Revolution #480, February 27, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Why It's Not Just Right, but Highly Illuminating and Very Necessary to Compare Trump to Hitler

by Sunsara Taylor

February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

What Is Fascism?

Tuesday night, on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, I said: “A fascist regime has seized the reins of power in the sole superpower in the world. Trump and Pence are operating out of Hitler’s playbook, only they have nuclear weapons.”

The next morning, Fox News assembled a panel to debate whether I had “gone too far.” The Democrat on the panel, Julie Roginsky, insisted that only people who carry out mass genocide deserve such a comparison. She further argued that Hitler had immediately eradicated all opposition in the Reichstag (German parliament) and enforced all sorts of laws that she believed Donald Trump “would not enforce,” but also “wouldn’t be allowed to enforce.” All the pundits agreed: “Certainly there is no place to analogize anybody to Adolf Hitler in American public life today.”

I disagree. But, I am glad this question has come up. A lot can be learned by honestly exploring it.

History Never Exactly Repeats Itself, but There Are Real Patterns That Can Shed Light

First, let’s get something out of the way. History never repeats itself exactly. During Hitler’s rise, Germany was coming out of defeat in World War 1, was in the throes of a major depression, and faced a popular communist movement and broad sections of very combative and progressive working people. The U.S. ruling class does not face that situation. But it does face an international situation increasingly fraught with challenges to its geopolitical, military, and economic domination. It does face a situation in which different sections of the ruling class are sharply divided over the “legitimating norms” of society—that is, the common set of values and morality around which the society is broadly understood, held together, and cohered. Quite a bit of this crisis flows out of the conflict between the foundational and structural character of the U.S. as a white supremacist society, and the way this has been challenged over the past 50 years—both through righteous liberation struggles and through major demographic changes, like the growing number of immigrants. And while the U.S. does not face a major depression right now, there is no work for huge sections of the working class (speaking here of the multinational U.S. working class, made up of Black, Latino, Arab, Asian, and other nationalities, as well as white), living standards and future prospects have gone significantly down for sections of the working class that do have jobs, and large sections of the middle class also face great uncertainty.

So, no, the U.S. does not face the exact circumstances of Germany; but the contradictions and problems it DOES face have proven extremely intractable. In the face of this, there have been increasingly strong fascist currents brought forward over a whole period of decades. In this situation, Trump has been able to cohere forces and come to power determined to carry out a fully fascist restructuring of society. And let us not fail to notice, Trump has already inherited—and has vowed to massively strengthen—a repressive apparatus that goes far beyond what Hitler inherited when he came to power. And, Trump—unlike Hitler—has unchecked personal control over the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and is clearly itching to use it. During a briefing, he asked three times, “If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?”

Fascism Advances Aggressively, but Also in Stages

Next, let’s set the record straight. In contrast to the simplistic and inaccurate view put forward by Roginsky (as well as Carlson), Hitler did not carry out all his greatest crimes on day one or even his first years in power. For example, while it was clear from the beginning Hitler had an anti-Semitic program of eliminating Jews from German society, this went through a process which included leaps as well as periods of stability during which many Jews unfortunately convinced themselves that the “worst was over.” The wave of terror and the laws expelling Jews from many aspects of public life and the economy in 1933-34 caused tremendous suffering and humiliation, but was still not on the same level as Kristallnacht—the night of the shattered crystal—in 1938 when some 7,000 Jewish businesses were ransacked, over 1,000 synagogues were burned, many Jews were murdered, and tens of thousands were rounded up to concentration camps. And even that was not the same as the decision to carry out the full-on mass extermination of Jews which was made in 1942.

Roginsky is probably familiar with the famous quote from Pastor Martin Niemöller. What did he say? That they came for everyone all at once? No. He said, “First they came for the communists, but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist... Then they came for the Jews...” and on and on. He describes a process that was telescoped, but still a process nonetheless... and when you look at what Trump has already been doing, it is stark how far along the process today already is. It’s not for nothing that as early as midweek of Trump’s first week in office, protest signs started popping up that read, “First they came for the Muslims, then they came for the Mexicans, then the women, then the climate scientists, then the media, then LGBT people... and then it was Wednesday.”

       

Hitler utilized the incident of the burning down of the German legislature (the “Reichstag fire”) that took place early in his regime to single out the communists in particular for severe repression to jump-start this process. Trump has not yet had such an “incident” to use, but once one happens—whether it be something along the lines of the Orlando massacre or something staged or some combination of the two—does anyone doubt he will attempt to seize on this to qualitatively escalate repression? Even without such an incident, the dizzying pace of Trump’s repressive assaults should serve as warning.

So, what is the essence of this process? RefuseFascism.org has written: “Fascism has direction and momentum. Dissent is piece by piece criminalized. The truth is bludgeoned. Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory that leads to real horrors.” Fascism is not just a collection of horrific policies, it is a qualitative change in how society is governed. Longstanding political and social norms are shredded, violence is whipped up and unleashed against demonized groups, the ability of the people and of oppositional forces within the governing structures to disagree or resist is obliterated with democratic rights essentially eliminated. All this sets the stage for, and makes it immeasurably difficult to resist, unfathomable horrors.

This is what Hitler did, and this is what the Trump/Pence regime is moving aggressively right now to do as well. Let’s walk through the most essential features and dynamics of Hitler’s  program and how these same essential features are manifesting themselves today by the Trump/Pence regime.

Fomenting and Unleashing Violence

Trump, like Hitler did, came to power by lambasting all who opposed him as “enemies” and whipping up violence against them and the people. This goes far beyond the normal rivalries and often vicious power struggles within the ruling class. And this goes far beyond the “normal” levels of unjust government repression—political arrests and imprisonment, racist police terror and mass incarceration, massive spying and more.

Think about it: Trump led frenzied chants that his opponent should be locked up. He suggested she should be assassinated. This is important to grasp: fascists MUST attack and destroy the previous “rules of the game” which allow a certain degree of space for disagreement and argument over how to defend and extend capitalism-imperialism and intimidate other sections into silence in order to implement the radical re-ordering of society they intend.

And they DO intend to not just maintain but to qualitatively intensify the repression that masses of people face in this society. Trump openly longed for the days when protesters were “carried out on a stretcher” and offered to pay the legal fees of anyone who assaulted a protester. He bellows endlessly about “law and order” (police state terror against Black and Brown people), has massively expanded deportation forces and begun terroristic raids, all while downplaying or excusing the violence unleashed by his supporters against immigrants, Muslims, Black people, and others. Again, this is coming on top of—and intensifying—the already existing levels of terror and repression against those groups to a far more dangerous level. And it is just the beginning. Fascism rules through the open use of unrestrained legal and mob violence.

Bludgeoning the Truth and the Press

Trump, like Hitler did, has open contempt for the truth and violent animosity towards anyone who challenges his LIES. This goes far beyond the regular lies told by politicians and media. Trump is not only a world-class, habitual LIAR, he is working aggressively to destroy anyone who challenges his LIES. He calls the media “Fake News” and barks at them to “sit down” if they don’t ask “nice questions.” He has gone so far as to declare the media “the enemy of the people,” with the full threat of violence and suppression this implies. He sends his political hitmen out to repeat his lies and to insist, as Stephen Miller did, that the president is always “100 percent correct.” And now, even as I am finalizing this piece, the news is breaking that the Trump White House has barred the New York Times, CNN and other long-established bourgeois media from attending their press briefing, even as they have allowed in fascist outlets like Breitbart and others. Again, all this is just the beginning. Fascism insists on a centrally determined “narrative” in which there is no objective measure of what is true, and is determined to break any voice or institution that does not comply with this narrative.

Subverting the Separation of Powers

Trump, like Hitler did, is subverting the separation of powers and building supreme and unchecked power in his executive branch. This goes far beyond even the grotesque expansion of the executive power enacted by George W. Bush and carried forward by Barack Obama. Trump has repeatedly made clear his intent to openly defy the courts. In his inaugural address, Trump broke with precedent by refusing to pledge any responsibility to abide by the Constitution, instead pledging allegiance to the people who supported him. When the acting attorney general acted on the mandate of the U.S. Constitution, rather than the wishes of Trump to violate that Constitution, Trump immediately fired her. When a court blocked his January 27 Muslim ban, he called the judge a “so-called judge” and set him up as responsible for anything bad that happens to the U.S. Then he sent out his stone-cold advisor, Stephen Miller, to hammer home: “[W]e have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become in many cases a supreme branch of government. ... The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.” (emphasis added)

Exalting an Exclusionary and Racist Vision of “The People”

Trump, like Hitler did, has fostered a seemingly “mystical” bond between himself and the section of the population he deems deserving of the title “the people”—meanwhile defining “the people” in an extremely narrow, openly racist way that feeds the logic of genocide. Contrary to popular caricature, when Hitler came to power he initially toned down his hate-speech against Jews (even as his minions continued anti-Semitic agitation and actions). Instead, he invoked his absolute devotion to the German Volk (i.e., the people)—but everyone knew that Hitler didn’t consider Jews, Roma people, communists, or others he demonized to be part of “the Volk.” Similarly, Trump has pledged his allegiance repeatedly to “the long-forgotten American people.” But everyone knows he is not talking about Muslims (who he’s demonized and is working to ban), Mexicans and other Latinos (who he is already violently rounding up and deporting), Black people (who he threatens with even greater racist assault from the police and prisons with the code words “law and order”), women (who he bragged about sexually assaulting and said should be “punished” for abortion), or anyone who refuses to submit to his openly white supremacist, woman-hating, xenophobic program (recall his threat to imprison and strip citizenship from flag burners).

At the same time, Trump—like Hitler did—puts himself forward as a single, strongman leader against the “elites.” This coded language against “elites” (read: intellectuals) is straight out of the Hitler playbook, by the way, which goes along with the anti-Semitism that also suffuses the Trump movement.

Actually, the Hitler analogy in this case could serve to underplay how dangerous Trump is: Hitler did not come to power in a society which had built itself on the genocide of one people and the enslavement over the course of centuries of another, and then the imposition of a system of racist oppression even after that enslavement ended. All the more reason to fully confront the utter catastrophe the consolidation of Trump/Pence would represent and why it is so urgent to drive them out.

Deeper, Driving Contradictions and Needs of an Empire

Trump has come to power at a time when the U.S. is confronting major changes in the world and internally that threaten to spin out of control. Powerful uprisings and protests have shaken this country against police murder of Black people and others, even as white supremacy has surged. The country is equally polarized around the role of women, immigrants, LGBTQ people, the importance of science and reality of global climate change, and more. Starkly different visions of  morality, justice, and humanity contend in a way not seen since the 1960s, and perhaps the Civil War.

Internationally, U.S. military and economic supremacy is threatened—by wars that have gone disastrously wrong in the Middle East and North Africa, by emerging threats from China and Russia, and many other factors. The post World War 2 economic and political order is going through upheaval, with the rise of reactionary and racist nationalism and fascism going on throughout Europe and the U.S., while Islamic fundamentalist jihadism continues to gain ground in the Middle East, North and now sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and Indonesia. 65 million people are refugees from military and ecological catastrophe.

Trump seeks to violently reassert U.S. supremacy in the world and to remake society in a way that not only holds things together, but “Makes America Great Again” no matter what the cost. In doing so, Trump has drawn together several strains of fascism that have been building in this country for decades, including various white supremacists, as well as powerful (often overlapping) Christian fascist forces with enormous influence in the courts, the military, and high finance. This Christian fascism—with its enslaving view of women—echoes the Nazis as well, who criminalized abortion (for “Aryan” women) and erected a vicious cult that exulted motherhood while shaming and then eliminating women who would not or could not “breed” for the nation. Bob Avakian sounded the alarm on this 20 years ago and has developed this analysis since, and I urge anyone seriously trying to understand what we face to dig into this work. (Trump’s reliance on the Christian fascists is, ironically, one area where he could be said to differ from Hitler, who forged a different cohering morality; but in both cases, there was an absolutist moral code which deemed some people to be sub-human and undeserving or humane treatment.)

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All these elements—and others which are gone into in various articles and analyses at www.revcom.us—work together as part of a package. As revcom.us has written, “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.’”

Fascism Must Be Stopped BEFORE It Is Too Late

But, Tucker Carlson taunted me, “If it’s a fascist regime, how are you on this show?”

This was nothing but a debater’s trick distortion. I clearly said a fascist regime has “seized the reins of power,” not that it has fully consolidated and locked their fascist order into place. And, that is exactly the point. Just like the key to treating a particularly aggressive cancer is to catch it before it has spread throughout the whole body, so is it necessary to rise up and drive out a fascist regime before it is too late.

Quoting again from Refuse Fascism’s Call to Action, “Even as the Trump/Pence Regime is moving fast, they have not yet fully consolidated their regime, or, as yet, been able to implement their full program. But, this is their objective and it is very possible. It might only take a single crisis—international or domestic—for this regime to drop the hammer. We do not have much time.”

For the very same reason that Hitler analogies shouldn’t be made lightly, when the analogy does shed light on the situation that we face every single person better look into it deeply and act accordingly, and with great urgency.

Go to RefuseFascism.org. Read and sign the Call to Action. Spread it everywhere. Act together with people across this country to carry out the four essential tasks identified: take up the single unifying objective to drive this regime from power; spread the symbol NO!; meet every outrage from the regime with growing resistance; and organize—working with all our creativity and determination toward the time when millions of people can be mobilized to stay in the streets night after night and day after day, demanding and not stopping until the Trump/Pence Regime is Driven From Power.

Do this not just for ourselves, but in the name of humanity.

 

 


 

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Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Trump Escalates Attacks on Press

The Stakes in the Attempt to Silence the Media

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

 

 

On Friday, February 24, Trump and his regime further intensified their dangerous and outrageous assaults on the press. At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in a speech filled with fascist venom, Trump’s major focus of attack was on the media. He said, “A few days ago, I called the fake news the enemy of the people because they have no sources—they just make it up.” And he claimed, “They are very smart, they are very cunning, they are very dishonest. It doesn’t represent the people; it never will represent the people.” He demanded that the press name their sources and claimed “they just make them up when there are none.”

Just a couple of hours after this, the regime made an unprecedented move to bar a number of specific news organizations from a White House press event. Reporters from the New York Times, CNN, Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed News, and Politico were refused entry into a scheduled briefing by Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer. Only those handpicked by the regime were allowed in, including reactionary outlets like Breitbart News, Washington Times,and One America News Network, and several others like ABC, CBS, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg. Reporters from Time magazine and the Associated Press had been among those given permission to attend the briefing but chose not to participate—in protest of the White House actions, according to the New York Times.

New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet said of the barring of specific news organizations: “Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties.” In fact, this is indeed part of an unprecedented presidential assault on the U.S. press, and it must be opposed.

The media being targeted perform a specific function under capitalist-imperialist rule. They report the news through a framework which assumes the basic good intentions of the U.S. government and ruling class around the world, and the basically just character of the social relations of U.S. society. As part of this, they shape the terms of debate around key social questions. Within these constraints and framework, they at times investigate and expose abuses and outrages and air some dissenting opinions, in part to check one or another part of the ruling class from getting too powerful and also to point to abuses that, from the point of view of some defenders of the system, should be brought to light and reformed.

They also adhere, as part of this, to some standards of objective reporting—again, coming from a long-term view of preserving the system. Such was the case during the Vietnam War, in which many reporters, at least initially coming from a standpoint of defending what they understood to be democratic ideals and even U.S. interests, as well as objectively reporting the truth, brought to light important crimes being committed by American forces. At that point, these reporters and the institutions they worked for incurred the wrath of the Johnson and Nixon administrations, but even then nothing close to what is being done now was attempted in terms of intimidation and suppression (though in later wars the U.S. government took care to much more closely rein in and control reporters).

What the Trump regime is now carrying out with unprecedented vigor is an attempt to stop the media from conducting any exposures or investigations of the administration and even from contesting what are clearly distortions of objective reality or outright fabrications. This will serve to suffocate any dissent.

These and other assaults on the press are part of how the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist juggernaut is moving rapidly to break down and essentially eliminate the historical institutions and norms of bourgeois-democratic rule in order to replace those, through the iron fist of fascism, with new norms that serve the Trump/Pence agenda. In addition, this battle is one concentration of the overall struggle going on between different sections of the bourgeoisie brought on by Trump’s attempt to consolidate a fully fascist regime.

And in doing this, the Trump/Pence regime is further rallying and mobilizing their fascist social base—when Trump says the “dishonest” media do not represent the “people,” he is counting only those who support him and his regime among the “people.” Others are inconsequential or even the “enemy.”

Part of the logic and dynamics of fascism is the need to shut down critical thinking and the ability of people to figure out what is true. The Trump/Pence fascists cannot allow any press that doesn’t obediently swallow and repeat the lies that come out of the regime, that raise any question about the narrative they are spewing out. That is why the regime is moving decisively and rapidly to force the press to be compliant and loyal to them—or silence and suppress them through the force of the state and by rallying the fascist base against them.

 

 


 

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Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Homeland Security Puts Trump's Call for Massive "Expedited" Deportations Into Effect

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

 

On February 21, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly formally released two memos containing guidelines that unleash ICE and Border Patrol agents to target all undocumented immigrants in this country for deportation. The article that follows was written and posted yesterday, based on two “leaked” versions of the memos.  The memos made public are identical to those leaked memos. 

 

Two memos were just "leaked" to the Washington Post—signed by the Director of Homeland Security, former Marine General John Kelly—which direct ICE and Border Patrol agents how they are to carry out the Trump regime's orders to gear up the machinery for mass deportations. The new guidelines speed up deportations and widen the scope of who is to be targeted for roundups. They greatly increase the number of immigrants whose deportations can be "expedited." And in a glimpse of how massive are the roundups and deportations that the regime is planning, the directives call for adding ten thousand more ICE agents and 5,000 Border Patrol agents.

Neither memo—one focused on the border, the other on the interior of the country—includes a call to deploy as many as 100,000 National Guard troops as immigration agents, as the draft memo leaked two days ago did. But they do call for the full return of the "Secure Communities" program, which will give the government thousands and thousands more 'boots on the ground' in city after city by enlisting state and local police around the country as immigration agents.

These directives are still drafts, according to government officials, being reviewed by White House counsel before final approval—but they have Kelly's signature approving them.

Every Cop to Become an Immigration Officer

These memos do not eliminate DACA—the Obama-era program that temporarily deferred deportation for those who came to this country without documents when they were very young, and that grants them temporary work permits. But they sweep aside all of the other immigration guidelines that had previously been in effect. There are no other categories of undocumented immigrants that are protected from arrest and deportation. Everyone who is in this country without documentation, regardless of their circumstances, has to fear having their whole life torn apart at any time.

One memo notes there are currently 32 law enforcement agencies in 16 states participating in their 287(g) program—known as "Secure Communities." It's described as a "highly successful force multiplier that allows a qualified state or local law enforcement officer to be designated as an 'immigration officer' for purposes of enforcing federal immigration law." The DHS goal is to expand the program "to the greatest degree practicable." That means that, if you’re one of the millions and millions who are undocumented in this country, and particularly if you are one of the millions who have any minor record (even a traffic violation), you are going to be living under police-state conditions. It means that every time a cop sees you, you can be stopped based on the cop claiming there is "probable cause" because of the way you look, or act, or speak, or are dressed, in some way that makes you "suspicious"—and the police can demand to see your "papers." This really is criminal and immoral—fascist—and now will be the law of the land. It is going to make the lives of millions of immigrants in this country a constant horror.

Trump and Kelly Agree: No "Due Process" for Immigrants

One of the memos focuses on "Implementing the President's Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies." It begins: "The President has determined that the lawful detention of aliens arriving in the United States... is the most efficient means by which to enforce the immigration laws at our borders." What Trump really means by "the most efficient means" is that he intends to end due process for immigrants. Border Patrol and ICE agents have been clamoring for an end to having to release from detention immigrants who "don't belong here" while they await their case being heard in court—what they call "Catch and Release." This is a major focus of their directives.

The memo complains that the courts are backlogged with immigration cases. So they call for "the establishment and deployment of a joint plan with the Department of Justice to surge the deployment of immigration judges and asylum officers" to speed up deportation and deal with asylum claims.

Along with their "surge," they are also going to expand tremendously what's called "expedited removal," or deportation without a hearing before an immigration judge. Until now, the application of expedited removal had been limited in practice to those who couldn't prove they'd lived in the U.S. continuously for 14 days. The new guidelines now allow expedited removal for anyone who is believed to be undocumented who cannot prove they've lived in this country continuously for two years. In addition, Mexican immigrants who are captured near the border are now going to be forced to return to Mexico before their deportation hearing. And instead of being able to attend their hearing, there is going to be a set up where their appearance will be videoed from Mexico.

Finally, the authors of the memo complain that over 155,000 unaccompanied minors have come to this country from Central America seeking asylum in the past three years. For any human being with a conscience, this is a horrific statement about what U.S. imperialism has done to these countries that forced these children and their families to take such tremendous risks. But for the fascists with their hands on the levers of power, what upsets them is that 60 percent of these youth have undocumented parents in this country who they can stay with while they await their asylum claim. So, after discussing the fact that many of the parents have to "pay smugglers several thousand dollars to bring their children into this country," the authors of the memo conclude that these parents can and should be arrested for facilitating the crime of smuggling alien children into the U.S.

