Revolution #490, May 8, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/trump-after-100-days-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Trump After 100 Days: It Is Not "How Little He Accomplished..." But How Much Further He Moved Things Toward Full-out Fascism

May 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“As we approach the 100th day of this regime the question is not—as the mainstream liberal media and the Democrats present it—how little Trump has accomplished in his 100 days, the essence of the matter is how much—how far, how draconian are the things he’s already done and where this will lead if not stopped. And stopped soon.”

―Andy Zee, Spokesperson for Revolution Books NYC, speaking at Refuse Fascism’s April 27 Emergency National Teach-In “Fascism in America—Could It Happen Here? Is It Happening Here? What is the Danger that the Trump/Pence Government Poses?” Watch Video HERE.

On April 29, Donald Trump marked his 100th day in power by skipping the traditional White House correspondents’ dinner and presiding over what can only be described as a Hitler-style rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There he touted his many—fascist—accomplishments, including appointing fascist-enabler Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, launching multiple attacks on immigrants, increasing backing for “law enforcement” (also known as murdering police), gutting environmental regulations and further building up the U.S. military. Trump wasn’t “reaching out” or “normalizing”—he was doubling down on his fascist agenda, as he ushered in another week of savage assaults on the people and the planet.

Assaulting and Threatening to Tear Up Basic Rights and Norms

The correspondents’ dinner is usually an event where the mainstream press pokes mild fun at the president and vice versa, and the world gets propagandized with the illusion that in the United States, a free press keeps the president in check. Not this time. Trump would have none of that. He has declared the press an “enemy of the people.” In Harrisburg, he railed that he skipped the event because the media is a “disgrace.”

This is not simply or mainly Trump being a thin-skinned bully. This is consistent with an escalating war on the press and political expression more generally. On April 30, Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, ominously told ABC News that changing the libel laws to enable the government to sue its media critics for “slander”— something Priebus acknowledged would require constitutionally amending (really gutting, even abolishing) the First Amendment—was “something that is being looked at.”

In a similar vein, last week Trump demanded the U.S. Senate strip away rules that require 60 votes for some measures to pass, declaring these norms, which aim to produce some element of consensus in the ruling class, “an archaic system.”

And on May 4, Trump signed a new executive order allowing tax-exempt religious organizations to directly endorse candidates. This assault on the separation of church and state empowers the Christian fascist power bloc, and is a step toward forcibly imposing reactionary religion throughout society.

The Trump regime is assaulting some of the basic norms of this society. These norms are bourgeois-democratic—that is, they regulate the normal functioning of a system of exploitation, plunder and oppression. They are democratic rights within a basic framework in which the capitalist-imperialists dictate their will to society. These norms enable the rulers to work out differences among themselves but also afford the masses some limited “space” in which to debate and organize (even as this is constantly under attack, and often violently repressed in these same normal workings of the system). But this regime’s assault on these norms is NOT to change them in favor of the masses—it is to radically reshape and make much more violent and openly repressive—qualitatively more repressive—the edge of dictatorship, both against their rivals and the masses of people. Should they succeed in this reshaping, the consequences will be dire; and what they have already accomplished has caused great suffering and put the world at tremendous risk.

Signaling, and Preparing, for Leaps in Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide

In Harrisburg, Trump saved his most hateful vitriol for immigrants and the foreign born, whom he compared to “snakes” in language right out of Nazi Germany. When some protesters courageously stood up, he threatened, “That’s right, get them out of here. Get them out.” Trump was whipping up and organizing his fascist base in the arena. Meanwhile, outside there’s growing mobilization of violent alt-right, fascist groups of neo-Nazi bikers, skinheads, KKKers, off-duty pigs, militia and other white supremacist scum who are organizing to attack anti-Trump protests. Twice in April, hundreds of such ready-to-brawl fascists descended in Berkeley, California. Armed Nazis marched in Pikeville, Kentucky, where they were confronted by an equal number of anti-fascist protesters.

Two days later, Trump praised President Andrew Jackson, and wondered aloud “why was there the Civil War?” This invocation and exultation of a genocidal slave master is in service of an agenda of terroristic ethnic cleansing and intensified violence against Black and Brown people in the inner cities that is at the core of Trump’s “Make America White Again” agenda.

Allying With and Legitimizing Murderous Authoritarian Regimes

Meanwhile, Trump had a “friendly discussion” with Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, praising how hard he was fighting to “rid” his country of drugs. Since taking over, Duterte has directed police and vigilantes to terrorize and slaughter drug suspects. By some estimates, 7,000 people, mostly the bitterly oppressed, have been massacred without any due process. What does this say about Trump’s own plans for supporting other mass murderers around the world and for stepping up the “war on drugs” in the U.S.?

Trump also congratulated Turkey’s fascist president, Recip Tayyip Erdoğan, for expanding his dictatorial powers through a draconian crackdown and purge (most recently the firing of nearly 4,000 civil servants and judges). He, too, has been invited to the White House, on May 16.

Savage Assaults on the Poor, Working People and Women

In the past week, Trump announced tax cuts that “Shifts Trillions To Wealthiest,” as one headline put it, while rescinding rules promoting healthy school lunches, an action disproportionately harming oppressed people. Then on May 4, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives rammed through a bill that ends the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and drastically cuts back Medicaid, slashes protections for people with preexisting conditions, and swells the ranks of the uninsured by tens of millions, while giving wealthy Americans billions in tax cuts.

These are moves that will kill poor people, with Black, Latino, and Native American people who are already living in desperate conditions affected in the most extreme ways. And the House vote to repeal Obamacare threw raw meat to Trump’s fascist base, for whom the very term “Obamacare” evoked a racist frenzy.

The Trump/Pence “health care” bill also represents a ferocious attack on women’s reproductive rights, and their very lives. Among other things, it further restricts access to abortion. It prevents Planned Parenthood from accepting Medicaid reimbursements for a year, cutting off nearly 400,000 poor women from basic health services like life-saving cervical and breast cancer screenings and access to birth control. The bill also opens the door for states to allow insurance companies, Fortune reports, to return to treating “sexual assault, domestic violence, postpartum depression, pregnancy, and Caesarean sections as preexisting conditions, charging women who have experienced them more or denying coverage entirely.”

More Violent Assertion of U.S. Power Around the World, More Environmental Devastation

More unrestrained, violent assertion of U.S. power around the world is the other side of Trump’s fascist vision and agenda. This is a real threat to all of humanity. After warning, “we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” Trump continued to ratchet up U.S. threats and military moves on the Korean Peninsula. On May 2, a U.S. anti-missile defense system—which is actually a threatening offensive weapon—went live in South Korea. While this was taking place, B-1B Lancer bombers took part in U.S.-South Korea exercises simulating an attack on North Korea, further backing that regime into a corner, and ratcheting up the possibility of a horrific war, possibly including with nuclear weapons.

Trump’s first overseas trip was announced: to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican. This signaled, among other things, that the U.S. rulers were giving their full backing to the apartheid, ethnic-cleansing state of Israel and the head-chopping, Islamic fundamentalist Kingdom of Saud, who are committing enormous crimes in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and across the region. Visiting Israel and Saudi Arabia also signals that the U.S. plans to act aggressively against the Islamic Republic of Iran, potentially putting the lives of many across the region at risk. In the Horn of Africa, the U.S. carried out new military attacks in Somalia.

In his first major address, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spelled out how he saw translating Trump’s agenda of “America first” into foreign policy. The U.S. had been “promoting economic activity” and trade in the “emerging” (oppressed) countries, and supporting its allies, he claimed, but “things got a little bit out of balance.” This Trumpian theme—that the world’s most ruthless exploiter and leading warmonger has been too nice—is aimed at forging a fascist people willing to welcome towering crimes. Now it’s Trump Time. There will be more hard-edge ruthlessness, with friend and foe alike, more wielding America’s military might... more bombs, more missiles, more assassination squads, and more risking war, and more playing with nuclear fire.

As if all this weren’t horrendous enough, the Trump/Pence regime also accelerated its assault on the environment. On April 27, it delayed consideration (basically refused to oppose) a coal industry lawsuit aimed at eliminating existing regulations on how much mercury and other toxics coal plants can emit. The next day, the regime announced it would “review” offshore drilling policies and regulations that are opposed by the fossil fuel industry, including the banning of offshore drilling along most of the Atlantic Coast and much of Alaska.

This is not a regime becoming “more normal.” This is not a regime that is not accomplishing anything. No! This was yet another week of a fascist regime moving to rapidly consolidate its power. It must be driven out before it succeeds!

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/100s-of-1000s-protest-crimes-of-the-trump-pence-regime-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Late April to Early May:
100s of 1,000s Protest Crimes of the Trump/Pence Regime

May 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

March for Science, Washington, DC, April 22
Tens of thousands rally across from the Capitol in Washington, D.C. for the March for Science. (Photo: Special to revcom.us)

Washington DC, People's Climate March, April 29, 2017People's Climate March, Washington DC, April 29. (Photo: Twitter/@SierraClub)


Holocaust Remembrance Day, New York. Credit: @RefuseFascism

WATCH THIS MAY 4 EVENT HERE:

Thousands marched and rallied in downtown Los Angeles on May Day.


Isabel Cardenas speaks at May Day 2017 in Los Angeles.

April 27, 2017, sponsored by RefuseFascism.org

The last week in April, and the first week in May, saw hundreds of thousands of people, in the U.S., and around the world, taking to the streets in response to crimes of the Trump/Pence regime.

Fighting Back Against a War on Science and the Environment

On April 22, in the face of a fascist war on science, hundreds of thousands around the world stepped out in a March for Science. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Tens of thousands marched in Washington, DC, along with people in over 600 places across the United States and around the world—on every continent, including the North and South Poles. In different ways, from different perspectives, they defended contributions science makes to people’s lives, and exposed the implications of imposing dark-ages celebration of ignorance. They protested with humor—one chant was, “What do we want? Science! When do we want it? After peer review!” And they protested with passion and determination—Albert Yu-Min Lin, chief science officer for National Geographic Explorer, said about standing up for science: “It won’t be easy.’ And it is not for the faint of heart. From Galileo to Jane Goodall, many of our best scientists have put their lives on the line as rebels, risk-takers and adventurers. As my friend Bob Ballard likes to say, ‘science is a full-contact sport.’ And at this juncture in our history, the gloves must come off.”

The April 29 People’s Climate March protested an agenda, and a regime, hell-bent on radically accelerating the environmental crisis in ways that pose a serious threat to the very existence of humanity and life on Earth. The climate crisis is having devastating effects right now, especially in the poorest regions of the world—tens of millions driven from their homes because of extreme drought and other effects of climate change.

On the 29th, more than 150,000 took part in Washington, DC, and there were more than 300 “sister marches” across the U.S., from Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, and other larger cities to smaller communities like Kalama, Washington, and Ft. Myers, Florida. People marched in different countries across the globe, from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Manila in the Philippines, and many other countries.

Resisting Fascist Thugs, Taking on Fascist Ideologues

In the face of Trump’s promotion of anti-Semitism, and echoes of Hitler in the regime’s attacks on Muslims and immigrants, Refuse Fascism called for actions on April 24, Holocaust Remembrance Day. These actions sounded an urgent alarm about the dangerous course of the Trump/Pence regime and sent out the message: never again must we allow another Holocaust to happen to any group of people.

