of other unions who have had friendly meetings with Trump: “There will be no photo-op…. We will not find common ground with an administration that is cruel and callous to our children and their families.”

In her speech García warned that educators’ resistance will have a backlash from the Trump regime: “They’re going to hit us with everything they’ve got because we are a threat to them. They will try to take away your freedom to organize. They will try to take away your freedom to negotiate with a collective voice. They will try to silence us because when we win, the entire community wins.” García went on to say that teachers must be prepared to fight back against the Trump/Devos’s fascist agenda while defending the students, families, and communities under attack.

Read text of her talk here

Watch FB video of her speech (starts about 13:15)

Neil Young: “Children of Destiny”

Neil Young surprise-released a new song titled “Children of Destiny” in time for the Fourth of July weekend. The song features a new young rock group, Promise of the Real, fronted by Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas Nelson, as well as a 65-piece orchestra. The video for the song shows flag-waving crowds, protests/marches, beautiful nature scenes, and the destruction of war. The song shifts between upbeat to melancholy and so does the imagery.

The song’s chorus is powerful and a call to resistance. Young sings:

Stand up for what you believe
Resist the powers that be
Preserve the land and save the seas
For the children of destiny.
The children of you and me

Then, suddenly, the imagery shifts and so does the emotion of the song as Young sings:

Should goodness ever lose, and evil steal the day
Should happy sing the blues, and peaceful fade away.
What would you do?
What would you say?
How would you act on that new day?

The upbeat chorus kicks back in as Young answers his own questions with images of resistance and protests: “Resist the powers that be…”

Watch the video:

Corey Stoll, actor in New York Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar, calls the performance an act of resistance

Corey Stoll played Julius Caesar’s assassin, Marcus Brutus, in the New York Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar. The Public Theatre’s staging of the play depicted the murdered title character as Donald Trump—and this outraged the fascists. Trump’s fascist base was up in arms, and they disrupted the performances multiple times.

In an essay written after the final show, Stoll says that he realized that the play itself was an act of resistance. “The protesters never shut us down, but we had to fight each night to make sure they did not distort the story we were telling,” recalls Stoll. He continues, “At that moment, watching my castmates hold their performances together, it occurred to me that this is resistance.”

Stoll and the rest of the cast performed amidst the media’s distortion of the meaning and intention of the play, along with fascist trolls yelling things like, “Liberal hate kills” and “Goebbels would be proud.” (Joseph Goebbels was the Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany.) In addition, Donald Trump Jr. went on TV to lambaste the play, claiming that it was responsible for the shooting at the congressional baseball game. The director of the play also said that the performance received multiple death threats.

Stoll writes, “In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted to score points and to distract, simply doing the work of an artist has become a political act. I’m thankful for all the beautiful defenses of our production written in the last few weeks. But the cliché is true: In politics, when you’re explaining, you’re losing. So if you’re making art, by all means question yourself and allow yourself to be influenced by critics of good faith. But don’t allow yourself to be gaslighted or sucked into a bad-faith argument. A play is not a tweet. It can’t be compressed and embedded and it definitely can’t be delivered apologetically. The very act of saying anything more nuanced than ‘us good, them bad’ is under attack, and I’m proud to stand with artists who do. May we continue to stand behind our work, and, when interrupted, pick it right back up from ‘liberty and freedom.’”

Read Stoll’s entire essay at Vulture.com.

Diala Shamas, supervising attorney at the International Human Rights Clinic, on Supreme Court reinstating parts of Trump’s Muslim ban: “Lawyers alone can’t save us from Trump. The Supreme Court just proved it.”

Diala Shamas, a lecturer in law and supervising attorney at Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, has worked extensively with Muslim communities in the U.S. as well as refugees abroad. Her June 27 piece for the Washington Post, which appeared right after the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated large parts of the Trump/Pence regime’s Muslim ban, was titled “Lawyers alone can’t save us from Trump. The Supreme Court just proved it.”

Shamas begins by recalling that when Trump first issued the Muslim ban in January, she and other lawyers who went to the airports to help immigrants and refugees detained or stranded because of the ban were treated like “superheroes” by the crowds that had gathered. While she appreciated the good will, she also writes that “it also seemed to foreshadow a dangerous tendency to rely on the courts and lawyers to act as a balance to our new administration’s executive power.”

Her fear came to life when the Supreme Court reinstated significant parts of the Muslim ban, which had been blocked by several appeals courts. Shamas explains that “The logic of this decision turns fundamental premises of refugee law, immigration law and the international system on their heads...” As she notes, “Significantly, it was also a per curiam decision, issued on behalf of the full court—meaning that the justices usually considered bastions of the left partook in its holding and its underlying logic.”

Shamas warns, “While lawyers are important allies, the dangers of entrusting us with the pushback against executive overreach—as the liberal camp began to do almost instantly after Trump issued the original executive order—are now evident.” She points to U.S. history and present-day struggles as evidence that rights cannot be won solely by relying on the courts: “Even landmark civil rights cases—whether Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board of Education—were preceded by significant organizing and mobilization. Victories in the Supreme Court (and in lower courts) reflected their times, cementing hard-earned popular progress only after the political ground had already begun to shift.”

Shamas cautions people against “finding comfort” in the possibility of the Supreme Court further reviewing the case or the case becoming moot by that time. Instead, she remarks, “We must renew popular and political interest in pushing back against the executive order—and the many iterations that could follow, including other forms of discriminatory immigration profiling—in more sustained, nonlegal ways.”

Read Diala Shamas’s article here.

Moby: "In This Cold Place" music video portrays horrors of the Trump regime—and is attacked by fascist ghouls

Musician Moby and the Void Pacific Choir recently released the new music video “In This Cold Place” featuring animation by Steve Cutts. Among the many animated characters in the video is Trump as a Transformers-like robot that wreaks destruction and then turns into a swastika/dollar sign and self-destructs. Trump supporters are lashing out at Moby for this work of art. One fascist blog, for example, accused him of “corrupting children into hatred and accepting violence against President Trump.” As RefuseFascism.org points out, “Meanwhile, around the country, Muslims, immigrants, people of color, and others face threats to their well-being and their very lives on a daily basis at the hands of these same fascists. This is art that plays an important part in exposing the illegitimacy of this regime. It deserves to be shared, debated, and defended.”

Watch the video:

Reza Aslan, former host of CNN series Believer: “When the house is on fire you can’t just calmly describe the flames. You need to get onto the roof and scream at the top of your lungs, ‘Fire!’”

Reza Aslan is the former host of the CNN show Believer, which followed Aslan as he traveled the world and explored different religions. Aslan, who is Muslim, and his staff were deep into the production of the second season of the show, and he was literally packing his bags to fly to the first location to shoot some footage when he received the news that his show had been canceled. Why? Following the recent terror attacks in London, Trump seized the opportunity to reiterate the fascist call for a ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S. Outraged, Aslan took to Twitter and called President Trump “a piece of shit”—and for that, CNN fired him. This was soon after this same network cravenly fired comedian Kathy Griffin for a joke she made that Trump did not like.

In a recent interview on Deadline.com, Aslan said he was “bummed” about the canceling of his show and having to let his staff go in the middle of production—but, he said, “I think that there is something much more important right now, which is the assault on our democracy and I need to make sure that that fight is the fight that I am fighting first and foremost.”

Asked whether he regrets his tweet, Aslan responded, “I don’t regret the sentiment. I’m not trying to exaggerate here but look, when the house is on fire you can’t just calmly describe the flames. You need to get onto the roof and scream at the top of your lungs, ‘Fire!’ And I think that nothing less is tolerable at this time that we are living in.”

Aslan’s sense of urgency is something that people broadly should learn from and act on.

Read the rest of Reza Aslan’s interview here.

Jacob Ayol, Security Supervisor at Denver International Airport and Sudanese Refugee, Speaks Out Against Trump’s Muslim Ban

Jacob Ayol came to the United States in 2003 from Sudan. He spent several years in the U.S. military before finding his current job as security supervisor for the Denver International Airport.

He was at the airport when Trump’s first Muslim travel ban went into effect, and says there was lots of fear and confusion among many people at the airport. As the head of security, he faced questions from employees and passengers who were coming to him for answers that he could not provide. He states that there was an overall “fear of the unknown.” The travel ban reminded him of the fear felt in his former country and the religious divide between Sudan and South Sudan. “Each wanted to be superior, and each was afraid of the other,” Ayol says. “It has brought our country to its knees and divided our country. It’s not just history; it’s real life. We just all want to live. We want to appreciate life and not tell the other what to believe.”

Ayol has joined with the Service Employees International Union in opposing the travel ban and believes that sharing his story and the stories of other refugees will help in that fight. “It’s important if you’ve ever lived where you don’t see buildings, where you don’t know where you will eat tomorrow, you don’t see clean water. If you ever live like that, you will understand that it is very important that someone have a shot at life.”

Read the rest of Jacob Ayol’s story here.

Steven Thrasher, Writer for the Guardian: “Yes there is a free speech crisis. But its victims are not white men.”

A writer at large for the Guardian US, Steven Thrasher was, among other honors, named Journalist of the Year in 2012 by the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association. In a June 5 piece at theguardian.com, Thrasher makes incisive points about what is widely being discussed by media “talking heads on both the left and the right” as a “freedom of speech crisis.” Thrasher notes that those talking heads are “not lacking in a freedom to speak, nor are the white conservatives on college campuses they seem so worried about. It’s women and people of color who struggle the most finding a platform—but there is a conspicuous lack of concern about that by free speech crusaders.”

Thrasher raises the recent example of what happened to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a Princeton professor and the author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. After she gave a commencement address at Hampshire College in which she said that Donald Trump had “fulfilled the campaign promises of a campaign organized and built upon racism, corporatism and militarism,” she was threatened with lynching and being shot in the head; and she said, “I have been repeatedly called ‘nigger,’ ‘bitch,’ ‘cunt,’ ‘dyke,’ ‘she-male,’ and ‘coon’—a clear reminder that racial violence is closely aligned with gender and sexual violence.”

Thrasher writes that he and his journalist colleagues have also been recipients of such outrageous and violent threats. And as Thrasher notes, all this is not happening in a vacuum: “They are happening in a country where the majority of white voters elected a man who bragged about grabbing women ‘by the pussy’ without consent. They are happening in a country where, as Business Insider put it, ‘Trump has unleashed a white crime wave’ against people of color from Maryland to Kansas to Oregon.

“They are happening in a country where Confederate monuments are removed at night (for the safety of those removing them) but where pro-Confederate forces feel safe to carrying torches. They are happening in a country where an academic philosophy journal will publish a Black Lives Matter symposium without any black philosophers.

“And they are happening in a country where black children are shot by the police, where the greatest basketball player of all time has a racial slur painted on his home, and where a noose was found at the nation’s newest black history museum.”

Read Steven Thrasher’s article online here.

C. Christine Fair, Georgetown University Professor, on Confronting neo-Nazi Leader Richard Spencer: “This is our December 1932“

Christine Fair is a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. A May 25 op-ed in the Washington Post by Fair was titled, “I confronted Richard Spencer at my gym. Racists don’t get to lift in peace.” Recently, while working out at the gym, Fair came face to face with Richard Spencer. Spencer heralds himself as the new face of white supremacy, the “alt-right,” which is in fact a euphemism for fascist neo-Nazi thugs. Spencer is a strong supporter of Trump, whom he believes is mainstreaming his racist vision of an “ethno-state.” Some will recall, after the election, Spencer and his “alt-right” storm troopers celebrating and referring to Donald Trump as their “Führer,” giving Nazi salutes, and shouting “Hail Trump,” summoning to mind the Nazi “Heil Hitler.”

Fair courageously called Spencer out as a “vocal propagandist for racism” right in the middle of his workout. Immediately, Spencer took to YouTube to decry his “unfair” treatment and lambaste Fair in the most misogynist of terms.

As Fair points out, Spencer “sought to garner sympathy by arguing that he is a model gym user—he should be allowed to spread hate and stoke racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and other bigoted forms of violence, and organize torchlit nighttime rallies that conjure up images of similar rallies staged by the Klan—all without facing consequences for his actions when off the job, so to speak.” Fair simply responds, “But Spencer is wrong.”

Fair goes on to compare the current historical moment with that of Germany in December 1932. She says, “I imagine Germans sitting around their tables in December 1932 lamenting the eroding civil society and expansion of hateful, nationalist rhetoric between bites of Wiener schnitzel and sips of beer. They see what’s coming but they are too uncomfortable to do anything.”

Fair ends her article with a challenge to today’s “Good Germans” (she refers to Richard Collins, a Black U.S. Army lieutenant who was recently murdered by a white man who was involved in a Facebook group that posts racist material):

This is our December 1932. We have a choice. Good people can acquiesce to the purported demands of polite society and concede that Spencer’s right to lift weights in peace is more important that the rights of men like Collins to live full and productive lives, that being a white supremacist is not a 9-to-5 job, and that as long as he doesn’t bring his torch into an establishment, Spencer and his associates should be treated as any other civilized person. Or we can refuse to treat this hateful, dangerous ideology as just another way of being, and fight it in every space we occupy.

I’ve made my choice. You need to make yours.

Read C. Christine Fair’s op-ed here.

Lincoln Blades, Contributor to Teen Vogue: “White male terrorists are an issue we should discuss”

In a May 9 piece for Teen Vogue, Lincoln Blades explores why the United States needs to take seriously the presence of white male extremists. He contrasts the swirling media coverage and intense government response of mass attacks carried out by Islamic jihadists and the lack of coverage by the media and the government’s reluctance to identify attacks carried out by white (often right wing) men as acts of terrorism. He also notes Trump and other politicians’ fierce response to attacks by Muslims, while refusing to address the far more likely scenario of white supremacists attacking Black people.

After the San Bernardino shooting, Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio all jumped at the opportunity to declare that America was at “war.” Then candidate, and current president, Donald Trump took the rhetoric a step further by calling for a broad-sweeping ban on Muslims entering the United States. But, five days earlier, a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs was targeted by a white male devout Christian, and there was no degree of rage expressed by those same Republican presidential candidates or the accompanying hyperbolic war proclamations. In fact, the shooter, Robert Dear, was referred to as a “gentle loner” by The New York Times....

Who radicalized Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who in 2015 executed nine unarmed black churchgoers inside of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina? After he was arrested, it was discovered that he had published a website where he espoused racist ideology, regurgitating bigoted talking points on the false “epidemic” of “black-on-white” crimes, espousing that black people are inherently “violent” and that white women need to be protected from black men. It’s easy to say that his views were influenced by a small, fringe group of insane right-wing extremists, but it’s seemingly far more difficult for us to collectively accept that these prejudiced talking points have been given life through mainstream media bias, and even by the president of the United States, who once tweeted a racist meme that incorrectly cited myths about “black-on-white” crime in America as fact.

Read Lincoln Blade’s entire article here.

Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie—on connection between the murders by a white-supremacist Nazi in Portland and Trump’s anti-Muslim bigotry

On May 26, Jeremy Joseph Christian, a known white supremacist and neo-Nazi, began harassing two teenage Muslim women on MAX, Portland’s subway train. Christian was verbally assaulting the two young women, yelling racist and anti-Muslim slurs. When several men on the train attempted to intervene, Christian pulled out a knife and stabbed three men. Two of the men died from their wounds, and a third is in a hospital.

Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie, a contributor at HuffingtonPost.com wrote a powerful piece a day after the attacks. Currie is a minister in the United Church of Christ, Director of the Center for Peace and Spirituality, and University Chaplain at Pacific University. He lives just a few blocks from where the attack took place. In his piece, Currie discusses correlation between hate crimes and the election of Donald Trump, pointing to the reported increase in hate crimes by 197% since the day after the election to February. He notes that Trump and others are being helped in spreading anti-Muslim bigotry by “Christian leaders such as Franklin Graham, a close ally of the president."

Dr. Currie calls on Christians and others to oppose the hate incited by Trump and his cronies:

Islam is not evil or a dangerous religion. Fundamentalism, however, can turn any faith tradition into a violent movement. Consider the number of terrorist bombings at women’s health clinics in the United States by so-called Christians over the last several decades, and the link between white nationalist domestic terrorist groups that identify as part of a fringe movement within Christianity.

Trump, Graham, and others have helped to incite violence at their rallies and in the streets. This new normal can only be called sinful. The attack in Portland can only be called domestic terrorism.

My prayer is that every Christian body speaks out against hate crimes such as the one that occurred in Portland last night. It is vital that the interfaith movement in the United States continues to stand-up as a counterweight to those who would use religion as a tool of division. All our faith traditions, at their core, are about building just societies and freeing people from oppression. We must be about the work of bringing people together; not building walls to keep one another apart.

Read the whole article by Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie article here.

Max Perry Mueller, Religious Studies Professor: How Trump and Pence Together Embody a "White Christian America" in Decline

Religious studies professor Max Perry Mueller, writing before the election of the Trump/Pence regime, dug into the seeming contradiction between the worldview of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Mueller, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, described Mike Pence’s long history of perverse Christian fascist legislation, which is substantial to say the least. He reminded readers that Pence as vice president would be “just a heartbeat—or impeachment—away from the Oval Office,” describing him as “a politician who, as Pence himself implied at the vice presidential debate, believes it his ‘calling’ to legislate his religious views into public policy.”

In his piece, Mueller hit on some important reasons why Trump and Pence, despite some of their obvious differences in worldview and public persona, dangerously complement each other:

Pence’s first—and primary—identity as a conservative Christian and the governing worldview that it forms in many ways aligns with Trump’s own view of seeing the world divided starkly into allies and enemies, good deals and bad deals, security and menace.

In this sense, both Trump and Pence are restorationists. And their restorationist visions for America are complementary. Trump’s is racial; Pence’s is religious. Together, their ticket embodies a “white Christian America” in decline, as Robert P. Jones has powerfully described it. In a Trump-Pence ticket, white Christian America not only hopes to resist the forces demographic and cultural change, but to restore white Protestant Americans (especially men) to their place of unchallenged preeminence.

See Mueller’s article, “The Christian Worldview of Mike Pence,” here.