In a statement quoted by the Washington Post, Joanne Lin, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said: "Due process, human decency, and common sense are treated as inconvenient obstacles on the path to mass deportation. The Trump administration is intent on inflicting cruelty on millions of immigrant families across the country."

This fascist regime has a program and a plan that it is implementing. It is committing crimes on top of crimes. It must be driven out.

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/479/announcing-refuse-fascism-drive-out-trump-pence-regime-national-tour-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

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

 

From RefuseFascism.org:

ANNOUNCING:
Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime National Tour

Setting Out February 25th

 

“The Trump/Pence Regime is a Fascist Regime. Not insult or exaggeration, this is what it is.  For the future of humanity and the planet, we, the people, must drive this regime out...

“Fascism has direction and momentum. Dissent is piece by piece criminalized. The truth is bludgeoned.   Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory that leads to real horrors.  All of this has already begun under the Trump Regime. History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.

RefuseFascism.org is organizing people across the country to rise to the challenge of driving from office the fascist Trump/Pence regime, before it is too late.  A key part of RefuseFascism’s plan is the Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime National Tour.  Organizers will set out from NYC in a van to go to the South heading to Texas – areas where the two futures for the country and world are starkly contested.

The Tour will go to hotspots where the lines are sharply posed.  The Tour will reach out to campuses and small towns that want to get organized to put a stop to fascism.  This Tour will be a dynamic factor on the national terrain with people following its progress, learning of its impact taking inspiration and redoubling their own efforts. As people are resisting the outrages of the Trump/Pence regime around the country, as people are building Refuse Fascism in the big cities and campuses, the Tour can galvanize the hearts and minds of people who want to say NO! to the fascist Trump/Pence regime and oust it from office.

No! poster

The Tour will pull up to college campuses and rally students in the quad. It will meet up with and work with people who’ve been following Refuse Fascism on social media. When it arrives at hotspots that are on the frontlines of struggle against different aspects of Trump’s fascist program, the Tour will  connect up with individuals and groups who have been resisting... religious organizations, student groups, immigrants rights activists, new anti-Trump groups, and more.

Those who encounter the Tour directly, or hear about it and reach out to it, will be worked with by the National Office to go out and organize even more people to become organizers.  The Tour will be not just inspire people nationwide, but will be a seeding machine to build organization and movement to make history by driving out this regime.

RefuseFascism.org will feature photos, reports, and lessons of the Tour as it travels so that people nation-wide can follow it, bring it to their area, and join its efforts. Through social media and media coverage it generates, the Tour will project its message out into society.

There are several key ways people can help make this Tour a success:

tour@refusefascism.org
646-851-6739

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/science/40ba-science...revolution-statesmen-and-strategic-commanders-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 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:
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders

In moving toward a conclusion, I want to come back to this point about “statesmen,” and strategic commanders of the revolution. What does this mean? Well, there are different dimensions to this. Most basically, it means grasping, applying, and contributing to the development of, the theory and strategic approach for communist revolution; that’s the most basic thing it means to be a strategic commander of the revolution. It means you understand your role, and act, as an overall leader of the revolution—whatever your place or position is within the revolution, or within the vanguard party of the revolution, you think and act, in the appropriate ways, as someone who is contributing to the overall leadership of this revolution, as opposed to just being a cog in the machine and making an absolute out of a division of labor.

A party needs a division of labor, it needs people doing different tasks and working on different fronts of the overall revolutionary movement. It also has, and needs to have, a structure which—no apologies to “Occupy”—is not just horizontal, but is also vertical. In other words, you have people on different levels of the Party who correspondingly have more or less responsibility for the whole thing. And that goes along with the epistemological dimension to this because, without being mechanical or rigid about this, there is, there should be, a general correspondence between the level of the Party that you’re on and your ability to contribute, and especially to lead—both in the sense of the “raw material” that you have to work with (that is, the information that is coming to you, through Party channels, as well as other sources) and in the sense of your ability to synthesize things and develop line and policy. So, if you’re in the very top leadership of the Party, you have a lot more “raw material” that’s feeding in from the world overall, as well as specifically from the work of the Party, from the different levels of the Party, and you have correspondingly more responsibility for synthesizing that into line—into theory, strategy, policy, and so on. But everybody at every level has the same fundamental responsibility, and should have the same orientation that they are responsible for the whole revolution. In that fundamental sense, it doesn’t matter what role you have in the overall division of labor. You might be working on a particular thing, such as Stop Patriarchy,69 but you’re not a “Stop Patriarchy communist.” You are a communist who might be working, primarily, in Stop Patriarchy, or SMIN (Stop Mass Incarceration Network),70 or other things. Your fundamental responsibility is to contribute as much as possible to working through all the contradictions that have to be fought through to advance on the road of revolution and get to the point where we can actually go all-out with a real chance of winning. This means thinking critically, and raising criticism, in the right spirit and in the right way, through the right channels, if you think things are off track or things are not being taken up which should be taken up. This same basic principle applies more broadly to people who are not yet in the Party but are moving through the “Ohio” as part of the broader movement for revolution: they should have the same fundamental orientation of contributing everything they can to the revolution, even though people who are part of the Party can approach this on a still higher level, as part of a more advanced collective organization and process.

The basic principle and fundamental orientation is this: Take responsibility for the revolution as a whole. This is what it means to be a strategic commander of the revolution.


69. Stop Patriarchy is a mass organization of women, and men, whose essential mission is indicated by its main slogan, "END PORNOGRAPHY AND PATRIARCHY: THE ENSLAVEMENT AND DEGRADATION OF WOMEN." The RCP, which played a key role in the initiation of Stop Patriarchy, works to develop this organization as a powerful force in the fight against attacks on the right to abortion and birth control, and the sexual degradation and all-around oppression of women, and to build this struggle in a way that contributes to the revolution that is needed to put an end to this, and to all, oppression. Information on Stop Patriarchy is available at StopPatriarchy.org, and also revcom.us. [back]

70. Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) is a mass initiative in which the RCP has played an initiating and leading role. SMIN has been deeply engaged in the struggle against mass incarceration and police terror and murder, as well as having been an initiator of RiseUpOctober. Information on SMIN is available at stopmassincarceration.net, and also revcom.us. [back]

 

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/480/sebastian-gorka-islamophobic-warrior-rising-star-in-trump-pence-regime-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

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

February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

One single unifying mission: Drive out 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 brought in 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.1

For over 20 years, the U.S. has waged a series of wars that killed millions of people, and reduced countries like Libya, Syria, and Iraq to complete ruin, in the ruthless pursuit of domination of the Middle East and North Africa. These wars have been fought against both secular forces (like Saddam Hussein in Iraq) and Islamist forces (like Osama bin Laden and ISIS) who, from different—utterly reactionary—angles were obstacles to U.S. imperialist control of this strategic region.

But even while committing these horrendous crimes against humanity, Clinton, the Bushes, and Obama all sought to avoid casting this struggle as a “clash of civilizations,” as “the West vs. Islam.” Doing so, in their view, would drive the bulk of the world’s Muslims into the camp of the jihadist forces, and harm U.S. imperialist interests. Instead they noted (accurately) that groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda did not have the support of the great majority of Muslim people, and they sought to politically isolate these forces and win sections of the population to support the U.S., or at least not to actively oppose it. As part of this, for example, George W. Bush gave a speech after the 9/11 attacks in which he appeared with a number of Muslim religious leaders and declared that “Islam is peace.” This is also part of the context in which U.S. military leaders like General James Mattis (now secretary of defense under Trump) publicly disavowed torture (even while secretly carrying it out).

 

       

But Gorka—and the Trump/Pence regime as a whole—completely rejects this approach. Gorka believes that “the global jihadi movement [is] a modern totalitarian ideology rooted in the doctrines and martial history of Islam.” (From the promotional material for Gorka’s book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, emphasis added.)

Gorka has argued that portions of Islamic scripture justify and advocate horrific acts like beheadings of enemies, stoning of women, and so on, which is true. But what Gorka denies is that portions of the Bible also advocate horrors, like ethnic cleansing of other peoples through pillage, mass rape, and murder—right down to “dashing in the heads” of your enemy’s infants—as well as for murdering homosexuals, women who are not virgins upon marriage, and so on.

So rather than recognize the reality—that all religious doctrine, taken literally, will lead to horrors, Gorka claims that this is only true of Islam, and therefore that anyone who deeply believes in Islamic scripture is “predisposed” to terrorism, whereas anyone who truly believes in the Christian scripture would never commit barbaric acts. It is not far from that to “Christianity good, Islam evil”!

Gorka does identify some Muslims as “allies”—most notably, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, president of Egypt, a brutal dictator backed with billions of dollars in U.S. aid. Sisi opposes the Islamist forces in Egypt, as well as anyone else who challenges the government. He is notorious for his troops opening fire on thousands of protesters and his courts issuing death sentences in batches for hundreds for people who participate in demonstrations. Gorka’s actual criteria for who is considered an “ally” is that they must throw in 100 percent with the U.S. and carry out savage attacks on America’s foes. In Gorka’s view, everyone else (and not just people who are actively part of the Islamic fundamentalist forces) is “the enemy” or at least a suspect.

This characterization of Gorka’s view is no exaggeration! In November 2014, the Episcopal National Cathedral in Washington, DC, invited Muslim religious leaders to conduct afternoon prayers there in order to promote “a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.” The cathedral has done similar things with many different faiths in the past.

Gorka, at that time a writer for Breitbart News, wrote an article headlined “Muslim Brotherhood Overruns National Cathedral in DC.” (The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamist political group in Egypt which had no connection with the prayer event.) He then let loose a 500-word tirade in which he managed to bring up the advance of a Muslim army to Austria in 1683, the Turkish genocide against Armenians after World War 1, the 9/11 attacks, and ISIS attacks on Christian communities in Iraq—all in order to “prove” that Muslim participation in this prayer event reflected Islam’s “ideological commitment to see other faiths destroyed or subjected.”

A more recent incident, reported in the Washington Post, was a celebratory talk Gorka gave to Trump supporters in Florida three days after the election. The high point of the talk apparently was when Gorka flashed “a photograph of a dead, bloodied brown-skinned man, lying on the ground next to an AK-47 assault rifle” and led the audience in cheers and then thundered, “We can win now, we can win!”

Gorka’s rise to power and prominence is another ominous sign that the Trump/Pence regime may be preparing a broad and brutal war on much of the Islamic world. This will also encompass demonization and persecution of Muslims within the United States, including people who were born here. It is another warning sign that even more grotesque horrors than we have already seen against the Muslim world and Muslim people are hurtling down the tracks towards us, unless and until this regime is driven from power.


1. Gorka was also known for his outright refusal to subject his ideas to scientific examination and criticism in peer-reviewed journals, preferring, he said, to speak directly to the “warfighter.” Meaning, as Lt. Col. Mike Lewis, who ran the Special Operations department at Marine Corps University, put it: “He made a difficult and complex situation simple and confirmed the officers’ prejudices and assumptions.” [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/479/fascist-arizona-bill-would-empower-govt-to-seize-assets-of-protest-organizers-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Fascist Arizona Bill Would Empower Government to Seize Assets of Protest Organizers

February 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A reactionary and dangerous bill aimed at further clamping down on people’s right to protest has been passed by the Republican Party-dominated Arizona state senate. If the bill, SB1142, becomes actual law, it would give the government power to seize the assets of people who organized and participated in a political protest that the police have declared as a “riot.” This would be the case even if the organizers had nothing to do with whatever alleged developments in the protest—like damage to property—the police cited to claim it was a “riot.” Such a law would be a major step toward banning anti-government protests altogether.

The Arizona bill would add “rioting” to the list of offenses that can be charged under the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) laws, which allows the government to seize the assets of those allegedly involved in criminal “conspiracy.” SB1142 also expands the definition of “rioting” to include people causing damage to the property of others. The bill says that an “overt act is not required as proof of a riot offense.” As the Phoenix New Times notes, “That means the planners of the protest could be charged because someone else committed an ‘overt act’ that caused a riot.”

Let’s imagine that this bill has become an actual law. You and some others call for a march and civil disobedience action downtown to protest some outrageous new move by the Trump/Pence regime. During the protest, someone you don’t know, for whatever reason, breaks the window of a store. The police declare the protest a “riot.” Under the fascist new law, you and many others may not only be hit with serious criminal charges for “rioting,” but face the prospect of having your house, bank accounts, car, or other assets seized for being part of a “conspiracy”—even though you had nothing to do with the alleged act that supposedly made the protest a “riot.”

The intent of those behind the Arizona bill is clear: to chill out dissent and opposition by intensifying the repressive threats, and to ramp up punishment for those who continue to resist.

This Arizona bill is part of a wave of state laws that threaten harsh punishment for protest. The rise of the Trump/Pence regime to power and the extreme and repressive program they are moving on quickly have been signals to fascist forces at all levels to expand and intensify the clampdown. Reactionary forces in at least eight other states have recently introduced new laws or “reinterpreted” existing ones in order to criminalize what today are common forms of protest. These include a “Blue Lives Matter” law in Louisiana that puts police on the list of those protected under state hate crime laws; a North Dakota bill to give immunity from prosecution for drivers who run over protesters who are “too close to” the street or highway; an Indiana bill authorizing police to use “any means necessary” to break up mass gatherings that block traffic; proposed new laws in Minnesota raising penalties for nonviolent acts of protest like blocking roads and sitting in at a police station.

As we have pointed out about this wave of reactionary state laws:

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. (“Wave of State Laws Threaten Harsh Penalties for Common Forms of Protest”)

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/us-govt-efforts-to-data-mine-anti-trump-protesters-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

U.S. Government Efforts to Data Mine Accounts of Anti-Trump Protesters—And Apple and Facebook's Shameful Complicity

February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 20, thousands of people in Washington, DC, protested the inauguration of the fascist Trump/Pence regime and more than 200 people were arrested, including journalists, legal observers, and medics. They have been hit with felony riot charges—which means they could face up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Mark Goldstone, who has defended protesters in Washington, DC, for more than 30 years and is now representing many of those arrested, says he has “never seen a felony riot charge in Washington, D.C., let alone more than 200 of them.... We’re in a dangerous new world.”

These cases are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia—which is under the Department of Justice, now headed by the fascist, white supremacist hand-picked by Trump, Jeff Sessions. And now there is evidence that the government is saying Apple and Facebook must hand over the personal information of those who were arrested, reported by AlterNet. (See “Law Enforcement Using Facebook and Apple to Data-Mine Accounts of Trump Protest Arrestees,” Sarah Lazare, Alternet, February 22, 2017.)

Goldstone told AlterNet that “several” of his clients have been contacted by Facebook and Apple and informed that their personal information has been requested by law enforcement. He says, “It’s an outrageous overreach by the government to try to data-mine personal property that wasn’t even seized at the demonstration. This will be fought vigorously.”

Evan Greer, the campaign director for Fight for the Future, told AlterNet, “This is part of an increasing trend of law enforcement attempting to turn the internet, instead of technology for freedom, into technology for control. This trend started long before Trump and seems to be escalating and growing in scale now.”

According to Stephanie Lacambra, a criminal defense staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Google has also been sent requests for information by law enforcement. It is not clear how Google is responding. But AlterNet has dug up proof that Apple and Facebook are shamefully complying with the government’s data mining request. This evidence includes:

» A “customer notice” email sent on February 14 by Apple to one of the defendants which said, “On 2017-01-27, Apple Inc. (‘Apple’) received a legal request from United States Attorney’s Office requesting information regarding your Apple account,” and that “Apple will be producing the requested data in a timely manner as required by the legal process.” The person who got the email told AlterNet, “I wasn’t surprised by it, but it was also very unsettling and made me feel very vulnerable and exposed, that some federal grunt could be looking through old texts, personal stuff and selfies. This is exposing and gross and creepy.”

» A statement sent from Facebook on February 3 to another defendant which said, “We have received legal process from law enforcement seeking information about your Facebook account. If we do not receive a copy of documentation that you have filed in court challenging this legal process within ten (10) days, we will respond to the requesting agency with information about the requested Facebook account. We may need to respond to this legal request within less than ten (10) days if we have a reasonable belief that we are legally required to do so.”

It is not clear what kind of information law enforcement is requesting. Nor is it clear under what legal justification they are doing this. But NONE of this is good; in fact it is a fascistic Big Brother move that signals increased repression, surveillance, and persecution against dissent under the Trump/Pence regime.

Michael Price, counsel for the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, told AlterNet, “One of my biggest concerns is that police will attempt to use electronic surveillance to get information about the people who were at the protest, in order to compile a list of the people who were present. Is that information going to be mined and used for other purposes? What is the government doing with the data? Are they going to store it? Are they going to send it to an intelligence analyst?”

Lacambra said the investigation raises disturbing questions. “Why is the Department of Justice trying to intrude into the digital lives of people exercising their rights to protest?” she asked. “Is this to intimidate, silence or threaten people for exercising their constitutional rights? When you arrest 230 people, some of whom are medics and legal observers, and try to systematically get to the content of their digital life, that is troubling.”

When people were arrested the police confiscated people’s phones and then used them to try and get information. One journalist who was arrested sent AlterNet a screenshot of his Google account, which shows that while he was detained and his phone was in police custody, there was activity on his account—even though the phone is password protected. This kind of thing—where the pigs were immediately trying to mine data from phones—appears to have also happened to others who were arrested.

These moves to pry into the private data on people’s phones, and to demand the complicity of companies like Apple and Facebook, are part of the whole fascistic program of the Trump/Pence regime that the people MUST RESIST and DRIVE OUT. And companies and institutions that are shamefully complicit with these fascistic moves must be roundly denounced.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/raymond-lotta-the-reality-of-imperialist-globalization-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

So Much Horror Obscured and Rationalized in a Single Phrase
Or, the Reality of Imperialist Globalization

by Raymond Lotta

February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

The February 19th Sunday New York Times Book Review featured a review by Franklin Foer. Midway in his commentary, Foer blithely declares: “On the whole, thanks to the advance of capitalism, we live in a world with less abject poverty, less disease, less oppression, and greater material prosperity.”

To which I can only respond: what world, Mr. Foer, do you live in... and who exactly is this “we”?

The World We Actually Live In

You see, “thanks to the advance of capitalism” (Foer’s congratulatory phrase), the actual world we live in is one of mass, grinding poverty—and grotesque, widening inequality:

So, again, who is the “we,” and who is the beneficiary, of Foer’s “greater material prosperity”?

 “Thanks to the advance of capitalism,” the actual world we live in is one of murderous war... dislocation and systematic dispossession... and the brutal subjugation and dehumanization of women:

Where do these human beings fit into Foer’s (fictive) world of “less oppression”? They’re out of view, or seen as collateral damage, when you’re sitting in the first-class cabin of imperialist globalization.

 “Thanks to the advance of capitalism”... there may not be a sustainable world for humanity to live in. The planet is approaching a perilous environmental tipping point.

Such is the “advance of capitalism.”

How Capitalism “Advances”

Capitalism-imperialism envelops ever-more of human life and the geography and resources of the planet into its network of economic and power relations. This is an economic system and social order organized around profit, in which a tiny handful, the ruling capitalist-imperialist class, controls the vast wealth and means of producing wealth on the planet.

Capitalism “advances,” as it only can: by exploiting human labor, by introducing technology on a ever-widening scale, to make exploitation ever-more efficient and cost-effective—and by turning nature into mere inputs to pour into production for profit... and more profit. This is a world dominated by massive, competing transnational banks and corporations that finance and organize the extraction of minerals and resources destroying livelihoods and eco-systems, and that coordinate the supply chains of low-cost manufacturing production based on super-exploitation and impoverishment of the many.