Anti-fascists stood up to Neo-Nazis in Kentucky. On Saturday, April 29, dozens of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, many of them armed, staged a rally in Pikeville, Kentucky. They were confronted by at least an equal number of defiant anti-fascists who went up against moves by the authorities to intimidate and suppress them, and calls by some local forces to back down in the face of Nazi threats.

On May 4, Refuse Fascism sponsored an event in Berkeley: Why it’s Right, and Righteous to Drive Fascists Off Campus, Out of Berkeley... and Out of Power! There have been repeated attempts by fascists like Ann Coulter to speak on campus. And controversy over whether her message should be protected as “free speech.” That message is characterized by genocidal, racist rants like “We know who the homicidal maniacs are [referring to Muslims] ... We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

The Refuse Fascism presentation, by Sunsara Taylor, was a critical intervention in the struggle over legitimizing, normalizing, and imposing fascist propaganda in intellectual discourse and on campuses. In addition to speaking at UC, Berkeley, Sunsara Taylor spoke to high school students and others. Check out and spread the video and stay tuned to revcom.us for more, soon, on the impact of this significant event.

Standing Up to the War on Immigrants

The racist vilification, targeting, and persecution of immigrants and refugees have been a leading edge of the Trump/Pence fascist program. On May 1, tens of thousands stepped into the streets in many cities and towns across the U.S. to oppose those assaults, and in opposition to Trump and his regime.

In large part, it was immigrants­—along with others—that responded in the streets on May 1st. In Los Angeles, more than 30,000 people converged downtown. Thousands marched in Milwaukee,Grand Rapids, Michigan, Chicago, New York City, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as rural locales like Homestead, Florida, where 1,000 farmworkers left the zucchini, bean, cherry tomato and okra fields and marched on city hall. Seventy women at ICE’s Northwest Detention Center near Tacoma, Washington, chose May Day to join an ongoing hunger strike by other detainees there.

Earlier, on April 24, twenty students, clergy, and other activists were arrested when they linked arms, and blocked the entrance to the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston to protest the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants. As they were arrested they sang, “Listen, my people, my condor, my eagle, no human being can ever be illegal.”

Outrage Over a Killing Assault on Health Care

The Republican’s attacks on Obamacare are aimed at shredding what is already utterly inadequate access to medical care. The poor, and disproportionately Black, Latino, and Native American communities that already face desperate healthcare crises are in the crosshairs. Access to all forms of birth control including abortion is under siege from fascists, and the Trumpites are fighting to restrict access to cervical cancer screening that would save women’s lives.

After the House voted to repeal Obamacare, protesters outside the Capitol chanted “Shame on you!” At a town hall meeting, protesters confronted Idaho congressman Raul Labrador: “You are making a mandate that will kill people.”

Refuse Fascism: Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime

The protests, and the resistance over the past couple weeks have been absolutely necessary. But humanity is up against a fascist regime. Within many different manifestations of outrage and protest, Refuse Fascism was in the mix with their “NO!” message—struggling with people to confront the enormity and stakes of the danger to humanity posed by Trump. This message reached thousands in protests, attracted sections of people who find the Trump regime intolerable, and reached into society through mainstream news and social media.

On April 27, Refuse Fascism sponsored a deeply incisive and sharply challenging national teach-in: Fascism in America—Could It Happen Here? Is It Happening Here? What Is the Danger that the Trump/Pence Government Poses? This teach-in explored, from different perspectives, the essential nature of the Trump/Pence government, the relevance of the history of fascism, the threat it poses to humanity and the planet itself, and the dangers of normalization. It is a highly current resource for understanding and acting on the dangers the Trump/Pence regime poses to humanity. This video is available at refusefascism.org and revcom.us, and includes presentations and Q&A with:

Andy Zee ended his presentation at the teach-in with this challenge:

Each of us must put a lot on the line. There is no business as usual. There is no protest as usual. The Trump/Pence fascist regime must be driven from power. And no one but the people are going to create the conditions where that becomes possible. No, it is not how things have usually gone in this country. But there is nothing usual about what we face.

We must organize NOW with all the creativity and determination we’ve got to prepare for a 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.



       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/the-battle-for-berkeley-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

May 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Battle for Berkeley

Why it's Right, and Righteous, to Drive Fascists Off Campus, Out of Berkeley... and Out of Power!

A Talk and a Challenge to Debate
by Sunsara Taylor

 

Event took place Thursday, May 4, at the University of California, Berkeley

Fascists are targeting Berkeley! A series of “intellectual” hitmen for the Trump/Pence regime—Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos, David Horowitz—have zeroed in on UC Berkeley. Twice in April, hundreds of ready-to-brawl “alt right” white supremacists, neo-Nazis, bikers and militia descended on downtown Berkeley.

This is not about “free speech.” Far from being persecuted or suppressed by the state for their ideas, the ideas of these fascists are being imposed on the world by the most powerful state in the history of humanity. Every day, the fascist Trump/Pence Regime is slamming ahead to implement precisely the kind of genocidal racism, woman-hating cruelty, war-mongering ambitions, planet-destroying lies, and anti-immigrant ethnic-cleansing these “intellectual” hitmen promote. Every day, the Trump/Pence Regime is working feverishly to consolidate a fascist America.

At what point will you say: “NO, this must stop!”?

Berkeley is being targeted precisely because of its radical history. If the fascists can make Berkeley bow down, it will strengthen their ability to make the whole country accept new norms and bend to their will.  Ignoring them won’t make them go away. Standing aside or keeping your head in your books is unacceptable. That’s what the “Good Germans” did during Hitler’s rise to power.

http://refusefascism.org
#FascistFreeBerkeley - #NoFascistUSA - @RefuseFascism


Sunsara Taylor is a revolutionary communist and follower of Bob Avakian. Avakian, a veteran of the Free Speech Movement, is the architect of the New Communism and is leading a movement for an actual revolution and for a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.  Sunsara Taylor sits on the Advisory Board of RefuseFascism.org and has led thousands in the streets to go up against this fascist regime, aiming to drive it from power.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/489/what-will-the-communists-do-about-free-expression-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

A question: What will the communists do about free expression after the revolution?

May 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: This article has been added to since it initially appeared on May 5.

 

During the “battle for Berkeley,” the question has come up: what will communists do about free expression after the revolution, when you are leading the state?

The Reality of Capitalist Dictatorship

It’s important first of all to realize that “free speech” is never absolutely free. Speech and expression are constrained by the division of society into classes. Slave master and slave do not have the same rights and means to be heard, and to have their opinions debated and respected; neither do exploiter and exploited more generally, nor oppressor and oppressed. The vaunted free speech of capitalist society boils down to the domination of the discourse within the terms acceptable and favorable to the ruling class of society, spread by institutions owned and controlled by major corporations (i.e., blocs of capitalist-imperialist capital), and confined to choices which serve those classes.

To the extent there is debate, even sharp debate, this is within the terms and confines of what most serves the ruling class or, as it’s routinely put, “what’s best for America”—a formulation that conceals the fact that America is a) a big-time oppressor around the world, b) itself divided into exploiter and exploited, oppressor and oppressed, and c) that the oppressed people around the world and those within this country have very different fundamental interests than those who control the media. Such debate as there is mainly serves the rulers of the country both by enabling them to go a certain ways to resolving the differences among themselves, as well as promoting illusions among the masses and training people to see things through the eyes of the very people who dominate them.

The ideas which represent the fundamental interests of the oppressed—or ideas which are often just the new or unconventional—must at minimum struggle mightily to even get a hearing and, in the worst cases and all too often, are marginalized or outright repressed—sometimes through de facto censorship and sometimes straight-up violently, through assassination or prison. The truth—and most of all the truth about the bedrock social relations, the true history of this society, and the fact that things do not need to be this way—is routinely suppressed, distorted and lied about. Even when true facts are reported, these are almost always filtered through a lens, or framework of ideas, which takes for granted the “justice” and “right” of this system to rule.

This is a society, after all, which takes as its “bottom line” (if you’ll excuse what is a rather appropriate expression in this context) the right of some individuals to exploit the labor of many others, and thereby climb to the top in power and influence. This is enforced and reinforced by the capitalist-imperialist control of the army, prisons, courts, etc.—the instruments of dictatorship which are the essence of class rule beneath the outer appearance of “equal exchange of ideas, free speech for all.”

In short, we live in a society in which one class (the capitalist-imperialist class) dictates how society runs and to what ends, and enforces this with the armed power of the state. There are democratic rights sometimes extended within that framework, but the underlying framework – a system built on and constantly driven to extend exploitation—is not in question, and any such rights they do extend are subject to that.

(Right now, even these limited rights are under extremely serious assault by Trump and Pence, who are moving to firmly install a fascist regime, with very grave consequences if they succeed. But while there is a battle on, and correctly so, to prevent these fascists from succeeding, as communists our overall goal cannot be the restoration of a more bourgeois-democratic dictatorship, but of a revolutionary society, on the road to communism.)

On the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

The new socialist republic will also be a state—which means that it too is fundamentally a dictatorship. But it is a dictatorship serving radically different class interests: those of the proletariat, a class that aims to overcome all exploitation and oppression, to emancipate all of humanity, and put an end to the very division of society into classes and the need for a state.

The New Socialist Republic of North America will in some critical respects be different from even the best of the previous socialist revolutions. It will be guided first of all by what Bob Avakian (BA) has brought forward around the need for a solid core, and a lot of elasticity based on that solid core. Getting to an emancipated society requires a solid core of leadership firmly rooted in what we know to be true and determined to advance the revolution up against diehard opposition and real adversity. And it requires a lot of elasticity, including in the form of making room for and fostering dissent and opposition.

This has real implications for how expression is dealt with in socialist society. In analyzing more deeply than anyone before the underpinnings of bourgeois, or capitalist, democracy and in going very deeply into the history of the two major socialist revolutions of the 20th century, Bob Avakian has brought forward a truly new and unprecedented understanding of the significance, importance and necessity of the clash of ideas in socialist society. These lessons are concentrated and concretized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which BA wrote and which was adopted by the Revolutionary Communist Party. This will be the blueprint of the new society, so let's get into it.*

 

       

First, in Article III, the Constitution... makes clear that the most fundamental right of the proletariat (the exploited within capitalist society, including those who are unemployed) and people very broadly in the new society is the right to “have the fundamentally decisive role in determining the direction of society, and to join in struggle with others throughout the world, in order to finally abolish relations of exploitation and oppression; and to bring into being, and increasingly play the determining role in regard to, government which will be an instrument toward those ends.”

Nothing like this exists in any capitalist society anywhere, nor can it—for how can those who have been exploited have the right to determine the direction of society if there are still exploiters, who by their very position in dominating the wealth can exercise far greater control? For the first time, with socialism, the institutions of the state (including the army) will represent the masses of people in eliminating and getting beyond exploitation.

In the third point of this section, beginning with point A, the principle of freedom of speech is set forth.

Freedom of speech, of assembly and association, and of dissent and protest shall not be restricted, except in cases of violation of the law and through due process of law.

Expression of opposition to this Republic and its Constitution and government—including advocacy in favor of abolishing this Republic and replacing it with another kind of society and form of government—shall not be prohibited, and on the contrary shall be permitted and protected, except as this shall involve the commission, or an active conspiracy to commit, or the direct and immediate advocacy of, violent acts, which are not in self-defense, against the government or members of the government, or others residing in this Republic, or other actions which violate the law (but, once again, expression of opposition to this Republic and its government, or mere advocacy in favor of replacing this with another form of society and government, may not be declared and treated as a violation of the law).