Michelangelo Signorile, Editor of HuffPost "Queer Voices" on Firing of Comey: "Stop Being Polite and Immediately Start Raising Hell"

In a May 10 article, Michelangelo Signorile, editor-at-large of the “Queer Voices” column on HuffPost, says that with the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Donald Trump “made his most frightening authoritarian power grab yet.” He writes, “This could be viewed as a direct step toward consolidating power and, yes, toward fascism, as we’ve seen play out in other countries―in Turkey recently, and in many other countries in history from which you could choose as an example.”

Signorile puts forward sharply that, given this very dangerous situation, “It’s time to move beyond polite protests within specified boundaries. It’s time to escalate the expression of our outrage and our anger in a massive way.”

He goes on:

Starting today and from here on, no elected official―certainly those in the GOP defending and supporting Trump on a variety of issues, for example―should be able to sit down for a nice, quiet lunch or dinner in a Washington, DC eatery or even in their own homes. They should be hounded by protestors everywhere, especially in public―in restaurants, in shopping centers, in their districts, and yes, on the public property outside their homes and apartments, in Washington and back in their home states.

White House officials too―those enabling the authoritarian―need to be challenged everywhere, as do all those at the conservative think tanks who support Trump and those who publicly defend him in their columns and on television. 

Go here to read the entire piece, “To Save America We Must Stop Being Polite And Immediately Start Raising Hell.”

Joan Baez: "In the new political and cultural reality in which we find ourselves, there is much work to be done"

On April 7, in recognition of her nearly 60-year folk singing career, Joan Baez was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The following is from her acceptance speech:

What has given my life deep meaning, and unending pleasure, has been to use my voice in the battle against injustice. It has brought me in touch with my own purpose. It has also brought me in touch with people of every background... And I've met and tried to walk in the shoes of those who are hungry, thirsty, cold and cast out, people imprisoned for their beliefs, and others who have broken the law, paid the price, and now live in hopelessness and despair. Of exonerated prisoners who have spent decades in solitary confinement, awaiting execution. Of exhausted refugees, immigrants, the excluded and the bullied. Those who have fought for this country, sacrificed, and now live in the shadows of rejection. People of color, the old, the ill, the physically challenged, the LGBTQ community.

And now, in the new political and cultural reality in which we find ourselves, there is much work to be done.

Where empathy is failing and sharing has been usurped by greed and the lust for power, let us double, triple, and quadruple our own efforts to empathize and to give of our resources and our selves. Let us together repeal and replace brutality, and make compassion a priority. Together let us build a great bridge, a beautiful bridge to once again welcome the tired and the poor, and we will pay for that bridge with our commitment. We the people must speak truth to power, and be ready to make sacrifices. We the people are the only one who can create change. I am ready. I hope you are, too. I want my granddaughter to know that I fought against an evil tide, and had the masses by my side.

Read the whole speech here.

Henry Scott Wallace: “American Fascism, in 1944 and Today”

In a May 12 op-ed in the New York Times, Henry Scott Wallace—lawyer and co-chairman of the foundation Wallace Global Fund, which promotes “sustainable development”—compares Trump to the fascist Benito Mussolini, whose regime ruled Italy leading up to and through World War 2. Wallace’s grandfather was Henry A. Wallace, who was vice-president under Franklin D. Roosevelt in the early 1940s.

In 1944, Henry A. Wallace wrote an article in the New York Times titled “The Danger of American Fascism.” According to Henry Scott Wallace, his grandfather’s article “described a breed of super-nationalist who pursues political power by deceiving Americans and playing to their fears...” He writes, “’[I]n my view, he predicted President Trump.”

In the op-ed, Henry Scott Wallace cites different quotes from his grandfather’s article and points to their relevance today. One point the op-ed addresses is how fascists use lies:

In fact, they use lies strategically, to promote civic division, which then justifies authoritarian crackdowns. Through “deliberate perversion of truth and fact,” [Henry A. Wallace] said, “their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity.”

Thus might lying about unprecedented high crime rates legitimize a police state. Lying about immigrants being rapists and terrorists might justify a huge border wall, mass expulsions and religion-based immigration bans. Lying about millions of illegal votes might excuse suppression of voting by disfavored groups.

The op-ed appears in the May 12 print issue of the NY Times and online here.

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

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

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

We are USC Faculty.

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

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

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

We are committed to:

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

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

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

We will Fight On!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole article here

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

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

Here are some excerpts from Bennett’s statement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Tim Roger’s article in its entirety here.

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

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

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

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

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"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.”

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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.

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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/475/arturo-ofarrill-we-are-gathered-to-usher-in-new-era-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 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/474/come-to-dc-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 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/474/assault-charges-against-joey-johnson-and-another-rnc16-defendant-dropped-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 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!

 

 


 

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 #475 January 23, 2017

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

Updated November 13, 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/468/what-is-fascism-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 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/474/on-peaceful-transition-of-power-legitimacy-illegitimacy-fascism-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 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/466/trump-installs-his-fascist-team-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 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....

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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."

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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)

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

Read here

 

 

 

       

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #475 January 23, 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/avakian/science/35ba-science...revolution-another-kind-of-pyramid-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 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. An updated pre-publication PDF of this major work—now including the appendices—is available here.

This excerpt comes from the section titled "IV. The Leadership We Need."

Excerpt from the section:
Another Kind of "Pyramid"

I’ve spoken earlier about the “pyramid point”—the pyramid with the ruling class at the top, the contention among the different forces within the ruling class at the top, and how this relates to contradiction and struggle in the larger society, and world. But, in talking with people sometimes, I’ve also made a point about another kind of “pyramid.” I got to thinking about this when Nixon went to China in the 1970s and met with Mao, as well as others in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. And, even more than Nixon, I was thinking about Henry Kissinger, who conceives of himself as more of an intellectual than Nixon, who liked to think of himself and present himself as more of a practical politician, or even a regular man of the people. But anyway, Kissinger was Nixon’s “right hand man,” particularly on foreign policy, and he traveled with Nixon when Nixon went to China in the early 1970s. Kissinger sat down and talked with Mao in Mao’s study, surrounded by all these books, and they had all these philosophical discussions—here was Mao engaging in all these philosophical discussions with Henry Kissinger, a representative of U.S. imperialism. And, in reflecting on this, I’ve wrestled with this: Besides the problems with the “opening to the West” on the part of Mao and the Chinese Communist Party—the whole policy bound up with this “opening,” and the very real problems I mentioned earlier about the way they promoted the Shah of Iran, and other oppressive rulers, as part of an anti-Soviet united front—putting the problems with that aside, the fact is that, as a leader of a revolutionary movement, or as part of a vanguard of the revolution (whether you’re a leader of the vanguard or just a “regular member” of the vanguard), and then as a leader of a new socialist society and state, you are going to be in situations where you are representing the proletariat, in the largest sense, in interacting with people who are coming from different places and, at least objectively, are representatives of different classes. Think about it: Even in building struggles now, isn’t there a significant aspect of diplomacy that gets involved, where, if you’re building broad movements, you have to meet with lots of different forces and you have to have unity, as well as struggle? A lot of times, there needs to be a lot of struggle, but you still have to strive for unity on a certain level. For example, if you’re gonna take up the battle around mass incarceration, you have to unite with a lot of forces who are coming from a lot of different places, and there is a bundle of contradictions, some aspects of which may not be very good at all. And here’s where this statesman role and having a certain amount of diplomacy comes in. So, whether you become a head of a socialist state and you find yourself having to meet with someone like Henry Kissinger, or not, you will at times find yourself in this position where you’re meeting, sort of “up here” (up above the reality of daily life and struggle, so to speak), engaging with these representatives of different classes.

So this is the other “pyramid point”: You are representing masses of people, exploited and oppressed masses of the whole world—that’s the grounding underneath you. I mean this not in a sense of tailing the masses, but that’s what you’re standing on, in a scientific sense, the interests of the broad masses of people in the world. But then, you get “up there,” where you meet with these people—you sit in a room, you go out to coffee, whatever you do—you’re engaging with somebody who, at least objectively, represents some other class; and, as somebody who’s a leader and has developed certain intellectual abilities, you can get into all kinds of discussions about all kinds of questions with people—and it’s not necessarily bad to do so. Overall, it is good to do so. But you can feel a certain pull to lose sight of what you’re standing on and what you represent when you’re doing this—you can get kind of pulled into this realm that seems to be somehow above the fray. It may be literally out of the fray at a given moment (that is, not immediately in the midst of a struggle), but it appears to be above the struggle of classes, appears to be above the fundamental conflicts that are going on. Well, this can exert a pull on you to forget what it is you represent and what has to guide everything you do. So, this is a different kind of “pyramid” contradiction.

I have to say, I felt this very acutely in the Dialogue with Cornel West. You can’t have a narrow philistine attitude, a dismissive attitude, toward people who hold religious beliefs, for example—and this makes it very complicated. In that Dialogue I did my very best to be really scientific and all-sided in dealing with something like the ideas of the Black theologian James Cone. I emphasized that I didn’t want to oversimplify this, that it’s not simple. I went into the complexity and the contradictions involved in the ideas he puts forward, and I didn’t present it as all negative, because that would not have been correct, would not have corresponded to reality. And then, after the Dialogue, he attacks what I did in the Dialogue. You end up being attacked because you criticize and bring to light the limitations and wrong directions that some of these ideas represent. But that is not the end of the story—you still have to persevere in carrying out the approach of unity-struggle-unity, so long as there is an objective basis for that approach. This is a matter of principle and of strategic orientation.

In situations like this, dealing with people with whom there is a basis for unity, as well as some significant differences, you do have to extend the hand of unity, and it isn’t just a mechanical process. Now, if you want to use that term, this process is not “devoid of social content,” or class content, but there is the human aspect to this, too. You’re dealing with real human beings. You’re not a machine, and you’re not dealing with machines.

So, you can get caught up in all that, and it can pull on you. You can do two things wrong. First, you can refuse to do this—refuse to engage with people with whom you may have significant differences—and then there’s not going to be a revolution. This relates to an important point from Lenin. He said, even for the basic masses, everyone who makes a revolution with the orientation that they had their chance to go at it, now it’s my turn—everyone who approaches it like that, is making revolution with the outlook of the petite bourgeoisie. And such people will never be able to lead things where they need to go. Well, there are a lot of people who spontaneously are inclined that way, and get pulled that way. But if we go about things that way, we won’t get where we need to go. This may be somewhat difficult to understand, but I think it’s an extremely important point: If you hold your nose and refuse to engage with anyone who disagrees with you, or whom you can recognize as representing some other class, we are never going to have a revolution.

The other mistake you can make—on the other side, so to speak—is this: If you do what you need to do, in all its dimensions, with all the complexity involved, you are going to find yourself pulled away from the orientation you need to maintain—pulled toward “we’re all just good people here.” “Hail fellow, well met,” as they say in Shakespeare—we’re all good people here, we all want good things. But, the fact is, we don’t all want all the same things. We may want some of the same things, but there are a lot of things that are not the same, a lot of things that are different, about what we want, what we’re striving for. And there has been this whole wrong approach of working with people by “meeting them halfway,” instead of applying solid core and elasticity on the basis of the solid core—wide arms but based on the solid core. This is the point that needs to be driven home: remaining continually grounded in that solid core of what this needs to be all about, and what it needs to be aiming toward.

This goes back to what I began with: being grounded in for whom and for what—in the largest sense, not in a narrow sense of tailing the masses, but what are the fundamental interests of the masses of people of the world, and what’s necessary to actually realize those interests. There’s a constant pull and a constant struggle, if you’re playing this kind of a role—on whatever level, and in whatever capacity—the tendency to get pulled away from that solid core and to forget what it is you have to represent and fight for. Or, on the other hand, the tendency to do that in a narrow and a rigid and a dogmatic way, which doesn’t reach out and embrace people broadly and bring them into the process, while not giving up the solid core. So this is a tricky, a difficult contradiction, and the more you do this, the more you feel the acuteness of this: Acting in the role of a politician, in a good sense—or statesman, in a good sense—for the communist revolution, is a necessity, or we won’t have this revolution; but this will exert contradictory pulls on you, and you can get in this rarified atmosphere and forget what it is that this has to be all about.

In connection with this, one of the things we have to think about is why are so many people, including so many communists, pulled so often toward compromising their basic principles, toward just trying to go along with the way things are, and attempting to fit what we’re supposed to be about into the way things are, rather than struggling to change things. Why are people so afraid of being far out in front of where most people are at? Well, you can understand the pull, because you don’t want to be isolated. But the fact is, if what we are doing and what we are fighting for is not vastly different than where most people are at, it’s not any good. As the revolutionaries in China emphasized, particularly during the course of the Cultural Revolution there, Going against the tide, when the tide is wrong, is a communist principle.

The fact is that, where most people are at now, is not where people need to be. Where most people are at is shaped and conditioned by how this society, how this system, is working on them. So if we want to lead people where things need to go, there’s gonna be that tension, that contradiction, that we have to be out in front, fighting with people that this is where they need to go, while many things are pulling on them another way and you stand out as being different. But being different in that way is very good and very important, as long as you work and struggle to bring more people forward along the same path. Being radically different than the rest of society is what we need to be—including being radically different than the so-called “movement,” because that “movement” isn’t about anything that’s going to lead to what people really need, and in many ways is actually working against that. That’s not true for all of it; but, in terms of the organized “movement,” it’s true for a lot of it.

I was thinking about this in these terms: Which “M” should we base ourselves on—the “movement” or materialism, dialectical materialism? We need to base ourselves on materialism, dialectical materialism, what the application of that shows to be the fundamental need—not where most people are at, at a given point, but what a scientific dialectical materialist analysis shows us is the need and the basis for transforming things.

 

 

 

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/475/american-crime-case-69-forced-sterilization-in-us-since-early-20th-century-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

American Crime

Case #69: Legalized Forced Sterilization in the U.S.

January 23, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian recently wrote that one of three things that has "to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this." (See "3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.")

In that light, and in that spirit, "American Crime" is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment focuses on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

THE CRIME:

On December 11, 1939, 18-year-old Andrea Garcia and her mother Sara appeared before Judge W. Turney Fox of the Los Angeles Superior Court for a hearing. Andrea’s probation officer, Karl Holton, had filed a petition to have her removed from her home and legally committed to a state institution. Judge Fox ruled that Andrea was indeed “a feeble-minded person” and from an “unfit home.” By the end of the week Andrea was committed to the Pacific Colony “Home for the Feeble-Minded” in Pomona, California—and a request was made by the superintendent to have her sterilized.

Sara strongly disagreed with both the commitment and the sterilization of her daughter. Within a week, with legal assistance from attorney David C. Marcus, Sara filed for a writ of prohibition against the sterilization of her eldest daughter, indicating that this procedure would be “performed ... upon the body and person of said minor child,” “against [their] wishes and desires,” and “without their permission or consent,” and there would be no remedy thus causing “great and irreparable damage.”

Andrea’s writ was denied by the judge, and approval to sterilize her moved forward. Following a review of her history and family background, the clinical staff at Pacific Colony decided that Andrea was a “mentally deficient, sex delinquent girl” from an “unfit home” who required reproductive surgery. The family history section on her sterilization request described Andrea’s father (who was dead) as illiterate and her mother as “subnormal” and an “alcoholic and immoral.” The sterilization request also described some of her siblings as “mentally deficient” and others as suspected of being subnormal, and her paternal uncles as “drug addicts,” and “all relatives alcoholic.” The request was approved by the California Department of Institutions just one week later.

California passed its first law permitting forced sterilization in 1909, aimed at preventing people with “undesirable” traits from having children. Between 1909 and 1964, through its “homes for the feeble-minded,” state mental hospitals, and prisons, California sterilized more than 20,000 women and men without their consent, including people alleged to suffer from mental illnesses, dementia, mental retardation and alcoholism, as well as those considered "promiscuous," sex offenders, and a wide range of other conditions and behaviors.

Minorities and individuals who were impoverished or living on the margins of society were disproportionately targeted: 39 percent of men and 31 percent of women sterilized were foreign-born. Despite being about four percent of the state population in 1920, Mexican men and women were sterilized at rates of seven percent and eight percent, respectively. African-Americans constituted just over one percent of California’s population but accounted for four percent of the total number of sterilizations. Most of those sterilized were either working class or lower middle class. Especially after the procedure of “tying the tubes” became faster and less medically risky in the 1920s, the sterilization of women and young girls categorized as immoral, loose, or unfit for motherhood intensified. A 1938 study, “Twenty-Eight Years of Sterilizations in California,” declared that the sterilization of “feebleminded women,” many of whom “had illegitimate children” and were committed “largely because of their promiscuity,” was among the most important and successful components of the state’s sterilization program.

       

California was a leader in this practice, but it was one of 32 states across the country to enact forced sterilization laws. By 1979, more than 60,000 persons were legally forcibly sterilized across the U.S. In 1927, these legalized forced sterilization laws were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the important Buck v. Bell case from Virginia in which Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes declared:

...It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind... Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

Both before and during World War 2, advocates of these laws maintained connections with various Nazi institutions and publications. Articles and books written by these advocates were specifically referenced by officials in Nazi Germany in the creation of their own sterilization legislation in 1933 as having provided them with proof that sterilization programs could be safe and effective. In addition, part of the Nazi self-defense at the Nuremberg trials was a reference to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Buck v. Bell and to Oliver Wendell Holmes’ written opinion.

The practice has continued into this century. Between 2006 and 2010, at least 100 female prison inmates were sterilized without required state approvals by doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation—and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews. In addition to tubal ligations, other types of sterilization were authorized 378 times at Valley State Prison from 2006 to 2012, according to the data, in many cases without permission from the women.

THE CRIMINALS:

Thomas F. Joyce and F.O. Butler:

Both Joyce (of the Pacific Colony) and Butler (of the Sonoma State Home), as administrative overseers of the local sterilization decisions, were ardent supporters of forced sterilization for many people committed to their institutions.