The capitalist system of ownership and control, and its financial structures, concentrate ever-more wealth, ever-more upward, to the few. But Foer tells us: there is “less abject poverty.” Oh, fucking please. There were periods when slave rations increased in the plantation economy. Unemployment went down under Hitler. And in Bangladesh today: young women can leave the countryside and raise their incomes above the extreme poverty line by working in garment sweatshops... where they’re sexually preyed-upon and can lose their lives in building collapses and industrial fires... in a country where as many as 50 million people may be forced to flee by 2050, if sea levels rise as expected.12

Capitalism-imperialism is a system of contending imperial powers vying for global control and domination. It is kept in place by a colossal apparatus of military force and repression to carry out genocidal imperial wars and occupations... to deploy drones and death squads... to deport... and to incarcerate and mass incarcerate Black and Latino youth in the U.S.

~~~~~~~~~~

Capitalism-imperialism has produced a world of unprecedented horrors and environmental devastation. It is a sharply class-divided world; with a handful of rich dominating countries; with islands of affluence and privilege, feasting on and fortified against the vast billions.

This is the state of humanity and the planet that Franklin Foer so breathlessly and obscenely celebrates—and packs into the single phrase: “On the whole, thanks to the advance of capitalism, we live in a world with less abject poverty, less disease, less oppression, and greater material prosperity.”

 

REFERENCES

1. The World Bank, Poverty: Overview, October 2, 2016 update; World Health Organization, November 2016, Sanitation: Fact Sheet. [back]

2 UNICEF, Levels and Trends in Infant Mortality, Report 2015; International Labor Organization, World Report on Child Labor 2015; UNDP, Human Development Report 2015: Work For Human Development. [back]

3 Oxfam International, An Economy for the 99%, London, Jan. 2017. [back]

4 The Lancet, October 21, 2006, “Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.” [back]

5  International Rescue Committee, January 2008, Mortality in The Democratic Republic of Congo. [back]

6  UNHCR, Global Trends in Forced Displacement, June 2016. [back]

7 World Health Organization, June 2013, Global and regional estimates of violence against women. [back]

8  Scientific American, January 18, 2017, “2016 Was the Hottest Year on Record.” [back]

9 Washington Post, March 30, 2016, “Scientists Nearly Double Sea Level Rise Projections for 2100.” [back]

10. UBC News, February 12, 2016, “Poor Air Quality Kills 5.5 Million Worldwide Annually” [back]

11 Sciencemag.org/news, August 25, 2016, “Just 90 companies are to blame for most climate change, this ‘carbon accountant’ says.” [back]

12 The New York Times, March 28, 2014, “Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land.” [back]

 

 

 

       

 


 

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

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

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

Updated May 27, 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):

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?

Read more

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The statement said in part:

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

Berkeley Law School Faculty and Staff: #NoBanNoWall

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

Their statement reads:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The PDF of the poster is available here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hear Meryl Streep’s whole speech here.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prochnik writes:

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

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

To read the whole article, go here.

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

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

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

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

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

From a reader:

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

When Popovich was asked about Black History Month he said,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The open letter says:

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

The open letter and list of signatories is available here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Later in an interview backstage, she said:

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

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

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

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

Saira Rafiee wrote on Facebook about what happened:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Cohen’s article here.

Rihanna: “What an immoral pig”

On January 28, singer Rihanna tweeted:

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

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

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

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

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

University Science Professors Call for Defense of Science and Government Scientists

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

Their message is as follows:

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

In Defense of Science

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We cannot let this stand.

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

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

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

For the entire interview go here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole Cohen column here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew Rothschild: “Trumpolini.... Beware”

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

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

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

But there were other echoes as well....

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

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

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

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

That is not who he is. He is Trumpolini.

Beware.

To read the whole article go here

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

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

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

Then another quote, this one from Monty Python:

Run away! Run Away!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump has a history of doing this—and worse.

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

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

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

To read the petition and full background go here.

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

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

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

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

To read the whole statement go here.

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

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

Some of the lyrics go:

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

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

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

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

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

The lyrics of “Decision” include:

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

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

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

Listen and download audio here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the whole piece by Blakeslee go here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read this whole piece here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you not alarmed?

To read the whole piece go here.

Green Day: Trump and "Troubled Times"

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

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

The lyrics to "Troubled Times" are searing:

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

We live in troubled times
We live in troubled times

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

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

We live in troubled times
We live in troubled times

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

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

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

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

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

See T.I.’s tweets and videos here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13th is available to stream on Netflix.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Vernon’s article is available online here.

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

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

The theologians’ letter says in part:

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

The letter and signatories are available online here.

Powerful Video Produced by Katy Perry: #DontNormalizeHate

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

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

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

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

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

The podcast is available here

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

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

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

The letter from the authors and illustrators reads in part:

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

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

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

Charlotte Church, Singer, Refuses Invitation from Tyrant Trump

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

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

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

Her message was followed by four poop emoji.

This is the link to her tweet.

Australian Tennis Star: T-Shirt Statement on Trump

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

Nick Kyrgios wearing anti-Trump T-shirt

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

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

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

To read the whole letter go here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole interview here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DONALD TRUMP IS MENTALLY UNSTABLE -

LESS THAN 3 WEEKS TO STOP HIM AMERICA

 

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

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

She also tweeted:

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

Then on January 3, @ROSIE retweeted:

#NoFascistUSA ‏@RefuseFascism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the whole letter go here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The whole MarieClair.com article is available here.

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

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

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

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

The letter and list of signatories are available online here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The statement and list of signatories is available here.

 

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

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

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

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

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

"Resistance is our civic duty."

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the whole article go here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrities Refuse to Perform at Trump Inauguration

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

Read more here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole letter here.

Celebrity Chefs vs. Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read George Polisner’s resignation letter here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole column here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Shaun King's piece here.

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Singer John Legend

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

Read John Legend's comments here.

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

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

“No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” 

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

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

Watch a video clip here.

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

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

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

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

Read more here.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about this here at Architect News online

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

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

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

Read the Center's piece here.

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Jewish historians speak out on the election of Donald Trump

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

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

Read entire statement here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elliot’s comments and others can be found here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He went on to write:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the statement with list of signatories go here.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comedian Sara Silverman tweeted:

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the whole article go here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The letter and signatories are online here.

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

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

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

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

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

Read the NNU press release here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the full article go here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the performance here:

The final stanza, especially, resonates very powerfully today:

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

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

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

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

Rosie O'Donnell: "Not My President"

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

IBM Employees Denounce CEO's Collaboration with Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Wood’s entire letter here.

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

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


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

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

Writers Resist NYC: Louder Together for Free Expression

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

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

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

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

For more on the protest and participants, go here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole piece by Elizabeth George here.

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

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

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

Ariel Dorfman’s piece is online here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire article here

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

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

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

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

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

Read entire statement here

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

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

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

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

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

What will you do when they start rounding us up?

Read entire article here

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

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

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

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

Read entire article here

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

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

See Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s article here.

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

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

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

See the whole speech below.

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Andrew Sullivan: "The Republic Repeals Itself"

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

Read Andrew Sullivan's piece here.

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/479/interview-with-historian-claudia-koonz-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

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

February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

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. The following 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? Because he was like the prime minister. There was a president above him.

What happened was the Great Depression. Suddenly, one-third of all Germans were unemployed. The government was in gridlock. People were desperate, and Goebbels, Hitler’s sidekick for media, had an important insight. He said, “We can use democracy to kill democracy.” “We come,” is his famous statement, “like wolves to the sheepfold. We will take over.”

And so that’s the crucial thing to look at. What happened between 1930 and 1934 that landed Hitler in a position where he was prime minister/chancellor? And part of that answer has to do with the incompetence and the cluelessness of his opponents, who didn’t think he was very dangerous until too late. Also, one thing I should remind you of, is that the Germans were educated. Their voter turnout was above 88% all the way through the whole Weimar Republic. These were smart people.

Hitler was appointed chancellor in January 1933. He still didn’t have a majority—he had to get a majority. Then, what happened is the Reichstag burned down. It would be like the house of Congress was burnt down, the fire was sufficiently bad. Hitler blamed it on the communists. He called the representatives to the Reichstag, kept the communists out, and this time, there was another election, a national election. Hitler still only got 44% for the Nazis. And finally, in the middle of March 1934, the government, that is, the politicians, did what the people didn’t. The politicians caved in and voted Hitler as chancellor. And from that point forward, he just moved so fast nobody caught up to him.

MS: In your book The Nazi Conscience, you talk about, “The road to Auschwitz was paved with righteousness,” and I thought that was an important point for people to think about.

CK: Right. Ordinary people can’t do evil, unless they see it as good, unless they see it as protective. So until the 1980s, the Germans said, “Oh, we didn’t know anything about it.” Then they said, “Well, maybe people knew about it, but it’s just a few bad apples.” Then the next was, “Well, maybe they were like robots.”

And I wrote my books, Mothers in the Fatherland and this one [The Nazi Conscience], to point out that you can’t have Germans deporting 675,000 other Germans who were Jewish and unwanted without a lot of collaboration at the local level. And people have to believe that what they are doing is protective, because they believe they are in such grave danger, like in wartime. That’s the question: how people feel righteous and good when they do the very evil thing of sending friends and neighbors, betraying friends and neighbors at the grassroots level—and, of course, collaborating in the actual killing sites.

Setting a “Whole Category of Human Beings Outside of the Realm of Moral Obligations”

MS: You write in The Nazi Conscience that “Nazi conscience” is not an oxymoron, but to many people, the words “Nazi” and “conscience” are never conceived of as two words that would go together anywhere.

CK: We’re so naive we believe there’s a universal conscience, like “Thou shalt not kill” and “Do unto others.” But actually, when you think about it... and Freud had this insight, too—he said it’s hard to do unto others who are not like yourselves. And that reminds me of a Nazi slogan, “Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you,” but in the German it’s clearer: “others” are people like you. Do unto others who are like yourself.

MS: You quote Carl Schmitt, a big Hitler supporter. He denounced the concept of universal human rights, and when he was questioned about that, he denounced it by saying, listen, not every being with a human face is a human. And you say that this statement is the bedrock of Nazi morality. What do you mean?

CK: What I mean is, Schmitt didn’t think Jews had a human face. He looked at their faces—and the visual is so important—he looked at their faces and said these people are sub-humans. There are also people who are disabled, but he said these people are not worthy of life. “Life unworthy of living,” was a Nazi medical belief. So they were able to set whole categories of human beings outside of the realm of moral obligations.

Let me give you an example. A young man in the eighth grade, in 1938, he saw his best friend Heinz being taken off, in 1938, to a concentration camp. It was his best friend. Heinz and he grew up together. And looking back—his name was Phillip—he said, “You know, when I saw them taking Heinz, I didn’t say, isn’t it terrible that they’re taking Heinz.” He said, “Isn’t it a shame that Heinz is a Jew?” That’s what happened to his conscience. He grew up and later came to this country and wrote a book and he recognized his ways. But that was his view.

MS: I keep wondering, how the hell did this happen? There’s all these people. They recognized what Hitler was saying, but they thought it was part of their moral stand or whatever, and that it was something that was OK to be doing—for the interests of Germany. How did this happen, and what was this normalization around fascist rule in Germany up until ’39? What actually made that work?

CK: Well, let’s think about that. One of the reasons it worked is because Hitler engineered an economic recovery. Hitler understood that he needed experts in his cabinet, for example. His first cabinet had 12 members, and only three were Nazis. And the genius behind the economic recovery was actually a founding member of the German Democratic Party. He was a Keynesian. They borrowed tremendously, and here was his formula: massive rearmament, because Germany had been disarmed after World War I; infrastructure development, lots of big construction projects; and then labor-intensive projects to give people jobs, like the WPA in the United States.

And so all that was going on. By 1936, there was no more unemployment. In three years, unemployment went from 30% to zero. And all this time, Hitler’s diplomatic corps, who were extremely skilled, were being appeased by the West. So Hitler was going from one diplomatic victory to another.

So the combination of domestic rebuilding and international prestige made Hitler very popular. And let’s also remember: the Germans read Hemingway, they loved Gone with the Wind, they read Faulkner, they drove Fords, they drank Cokes, they went to church. Germans got the first paid vacations of any workers in the world. They went to mass motels and cruise ships.

The very first week of Nazi power—and how important the psychology was, the Nazis were geniuses at this—people in small towns where the buildings were looking kind of shabby got free house paint. They repainted the outside of their houses, so it looks better. That’s what normalization looked like. So people then had a kind of “Yes, but...” attitude. “Yeah, the Nazis are terrible, but—look what they did.” So there was a record of real achievements, which is hard for us to remember, but it was real.

The Social Base of Hitler and the Nazis

MS: Who was the actual social base for the Nazis and Hitler, and why?

CK: First of all, the Germans keep very good records, so we know how every little district voted 13 years before the Nazis took over. They even tabulated male and female votes separately. How did they do that? They had women vote on white slips, and men vote on gray slips. So we have an exact knowledge of who voted for Hitler. And who voted for Hitler we would call today the “left-behinds,” the people who felt that they were not getting a fair share, that the cities were booming, that the wealthy people were doing OK, despite the Depression. They had been through terrible inflation in 1923. They felt they lost everything. These were the left-behinds.

But the other thing we know, because we have such good voting records, is we say, OK, look at the Nazi Party vote increase, and we can see what parties—and there were five major parties—what parties lost votes to the Nazis before ’33, and who held their own. The parties that held their own votes were the Socialist Party, the Catholic Party, and the Communist Party. These three parties were parties that we can’t even imagine today because they were sub-cultures. They had sporting events; they had singing events; they had paramilitary marching. So these three categories of voters did not switch their votes for Hitler. We know that women and young people voted disproportionately for Hitler. But a majority of women never voted for Hitler. But that last-minute bandwagon effect was fueled in part by people who’d never voted before, that is young people and women.

So that’s before ’33. After ’33, when it became clear that the Nazis would be in power for some time to come—and remember, the Nazis right from the beginning were arresting communists, they were arresting people who spoke out against them. The first concentration camp, in Dachau, was set up in 1933, right away, and suddenly the Nazis became the real party. And ordinary people, middle class people, began to think, well, maybe it’s not so bad. Because we are not being affected. Our lives are doing better. And, of course, there’s a very famous statement by a very famous pastor, Martin Niemöller, “When they came for the communists, when they came for the socialists, I didn’t worry. Then they came for the Catholics. But when they came for me there was no one left to defend me.” People got seduced.

MS: After the Women’s March, I was thinking about your book, Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics, and it was a very heavy book. I wanted to ask you about that. What did fascism mean for women in Germany? Because it’s one thing when you hear about the men, and how they were appealed to. But there was a lot of stuff aimed at women that, one, denied their humanity, but, two, was something a lot of people just don’t know about in relation to fascism.

CK: That’s why I wrote the book, because this was in the ’80s, and all my friends in Germany said, oh, my dad was bad, but my mother—my mother was really good. So I went to the archives and I found out that actually, if you want to know how Hitler’s ideology permeated at the grassroots, women are at the center of that story. They’re the mothers who sent their kids off to the Hitler Youth, they’re the local knitting society that gets brown yarn for free. Some of them called themselves “Hitler’s little brown geese,” can you imagine? They were proud at being recognized as women. The head of the organization, the name was, I kid you not, Gertrud Scholtz-Klink. Gertrud Scholtz-Klink headed up an organization of nine million women, all out there volunteering, collecting charity for the needy, cooking meals for the hungry, organizing charity. Everything was organized, even charity.

So women felt proud of doing their so-called womanly activities. And the fact that they were kept out of high places didn’t bother them as much as we might think it would. Not that many women were in the universities to begin with.

The Nazis and the University

MS: The other place that had a lot to do with what happened with Hitler’s reputation, what happened with fascism in Germany, was the universities, and the fact that the universities were very open to Hitler. What about the universities and the Nazis?

CK: I work in the university, so I would think that the universities would be the first to see the danger. Not at all. First of all, actually, Jewish professors were over-represented in the ranks of academe, and 10% of all professors were fired because they were Jewish in 1933. And in a time when there were no jobs available, that meant a lot of PhDs got jobs. So there’s that absolutely material benefit.

And while we’re talking about Jews—also, middle-class professors were about as anti-Semitic as other people—but while we’re talking about Jews, I’d like your listeners to imagine: think of what percentage of all Germans in 1933 were Jewish. Pause for a minute, get that percentage correct, and I bet not many of you guessed under 1%. So we’re looking at a very small population. Quite different from the African American population, which is around 15-18%, in this country. So there’s a very big difference.

The amount of anti-Semitism in the universities was actually quite strong, so that was one reason. The other thing that the Hitler administration did, is to recruit followers in the universities who would serve as legal experts, who would justify racial politics. The funding dried up for what we would call liberal research, but funding was suddenly available for research in race, how race impacts literature, how racial thinking impacts social work. So the racialization of the curriculum meant all kinds of funding opportunities. And so as we’re looking to what’s going to happen now about funding for climate change, we can see that kind of incentive system shifting. So suddenly the availability of jobs, funding and prestige was irresistible.

I have to say that the historians were particularly awful. They took a lot of the history that had been written by Jews, talking about all of Jews’ wonderful contributions, in many, many areas, and they took all that research and they said: see, there’s been a Jewish conspiracy. They just plagiarized and turned pride into insult. So the universities were not a bastion of free speech.

MS: It was heavy reading your book and finding that by 1939, they were steamrollers for Hitler.

CK: I called it the “brown steamroller.”

Popularizers for the Fascist Regime

MS: You talked a lot about the professional popularizers for the Nazi regime. One put out the booklet called Der Stürmer, and the other was Das Schwarze Korps. When I read this, I kept thinking about Breitbart. It’s right there.

CK: It’s right there. And, of course, now we look back and the technology was primitive, but the Nazis were way ahead of the curve. One thing to remember is, before ’33, no politics on the radio. So, radio was not an option. But as soon as electric amplification of the voice became possible, they had it. They had movies. They used filmstrips. They had 72,000 versions of one slide show that was displayed by the Hitler Youth. They were at the technological front of the media always. They had insiders’ newspapers for Party members and huge mass circulation newspapers, their own national news circulations, with fake news, fake facts everywhere. And this was very, very important. They were technologically night and day more sophisticated than any of their political rivals.

MS: Der Stürmer, and Das Schwarze Korps, these were both print publications.

CK: Yes.

MS: And one was from the SS, and the other was from the Stormtroopers. One was geared toward a more brutish audience, and the other was geared toward a more intellectual audience, it seemed. So let’s talk about that a little bit.

CK: They understood how to segment their audience. So Der Stürmer was filled with disgusting anti-Semitic cartoons and outrageous lies, like the National Enquirer. But the Schwarze Korps, which was for the SS, which was the elite, had scientific articles, it had pictures of important people. It looked like a professional association in the day. It had racial science there, it had geopolitics, it had interviews with government dignitaries. It appealed to the elite.

Comparisons to What Is Going On Today

MS: Let me ask you about the structural similarities and situations that encourage racist populism. This is exactly what we’re looking at when we look at the regime in power in the U.S. right now, in terms of encouraging racist populism. Let’s talk about that, the structural similarities in these situations.

CK: You know I can’t resist pointing to one enormous difference. And, of course, the structural similarities are here. We have a group of people who feel left out, left behind. But our situation in some ways is different because—and that’s why I think the term “fascism” isn’t so helpful because we have a unique situation, where you look at the white supremacy tradition in this country. We’ve been a country that has been for 270 years—my math is probably a little weak—we have been a country where white supremacy has been legal, except for 77 years. Except for 77 years, we have been a white supremacist country. That didn’t exist in Germany. And that makes us structurally incredibly different, and I think we always have to remember, we’re more like apartheid in South Africa under de Klerk in that respect than like Nazi Germany.

So it’s important when we’re doing the comparisons to remember that there are some alarming differences, too—not necessarily better. But structurally, we have a developed democracy that people take for granted. We think our wonderful history is going to protect us, because we tend to think of history as being upward and onward always getting better. We don’t see it as a battle. We have two traditions in this country: the tradition of the Enlightenment, the tradition of human rights, human dignity; and then we have the tradition of white supremacy. And they’re both confronting one another right now.

Germany didn’t have that legacy of white supremacy, and the Jewish population was miniscule. So that’s one element that makes us different.

MS: What about the similarities, on the other hand?

CK: The similarities. I can’t resist drawing some similarities in the way in which people seem to follow an outsider leader. Now, you can look at Hitler, and of course, he’s ridiculous. He’s got this shock of hair. He has no political experience. He got the idea for his mustache when he saw his first Charlie Chaplin movie. He was extremely vain. He particularly liked that mop of hair that came down in front of his eyes. He had a photographer with him at all times. The photographer took pictures of his gestures, which he repeated. He could not follow a script. He had to extemporaneously speak because he had to have feedback from his audience. In fact, in 1932, he was so vain, his personal photographer took dozens of pictures of him in different poses so that his annual picture wouldn’t look aged.

He curated an image for himself. The opposite of Trump, but therefore interesting because it was extreme. He was a simple man, a bachelor, a teetotaler, a vegetarian who wore rumpled suits. He appeared kind of harmless. So that in an odd way, won him the trust of people who were so disillusioned with the main political parties of the day.

So from the opposite end of the social scale, we have this outsider capturing the people who feel disenfranchised because of an extraordinary ability to understand the media. Hitler also was a master at making headlines, of the provocative statement. He would always make outrageous statements. It didn’t matter if they weren’t so true. He said, tell a lie, tell a big lie, it always leaves a trace.

MS: You mentioned to me that you’re very worried these days, and I want to talk about that, because you’re not alone.

CK: I’m very worried today because in some ways, Hitler was more cautious. He had to be more cautious because of the constitution, because there was a president over him and he never got more than a third of the vote. And there was no voter fraud in Nazi Germany, P.S.