How will this work out in practice? After all is said and done, will it be the same thing as now, where there is a virtual monopoly by those in power on which ideas get disseminated and in what context, or will the government actually foster and encourage dissent and ferment, as promised?

The Constitution... actually goes further to make clear how this will be led.

In line with the socialist orientation and principles regarding the development of the economy—and with the orientation and principles set forth in this Constitution as a whole—the ownership and use of the major media in the New Socialist Republic in North America shall be in the hands of the government and under its ultimate direction, and specifically that of the Executive Council of the central government. At the same time, as discussed below, various media that are independent of the government shall not only be allowed but, to a significant degree, funded (and otherwise facilitated) by the central government, acting through the Executive Council and agencies and other instrumentalities it may establish for this purpose (see 4, below).

WHY the Socialist Constitution Protects and Fosters Dissent

But why should the revolution not just tolerate but value and foster dissent? This gets to the need for the truth – and the need to get to the truth, no matter where it leads or what it reveals.

What we know to be true is what corresponds to reality as it actually is, through the scientific observation of evidence, the detecting of patterns, and the testing of hypotheses and theories against that reality. If we are talking about getting to a whole new society, the solid core of what we know to be true about emancipating humanity—what humanity has learned (and will further learn) in its titanic efforts to actually do away with the long night of exploitation and oppression—has to ground what we do. Transforming society, getting rid of the cancer of exploitation and all it infects, is serious—and you wouldn’t try to cure a serious cancer just by starting from scratch, with no reference to what anyone has done or learned before, would you?

But not everything is known about what’s involved in actually getting to a fully emancipated society. We do know some principles, though, and those have to be insisted on and applied. But dissent and ferment are absolutely necessary if what is wrong, or incomplete, or just out of date in our understanding is to be broken with and if what is true can be enriched and further developed, if society's understanding is actually going to develop.

Again, why? Most fundamentally, because people who dissent, or people who bring forward something new or unconventional, may be right, or they may at least be getting at a part of the truth. Even people who outright oppose you, who say you’re totally wrongheaded and should be overthrown—they too may have identified something you missed or need to pay attention to or think more deeply about. And in any case, true ideas themselves flourish in the testing of opposed ideas, and the grasp of the truth of those who hold these ideas, or come to them through debate, can be strengthened through this clash. (Of course, that’s not the only way that knowledge grows—people can take up ideas, test them in reality itself through experiment of different kinds, and sift out the lessons from that experience. But debate can clearly be one way that knowledge of the truth grows and deepens, and in the “real world out there” experiment, investigation, and debate are often not so neatly separated.)

Such wrangling also raises the level of consciousness and active participation in the direction of socialist society among all the people—not just those who have been educated and trained to run society, but also those who have been previously locked out of working with important ideas, policies, or the scientific method. Overcoming this gap, on the road to getting to a society without such divisions, is a key task of socialist society. Increasing access to education for everybody and overcoming inequalities as we do so will be one key measure; but making it possible for, and giving leadership to, as many people to wrangle over key issues in society while that is being done is equally as important.

There’s another dimension as well. People in socialist society need to have, and need to feel that they have, room to breathe, to “think things through for themselves.” They have to know that the new state won’t, and can’t, repress them or otherwise make their lives hard merely for expressing thoughts which are unpopular, oppositional, or just simply new or unconventional; indeed, they must be given resources and room to express such thoughts. Otherwise, things will be suppressed, driven underground to fester, and the leadership won’t learn all it can from the process... and the masses will not, in their millions, learn to distinguish wrong from right on any kind of complex level.

This doesn't mean anything goes. Ideas which have been clearly identified as false—creationism, to take one example—don't need to be constantly re-heard and once again disproven. And ideas which have not only proven to be false but actively harmful—for example, the supposed genetic inferiority of different peoples or women—will be called out and actively struggled against (though even here, this will rely on masses of people doing this and not the instruments of the state).

Get into This Constitution!

We have homed in here on one dimension of the new society. But we urge people to read the Constitution... in its entirety—from the basic preamble which sets forth the founding principles of what will be the new state power brought into being by the revolution to the rules governing elections, laws, and the relations between the legislature, executive and courts... from the principles guiding every sphere of society to the ways in which people will be led to overcome the scars of the past (the various forms of oppression and the social inequalities and material disparities which will remain for some time into the revolution, even as they are being overcome)... from the principles on which the new socialist economy will be founded to the ways in which the relations between people in carrying out production, between this country and the world, and between humans and the rest of nature will be transformed... from education to the arts and sciences to national defense and the courts. There is truly nothing as visionary in the world today, or as grounded in material reality and the way the world could be transformed, as this document. A better world is not just possible—the blueprint for it has been charted out.


*This has been gone into in a number of important works of BA, stretching back decades now—and for those wanting to go further into this, places to start would be Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That?; Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity (Part 1: BEYOND THE NARROW HORIZON OF BOURGEOIS RIGHT and Part 2: EVERYTHING WE’RE DOING IS ABOUT REVOLUTION); Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy; Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon (Part 1: REVOLUTION AND THE STATE and Part 2: BUILDING THE MOVEMENT FOR REVOLUTION); and—very importantly—The New Communism. [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/488/points-of-orientation-on-berkeley-and-ann-coulter-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Points of Orientation on Berkeley and Ann Coulter:
The Issue Is NOT "Free Speech"—The Issue Is FASCISM

April 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On April 26, Ann Coulter announced the cancellation of the speech she was planning to make the next day in Berkeley at the University of California campus. The controversy over her speech has created all sorts of confusion, and these points of orientation remain valid. We will be covering this controversy as time goes on.

 

1) Ann Coulter is an outright fascist and advocate of horrific violence against oppressed people, as well as suppression of those she deems to be her opponents in the power structure. She has written 12 books, is constantly on major imperialist TV stations, and is an intellectual arm of the fascist regime in the White House. The poison she spews is not only profoundly not true, but is an extreme expression of the views that the fascist section of the ruling class which has taken power is trying to impose on all society. It is doing this by means of state power, through the use of the media it controls, and by unleashing and allowing its fascist mobs to terrorize oppressed people, through outright encouragement and tacit approval. Ann Coulter has had ample opportunity to spread her dangerous poison, while those who thoroughly oppose her are denied a platform.

2) Ann Coulter is in no way being suppressed by the government, so the entire issue of the First Amendment is a canard here—it has nothing to do with the question and is serving to confuse and disorient people. But Ann Coulter’s leader, Donald Trump, not only advocates the violent suppression of speech with which he disagrees, but has called for the imprisonment and denial of citizenship to those who burn the flag—a form of expression that the Supreme Court has ruled is indeed protected by the First Amendment. “First Amendment” and “free speech” have absolutely nothing to do with Coulter’s attempt to spew her poison and can in no way be made the terms of this battle.

3) Fascists have fixed their sights on Berkeley as a way to intimidate those who oppose Trump and make them bow down. They have unleashed forces who are obviously trained in violence and who intend to become the street militia of the regime if and as the regime encounters further demonstrations and other forms of resistance in the streets. The formation and forging of fascist fighting squads and their targeting of Berkeley is an extremely ominous development.

4) It is absolutely wrong for anyone claiming to recognize the threat posed by the Trump/Pence regime and the real damage that they are doing to equate organized violent fascist forces backed up by the regime in power and the state, and those who are determined to resist them. To be “even-handed” in this period is to profess one’s moral bankruptcy. We must not aid those in power by dividing the movement against Trump into “good protestors” and “bad protestors.”

5) There is a fascist regime in power which is moving quickly to radically remake this society on a fascist foundation: gutting the separation of powers, the separation of church and state, threatening nuclear war on the world, and demonizing and criminalizing whole peoples while changing the laws and norms in this country in a fascist direction. It can already be said that “First they came for the Muslims and immigrants...” Fascist leaders like Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos, David Horowitz, etc. are giving a thin intellectual veneer to this fascist program. And we—in our millions—must stand up clearly and firmly and say NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Live in a Fascist America.

It is imperative that all people who oppose the Trump/Pence fascist regime come out to demonstrate against Ann Coulter and the fascists who are backing her up. The lines must be drawn. What happens in Berkeley in these next few days matters.

 

       

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/488/teach-in-fascism-in-america-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Teach-In: Fascism in America

April 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Fascism in America
Could It Happen Here?
Is It Happening Here?
What Is the Danger that the Trump/Pence Government Poses?

April 27, 2017, United Methodist Church in the Village

Sponsored by RefuseFascism.org

 

 

Speakers:

Humanity faces an extreme emergency with Trump’s rise to power. This nationally live-streamed Teach-In aims to deeply explore, from different perspectives, the essential nature of the Trump/Pence Government, the relevance of the history of fascism, the threat it poses to humanity and the planet itself, and the dangers of normalization.

 

This event is being made into a quality video for distribution, donate and learn more at RefuseFascism.org

info@refusefascism.org / 917-407-1286
Twitter: @refusefascism / Facebook, Instagram: refusefascism
Media Sponsor: WBAI Radio, New York

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/prisoner-digging-the-points-of-attention-for-the-revolution-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Letter from a Prisoner:

Digging the "Points of Attention for the Revolution"

May 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

What’s up? How y’all be? There isn’t much to report from my end of things, I’m still struggling with a straight face. Soon I will be transferring to the transition unit that’s in XXX, so I’m writing to inform y’all of that, plus to let y’all know that I received a copy of From Ike to Mao and Beyond [Bob Avakian’s memoir—ed.] as well as a copy of Revolution (No. 470-478) and the other printed material P.R.L.F. [Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund] has sent to me. As soon as I get the latest issue of Revolution I read it from cover to cover and then pass it along... Joining the Revolution Club is something I would like to do once I’m released from prison which won’t be long from now, especially now that I will be leaving this Super Max unit soon. I will be 39 years old in April and earlier this month I marked my 19th year of being incarcerated (no lunch breaks). So, I’m gonna be readjusting to life beyond prison walls, and I would like the Revolution Club to be a part of my transition. I dig these six principles of action [“Points of Attention for the Revolution”—ed.] and I definitely can get with it. Right now I’m living around a bunch of guys who aspire to be Instagram models, you feel me? Being Bad and Boujer is the thang to be to them, you feel me? And if this set is a microcosm of the bigger picture, then I already know what to look forward to.

Principle #1 is concrete solid to me, and the last sentence of this principle speaks volumes to me, now days everybody are cut throat opportunist, looking to exploit and prostitute whatever they choose to represent and make themselves a part of. BA speaks of this in his book The New Communism and he gave an example when he touched on Chairman Mao’s wave and how similar principles of action were established, setting in stone that the movement was not about pillage, rape, and murder, but revolution. People were in bad shape economically just as we are today, and it was hard to resist those small short term spoils that presented themselves at particular times in the midst of the revolution.

All of these principles are solid! As I said, I will be home soon and I know I will come face to face with a bunch of knotty contradictions, but I will attempt to use the scientific method as a guide to navigate my way through life. Lately I’ve been digging in my copy of BAsics and studying the supplement that begins on page 131, and the section that is on page 139 (“Scientific Knowledge and the Scientific Method”), specifically, principle #5 of the Revolution Club coincides with this supplement of the book, and these are the tools I’m intending to use once I touch down.