Butler, a physician, personally performed at least 1,000 sterilizations throughout his career. He was described as a “true crusader” and “the most conspicuous physician in the world in this department.” Under Butler’s direction, Sonoma expanded its role beyond the institution by admitting patients solely for the purpose of being sterilized and then released—acting as a kind of revolving operating room (which may have accounted for as many as 25 percent of females sterilized there). Sonoma was said to have sterilized more “mental defectives” than any other institution in the world up to 1942.

State of California (and 32 other states):

From 1909 to 1964, about one-third of the documented forced sterilizations were performed in California under a series of laws which increasingly expanded the scope of those who could be forcibly sterilized. Long after eugenics was disproved as a science, California continued to target people, especially women, housed in state institutions. It was not until late in 2014 that California finally passed a law banning forced sterilization in prisons.

U.S. Supreme Court and Oliver Wendell Holmes:

The Supreme Court in Buck v. Bell, with Holmes’ majority opinion, ruled to uphold the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1927, which greatly boosted the use of these laws across the country. Later, in 1942, the Court had an opportunity to overrule Buck v. Bell when it reviewed and struck down an Oklahoma law that permitted certain thrice-convicted felons to be sterilized (Skinner v. Oklahoma), but instead it confined its ruling to demand only that involuntary sterilization be practiced in accordance with the Equal Protection Clause.

THE ALIBI:

The advocates of sterilization laws initially were eugenics zealots. Eugenics was a pseudoscience which aimed at "purifying the race" by "breeding" those with the "best" traits and sterilizing those with "undesirable" traits. It was then taken further to view nearly all "undesirable" conditions and even behavior that society frowned on as genetically determined, and sought to eliminate these "problems" by eliminating the genes that eugenicists believed "carried" them. In their view, progressive-minded society should be “helping out natural selection” by stopping the propagation of this bad germ plasm in those “unfit” people who manifested it. Thus sterilization, whether or not they consented, was put forward as a humanitarian approach to spare those people the burden of children.

Increasingly as eugenics was disproven, advocates of forced sterilization laws argued they were necessary to save the state the cost of supporting children on welfare, or in institutionalized situations.

THE REAL MOTIVE:

Forced sterilization and laws criminalizing abortion have gone hand in hand in this society. The patriarchal family is, in its essence, a property relation; the wife is the possession of the husband, and her fundamental and essential role is a breeder of children. These authorities in the capitalist system intervened to control what children were produced. Whether through laws against abortion, forced sterilization, or other types of control over reproduction, the goal was to ensure that women from “desirable” sections of society produced children, while limiting children of those deemed to be unfit and “problematic undesirables.” That component of the population was predominantly the poor, Black, Native, Puerto Rican, Latino/a, and Mexican people—and fairly quickly focused on the women in these groups.

It should also be remembered that this whole development of forced sterilization was occurring during a time frame that included significant immigration restrictions, and in the context of the major worldwide inter-imperialist war (1914-1917) and the economic and political crisis and collapse of the U.S. and worldwide capitalist-imperialist economy in 1929—all of which made control of what children were born an even more urgent necessity for those authorities.

 

SOURCES AND REFERENCES:

Black, Edwin; “Eugenics and the Nazis—the California connection,” San Francisco Chronicle (November 9, 2003)

Gould, Stephen Jay; “Carrie Buck’s Daughter“; originally published in Natural History magazine, July 1984

Kaelber, Lutz; “Eugenic: Compulsory Sterilization in 50 American States“; University of Vermont Social Science History Association

Kline, Wendy; Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom (2001)

Lawrence, Jane; “The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women”; American Indian Quarterly, Vol, 24, No. 3, pp 400-419, summer 2000

Lira, Natalie; (2015) “Of Low Grade Mexican Parentage: Race, Gender and Eugenic Sterilization in California, 1928-1952” (PhD dissertation, 2015)

Ordover, Nancy; “Puerto Rico“; in Eugenics Archives California (February 24, 2014)

Reilly, Philip R.; “Involuntary Sterilization in the United States: A Surgical Solution”; Quarterly Review of Biology (June 1987) Vol. 62, No. 2, pp 153-170

Stern, Alexandra Minna; “Sterilized in the Name of Public Health: Race, Immigration, and Reproductive Control in Modern California”; America Journal of Public Health (July 2005); Vol. 95, No. 7, pp 1128-1138

Torpy, Sally J.; “Native American Women and Coerced Sterilization: On the Trail of Tears in the 1970s”; American Indian Culture and Research Journal 24:2, pp 1-22 (2000)

 

 


 

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Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

So Much Ugly—and Revealing—Fascist Shit Packed into One Trumpian Paragraph

January 23, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

America was never great--Mylai
Tweet this

As Trump's inaugural address goose-stepped toward its conclusion, Trump hit us with this crucial paragraph—only 39 words, yet packed with shit meant to sanctify his fascist vision, comfort and cohere his hard-core social base as he sends them marching forth to kill and die for it—and to fill everyone else with paralyzing dread:

There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. 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.

What is concentrated here are themes that run through the whole speech. On the one hand, the elevation of America's military and police, and the massive and unjust violence that they continually unleash against people here and around the world, into instruments of "God." And it's a god that seeks to protect America and its "righteous people," in its pursuit of its "glorious destiny" (to quote the Biblical language from earlier in the speech).

And on the other hand, there is the invocation of "the great men and women of our military and law enforcement" as not only "protectors" but also a moral standard for "the American people" who are, in Trump's vision, foot soldiers, bound together in patriotic sacrifice, in "total allegiance to the United States of America," submissively accepting the "hardships" entailed in the war to "Make America Great Again."

We communists are atheists and do not believe in any supernatural beings. But people should be clear that the "God" Trump is invoking is not the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount, preaching "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Still less is it the "universal" deity that billions of people of all faiths worship around the world, in the belief that "god's love" unifies people of all faiths.

No, he is invoking the god of the Old Testament, the god who commanded the Israelites to lay waste to their enemies, killing every man, woman and boy, raping the young girls (Numbers 31:17-18). It is the god who commanded the slaughter of "deviants," even among the Israelites: those who were homosexual (Leviticus 18:52); those who were disobedient, who failed to worship the "right" god (Exodus 32:25-29), or show unswerving "allegiance" to him.

The inculcation of the traditionally "secular" U.S. military with this Christian fascist sense of mission has been a major focus of religious reactionaries for several decades. And they had already achieved huge success with this—for instance, back in the Bush years, General Jerry Boykin publicly stated with regard to Islamic fundamentalists that "my god is bigger than his," and that God had made Bush president to deal with them. Much of the U.S. officer corps in particular is now steeped in such dangerous nonsense. But this is no longer just a vision and a powerful current within the U.S. state—it now holds the reins of power. And Trump's fusing of this "Christianized" military with "the nation" and the whole population is a further and extremely dangerous leap.

All this points to the key role—for the ruling class—of the Christian fascist movement, which insists that America should have, must have, a "special relationship" to God and must impose its "God-ordained mission" on the world, through the threatened or actual use of its military, bristling with nukes.

Another point to be very clear on is that when Trump says "there should be no fear," he means among his social base, his shock troops for the violent crusade being unleashed. As to everyone else in the U.S. and, even more, around the world, "be afraid, be very afraid." Earlier in the speech, Trump pledged that "we will eradicate from the face of the earth" what he calls "Islamic terrorism." And remember, he and his fascist cohorts have insisted for years that "Islam" in general equals "Islamic terrorism," that Islam is the enemy—or as his national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn put it, "fear of Muslims is RATIONAL." Trump is threatening to unleash genocidal destruction of Islamic countries, and along with that will come sweeping persecution, if not outright murder, of people of Muslim faith in this country. And he is casting all this as a "God-ordained" mission.

And across the board—with respect to women, LGBT people, immigrants, Black people, Latinos, writers and intellectuals, artists and journalists, all those who either Trump does not see as "Americans," or who simply are not on board with this fascist vision—"be afraid... and be silent" is the all-but-explicit subtext here.

Along with that, there is this: "We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement." This "comforting" homage is invoking what are in reality two institutions that are swimming up to their eyeballs in the blood of the oppressed here and around the world.

The U.S. military, forged in genocide against Native Americans, which went on to invade dozens of countries to install bloody pro-U.S. dictators; which dropped nuclear bombs on civilian populations in Japan, killing hundreds of thousands; which killed three million people in Vietnam, and rampaged through their country for a decade, raping, burning villages, brutalizing millions more; which twice invaded Iraq, killing tens of thousands and setting off a series of wars in the region that have now killed millions; and which, when people in this country have risen up against the system, has also been sent in to shoot and bayonet those they are "sworn to protect."

And there's the police, the hated pigs who every year kill more than 1,000 people, who arrest, beat, humiliate, degrade, and terrorize millions more, particularly among Black and Latino people.

Trump knows, his fascist social base knows, and we know (or should know) that these institutions are not going to protect us. They are not going to protect the masses of people here or around the world... that is not what Trump is getting at.

"We are protected and we will always be protected" is another message to his base, including the pigs and the U.S. military which is saying that "you are invulnerable, you have the awesome power to enforce the dominance of white, Christian American men on the vastly greater number of people who are our foes... we've got the guns, and"—once again—"we've got the God of blood and fire, and nothing can stand before us."

The paragraph from Trump quoted at the beginning of this article, oozing piety and pretending at reassurance, is in reality a stark indication of what is coming down the road at the people of the world, very quickly, if we do not act decisively now to drive this regime from power.

 

 

       

 

 


 

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

Revolution #475 January 23, 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/474/earth-temperature-rise-breaks-record-for-third-year-in-a-row-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Sign of Extreme and Urgent Danger:
Earth's Temperature Rise Breaks Record for Third Year in a Row

January 19, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Two days before Donald Trump’s scheduled inauguration, scientists announced that the year 2016 was the hottest year on record. This is the third year in a row that the global temperature has shattered the previous all-time records—the first time that has happened. Of the 17 hottest years on record, 16 have now occurred since 2000.

An article in Bloomberg News spelled out just some of what global warming has meant already and what it portends for the future: “As climate change continues apace, unusual weather will become commonplace. In 2016, for example, wildfires dealt Canada its costliest natural disaster ever. Arctic sea ice was at its smallest winter maximum for the second year running. Temperatures in India climbed to 51 degrees Celsius (124 degrees Fahrenheit). In Southern Africa, a second year of weak rainy seasons led to serious drought, while an unusually active hurricane season in the Atlantic left more than 1,700 people dead, including 1,000 who perished in the wake of a catastrophic Category 5 storm.” (“No Hoax: 2016 Was the Hottest Year on Record.”)

 

 

The article also notes: “[A] quarter of the Great Barrier Reef [the world’s largest coral reef system, off the coast of Australia] has died. Warm waters and ocean acidification caused by carbon dioxide pollution have turned once colorful nurseries of sea life into ashen graveyards. As the belt of heat at the planet’s equator widens, the U.S. and Canada have revised northward their maps of so-called hardiness zones for growing crops. As Greenland’s ice streams flow ever faster to the sea and state-sized chunks of Antarctica destabilize, rising oceans are redrawing Louisiana’s coast and Miami streets now flood when the tide comes in, even on sunny days.”

In short, the ongoing destruction of the environment—leaving aside Trump’s potential use of nuclear weapons—is threatening the very existence of life on earth.

Almost all climate scientists around the world have come to the conclusion, based on scientific evidence, that global temperatures are rising due to human activity—especially the burning of fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gases—and that if the trend continues, there will be catastrophic consequences for human society and life on earth overall. In denial of this scientific fact, Trump has said, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.” He has appointed to his fascist regime other global warming deniers and environment destroyers—like Scott Pruitt, infamous for his role in Oklahoma fracking, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, and Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.


Do you know anyone else—any person or organization—that has managed to bring forth an actual PLAN for a radically different society, in all its dimensions, including an approach and methodology for dealing with the environmentaly crisis from the perspective of the interests of all of humanity, and a CONSTITUTION to codify all this? — A different world IS possible — Check out and order online the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists, pointed to the threat to climate science posed by Trump’s cabal: “They have been salivating at the possibility of dismantling federal climate research programs for years. It’s not unreasonable to think they would want to take down the very data that they dispute. There is a fine line between being paranoid and being prepared, and scientists are doing their best to be prepared.... Scientists are right to preserve data and archive websites before those who want to dismantle federal climate change research programs storm the castle.” (See Washington Post, “Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump.”)

Trump has threatened to gut the Clean Air Act passed under Obama that put some controls on carbon emissions from power plants and to increase the production of coal—both of which would greatly increase greenhouse gas emissions. And he’s vowed to withdraw  from the Paris international climate accord, which came nowhere near actually dealing seriously with climate change but did put on some limitations. And this doesn’t even take into account that the largest single institutional consumer of carbon fuels is the U.S. military, which Trump wants to expand greatly.

Trump has also stated that he will halt all research on climate change at NASA and has already tried to intimidate scientists whose work is on global warming. In just one instance of such intimidation, Trump’s transition team sent a lengthy questionnaire to people at the Department of Energy seeking “specific names of employees who studied climate issues for the government or who had accompanied Obama-era political appointees on trips to international climate meetings.” ("Are Climate Scientists Ready for Trump," The Atlantic, 12/27/16) This outrageous witch-hunt was rescinded by Trump in the face of resistance by scientists and the refusal of the Department of Energy to comply. (See “Trump’s Climate Change Witch Hunt.”)

Michael Mann, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, wrote in the Washington Post, “[W]ith the coming Trump administration, my colleagues and I are steeling ourselves for a renewed onslaught of intimidation, from inside and outside government. It would be bad for our work and bad for our planet.”

Scientists who fear Trump’s fascist government will go after crucial data on climate change are racing to archive their work as quickly as possible. They have formed an organization based in Toronto, Canada, the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative. This is described as “an international network of academics and non-profits that believes in evidence-based policy making and public interest science. Our network is leading the way by building online tools, events, and research networks to proactively archive public environmental data, as well as track and respond to the undermining of evidence-based environmental governance in the United States.”

As we have written recently, “Without Donald Trump in power, the world was already experiencing a growing environmental emergency that is relentlessly driven forward by the competitive predations of global capitalism. But now, Trump’s victory threatens to kick the destruction of the planet into overdrive. This is an extremely dangerous situation, and another important part of the overall need to stop this entire fascist program in its tracks before it can be fully implemented.” (See “Trump’s Victory—A Disaster for the Environment Requiring Massive Resistance.”)

 


 

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

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Trump, the CIA, and the "Hacking" Controversy: Some Points of Orientation

Updated January 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

Update 1/6/17: As the date of Donald Trump's scheduled inauguration approaches, the political storm continues to rage over alleged CIA findings that Russia hacked computers of the Democratic and Republican parties and worked to favor the election of Donald Trump. What does that signify? What does it mean to people who find the prospect of a Trump regime terrible or intolerable? The following article, originally posted December 12, contains important analysis on what is going on with the "hacking" controversy and what interests are at work. We re-post it now as it continues to be very relevant.

A major political storm has erupted over alleged CIA findings that Russia not only hacked computers of the Democratic and Republican parties’ national committees, but actually worked to favor the election of Donald Trump through selective leaks mainly targeting Hillary Clinton and her campaign.  Trump tweeted and his spokespeople ridiculed the allegations as groundless.  They pointed to CIA fabrications before the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq that the Iraqis had “weapons of mass destruction” (no such weapons were ever found).  They said the charges were a ruse designed to delegitimize Trump’s election. At the same time, some prominent Republican senators and former high intelligence officials in Republican ranks publicly broke with Trump, calling for further investigation and hearings. Others, including senior Democrats aligned with Clinton’s campaign, are supporting a call for the CIA findings to be made available to electors that comprise the Electoral College so they can assess the scope of this alleged Russian interference and its connections with the Trump campaign, and determine if “Trump is fit to serve as President,” posing questions of legitimacy of the electoral outcome.   

What is going on?  And what interests lie behind this?

On one level, we can’t definitively determine the truth of these specific charges.  It is true that damaging e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign were leaked; it is true that imperialist powers wage fierce cyber-warfare (invasion of each other’s computer networks for intelligence) against each other; but beyond that no real proof has been produced and some of the key players—most notably, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who released many of the e-mails from the Democratic National Committee—have disputed these allegations.

On the other hand, there are a few things that CAN be said. 

First, U.S. presidents usually spend a big part of their time on coming to office learning about perceived threats to imperialist interests from the CIA; it is unprecedented for an incoming president to launch an attack ON the CIA.  On the other hand, intelligence agencies usually “fit themselves” to serve the way the incoming president views U.S. strategic (that is, imperialist) interests.  So Trump’s attacks on the CIA are highly unusual, to put it mildly.  Further: the political parties of incoming presidents usually close ranks around that president; yet today high-ranking Republicans like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are coming into conflict with Trump over whether to hold hearings on these allegations, or simply put them to rest.

These open arguments point to even sharper conflicts underneath. Up to now, both Democrats and Republicans have mainly taken a hard line against Russian attempts to assert its imperialist interests in different spheres such as in Syria and Ukraine, even while working with them at times. McCain and others in advocating for the hearings has repeatedly called out Putin, the Russian leader, as a “butcher” and a “thug.” As of posting, Trump seems to be tending in a different direction, including choosing as advisors people with ties to the Putin regime, for example Trump's nomination of Rex Tillerson, the head of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of State. Tillerson is reportedly against sanctions imposed by the U.S. against Russia following its annexation of the Crimea from Ukraine. Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser in waiting, has also had ties with Russia.

Some of these differences are linked to different approaches and responses to a host of difficult and intractable contradictions faced by the U.S. ruling class—both internationally and within the U.S. itself. Much of the conflict right now within the capitalist-imperialist class centers on how to approach and deal with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, including reactionary movements rooted in this ideology, like ISIS, mainly centered in Iraq and Syria, or the Taliban in Afghanistan. Trump seems to favor a different and closer alignment with Russia in dealing with these movements, even while they are engaged in intense rivalry for domination in these regions.