I’m very worried because what I see is a president whose ignorance is legendary. And he has a Rasputin, Steve Bannon. Hitler didn’t need anybody else. Hitler read whole books, believe it or not. He only remembered what he agreed with, but still. I think I’m worried because we, like the Germans, have a political culture that depends on good will and shared norms, and politicians who respect those norms. We take it for granted.

We’re looking at a regime that has a businessman’s ethic. A businessman looks for loopholes, and looks at respect for your enemies, so-called, respect for the person in the other party as being a sign of weakness or stupidity. We also have a track record in this country of a right-wing movement that is extremely well-funded. Read Dark Money. From 1973, when ALEC, the think tank that produces legislation for right-wing politicians, was founded, the Koch brothers. Here in North Carolina we have the Pope brothers. And here in North Carolina, too, we see what you people in California under Jerry Brown don’t see. We see how the Republicans are behaving, that is to say, finding every loophole, doing absolutely everything they can to block progressive legislation, to cut back the rolls of Medicare. They’re ruthless. And we’re learning very quickly how to fight that. It’s a steep learning curve, but we’ve got to learn fast. That’s what scares me.

So the bottom line is, I think what frightens me most is that progressives in pre-Nazi Germany, in late Weimar Germany, were blindsided by the speed and the ruthlessness with which Hitler seized power. And that’s what I’m afraid of. Remember Franklin Roosevelt said in the 1930s, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself? I think the only thing we have to fear is not being afraid enough.

Even though the parallels are not perfect with Nazi Germany, what is similar is the weakness of progressives, people of good will, liberals, lefties, call them what you will, defenders of human rights—our weakness when confronted with overwhelming force, financial and legal, we hope legal not yet. So that’s why I’m scared.

MS: That’s something to be really cognizant of in terms of what’s happening among the people themselves. What do you want people to take away from this book and the whole thing you’ve been laying out here?

CK: What I want them to take away—and I see it here in North Carolina, we have an incredible movement of resistance. We have Rev. Barber, Moral Mondays. We have grassroots organizations going on everywhere. We still have a free press. We’re still using it. We march. We have mobilizations. And we have a court system that is stronger than they ever had in Nazi Germany. So we need to look at what the resources are we have to mobilize because we’ve got a chance, as long as we make activism a part of everyday life.

MS: Claudia Koonz, thank you very much for joining us today.

CK: Thank you.

 

       

 

 


 

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 #480 February 27, 2017

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

Updated May 10, 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/480/austin-tx-2000-in-no-ban-no-wall-protest-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Austin, TX: 2,000 in #NoBanNoWall Protest

February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Austin Texas, February 25Austin TX, February 25

On Saturday, February 25, about 2,000 people rallied on the steps of the state capitol in Austin, Texas, for protest against the Trump/Pence regime’s Muslim ban, wall on the Mexico border, and terroristic raids and deportations against immigrants. People had a clear message to the White House and Texas lawmakers: No Ban, No Wall. Speakers ranged from elected officials to refugees, immigrants, lawyers, and teachers. Many of them spoke about how their lives and those of many others have been drastically changed since the Trump presidency. And they spoke to their determination to resist these attacks and stand in solidarity with each other and all communities under attack. Most people there were from Austin, and there were small groups who came from all over Texas: San Antonio, New Braunfels, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Temple, and small towns in between.

Many of the people who took up RefuseFascism.org’s “NO!” said that what Trump is doing needs to be called out for what it is—fascist. One woman was brought to tears when talking about her frustration that every day, people are protesting all over the country against all the horrors of everything they’re doing, but Trump just won’t let up. Several people also talked about how they see the similarities between what’s happening here and in Nazi Germany, and the need for people to stop this now.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/uh-profs-protest-campus-cops-becoming-anti-immigrant-enforcers-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

University of Houston Profs Protest Campus Cops Becoming Anti-Immigrant Enforcers

February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Professors Against SB4 rally in Houston, February 22.
Professors Against SB4 rally in Houston, February 22.
Photo: Twitter/@ASchneider_HPM

On February 22, professors at the University of Houston Downtown campus took to the streets for a Professors Against SB4 rally. SB4 is a bill in the Texas legislature aimed against sanctuary cities, which do not cooperate with federal Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) in their hunting down of undocumented immigrants. If SB4 is passed, city governments and law enforcement agencies will be forced to comply with ICE, under threat of being found in violation of the law and having state funds withheld. SB4 would also allow criminal charges to be brought against city/county officials who do not comply with immigration laws and who would face removal from their office if convicted. The law has already passed the Texas Senate and is headed for the House.

Tony Diaz, professor at Lone Star College, said Professors Against SB4 was formed “because we want our students to know that we stand with them, regardless of their immigration status. My top priority is making sure our children receive a good education and can go on to be productive community members.”

Alan Hall, president of American Federation of Teachers at Lone Star College, said, “Just this week I had students express to me that they are considering pausing their pursuit of a degree out of fear of what might happen to them, and it breaks my heart. If this bill becomes law and we force our campus police to act as immigration enforcers, we will find ourselves in a situation where we can no longer guarantee a safe and secure learning environment for all our students. And I find that very concerning.”

Diaz said, “I’m not going to make any exaggeration here, Texas SB4 would turn campus police into immigration officials.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/479/government-launches-criminal-shutdown-of-oceti-sakowin-camp-at-standing-rock-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Breaking News February 22-23

Government Launches Criminal Shutdown of Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock

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

 

Update 2/23/17: With militarized personnel carriers, guns and bulldozers, authorities demolished the Oceti Sakowin camp near Standing Rock this afternoon. Roads in and out of the camp were closed. Leading up to the assault, journalists were targeted for arrest. Forty-six people in the camp were arrested. Only an hour after authorities began to bulldoze the camp, the North Dakota governor signed into law four fascist bills directed at suppressing protest, including expanding criminal trespassing laws, making it illegal to cover your face with a mask or hood while committing a crime (directed at protesters), and increased penalties for “rioting” (obviously directed at activists who were the victims of ongoing state violence).

Activist Ruth Hopkins tweeted:“Knifing tipis and pointing loaded rifles at the occupants. It’s the 1800s all over again.” Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said. “Our hearts are not defeated. The closing of the camp is not the end of a movement or fight. It is a new beginning. They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started.” As the camp was being shut down, hundreds of protesters rallied in Washington, DC, demanding no Dakota Access Pipeline.

February 22: The state of North Dakota, backed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. government, began its criminal shutdown of the Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock today. As we’ve reported, this is a critical juncture in the battle to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline (DAPL), which threatens the water, lands, treaty rights, cultures, and the very existence of the Standing Rock and other Sioux tribes, and Earth’s environment itself. A heroic battle by the Standing Rock Sioux, some 200 other Native American peoples, and many thousands of others has blocked completion of DAPL for nearly a year.

After surrounding the camp with police and other enforcers, the state had set a deadline of 2 pm Central Time today for the estimated 200 plus people—“water protectors”—who remained at the camp to leave. Facing the possibility of a violent police assault, some 100 reportedly marched out of the camp before the deadline, chanting and playing drums. One resister told the New York Times that some water protectors had burned some of the remaining buildings at the camp as “an act of defiance...It’s saying: ‘If you are going to make us leave our home, you cannot take our space. We’ll burn it to the ground and let the earth take it back before you take it from us.’” Others said the burnings were ceremonial. 

At this writing, different news outlets are reporting either 9 or 10 people were arrested—some brutally—for marching up to one of the state road blocks. And some 50-75 people remain in the camp, with the police reportedly saying they will evict them and finish shutting down the camp on Thursday. 

The water protectors remaining at Oceti Sakowin camp say they’re taking a “Treaty Stand”—because the camp is on Sioux tribal land under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie. "We are all at risk of facing arrest, police brutality, federal charges and prison time," one resister said. (Democracy Now!, February 22)

Oceti Sakowin camp has been the main camp where people have come together to oppose DAPL. Of the several protest camps, Oceti Sakowin is the closest to where the DAPL will go under the Missouri River—the source of water crucial to the lives of the Standing Rock Sioux and many others in the region. Many thousands (an estimated 10,000 at one point) from all over the world have come together there to resist the pipeline and support the Standing Rock and other Sioux tribes. Many speak of the community of resistance that was forged—radically different than life-as-usual in the racist, misogynist, dog-eat-dog USA. “This was beautiful what was built here," one resister said today. 

North Dakota and the federal government are forcibly shutting down Oceti Sakowin behind the flimsy excuse that it’s an environment hazard. In reality they’re doing so to clear the way for an environment-destroying oil pipeline and to attempt to shut down what has become powerful focal point of resistance to this system’s crimes which has inspired people globally.

These dangerous developments come in the wake of the Trump/Pence fascist regime taking power and quickly stepping up the government’s assault on resisters at Standing Rock—and on all who support them. Four days after Trump’s inauguration, he signed an executive order demanding the Army Corps of Engineers accelerate its review and approval of the pipeline’s construction. The attack on the courageous resisters at Standing Rock is a screaming outrage and a crime against the people. And many at Standing Rock vow that the battle is not over. 

Halt the Illegitimate Assault on Oceti Sakowin Camp!
No Arrests of Water Protectors! 
#NoDAPL! 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/cervical-cancer-preventable-but-not-under-capitalism-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Cervical Cancer: Preventable, but Not Under Capitalism

February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Every year, more than 500,000 women in the world are diagnosed with cervical cancer and half of them die of the disease. In the U.S. about 13,000 women a year learn they have cervical cancer and about 4,000 die of this illness.

According to 2012 statistics about 84 per cent of cervical cancer cases occurred in less developed countries. The highest incidence of cervical cancer was in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, while the lowest incidence was in Northern America. The country with the highest rate of cervical cancer was Malawi, followed by Mozambique. Cervical cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related death across the globe, and the number one cause of cancer-related death in Africa. (International Agency for Research on Cancer) The dimensions of this huge international health problem reflect the lopsidedness of the world, only exacerbated by a world where rich, imperialist countries dominate and exploit the Third World.

This situation is not only horrible, but totally unnecessary. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide, but it’s highly preventable. It could and should be easily preventable. But in this world, as it is now, including in the U.S., it is not.

Most cervical cancer is caused by sexually transmitted infections with human papillomavirus (HPV), for which there is a vaccine, Gardasil. Tests, including the cervical Pap smear, can detect precancerous cervical abnormalities early, when they can be more easily treated. And they can determine the need for more rigorous monitoring. This is why screening is the frontline in preventing cervical cancer. But the disease persists because many women do not get regular screenings, largely because of the dominant social and economic relations in the world today.

To see how this is the case, look at the situation in the United States where many things prevent women, especially poor and minority women, from getting regular Pap smears like: Lack of health insurance; little or no access to low-cost health care, poor health education; inability to take time off work to go to the doctor; and living in communities with inadequate health facilities. And things are about to get worse if Trump is allowed to stay in office. He has vowed to take away federal funds from Planned Parenthood—which provides 270,000 Pap smears a year. He is moving to get rid of Obamacare, which will mean more people without health insurance, especially Black people, Latinos, and other minorities.

Then there is the poisonous ideological opposition to screening and treating cervical cancer coming  from the Christian fascists—who are now ruling from deep in the White House. When it was announced in 2005 that the Gardasil vaccine was 100 percent effective in preventing the main strains that cause cervical cancer, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a Christian fascist lobby group, said, “Our concern is that this vaccine will be marketed to a segment of the population that should be getting a message about abstinence. It sends the wrong message.” These are the anti-science, patriarchal Christian fascists who have been working for decades to take away abortion rights and birth control; to get rid of sex education; to spread the LIE that fetuses are babies and that women are incubators; who preach that sex is only about procreation and that it’s a sin to have sex outside of marriage. These are the dark-ages proponents who want to shut down Planned Parenthood. These enemies of women are guilty of contributing to the conditions in which females don’t get Pap smears and don’t get the life-saving vaccine.

All this means fewer women with access to early screening, leading to more women dying from cervical cancer. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, nearly half of the women with newly diagnosed cervical cancer have not received a Pap test in the previous five years. (Washington Post, May 2, 2011)

Dr. John Farley, a practicing gynecologic oncologist and professor at Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Arizona, says, “We have a vaccine which can eliminate cervical cancer, like polio, that is currently available, and only 40% of girls age 13 to 17 have been vaccinated. This is an epic failure of our health care system in taking care of women in general and minorities specifically.” (CNN.com, January 25, 2017)

New Study: Higher Death Rates, Bigger Gap Between White and Black Women

A new study published in the journal Cancer underscores the life and death nature of this situation. It reveals that the death rate from cervical cancer in the U.S. is much higher than previously estimated and that the gap in a higher death rate for Black women compared to white women is significantly wider. (New York Times, January 23, 2017)

Black women are dying from the disease at rates comparable to women in many poor, Third World countries and the racial disparity in cervical cancer rates had been observed in earlier studies. But it was thought this gap in the U.S. was narrowing because cancer death rates for Black women were declining. However the way the rate has been assessed in the past has compared the number of women who died from the disease to the general population at risk—including women who had had hysterectomies (who had had their cervix removed and would therefore not be at risk for cervical cancer). This is a significant difference: about 20 percent of women in the U.S. get hysterectomies, with higher rates for Black women than white women.

       

This new analysis, which excluded women with hysterectomies, now puts the mortality rate for Black women at a little over 10 per 100,000—up from 5.7 per 100,000. And for white women, it found the rate 4.7 per 100,000—up from a little over 3 per 100,000 (77 percent more deadly for black women and 44 percent more deadly for white women than previously thought).

Cervical Cancer Preventable, but Not Under Capitalism

So we have to ask what is it about the economic and political system of capitalism that creates a situation where so many women are dying of cervical cancer when it is a highly preventable disease?

Health care—one of the most basic things that allow human beings to stay alive and live a decent life—is NOT a right in this country. Providing the people with health care should be the responsibility of any government, or any society. But today some 28 million people still do not have any health insurance. And if Trump gets rid of Obamacare, it is predicted that more than 20 million people will be added to those without health insurance. A 2009 American Journal of Public Health study found that close to 45,000 deaths annually in the U.S. were associated with lack of health insurance.

Health care for people with care and compassion should be a priority in any society. And there are many dedicated doctors, nurses and others who are trying to save lives and give patients the best medical treatment they can. There are people, like those in Doctors Without Borders, who go where the U.S. is waging imperialist wars, and risk their own lives to try and save people. But what these people are trying to do actually has to go up against the U.S. health care system itself—which is all bound up with private ownership, control over the means of production, and the overall organization of the economy. Political economist Raymond Lotta tells the story of hearing someone ask CNN health expert Sanjay Gupta, “Wouldn’t it make sense to focus on preventive care, on the actual health of people as the first priority?” and Gupta said, “From a medical and ethical standpoint, yes it would make sense to put more emphasis on preventive health care. But from the bottom line, it doesn’t.” In every aspect of medical care—from insurance, to hospitals, to pharmacies, to doctors, etc.—profit determines everything, before the health and needs of the people.

So, imagine if the hospital networks in the U.S.—a large number of which are are owned by huge corporations—actually tried to address the high rate of cervical cancer, especially among Black women and other women of color.

Let’s say one of these hospital networks hired enough doctors, nurses, and other staff so that patients got the kind of care they need. It set up free screening for cervical cancer, went into the community making it very accessible so that people did not have to travel to the hospital. It did lots of outreach—especially in poor, Black and Latino communities, giving people health education about cervical cancer prevention and the importance of early screening and prevention. It provided services either free or low cost so that even people without health insurance could get screened and treated. It provided subsidies and tried to negotiate with the pharmacies. And efforts were made to actively counter the white supremacy, patriarchy, and religious obscurantist, anti-scientific thought that so often gets inserted in all kinds of decisions made in terms of patient care and medical research. These are the kind of beginning steps needed to counter the things that prevent so many women from getting screened, diagnosed and treated for cervical cancer—that lead to so many women dying from cervical cancer.

Well, in a very short time this hospital network would be forced to close down. Why? Because while all of these things are what is needed to help solve this problem—they take a lot of money, they don’t make a profit. This would mean this hospital would not be able to compete with other hospital networks. Also, this would be going up against the dominant political and ideological thinking in society and would come under attack—especially from Christian fascists, including powerful forces in the government who would demand that funding be withdrawn.

These hospitals would still be subject to the laws of capitalism, of profit in command; it would still be operating in a world where white supremacy, patriarchy run through every vein of society. It would still be operating in a capitalist system that considers all this not “health care” but a “health care industry” and like any other sector in the economy it is for investment, it is a business—not social need, not social responsibility.

In fact, there are doctors, nurses and others who are trying to do some of what’s described above. But the problem is bigger than any one hospital, greedy pharmaceutical company, or avaricious medical research lab. It will take a revolution to put an end to the capitalist system, which produces the economic laws that mandate the profit-before-everything way things operate now.

Indeed, things don’t have to be this way. Things would be radically different in the state made possible by revolution and envisioned in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America written by Bob Avakian. To read how this is possible, click here.

People are dying in so many ways because of the very nature of capitalism.
We need a whole new world.
We need revolution.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/son-of-muhammad-ali-detained-by-immigration-officials-for-being-a-muslim-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Son of Muhammad Ali Detained by Immigration Officials for Being a Muslim

February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Muhammad Ali Jr., 44-year-old son of boxing champion Muhammad Ali, was held and questioned for two hours by immigration officials at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on February 7. He was asked repeatedly, “Where did you get your name from?” and “Are you a Muslim?”

Muhammad Ali Jr. was returning from a Black History Month event in Jamaica with his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of the boxing legend. She too was questioned about her name and her religion. She was only released when she showed them a photo of herself alongside her late husband. But her son had no such photo. His lawyer told the Courier-Union newspaper that when Ali confirmed that he was a Muslim, the immigration agents began questioning him about where he was born. Ali was born in Philadelphia and is a U.S. citizen. The lawyer said that this is the first time this has happened to Ali and his mother, though they regularly travel internationally.

A mountain of lying bullshit has been spewed out by the Trump/Pence regime for the last month, denying that Trump’s executive order banning travel into the U.S. by people from seven Muslim-majority countries was aimed at stopping Muslims specifically. But the people at the core of this regime have made clear they see people of the Muslim religion as a whole as the “enemy,” or at least should be suspected as such, and a “threat” to the “American way of life.” If anyone had any doubt, look at how even well-regarded U.S. citizens who are Muslims are now being considered potentially dangerous and a threat in America under the Trump/Pence regime.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/479/anaheim-ca-pig-assaults-youth-and-fires-shot-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Off-duty Pig in Anaheim, CA assaults 13-year-old youth and fires shot

The Crime: Walking Across His Lawn

February 23, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From members of the Revolution Club, Los Angeles

On Wednesday night members of the Revolution Club L.A along with Refuse Fascism went out to Anaheim where hundreds of protesters were out in the streets protesting the outrageous incident that took place the day before where an off-duty LAPD pig got into an altercation with a group of teenagers for apparently being in his front lawn. A video that was posted on Facebook shows the off-duty pig brutally assaulting and pulling a 13-year-old by the collar of his sweater. You hear the teenager repeatedly telling the pig to let him go. The friends of the teenager defended him and tried to free their friend but the pig wouldn't let go of his grip. He then pulls out a gun and fired off a round.

We got to Anaheim and the cops had already arrested some people and had other protestors kettled in. Reports about the protest say that 24 people were arrested. Up the block were people hanging out on the corner and watching, residents of the area, families with their kids and teenagers. We went over to talk with them.

A lot of people were showing each other the videos that were going "viral" of this assault on the 13-year-old and the terror from this off duty cop shooting off his gun. People were explaining to each other and piecing together what had happened. Everyone agreed that this brutality should not have happened to this teenager. We had brought copies of the Call to Action from Refuse Fascism and got those out to everyone. 

A high school student who was a friend of the 13-year-old said what happened to her friend should not have happened. She talked about the racism that Latinos get from white people and the police. She said there needed to be some change. She asked about the Call to Action and agreed that the Trump/Pence regime needed to be driven out of power and took a stack of flyers and stickers to get to her high school the next day. We told her to organize other students and to bring the "NO!" into the conversations and controversy over this incident with the 13-year-old.

A woman that was standing there asked what was the flyer about so we got into it, we walked through what it said in the Call to Action and she agreed Trump and his regime are fascists and that something must be done about it, she was challenged to take this up and become an organizer in her area. She said she saw the need for people to take this up because she can't imagine 2 years or even 4 years of Trump in power. She left with stacks of flyers and left her contact info. 

Others there spoke out about the need to stay in the streets to put a stop to the violence and harassment by the police in Anaheim. One woman challenged people with "papers" to stand up and get in the streets for all those that don't have "papers", who aren't recognized as people, and having to live in the shadows in this country. She said, "there are generations of us in this country who have no reason to stay at home and not fight for a better future." These people made a plan on the spot to reach out to other community members with Refuse Fascism's Call to Action to Drive Out the Trump/Pence regime. They made plans to pass them out to students at a nearby high school and planned on reaching out to students who attend the middle school of the 13-year-old.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/479/palantir-software-spying-on-the-whole-world-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Palantir Software Is Spying on the Whole World

"Donald Trump has inherited the most powerful machine for spying ever devised."

February 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The Intercept this week published an article by Sam Biddle reporting on the Trump administration’s new capabilities to spy on the whole world.

This spy software has been developed by a Silicon Valley-based company, Palantir. With the Palantir software, different programs can work as a stand-alone program—or in conjunction with current programs/software being used by government spy agencies like NSA (National Security Agency)—with “unmatched power to sift and exploit information of any kind.”

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The Intercept article details many programs developed by Palantir and how they work and interact with other spy programs and who is using them. I will not get into all that in this letter, but some important features of what this company has provided to at least three members (U.S. and UK for sure) of the “Five Eyes” spy alliance (which includes the U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada) are important for people to grasp and understand the capabilities the spy agencies of these countries have.

The Palantir software has solved two problems that have existed in the previous spying software—being able to sift through massive amounts of data to analyze a specific objective and reducing the time it takes to do that.

The Intercept article reports on how the Palantir software has been “designed for the needs of intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security customers” by “importing large reams of ‘structured’ data (like spreadsheets) and ‘unstructured data’ (like images) into one centralized database, where all information can be visualized and analyzed in one workspace.” It “excels at making connections between enormous, separate databases, pulling big buckets of information (call records, IP addresses, financial transactions, names, conversations, travel records) into one centralized heap and visualizing them coherently, thus solving one of the persistent problems of modern intelligence gathering: data overload.” This has allowed the Five Eyes countries to pool and collect huge amounts of data, tens of billions of records, and use that data to spy on anyone and any organization in the world.

       

Palantir provided these countries with examples of how its programs can be used. One of the demonstrations was to show the flow of weapons through the Middle East by using equipment lot numbers, manufacturing data, and locations of Hezbollah training camps.

Another demonstration was to show how the software could identify Wikipedia users who belonged to “a fictional radical religious sect and graph their social relationships.” Using such things as political influences and tendencies of the group, the software was shown to be able to “de-anonymize and track members of any political or ideological group.”

The Intercept reported that one of the programs made it “far easier to analyze ... specific people and places” so that, for instance, “an analyst ... could pull every IP address in Moscow and Tehran that visited a given website or made a Skype call at 14:15 Eastern Time, for example, and then imported the resulting data set into Palantir in order to identify additional connections between addresses or plot their positions using Google Earth.”

One of the U.S. government’s surveillance programs exposed by Edward Snowden and published by the Guardian in 2013, XKEYSCORE, can be, as reported by The Intercept, imported into Palantir in order to analyze data collected from communications and other data that include “emails, chats, web-browsing traffic ... pictures, documents, voice calls, webcam photos, web searches, advertising analytics traffic, social media traffic, botnet traffic, logged keystrokes, computer network exploitation targeting, intercepted username and password pairs, file uploads to online services, Skype sessions and more.”

Government security agencies are heaping praise upon Palantir and what its programs can do—essentially any data from any place can be analyzed to give the security agencies whatever they want to know. It can handle both static databases and dynamic databases (those that are updated frequently). The Palantir software, according to The Intercept, is “flexible and powerful enough to accommodate the requirements of any organization that needs to process large amounts of both personal and abstract data.”

Despite all this, the report says that Palantir still presents a problem of over-analysis—analysts can get “overwhelmed by the scale of their task.”

The Intercept report on Palantir puts this in the context of the world today: “Donald Trump has inherited the most powerful machine for spying ever devised.” The spying technology that Palantir has developed is now in the hands of the fascist Trump/Pence regime.

During the Obama administration, privacy rights were trampled over. Edward Snowden revealed how the U.S. government spies on every person in the U.S. and almost everyone around the world. Now we have a fascist regime led by Trump and Pence. This means we can expect a qualitative leap in the spying and how it will be used, and Palantir has given them the ability to make that leap.

The new, updated Call to Action from Refuse Fascism states: “What is crucial to understand is that once in power fascism eliminates traditional democratic rights.” This will mean more than just massive surveillance on all those Trump sees as his enemies both inside and outside the country. It will mean that the fascist Trump/Pence regime will use that surveillance to go after people and organizations that are fighting and opposing it.

Revolution has previously reported on the U.S. government’s spying on people in this country and around the world. (See “Five Points of Orientation On the Revelations of Government Surveillance“; “High Stakes in the Apple vs. FBI Face-off”; and “The ‘USA Freedom Act’: Freedom to Spy and Suppress.”) I encourage readers to go back and read these articles that were written during the Obama administration and then think about what is said in the Call to Action concerning the fascist Trump/Pence regime.

What was said in the “USA Freedom Act” article holds true today:

Here’s the real situation: Those who rule this country create all kinds of enemies around the world and within their borders. They justify their massive spying apparatus as aimed at “terrorists,” but the scope and nature of that setup makes it clear to anyone who looks at it with open eyes that it is about spying on everyone and suppressing every kind of opposition to its epidemic of police murder, its wars for empire, its oppression of women, its environmental destruction, its persecution of immigrants, and suppressing legitimate revolutionary struggle.

And we should now add to that list, anyone and any organization that opposes the fascist Trump/Pence regime and the programs that it is implementing. Again, from that article:

Massive government spying is not the result of a security apparatus out of control. It is not the product of a “national security state” detached from the essence of this system, as some critics—including some who have done invaluable exposure—argue. This massive government spying is inherent in ruling over a world of injustice, exploitation, and oppression, and contending with rival powers to do that.

The government may have this “powerful machine for spying,” but on the other hand there are tens of millions of people who hate this regime and what it stands for. If these tens of millions act on what they hate, “together outside the normal channels,” they have the potential to stop this spying machine and those who control it.

Massive government spying needs to STOP!

The fascist Trump/Pence regime needs to be STOPPED and DRIVEN OUT!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/479/revolution-interview-jenny-heinz-wearing-no-at-lincoln-center-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Revolution Interview With Jenny Heinz on Wearing "NO!" at Lincoln Center