Well, I’m about to get on this phone so I gotta go. As I said, I will be transferring out soon so y’all might want to hold fast of sending me any new material although I’m almost positive they will forward my mail to me. I’m not sure what changes have been made at the facility that I’m returning to, but I’m hoping they haven’t placed P.R.L.F. on the ban list. We shall soon see.

XXXXXX



       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/prisoner-are-we-going-to-fight-for-a-better-future-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Letter from a Prisoner:

"Are we going to continue to think only of ourselves... or are we going to fight for a better future?"

May 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: This correspondence refers to a letter from Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, in which he called on prisoners to speak to the situation facing the youth in Chicago. The latest print issue of Revolution newspaper also includes a letter to prisoners on the situation in Chicago, “There Is a Role for You to Play in Turning This Shit Around” (available online here).

Last night I received the letter from Carl Dix. My response to this letter is to tell the youth out there that whatever beefs you have with whomever you have them with are short-term. What do they get you anyway? Killed? Incarcerated? As a teenager myself I had a lot of the same beefs. With opposite gang affiliates. With people of other classes. With people I just didn’t like for whatever reason. Violence never got me anything but violence. It got me targeted by the police and eventually it got me a 24-year prison sentence. I’m almost through that sentence and all I can think now is that I wish I’d had a way to obtain some clarity on things, a way to understand things in a deeper, more meaningful way. 

All I ever wanted was destruction, because I believed that was all the world was worth, all that I was worth.

Through communism I’ve found that to be fake. We can hope for more because more is achievable. It won’t be easy, or even pleasurable, because nothing worth having is that simple. To get to the place we want to be, to attain the pleasurable, we must be willing to sacrifice in the short-term. Maybe we won’t even see the benefits, maybe our children won’t, but their children could, and their children, and generations beyond them. Are we going to continue to think only of ourselves, only of today and tomorrow, or are we going to fight for a better future? Fight is the imperative word. It’s not easy but if enough of us come together, the outcome will be worth it.

A Comrade in the Struggle



       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/489/rev-club-chi-police-manhunt-cover-for-brutalizing-terrorizing-community-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Undercover Cops Shot:

Revolution Club Chicago: Police Manhunt—Cover for Brutalizing and Terrorizing the Community

May 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

According to media reports, two plainclothes police officers in an unmarked car were shot and wounded in a south side Chicago neighborhood Tuesday night, May 2. The circumstances of this shooting are unknown and nobody should believe anything that the police say about it.

This incident of police being shot does not in any way mean people should not be protesting against police terror, murder, and brutality. In fact, more protest is needed now at this time—a time when murdering pig after murdering pig is being exonerated or let off with a slap on the wrist, even when we saw them murder people on video; a time when ICE roundups are being intensified and more immigrant families are being torn apart and whole communities of people are being terrorized into retreating to the margins of society. 

Most recently, it was announced that no federal charges will be filed against the pigs who murdered Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, throwing him to the ground and shooting him at close range, all captured on video. The pigs in a suburb of Dallas just shot to death a 15-year-old high school athlete in a car leaving a party. The yet-to-be-released dash cam video showed that the pig’s official justification for the shooting was so bogus that it left the police chief scrambling—firing the murdering pig. But no charges have been brought yet.  

The reason this keeps happening over and over is because, “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.” (Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:24)

We know that manhunts by police become covers for wanton brutality and torture, humiliation, abuse, and worse, and any manhunts being conducted by Chicago pigs should be protested, not supported. Also the manhunt must not be allowed to be used as an excuse for roundups and deportations of immigrants swept up in it.

The Revolution Club stands with the masses of people, and if police are coming through carrying out abuse in the name of a manhunt, contact us to let us know.

 

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/489/ocr-against-trump-and-pence-and-the-collaborationist-mexican-government-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Organización Comunista Revolucionaria, México:

Stand Against the Fascist Onslaught of Trump and Pence and the Collaborationist Mexican Government

May 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The original Spanish version of this text was downloaded from the blog of the Organización Comunista Revolucionaria, México, on May 1, 2017. The translation is the responsibility of revcom.us.


 

We cannot let ourselves get used to or remain silent regarding the aggressions of the new government in Washington. This regime is trying to impose fascism: a qualitatively more brutal, repressive and belligerent way of governing, in order to reinforce the same criminal capitalist-imperialist system and domination of the United States in the world. They blatantly whip up racist hatred against Muslims, Mexicans, Blacks, Latinos, native peoples, and other peoples “of color.” They promote misogyny and the subjugation of women by men, and they vilify LGBTT people. They incite violent assaults on people from all these sections of the oppressed, and they act from the state level to subjugate, expel, imprison, or murder them. They hunt down, deport or imprison immigrants, separating families and creating terror in their communities. They fire their missiles at Syria, not because the death of children pains them (on the contrary: Trump praised the killing of children in Yemen by the U.S. in February), but to intimidate their rivals and minions, in order to strengthen their power in the world. They threaten with their nuclear arsenal, attack science and try to replace objective truth with falsehoods that sow gloom and stupidity in society. This regime represents a big danger to humanity, and to stop it will take a torrent of struggle in Mexico and around the world.

The Fascist Regime Attacks Mexico

They defame Mexicans, calling us “drug traffickers, rapists, and murderers,” demonizing a whole people as “guilty” of the horrors that their own system has created. At the same time, they try to impose a more direct and tougher control of U.S. imperialism over Mexico. If this regime is not driven from power, it will carry out its threats of massive deportations and detentions, open terror against immigrants, the wall, and a sort of “war zones” on the northern and southern borders of Mexico, more military and political interference, and greater exploitation, looting and destruction of Mexico by U.S. capital.

As the loyal servants of capitalism-imperialism that they are, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Luis Videgaray Caso [Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Relations], and his whole government conciliate and collaborate with this fascist regime, without protesting the criminalization of Mexicans, the aggressions against Mexico, much less the crimes of the United States in others parts of the world. Peña Nieto insists that they are forging “a positive bond” with the Trump regime. They say they support the deportees while in reality they are just giving some of them a sandwich and maybe a ticket to get somewhere—where for the vast majority of them, there will be no way to make a living. According to media reports, the collaboration of Videgaray (appointed Secretary of Foreign Relations because he is “friend” of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law) even went to the extreme of helping to draft Trump’s speech when presenting the anti-immigrant “executive order” on January 25! Then, he acts like he’s “defending Mexico’s sovereignty” because he advised John Kelly (U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security) to stop commenting on the Mexican presidential elections. This same John Kelly threatened to take the children away from their mothers if they cross the border. Is this Peña Nieto’s “positive bond”? According to Kelly, “Mexico has been a good ally of the United States on the immigration issue.” He is referring to the fact that Mexican forces hunt down and deport Central American migrants, doing the U.S.’s dirty work on a larger scale since the Obama administration.

Get Out Trump. Get Out Enrique Peña Nieto. “Get Out Trump. Get Out Enrique Peña Nieto.”

The same capitalist-imperialist system, with the United States in the lead, has forced millions of people around the world to emigrate, fleeing from the misery, violence and destruction caused by this system’s wars for empire and its “investments” that rob the peasants of their lands, destroy the environment, distort the economy, and don’t let large sections of people live in Mexico, Central America, and many other oppressed countries. These scourges facilitate the rise of drug trafficking, and the Mexican state and the U.S. state (with the DEA, the CIA, the police, etc.) collude with the cartels, while murdering, disappearing and imprisoning innocent people in the name of “combating organized crime.” In addition to forcibly expelling people from their countries of origin, the system depends on the work of immigrants who arrive in the United States (and who do not die trying to do so). These immigrants do the most backbreaking work for minuscule wages providing the system bigger profits and competitive advantages in the world. The U.S. also benefits from the work of scientists, doctors, technicians, artists, researchers, and others who emigrate because the United States has a concentration of greater resources and opportunities to work in the spheres where they have studied, due to the wealth extracted from its “empire.”

To imperialism and to the fascist regime that demonizes the migrants, we say: YOU ARE THE BIGGEST CRIMINALS IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY. You have massacred millions of people in your constant wars for empire and have brutally exploited and condemned to misery billions of people around the world. In your own country, the United States, the police murder Black, Latino and immigrant youths and imprison them en masse in what is a form of slow genocide, which now threatens to accelerate. WE WILL NOT TOLERATE YOUR RACIST ATTACKS ON IMMIGRANTS AND OPPRESSED PEOPLES IN THE U.S. OR YOUR AGGRESSIONS AGAINST THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD!

The Trump/Pence regime is trying to impose fascism, which represents the same capitalist-imperialist system, but with a drastic change in the way of governing and in the “norms” or “values” that govern society. As the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, states,

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.” (revcom.us)

White Supremacy—Cornerstone of American Fascism

This fascist regime is trying to reaffirm and strengthen white supremacy (a founding principle of the United States) in the face of the weakening of the traditional fabric of society due to immigration, the intensification of the oppression of Blacks, Latinos and others, increased resistance in recent years by Black people, among other problems for the ruling class. The fascists want a “white country.” With massive deportations and open terror, they are trying to reduce the number of immigrants and people of “color” and subjugate them more. They mobilize their social base around white supremacy, and then impose it violently on society in general. Its racist and xenophobic harangues include the statement by a Republican in the House of Representatives, and Trump supporter, that: “We cannot rebuild our civilization with the babies of others”; and the racist and xenophobic harangues of Trump and Jeff Sessions (the Attorney General) that they are deporting drug traffickers and “criminal gangsters,” the “garbage that has turned U.S. cities and suburbs into war zones.” That’s how genocidal murderers talk. That’s how Hitler criminalized the Jews, before locking them up and then exterminating them.

Mein Trump: a thoroughly fascist American pig

They actually deport working people like Guadalupe García Rayos. She was detained inside the ICE offices in Phoenix, Arizona, while reporting in as she had routinely been doing for six years. Suddenly, after living 22 years in the U.S., Guadalupe was deported to Mexico, suddenly and violently separated from her two children, both U.S. citizens, despite the fact that hundreds of people rushed to try to prevent her deportation. Or people like Daniel Ramírez Medina, a Mexican youth who was detained and is in danger of being deported, despite having the temporary “deferred deportation” permission (“Dreamers”). When Daniel showed the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents his permit, they replied, “That makes no difference. You weren’t born in this country.” Then they accused him of being a “gang member” for having a run-of-the-mill tattoo.

Or look at the case of Félix Torres, a Mexican and legal permanent resident for 30 years. On March 27 at 6:20 in the morning, he opened the door to his home in Chicago, upon hearing an uproar outside. He was immediately shot by ICE agents and hospitalized in critical condition. Officers broke into his house, pointed guns at his children and grandchildren, and forcefully threw them all out, despite being born in the U.S. Their “legal” status did not protect them from ICE terror. With raids like this, this fascist regime is sending a message: “We are going to terrorize and hunt down immigrants, and anyone who looks like an immigrant. It makes no difference whether you haven’t committed any serious crime; it doesn’t make any difference whether you have papers or some temporary legal permit; it doesn’t make a difference even when you are a citizen. It doesn’t make any difference how much you have worked, how honest you are, nor that your children love you and need you. We can arrest you, we can deport you, or we can kill you in cold blood.”

“United States First” —Aggression Against the World to Shore Up Its Empire

“United States First” is the leading-edge slogan of this fascist regime. Far from being “isolationist,” it augurs more aggression and coercion against other countries and peoples with the goal of remaking relations and strengthening its power in the world. They threaten to use extreme measures to achieve this, faced with the big problems that they are facing. Which problems? The U.S. is bogged down in wars for empire in much of the world, locked in bloody contention with the also reactionary Islamic jihadism. In addition, it faces the challenges of the economic and military rise of China and the rivalry with imperialist powers like Russia and some European countries. (revcom.us) Aggressions and increased political and military interference in Mexico are happening in this broader context.