Bob Avakian has made the following point on this phenomenon:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these "outmodeds," you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these "historically outmodeds" has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:28

This clash between the two outmodeds—with the U.S. playing the most aggressive and murderous role by far—has been a disaster for the people of the world, with the dynamic further intensifying in the aftermath of the Arab Spring1. The war the U.S. launched in 2003 against Iraq not only caused unspeakable carnage, it developed into a significant setback for U.S. imperial interests.  Neither Bush nor Obama fundamentally succeeded in solidifying U.S. domination over the Middle East.  In some respects their grip was actually shaken and certain strategic weaknesses of the U.S. military were revealed and even exacerbated.  This was a major point of attack by Trump against both Obama and, it should be noted, George W. Bush as well.

To be clear: both sides of this dispute are fighting FOR U.S. domination of the region (as part of dominating the globe) and both are willing to shed however much blood of the people of this region that proves necessary for that domination.  But within that reactionary unity, there is a great deal of struggle and there are possible splits within the imperialist camp, precisely because they have run into difficulties in pursuing those interests. This is manifest sharply in approaches to the civil war in Syria and the situation in Iraq, and Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Second, it is very significant that this finds itself touching on questions of the legitimacy of this election.  But this is knotty.  For masses of people, Trump’s illegitimacy focuses on his extremely reactionary stance toward the people here and all over the world and, most of all, the fascist program he aims to impose and is already putting into place, even before reaching office.  This program will be nothing short of catastrophic for the people and because of that Trump must be prevented, by massive political struggle involving millions, from consolidating his rule. It is also illegitimate because Trump’s ascendancy to President-elect, despite losing the popular vote, is based on the Electoral College, which is a product and legacy of slavery and white supremacy and its continued manifestations. (See, "The Electoral College—A Legacy of Slavery and Living Expression of Oppression—Cannot Be Used to Legitimize This Team of Fascists.")

       

At the same time, for sections of the imperialists who oppose Trump, their concerns focus on both significant differences over what strategy will best advance the interests of the U.S. Empire and whether Trump is “fit to be commander-in-chief”—that is, does he have the right experience and “temperament” to cold-bloodedly carry out what is required of whoever assumes the top imperialist office?  This has mainly flared in the international arena.  At the same time many ruling class figures, concentrated in the Democratic Party do have differences with Trump around how he will rule “at home” as well; these differences are not insignificant but they do not override the unity between ruling class politicians as to the need to carry out that rule OVER the people.  This is why, in the main, top Democrats like Obama have been arguing to give Trump a chance and work with him, while hoping to “influence” him.  The conflict over the CIA assessment is part of that struggle to “influence” Trump by other ruling class factions.

Third, faced with this situation, it will be very important that people NOT get caught up in pinning their hopes on one or another representative or section of the imperialists.  If the imperialists are allowed to set the terms of the struggle and determine its parameters, and masses of people allow their activity to be confined to being marshaled by one or another camp of imperialists to fight around what THEY deem to be significant, that struggle will only and can only end up in continued imperialist domination. 

Here we’ll draw on “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer”; though written nearly 20 years ago, the principle below applies very much to the situation we face now.  Bill Clinton, then the president, faced an attack by Christian fascist Republican politicians who formed the spearpoint of an entire offensive of what was called at the time “the politics of poverty, punishment and patriarchy,” an attack most fundamentally directed against masses of people, but which also involved conflicts among different sections of the imperialists and which took the form of a move to impeach Clinton.  Even as things have changed, some of the same questions, and some of the same forces, are in the field today. 

Here’s what BA wrote:

It is extremely important to step back from the immediate situation and the terms in which things are presented to us, and ask: How did we get to the situation where the choices, the framework and limits we are supposed to accept are marked at one end by outright fascists and at the other end by someone [this refers to Bill Clinton] who, as even a mainstream columnist describes him, is the most conservative Democratic President since Truman, who heads a Democratic administration that has served as an aggressive and effective instrument in a many-sided reactionary offensive against the basic masses and broader sections of people? Where will we be, before long, and what will the future look like, if people, especially those who see the need to oppose this reactionary offensive, nevertheless are convinced to confine their political objectives and activity within the logic and dynamic that has led us to the present situation? And, most importantly, how do we get out of this situation? The answer is that it must and can only be done by mobilizing broad ranks of people, uniting people from many different strata and walks of life, to build determined resistance to this whole reactionary program and to transform the whole terms of political contention and struggle, the whole "political terrain"—resistance that is not limited to and does not rely on the very political structures, institutions and processes that are the means through which this reactionary offensive is being carried out and given "legitimacy."

With that kind of “determined resistance to the whole reactionary program” from below, struggles between different ruling class forces can assume heightened significance.  The proposal now being circulated for a month of massive resistance to prevent the consolidation of fascism urgently presents a picture of such resistance, and argues for it and its possible effects:

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

This could be done—such a thing is necessary and possible precisely because Trump is NOT normal; he represents the imposition of a fascist form of capitalist dictatorship, and millions are rightly revolted by this—by what he has declared as his intentions and what he has already done even before assuming office.  But not by lining up behind a program and leadership that locates any possible illegitimacy of Trump in his failure to “stand up” consistently enough for imperialist interests against other imperialist powers. 

The final point is this: revolutionaries need, in waging this struggle, to compellingly put forward the way out of this madness altogether.  Through www.revcom.us and spoken agitation people need to learn about the blueprint for an entirely different society in which the politics of society are not dominated by imperialist forces struggling over how best to dominate the masses, but in which the masses of people are led to wage struggle to transform the world to do away with exploitation and oppression, and, yes, led to carry out vigorous struggle over how to do that; that blueprint exists in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian and adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party.  More, revolutionaries, in waging this struggle to stop the Trump/Pence regime, should bring forward the strategy that could actually defeat these imperialists and the leadership we have to do that: BA—an entirely different kind of leader with an orientation toward liberating and unleashing masses, and a method and approach that can enable them to ever more consciously transform the world and themselves—and the vanguard he leads.

 

______________

1. Beginning in December of 2010 and lasting for 10 months, the “Arab Spring” was a powerful series of uprisings that rocked the nations of the Middle East and North Africa. By the end of February 2012, tyrants had been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen with major uprisings in 14 different countries. [back]

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #475 January 23, 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/political-prisoner-oscar-lopez-rivera-sentence-commuted-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 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/department -of-justice-report-on-chicago-police-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 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/revolution-interview-with-scott-gilbert-refusefascism-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Revolution Interview

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

January 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

 

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

~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revolution: So one of the things the Call makes the point: It says, “We are millions. Our only recourse now is to act together outside of normal channels. And we’re talking about creating a political situation where every faction within the established power structure must be forced to respond to what we do, creating a situation where the Trump-Pence regime is prevented from ruling.” My question for you is, why do you see this is possible and how do you see that actually developing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


 

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Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Trump and Black People: You Have NO Idea How Bad It Can Get

December 14, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

February 6, 2017: We are reposting this article, originally written in early December, due to its continuing relevance.

Some well-known Black people have gone around saying, “Well, we’ve gone through a lot, we’ll get through Trump”—and some people are echoing this.

Reality check: you have no idea HOW bad Trump is going to be for Black people. Yes, there’s been a reign of terror by police against Black people... yes, there’s been the ugly unending discrimination in every realm of society, from education to health care to housing and jobs... yes, there’s been the constant insult and threat; and now all that is going on steroids.

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Just think of what he’s done already: He took out ads calling for the death penalty against the Central Park 5. The Central Park 5 were Black and Latino youths who were unfairly charged with rape, and who were found innocent years later—after serving long, hard years in jail. And what did Trump say, just this year, when asked about this? That he doesn’t care what the evidence said, he says they’re guilty and they should be back in jail. And then there’s whole birther thing he got behind and got in front of—all that was just a way to say that Black people should have NO rights.

Trump’s convention featured the former New York mayor, Adolph Ghouliani, screaming about “law and order” and “blue lives matter,” and this was a major theme of his campaign. Trump even said he wants to do stop-and-frisk in every major city. And he applauds the Philippine ruler Duterte, who murders suspects straight-up in the street, without even a trial—over 2,000 already since this summer. What do you think he’s gonna do now? Why do you think that every racist pig and prison guard and every sick white racist vigilante wanna-be is drooling? You don’t think they’re gonna go crazy? And is there any doubt who they’re gonna go crazy against?

And then there’s Trump’s picks. His attorney general is Sessions from Alabama—who got turned down for a federal judgeship by Republicans back in the 1980s for being too much of an out-there racist. His top advisor is Bannon, who brags that the website he ran was the “platform for the alt-right”—and the alt-right are a bunch of Nazis. There’s Ben Carson in charge of housing, that Tom who opposes all government assistance and says that if Black people are poor it’s their own fault. What do you think is going to happen to the rights to free expression and political resistance, to voting rights, to hate crimes (they’re already going through the roof), to public housing and so on down the line?

And the jobs Trump promises? If they happen at all, they’ll be minimum wage or below (and don’t be surprised when he puts even more people in prison to work for next to nothing).

Yes, there’s been a reign of terror. But this is gonna be a reign of terror ON TOP OF a reign of terror. Here’s a parallel to think about: After the Civil War, there were 11 years of Reconstruction in the South, where the former slaves got democratic rights and some land. Then there was a close, contested election in 1876, and a deal got made where the winner agreed to pull out federal protection. In the next few years, the Ku Klux Klan killed thousands of Black people, stripped people of their rights, and took almost all the land that people had been able to obtain. This kind of slam back and worse could be what goes down.

But there’s a bigger question. Trump’s already made clear he’s going after Muslims, after immigrants, after women, and after gay people with a vengeance... he’s made clear he’s gonna foul the environment on a level never seen before (and it’s already close to disaster)... he’s made clear he’s gonna be a warmonger. The kind of narrowness that comes at things from “what might this do to me” out, as if that’s the only question, is never any good and never justified—no matter where it comes from.

There’s a chance now to stop the horror, to stop it before it starts. Not a cinch, not a guarantee, but a chance—one worth fighting for. And the stakes for anyone who cares about the fate of Black people, as well as the people and planet as a whole, are very, very high.

(To find out more, go to refusefascism.org.)

 

 


 

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Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Trump Regime to Cops Everywhere: "Take Off the Gloves!"

January 23, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Within hours of assuming power, Trump and his regime moved rapidly to implement their new reality. Trump issued an Executive Order telling federal agencies to stop issuing any new regulations, and to stall on implementing any penalties on states or individuals—his first steps in doing away with "Obamacare." He followed that by declaring a "National Day of Patriotism."

At the same time, the www.Whitehouse.gov website was radically transformed to make clear what will be this country's most important objectives—and what will not. Under Obama there was a section of the website on the danger of global warming, to give the appearance that his administration was doing something substantial about it. The entire section on climate change has now DISAPPEARED; in fact, there is no mention whatsoever of climate change on the site. Also missing is any reference to protecting LGBT rights or civil rights. The second most spoken language in the U.S.—Spanish—was erased from the official page of the website. What IS there is an outline of the crude "America First" proclamation that was Trump's first speech.

Trump's Solution to the "Problem" of Police Murder—Stop Investigating It

Less publicized that same day was an ominous action taken by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore. The DOJ under Trump requested, and was granted, a temporary delay in moving to implement a consent decree, an agreement reached with the City of Baltimore requiring the Baltimore police department (BPD) to stop the most blatant of their repeated abuses against the Black and Latino people and others in the inner city. That consent decree is the result of a DOJ investigation stemming from the cold-blooded murder of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in April 2015.

Freddie Gray was chased, beaten down, and hog-tied. Then the cops dragged him to a police van and drove him around on a "rough ride" until he was dead. Thousands responded by pouring into the streets for days of protest, resistance, and righteous rebellion. In order to quell this uprising—"before the entire city became an armed camp or was burned to the ground"—charges were brought against six cops.

All the pigs walked. Within days the DOJ announced the results of their investigation of the BPD. The principal purpose of investigations like this one is to keep the anger of the masses tamped down, by creating the illusion that some change in police practices will come. Obama's Justice Department utilized these investigations of police departments repeatedly—following the murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson; Tamir Rice in Cleveland; Laquan McDonald in Chicago, and more. What all these investigations have revealed is the ugly underbelly—the actual "patterns and practices"—of violent, repressive police forces everywhere, creating a situation where the people in the inner cities are terrorized by cops who systematically and illegally degrade and brutalize them—wantonly, and with impunity, almost never being held to account.

The stories that accompany the report on Baltimore are as vile as they are typical of police forces across this country. Cops, afraid of retribution from their fellow cops, don't report it when they see them planting drugs on "suspects"; one cop reported being reprimanded by his superior when he did try to report. A cop who witnessed another cop shoot a man in the groin who was already down and helpless said he was silenced by threats from other police. And their treatment of women would make Trump drool. A woman who was stopped by police for a missing headlight was ordered to get out of the car, strip, and stand on the sidewalk to be strip-searched! She asked, "I really gotta take all my clothes off?" "Yeah," said the supervising male cop, who ordered a female officer to not just do a strip search, but search the anal cavity, in full view of the street! No weapon or contraband was found, and the woman was released with a repair order for the headlight.

These practices are so typical that one sergeant, while being observed by a DOJ investigator, told a cop to "Make something up" when the cop couldn't find a reason to go after a group of youth on the street. These are just a few examples—from just one city—of why police are, accurately, referred to as pigs.

Trump: "The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it."

The "new" Justice Department's decision to hold back, and possibly push aside the results of the investigation into the Baltimore police department is a glimpse of what's to come under Trump's fascist law-and-order regime. In his confirmation hearing, Jeff Sessions, soon to be installed as U.S. Attorney General, told the Senate committee why he opposes such DOJ investigations: "I think there is concern that good police officers and good departments can be sued by the Department of Justice when you just have individuals within a department that have done wrong. These lawsuits undermine the respect for police officers and create an impression that the entire department is not doing their work consistent with fidelity to law and fairness, and we need to be careful before we do that."

Under the direction of this unreconstructed racist and anti-immigrant bigot, any minimal restraints that these pigs may have felt, coming from those whose system they serve, are going to be fully removed.

There is a whole section of the Trump White House website dedicated to "Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community." It ends with a threat to anyone who would dare to challenge this full unleashing of the killers in blue: "A Trump Administration will empower our law enforcement officers to do their jobs and keep our streets free of crime and violence... The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it." [our emphasis]

From now on the "gloves are off" the thugs with guns and badges across the country, sanctioned from the very top. That is what "Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community" will look like down on the ground. If the Trump-Pence juggernaut is able to consolidate its rule, an even greater horror will be unleashed on the masses of Black, Latino and other oppressed people in the inner core of this country's cities. This cannot be allowed to happen. NO! This fascist regime must not be normalized—they must be ousted from power!

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/trump-signs-global-anti-abortion-order-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Trump Revives Global Anti-Abortion Order—and Makes It an Even More Deadly Weapon Against Women

Updated January 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This article was originally posted on January 23, the day Trump signed the order on the global gag rule. Since then, more has come out about what Trump's order means, and we have updated the article.

One of the main facets of the Trump-Pence fascist program is a major ramping up of attacks on women, and in particular the right to abortion. On Monday, Trump took the first official step of the regime in this war on women by signing an executive order that restored an anti-abortion measure with global effect. Known as the “Mexico City policy” (because it was first implemented under Ronald Reagan at a 1984 UN conference in that city), the measure denies U.S. family planning funding and technical assistance to foreign NGOs—including clinics, private hospitals, and reproductive health and family planning organizations—that perform or “promote” abortions.

This policy is also known as the “global gag rule” because it prohibits the NGOs that receive U.S. funding from even discussing abortion as an option or referring women to an abortion provider. And the rule also bans those groups from advocating for greater access in general to abortion in those countries.

When the global gag rule first went into effect, there was already a ban on the use of U.S. foreign aid for abortions—and this ban continues. What the global gag rule does is to expand the anti-abortion dictates by imposing U.S. control over how the NGOs use their own funds raised from sources other than U.S. aid. It forced many public health and family planning organizations, especially in poor countries, that depend greatly on outside funding to make a choice: stop performing or even advocating for abortion, which is crucial for women’s health and their lives overall—or continue this vital service but lose significant amounts of funding that support other important medical services they provide.

But what is starting to become clear is that Trump is not just restoring the global gag rule that existed before, as bad as that was. Trump’s executive order actually pushes this forward in a qualitatively worse direction. In a January 25 online piece for The New Yorker, writer Margaret Talbot wrote:

Trump’s version is a radically expanded one, as reporters have begun to notice. In the past, foreign N.G.O.s had to accept the conditions set out by the Mexico City Policy in order to get funds from two stipulated sources: U.S.A.I.D. and, after 2003, the U.S. State Department. But Trump’s version extends the requirement to global aid furnished by all U.S. governmental departments and agencies. This is both sweeping and, in the Trumpian way, very confusing to the people trying to do their jobs in the federal government. It could potentially affect an enormous range of health activities that the United States government engages in around the world, including work combatting H.I.V. and many other infectious diseases, and promoting maternal and child nutrition. In 2003, when George W. Bush broadened the rule to cover State Department aid, he made a point of exempting global H.I.V./AIDS programs. But Trump’s version offers no exceptions. “The government agencies are still scrambling to figure out what this means,” Sneha Barot, a policy analyst with the Guttmacher Institute, told me. “There have been no official guidelines issued. But this is not the global gag rule we know. This is a whole new policy.”

Under President Reagan and again under the two Bushes, the global gag rule had real—often deadly—consequences for women. Groups like Population Action International (PAI) have documented how it led to more women in poor countries having unwanted pregnancies or dying from unsafe abortions. Worldwide, 68,000 women die each year from complications from trying to end pregnancies unsafely—using materials like turpentine or bleach, with blows to the stomach, or in unsterile procedures carried out by incompetent practitioners. The closing of health clinics or reduction in their services limited or closed off people’s access to contraceptives and to health care for wide range of problems from malaria to HIV/AIDS.

Obama struck down the Mexico City policy with an executive order at the beginning of his first term. Trump has now revived the global gag rule, and it will have devastating consequences for women around the world. In a statement on Trump’s executive order, PAI said:

Trump’s Global Gag Rule will not only severely restrict access to legal abortion, but will also have more insidious and damaging effect on women’s health overall. Health care providers will be forced to cut services, increase fees, and even close clinics altogether as a result of severe funding cuts. There are 225 million women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception, but this policy will put birth control even farther from their reach...