"This is a Time When Stands Have to Be Taken"

February 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Jenny Heinz in front of the Geffen
Jenny Heinz in front of Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center a moment after she was escorted out. (Photo by Timothy Biel provided by Jenny Heinz)

Jenny Heinz went to a performance at Lincoln Center wearing a sign: “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America—RefuseFascism.org.” At Lincoln Center she was told she would have to remove the sign to enter. She refused to remove it, and was barred from the performance. The incident was covered in a piece in the New York Times and in national media. Revolution/revcom.us spoke with her to get the whole story on why she did this, what she has to say about the situation people confront with the Trump/Pence regime, and what people need to do.

Revolution: What inspired you to wear your sign, “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America—RefuseFascism.org” to Lincoln Center?

Jenny Heinz: Sometime in November, there was a press conference at the Trump Tower. It was before the inauguration even. I got that sign and I kept it and I’ve worn it ever since. I’ve worn it every single day. I’ve gone to the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall. I wear it on the way to work and then I take it off so clients don’t see it. But basically, I have been wearing it ever since, everywhere I’ve gone. I don’t remember when those signs came out, I think in November, when Refuse Fascism came out. I especially liked “In the Name of Humanity.”

Revolution: Talk a bit about why you see the urgency to make the statement you’re making.

Jenny Heinz: I’ve been wearing an IS IT FASCISM YET button since 2003, and basically it’s been a powerful way to connect to others. It was clear to me that under Bush the signs of increasing corporate control were taking on the face of fascism. And so people often reacted to my button with “No, not yet.” And that allowed me to engage well, what, if it’s “not yet” at what point do you say “it is”? Those kinds of encounters are taking place more and more as people begin to get that is what is going on. We need to disrupt a person’s consciousness as they go shopping. So when I saw the sign, I thought that would be perfect for my back because it feels like increasingly we have to use our bodies, especially since the media over the years has been so corporate and not sufficiently functioning and now they are really under attack by the Trump regime.

So I really feel like even if it makes me look crazy in a way—I’ve got a button on the front and a sign on the back. Nowadays, it’s about connection. And people come over to me, or on the subway speak to me and yearn to engage. And it’s about having discussions. It starts conversations with people walking down the street. So in a way it’s critically important and very useful and helpful because at a time like this we have to have connections to one another. That’s what resistance requires really. Support the connections so we can do what we need to do over the long haul.

Revolution: When you wore this to Lincoln Center you weren’t allowed inside with it. Can you talk about the impact of that?

Jenny Heinz: Well, what happened was I was just going to a Sunday concert. And in the previous weeks I’d been to concerts, and to Carnegie Hall and to the opera, and I wore the sign on my back. On this day, I walked onto the plaza, and went to exchange my ticket. I was hanging around there after I exchanged my ticket, and about 20 minutes later security came over to me and said that I had to remove the sign, which I refused to do. And then the two security guards were basically telling me that I couldn’t go in. And I said I’d like to speak to a higher-up or a manager. And that’s when someone finally came over and I requested a refund.

By that time, I had already called [civil liberties attorney, and former executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union] Norman Siegel. I called and said I was being stopped by security. He said get their names, and I couldn’t get their names. I said to them, can you give me the number of the legal department. And after I got the refund the guy gave me the number to the legal department. So I was in the lobby still going to call Norman to give him the phone number of their legal department as he had suggested I do. As I was making the phone call, two or three security guards came over and said you have to leave the lobby and the hall, meaning lobby, and I was escorted onto the plaza.

What unfolded was basically, the next day, on Monday, Norman got in touch with their legal department. And a gentleman whom I had met on the plaza sent me an amazing email about the importance of this, and about the connection of this to culture and the arts and democracy. And the arts and cultural institutions, like Lincoln Center (who do accept money, right?), need to grapple with how are they going to respond and function in an authoritarian regime.

The other piece to know, between the time of the concert and my meeting with the higher-ups that Norman arranged with the head of operations and security, when I went to go to that meeting, I was not allowed on the plaza. So enforcement of a policy, yet to be seen, increased in the 10 days between the original incident and my meeting with personnel.

Top: Jenny Heinz (on the right) points to a RefuseFascism sign in the Farsi language.
Above: The same sign she has been wearing everywhere since November.

Revolution: For people reading this interview who are on the verge of following your example, putting a sign on, wearing it everywhere, maybe having some reservations about doing that, what would your advice to them be?

Jenny Heinz: To think through what concerns them about wearing such a message. What are they worried about, what does it mean to them, what is it that makes it hard for them to do that? And to really grapple with, OK, if they can’t do that, what can they do, if we really believe that things are as bad as we think they are. I’ve been arrested a number of times, although that’s never been my purpose, but around certain issues such as this, I’m prepared to be arrested. But not everyone is willing or able to risk arrest.

But I think people really need to think through how can they put themselves... push the envelope a little bit at a time when if you really believe what’s taking place, we each of us have to be part of the resistance, in one way or another. So I would say to people if you’re considering doing it, what are the issues about doing it? What were your concerns about?

What I’m saying is I want people to struggle. That this is a time when stands have to be taken. And so it’s what I want of Lincoln Center too. I want them to start anticipating taking their place in how they respond in arts and culture as a living organism, not atrophied as in an ivory tower.

Revolution: So talk about what happened in the aftermath of the Times article.

Jenny Heinz: I’ve certainly gotten letters from people who know me. I’m not good working the Facebook thing, but it’s been all over. Clearly AP picked it up. PEN picked it up. So did a number of different organizations. And people stopped me on the street, and said are you the person in the article? I’ve gotten positive reactions. I said to people, think what you can do. And you can do it too. I don’t proselytize that. My issue really is what can people do, and to impress upon them that I think each of us can do a lot and need to! Resistance is what we must be part of every day in whatever way we can. Times are dire and we each need to be part of resisting the ever increasing pace of this fascistic takeover. And to be public about our refusal in the name of humanity to accept a fascist america―hence wearing the sign as an act of expression.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/three-howling-anti-woman-lies-wrapped-in-an-inclusive-whiney-package-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Three Howling Anti-Woman LIES Wrapped in an “Inclusive” Whiney Package

by Sunsara Taylor

February 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On February 27, Lauren Enriquez, of the anti-abortion Human Coalition, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times attempting to put a compassionate spin on the hateful enslavement of women. Titled, “How the New Feminist Resistance Leaves Out American Women,” she defended the Sexual-Predator-In-Chief and whined that the Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration had excluded science-denying, women-enslaving fanatics like herself.

Now, let me make clear. I am not a feminist and I do not speak for the Women’s March. I am a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party led by Bob Avakian, which sees the fight for the complete liberation of women as not only an essential component, but as a driving force, in the revolution we are fighting for to emancipate all of humanity from every form of exploitation and oppression. But, as such, I not only attended but deeply appreciated the incredible outpouring that was the Women’s March.

With that, let’s take apart some bullshit.

HOWLING LIE #1: Enriquez complains that the marchers expressed all-around disgust at Donald Trump. She claims that the image of Trump as a “misogynist hellbent on sending women back to 1950s America” is a “caricature.”

TRUTH: Give me a break! If anything, the 1950s are mild and downright liberated compared to the world of horror Trump and Pence are fighting to impose on women. Trump is a vile, boastful sexual predator. He revels in demeaning, humiliating, and hurling gutter-level slurs at women and girls. But this is not all. Trump is actively tapping into, whipping up to new levels, and consciously unleashing a growing feeling of resentment and revenge among broad sections of men at women for ever having broken out of the suffocating oppression of women of the 1950s. “[W]hen I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof,” he’s boasted, expressing the feeling of male entitlement to women’s servitude and validating violent resentment if the woman is not subservient enough.

On top of this, Trump has teamed up with Mike Pence and a whole cabal of outright Christian fascists. Together, they promise the most draconian and cruel criminalization of not only abortion, but—if they are not stopped—even birth control. With today’s surveillance state, pervasive violence against abortion providers, and Trump’s threat that women who get abortions should be “punished”—they could send women back not only to the bloody back-alleys, but to the prisons and to drown in the oceans of shame and scorn this regime is fostering and unleashing and which is still just in its early stages.

HOWLING LIE #2: Enriquez writes, “To us, ‘resistance’ has to include opposition to the lie that freedom can be bought with the blood of our preborn children.”

TRUTH: After dousing cheap perfume on the misogynist snorting PIG that is Trump, Enriquez has zero right to speak for—or advise—the “resistance.” And stop with the “blood of our preborn children” bullshit. Fetuses are not babies. Abortion is not murder. Women are not incubators.

Enriquez cynically appeals to the massive levels of anti-science in U.S. society to peddle the anti-scientific notion that fetuses are children. They are not. Fetuses (just like zygotes and embryos at earlier stages of pregnancy) have the potential to become people, but they are not yet people. They are part of a woman’s body. They are a subordinate part of her body. Meaning, the fetus only grows and continues to develop as long as the woman eats, breathes, and lives. If she terminates (aborts) the pregnancy, she is destroying a form of life—but not a human life. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Enriquez is also cynically appealing to the thousands of years of tradition’s chains that insist that women’s most essential role and duty is to sacrifice themselves to serve husbands and his children. In Enriquez’s twisted view, the mandate is for women to be breeders and any deviation from that is “craven” and “selfish.” This is wrong. Women have no obligation to carry a pregnancy to term. In fact, simply being pregnant is a terrible reason to have a child. The only good reason to have a child is if the woman wants a child and feels ready and able to care for it the way she chooses. If not, she should have an abortion. This is not “selfish”—it’s responsible and healthy.

HOWLING LIE #3: Enriquez insists that because “most American women” feel that abortion “should be completely illegal, or legal but with significant restrictions,” one cannot really be for women unless they accommodate the "anti-abortion women" who feel this way.

TRUTH: This is really two lies in one. First, there’s the dishonest statistical sleight of hand. Because public sentiment on abortion is deeply divided, if you flipped the way the question was asked, you’d get the opposite answer: Most American women feel that abortion should be available on demand or restricted in some circumstances, still legal and safe.

But even more fundamentally, the method is flawed. You don’t determine what is liberating to women—or to anyone else—by taking a poll. You do it by examining the objective effect of the viewpoint or policy being put forward. Even if there wasn’t a single woman on the entire planet who thought so, it would be true (i.e., it would correspond to reality) that forcing women to have children against their will is a form of enslavement. A society that denies women the right to decide for themselves when and whether to have a child is a society that does not view or treat women as human beings, but instead as property of men and breeders of children. Enriquez can obscure this because she is playing on thousands of years of tradition’s chains. But that doesn’t change the truth: denying women control over their own reproduction is a keystone to the society-wide oppression and degradation of women and it has been for thousands of years.

But even with that, it is a fact that millions and millions of women—as well as many millions of men—do NOT buy that enslaving crap. This is very important. And it’s very important that all these people get even more clear on the incredible dangers facing women—and humanity as a whole—at the hands of the Trump/Pence Regime. There can be no compromise with these haters of women—no matter what package it’s wrapped in. We must sound the alarm, wage uncompromising struggle against every attack on women and drawing forward wave upon wave of others alongside us, and we must link this with—and this must fuel—the fight to drive the fascist Trump/Pence Regime from power before it’s too late.

Download 17x22" poster (PDF)

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/mem-fox-terrifying-detention-at-los-angeles-airport-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

“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

February 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Letter from a reader:

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 inclusivity.  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.”

Once they discovered that one of her books, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, was one of Australia’s gifts to Prince George, her interrogator “held out his hand and said: ‘It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Ms Fox.’ I was close to collapse, very close to fainting, and this nearly broke me—it was the creepiest thing of all.”

When she got to her hotel she was shaking like a leaf and could not sleep that night, waking up and sobbing.  “I had been sobbing in my sleep.  It was very traumatic.”

She ends her article with a defiant statement:

They made me feel like such a crushed, mashed, hopeless old lady and I am a feisty, strong, articulated English speaker. I kept thinking that if this were happening to me, a person who is white, articulate, educated and fluent in English, what on earth is happening to people who don’t have my power?

That’s the heartbreak of it. Remember, I wasn’t pulled out because I’m some kind of revolutionary activist, but my God, I am now. I am on the frontline. If we don’t stand up and shout, good sense and good will not prevail, and my voice will be one of the loudest.

That’s what it has taught me. I thought I was an activist before, but this has turned me into a revolutionary. I’m not letting it happen here. Instead of crying and being sad and sitting on a couch, I am going to write to politicians. I am going to call. I am going to write to newspapers. I am going to get on the radio. I will not be quiet. No more passive behaviour. Hear me roar.

Read the entire op-ed in The Guardian.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/carl-dix-somebody-needs-to-tell-betsy-devos-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Somebody Needs to Tell Betsy Devos:
The Struggle Against Denying Black People Education Wasn't a Fight For School Choice

by Carl Dix

February 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

So Trump’s secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, thinks Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were pioneers in school choice in that they saw that the system wasn’t providing educational opportunities to Black students, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. No, Ms. DeVos, you got it twisted here; maybe out of your own ignorance, or because you thought people reading your statement were ignorant. Or maybe it’s some of both.

The HBCUs were created out of the fight to end the denial of any educational opportunities to Black people. First under the slave system, which made it a crime to teach Black people to read! And then under the separate and unequal policies of Jim Crow segregation, Black students were barred from attending whites-only schools from elementary school thru college. Part of keeping Black people in the U.S. subjugated has been keeping them shrouded in ignorance. And part of the struggle against that subjugation has been fighting to break out of that enforced ignorance. It was in the face of this complete denial of educational opportunities that HBCUs grew and developed. In the 1950s and 1960s, the National Guard and U.S. troops needed to be mobilized to beat back white mobs who attempted to keep Black students from attending public schools.

DeVos and those who back her “school choice” agenda are taking up the legacy of those white mobs who fought to keep Black students out of their schools. In fact, after the Supreme Court ruled Jim Crow schools to be unconstitutional, whites in many Southern states used public funds to start all-white private schools to keep segregation in effect under the banner of school choice.

Her vision, and the vision of the Trump/Pence regime, is of an educational system where the public schools are gutted and students are funneled into schools that train them as Christian fundamentalist robots, unable to think critically or resist. This is a key part of the overall fascist agenda the Trump/Pence regime is working to enforce.

Finally, a word to the officials from the HBCUs who crowded into the White House to get into the photo opportunity with Trump. Undoubtedly, the motivation for the way you all were “skinning and grinning” was a desire for more federal funding to help your schools survive and thrive. But think about the deal you were being offered—the promise of increased funding in exchange for creating favorable public opinion for a fascist regime that will greatly intensify the horrors the system enforces and eventually clamp down on all resistance and remake the law. This amounts to being an American version of the Judenrat, the Jewish councils that the Nazis used in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s to help them segregate, subjugate, and finally try to exterminate the Jewish people. Do you want to play that kind of role today?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/revolution-club-chicago-launches-new-organizing-center-on-south-side-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

"There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness..."

Revolution Club Organizing Center Opens on South Side of Chicago

Updated March 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This is a revised and updated version of an article posted earlier.

Read more   
Download Poster for Print (PDF): 11"x17"     17"x22"

Find out more about the Revolution Club here

As the recent statement from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party says, “Chicago is infamous for the true horror of young Black people killing each other. And now Chicago is ground zero for Trump’s overall offensive against Black people.” Chicago is now also something else: ground zero for bringing forward an organized force for actual revolution to emancipate the seven billion people on this planet, from among those this system has, “for so long, not just exploited, but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented... in a thousand ways....”

On Sunday February 26, a new Revolution Club organizing center was launched on the south side of Chicago, with plans to open a second one soon on the west side, to bring forward forces for revolution at the same time uniting with all kinds of people to take up the urgent fight to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

To get the organizing center, people were reached out to widely to be part of meeting the immediate need for it in the context of this emergency situation for Black people and humanity as a whole. All kinds of people responded right away, offering their knowledge and resources and abilities. Various locations were suggested and possible spaces offered. People reached out to others they knew to make connections and some were actively involved in finding and getting the place.

But bringing the Revolution Club organizing center all the way into being was a real fight. There were some forces who didn’t want to see it happen. And others who not only welcomed it, but threw in to make it happen.

The forces who opposed and tried to prevent the Revolution Club organizing center didn’t like the idea of bringing something into the neighborhood that will reach out with revolution to the youth who are caught up in killing each other, and call forward powerful resistance to the Trump/Pence regime and the whole system it comes from. They worried this would be too disruptive and get in the way of attempts to “build up the community,” like the Obama library that is coming and plans to fix up golf courses. Some even have plans to get in on what is coming down from Trump. That is, they knowingly or unknowingly end up conniving in genocidal plots against the people. As the CC statement says: “Now comes Trump...he promises jobs. In reality, his agents will dole out a few jobs...to buy people as his enforcers. Trump will pull more Black people into the oppressor army to kill off other oppressed people.

The reality is this system doesn’t have a future for the masses of Black people, especially the youth. Millions have been locked into poverty and misery, while the Black middle strata has been under intense economic attack since 2007, including suffering the hardest hit in the housing meltdown, with 240,000 Black people nationwide losing their homes. Now, with Trump’s whole racist program and slashing of government jobs, the Black middle class will be under even sharper attack. And the Trump/Pence program of violently repressing and at the same time dividing and degrading people, aimed at the inner-cities and right now focused on Chicago, will start with those in the most desperate conditions but affect all Black people.

Trump threatens to send in the feds to “fix” what his top advisor calls “black crime.” And the Chicago Tribune ran a column calling for the implementation of a detailed plan to barricade whole neighborhoods with National Guard and flood them with police who are ready to kill. The public schools in Chicago are in a crisis with not enough money to finish the school year, and Trump’s Secretary of Education plans to replace public schools with Christian fundamentalist “schools” that teach blind obedience and ignorance. The mass round-ups ripping apart immigrant families have already begun.

Reaching Out Broadly to Fight Through to Open the Center

Again the Revolution Club reached out to involve people in fighting all the way through to open the organizing center. Different people really threw in on this, and particularly key were the efforts of people among the Black middle class who have positions and influence that they were able to bring to bear. People expressed their view of the importance of this center to bring the youth together, and others felt the urgency of bringing forward resistance to the Trump/Pence regime. Through actively advocating for the opening of the center and in other ways they helped to clear the way.

The Revolution Club organizing center opened Sunday with beautiful REVOLUTION banners on the walls, the Points of Attention for the revolution prominently displayed, and other posters and banners that introduce people to Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution, and the new synthesis of communism he’s developed. Posters in three languages say, “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America,” and a display in the window invites and calls on people to join the Revolution Club. In the days leading up to the launch, as we worked on getting the center ready, people in the area who know the Revolution Club stopped in to see the center and had the chance to talk with people in the club about what the Trump/Pence regime will mean for Black people and what to do about it now.

In addition to people in and around the Revolution Club, people who came to the launch were some from the area, some from the Refuse Fascism movement and the movement to stop police murder, and others who heard about it through text networks and Facebook.

The highlight and main feature of the program was a talk from Carl Dix. The program began with a welcome to the new center and the Revolution Club marching up to the front and standing in formation to read the Central Committee statement and the Points of Attention. Then Carl Dix came up and spoke about the importance of opening this center in this place at this time and gave a presentation that exposed both the straight-up repression of the Trump/Pence program against Black people and the component of turning some Black people into enforcers of that program at the same time: as police and ICE agents and Christian fundamentalist robots. He talked about the need to unite with many kinds of people urgently to drive out the Trump/Pence regime and at the same time he said in no uncertain terms that what we need to put an end to this situation for Black people and for humanity is revolution. He read the quote from Bob Avakian about the potential for unprecedented beauty to come from unspeakable ugliness and called on people to be emancipators of humanity.

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

Carl Dix then put forward the challenge for people who are caught up in the system way of thinking of "what's in it for me," asking what if Harriet Tubman would have said that—and pointing to the reality that in fact she risked her own life and freedom for others. And he pointed to the need to take that challenge out into the streets to the youth who are killing each other.

The program ended with upcoming plans to impact society with the statement and a call from a representative of the Revolution Club to join the club and fight for and live by the Points of Attention. Afterwards, everyone stayed around to talk more deeply with each other and to get organized. Some people looked at video clips from revcom.us that were playing on a TV screen. People wanted to keep talking for a long while, eager to engage in discussion ranging from how to understand and what to do about the Trump/Pence assault on Black people to what is Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism and the strategy for revolution. Some people took stacks of flyers of the statement and gave small donations for them and talked about their plans of where they will distribute them. One person planned to come back to the center during the week to report back about the response he gets when he goes to get the flyers out to other people. Another person, who has been checking out different organizations in this highly politicized moment, got a copy of the book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, and filled out an application to start the process of joining the Revolution Club.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/why-people-should-read-and-spread-the-truth-about-right-wing-conspiracy-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

From a member of the Revolution Club at UCLA

Why people should read and spread "The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer" from Bob Avakian

March 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I tell everyone I talk to to read “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer” from Bob Avakian because it does a really good job of explaining why we’re in the situation we’re in, which is a big question people are up against: why is this happening? I think everyone needs to engage this piece because even as we’re uniting together from all kinds of different perspectives to oust this regime, people have to come to learn that this is coming from the same system of capitalism, that we can understand it, and that combating this fascist regime requires resistance on terms that are in the interests of humanity, not the terms set by the Democrats (which lead people to ultimately accept this, and which don’t even recognize or admit that it is fascism). 

This piece from Bob Avakian really gives people a sense of the material basis for fascism to be implemented right now. This is something that is missing in people’s understanding. What fascism is and that it’s a leap to a different form of rule. People are missing the understanding of the necessity that the ruling class is facing. And this could lead to people missing out on really big questions. For example, the contradictions of imperialism and how they see their necessity in terms of ISIS.

It also draws from all different sources and really paints a picture of their agenda. What they are actually after?

Before I read it, I didn’t have a sense of the history of how the fascists were dealing with Bill Clinton. I didn’t know anything about Clinton and what he represented. I was surprised to find out how much they were going after him even though he was the most conservative Democrat up to that point. Some of the things that were used against him were policies that he himself was putting forward. BA does a really good job of explaining why that is. Why even though he seems to have a lot of unity with the fascists, there is still that element that BA talks about in “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’... And What Will Replace It.” That in order to implement fascism, you have to go after bourgeois democracy.

The main thing I came to understand is that it’s not the conflicts floating up in the air but rooted in how the sections of the bourgeoisie see their necessity. Problems they are trying to solve, from the perspective of cohering and advancing their empire, and differences over how to solve those problems.

The direction is similar in that, at this time in the world, capitalism needs to become more repressive given the development of the economic situation internationally to the point where you don’t have freedom to have all these social programs like the New Deal. It helps understand the material basis for the rise of fascism and why Clinton was such a conservative Democrat. And it sets a foundation to understand the conflicts in the ruling class. What terrain is that happening on?

You get this stuff all throughout society of just calling these fascists crazy or making psychiatric evaluations because people don’t understand the reasoning behind their actions. Or some people just think it’s all to make profit, really narrowly understood. If you don’t understand the real deeper reasons for this, you’re not going to understand how this is connected to the necessity they’re facing around the world: with Islamic fundamentalism, how the slow genocide against Black people can speed up to a fast one... or the struggle around abortion. How they see the potential unraveling of the social fabric of America because of the rise of diversity and multiculturalism. Fascism isn’t just some crazy matter of preference but how they see dealing with the deeper problems they’re facing.

People don’t go there and part of problem with that is they don’t see how serious this is. How they’ve been working for decades to implement this fascist program and the material basis in the laws, flowing out of the deeper dynamics economically and politically. But there is a material basis for them to do what they say they’re going to do.

It makes a difference in whether people understand this as a whole fascist program with momentum and a material basis vs. these people are just crazy and going after people’s rights or going after particular groups of people that they hate but not seeing the reasoning behind that other than prejudice.

       

Also, the article explains that the Democrats have a lot of unity with the fascists and how these fascists are actually taken seriously, that the fascists are seen by the Democrats as a legitimate voice in the discussion about how to solve these problems. It gives you an understanding of why you can’t rely on the Democrats to solve this. And why, along with taking back the political initiative, we have to be challenging the fascist morality. BA gives the example of abortion and what it has meant that the Democrats have given the moral high ground to the fascists by saying abortion should be “safe, legal but rare” instead of “abortion on demand and without apology.” Those are the terms that have been set and have confused so many people, and we have to change those terms. This is not about babies but about whether women are going to be treated as full human beings. Similar with internationalism and how people are being trained to think in terms of America first and American lives are more important than other people’s lives.

You can see sparks of opposition to that in the airport protests, but we really have to bring people that internationalist orientation. I keep thinking about the sentence in the new Call to Action from Refuse Fascism: “It might only take a single serious crisis—international or domestic—for this regime to drop the hammer. We do not have much time.”

We could be one attack away from them dropping the hammer. So if people don’t have the right orientation when something like that happens, you can see how people might be scared into submission. And they’ve already been influenced by the idea of America first by the fascists and even the Democrats. Look at what Bernie Sanders cohered people around, even in a more “progressive” way.

The more general thing I came to appreciate a lot more from BA’s article is the need for people to be able to analyze society in a scientific way. If you’re not understanding where things are coming from, you will be led to all kinds of different directions and all kinds of non-solutions and people won’t fight in a way that is commensurate to what we’re dealing with. That’s too much of what we’re seeing now.

Again, even as we’re uniting together from all kinds of different perspectives to oust this regime, people have to come to learn that this is coming from the same system of capitalism, that we can understand it, and that combating this fascist regime requires resistance on terms that are in the interests of humanity, not the terms set by the Democrats (which lead people to ultimately accept this, and which don’t even recognize or admit that it is fascism). 

And for those who recognize that America was NEVER great and who through the process of this are looking for answers. For those who do not want to settle for bourgeois democracy with all its “softer” horrors, they have to know that this system has no solution to the problems that plague humanity; and the only way to deal with the contradictions faced by the ruling class in a way that is in the interests of humanity is to make a revolution and to bring into being the society envisioned in the CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America authored by Bob Avakian. There’s a way to really understand the world in all its complexity, a whole other way the world can be, and a strategy for how to get there.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/i-am-vowing-here-and-now-not-to-show-papers-in-this-situation-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

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

March 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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?