“He is not my president.” “He is not my president.”

Building the Wall (and “Make Mexico Pay For It!”) became a cry that resonated in Trump’s campaign, stirring up anti-Mexican xenophobia. With their typical lies, in Trump’s and his secretaries’ rants, they claim “enemies,” “criminals” and “terrorists” are pouring across the southern U.S. border. This border is actually one of the most fortified and guarded borders in the world, but the fascist regime is preparing to make its wall of ignominy longer, higher and presumably more impassable, along with deploying five thousand more agents from the border patrol and more surveillance and repression equipment. In addition to serving as a racist assault (and insult) against Mexicans, the wall is part of “securing the border” in the face of the danger of increased migration and other problems for controlling it, which will increase due to the reactionary wars and much more ravages that will be caused by their system with the extreme measures that this regime intends to take. They also reinforce and militarize their southern border against possible massive migrations of victims of upheavals caused by global warming, which disproportionately affects oppressed countries, and at the same time these fascists deny that global warming exists and implement policies that accelerate it.

The “secret” meeting of the commanders of the Northern Command and the Southern Command of the U.S. armed forces with anonymous Mexican authorities in Tapachula, Chiapas, in February this year underlines that U.S. imperialism’s “interests” extend far beyond its own border. Furthermore, the threat by Trump (denied by the U.S. federal government but corroborated by anonymous sources from both countries), to send U.S. military forces to Mexico if the Mexican armed forces do not control the “bad hombres” of organized crime, is a sign of potential greater direct intervention.

They also want more exploitation and economic control of Mexico. For example, by insisting on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Trump has made it very clear that the U.S. demands greater advantages for exploiting, trade with and controlling Mexico. The Treaty’s 22 years have greatly increased economic and political domination by imperialism, the ruin of the countryside, the uprooting of indigenous communities, the accelerated destruction of the environment, greater wage inequality, millions more in poverty, millions forced to emigrate to the U.S., and millions deported when they can no longer exploit them profitably.

But of course, Peña Nieto’s lackey government is “optimistic” about NAFTA. As head of the Mexican state, Peña Nieto represents the interests of the ruling classes: the big Mexican capitalists and landowners, and the imperialists. The Mexican state is an accomplice of U.S. imperialism and the fascist regime: it maintains economic and financial relations for imperialist exploitation and domination and exerts brutal repression over the Mexican people. It is also complicit in repressing and deporting Central American migrants, and in defending U.S. interests in the world—for example, now they are promoting in the OAS [Organization of American States] attempts to overthrow the Nicolás Maduro government in Venezuela, which is a nuisance to the U.S.

       

Stop the Fascist Trump/Pence Regime and Prepare the Revolution

We cannot stand idly by as they try to impose fascism in the United States and advance their plans for monstrous crimes against people around the world. They tell us, “Just worry about yourself and about your people,” in order to divide and conquer: we must look out for everyone and fight together against fascism. From the level of state power, they have tried to fool the people, proclaiming that Trump would not be a candidate, that he would not win, and now that he is not going to implement the fascist program that he has been proclaiming. These are lies and we cannot wait to protest until they have made further advances in drowning the voices of protest and opposition. To think or pretend that this fascist regime is only “over there” [i.e., in the United States] and “will not affect us” [i.e., the people in Mexico] would mean closing your eyes to the real world: the capitalist-imperialist system governs the whole world and respects no borders; the U.S. is the most powerful imperialist power, Mexico is its “backyard” and has been dominated by the U.S. for a century. Even before the imperialist era, the U.S. stole half of Mexican territory in 1848.

Image of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife, waving the U.S. flag. “LONG LIVE MEXICO.” Image of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife, waving the U.S. flag.

There will only be fundamental change for the people by breaking this domination. A communist revolution is necessary that overthrows the Mexican state, confiscates the property of the ruling classes, pulls Mexico out of the world capitalist-imperialist system, and takes the socialist road, uprooting the oppression of women, of indigenous peoples and of Afro-Mexicans, leaving behind all the unnecessary suffering inflicted by this system, and supporting this revolution in other countries, with the final goal of emancipating all humanity.*

As an indispensable part of preparing this revolution, of preparing the people, the terrain and building the communist revolutionary party that is needed to lead it, we need to mobilize broad sections of the people against the attacks of the Trump/Pence regime and join the struggle in the U.S. and the world to drive out this regime, before it is consolidated and imposes fascism. The fascists are in power, but they have not yet been able to fully implement their plan. It makes a big difference to the masses of people of the world if they are prevented from achieving this, because of the atrocities this entails and because, if they succeed, it will become much more difficult to advance in the revolutionary struggle for the emancipation of humanity.

A torrent of struggle from below in the U.S., Mexico and the world, free of conciliating and collaborationist bourgeois politicians, can stop fascism in its tracks and expose the capitalist-imperialist system and the Mexican state defending it. It is not true that we cannot do anything: Imagine the impact, in Mexico, in the U.S. and in the world, if there were thousands in the streets in Mexico calling out fascism in the U.S. and the collaborationism of the Mexican government and making common cause with the struggle of our sisters and brothers on the other side of the border and all over the world!

We, the “enemies” demonized by Trump and his regime, we, who have no interest in maintaining this system of big inequalities and injustices, need to stand up and shout out to the world that, We will not conciliate, we will not collaborate, and we will not capitulate in the face of the attacks of the fascist regime in the U.S.! We will fight along with all the other “undesirables,” in the United States and throughout the world, to stop fascism and to drive this regime out of power, along with its collaborators, the criminal Mexican state.

Get Out Trump, Get Out Peña Nieto, Down With The Whole System!

Aurora Roja, Voice of the Organización Comunista Revolucionaria, México

Auroraroja.mx@gmail.com http://aurora-roja.blogspot.com


*See La Revolución Liberadora, Orientación estratégica y programa básico [The Liberating Revolution, Strategic Orientation and Basic Program], available in Spanish at http://aurora-roja.blogspot.com.[regresa]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/489/grupo-comunista-revolucionario-de-colombia-a-real-revolution-is-necessary-and-possible-es.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

The original Spanish version of this text was received from the Grupo Comunista Revolucionario de Colombia. The translation is the responsibility of revcom.us.

A real REVOLUTION is necessary, and possible

May 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

May 1, 2017

There is much that is at stake this May Day. There are big difficulties and dangers before the people and the planet itself, but there are also possibilities for big favorable transformations that depend on whether or not problems are approached with the approach and method of the science of revolution. The advances in the struggle around this would be the best tribute on the centenary of the October Revolution in Russia.

Talking about the dangers and difficulties of the situation is not a rhetorical statement: a fascist regime seeks to consolidate itself in the most powerful country on the planet... a serious threat of nuclear war hovers on the horizon... there are risks that it is no longer possible to control global warming due to the enthronement of climate change deniers... the misery and dangers generated by imperialism in the countries of the so-called third world makes more than one million people risk their lives every year in forced displacements to Europe... patriarchal oppression in a multitude of forms not only increases but is normalized...

The question of the need for and the possibility of revolution is not a rhetorical statement either. Yes, in spite of healthy outbursts of resistance, the trend towards COUNTER-revolution throughout the world has been consolidating itself, and the revolutionary movement itself is at a crossroads, between the revolutionary road and the dead-ends of bourgeois-democratic reformism and zombie dogmatism that by not letting “the dead bury their dead,” are becoming a residue of the past which contributes to making it difficult to reverse the current trend.

But on the basis of the scientific assessment of the great achievements and also of the limitations of the experiences (and theory) of the first stage of proletarian revolution, as well as of the understanding most widely attained by humanity since then, today a new framework for revolution has been achieved: the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian, which has put on a more scientific basis the revolutionary communism developed by Marx, Lenin and Mao. To make revolution, you need science.

People do not spontaneously understand the real nature of things; they do not look for the essence that lies beneath the appearance of things. It is crucial that there is a scientific approach and method (i.e., based on evidence, not on formulas, recipes or desires, nor on inferences based on biases) and that there is a growing body of organized people who really apply that science to understand and transform natural and social reality, towards an actual revolution, with sights on the emancipation of all of humanity. To make revolution requires an organized core that leads it.

As Ardea Skybreak emphasizes: “When people are deprived of a scientific approach to reality as a whole, they are robbed of both a full appreciation of the beauty and richness of the natural world and the means to understand the dynamics of change not only in nature but in human society as well.” Not having a scientific approach and method matters, a lot!

For example: Almost everywhere revolutionary communists face unfounded criticisms of the internationalist approach: “let’s first worry about what is happening here” (“my country,” “my region”), “what do the problems of other countries have to do with what happens here?... and so on ad nauseam, while those who criticize (even from the “revolutionary” camp) have no other, more complete or better analyses and/or syntheses about “what is going on here.” This way of thinking is linked to seeing the world (this capitalist-imperialist system) as a mere collection of countries.

Although chauvinism, localism, provincialism, and similar isms account for such recurrent thinking, a lot of people also reject the revolutionary solution, since in other cases the complaints are why do you only worry about women’s problems, or young people’s problems, or the problems of the universities, or the problems of the neighborhoods, or the cities, or the countryside, etc., depending on the actual struggle you are in... and, at the same time!, with complaints about why enclose them within something as broad as the current economic and social system.

Internationalism is not only a good idea; it has a very material basis. There really is a world imperialist system that is the common enemy of the people, whether it resides in imperialist citadels, where the imperialist beast is centered and has its foundations, or whether it resides in the large areas called the “third world,” the dependent and colonial countries.

The changes in recent decades, mainly a product of a new and greater globalization, make this clearer. “The proletariat in advancing the struggle can only advance it by approaching it, and seeking to advance it, on a world level first of all. This doesn't mean of course that you try to make revolution irrespective of the conditions in different parts of the world or the conditions within particular countries, but it means that even in approaching that you proceed from the point of view of the world arena as most decisive and the overall interests of the world proletariat as paramount. And that is not merely a good idea. It has a very material foundation, which has been laid by the system of imperialism.”1 Internationalism has a very material foundation that has been laid by the system of imperialism.

Proletarian internationalism is actually based on a concrete material reality. “[T]he world arena actually [is] decisive in terms of setting the basic conditions for revolutionary struggles, in particular countries as well as on a world level. On the other hand, this does not liquidate, eliminate, or diminish the importance of the revolutionary struggles in particular countries but in certain important respects gives a different focus to them and, yes, gives emphasis to a necessary concentration on those places where the objective and subjective factors combine to make it more possible to make breakthroughs.”2

It is also very important to emphasize that putting the international situation and the international arena first does not mean that in a specific country nothing can be done—and specifically that a revolutionary struggle cannot advance or possibly the revolutionary seizure of power cannot even be carried out—if at any given moment the international “correlation of forces” is not favorable.

An example of where things are decided “from here,” and also an example of dependency and subjugation, is the pathetic “casual encounter” in Mar-a-Lago (Florida, U.S.A.) by former Colombian presidents Pastrana and Uribe with Donald Trump to ask him to make his other pawn, current Colombian president Santos, toe the line, who is only developing a right-wing, and not a fascist, agenda.