“Trump’s Global Gag Rule will obstruct and destroy the work of health care providers who are often women’s main—and sometimes only—source for reproductive health care, and their entry point for receiving a wide range of primary health care services," said Suzanne Ehlers, President & CEO of PAI. “To be clear, this policy is an attack on women’s bodily autonomy and freedom, and we will see an increase in unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions as a result.”

The Talbot piece from The New Yorker gives an example of how Trump’s global gag rule will affect women around the world:

I spoke with Banchi Dessalegn, who is the director of Marie Stopes International’s operations in Ethiopia. “Seventy per cent of the women we’re serving with our U.S. government dollars are women who have no education at all; they’ve never been to school,” she told me. These women live in remote rural areas, survive on subsistence farming, and give birth, on average, to six or seven children each. The funding that Dessalegn’s organization received from U.S.A.I.D. allowed her workers to travel to these villages—“six or seven hours each way, dusty roads, huts”—and call together meetings of men and of women in which they offered information about where to get and how to use contraception; the N.G.O. also provided tubal ligations and vasectomies for those who wanted them. Ethiopia has a high maternal death rate—four hundred and twenty women out of each hundred thousand die as a result of pregnancy-related complications like hemorrhages and sepsis—and the more children a woman already has, the more likely she is to die in childbirth. Dessalegn felt that she and her colleagues were doing a good deal to turn that around. “That is what we are so afraid will be compromised now,” she said.

* * * * *

While Trump is now bringing back a previous Republican anti-abortion policy that had been canceled by Democrats, this is not just a “swing of the pendulum.” As we have written about the events of the last couple of days, “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” (from “Lives in the Balance... Which Will Win? Trump’s First Days: The Heavy Hand of Fascism and the Spark of Resistance”) With the executive order on the Mexico City policy, Trump is firing the opening shot in a major component of this fascist reordering of political rule, the overturning of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. It’s a rallying cry for the Christian fascists' fighting forces who want to see Roe v. Wade, in the words of Trump’s VP, Mike Pence, “consigned to the scrap heap of history.”

This is not about the health of women or to “protect life” or any other falsehoods used as justification by the anti-abortion fanatics. The real objective is to greatly intensify patriarchal control over women—to turn women into nothing more than incubators and sexual playthings for men—under the signboard of “make America great again.”

This is a horrible vision and program that the fascist regime is now moving quickly to forcibly implement—and it must be stopped by massive resistance of millions, acting in the interests of humanity.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/trump-team-threatens-madonna-for-voicing-anger-at-woman-hating-president-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Ominous Sign of Rapid Fascist Lockdown

Trump Team Threatens Madonna for Voicing Anger at Woman-Hating President

January 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Pop superstar Madonna has come under furious attack from the Trumpistas for her speech at Saturday's massive Women's March in Washington. Major political leaders on Trump's team (Reince Priebus, Trump's Chief of Staff) ; major Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich (as well as former hack "journalist" and TV "personality" Piers Morgan) have openly said that she "should be arrested"; and the right-wing press has been widely reporting rumors that the Secret Service has launched an investigation of her for "threatening the President."

THIS IS EXTREMELY SERIOUS; it is a stunning move by the fascist forces to at least intimidate, if not outright jail, anyone who is sharply critical of Trump, and to create a deadly chill on free expression in the U.S.

Here is the concluding section of Madonna's talk that the fascists have seized on:

"And to our detractors that insist that this March will never add up to anything, fuck you. Fuck you. It is the beginning of much needed change. Change that will require sacrifice, people. Change that will require many of us to make different choices in our lives, but this is the hallmark of revolution. ...

"Yes, I'm angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House, but I know that this won't change anything. We cannot fall into despair. As the poet, W.H. Auden once wrote on the eve of World War II: We must love one another or die.

"I choose love. Are you with me? Say this with me: We choose love. We choose love. We choose love."

So it is very clear that Madonna raised the idea of "blowing up the White House" precisely in order to argue that in her view this was the wrong approach and the wrong outlook. There is no basis for "confusion" here—anyone saying that she was "threatening the president" with violence is just lying (or as Kellyanne Conway says, presenting "alternative facts.")

Four important points:

  1. This is a major attack on freedom of speech aimed at putting a deep chill on any dissident political expression in the U.S. Even if the authorities do not now arrest or charge Madonna, the very fact that a world renowned celebrity could be threatened in this way is aimed at making tens of millions of ordinary people (as well as other prominent people) afraid to voice criticism of Trump.
  2. This is not only an attack on freedom of speech—Madonna is being attacked for a "thought-crime"—for having an idea pass through her head, even though she publicly rejected that very idea. The implications of this are incredibly chilling. Think of how many times you thought something like "I was so angry I wanted to ..."—followed by some act that you would never do. Well, in Trump-world, that's a crime.
  3. It is extremely important that people defend Madonna against this attack, and not fall into distancing themselves, or writing snarky articles about how "she is playing into the hands of Trump," "giving them ammunition," etc. NO—it is the people who write or say things like this who are "playing into the hands" of the fascists, by providing their own "left" spin on why everyone should "watch what they say." You don't have to share Madonna's anger or her particular way of expressing it to unequivocally defend her right and that of anyone else to speak her thoughts freely in public.
  4. Finally, in the face of the rapidly unfolding repressive atmosphere, it is worth repeating, and reflecting on, a different part of Madonna's talk when she said that the Women's March "is the beginning of much needed change. Change that will require sacrifice, people. Change that will require many of us to make different choices in our lives..." The stakes are indeed going up, and that is all the more reason not to back down

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/he-will-not-divide-us-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US

Updated January 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 26: A participatory art project initiated by actor/filmmaker Shia LaBeouf is being live streamed outside the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, New York. It is going 24-7 until Trump is O U T. People are invited to speak into a wall-mounted camera and say the phrase, “He will not divide us” as many times as they want. This has captured the spirit and creativity of diverse participants including a crew of students from several area high schools who arrived with bucket drums and a seriousness of purpose and set up a non-stop wall of chanting for hours in the rain.

UPDATE: Yesterday Shia LaBeouf was arrested while confronting a Nazi who was in his face, upholding Hitler.

Livestream: HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/why-does-trump-continually-lie-about-the-elections-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Why Does Trump Continually Lie About the Elections And the Size of the Crowds At His Inauguration?

January 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Trump seems to be fixated on proving that he had a larger turnout at his inauguration than Obama (he did not) and that he won the popular vote of the election (which in fact he lost by nearly 3 million votes). These are easily proven facts—the first by photo comparisons, statistics of subway ridership on the days of the inauguration, etc.—and the second by the insistence of the mainly Republican state governments that the illegal votes Trump claims were cast for Clinton simply were not. So why does he keep doing this?

The most common explanation is that he is sick—a pathological narcissist who cannot tolerate the idea that he is not the most beloved person ever to walk the earth.

Trump is a sociopath. Yet there is a method to this sort of madness. And that method is fascism.

The first and main thing to understand is that Trump is mainly focused on speaking to, and continually firming up, his hard core of true believers. He is reassuring them that they and—and really he—represent the “real Americans,” the vast majority, and that the “liberal elites” and the groups of people whom he continually demonizes and delegitimizes (immigrants, Muslims, Black people, etc) are lying to frustrate and prevent Trump and his followers from getting “their rightful due.” He is trying to make them impervious to the actual reality of things, to objective facts, and instead providing them “alternative facts,” in the words of his adviser Kellyanne Conway, through which they can sustain their faith. He is preparing them as a fighting force, if need be, to defend him.

The second purpose for this madness is to provide further rationalization to prevent Black and Latino people from voting, through laws whose one and only purpose is to deny the right to vote to Black and Latino people, such as voter ID laws and forbidding ex-felons from voting (which affects Black and Latino people disproportionately due to discrimination in all spheres of American life, especially but not only the criminal “justice” system).

Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina, has pleaded with Trump to not do this because it will delegitimize the electoral system. And that leads to the third reason. Trump announced in advance that if he lost, he would not recognize the results since his loss would prove that the elections were rigged. There is little doubt that he would have waged a no-holds-barred battle to get in power. Looking down the road, he does not intend to be deterred in his “mission” by the matter of elections; and he is even now preparing public opinion to invalidate any election that might not go his way, presuming that elections continue to be held.

Last point: people say we should not “normalize” Trump—and that is correct. But the main meaning of that must not be his narcissistic madness, but the fact that he is a FASCIST.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/protesters-hit-with-felony-rioting-charges-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Protesters Viciously Arrested at Inauguration Protest Now Hit with Felony Rioting Charges

January 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

One single unifying objective - Stop this fascist Trump-Pence regime
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Right from its inception the Trump-Pence fascist regime has begun severe repression of dissent and protest. Approximately 230 people were viciously arrested at a series of protests in Washington DC on Friday January 20—Trump’s Inauguration Day.

According to federal prosecutors, the bulk of those arrested will be charged with felony rioting, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), “The police, without warning, fired pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and flashbombs at protesters. The police tactics including kettling a large group of protesters, including at least one NLG Legal Observer, and spraying them with chemicals.”

Further, one of the lawyers told Alternet that, “Across the board, all phones and cameras [of arrestees] are being held as evidence, and they are also detaining gloves and cell phone chargers as evidence...They are giving people their wallets back generally, but that’s it. It is extremely troubling.”

Jeffrey Light for the D.C. Chapter of the NLG immediately filed a lawsuit to get an injunction against the use of such tactics against peaceful protesters. “It stands out in terms of it being a mass arrest,” Light said. “We haven’t had one of those in a decade, where there was a wholesale sweep with no warnings to anybody.”

The severity of the charges for this type of protest is an almost unprecedented move according to lawyers familiar with mass arrests in DC—a brutal signal sent by a rapidly consolidating fascist regime that has assumed all the power of the state.

This is an escalation in repression against those who were determined to oppose Trump taking the reins of power—repression which itself is meant as a warning and threat to all those who hate this regime and are coming into motion against it that much worse is coming.

Undoubtedly the incoming regime was stung by the fact that TV coverage of the inauguration ceremony was being viewed on a split screen with pictures of intense protests against Trump as tear gas wafted in the streets of DC.

As the Revcom.us article: “Lives in the Balance... Which Will Win?—Trump’s First Days: The Heavy Hand of Fascism and the Spark of Resistance” said:

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.

Many more people must step forward to join this urgent situation and as part of this demand that the charges against all those who have been arrested righteously protesting the installation of a fascist regime need to be dropped NOW.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/evanston-il-high-school-walkout-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Evanston, IL High School Walkout Against Trump-Pence

January 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Evanston Township High School walkout against Trump-Pence regime

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

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/trump-order-gives-green-light-to-dakota-access-pipeline-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Trump Order Gives Green Light to Dakota Access Pipeline—Tramples on Native American Rights and People's Struggle

January 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

After Trump ordered the rapid completion of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines on January 24, protests erupted that same night. Over 1,000 in Washington, DC, over 500 in NYC. Protests took place in San Francisco and Nebraska, and other places. Here are some photos and videos of these events.

Nebraska Protest Against the KeystoneXL Pipeline

Protests Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

In early December, in the face of the months-long determined struggle of the people from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and tens of thousands who had come to support them, the U.S. government temporarily backed off from giving final approval to the completion of the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline (DAPL). DAPL poses a huge threat to the water that the Standing Rock Sioux depend on and violates the treaty rights of the tribe, as well as contributing significantly to the climate change that is racing toward global catastrophe.

Less than two months later, there is a fascist regime in place in Washington, DC. It’s still the same capitalist-imperialist system—but those in charge of the government have new rules, new priorities, new ways of doing things. On the fourth day of this regime, Trump signed an executive order reversing the earlier U.S. action and giving the green light for the DAPL to be completed. At the same time, Trump signed an order clearing the way for the resumption of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, reversing the decision Obama made in the face of massive protests (see “Trump Revives Keystone XL Pipeline-an Environmental Disaster”).

Trump’s order directs the Army (whose Corps of Engineers oversees the construction of pipelines over federal land) to “review and approve in an expedited manner...requests for approvals to construct and operate the DAPL.” Note the phrase “expedited manner.” Trump and his cabal are not planning for some long, drawn-out process through the government bureaucracy.

With this order, Trump made clear his regime’s intention to crudely trample on Native American rights and rip up any impediments to the capitalist-imperialists’ mad drive for profits at the cost of environmental disaster.

Increased Pig Brutality at Standing Rock

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced in December that it was withholding, for the time being, approval for the DAPL to cross a reservoir it controls on the Missouri River, the corporate officials behind DAPL said they were confident that Trump would give the OK.

After the temporary halt, most of the tens of thousands left the encampments at Standing Rock, but several hundred people have continued to stay and stand guard against moves to resume pipeline construction. There has been continuing repression by the police forces against these protesters, which ratcheted up in recent weeks.

       

On January 18, the guardian.com reported: “First hand accounts from Native Americans fighting the Dakota Access pipeline...along with live footage from the clashes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, suggest that police in riot gear deployed pepper spray, tear gas and other ‘less than lethal’ weapons against unarmed people, in some cases leading to serious injuries. Some fear that the harsh police tactics at two demonstrations—which activists insist were peaceful—are a sign that law enforcement may be gearing up to clamp down on the massive protests that are likely to emerge if Trump, as expected, moves to approve the oil pipeline.”

These increased attacks just prior to Trump’s inauguration were ominous. The Trump regime has already made clear in just the first few days that cops and other law enforcement are going to be fully unleashed to brutalize and terrorize the people. (See “Trump Regime to Cops Everywhere: ‘Take Off the Gloves!’“) The local police, sheriffs, state police and others who have been deployed against the Standing Rock protests have no doubt gotten Trump’s message.

The Just Struggle at Standing Rock

The DAPL is a 1,200-mile monstrosity, beginning where oil is extracted through environmentally devastating fracking in northern North Dakota near the Canadian border. On completion, DAPL will pump 500,000 more barrels of oil a day into the environment, escalating the global climate change crisis. In length and in the volume of oil capacity, DAPL is on the same scale as the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline’s route crosses the Missouri River very close to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The river is the main source of water for the people of Standing Rock—as well as millions of others in the region. As the Standing Rock tribe and others have pointed out, these oil pipelines have leaks all the time. So DAPL poses a deadly threat to the water—and to the health and lives—of the whole tribe and many others. And it tramples on burial grounds that the Standing Rock Sioux consider sacred and important to their cultural heritage.

Beginning early last year with a small core of people from the reservation, the resistance at Standing Rock against DAPL grew to include hundreds of Native Americans from all over the U.S. and thousands of others, including celebrities, U.S. military veterans, environmental activists, and others—people from all walks of life. They defied hundreds of arrests and beatings, mace, rubber bullets, and brutal harassment by the various police forces and pipeline company mercenaries. The eyes of the whole world were on this just and righteous struggle, which put a spotlight on the continuing modern-day genocide of indigenous people and the predatory nature of the oil-addicted capitalist-imperialist system.

All this had a lot to do with why Obama was forced to back down for the time being on DAPL. As for Trump, delivering a big “fuck you” to the Native American fighters and tens of thousands others who stood their ground as well as the millions in the U.S. and around the world who supported them—and threatening all political protest and critical thinking—is a part of why he signed the executive order.

No Trump, No DAPL, No Fascist USA

Within hours of Trump’s signing of the executive order giving a green light to DAPL, there were over 1,000 protesters at the White House and many more in different cities across the U.S. Resisters at the Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock put out a call for people “to stand up where they are, mass civil disobedience as a showing of solidarity for Standing Rock.”

Trump’s executive order on DAPL is part of the long ugly history of America: The U.S. government has broken every treaty it has ever made with the Native American tribes. The only promise they ever kept was when they vowed to take the land of the Native peoples—and they took it. At the same time, his action is part of something new and extremely dangerous, for all of humanity: the rise of fascist rule in America. The executive order and any further actions by the government against the resisters of Standing Rock must be met with broad, determined, and urgent resistance—as part of the fight to drive the illegitimate fascist regime out.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/trump-revives-keystone-xl-pipeline-an-environmental-disaster-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Trump Revives Keystone XL Pipeline—an Environmental Disaster

January 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 24, Trump signed an executive memorandum asking the Keystone XL oil pipeline builder Trans Canada to submit a new application to build the pipeline and gave the State Department 60 days to review the application. With the stroke of a pen, Trump has breathed new life into an environmental horror, previously stopped by Obama in 2015. This memorandum happened at the same time Trump and his fascist team unleashed other assaults on the environment: pushing forward the Dakota Access Pipeline (see “Trump Order Gives Green Light to Dakota Access Pipeline—Tramples on Native American Rights and People's Struggle”); and instituting a media blackout on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials while freezing any new EPA contracts or grants.

Keystone XL would bring 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day from Alberta into the U.S. for processing. Oil from tar sands is some of the dirtiest, most carbon polluting oil on the planet. Tar sands production itself is extremely destructive to the environment—wiping out huge regions of forest, causing pollution of lands and groundwater, and poisoning Native people living in the region. Scientific studies have demonstrated that if humanity has any hope of avoiding climate catastrophe caused by burning oil and other fossil fuels and other practices, tar sands oil projects must be stopped cold and much “traditional” fossil fuels also must be left in the ground.

Obama had stopped Keystone XL after years of mass protest and resistance by Native people, environmentalists and many others. Obama had staked a lot on expanding U.S. oil and gas production to maintain global power and profitability, and at the same time making small cuts to greenhouse gas emissions and crafting the Paris Climate Agreement. He hoped to try to brand the U.S. as leading the battle against climate change and thought Keystone XL would hurt these efforts.

The truth, however, is that under Obama, his predecessors, and the rest of the global capitalist system, the planet has already been hurtled toward a climate catastrophe. Each of the last three years has been warmer than the last. Globally, coral reefs, the source of much life in the oceans, have sustained huge damage from warming oceans. Polar ice has melted to the point that weather patterns are being transformed. Humanity is staring at a future of catastrophic sea level rise, spreading drought that could devastate whole regions and peoples, and even more powerful and deadly storms.