~~~~~~~~~~

The February 22 incident at JFK gave the country and the world a glimpse of the new repressive powers and expansive reach given to the CBP enforcers under the new Trump/Pence regime. This was not an international flight with passengers returning from travel abroad, or with visas and permits to enter the U.S. There was no “reasonable suspicion” to justify asking every passenger, one by one, to prove that they were not an immigrant in trouble with the law. And while CBP now claims this was a request the passengers could have refused, no one aboard the plane was given that impression. One of the passengers tweeted: “My flight from SFO to JFK. We were told we couldn’t disembark without showing our ‘documents.’”

 In one stroke this regime has granted itself the power to require that travelers anywhere within the borders of this country be subject to random ID checks—any time, anywhere.

Garrett Epps’ declaration was picked up by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has sent it viral by tweeting it—accompanied by this challenge: “‘I am vowing here and now not to show papers in this situation.’ That’s a good campaign: to spread this vow as much as possible.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/on-the-town-hall-meeting-protests-and-the-indivisible-guides-agenda-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

On the Town Hall Meeting Protests, and the Indivisible Guide's Agenda:

Why the Tea Party Model "Worked" for Fascists, But Is Dangerously Wrong for Stopping Trump

Updated March 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This is a revised and updated version of an article posted earlier.

In cities across the country, angry crowds are confronting Republican members of Congress. On February 21, hundreds of furious protesters confronted Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn at a town hall meeting. People angrily denounced her support for ending Obamacare. There was sustained, loud booing when she said she wasn’t aware that Trump had appointed his top adviser Steve Bannon to the National Security Council. She was booed again when she defended education secretary Betsy DeVos. And again, when in response to a question about whether it’s right to have an immigration policy that excludes Muslims and favors Christians, she claimed, “Christians have seen incredible persecution.” (For background on Bannon, DeVos, and the rest of Trump’s cabinet, see “Trump’s Team of Theocrats, War Criminals, Ghouls, & Neo-Nazis.”)

The confrontations at town hall meetings are a positive element of resistance to Trump. And they are a vehicle through which many people who have never been “political” are awakening to political life, and in turn organizing others. At the same time, there is a cohering analysis, vision, and agenda around which people are being mobilized and led for these town hall confrontations that leads away from what it will take to stop Trump. It is articulated in “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.” At the core of its vision and strategy is the assertion that “The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs [Members of Congress] to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism—and they won.”

But that’s a wrong understanding of the “rise of the Tea Party.” And the implications for what needs to be done now are dangerously out of sync with reality.

The Tea Party was not in any fundamental way some kind of grassroots uprising. On an obvious level, the Tea Party was sponsored by forces like Fox “News,” funded by the reactionary billionaire machine of the Koch brothers, and backed by other powerful institutions.

Even more fundamentally, the Tea Party was an expression of powerful forces at the top of U.S. society, in the ruling class, who for decades have been moving to radically reshape U.S. society in a leaner, meaner, drastically more repressive way in response to profound challenges to the stability of the U.S. empire and its “homeland” in today’s world. Part of this has meant grooming an American fascist movement, taking different forms at different times, both outside and inside the structures of power. This movement has both been utilized by different ruling class forces and, to a degree, has a life of its own.

There is not some force among the other sections of the ruling class attempting to really cohere an uncompromising movement of those who are the targets of fascism and/or who morally oppose it because such a force, out in the streets and refusing to leave the streets until their basic demands have been met, would potentially pose too much of a threat to the system as a whole. That is, once such social forces politically awaken and begin raising questions, in the view of these rulers there is too much danger that this could break out of the confines of politics as usual.

For the Republicans (or at least very powerful sections of them), bringing the Tea Party reactionaries into the streets and whipping them up “worked” because the prejudices and demands of this backward and ignorant section of people conformed to a fascist agenda. The point is this: The Tea Party was part of a much larger strategy, over a whole period of decades, backed by very powerful forces. And now Trump has cohered these forces and trends to make an actual move to fascism.

On the other hand... the Democrats will not and cannot do that. They aim to attract and claim to speak for progressive people. But the things that progressive people want—like an end to white supremacy; ending the subjugation of women; protecting the environment; treating immigrants as human beings; an end to unjust wars—these things cannot be solved under this system. And so, in the eyes of the leaders of the Democratic Party, calling progressive people into the streets creates the real danger (as they see it) of people bumping up against and breaking out of the terms set by this system. And that is not acceptable to them. They are a party of the ruling class and their role is to maintain this system. Listen carefully and critically to the terms they consistently set, like constantly framing things in terms of “our [sic] national interests,” and you can see that.

In short, the Tea Party could and did serve the fascists, but a mass mobilization of, and uprising by progressives does not contribute to, but threatens the whole setup that the Democrats are an essential part of. The conditions and dynamics that gave rise to this situation are deeply analyzed in “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer,” by Bob Avakian. This is a work that anyone who wants to understand the roots and the dynamics of Trump’s election should dig into.

Humanity Confronts a Historic Danger

Right now, humanity confronts a historic danger in the Trump/Pence regime. However, we live in a moment when it is still possible to prevent the full consolidation of this regime and build a movement capable of ousting it. How long this window will remain open is not predetermined; it could be slammed shut at any time, for instance, with an incident (whether real or staged) that Trump/Pence could exploit to assume extraordinary powers.

Yet Indivisible intends essentially to put up with the Trump/Pence regime for two years while preparing public opinion to elect more Democrats to Congress in 2018. This is explicitly spelled out in the Indivisible Guide in Chapter 1: “[B]y objecting as loudly and powerfully as possible, and by centering the voices of those who are most affected by their agenda, you can ensure that people understand exactly how bad these laws are from the very start—priming the ground for the 2018 midterms and their repeal when Democrats retake power.” [emphasis added]

A fundamental problem with that is, the choices people get in elections are not mainly or in any essential way defined by grassroots activism. More powerful forces at the top of society determine who gets to run for office (how much funding they get, what kind of coverage they get in mainstream—that is, ruling class—media). These powerful forces, the ruling class, define what people are told the important issues and legitimate terms of debate are. And nobody, at the top of this system, is right now proposing anything like an agenda to stop, undo, and reverse what Trump is doing.

But even taking Indivisible on its own terms and assuming that the Democrats would run candidates focused on ousting this whole fascist regime and removing the threat (which, again, is very unlikely, given that very few if any elected Democrats have even articulated such a stance) and that such candidates would actually win and then would be able to “make good” on this promise, this not only wouldn’t work but is extremely dangerous.

First, look at the shocking pace at which the Trump/Pence regime has implemented its fascist agenda in a month! Trump declares the mainstream media an “enemy of the people.” Roundups of undocumented immigrants are extended daily into new reaches of society. Environmental regulations are shredded. Protection for trans students is being stripped away, exposing them to bullying and dehumanization. And the Trump/Pence regime has not just attacked what Trump calls “so-called judges” but the rule of law. After the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the implementation of Trump’s ban on people coming into the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries, White House policy adviser Stephen Miller made a series of high-profile appearances on Sunday network news shows. In response to the 9th Circuit ruling, he told Fox News, “The president’s powers here are beyond question.” And, “We don’t have judicial supremacy in this country.” Immediately after this, Trump tweeted, “Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!” Constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky responded, “President Trump is claiming that no court can review the constitutionality of his actions and essentially that he need not obey a court’s ruling.... The very essence of the rule of law is that no one, not even the president, is above the law. The president, like all others, must follow court orders.”

Second, Trump has adopted an extremely warlike America-first posture, including a much more aggressive development and use of nuclear weapons. If Democrats like Clinton and Obama said before the election that it was too dangerous to entrust Trump with nukes, we have to ask: What the hell has changed? Has he proved to be less dangerous? Or have they decided that the continued existence of this system, even with Trump/Pence at its head, is more important than “the dangers” in people going outside the normal channels to demand the ouster of this regime?

It Is Not Just a Set of Laws, This Is FASCISM

Finally, Indivisible is wrong to reduce what we face to a set of “bad laws.” As Refuse Fascism has said in its Call:

Fascism is not just a gross combination of horrific reactionary policies. It is a qualitative change in how society is governed. Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive “traditional values.” In Trump’s election campaign he encouraged and fed on the threat and use of violence to build a movement and come to power. In his inaugural address he pledged allegiance only to this movement. What is crucial to understand is that once in power fascism essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights.

Even as the Trump/Pence Regime is moving fast, they have not yet fully consolidated their regime, or, as yet, been able to implement their full program. But, this is their objective and it is very possible. It might only take a single serious crisis—international or domestic—for this regime to drop the hammer. We do not have much time.

What will stop Trump? The answer lies in people stepping outside the deadly confines of working through the very system and structures that put Trump in power. Mass resistance is critical. But unless the Trump/Pence regime is driven from office, resistance will be a series of battles fought on worse and worse terms. In the name of humanity, the focus of people who are outraged by Trump has to be to drive out the regime. Refuse Fascism has a vision and a plan for that. Their new Call says:

We must ORGANIZE: working with all our creativity and determination toward the time when millions of people can be moved to fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate—Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until the Trump/Pence Regime Is Driven from Power.

If this happens, then the whole political landscape would be dramatically transformed, every faction within the established power structure would be forced to respond—and all this could lead to a situation in which this fascist regime is driven from office.

That organizing includes—very importantly—being out among everyone who is outraged by and acting to oppose the crimes the Trump/Pence regime is carrying out, and the worse ones they are rapidly preparing to carry out, no matter how they understand the problem. And in doing so engaging, and struggling with people, to confront what we are really up against. To do that, go to RefuseFascism.org. Read and sign the Call to Action. Spread it into the town hall meetings, and everywhere else. Infuse everyone outraged with what is happening to take up the single unifying objective to drive this regime from power, in the name of humanity.

 

       

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/michael-slate-interview-with-george-prochnik-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Michael Slate Interviews George Prochnik

On Stefan Zweig, the Rise of Hitler, and "When It's Too Late to Stop Fascism"

March 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

George Prochnik was interviewed February 24, 2017, on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio. This is a transcript of that interview.

Michael Slate:  George Prochnik is a writer and he has an article in the February 6, 2017, edition of The New Yorker, “When It’s Too Late to Stop Fascism, According to Stefan Zweig.” In the 1930s, Stefan Zweig was the most translated author in the world. He fled Austria when the Nazis took over in 1934. In 1941, he was in exile in the U.S. He spent the final months of his life furiously writing a memoir and the memoir was a warning to the people of the future. He had learned first-hand what it meant to not take on fascism when it first arises, what the consequences are.

George Prochnik's article is such a compelling piece and it’s such a necessary and important piece today given what’s going on the world. So, I’m really happy to welcome George to the show. George, I’m glad you’re here.

George Prochnik: Thanks so much for having me on and what you said about the piece.

Michael Slate: Well, let’s jump into this. You recently wrote a piece in The New Yorker about the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig and his memoir, The World of Yesterday, that he wrote in the summer of 1941. Tell people who Zweig was and why his memoir was so significant that you felt you had write about this.