As the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, points out, Fascism is an even more grotesque and overtly bloodthirsty form of the same system, which represents horrors for humanity and the planet, beyond what the current system already inflicts daily. This relationship of being qualitatively different, while sharing a common essence, constitutes “a unity of opposites.” What has been happening in the United States is not simply the transfer of power from one bourgeois to another. As a way of governing, fascism solves the contradiction between the essence and the appearance of bourgeois democracy by exercising the open form of bourgeois class dictatorship. It is a qualitative change.

Trump seeks to bludgeon his way to a new world order. In the same world that Colombia (and Peru, Syria, etc.) are part of. It is not only a problem of the people in the United States that a section of the ruling classes has come to take the reins of power which seeks to consolidate a fascist regime in the most powerful country in the world. This has serious and immediate (and long-term) planetary implications.

The threat of nuclear war with North Korea is getting real serious when the country that makes the threat is the United States, the only country that has already used nuclear weapons (against Japan in 1945), and which already killed more than three million Koreans in 1950-1953... And just weeks ago in Afghanistan, for the first time it used the most powerful bomb in its non-nuclear arsenal.

But there are many who are aware at different levels of the gravity of the situation, including the renewed and increased attacks on women, against science and truth, against scientists investigating climate change, against critical thinking, etc. The resistance in the United States, with worldwide repercussions, began the day after Trump’s inauguration with the Women’s March (January 21), then the March for Science (April 22) and the People’s Climate March (April 29), with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in the main marches. Although this important response should not be overestimated, much less can it be downplayed.

An important favorable aspect of the situation in the United States is that there are revolutionary communists in that country, organized in a vanguard party and with a revolutionary leadership. (It is always enriching to consult the RCP’s newspaper: revcom.us, in Spanish and English.) For the revolutionary communists there, “The approach... in taking fascism on is not to return to what ‘was’ in Obama/Clinton, but to move forward toward replacing the whole goddamn system and bring about a radically different and far better society.” In contrast, the “united front against fascism” approach, in the 1930s and 1940s (and still among those who groundlessly criticize the RCP) erroneously separated fascism from the capitalist-imperialist system.

In Colombia, the trend towards fascistization took shape in the two Uribe governments (2002-2010) and has once again been on the rise becoming more integrated with religious fundamentalist movements. The fascistic sectors grew larger with the victory of the NO in the October plebiscite that sought to approve the Havana peace accords [with the FARC guerrillas], emboldened by the strength gained by Uribe’s followers and the religious fundamentalists in the marches against the so-called “gender ideology” and against corruption (of which their leaders are protagonists), perhaps longing to emulate the “march on Rome” that enthroned Mussolini.

In general, the process of the rightward shift seeks to defend and also goes hand in hand with the clampdown on the material conditions of life of the vast majority of the population. Billions of people live (survive) in precarious conditions, with grossly low incomes, and almost one billion suffer from starvation (mainly in Africa), while the daily expenditure to keep the military machinery running would be enough to meet for nine days the needs of food, health and education of the poor children of the planet.

With an organization of the production that even uses the environment on the basis of profit, ecosystems are on the verge of collapsing. The creativity of the working masses is constantly extinguished and marginalized. Women are turned into sex slaves, into trafficked products, and are denigrated, and violence against them has even been institutionalized in many parts. The attack on truth and science, the rise of the “post-truth” and such things reinforce the ideological offensive against revolution and communism, the only real way out of this madness.

Four decades since the end of the first stage of revolution, the slanders, distortions, and crude lies about socialism and communism are just becoming sharper. And the centenary of the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia demands as well the sharpening up of fight to set the record straight in this regards.

Communist revolution aims to eliminate the capitalist-imperialist system and replace it with a radically different economic and political system, socialism. Socialist society is a transition, as part of a protracted world process, to reach communism, a world without exploitation, oppression and antagonistic social divisions. This revolution is the only real solution to horrors such as wars for empire, oppression of women, of oppressed nationalities, of immigrants, and the destruction of the environment... none of which can be solved under this system.

Communism is the achievement of the “4 Alls,” as summed up in a concentrated way by Marx, who specifically said that socialism is the transition towards the abolition of all class differences, of all relations of production on which they rest, of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, and the revolutionization of all ideas that correspond to those social relations. Nothing to do with “twenty-first century socialism,” “social-democracy,” “anti-neoliberalism,” or other reformist silliness!

The contrast is clear with respect to what is a prelude to growth of the rightward shift in the world... And the challenges are big. There is a “window of opportunity” for revolutionaries in the belly of the imperialist beast to advance in their efforts to lead thousands and then millions in a movement for revolution in order to stop the Trump/Pence regime, before it consolidates itself. The call to “wait and see” is criminal. The people of the United States and around the world need support all over the world in order to make real the possibilities of victory. There is no guarantee of victory. But what is guaranteed is that without struggle, the perspectives could not get any worse.

A better world is possible, a communist world!

Revolution, nothing less, is necessary!

Grupo Comunista Revolucionario de Colombia — May 1, 2017

 


1. Bob Avakian, Advancing the World Revolutionary Movement: Questions of Strategic Orientation, Revolution magazine, RCP Publications, Spring 1984. Available at revcom.us. [back]

2. "Revolution and a Radically New World: Contending 'Universalisms' and Communist Internationalism," an excerpt from the text of a talk by Bob Avakian, “Out Into the World—As a Vanguard of the Future,” to a group of Party members in the first part of 2008. [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/489/may-1-2017-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

 

May 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

May 1, 2017

With the fate of the whole world in the balance,

Humanity Needs
Revolution and
the New Communism!

Never has the need for revolution been more acutely posed than it is now. Today, the fabric of society is being pulled apart all over the world. The ruling classes find themselves in crisis. In the face of this, the Trump/Pence regime has come to power in the U.S. to impose a fascist regime. They are putting into place a violent reinforcement of white supremacy and misogyny in all its forms, with genocidal implications; a brutally aggressive “America First” national chauvinism; and the demonization and severe repression of those who would defy this.

Meanwhile, this whole capitalist-imperialist system wreaks wanton destruction on the planet. This destruction, along with economic plunder of the world and wars for empire, has driven tens of millions of people out of their homelands to seek refuge. Once out, they face death on the high seas or in the desert, because the imperialists have locked down their borders; those who escape are cruelly confined behind stockades and razor wire. In every imperialist country, with the U.S. leading the way, immigrants are demonized and persecuted, and whole peoples are denied their basic humanity and their rights. Further: one half of humanity—women—are daily degraded, exploited, mocked, enslaved, raped, and murdered, everywhere on this planet. Within the U.S., Black and Latino people continue to be brutalized and murdered by police and incarcerated in record numbers—with threats of far worse in store. On top of all this, the Trump/Pence regime now threatens war and brandishes nuclear destruction, intentionally strutting like gangsters and madmen as they do.

BUT—there IS an answer to this madness. There is a way out and a way forward: Bob Avakian’s New Synthesis of Communism gives people the way to understand the world, and transform it through revolution. Bob Avakian—BA—has drawn from the breakthroughs and experience of past revolutions, as well as other forms of human endeavor, and put revolutionary communism on a more scientific foundation. BA has developed a scientific approach to the world that everyone can take up; the strategy that can actually overthrow these imperialists; and the blueprint, once power has been won, for a revolutionary society on the road to ending all oppression, exploitation, and destructive conflicts between human beings. As BA himself has written:

There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.

On the basis of this new communism, the movement for revolution fights the power, and transforms the people, for revolution. This means joining with, leading, and organizing masses of people to fight back against the attacks of this system. It means struggling with all the backward values, ideas, and ways of thinking that reinforce and lead back into this system and struggling for those ideas that contribute to human emancipation; without such struggle, there will never be a revolution. The key to all this is BA—bringing his method and approach, his work, and the many, many ways he provides leadership for the battles right now into the center of all this movement does.

This activity is urgent, and aimed at a specific goal. Right now, today: Prepare the ground, prepare the people, prepare the vanguard for revolution—get ready for the time when millions can be led to fight, all-out, with a real chance to win. Follow the leadership of Bob Avakian in all this, and get organized into the Revolutionary Communist Party to carry it through.

Rarely if ever has there been such a direct danger to even the continued existence of humanity as there is today; yet, on the basis of taking up the revolutionary way forward, the potential is there to make a world truly fit for human beings. The path has been forged to take up the struggle to make revolution, all over the world, and to emancipate all of humanity. Now is the time for YOU to take up this great cause. Where revolutionary forces do not yet exist, take up the new communism and organize such forces; where such revolutionary forces have taken up the new communism, join with them and strengthen them. The time is now; the situation is urgent; the struggle must be intensified.

There Is a Way Out of This Madness

Get Into Bob Avakian’s New Synthesis of Communism

We Don’t Accept Slavery in Any Form

Emancipate All of Humanity

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution

In the Name of Humanity, Drive Out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime

Stop the Persecution of Immigrants

Stop U.S. Imperialist War and Aggression All Over the Planet

Stop the Genocidal Attacks on Black and Latino People

Stop the Oppression and Degradation of Women

Stop the Capitalist-Imperialist Plunder of the Planet

We reject the putrid thinking, values, and culture of this system

Bring Forward a New, Vibrant Revolutionary Culture

Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

 

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/desiree-fairooz-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Desiree Fairooz: Convicted and Facing Jail for Laughing at a Fascist Attorney General

May 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 20, Desiree Fairooz, was arrested for laughing during the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions as attorney general. She now faces up to a year in jail.

Twenty people were arrested for disrupting Sessions’ confirmation hearing, including Carl Dix from the Revolutionary Communist Party; people with Refuse Fascism; immigrants’ rights activists; and three members of Code Pink, including Desiree Fairooz.

Prosecutors claimed Fairooz was protesting, not just laughing. Even if it were the case that she was arrested for protesting, that would be outrageous. But in fact she was arrested for laughing. She explained in an interview with Jezebel, “[W]hen [Alabama Senator Richard] Shelby said something to the effect of [Sessions] would defend all Americans, I found that statement ridiculous. It was absurd, because his history shows otherwise. At that point, I could not hold in my chortle. I just thought it was crazy. I don’t regret having laughed.”

And, she explained, “[T]hat’s when they created disturbance by bringing over other police officers. I was charged with parading, but they paraded me. It was maddening. I was upset at that point and I thought this was unjust and that they were just making an example of me. And then I thought well, they’re going to arrest me, I might as well have my message up while they do so. And that’s when I held the sign.”

In 1985, Sessions prosecuted three Black civil rights workers for registering Black people to vote in Alabama, and a sworn witness reported that he once called a white civil rights lawyer doing voting rights cases a “disgrace to his race,” and said he believed the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was OK until he learned its members smoked marijuana. He opposes a woman’s right to abortion, opposes gay marriage, and says immigrants create “cultural problems” in this country. Now he has a powerful position in the fascist Trump/Pence regime to enforce white supremacy. It was a very good thing people protested his confirmation hearing and none of those protesters should do ANY TIME behind bars.

Desiree Fairooz and the other Code Pink activists were convicted in a two-day trial, and face a possible sentence of a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. She told Jezebel, “Now every day, I ask myself, is it fascism now? And so if we don’t stand up while we still have some modicum of democracy, it’ll be too late. So if anything, I hope others feel inspired to do likewise.”