James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climatologists, said in a recent Rolling Stone magazine article, “We’re close to that point of no return. Whether we’ve passed it or not, I don’t know... We’ve passed it in the sense that some climate impacts are going to occur and some sea-level rise is going to occur, but we have not necessarily hit the disastrous level, which would knock down global economies and leave us with an ungovernable planet. But we are close.”

No Alternative But to Resist
Image:Twitter/350 dot org

The hour for earth is very late. And now Trump, that narcissistic liar—who has called climate change a hoax—is full on to build new pipelines threatening water supplies and escalating the climate crisis, and to take all limits off expansion of fossil fuel production. The rejection of Keystone XL had contributed, along with low oil prices, to slowing the building of new tar sands projects. Trump’s move could breathe new life into them, furthering the crisis even beyond what is caused by Keystone XL alone. And this is just the beginning—only what he has done in the first four days. At a time when the future of the planet hangs in the balance, Trump and Pence’s rule, if not stopped, would mean unmitigated disaster for the earth and humanity’s place on it.

Trump’s Keystone XL and DAPL announcements must be met with immediate and mass resistance and large-scale protests in the streets. As we go to press already emergency protests are going on in Washington, DC and many other cities. Thousands are coming into the streets already. And this announcement has been met by outrage and condemnation from many environmental groups. It’s crucial that the level of this gain momentum and be raised, and that different streams of resistance—from Refuse Fascism’s efforts to protests against environmental outrages, from the Women’s March to the opposition to the appointments of the racist Sessions and the lunatic Betsy DeVos, and many others—be brought together. People must pour into and stay in the streets going forward, with the growing aim and determination to drive this illegitimate, horrific regime from power before it can fully implement its whole fascist program.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/clampdown-on-dissent-intensifying-and-spreading-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Clampdown on Dissent Intensifying and Spreading

Wave of State Laws Threaten Harsh Penalties for Common Forms of Protest

January 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


Protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline block a highway in near Cannon Ball, N.D., October 26, 2016. Photo: AP


April 14, 2015. A Protest to stop murder by police blocks train tracks.

 

In the days since the inauguration of the most unpopular U.S. president in modern times, and since the largest day of protest in U.S. history, the Trump-Pence regime and its supporters at different levels of this society are in no way "backing" off or trying to "bring more people into the fold." No, the very opposite, they have expressed the clear intent—and are well on the road—to criminalizing dissident thought and speech, and are moving to enact harsh penalties for what are today widely engaged in forms of protest against police brutality and other injustices.

Even before becoming president Trump declared that people engaging in constitutionally protected free expression (burning the American flag) should go to jail for a year or lose their citizenship—a form of punishment that does not even exist now and is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. And revcom.us has pointed to how the Trumpistas have doubled down on their repressive program since then—the threats to arrest Madonna for publicly expressing anger at the regime; the arrest of 200-plus protesters at the inauguration who are now charged with felony riot, carrying up to ten years in jail; the blatant intimidation of news media from reporting facts that don't fit the Trumpian "narrative."

These are not just outrages in themselves—they are signals to the fascist forces in and out of government, on the federal and state levels, to expand and intensify the clampdown. The fact is that not only do these forces ideologically despise people rising up or speaking out against injustice—and for that matter, critical thinking in general—but they understand that the extremely oppressive and dangerous reorganization of the U.S. and the world that they are intent on carrying out is bound to arouse further fierce opposition from millions. And they understand that they cannot go forward with their whole program without crushing such opposition and creating an atmosphere where people are afraid to take to the streets... or even to speak up outside of their own homes.

In that "spirit," reactionary forces in at least eight states have either introduced new laws, or "reinterpreted" existing ones, in order to make what are today common and effective acts of protest illegal. In the last few years, as waves of protest against police murder, oppression of Native people, environmental destruction and other outrages have swept society, tens of thousands of people have taken over city streets or intersections, or flooded onto highways, as a way of telling all of society that these outrages are completely unacceptable and to rally more people to the struggle. The proposed laws will treat these and other forms of nonviolent protest as major crimes that will carry heavy jail time, and some of the laws outright encourage and protect cops or reactionary civilians to violently attack and even kill protesters!

To cite just four examples:

Most state legislatures have been controlled for some time by Republi-fascists. The repressive words and deeds of Trump-Pence are signaling to them that "our time has come," urging them on to pass more and more extreme repressive measures. So while some of these bills may not pass, or may be tweaked a little so as to at least loosely conform to existing constitutional law, they indicate the direction society is moving in, quite rapidly, and which will continue in leaps and bounds, locking down society and crushing dissent in a way never before seen in this country—unless and until this fascist regime is driven from power.

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/coming-to-grips-with-the-new-situation-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

A Letter from Carl Dix, Sunsara Taylor, and Andy Zee

Coming to Grips with the New Situation

January 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

This letter was updated by the authors on February 15, 2017.

 

As the three people who kicked off refusefascism.org, we write today to all who have taken up the Call: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, and to everyone following the campaign. We can say now, January 25, that the Trump-Pence fascist regime has basically assumed the reins of power. Every day they carry through some new outrage, be it in the realm of reactionary and repressive executive orders or appointments or proposed legislation, in threats of war or the re-legalization of torture, or in the almost equally dangerous assertion of their “alternative facts” (that is, their lies) as the truth. They surely have more, and worse, yet to come. Right now the ruling class is—some grudgingly and some enthusiastically—either going along with this or at most offering petty amendments.

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. There could be some new outrage—an attack from the Trump-Pence fascists on some section of the people which calls forth resistance and pushes people into the streets in a mushrooming sort of dynamic. There could be a conflict within the ruling class brought on by some move of Trump deemed by others at the top to be too risky, posing too much of a threat to the functioning of the established order and to what they see as their imperialist interests. We should all keep this in mind and remain tense and attuned to seize on even the hints of such possibilities.

But the period when millions could be directly summoned into the street to prevent the consolidation of Trump-Pence is drawing to a close. The regime has achieved a relative stability, and things will be proceeding on that basis—of a fascist regime in power rapidly working to impose fascism. This is not the reality we worked and fought to bring into being, but it is the reality that humanity faces; we did not achieve our objective, and that has consequences. So it is important now to take stock.

Refusefascism.org

A little over a month ago, supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party united with other people into refusefascism.org to initiate an effort to “stop the regime before it starts.” Together, we put out a Call for millions to recognize the fascist nature of the regime and to start taking the streets in early January. This was possible based on the anger manifested in the street demonstrations directly after the election and the continuing anguish even after those died down.

The Call to Act set out a goal and a realistically founded means to get there, stating:

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

This is not wishful thinking but could be made a reality if all who hate what is represented by this fascist regime translate our outrage into massive mobilization to create the political conditions which make this possible. We are millions. Our only recourse now is to act together outside the 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. (See full Call to Act.)

Accompanying this call was the mission and plan that drew from history and an understanding of the basis for sudden “jolts” in society to make the case for HOW this might be done, why it could work and what would have to be done to make it happen. Hundreds of people took this up, thousands more supported it, and millions were reached with this basic message. Many other forces, with different strategies and goals but also strongly opposed to Trump-Pence, also began to mobilize and fight against the prospect of what this regime would do. People raised their voices and fought hard, many were arrested, and the legitimacy of this regime was called into question deeply enough that Trump still feels forced to continually (and defensively) insist on it. Yet both the necessary level of struggle (millions in the streets, night after night) and the necessary kind of struggle (breaking out of the confines of the normal channels) that refusefascism.org aimed for did not materialize.

Then, this past weekend, two big things happened. On Friday, Trump was inaugurated and from the first minutes of his speech he made sharply clear that he would indeed rule as a fascist. On Saturday, millions of people worldwide turned out for the Women’s March to express their revulsion and opposition to Trump, in an unprecedented mobilization against the new regime.

On the basis of these two new factors in the situation, we and others in Refuse Fascism still hoped to be able to call out sufficient numbers of those who had been mobilized, and get the dynamic going early in the week where this would snowball and create the necessary conditions where, despite the inauguration, the regime could not consolidate itself. (See "The world changed this weekend.") We knew, and stated, that this was a long shot, but it was a shot worth taking, given what is at stake. Had it succeeded, a huge danger would have been averted and a new point of departure would have been achieved from which to go forward in struggle. But now, more than midway through the week, it is clear that it has not.

The New Juncture

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.

Right now it is very important that those who came together around refusefascism.org stay together, reflect on and sum up the rich experience of the past six weeks, and develop new strategy. As one key element of this, it will be important to join with and at times initiate actions against the outrages continually perpetrated by Trump, reaching out to others and sharing perspectives with them.

For the two bedrock points from which we joined with others to start this initiative remain true. One, that this regime is indeed fascist and as such poses a mortal threat and must be defeated. And two, that there are people—millions and tens of millions—who can potentially be mobilized to fight against it and who must be led to step outside the confines of politics-as-usual (including protest-as-usual) to actually OUST this horrendous monstrosity.

Finally, moving into a new phase, it is important to look at what WAS done, as well as what was not. In the space of a month, people came together in refusefascism.org to develop and get out the Call to Act, and Mission and Plan that clearly assessed the danger and illegitimacy of this regime and sounded the alarm about its fascist nature. Refusefascism.org held emergency meetings in the week before Christmas, bringing together people of many different viewpoints, united around the shared goal of preventing Trump-Pence from ruling. Thousands of signatures were garnered, including prominent voices in society, and together we raised the money to print the call to act in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere and get it before millions. We struggled for people to understand that what we face right now goes beyond all the truly horrible things that this regime has already begun to do and actually constitutes a fascist re-ordering of society with even more dire consequences, and got this understanding out in one form or another to literally millions. Refuse Fascism developed and popularized the NO! symbol. We united people to step out in so many different ways (in cultural programs, in forums, in school walkouts, getting out the wonderful videos and memes on social media, etc.) during the short time between New Year’s and January 20. Volunteers from refusefascism.org left their homes to go to DC weeks early to fight for this (even getting arrested and abused in doing so). Our message got into the media, from Fox News to the Amsterdam News in Harlem, from Pacifica Radio to Allhiphop.com and all kinds of other places, whether in in-depth interviews or contentious exchanges with reactionaries or the posters with the NO! symbol that popped up on the network and cable news and in the print media during the week leading into the inauguration; and people created from scratch a dynamic social media presence. Refusefascism.org brought together scientists, cultural figures, activists of different viewpoints, clergy of all different denominations and nationalities, designers, former political prisoners, scholars and many others in a beginning community of resistance—and we forged a model of relating diametrically opposed to that of Trump-Pence and their minions. As part of that, we discussed and wrangled over and debated out how we got to into this situation, about this system and its dynamics and how it could be changed and whether there is a whole other and better way we could be living.

All this strengthens the basis from which to fight forward. That is no small thing. And that is what we now must do.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/trump-to-the-environmental-protection-agency-shut-up-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Trump to the Environmental Protection Agency: Shut Up!

January 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Special Issue of Revolution on the Environmental Emergency

This Revolution special issue focuses on the environmental emergency that now faces humanity and Earth's ecosystems. In this issue we show:

Read online....

Also available in brochure format (downloadable PDF)

The employees of the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA—the highest-level U.S. government agency that is supposed to be responsible for identifying and preventing damage to environment and health—received orders from above on Tuesday: SHUT UP! The Trump-Pence regime has muzzled the EPA: From this moment forward, there are to be no press releases issued by the EPA and no social media or blog messages; no unapproved speaking engagements or participation in webinars; incoming media requests are to be closely screened; and nothing new is to go up on their website. Similar orders have apparently gone out to employees of the Interior Department, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Health and Human Services. All of these agencies play some role on issues related to the environment, and have been involved in efforts related to climate change, including its effects on human health.

That same day, Badlands National Park, located in South Dakota and part of the Department of Interior, posted a series of tweets about climate change: “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate,” read one of the tweets. By that afternoon, the tweets were gone.

Trump and his top conspirators are climate change deniers. They refuse to accept the fact that global warming exists, or that humans have anything to do with it if it does. Welcome to the ignorant, fascist world of Trump—where global warming is a trick by China to get advantage over America and keep it from its rightful place as the dominant power of the world. This is absurd, completely unscientific nonsense. But that will not stop them. Because their absurd, unscientific nonsense now has the power of the state behind it—which gives them the ability to impose the “alternate realities” of Trumpworld on public discourse—and silence anyone who opposes them. “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.” (See “Lives in the Balance... Which Will Win? Trump’s First Days: The Heavy Hand of Fascism and the Spark of Resistance“)

The gravity of this move to muzzle the EPA cannot be exaggerated. The more they are able to continue, the more these American Nazis will work to transform the EPA into a servant of their alternate world, where climate change is not happening, and where any further scientific research into solving it becomes unnecessary—with catastrophic consequences for life on this planet. In the name of the environment—in the name of humanity—this fascist regime has got to be stopped before it is able to fully consolidate its hold.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/472/come-together-truce-to-stop-the-trump-pence-regime-before-it-starts-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

A CALL FROM CHICAGO

COME TOGETHER—TRUCE—TO STOP THE TRUMP-PENCE REGIME

Updated January 25, 2017, first published December 29, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

One Single Unifying Objective: Stop this Fascist Trump-Pence Regime Before It Starts

Today, January 25, Trump sent out a tweet threatening to send the Feds into Chicago if Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on: 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24 percent from 2016). This is the second time in January that Trump has tweeted about the shootings in Chicago. The threats are escalating. His inaugural speech had a genocidal thrust toward communities of color... and these threats must be taken seriously. As Refuse Fascism has said, “Justifying violent repression of whole neighborhoods and sections of people viewed as ‘the enemy’ is a classic fascist tactic to consolidate power and frighten people into submission.”

We are reposting here a statement from the Revolution Club, Chicago sent to revcom.us after Trump’s first tweet.

 

Many of us from the bottom of society get caught up in a lot of fucked-up shit because of the brutal and harsh conditions we are forced to live under. We have seen way too many of our loved ones and homies lose their lives to senseless and unnecessary violence. This violence and destruction is promoted and encouraged by the forces who really run this shit. In other words, they would like nothing more than for us to continue to kill and destroy ourselves. We are being played over and over again!

Now is the time to stop being played. An openly racist, woman-hating, and fascist Trump regime is in power. Yes, it’s true, no president prior gave a damn about a Black or Brown life. But it’s also true that shit is going to get a whole lot worse if we allow Trump to take hold—a whole worse world of hurt and pain for people we hold near and dear and for people all over the planet.

Let’s be about real courage, real daring, real risk, and real meaning and come together and take on THESE fascists in massive defiant struggle.

We need to rise above the petty beefs and clique tripping and get organized to fight the power. This is not about any one individual. This is about the fate of humanity and the planet. Get in touch with your local Revolution Club. Go to www.revcom.us and www.refusefascism.org. Join the fight to Stop the Trump-Pence Regime!

Initiated by an ex-prisoner who was once caught up with everything wrong with the street life, and the Chicago Revolution Club.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/today-in-fascism-border-wall-attacks-on-sanctuary-cities-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Today in Fascism:

Trump Orders Start of Border Wall, Leap in Anti-Immigrant Repression, and Attacks on Sanctuary Cities

January 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian on "Why do people come here from all over the world?" from REVOLUTION: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About

Starting with the unprecedented inaugural speech and continuing at a rapid-fire pace since then, Trump and his regime are moving very quickly with the fascist reordering of society. Every day has brought new outrages—as revcom.us has covered—whether in the form of executive orders ramping up repression, new assaults on the press, appointments of more fascist ghouls to government positions, or the imposition of “alternative facts”—in other words, the lies they are trying to force down everyone’s throats.

Trump began his campaign by slandering Mexican immigrants as “rapists and criminals.” And his vows to build a Mexico border wall and deport millions of undocumented immigrants have been a big part of his fascist call to arms. On Wednesday, Trump went to the Department of Homeland Security to sign two executive orders aimed at jump-starting the moves to make those reactionary vows a reality—“Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” and “Interior Immigration Enforcement.”

And Trump reportedly will sign other orders on Thursday to indefinitely block Syrian refugees from coming into the U.S. and bar refugees from other countries for at least three months, as well as suspend any immigration for at least a month from a number of predominantly Muslim countries.

The Border Wall

Trump’s orders declared the intention of the executive branch to “secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border.” The wall would supposedly cover the whole 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico. Trump said on Wednesday that the construction would begin “as soon as we can physically do it.” The Trump team also says they will hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, bringing the armed border force to a total of 26,000.

During the campaign, Trump said that he will force Mexico to pay for the billions of dollars it would cost to build the wall, through measures like seizing the remittances that Mexican immigrants in the U.S. send to their families back home. He now says U.S. funds will be used to start the construction but that “we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make with Mexico.”

The militarization of the southern border area started long before Trump—under Clinton and then continuing under Bush and Obama. But the Trump wall and the beefing up of the Border Patrol is a major leap in the militarized repression on the border.

Anti-Immigrant Repression

Along with the border wall, Trump’s Wednesday orders signaled a major ramping up of repression against immigrants within the U.S. His orders restored the Secure Communities program—which Obama had started, leading to a big rise in arrests and deportations, but then abandoned in the face of widespread opposition. One aspect of the program is to have the local police forces notify federal immigration authorities whenever they arrest someone suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

In the name of “executing faithfully the immigration laws of the United States,” Trump’s orders called on the Department of Homeland Security to “prioritize for removal” not only immigrants charged or convicted of criminal offenses but also those who are accused of acts that may constitute a chargeable criminal offense; those who engaged in “willful misrepresentation” in connection with government matters (for instance, using a false ID to get a job); or those “in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”

A Los Angeles Times article went into some of what this would mean: “The most immediate impact of Trump’s actions might be a vast increase in the number of people subject to detention and deportation. Trump’s orders call for an expansion of detention facilities holding asylum seekers and others awaiting immigration hearings. It would end so-called catch-and-release practices that allow these immigrants to remain at large if there is overcrowding or if they are mothers with children, unaccompanied minors or face a credible fear of persecution from their home countries.”