George Prochnik: Well, Zweig was an affluent Austrian Jew. He grew up in Vienna at the height of its cosmopolitan glamour. He himself, from a very early age, decided that his vocation was writing and was successful immediately. He began writing poetry, then he was writing essays for newspapers, and everything that he did found an audience. He began then writing extremely popular short stories, political essays, eventually histories, a novel, biographies, a libretto, a play.

Everything that Zweig did added to his worldly acclamation. He saw himself—because he became so popular not just within Austria but in fact, world-wide and at the pinnacle of his career in the mid-1920’s, he was the most widely translated author in the world and quite possibly, the most successful. He saw himself as representing all the values of humanism that he hoped the historical trends were going to affirm more and more as his life went on. The first of course, terrible blow to this dream was the First World War which shattered the original Hapsburg Empire, balanced between different ethnic groups, which was a vexed balance but one which at least for a period of time, kept the worst aspects of prejudice and ethnic denigration in check. 

After that war, Zweig decided that more important to himself than being a celebrity author was doing what he could to promote tolerance, international humanism, etc. Even though he continued to write at an extraordinarily prolific rate, he spent even more time arguably, organizing different conferences, giving talks, trying to bring together the leading humanists from everywhere—from the East as well as from the West, to talk about what could be done to ensure that the catastrophe of the First World War was not repeated. So, throughout this time leading up to the rise of fascism in the late ’20’s and early ’30’s before Hitler actually came to power, Zweig felt that his own situation—despite his grave concern for other more vulnerable populations, that his own situation was relatively immune. And of course, after the Nazis came to power and eventually Austria as well, later in the 1930’s became threatened and collapsed and fell under Nazi rule, Zweig found himself suddenly among the refugee population that he had watched with compassion and with a terrible sense of premonition dating way back to after 1933 when Hitler became chancellor.

So, after he himself left Austria he went to England and then he went to the United States. And eventually he ended up Brazil. But in the United States he did the bulk of the work on his memoir. In the summer of 1941, living in of all places a small town up the Hudson from New York City called Ossining. He lived in a house—a very modest house—not like the grand apartments and grand hotels in which he had spent most of his life, very close to Sing Sing prison. He worked furiously on this memoir because he wasn’t trying so much to preserve a record of his private existence. It says virtually nothing about his own domestic life. What he was trying to do was to look at what had happened to his generation and understand how even someone as privileged as himself, let alone the millions without all the buffers that he had thought would barricade him against the worst effects of fascism; how has it all fallen away? So, the document that he ended up producing in an incredibly rapid rate—he was sometimes writing several hundred pages in as short a period as a few weeks—what he ended up producing is this extraordinary, I guess we would say, almost a record in real time of how a civilization which had seemed so secure and so invested in its progressive democratic values, could have collapsed so utterly and in a relatively short a period of time. He really tries to look at this, and I am convinced having spent a great deal of time with this book, that there are lessons that are sadly very pertinent for us today.

Michael Slate: That was one of the really important points that you made in this article. Even the title of the book, The World of Yesterday and he’s speaking to an audience that clearly is not an audience that was necessarily living in the time that he was writing about and was actually looking to the future. If he actually could conceive of a future given what was going on in the world at the time and what the future might be. But that whole idea of speaking to people about what actually—this is a warning to the future. I thought that the point that he made is that it’s a law of history that contemporaries have denied recognition of the early beginnings of the great movements that determine their times. If you look throughout history that has so much importance in seeing how things develop and how things get to the point that they get to.

George Prochnik: That’s absolutely correct—everything that you just said. First of all in terms of the book as a message to the future, I think he literally conceived of it as kind of a message in a bottle to the future. He knew that his own generation was going to be immersed in, as he said, the abyss and unspeakable hell for as long ahead in time as he himself, at the age of 60 when he was composing this could see or, 59 and about to turn 60. At the same time he didn’t think that the Nazis would ultimately destroy the planet. What he felt was if there was anything that he could give to allow the next generation to rebuild civilization on sounder ground, there could be no higher mission that he could take on.

To your point, where you mention how it’s denied to contemporaries to see what will become the great or the most important movements of their time; this is something that Zweig very, very poignantly presents. When Hitler first began to make a name for himself—which was in the early 1920’s—nobody took him seriously, because he seemed a buffoon, uneducated, so crude and ultimately, unlikeable that the elite, the intellectuals couldn’t imagine that this person would ever become a threat to the entire German, Austrian and ultimately global culture.  You know, there’s another scene that I think of in this context. The son of the writer Thomas Mann. Klaus Mann, who was also an author, describes having seen Hitler early on at a Munich teahouse and he watches Hitler stuff his face with these crème puffs and he’s—as he puts it—such a petit bourgeois pig and so nasty in a so visceral way, not a leader, not a figure who seems capable of inspiring the urge for greater German glory or let alone, preserving any ideals for civilization. He said that, “This man can never be a threat to us.” He says, “It’s impossible.”

I think in our own situation here it’s obviously the case that Trump had been around for many years in the public eye. No one who was in a position to stop him understood for a very long time, that he might be capable of channeling some sort of mood of a large swath of the country that could ultimately sweep him into power.

Michael Slate: You know, one of the things that comes up too, in your piece, and I thought it really made me pause because at the same time what you’re talking about in terms of Zweig and what he began to understand. When he actually was out there, at one point he even ended up applauding the Nazis for the ability to bring, “A renewed sense of passion and import” to German elections. And I kept thinking about the whole idea that someone could get in there and mix it up and really—the idea is to set people’s heads on fire and then you can actually get in there and wrestle with some things, but this was a fairly stunning thing to see someone who did care the way he cared about what was going on, and at the same time to be sort of blindsided by this whole point of the Nazis had an ability to bring a renewed sense of passion and import to the German elections.

George Prochnik: I think that’s a very important point and again, there are certain people who looked on—who continue to look on—I've seen this phrase in a number of relatively mainstream conservative essays and sites now: The idea that well, what this president is doing is acting like a bull in a china shop; we had a huge problem, something had to happen. He’s there. He’s going to shake things up and there’s this almost sly little, winking, joking sense that they’re going to know how to rein this force in at the right time. Historically speaking, the idea that you can control a charismatic maverick at the moment you decide it’s gone too far—It’s just been disproven time and again. I think we have to be very clear that the passions the leader can excite—even though those passions may have different motivations and be from all sorts of different demographics with different goals in mind, they don’t in any way validate the larger platform on which the charismatic leader runs. The passions may be real, sincere and have positive elements. That doesn’t make anything the leader himself represents something that we as a country can abide by.

Michael Slate: And that’s extremely important. I mean again, you look at what’s going on today—and think about this. With all the things that we got in the buildup to the election where it was like, “Look, the people from the rustbelt are really coming forward—people who haven’t voted—who have been so alienated from the system and finally they found their hero.” When I’m reading your piece I’m thinking, “Damn, there’s way too much similarity here.”

George Prochnik: Right. There were so many reasons to be skeptical that he would be a hero of the demographics who felt forgotten, disenfranchised, etc., beginning of course with his vast wealth and his notorious lack of generosity as a human being in every sense. But he said what people wanted to hear. Another point that Zweig makes that is relevant, because it's obvious that that vote of, in Trump's words, “the forgotten man,” mattered.

But another thing that Zweig points out about Hitler's ascendency, at the moment when Zweig himself began to take Hitler seriously, was when he realized how much money was being spent on the different squads of young men that he saw training in these towns along the Austrian-German border. They would be driving new trucks, wearing these spanking new uniforms, and all very, very well-heeled in their appearance. And he realized that there were financial interests using the nascent Nazi Party as a front. And there was unquestionably also a great deal of money interest behind Trump. And that shouldn't be lost sight of—moneyed interests who have, since the election, however they voted, come to decide, well, maybe this can work in our favor after all. A friend was telling me recently of a friend of his who is involved with a hedge fund that made hundreds of millions of dollars in the initial weeks after Trump's election. Obviously there's this enormous rally on Wall Street. So, there has also been an acceptance of the more heinous, from the point of view of human rights, actions taken by the administration, I think unfortunately because the greed of people with money is so far still being gratified. So it isn't only that this one population found its hero, it's that another population found someone who would allow them to become that much richer, and in fact, increase the very socio-economic inequalities that in some way made this president possible.

Michael Slate: You say in your piece that Zweig recognized the crucial role of propaganda in eroding the conscience of the world at the time, and this was a massive boon to what Hitler was trying to do. Let's talk about that.

George Prochnik:  One point that Zweig makes is that at the outset of the First World War, it was still possible for a poet, for an intellectual, for an eloquent voice, to intervene in the clamor towards war, and make a statement, that even if it didn't halt the progress towards war, would at least cause enough of a controversy, enough dissension within that rush into bloodshed, that there was some hope that you could affect the course of history by sufficiently articulating the dangers of what lay ahead.

But over the course of that war, what we think of as modern propaganda really took hold, and saturated all forms of media, not just print media, but radio as well, and Zweig documents to an extent, how the very capacity to exaggerate the fear of strangers, the dangers posed by foreigners, became not just a self-perpetuating, but an expanding, snowballing phenomenon, so that by the end of the war, he actually labeled what the press was doing as “the doping of excitement,” that there was just a need to produce a certain kind of effect on readers or listeners, so that you would continue to have what we call today, an audience.

By the time the Second World War was becoming more and more imminent, Zweig says that the “organization of lies,” which is how he describes propaganda, had become so effective, that it was no longer possible for anyone to say anything that could have the slightest effect on the rush into the madness that that terrible war became. And there were so many eloquent statements in the period leading up to our own election period. I think of Michelle Obama's rightly celebrated speech at the DNC Convention, and any number of other instances, that if it was possible for words to matter to the whole population, they would have mattered at those moments. Unfortunately, it's obvious that our ability to curate our own news feeds, through social media, our lack of any common standard of truth, has led to a situation in which propaganda is now seen as one side or the other, and I would argue, infinitely more perniciously on the side of the right, is now viewed as just a situation with news. You're looking for an affirmation of your opinion, not for some sort of factual report. In that situation I don't know how you find common ground again.

Michael Slate: One thing that's very important in relation to all this is the fact that propaganda has that other role, which as you point out, both whips up Hitler's base, and it covered over some of the most brutal things that he was doing as he was consolidating his hold on power. People actually didn't see the truth. Truth was blurred into wishful thinking, even as all these terrible things were going on.

George Prochnik: Absolutely. The combination that you just said, of how propaganda can hide from people what was actually going on, and stir sentiments to encourage the worst excesses. We've seen that. And we've also seen—the last point that you made—about how, in a situation where everything feels so chaotic and dangerous, any gesture towards normalcy becomes something that people just grasp for desperately. There was that long period in the run-up, both after the election and in the period leading up to the election when I felt as if Trump had only to not do anything awful for 24 hours, or 36 hours, and you would have extraordinary statements on the part of CNN, where it began to sound as though this was a clear indication that he had converted and become just like any other politician.

It took so little for people to want to project so much onto any sign that things were not going to be as disastrous as many people feared.

Michael Slate: One question that you posed in your article was, how far along the scale of moral degeneration Zweig would judge America to be today, under Trump?

George Prochnik: Well, I think that one heartening phenomenon here has obviously been the strength of the resistance to all sorts of different measures that have been promulgated by the White House. The marches and the boycotts have shown that the population is hardly subdued. And there are lots of positive signs of people’s understanding that this has to sustain itself and build momentum.

One thing that is clear about Trump's character is that he is capable of being thrown off balance. And I say only slightly tongue in cheek that I wish that some of the energy of the Occupy movement might turn into a Preoccupy Trump movement. I think this could take all sorts of different forms: more boycotts, strikes, obviously marches, every possible effort to disrupt his own effort to give a veneer of every-day-ness to what is in fact a radical politics.

So that's a good sign. I think in terms of where we are with news, where we are in terms of doubt about the checks and balance in our government, what's the sweep that the GOP had on every level, not just in terms of Congress, but in terms of the governorships, etc., things are a lot rockier, particularly because the GOP has shown itself to be so absolutely spineless.

The point that Zweig makes is that you can have that particularly dangerous equation of eroded shared values and eroded institutions, and things still might not tip all the way over until something catastrophic happens. In the case of Germany, less than 30 days after Hitler became chancellor, that was the Reichstag fire, the burning of the parliament building which the Nazis blamed on the communists, and which there remains some doubt about today as to whether that might not in fact have been set by the Nazis themselves. But regardless, once that happened, Hitler immediately imposed a raft of emergency measures that shut down justice entirely.

What I worry about here is the big event, whatever form it takes—or the fabricated big event, but something that becomes an excuse—and we've already seen Trump manufacture terrorist incidents, manufacture the threat posed by different demographics—in ways that could really spin things very quickly into a different place than we find ourselves in today

Michael Slate: I'm going to read the last sentence in your article, and you can comment on it. “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.” That's sort of what you're talking about now, but it's something that needs to be emphasized, because frankly, I'm really happy to see all of the resistance that's out in the streets, and there is a need for a hell of a lot more. There needs to be millions of people in the streets to actually speak to the horrible situation that exists today. But I thought your last sentence puts out a sharp warning to people.

George Prochnik: I agree with you that what's happened so far, there needs to be more of it, and unfortunately, there's not going to be an opportunity to tire of it. This is not something that is going to go away quickly. In a best case scenario, I think there's a fight here that's going to have to be waged for a long time and it's been heartening to see that enough Americans have a spirit of defiance of injustice, that they're willing to break up the routines of their own lives and speak out against what's going on. But we need more of it, and I really hope that the different groups, not only the vulnerable ones, but different groups with different kinds of privilege can find ways of resisting together. Because it's only in a very powerful and relentless co-resistance that we're going to keep that window open long enough to actually get these people out of power.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/march-in-austin-condemns-attack-on-sanctuary-cities-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

"Day of Action for Immigrant and Refugee Rights"

March in Austin Condemns Attack on Sanctuary Cities

March 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


Video: Twitter/@AntonioArellano

Students and many others came to Austin from all over Texas on Tuesday, February 28, to stand up for immigrants and condemn Senate Bill 4 (SB4). This is a vicious and dangerous bill, soon to become law, that will basically outlaw sanctuary cities and universities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in going after undocumented immigrants. Hundreds and hundreds marched from City Hall to the Capitol, where they rallied to express their concern and anger. This Day of Action for Immigrants and Refugees was organized by RITA (Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance) and many other groups.

SB4 has passed the State Senate; once it passes the House, the governor is poised to sign it right away. The law would threaten withdrawal of state funds from cities and state colleges and universities. It would allow officials of sanctuary cities to be sued by victims of a crime allegedly committed by an immigrant with a criminal record who was not turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. And even more teeth were added to the bill at the last minute. Now, top elected officials who violate SB4 can be charged with a criminal misdemeanor, creating a mechanism to have them removed from office.

Much of the following account about the February 28 protest is drawn from the Daily Texan, campus newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin.

A high school senior, whose father had been deported two weeks earlier, told the large crowd, “I’m here to show people to not give up and to keep on fighting, because I don’t want any other families to go through what I am going through.” 

A woman from Arlington drove three hours to fight for her husband, who is undocumented. “He doesn’t drive any more. It’s scary to think that if he goes to the store or picks up one of our kids from school, that he will be taken away.”

For days in advance, newspapers in San Antonio, Fort Worth, the Rio Grande Valley, and North Texas reported that students and immigrant rights groups were organizing buses to bring them to the demonstration. A hundred college students came from a group in Houston. One student held a sign that read: “Campus police are supposed to protect students not deport them.” She said, “We don’t want this bill to cause these students to be in fear of going to school... It isn’t right for campus police to be basically ICE agents.”

The ACLU of Greater Austin took up the Day of Action, organizing an event that evening “to teach the community about immigrants’ rights...”

On the Facebook page for “We Are All Texas,” one of the groups that organized for the day, they wrote: “Trump has created an immense sense of fear and uncertainty in our immigrant and refugee communities... Texas has been and will continue to be ground zero for anti-immigrant, xenophobic rhetoric that is evident in the 2017 legislative priorities of State leaders...” They go on to list a long series of legislative acts that attack undocumented immigrants in a multitude of ways.

The attack on sanctuary cites and schools in Texas is part of an overall assault led by the fascist Trump/Pence regime. As we said in “High Stakes on Trump’s War on Sanctuary Jurisdictions“:

Attacks on immigrants and sanctuary jurisdictions specifically must be resisted! Sanctuary protections need to be defended and extended. The resistance to attacks on immigrants needs to become more widespread and determined and draw in millions and tens of millions. But the attacks will continue to escalate, to become more terrible and violent, until Trump is driven from office. The battle to defend immigrant rights can, and to have a real lasting impact must, be intensified, and joined in a torrent of struggle to drive out the fascist regime.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/trumps-speech-to-congress-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Trump's Speech to Congress:
"Something We Can Work With..."? NO Fucking Way! Drive This Fascist Out!

March 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Drive out the Trump/Pence regime!
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On Tuesday night, Donald Trump gave his first speech as president before Congress. It was a major moment, akin to a “State of the Union” address, and afterward commentators and media talking heads praised Trump’s new tone, and his calls for hope and unity. “Presidential”... “befitting of the office.” Speaking the “dialect of optimism and reconciliation,” reported the New York Times. A profoundly different speech than the inaugural, CBS said, “without anger or blame.” Trump came in the winner of a contested election and came out a president, one CNN pundit claimed.

Get fucking real! Did Trump somewhat dial down the tone of his vicious attacks and hate mongering? Sure—the tone!—to lull and suck people in and to claim the mantle of “president of all the people.”

But what did he actually say? He doubled down on the core elements of his fascist agenda: his racist demonization and attacks against immigrants; his threats (veiled in paternalistic, Mafia-like concern) against Black people and others in the inner cities; his America First, “über alles” xenophobia and chauvinism; his dispensing with any pretense of slowing down imperialism’s carnivorous destruction of the environment; his plan to radically remake U.S. society in horrific, Christian fascistic ways, including by gutting public education; and more. The “highlight,” all agreed, was Trump’s beatification of a U.S. Navy SEAL killed carrying out war crimes—to go along with his monstrous and murderous military buildup. In short, it was the same fascist big lie after big lie, but wrapped up in a somewhat more “unifying,” “hopeful” package—kinda like Hitler being “hopeful” when he talked of a thousand-year Reich and the glory of the Aryan race.

This came right out of the fascist mind-fuckery playbook of toggling between threats and reassurances that was crafted for the specific purpose of sucking in and disarming those who keep hoping this is all a nightmare they’re going to wake up from, and Trump is going to come to his senses and stop being such a, well, fascist.

Not on your life—as Trump made clear to anyone with unclogged ears! Even with his “tone,” Trump was still full of smug, threatening arrogance—some kind of horrific mutant blend of Adolph Hitler, Tony Soprano, and a KKK grand wizard.

Hate, Bigotry & War-Mongering

Trump began by condemning recent attacks on Jewish community centers and cemeteries and the murder of an immigrant from India in Kansas. “We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” he claimed. A few seconds of rhetoric, backed by no specific actions, followed by an hour of hateful, blatant or not so blatant attacks on whole sections of the people, and the world!

“My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America,” Trump blustered. He big-lied that the U.S. has “exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries,” when it’s actually the world’s number one predator, getting wealthy by exploiting and plundering countries around the world. Then he pledged violence against those who stood in the way of America robbing the planet even more aggressively—with one of the biggest increases in military spending in U.S. history—$54 billion worth. His pledge to wipe out “radical Islamic terrorism” was a direct threat to many, many millions in the Middle East and beyond.

And in one of the most nauseating of many nauseating moments, in a Nuremberg-style* tribute to Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, Trump beatified this special-ops murderer who was killed during a mission-massacre in Yemen that slaughtered 25 civilians, including nine children under 13... glorifying him as a “warrior and a hero” whose “legacy is etched into eternity.” Never mind that U.S. imperialist-backed aggression has driven more than 14 million people in Yemen to the brink of starvation. Trump’s ritual consecrated MORE U.S. aggression against countries that are not even officially at war with the U.S.

Trump also reaffirmed the core of his Muslim ban: We “cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form within” the U.S., he thundered. As if every Muslim coming to the U.S. is a terrorist suspect. And, in the clash between reactionary fundamentalist Islamic Jihad and the West, who is it who has the overwhelming set of beachheads? Motherfucker, the U.S. imperialists have beachheads of terror all over the world. They’re called U.S. military bases and aircraft carriers.

Trump’s “VOICE”—Straight Out of Nazi Germany

Trump tripled down on his assault on immigrants. He said that immigrants have stolen jobs and taken advantage of America. He lies, when it’s immigrants who have been ruthlessly exploited, marginalized, taken advantage of and robbed to enrich the U.S. “We’ve defended the borders of other nations while leaving our own borders wide open for anyone to cross,” said Trump, and we need a “great, great wall.” Say what? The USA defended Mexico’s border by stealing half its territory in the 1846 war against Mexico? Iraq’s border by bombing, invading, and killing millions? Yemen’s, Pakistan’s, Libya’s, Somalia’s, and dozens of other countries by drone-bombing them and sending in Special Forces murderers? While the U.S. already has a wall—a wall of more than 20,000 Border Patrol and Customs agents, fences, militias—that, as a matter of policy, drive desperate people to cross through deadly deserts in search of safety and sustenance. Since 1994, bodies of more than 7,000 human beings have been found in the borderlands, the majority of these in Arizona. Experts estimate that for every body found, two more have died and their remains buried in the desert sands.