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/arkansas-goes-on-torture-and-execution-spree-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

With a Death Penalty-Loving Fascist Regime in Power:
Arkansas Goes on a Torture and Execution Spree

May 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In April, the state of Arkansas carried out the first double execution in the U.S. in 17 years, putting Marcel Williams and Jack Jones Jr. to death with lethal injections. Arkansas executed two more prisoners, Ledell Lee and Kenneth Williams, in the same month. Four other death row prisoners in Arkansas who were also due to be put to death in April had their executions stayed by the courts.

Arkansas officials said they were rushing to execute because their supply of midazolam, a drug used in lethal injections, was running out at the end of the month. This drug causes extreme pain and agony—one man executed with midazolam in Arizona in 2014 was put through two hours of torture before he died. And witnesses at Kenneth Williams’ execution in Arkansas said they saw him convulsing, lurching forward, and jerking after the drug was administered and that they could hear him moaning and gasping, even with the microphone turned off.

So the state of Arkansas carried out a spree of torture-executions because it was in a hurry to use up its stock of a poisonous chemical that is known to bring on barbaric suffering!

Whatever the drug or the method of execution used, the death penalty in the U.S. is part of a deeply unjust setup of law enforcement, courts, prisons, and punishment that serves to protect and maintain the oppressive, white-supremacist system that rules over the people. Since 1973, close to 160 people who were on death row have been exonerated—newly uncovered evidence showed that they were wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. How many never had the chance to have their cases re-opened and were wrongly put to death in that same period?

Lawyers for all four men put to death in April in Arkansas had petitioned the courts to stop the executions, arguing that the prisoners had not been given fair trials. They said that all kinds of information, such as their mental status and childhood abuse, had not been introduced in court and that the men had received inadequate legal representation—including one case where the defense lawyer was drunk during the trial.

And the death penalty is used disproportionately against Black people, in a country where Black and Brown people are targeted by the police and are imprisoned at a hugely disproportionate rate. Three of the four men executed in Arkansas in April were Black. Before these executions, 20 out of 36 prisoners (56%) on death row in Arkansas were Black—in a state where Black people are 15.5% of the total population. Across the U.S., nearly 35% of prisoners executed since 1976 have been African-American—in other words, Black people are subjected to the death penalty at three times the rate of white people.

Now the U.S. is headed by a fascist ghoul who has been and is an avid advocate of the death penalty. In 1989, Trump took out a paid full-page ad in New York City newspapers to demand the death penalty for the Central Park 5—Black and Latino youths who were wrongly accused of a brutal rape of a white jogger. Even though all five were cleared, after spending many years in prison, Trump still to this day says they’re “guilty”! In 2000, Trump said that his only “complaint” about the death penalty is that “lethal injection is too comfortable a way to go.” Trump wants a mandatory death penalty for anyone convicted of killing a cop. He said there “should be like death penalty or something” for the people behind WikiLeaks.

Trump’s appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, is also a big proponent of the death penalty. In his first act as a Supreme Court justice, Gorsuch cast the deciding vote in the 5-4 decision that cleared the way for the four Arkansas executions in April. Ledell Lee was executed just hours later. Last year, as a federal judge, Gorsuch ruled against the family of a Black man who suffered horribly through a 43-minute attempted execution using midazolam before dying of a heart attack. Gorsuch called the torturous lethal injection an “innocent misadventure” or an “isolated mishap.”

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/489/new-york-city-protests-trump-visit-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Hundreds Protest Trump's Return to NYC as Fascist President

May 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

New York CIty, May 4 protest
Hundreds confront Trump in New York City. Photo: revcom.us

Beacon High School studentsBeacon High School students. Photo: RefuseFascism.org

Construction workers protest Trump. Photo: @MaketheRoadNY
Construction workers protest Trump. Photo: @MaketheRoadNY

Staten Island Ferry with banner
Staten Island ferry banner: #NOTRUMPNYC. Photo:@WorkingFamilies

May 4—On Donald Trump’s return to New York City for the first time since becoming president, hundreds came out to express their anger at the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist attacks on immigrants, women, health care, the LGBTQ community, and more. The main demonstration was organized across from the Intrepid—a U.S. aircraft carrier that is now a “Sea, Air & Space Museum” on Manhattan’s West Side—where Trump gave a speech. The police kept people penned in along the edge of an entire block of the street. Drivers in cars and trucks going by honked their horns in support almost constantly, for hours. One of the main organizers was Rise and Resist, NYC—last month, 26 of their members were arrested inside Trump Tower after dropping a banner to condemn the crimes being carried out against immigrants. A large group from Refuse Fascism was also there, helping to lead chants and with a huge NO! banner and dozens of NO! signs that were taken up by the crowd.

One protester, a U.S. military veteran and daughter of a Honduran immigrant, came with a group called #VetsVsHate, made up of veterans “who won’t tolerate the politics of bigotry.” Underlining the gravity of the situation, she said, “We’re in an era where popular fascism is a global epidemic.” There were close to a dozen high school students there from Beacon High School in Manhattan. One of the students said, “These are scary times. As a woman, and as a feminist, I’m afraid for our rights.” Another said, talking about the immigrants in their school, “I just want them to know that we’re here for you. We fought this long battle for civil rights. We thought we’d changed all these rights we thought we were going to have. And we’re not, we’re going back in time.... We need to show that we still care, and that our voice isn’t lost.”

Banner raised where Trump spoke at the Intrepid.
Banner raised where Trump spoke at the Intrepid. Photo:Twitter/@smilyus

Vets protest Trump
Vets protest Trump. Photo: revcom.us

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/489/awtwns-in-memory-of-comrade-surendra-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

From A World To Win News Service:

In memory of Ajith Surendra Valentine Rupasinghe (Comrade Surendra)

Born 14 February 1943, died 3 April 2017

 

May 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

27 April 2017. A World to Win News Service. It is with great sadness that A World to Win News Service learned of the recent death of Ajith Rupasinghe, generally known as comrade Surendra, a revolutionary communist leader from Sri Lanka.

Comrade Surendra was living in the United States in the 1960s and ’70s when he first became a revolutionary, originally introduced to communism by his older brother Kumar who travelled to the U.S. from Sri Lanka to share his discoveries with Surendra.

Like many others, comrade Surendra came forward politically during the exuberant years of the revolutionary upsurge of the 1960s and early ’70s and the great social transformations being made through the Cultural Revolution in China led by Mao Tsetung. Surendra also went through the bitter experience of seeing Mao’s socialist China transformed into a capitalist monstrosity. Surendra worked with the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA in the second half of the 1970s and notably attended Bob Avakian’s 1978 speech denouncing and exposing the counter-revolutionary coup in China following Mao’s death.

Surendra had been pursuing doctoral studies in sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) where he had also been propagating revolutionary politics. In the final stages of his PhD work, a faculty committee demanded that he water down his work—as he described it, “they demanded I get on my knees”—and change what he was saying because of the way it exposed this system of global capitalism-imperialism. He refused.

Comrade Surendra returned to Sri Lanka. As a well-educated young man, Surendra could have chosen many paths for his life, yet he chose unswerving dedication to the cause of emancipation. He joined what was then known as the Ceylon Communist Party (CCP) led by comrade N. Sanmugathasan, a long-time communist leader who had played an early and outstanding role in denouncing the counter-revolutionary coup in China and who was part of the early efforts to regroup Maoist forces that resulted in the founding the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) in 1984.

Surendra became a key CCP activist and took part in numerous struggles the party led among the masses in Sri Lanka, for example in the Hatton area, among the tea workers who toiled in conditions of near slavery on the country’s tea plantations established under British colonial rule. Even today many recall Surendra’s role in these activities. For a number of years in the early 1980s, Surendra lived in a fishing village in the Ratmalana district.

Following the death of comrade Sanmugathasan in 1993, comrade Surendra became the leader of the Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist), the name the party adopted in 1991.

Surendra was one of far too few people in the world who fought to uphold what Mao had brought forth. He also fought to help regroup communists in the world around Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Comrade Surendra was an enthusiastic supporter of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and actively took part in the activities and campaigns of RIM. He was particularly known for his firm support for the People’s War in Nepal from the very beginning until the Nepalese party leadership abandoned the revolutionary path in favour of participation in a “restructured” reactionary state. A betrayal that Surendra justly and forcefully condemned.

During this whole period, Surendra fought to organize people in Sri Lanka for revolution under very difficult conditions, and tried repeatedly to re-establish a communist vanguard. He was a tireless editorialist, writing many thought-provoking articles on different aspects of communist theory, practical revolutionary activity and philosophy. He was a determined opponent of the Sri Lankan ruling class and distinguished himself by being one of very few voices from the Sinhalese community that consistently supported the rights of the Tamil people and exposed the vicious repression and genocide of the Sri Lankan state aimed at the Tamil political organizations and population.

What distinguished Surendra from some others who had also tried to carry forward the revolutionary communist banner after the death of Mao was his enthusiastic, passionate welcome to the emergence of the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian. In the last decade of his life in particular, Comrade Surendra carried out serious study of Avakian’s works and defended the new synthesis both in Sri Lanka and internationally through his writings on the Internet. As the former Maoist movement “divided into two”, Surendra took a clear position in favour of the future, the new synthesis of communism.

Comrade Surendra’s defence of the new synthesis was in no way an empty declaration of allegiance. His many writings sought to critically examine different aspects of the new synthesis and explore their implications. Selections from his writings need to be popularized in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

Comrade Surendra courageously battled on to the very end of his life in the face of a very difficult situation in Sri Lanka and internationally. Despite increasingly serious health conditions and vicious attacks on his personal milieu by powerful reactionary forces, he remained unflinching in his devotion to the cause of humanity. He did not live to see the fruits of his energies, but we are quite confident that many of the seeds he planted will sprout.

Comrade Surendra’s contributions to revolutionary communism, in Sri Lanka and in the world, will live on as women and men come forward to battle imperialism and reaction and come not only to be inspired by the revolutionary determination of leaders who went before them but also look to the scientific understanding that directed and energized comrade Surendra and which he contributed to popularising.

As Surendra himself put it in the months before his death, “All genuine communist revolutionaries around the world must rise up to expose, critique, and overthrow this accumulated pile of rotting revisionist garbage and undertake the task of defending, applying, and advancing the new synthesis, as the basis for reconstituting the international communist movement and preparing our ranks, the advanced forces and basic masses for an unprecedented great leap forward towards achieving the new world rising on the horizon, as a matter of life and death for the future of communism.”

Surendra will be missed and we must help people carry on his work.

―The editors, A World to Win News Service

 

On March 17, 2017, A World to Win News Service (AWTWNS) announced its transformation into a more thorough-going tool for revolution based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. Read its “Editorial: Introducing a transformed AWTWNS” here.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/489/trump-threatens-major-major-conflict-with-north-korea-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

 


 

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Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Jordan Edwards

Jordan Edwards: 15 Years Old and Black— Murdered by Police for Riding in a Car

May 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: This article was posted before the fired cop, Roy Oliver, was charged with murder for the killing of Jordan Edwards and arrested on May 5. This is one of the very rare instances where a killer cop is actually charged with a crime—now the demand is that Oliver must be convicted and sent to jail. And this one arrest does not change the reality that this is a totally illegitimate system whose armed enforcers carry out murder after murder of Black, Brown, and other oppressed people.

 

Jordan Edwards had gone to a high school party with his brother at a friend’s house on a Saturday night (April 29) in Balch Springs, a small suburb outside Dallas, Texas.