These detention facilities that are already operating (often run by private for-profit corporations) have been exposed as sites of brutality and torture against immigrants, including children. A report last year by Common Dreams described conditions in one such detention center in Karnes County, Texas as “plagued with human rights abuses, including: denial of food and medical care, lack of due process, and allegations of sexual assault.” An immigrant rights group documented incidents at this center like a girl, soaking wet, who was thrown into a freezing cell known as a hielera—ice box—with a toilet as her only drinking water. The Trump-Pence regime’s anti-immigrant offensive will put many more people into these hellholes.

Targeting Sanctuary Jurisdictions

Trump’s executive orders call for withdrawal of federal funds from “sanctuary jurisdictions”—states, cities, counties, and others that refuse to comply with Secure Communities or other federal laws and measures aimed at tracking down, arresting, and deporting immigrants accused of being in the country illegally.

Beyond the threat to take away federal funds, what is very ominous about these orders from Trump is that they accuse the sanctuary cities and other entities of causing “immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.” This is clearly a threat that local officials who refuse to comply will be legally charged (perhaps even with treason), and/or that “patriotic” mobs will be unleashed against them by the Trump-Pence regime. And it is part of the fascist drive to criminalize common forms of protest and even critical thinking and expressions of dissent. (See “Clampdown on Dissent Intensifying and Spreading: Wave of State Laws Threaten Harsh Penalties for Common Forms of Protest“)

~~~~~~~~~~

Trump has, and continues to, justify the border wall and fascist anti-immigrant crackdown with claims that there is a flood of “illegal immigration” coming over the border, bringing in a huge amount of “criminals” that threaten the “American people” as well as taking jobs away from them. These are insidious lies on two levels. First, many different studies and reports have made clear that immigrants are not more likely to turn to crime than native-born people, or that immigrants take away jobs. A Pew Research Center study three years ago, for example, found that among all people 12 to 24 years old, immigrants were much less likely to commit crime than those born in the U.S.

But on another level, Trump’s anti-immigrant rants are a lie in an even bigger sense. It is the U.S. that has committed multiple huge crimes against Mexico—from the U.S. war in the 1800s that stole half of Mexico’s land to the “free trade” agreement in the 1990s that forced millions of peasants off their land. It is U.S. imperialism which has fucked up Mexico and other countries so badly, economically and in other ways, that millions have had no choice but to make the arduous and dangerous trek north, with hundreds dying each year in the attempt to cross the border.

If you’re one of the immigrants who manage to find their way into the U.S., you find yourself living in a terrible nightmare. You’re trapped in the most dangerous, low-paying jobs and forced to endure whatever they throw at you, because your family here and back home depend on you for survival. But then people like you are treated as pariahs in this society... accused of being criminals or stealing jobs... looked down on for not speaking the “right” language or having the wrong skin color. Hunted down like runaway slaves. You’re constantly fearful and on alert, because at any moment you could be snatched up by the immigration pigs, like hundreds around the U.S. are every week—then deported and separated from your kids, your spouse, your friends.

Now Trump and his ghouls are bringing on an even worse nightmare on top of the nightmare for these immigrants.

Trump’s executive orders on the border and immigration “enforcement” make clear that the U.S. imperialist crimes against Mexico and other countries, and the horrors for immigrants within the “belly of the beast,” are being ratcheted up to a whole new level under a fascist regime.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/thousands-mobilize-in-new-york-city-after-trump-signs-anti-immigrant-executive-orders-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Thousands Mobilize in New York City After Trump Signs Anti-Immigrant Executive Orders

January 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Washington Square Park, New York City. On January 25 thousands responded in angry protest against Trump's anti-immigrant executive orders. Photo: revcom.us/Revolution

 

On Wednesday, within hours after Trump signed executive orders on the border wall and dialing up repression against immigrants (see “Today in Fascism: Trump Orders Start of Border Wall, Leap in Anti-Immigrant Repression, and Attacks on Sanctuary Cities”)—people responded by the thousands in angry protest in New York City's Washington Square Park. In addition, smaller but significant actions took place in Washington D.C.; Chicago; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; and other cities. 

Those who were at the NYC protest reported that Washington Square Park was packed with protesters. The emergency rally was organized by the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. On Facebook the Council wrote, “As a city of immigrants, we cannot stay silent in the face of such hate. We ask you to gather tonight (Wednesday), to show President Trump that all New Yorkers stand with our Muslim and Latino neighbors. Together, we will form a beacon of light against the coming darkness.”

At the protest in Chicago, immigrant rights and community-based organizations denounced Trump's orders. One speaker said they're “gearing up for resistance to racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic policies from a president who doesn't have a mandate from the people.” A speaker from Asian Americans Advancing Justice said Trump's immigration policies are a "haunting reminder" of the Chinese Exclusion Act of the 1880s and the Japanese internment camps established during World War II.

In Los Angeles dozens of protesters took to the downtown streets to protest and gathered outside City Hall. At the same time, lawyers representing the immigration community held a news conference, where Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), said: “We have to be vigilant, we have to take him extremely serious, and we also have to fight back.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/philadelphia-thousands-march-against-trump-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

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

January 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Thousands march against Trump in Philadelphia, January 26
Photo: Twitter/Mari Schaefer

On Thursday, Donald Trump came to Philadelphia to speak to a gathering of Republican congresspeople—and thousands of people poured into the streets to march and raise their voices of anger against him. At the height of the protest, according to an online Philadelphia Inquirer report, “more than 5,000 protesters clogged Center City streets.”

After a rally at City Hall, protesters marched to the hotel where Trump was speaking, and then on to the offices of the Goldman Sachs investment firm that many Trump officials have ties to. One big theme of the protest was opposition to moves already begun by Trump and the Republicans to dismantle Obama’s health care program, and doctors, nurses, and other health care workers were part of the action. But there were also people from the Black Lives Matter movement and immigrant-rights and environmental groups. One chant was “Healthcare for all, we don’t need no wall.” And there were people who said they were at their first protest ever or the first in many years. A woman in her early 70s said, “In the 1960s people fought an illegal war. Now we’re fighting an illegal president.”

The night before, there were hundreds in the streets, near where the Republican congressional meeting was taking place, for a “Queer Rage(r): Guerrilla Dance Party.” The call for the action said, “Get ready to WERK it out. As they try to take away our health care, to police Black, Brown, Trans and Queer bodies, to regulate our bodies, we’re here to say #WeAreQueer #WeAreHere #WeWillDance.”

Philadelphia, January 26
Photo: Twitter/Jimmi Phoenix

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/trump-pence-regime-beats-hitlers-record-for-censorship-and-modern-day-book-burning-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Trump-Pence Regime Beats Hitler's Record for Censorship and Modern-Day Book Burning

January 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Hitler came to power on January 30, 1933.

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

Joseph Goebbels, German propaganda minister, speaks on the night of book burning. Berlin, Germany, May 10, 1933.
Joseph Goebbels, German propaganda minister, speaks on the night of book burning. Berlin, Germany, May 10, 1933. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)

“During the spring of 1933, Nazi student organizations, professors, and librarians made up long lists of books they thought should not be read by Germans. Then, on the night of May 10, 1933, Nazis raided libraries and bookstores across Germany. They marched by torchlight in nighttime parades, sang chants, and threw books into huge bonfires. On that night more than 25,000 books were burned. Some were works of Jewish writers, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Most of the books were by non-Jewish writers, including such famous Americans as Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, and Sinclair Lewis, whose ideas the Nazis viewed as different from their own and therefore not to be read.

“The Nazi censors also burned the books of Helen Keller, who had overcome her deafness and blindness to become a respected writer; told of the book burnings, she responded: ‘Tyranny cannot defeat the power of ideas.’”

Today, in less than a week, the Trump-Pence regime has moved to wipe out all mention of climate science and climate data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. This is because Trump and his fascist “team” consider climate change a “hoax” and the American people should not be “exposed” to this “junk science”. For these fascists, never mind that this is empirical data about the real world, summed up and synthesized using the scientific method.

Let’s see this for what it is—21st-century book burning!

The USHMM site goes on to say:

[in 1933...] “Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States protested the book burnings, a clear violation of freedom of speech, in public rallies in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and St. Louis.”

Inside Germany itself, however, there were no demonstrations against this book burning. (See Why Did The Heavens Not Darken by Arno J. Mayer.)

Some scientists have announced projects to save crucial climate data on non-government servers. They are anticipating outright destruction of data and accumulated scientific knowledge about climate change by a Trump administration. The Trump forces have already threatened to de-fund the satellite system run by the U.S. that gathers climate and other data for the entire world. This knowledge belongs to humanity—it is not for some Nazis in the U.S. to destroy to enforce blindness, ignorance and their savage rule. What will we here in the U.S. do? This cannot be allowed to stand.

One good sign is this:

“Employees from more than a dozen U.S. government agencies have established a network of unofficial ‘rogue’ Twitter feeds in defiance of what they see as attempts by President Donald Trump to muzzle federal climate change research and other science.” (Reuters) (See "U.S. government scientists go 'rogue' in defiance of Trump")

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/476/san-francisco-protesters-pledge-to-resist-trump-regimes-increasing-repression-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

San Francisco Protesters Pledge to Resist Trump Regime’s Increasing Repression

January 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On Friday, January 27, activists from World Can’t Wait, RefuseFascism.org, Colectiva de Mujeres, and Code Pink, along with others held an emergency protest at the Federal Building in San Francisco, condemning Donald Trump’s whole fascist regime and his escalating repression against the people, as seen in the string of his recent executive orders and pronouncements against immigrants and Muslims.

Activists opposed and pledged to resist:

* Building Trump’s wall

* Expanding border agents & giving them more power

* Jails for immigrants

* Targeting Central Americans who are fleeing violence

* Banning or restricting visas for people from majority Muslim countries

* Punishment for sanctuary cities

* Expanding use of torture including waterboarding

* Reopening CIA “black sites”

* Guantánamo

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/476/call-to-professors-and-students-make-university-a-zone-of-resistance-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

A Call to Professors, Students and All in Academia:
Starting This Semester… Make the University a Zone of Resistance to the Fascist Trump Regime and the Coming Assault on the Academy

January 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Sign, circulate, and act on this statement, inspired by refusefascism.org:

SIGN THIS CALL

 

Historically, the university has been the institution where dissent and critical thinking have had the greatest initiative in society. It has helped incubate social movements—like antiwar and civil rights, women's liberation and environmental. This vital role must be defended from fascist assault—and is needed more than ever.

The weekend of January 21st, millions in the U.S. and around the world marched to register their revulsion at the Trump-Pence regime. That same weekend the Trump-Pence regime pushed aggressively forward with its fascist agenda: an inaugural speech of chauvinistic and war-mongering "America first," then attacks on the press, followed by ominous declarations that this will be a "law and order" administration. What will come tomorrow?

The Trump-Pence regime threatens to bring catastrophe to humanity. We must expose the truth about the Trump regime, build resistance, and continue to demand its impeachment and removal.

We call on fellow academics and intellectuals to join the millions in the U.S. and around the world who have taken to the streets to oppose hate, racism, sexism, other forms of intolerance, dishonesty, and the authoritarianism of the Trump regime and its allies. Faculty and students must be encouraged to speak freely, in and out of class, about the dangerous character of the Trump regime. We must stand in solidarity with professors “named” and threatened for their progressive or radical views by the rightwing “Professor Watchlist” and other enforcers of the new McCarthyism.

The university must become a zone of resistance—a site of "NO" to fascism in America—and a haven of dissent, critical thinking, and free speech… and for upholding civil and human rights and liberties… and fostering society-wide resistance to this regime.

This semester:

Organize teach-ins and walk-ins, inviting students and others to come and speak up. Create new spaces to address this social emergency.

Classes and curriculum should reflect that we are facing a social emergency. Classes can become forums to discuss everything from what fascism is and the lessons of history, as in Germany… to Trump and the attack on civil liberties, women and LGBTQ, Black lives, immigrants, and the environment… to what this fascist agenda bodes for the university itself. Put "NO!" posters on blackboards and windows—and make them available to colleagues and students.

Be part of marches, demonstrations, and a visible presence on the streets and other public places.

Support and join with students who are organizing and engaging in resistance to the Trump regime. Stand with immigrant and Muslim students and professors, as well as outspoken professors, who are targeted and attacked. The movement for “sanctuary campuses” must expand, and pledges by administrations to protect undocumented students must be upheld no matter the pressures and orders.

The university community must find the ways to make common cause with, and invite into the community, people from all of walks of life who are resisting.

In these dark times, the resistance we mount can contribute to bringing a far better world into being.

Initial Signers:
Christopher Chase-Dunn, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of California, Riverside*
Fidel Fajardo-Acosta, Professor of English, Creighton University*
David J. Harris, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Harvard University*
Ivan Huber, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Fairleigh Dickinson University*
Raymond Lotta, Political economist, writer for Revolution/revcom.us
Ceasar McDowell, Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT*
Reverend John T. Pawlikowski, Professor of Social Ethics, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago*
Bruce Price, Harvard Medical School*
Phil Rice, Harvard Medical School*

*Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/476/protesters-go-up-against-christian-fascist-anti-abortion-march-and-trump-regime-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Protesters Go Up Against Christian Fascist Anti-Abortion March—and Trump Regime

January 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, DC, January 27
In front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, DC, January 27. Photo: Twitter/@NationalNOW

Video: NYC Revolution Club

Friday, January 27—Determined protesters went up in the face of thousands of reactionary anti-abortion fanatics who were doing their annual march in DC, and who were newly pumped up because of the ascension of the Trump-Pence regime to power. They call their event the “March for Life”—but it is really a March for Forced Motherhood and March for Extreme Patriarchy. Vice President Mike Pence addressed the crowd—the first time a high-level White House official spoke in person at this anti-abortion march (in previous years Republican presidents have spoken by video or audio). Against this Christian fascist mob, protesters from NOW, Stop Patriarchy, Refuse Fascism, Georgetown University, and others called for defense of safe and legal abortions and resistance against the assaults on the rights and the very lives of women.

 

Stop Patriarchy, Georgetown University students, and others in front of the Supreme Court, January 27
Stop Patriarchy, Georgetown University students, and others in front of the Supreme Court, January 27. Photo: Twitter/NYCRevolutionClub

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/476/projection-protest-twitter-hq-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Projection Protest on Twitter HQs Demands: Stop Promoting Trump's Fascist Hate Speech

January 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At Twitter headquarters, San Francisco, January 26
Photo: Twitter/@AEMarling

San Francisco, January 26—Around 20 protesters gathered outside Twitter’s headquarters on Thursday evening for a “Projection Protest” demanding that Twitter stop collaborating with Donald Trump by amplifying his hate speech and his threats. The activists projected huge messages on the side of Twitter’s building comparing Trump to Hitler. One of the messages projected for all to see asked: “Would Twitter Ban Hitler?” Others said “#No Twitter For Trump” and “Mouthpiece of Fascism.” Many people on the street stopped to join the chant “Twitter’s gotta dump the @realdonaldtrump” and to photograph the words projected on Twitter’s building. “Twitter is allowing itself to be the mouthpiece of fascism and the greatest propaganda machine the world has ever known,” the protest’s Facebook event reads. “To this we say no. Twitter endangers the world by amplifying Dishonest Donald’s ignorance in regards to foreign policy and nuclear proliferation. To this we say no.” A.E. Marling of refusefascism.org, lead organizer of the protests, said, “Because of Twitter’s anti-abuse policies, because of their stated commitment to social justice, and because they do business in San Francisco, they should ban @realDonaldTrump. Giving voice to a fascist and allowing him to spew his hatred and ignorance not only threatens to destroy our democracy, but could also lead to the next world war.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/476/trump-whitewashes-the-holocaust-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Trump Whitewashes the Holocaust—a Gauntlet Is Thrown Down for Humanity

January 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Donald Trump issued a statement on Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27, that had no mention of Jewish people—the people who were overwhelmingly the victims of the Holocaust. Nor did he acknowledge the Nazis’ systematic and complete annihilation of other demonized and persecuted people—Roma people, handicapped people, LGBT people, radicals, dissidents and communists. Instead, Trump made vague references to “victims, survivors, heroes” and “innocent people,” specifically avoiding noting who the victims were.

History is filled with examples where people fought against tremendous odds and were fictorious...
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The Holocaust was one of the great crimes in human history. Under Adolf Hitler, the Nazis gassed to death, buried alive, killed in mob pogroms, starved, and tortured to death six million Jews and others. And while their Jewish neighbors, colleagues, and friends were rounded up for extermination, the German people and others overwhelmingly stood by in passive complicity.

The omission of any mention of Jews or the other victims of Nazis genocide was no “slip-up.” At a moment when the parallels between Trump and the rise of Hitler are coming into sharper and sharper focus, Trump’s “Holocaust Remembrance” statement was so vague and meaningless that it essentially constituted Holocaust denial. And on the very same day Trump issued this statement, he singled out one religious group—Muslims—from entering the United States, while demonizing them and targeting them for surveillance and vastly intensified persecution.

The lesson of the Holocaust is that “never again” should humanity stand by while any group of people is singled out for demonization and persecution leading up to genocide. And that such moves must be opposed from the beginning, before it is too late, regardless of who is singled out first.

Trump has thrown down a gauntlet for humanity. The lesson of the actual Holocaust must be learned from and acted on right now.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/476/march-for-science-planned-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

March for Science Planned for Washington, DC, and Across the Country

January 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In just one week of power, Trump and Pence have launched a fascist blitzkrieg on federal agencies dealing with the environment and science in general. Media blackouts have been imposed on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and on the Interior, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services Departments. Climate change information was scrubbed from the White House website on day one. Even before the inauguration, Trump officials started a witchhunt in the Department of Energy, demanding the names of officials who participated in climate change talks. This week, the National Park Service (NPS) was banned from tweeting after their Twitter account retweeted images comparing Trump’s and Obama’s inauguration crowds. These are beginning moves to curtail and suppress scientific work and inquiry from being done, and from reaching the public. 