       

Trump’s “wall” is both an even more militarized, deadly border and an ideological “border” separating people in the U.S. from other human beings—justifying vicious legal demonization/dehumanization/lock them up-throw them out and pogromist assaults on the “non-white other.”

Trump demonstrated before the national TV audience what that looked like—whipping up a lynch-mob atmosphere, claiming immigrants are murderers, drug cartel lords, and criminals—then bringing “victims’ families” to his speech as props. Trump then announced he’s setting up a special unit, VOICE—“Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement”—to investigate (read concoct, publicize, and whip up lynch mobs against) crimes by illegal immigrants, which the media supposedly refuses to cover. This is a move that harkens back to the Nazi practice of publicizing real or alleged crimes by Jews at a time when they were driven from legal occupations and into desperate circumstances.

Stepping Up Violence Against Black People in the Name of Ending Violence

Trump laid out a chilling warning of a coming assault on Black people, talking of breaking the cycle of poverty by breaking the cycle of violence—which he threatened was “not acceptable.”

No, it’s not acceptable, it’s “heartbreaking.” The statement From the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party to ALL People: WHAT THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME WILL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE—AND WHAT MUST BE DONE ABOUT IT, NOW says: “There’s no mystery why these heartbreaking murders go on. A whole section of youth, numbering in the millions, are told by the system they’re worth nothing in 1,000 ways. Living in torn-up communities with no future. Given no way to be somebody outside of the street life and the code of revenge. The latest link in a chain stretching back 400 years.”

Trump’s program makes those chains far, far worse. He says the answer is celebrating, supporting, working, and collaborating with the very police already murdering and terrorizing Black people and very often directly, as well as indirectly, fomenting this violence among the people.

Trump said that law enforcement worries every day about coming home safe and sound  (with John Lewis, among other Democrats, clapping), but nary a word about the youth and parents who worry every day—millions and millions of them—about whether they’re going to come home alive from the neighborhood store? And what about the groaning walls of the prisons in this country, now holding 2.3 million—with Trump and his Grand Dragon—oh, excuse us, attorney general—Sessions now promising more prisons, with even more prisoners?

Attacking Public Education... to Institutionalize Christian Fascism and Quash Critical Thinking

“Education is the civil rights issue of our time,” Trump declared, calling for greater school “choice,” including religious schools and home schooling. This is nothing more than a call to gut public schools, attack teachers’ unions, and focus funding and support on religious schools as a means of institutionalizing Christian fascism and quashing critical thinking.

Trump puts forth a fantasy of “well-funded” urban schools, when scores of schools have been shut down in Chicago’s inner cities, when Chicago State University (serving many students of color) has been deprived of funds by its Trumpian governor and is barely breathing, and when they are even now talking of closing school two weeks early this year for lack of funds. With DeVos as Trump’s education secretary, the plan is to funnel these students into Christian fundamentalist charter schools, which are designed to extinguish the critical spirit and turn students into unthinking robots.

So What About the Democrats... Party of “Resistance” and “No”? Not So Much, It Seems...

So what about the—of late—tough-talking Democrats? The “opposition”? The party that was supposedly going to resist Trump tooth-and-nail? They were a bunch of whimpering, simpering collaborators and accommodators. Bernie Sanders clapped in support of Trump’s promises to build up infrastructure, clapped at building pipelines with American steel, and clapped even harder at Trump’s lie that he wouldn’t let U.S. capital leave—as if it could do anything but scour the planet for maximum return and strategic advantage. Yes, Bernie Sanders criticized other parts of Trump’s speech, but what does it mean to give “critical support” to a fascist? Would it have been right to express concerns about Hitler exterminating the Jews, but to seek to unite with him when his public works and militarization of society promised jobs for Germans?!

Democrats sat stone-faced at times, but at other times joined in applauding—especially for the nuclear-armed, world’s biggest, most deadly military alliance, NATO... All were in agreement that it was a wonderful moment to honor the dead Navy SEAL (Obama’s campaign manager said afterward you had to be dead not to appreciate how special the moment with the SEAL’s widow was. This, again, for someone who was part of a mission that murdered nine children.) But oh, the Democrats can all agree with supporting the troops—they’re part of the same system the Republicans are, part of the same empire, wannabe leaders of the same massacring troops. They’re all reveling in the ugliest of ugly Americanism. After all, remember what their great leader Obama said after Trump’s election? “We have to remember that we're actually all on one team.” And differences between the Democrats and Republicans are an “intramural scrimmage.”

And whom did the Democrats choose to give their “rebuttal”? Someone who claims to better represent Trump’s social base—backward, white, rural Christians—who tries to out-patriot and out-pander to the economic interests of the denizens of the capital of world imperialism

And then there’s CNN’s Van Jones (and other liberal commentators). Jones insisted that while he disagrees with Trump on policy, yes, it was a wonderful speech. If only Trump could be like that for four years, not just one hour—as if Trump’s tone is the issue, and not his utterly illegitimate fascism. Why in the fuck would anyone want that?? And then counseling the Democrats that they need to learn to say “yes” once in a while; after all they’d been asking Trump to talk more nicely and now he did. But beyond all that is Van Jones saying that the ritual with the Navy SEAL widow should be a “reset” for the progressive movement. WTF! This is nothing but craven capitulation and accommodation to fascism! Van Jones has bent so far over backward accommodating these fascists his head seems to have gone all the way up his ass.

“Divided”? Damn Right This Country’s Divided—Over Whether It’s Going to Be FASCIST or Not!

Trump called for unity—on his terms and behind his program: “Democrats and Republicans should get together and unite for the good of our country and for the good of the American people.”

His calls were backed by threats, the staple of fascist rhetoric that any criticism of, let alone resistance to fascism, “divides us.”

Well, Mr. wannabe-Führer—we ARE “divided”—into a world of exploiter and exploited, into oppressors and oppressed, and today into those who want to resist AND DEFEAT this fascism and those who are either fighting FOR it, or else caving in. And those who don’t want to go down that road you’re forging must be determined to call out the bullshit and bend every effort to defeat this madness before it’s too late.

Just step back and look at that whole room, the whole proceedings. Talk about a poisonous swamp, not being drained (as Trump has claimed) but being filled, and a poisonous and totally illegitimate system! A system that doesn’t just give a fascist demagogue a national platform from which to lie, and attempt to whip up support for a thoroughly reactionary, horrific, fascist agenda, but the power of state with which to implement that agenda. A system correctly represented by this room full of ghouls. A system that at this very moment is savaging the planet and threatening its very survival as one of those rare livable planets that astronomers search over millions of light-years to find.

It was like a Nuremberg rally with the so-called opposition legitimizing it with their attendance—nothing in that room on either side of the aisle for the masses or humanity.

All of this, all the proof that this is fascism, all the more reason this regime must be driven out, and all the more living proof that we cannot rely on regular channels or leaders of the Democratic Party to do it.


*Nuremberg was both the city in Germany in which Hitler held many pageant-like Nazi rallies, as well as the city in which the war crimes trials of Nazi leaders were held after World War 2. [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/ice-agents-arrest-dreamer-after-press-conference-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

ICE Agents Arrest "DREAMer" After She Speaks at a Press Conference

March 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We don't have an immigration problem...We have an imperialism problem

In a vicious act of intimidation and reprisal, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested a 22-year-old DREAMer on March 1, shortly after she spoke at a press conference held by attorneys, churches, and the Mississippi Immigration Rights Alliance in front of city hall in Jackson, Mississippi.* These ICE goons waited till Daniela Vargas and a friend were on their way home, and then pulled them over and arrested Daniela on the side of the road.

Vargas, who came to the U.S. from Argentina when she was seven years old, shared her horrific story of watching her father and brother be arrested by ICE a month ago. According to a report in the Clarion Ledger, Vargas saw her father in handcuffs and was questioned by the agents about his immigration status. She went inside her home, locked the doors, and hid in her bedroom closet. Five hours later, ICE agents smashed down her door supposedly looking for drugs and guns. “They started hollering out my name and pointing guns at me.... During that time, I couldn’t even breathe.... I was scared for my life.”

At the press conference Vargas spoke out on behalf of all undocumented immigrants: “The path to citizenship is necessary for DACA recipients but also for the other 11 million undocumented people with dreams.” Vargas was in the process of renewing her DACA deferment for the third time when she was arrested. 

Not the Only DREAMer to be Targeted by ICE

Daniela Vargas is not the first DREAMer to be arrested by ICE since the Trump/Pence regime unleashed their fascist assault on immigrants. One of Trump’s first executive orders banned people of the Muslim religion from traveling into the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including people who were legally in the U.S. and happened to be traveling overseas when Trump issued the ban. Then Trump/Pence unleashed their immigration police to carry out a nationwide wave of immigration raids, based on sweeping new guidelines from Homeland Security which made every undocumented immigrant a target.   

Among the first group of immigrants arrested and thrown into detention centers or deported directly was Daniel Ramirez Medina, arrested in Seattle and taken to a detention center in Tacoma, despite qualifying for DACA and having a legal work permit. Medina has no criminal record, but Homeland Security has claimed his arrest was based on a supposed gang affiliation, which he denies.

       

Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"

The Orange County Register reported that 22-year-old Jesus Alonso Arreola Robles, who lived in the L.A. area and also qualified for the DACA program, was arrested on February 12. His lawyer, who could neither find Jesus nor talk with him for 10 days—was shocked by the silence of ICE officials and by then discovering that Jesus had been sent to a detention prison in Folkston, Georgia. He said:

I’m an attorney. He’s in the United States. He has due process rights. He has a right to counsel. He has a right to be represented. I have a right to have access to my client. I haven’t been able to get a live person on the phone that can actually tell me exactly where he is. That’s something I haven’t seen in my entire career. 

Jesus—who has no criminal record and was riding with a 17-year-old friend near the California border with Mexico when he was arrested—is being accused by immigration officials of trying to “smuggle” someone into the country.

“They told me... there were no second chances with Trump” 

We don't have an immigration problem...We have an imperialism problem

And a 19-year-old Honduran art student, Josue Romero, with a work permit through DACA, was arrested by San Antonio, Texas police February 14 for marijuana possession as he was leaving a park where he’d been skateboarding. Instead of being released on $800 bond as other people usually are, he was arrested by ICE agents and taken to a detention prison. Romero told the Daily Beast that ICE told him he would be deported quickly.  “They told me within the next week I would be flying to Honduras... even when I asked about DACA, they told me there was nothing I could do, that there were no second chances with Trump.” 

Romero was released from detention after two days but has been put on supervision and must report to ICE authorities. “I can’t describe how I feel. I just want to break down and cry. I was kind of devastated, because I’ve never known a life outside of San Antonio.”

With each of these arrests of DREAMers there is growing alarm among immigrant rights groups and attorneys, as well as the young people themselves who have given all of their ID information to the government in exchange for the temporary protection from deportation of DACA. They are concerned that the Trump/Pence regime is going to “drop the hammer” and turn loose their immigration wolves—with their greatly expanded powers and their DACA lists—to come after all of them. They are alarmed with good reason. In this situation, to “wait and see” what Trump and his core of anti-immigrant, “America First” fascists will do would be a crime, and a disaster. There is no barrier preventing them from ending DACA protections tomorrow if they decide to do so.

The statement by Daniela Vargas before she was arrested is an important place to start: “The path to citizenship is necessary for DACA recipients but also for the other 11 million undocumented people with dreams.” As we wrote recently, in “Living in a State of Terror: Millions of People in the Crosshairs of Trump/Pence Regime’s War on Immigrants”:

The reality is this: We are now living in a country where a whole section of people, in their millions, has suddenly been officially declared criminals. Eleven million—fathers, mothers, children, grandparents, friends, co-workers, and colleagues—all are now being forced to live their lives “on the run.” They have all been told they must turn themselves in to the authorities or wait to be captured. They are being compelled to prepare to leave the country they have lived in for years, perhaps their entire lives, and be sent to a country they do not know or were forced to flee.

We cannot keep our own humanity if we don’t fight for the humanity of these millions now under immediate attack. We refuse to accept a fascist America!


*The term “DREAMer” now refers to someone who qualifies for DACA, a 2012 executive order by Obama that allows undocumented immigrants who came to this country as minors to have their deportation delayed for two years (and the delay can be renewed). DACA also gives them a permit to work legally, enables them to get a social security card, and more. It does NOT give them legal status. For a decade before DACA, a bill called the “Dream Act” was submitted repeatedly in Congress but never passed. It would have provided a pathway to citizenship for this same section of young people if they went to college or enlisted in the military. [back]

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/mit-faculty-editorial-calls-for-collective-acts-of-resistance-against-trump-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

MIT Faculty Editorial Calls for "Collective Acts of Resistance" Against Trump

March 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the January/February 2017 issue of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Faculty Newsletter, an editorial signed by a group of faculty members at the university raises alarm at the words and actions of Donald Trump since he became president. The title of their statement raises the question: “Do We Act Now?” And they give a clear answer: “We believe that collective acts of resistance are necessary.”

Coming at a time when the Trump/Pence regime is moving quickly, taking one extreme step after another, in an effort to consolidate fascist rule in America, this statement from faculty members at MIT—considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world—is very timely and potentially of great impact.

The statement signers begin by pointing out the dangers of normalizing Trump: “The words and actions of the President have for us animated a real fear: that this administration may undo the gains that have pressed the United States to become an increasingly just and equitable society for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, identity, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, or class. Many of us are afraid that normalizing the actions of this administration will erode concern for the suffering of others and undermine aspirational American commitments to human rights and dignity for all people.”

They make a very important point about Trump’s attack on the scientific method: “As MIT faculty, we are particularly troubled by this President’s blatant disregard for the scientific method and by his administration’s attempts to gaslight the American public with the presentation of ‘alternative facts,’ a dangerous absurdity that threatens the tenets of empiricism, the rigor of rational argument, and the judgments that might follow from reasoned debate. Democracy and the rule of law depend upon facts. We cannot cede these.”

Speaking to other members of the MIT faculty, the statement says that “it is not enough to add our individual voices in protest.” And they rightly call out examples in U.S. history when academics did NOT act as needed: “We have seen in American history the failure of academics to actively oppose and resist the continuing oppression of African Americans—after Reconstruction, in the days of civil rights, and today in the era of Black Lives Matter. We have seen our male colleagues accept the exclusion of women from advancement within the academy and without. We have heard the silence of academics during the McCarthy period, when many intellectuals were targeted in an anti-Communist witch hunt.”

The statement writers say that it is important to actually name what is happening now as “the first steps toward authoritarian government or even fascism”—and that many of their colleagues will call such characterization “premature or extreme.” As the statement says correctly, “But the history of the rise of fascism in Italy, in Germany, in Spain, and in Romania shows us the peril of refusing to recognize fascism in its infancy.” Academics, the statement notes, “are often more comfortable creating the conditions to individually debate back and forth than collectively to act.” The statement argues for the urgency for breaking with these ways: “Trump presents us not with business as usual.”

The MIT faculty statement closes with a call to action: “Let us call ourselves Faculty for Democracy and at the same time put forth before the MIT faculty a resolution recognizing the danger of the rise of an authoritarian regime in America and declaring our dedication to collectively fight, as faculty of MIT, and with faculty of other institutions of higher education, to ensure that the root of fascism does not take hold in this country.”

The editorial statement has been signed by professors and other faculty members from a wide range of departments. We encourage everybody to read the entire statement, which is available online at the MIT Faculty Newsletter website, along with a list of signatories. Their statement reflects a moral stand on the side of the people and an understanding of the urgent dangers society and the world faces—it’s something to spread, learn from and be inspired by. And if those who signed the statement come under attacks from fascists—whether official or “unofficial”—they must be defended.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/middlebury-students-shout-down-lecture-by-author-of-bell-curve-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Middlebury College Students Shout Down a Lecture by Charles Murray—Author of The Bell Curve

Originally posted March 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Student protesters at Middlebury College in Vermont shut down campus speech by racist author Charles Murray, March 2. Photo: Twitter/@middcampus

Chanting "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray, go away" and "Your message is hatred. We cannot tolerate it," hundreds of students at Vermont's Middlebury College shouted down Charles Murray—author of the notoriously racist, pseudoscientific 1994 book The Bell Curve—as he began a speech on the campus Thursday night, March 2. After 20 minutes, Murray left the auditorium, reduced to going to a secret location for a discussion with a professor, which was livestreamed back to the auditorium. In an article for Inside Higher Ed, Scott Jaschik wrote that many of the protesters noted that Murray is classified as a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which sums him up this way: "Charles Murray, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, has become one of the most influential social scientists in America, using racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority of the black and Latino communities, women, and the poor."

More than 450 alumni/ae also signed a letter opposing Murray's being invited to speak at Middlebury, linking his dangerous pseudo-scholarship to the ugly, dangerous atmosphere that has been pumped up by the Trump/Pence regime's white-supremacist ideology. Their letter said in part:

This is not an issue of freedom of speech. We think it is necessary to allow a diverse range of perspectives to be voiced at Middlebury.... However, in this case we find the principle does not apply, due to not only the nature, but also the quality, of Dr. Murray's scholarship. He paints arguments for the biological and intellectual superiority of white men with a thin veneer of quantitative rhetoric and academic authority. His work, including 1984's Losing Ground and 1994's The Bell Curve... misinterprets selective, uncorrected statistics and other faulty data to argue for the genetic inferiority of people of color, women, people with disabilities and the poor. This is the same thinking that motivates eugenics and the genocidal white supremacist ideologies which are enjoying a popular resurgence under the new presidential administration." (Read their entire letter here.)

It is important that students and others at Middlebury College took this important stand and action against Murray's reactionary peddling his racist garbage under the fake cloak of "scholarship"—and this intersects with recent protests at campuses coast to coast calling out and refusing to allow pro-Trump fascists like Milo Yiannopoulos to promote the "America First" white nationalist ideology of the Trump/Pence regime's hideous, dangerous agenda. The students on the university and college campuses have a crucial and urgent role to play in stepping forward to drive out the Trump/Pence regime.

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/480/howard-students-protest-after-black-colleges-meet-with-trump-en.html

Revolution #480 February 27, 2017

Howard Students Protest After Black Colleges Meet With Trump

March 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“Welcome to the Trump plantation. Overseer: Wayne A. I. Frederick.
Wayne Frederick doesn’t care about black people.
Make Howard black again.”

This graffiti recently appeared at Howard University in Washington, DC. Dr. Wayne Frederick is the president of Howard, one of this country’s most respected Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).


Howard students protest against the university president, March 2. (Video: Twitter/@HUResist)

Howard students are protesting what they see as the university’s collaborating with and sucking up to Trump. On February 27, Frederick and more than 60 other HCBU leaders met with top Trump officials, including Betsy DeVos, the education secretary. An official photograph released to the press showed the HCBU officials shamefully smiling and chatting with Trump around his desk. (“Campus Backlash After Leaders of Black Colleges Meet With Trump,” New York Times, March 4, 2017)

This brings to mind what Malcolm X once said: “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.”

Llewellyn Robinson, a Howard sophomore, said about Frederick and other HCBU officials’ friendly get-together with Trump, “Is it a photo op, is it an opportunity for Trump to put himself next to black people and smile? Is that the situation we’re dealing with? Or is it truly a seat at the table?”

Students also denounced comments by Betsy DeVos, after the meeting with the HCBU officials that added insult to injury. She declared that HCBUs “are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.” This comes from the head of Trump’s education department who aims to gut public schools and funnel students, in the name of “choice,” into private schools that train them as Christian fundamentalist robots.

As Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party pointed out in a piece on revcom.us: “The HBCUs were created out of the fight to end the denial of any educational opportunities to Black people. First under the slave system, which made it a crime to teach Black people to read! And then under the separate and unequal policies of Jim Crow segregation, Black students were barred from attending whites-only schools from elementary school thru college. Part of keeping Black people in the U.S. subjugated has been keeping them shrouded in ignorance. And part of the struggle against that subjugation has been fighting to break out of that enforced ignorance. It was in the face of this complete denial of educational opportunities that HBCUs grew and developed.” (“Somebody Needs to Tell Betsy DeVos: The Struggle Against Denying Black People Education Wasn’t a Fight for School Choice”)

On Thursday, March 2, student protesters disrupted a convocation celebrating Howard University’s 150th anniversary where Frederick was speaking. A student announced, “The concerned students of HU Resist are here today to deliver a message. President Wayne Frederick, someone might have convinced you that money is more important than people. We are asking you in this moment to choose us—to take a stand for us and to do right by us.” The protest was organized by “Concerned Students, 1867,” whose demands include that Howard become a sanctuary campus; that Trump be banned from the campus; that funding from the Trump administration be rejected; and that resources be increased to the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer, Intersex, Asexual), Muslim, immigrant and other underrepresented groups on campus.

With raised fists, the students held up signs that declared “Trump is Not Welcome @ Howard” and “Don’t Take Trump Hu$h Money.” When security forced them to leave the auditorium, they marched out defiantly chanting.