Simultaneously, Trump and his fascist mouthpieces are engaging in a daily drumbeat to obliterate scientific reality itself and impose on society a phony Trumpworld universe of “alternative facts.” Trump and Pence are moving to, at the very least, eliminate major aspects of scientific work from being done, and to remake science into little more than a tool in the service of a vicious, fascist regime.

In response to Trump’s attacks on science and inspired by the Women’s March, scientists have come forward to organize a March for Science on Washington, D.C., and across the country. According to the Washington Post, the march sprang from conversations by scientists on Reddit. In less than a week, over a half million people have joined the march’s Facebook page, and its twitter account @ScienceMarchDC has 260,000 followers. The scientists march is planned for sometime in March. Satellite marches in other cities are also developing.

The March for Science on Washington webpage explains the purpose for the march:

Although this will start with a march, we hope to use this as a starting point to take a stand for science in politics. Slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public is absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy. This is a non-partisan issue that reaches far beyond people in the STEM* fields and should concern anyone who values empirical research and science. 

There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives. The Earth is becoming warmer due to human action. The diversity of life arose by evolution. Politicians who devalue expertise risk making decisions that do not reflect reality and must be held accountable. An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world.

As this is quickly gaining ground, rogue alternative governmental Twitter accounts for the EPA, NASA, the Center for Disease Control, Department of Interior, etc., have sprung up to counter the Trumpian assault on truth and continue to get out to the people scientific facts and knowledge on climate change and many other topics.

All this is very important, timely, and welcome resistance, and revcom.us will be reporting on this further.


*STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering and Math [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/476/trumps-executive-order-attacking-refugees-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Trump's Executive Order Attacking Refugees

"Extreme Vetting"=Extreme Cruelty and Racism, with a Genocidal Logic

January 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Today Donald Trump signed an executive order that all-but-openly brands all Muslims as “terrorists” unless they can prove they are not, and then treats them as criminals who will be denied even the most basic acts of humanity, such as providing refuge to people seeking safety and sustenance for themselves and their children. And he launched a criminal attack on refugees from the non-Muslim world as well.

This order (signed on International Holocaust Remembrance Day) immediately evoked the shameful memory of how the U.S. refused to accept Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi genocide during World War 2, turning ships away from its ports and sending thousands back to die in Hitler’s gas chambers.

In fact, U.S. immigration and refugee policies have always been quite racist and cold-blooded. In the case of Syria, the U.S. was taking a relatively tiny number of refugees even before Trump’s order. (The U.S. settled 10,000 Syrians last year; Canada, with one-ninth the population of the U.S., took 35,000.) And Obama carried out a policy of imprisoning whole families of refugees from Central America.

       

But Trump is going much further in slamming the door on desperate people, and in “modeling,” feeding on and whipping up a heartless spirit of narrow-minded selfishness and ugly American chauvinism—the outlook that it doesn’t matter how many other people suffer and die, all that matters is the safety and comfort of Americans. “From now on, America First,” he bellowed at his inauguration, and he is only beginning to show us the horrors that those words foretold.

Even more ominous is the genocidal demonization of all Muslims that this order embodies. “We don’t want them here,” Trump said today in defending the order. He pretended to be speaking of “Islamic terrorists,” but quite plainly he was referring to all Muslim people—and taking the first major leap to fulfilling his campaign threat to ban all Muslims from entry to the U.S.

The order references terrorist incidents in the U.S. apparently carried out by people who had emigrated from Muslim countries. Horrible though these incidents were, they are a minuscule part of the massive violence in the U.S., and the even vaster violence on a world scale. Roger Cohen, writing in the New York Times, cited a study showing that a person in the U.S. has a 1-in-3.64 billion chance of being killed in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee.

And of course, the order does not mention white-supremacist terrorist acts like Dylan Roof’s killing of nine Black people in a church, Christian fundamentalist terrorists who bomb abortion clinics and kill doctors, or the rising tide of violent hate attacks on Muslims (as well as Blacks, Latinos and Jews) by people who are “inspired” by Trump to go out and terrorize innocent people.

And still less does it mention the unholy terror that the U.S. has rained down on the Middle East for decades, killing millions of people, destroying the social and economic structure of several countries, and creating the situation in which millions of people from that region are forced to flee for their lives (and also the conditions in which a small minority of Muslim people get drawn into Islamic jihadism).

But this reality is no barrier to Trump whipping up racist fear and hatred of “Muslim terrorists.” And this racism has a logic and a direction. If all Muslims from the Middle East are “suspected terrorists,” then what about the Muslims already here? Doesn’t the logic of this order say that they too need to prove themselves innocent before they can be trusted? And then, what to do with them “until” they have passed whatever racist tests the fascists devise for them?

This order will immediately lead to more suffering and death for hundreds of thousands of refugees, and the logic behind it will lead to even more barbaric attacks on people in Muslim countries, and potentially to genocidal attacks on Muslims here. And it will in turn give strength and encouragement to similar fascist and anti-immigrant forces in Europe, including in governments, where millions of people who are seeking refuge are facing barbed wire and heavily policed borders, police sweeps on their settlement camps, and attacks from racist mobs.

Trump’s order and the toxic outlook and orientation it represents must be opposed with fearless determination by people of all faiths and nationalities, from now forward.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/475/immigrants-detained-immediately-after-trumps-anti-muslim-order-and-hundreds-protest-at-jfk-airport-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

Immigrants Detained Immediately After Trump's Anti-Muslim Order—Thousands Protest at JFK and Airports Across the Country

January 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 28, 2017:

JFK Airport, NYC

 

JFK Airport, NYC

 

O'Hare Airport, Chicago

 

JFK Airport, NYC

 

Denver International Airport, CO

 

Washington Dulles Airport, Virginia

 

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Dallas, TX

 

Seattle–Tacoma Airport, Seattle, WA

When Trump signed an executive order on Friday targeting Muslim immigrants and refugees (see "'Extreme Vetting'=Extreme Cruelty and Racism, with a Genocidal Logic"), there were immigrants already in the air on the way to the U.S. or waiting to board planes at overseas airports. The order immediately shut the door on them, and some were taken into detention.

Hundreds of people quickly gathered at JFK Airport to demand the release of refugees who had begun their trip to the U.S. before Trump signed his order, and were then detained when they landed. The protest grew to more than 2,000 by late afternoon and early evening (see "From the JFK Protest: Thousands Block Airport Street: 'No deportations. No Muslim registry. No fascist USA!'"). This is very good—and something everyone should learn from: the Trump-Pence regime's fascist actions must not become normalized but must be resisted immediately. The JFK action denounced the detentions and the Trump ban on Muslim immigrants and refugees, and called for welcoming refugees and immigrants. Michael Moore tweeted out a call for people to come to join the JFK protest. One of the chants raised by the protesters is "Hey, hey, JFK—No Fascist USA!"

People mobilized to protest at airports in other cities across the U.S., including Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Newark, and Denver

The ACLU and the Council on American-Islamic Relations are filing lawsuits challenging Trump's order. Omar Jadwat, director of ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said, "President Trump's war on equality is already taking a terrible human toll. This ban cannot be allowed to continue." Saturday night, a judge in Brooklyn, New York, issued a stay on a part of Trump's executive order—ruling that the affected refugees and immigrants who arrived yesterday in the U.S. should not be sent back. This is estimated to affect 200 people across the U.S. And the order also said immigrants and refugees with approved documents who were about to come to the U.S. should also not be sent back to their countries of origin. But it is not clear at all as of Saturday night what will happen to these people, and it is possible the 200 or so in the U.S. airports may be sent to detention centers.

Trump's order puts a freeze on all refugees from entering the U.S. and an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. It also put into effect a ban on any immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries entering the U.S. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said they received more than 1,000 calls by noon on Saturday from people who had been stranded or detained at U.S. and overseas airports as a result of Trump's order.

Among the 11 people detained at the JFK Airport in New York City were two Iraqi refugees. One had worked as an interpreter for the U.S. in Iraq was detained for 19 hours before being released. With tears in his eyes as he spoke to reporters, he put his hands behind his back to show how he had been handcuffed by border agents. Another man was still in custody as of Saturday afternoon; when his lawyer asked a border agent "Who is the person we need to talk to?", the agent said, "Call Mr. Trump."

According to USA Today, "Abed Ayoud, legal and policy director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said legal immigrants who were traveling overseas to attend funerals and visit family when Trump signed his order are now unable to return to the U.S. Foreigners studying at U.S. universities who were part of study abroad programs are also stuck."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on a Syrian family—two parents and four kids aged 6 to 15—who were due to finally leave the Turkish refugee camp they are in early next week and arrive to re-settle in Cleveland. Their plans are now scrapped—like many others from Syria and other countries who are trying to flee desperate and dangerous conditions. Danielle Drake, an official with the refugee resettlement organization in Cleveland, noted to the Plain Dealer that this was taking place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and said, "That this can happen on this day is disturbing on so many levels. All those times that people said 'never again,' well we're doing it again. We're turning people away again (referring to U.S. turning away of Jewish refugees before World War 2). Have we not learned from the past?"

What happened on the very first day under Trump's order for "extreme vetting" of Muslim refugees and immigrants is an outrage. And it indicates a very ominous logic and direction, including very possibly registry, round-ups and other genocidal attacks on Muslim people here in the U.S.

 

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/476/professor-watchlist-targeting-critical-thinking-and-dissent-in-the-universities-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

"Professor Watchlist"—
Targeting Critical Thinking and Dissent in the Universities

January 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

BAsics 4:10 by Bob Avakian
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A dangerous movement on the campuses across the country jumped out right after the election—the “Professor Watchlist”—which has begun identifying professors whose scholarship, curricula, and role as public intellectuals are seen by its organizers as un-American and unacceptable. While this kind of attack on academia is not new, it is now taking place in an atmosphere and against the backdrop of the rise to power of a fascist regime, and with clear support from its highest levels.

This witch hunt began by publicizing the names of 195 professors, along with photographs, and descriptions of the “crimes” which earned them a place on the “enemies” list. Who is being targeted? The stated objective of the Professor Watchlist is to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” And the organizers are calling on students to report any professors they believe belong on the list.

What Can Get You on the Professor Watchlist?

Here are just a few of the activities that can put you on the list to be watched:

Fascists Target the University as Dangerous Source of Evidence-Based Thinking

The Professor Watchlist is organized by Turning Point USA, a reactionary student group started in 2012, which is funded by very rich right-wing donors, including the governor of Illinois, and claims to have chapters on more than 1,000 campuses. Their founder, Charlie Kirk—in his early 20s—was invited to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland that anointed Trump as their candidate. And he has met with the Trump-Pence transition team—because he is considered capable of mobilizing millennials into a reactionary student movement that will transform the atmosphere on the campuses.

This development must be taken extremely seriously. Trump fully intends to enforce his America First program, and bring the force of the state against any sectors of society that seriously oppose him. These fascists understand that the universities are one institution in society that can stand in the way of the fundamental reordering of society that their America First program requires. The Trump administration, which brazenly promotes notions of “alternative facts,” sees the university as a dangerous source of evidence-based thinking. As Raymond Lotta has pointed out: “The university is a place where dissent and 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.”

While the watchlist is going after a range of professors, the Trump administration, which dismisses the scientific consensus on human-made climate change, has been putting a particular target on the backs of climate scientists. It is attempting to shut down NASA’s climate-change research and monitoring and vetting the research of NASA and other government agency employees. As Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Penn State, wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed: “We know that we could be hauled before Congress to face hostile questioning.... We know we could be at the receiving end of federal subpoenas demanding our personal emails. We know we could see our research grants audited or revoked.” Mann also recounts email and phone threats of violence against him.

There is precedent for this kind of witch hunt with the nationwide campaign launched by David Horowitz against critical thinking and dissent in academia a decade ago, and the publication of his 2006 book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. This went hand-in-hand with the Ward Churchill case—an overtly politically motivated attack by the University of Colorado which fired Churchill, a tenured professor and chair of Native American Studies, for an essay he wrote after 9/11. The firing of a tenured professor for the content of an essay criticizing the government seriously chilled the atmosphere among faculty on campuses everywhere.

       

There is already growing concern among those who have appeared on the list, and more broadly, about where and how far this can go, way beyond anything accomplished in the campaign by Horowitz and his allies in the Bush administration. People are recognizing the connection between the Professor Watchlist and Trump’s assumption to power. A journalism professor at Columbia University whose name was added to the list expressed his fears: “We have a list, we know who you are – then suddenly you’re marking people as targets. We look at history, we saw it happen in Italy, in Germany with this kind of thing, we saw it with McCarthy ... that’s my fear, that these buffoons are taken seriously.”

That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn--or be forced--to accept.
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Retired professor Ellen Schrecker, author of No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities—about a period in the U.S. in the 1950s when thousands in academic and cultural and political life were subjected to investigation, blacklisting, and dismissal from positions (also known as the “Red Scare”)—was interviewed about the Professor Watchlist by the Boston NPR station WBUR in December 2016. Comparing the watchlist to the McCarthy period, Schrecker said she wasn’t sure whether people would lose their jobs; and then added, “One just hopes that the academic community doesn’t fold. It did fold in the 1950s.” After describing the treatment of three university professors who were targeted by McCarthy, then fired from the university, with one being sent to prison, Schrecker said: “What made the Red Scare’s effect insidious was that it produced not resistance, but silence.”

Beginning Opposition—and the Need for Broader Determined Resistance

There has been a positive response by many of the faculty appearing on the watchlist—both taking it very seriously and refusing to be intimidated. And colleagues and others have stepped forward in support. In response to the appearance of the names of colleagues at the University of Notre Dame on the watchlist, more than 100 professors on the campus sent a powerful statement to Professor Watchlist, which said in part:

We will not tolerate our colleagues being subject to policing of their work, their thoughts and their teaching. We will not repeat the passivity of the past, when intellectuals were blacklisted for disagreeing with a particular agenda. When you challenge them, you challenge us.

As of January 8, more than 2,250 professors from campuses in this country and beyond have signed the statement, telling the watchlist that they want their names added as well.

But there needs to be much more awareness within the academic community, and in society as a whole, of the significance of where this whole assault on dissent and critical thinking is coming from, and the larger picture that fits into. In 2007, in a special supplement titled “WARNING: The Nazification of the American University,” we wrote about the offensive on critical thinking and dissent in academia at that time, surrounding the attack on Ward Churchill. The following from that special supplement is critical to understanding the urgency of taking these attacks seriously; at this moment when critical thinking and dissent must be fostered, not muzzled or silenced:

Bob Avakian, in analyzing the core objectives behind this organized attack on academia, has emphasized that today’s imperialist agenda cannot stand up to critical thinking and a rational pursuit of the truth. And so those behind this agenda have to change the definition of what is the truth and how the truth is arrived at. And they have to rule out of order and beyond the pale critical thinking and dissent that would call into question not only the justification of particular policies, but also the foundation on which those justifications are built. (We encourage readers to listen to BA’s talk “Balance” Is the Wrong Criterion—And a Cover for a Witch-hunt—What We Need Is the Search for the Truth: Education, Real Academic Freedom, Critical Thinking and Dissent,” one of his 7 Talks.)

Students, faculty, and administrations on the campuses must stand up to this witch hunt by mobilizing and organizing to meet this menace. And broader segments of society must join with them. We must defend those who have been singled out for attack and, more fundamentally, defend the ability of professors and students to hold—and propagate—dissenting and radical views.

At this moment, with the rise of this American fascist Trump regime, it is vitally important that the new generation of students and professors oppose Trump’s campus goons, and step forward to defend the unfettered search for the truth, intellectual ferment, and dissent. One way or another, this struggle over the university and intellectual life will have profound repercussions on the struggle to refuse fascism—and on the prospects for bringing a whole new society into being.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/476/jfk-protest-thousands-block-airport-street-en.html

Revolution #475 January 23, 2017

From the JFK Protest

Thousands Block Airport Street: "No deportations. No Muslim registry. No fascist USA!"

January 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We received this report direct from the January 28 protest of thousands at JFK Airport in New York City.

Protest at JFK airport, January 28

Protesting Muslim ban at JFK Airport, January 28
JFK Airport, January 28. (Credits: top: AP; bottom: revcom.us)

Several thousand people were here at one point at John F. Kennedy Airport. When we first arrived here around 6 pm, there were people who had been here all day. For the last hour or two, people have been blocking the road outside Terminal 4, shutting down the traffic, and demanding that the people who had been detained be released. People were chanting “No deportations. No Muslim registry. No fascist USA!” This is what the people who were leading the protest were chanting. They were also chanting at different times “No Trump, No KKK, No fascist USA!," "No ban, no registry, fuck white supremacy!” “Refugees are welcome here—let them in, let them in!” “Fuck Donald Trump”—that was very popular. There’s still (around 9:30 pm) hundreds of people in the streets, blocking traffic. There were a lot of people holding the “NO!” sign from Refuse Fascism.

There is a whole determined atmosphere here among the people of: This has to stop! We’re not going to allow this. There were a lot of people calling Trump a fascist. There was an extended Egyptian family out here, agitating about doing here what the Egyptian people did in Tahrir Square (during Arab Spring in 2011,when they drove out the U.S.-backed ruler, Mubarak). This was a very young crowd. Obviously, there were a lot of people from the Middle East, but this was a very diverse crowd. White, Latino, Black—but among people generally, again, a real feeling that we cannot let what Trump is trying to do happen. There were people saying that they follow RefuseFascism.org.

An Egyptian-American woman at the protest told Revolution/revcom.us, “I’m an American citizen, here at JFK, I’m at Terminal 4. I came here today with my family to defend the rights of fellow Americans that have been banned from coming back home, or poor refugees that have been forced out of their homes by tyrants and dictators in their own countries, and have been seeking refuge at our home. And we’re turning them away. We said it before, ‘Never again,’ and we say it again, ‘Never again.’ We cannot let such a travesty take place and be quiet about it. We cannot. We have to keep up the fight, we have to let them know that this is not right. This is not about Republicans and Democrats. This is about morals, about principle. This is about what’s right and what’s wrong. And this is absolutely wrong! Not acceptable. And we are not going to stand for it.”