Edwards was 15 years old and Black. He was a good student and on the freshman football team, a wiry, bright-eyed kid whose smile, a friend said, “could light up a room.” It was the kind of high school night you’d be excited about—meeting classmates, hanging out, having a good time—a night that should have been one of the joys of being young and alive, with hopes and dreams.

But then, in an instant, Jordan was dead, his head blown apart by a cop’s rifle shot.

It was late, maybe 3 a.m., and someone called the cops complaining of kids drinking. Two cops arrived and went inside. Shots were reportedly fired outside. People came outside, some trying to quickly leave, including Jordan, his 16-year-old brother, and three friends. They got in their car and started to drive away. Then cop Roy Oliver, who’d also come outside, picked up a rifle and fired several shots into the car. Jordan was hit in the face, murdered right in front of his brother and his friends.

When is wanton, goddamn murder by police going to end! How many more unarmed Black youths, beautiful human beings entering the primes of their lives, are going to be gunned down by police for no other conceivable reason than they’re Black?!

Read the entire HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution HERE

And then the cops tried to do what they always do: cover up and justify their murder. The Balch Springs Police Department quickly issued this statement: “There was an unknown altercation with the vehicle backing down the road towards the officers in an aggressive manner. An officer shot at the vehicle, striking a front seat passenger. The individual was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased.” In other words, they were claiming that the cop feared for his life while doing his job, and so the killing was legitimate.

This probably would have gotten over, except that the whole incident was videotaped. The cops on the scene had blatantly lied: the car Jordan was in was going forward, AWAY from the party and away from the cops. And now that those cops have been caught in their lies, the chief of police is claiming that he was “unintentionally incorrect” in his initial statement.

The chief of police claims the actions of the officer who killed Jordan Edwards “did not meet our core values.” Didn’t meet your “core values”? Yes, they did. That’s why you jumped to broadcast their lies before the facts were in. That’s why, according to the best friend of Jordan’s father, The police never came to the hospital.” And that’s why cops kill hundreds of people every year, all across the country—and always claim “justifiable homicide.” Their job is to protect the system and enforce the oppressive status quo. This is what their “law and order”—with all its brutality and murder—is about. And this is why time after time after time, cops who kill almost NEVER face even a slap on the wrist. Only a day after Jordan’s killing, the system let the two white cops who killed Alton B. Sterling in Baton Rouge walk free.

Roy Oliver was fired, but Jordan’s family is demanding “Justice for Jordan.” They want the killer cop arrested and charged.

Black people have been brutalized, terrorized, and murdered since this country was founded—through slavery, through Jim Crow, right up to today and the “New Jim Crow.” What kind of a system murders countless thousands of Black and Brown youths, for anything, or for nothing, decade after decade after decade? What kind of system then brings forward a fascist like Trump, who then selects as his attorney general a straight-up KKK racist like Jeff Sessions, who says the pigs have faced too much scrutiny and should now be unleashed to carry out even more police terror and murder?

What kind of a system? A completely illegitimate system that needs to be overthrown by revolution at the soonest possible moment!

Indict, Convict, Send Those Killer Cops to Jail.
The Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/488/top-six-reasons-fascist-pig-ann-coulter-has-said-too-much-already-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Top Six Reasons Fascist Pig Ann Coulter Has Said Too Much Already and Should Shut the Fuck Up

April 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

One: She is a shameless racist who celebrates America’s roots in slavery and mass murder, and its current reality as a white supremacist country, and purveys the ludicrous myth that white people are victims of genocide.

» “This is a country created by white people ... I am a native because I am a descendant from settlers.” (Cited by International Business Times, April 26, 2017)

» Taking down the pro-slavery Confederate flag in South Carolina “strip[s] Americans of their history, and their heritage, this is the political correctness that Trump is going against.” (https://mediamatters.org/video/2016/09/20/ann-coulter-attacks-second-generation-immigrant-nikki-haley-taking-down-confederate-flag-south/213219)

» Claiming that the U.S. immigration system deliberately aims to reduce the percentage of whites in the population, Coulter said: “In 1960 whites were 90 percent of the country. The Census Bureau recently estimated that whites already account for less than two-thirds of the population and will be a minority by 2050 ... One may assume the new majority will not be such compassionate overlords as the white majority has been. ... If this sort of drastic change were legally imposed on any other group than white Americans, it would be called genocide.” (“Bush’s America: Roach Motel,” Ann Coulter column, January 2, 2010)

Two: She advocates for barbaric fascist repression of Black and Latino youth.

» “I have to say I’m all for public flogging. One type of criminal that a public humiliation might work particularly well with are the juvenile delinquents, a lot of whom consider it a badge of honor to be sent to juvenile detention. And it might not be such a cool thing in the ‘hood’ to be flogged publicly.” (“The Wisdom of Ann Coulter” in The Washington Monthly, October 2001)

Three: She hates Muslims and is whipping up a pogromist mentality against them.

» “ISIS is not at our doorstep. Illegal immigrants are not only at our doorstep, but millions of them are already through the door, murdering far more Americans than ISIS ever will.” (https://mediamatters.org/research/2015/05/27/immigrants-are-more-dangerous-than-isis-and-10/203769)

» “Don’t want terrorism in US? Stop importing Muslims!” (http://www.mediaite.com/online/ann-coulter-on-paris-attack-donald-trump-was-elected-president-tonight/)

» Speaking of the widow of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber: “I don’t care if she knew about [the bombing]. She ought to be in prison for wearing a hijab.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/ann-coulter-hijab_n_3139513.html)

» “I think our motto should be post-9-11, ‘raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.’” (Speech to the CPAC conference, as reported by Michelle Malkin, cited in Washington Post column by Howard Kurtz. Other witnesses concur.)

Four: She creates public opinion for mass murder of civilians in present and future U.S. wars.

» “I’m getting a little fed up with hearing about, oh, civilian casualties. I think we ought to nuke North Korea right now just to give the rest of the world a warning.” (Interview with George Gurley, The New York Observer, January 10, 2005)

» “We know who the homicidal maniacs are [referring to Muslims] ... We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity ... That’s war.” (https://townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/2001/09/14/this-is-war-n865496)

» “Perhaps we could put aside our national, ongoing, post-9/11 Muslim butt-kissing contest and get on with the business at hand: Bombing Syria back to the stone age.” (Coulter column: “Muslim Bites Dog,” February 15, 2006)

Five: She promotes virulent contempt for and hatred of women.

» “It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact.” (2003 interview cited in Cornell University Chronicle Online, April 17, 2006)

» “...single women look at the government as their husbands. ‘Please provide for me, please take care of me.’” (www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/15/ann-coulter-single-women-wanting-birth-control-look-at-the-government-as-their-husbands/)

Six: She directs heavy fire at bourgeois liberals who still uphold aspects of democracy, and bourgeois institutions, in order to clear a path for a full fascist crackdown on society.

» “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh [right-wing terrorist who bombed the Oklahoma Federal Building in 1995, killing 167 people] is he did not go to the New York Times building.” (Quoted in “Coultergeist” by George Gurley at The Observer, August 25, 2002)

» “Most public schools are, at best, nothing but expensive babysitting arrangements, helpfully keeping hoodlums off the street during daylight hours. At worst, they are criminal training labs, where teachers sexually abuse the children between drinking binges and acts of grand larceny.” (Guest on Hannity & Colmes, June 29, 2006)

» “We need somebody to put rat poisoning in [liberal former Supreme Court] Justice Stevens’ creme brulee. That’s just a joke, for you in the media.” (http://www.foxnews.com/story/2006/01/27/coulter-jokes-about-poisoning-supreme-court-justice.html)

This is really only a small sampling of the poison that Coulter “brings to the conversation.” In reality, inviting her to a campus—or anywhere—makes as much sense as flooding a schoolyard with raw sewage so that the students can then have a reasonable discussion about what shit smells like.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/489/us-department-of-IN-Justice-rules-police-murder-of-alton-sterling-was-reasonable-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

U.S. Department of IN-Justice Rules That Police Murder of Alton Sterling Was "Reasonable"

May 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On July 5 last year, cops in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pulled up on Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, in a parking lot. Within minutes, the cops tackled Sterling to the ground, tased him, fired six bullets into him at point-blank range—three in the back—and killed him. His supposed “crime”? Selling DVDs outside a store. The whole world saw the video of the horrendous murder by pigs in blue. And the whole world saw people rise up in days of powerful protests in Baton Rouge, in the face of repression by heavily armed riot police.

Now, 10 months later, the howling injustice of the killing of Alton Sterling has received a stamp of approval from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which announced on May 3 that no federal charges will be brought against the two cops involved. The Baton Rouge police had put those two cops on “paid administrative leave” after they killed Sterling, and so far, they have not faced any local or state charges for their wanton crime.

The DOJ’s justification for their outrageous decision was that the “law requires that the reasonableness of an officer’s use of force on an arrestee be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with added perspective of hindsight.” In their eyes, what those Baton Rouge cops did to Alton Sterling met the standard of legal action by police—any “reasonable officer” would have acted in the same way, they say.

“Reasonable”?!? “Legal”?!? The DOJ rationalization for the police murder of Alton Sterling speaks volumes about the laws and the role of cops under this system. The whole way that the laws are set up and used essentially puts a stamp of approval on police murder. This points very directly to the fact that the brutality, terror, and even murder—especially against Black, Latino and other oppressed people and those on the bottom of society generally—are considered normal and legal day-to-day operations of the police, as armed enforcers for a system of exploitation and oppression.

Only two days after Alton Sterling’s life was cut down in Baton Rouge, police in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, shot and murdered another Black man, Philando Castile, as he sat in a car with his fiancée and her four-year-old daughter. These murders—and many others just that summer, and many, many more year after year—are part of the constant terror carried out by the police against Black, Brown, and other oppressed people. And in case after case, the murdering pigs are let off free to roam the streets, their crimes declared by the system’s courts and institutions as “legitimate” and “reasonable” actions of a force “doing their job.”

A system that does this over and over again is criminal, immoral and illegitimate. We need an actual revolution to overthrow this system of capitalism-imperialism and bring into being a radically different society.

And now at the top of this system is the Trump/Pence regime, intent on further unleashing law enforcement forces around the country as part of the fascist “making America great again” agenda—with a DOJ headed up by Attorney General Sessions, who is moving quickly on his pledge to squash any criticism of and restrictions on police. The fight for justice for Alton Sterling and all the other victims of the killer police is part of the urgent struggle to stop the fascist regime and drive it out of power as soon as possible.




       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/470/andrew-jackson-racist-demagogue-genocidal-indian-killer-champion-of-slavery-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Andrew Jackson: A Racist Demagogue, Genocidal Indian Killer, Champion of Slavery

December 19, 2016, updated March 15, 2017| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Tonight Trump will pay homage and lay a wreath on Andrew Jackson’s grave before delivering what is billed as a campaign speech in Nashville, Tennessee. In that light, we are reposting this article.

When Trump was elected Rudy “Adolph” Giuliani said: “This is like Andrew Jackson’s victory. This is the people beating the establishment.” And Trump himself weighed in on the legacy of Andrew Jackson while running for president. He opposed replacing Jackson’s face on the $20 bill with that of abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Trump claimed, “Andrew Jackson had a great history.”

What was that history?

The Engine Behind Andrew Jackson: A Voracious Appetite to Expand Slavery

Slavery played an essential role in the rise of the United States as a global power. As Bob Avakian says:

There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.
BAsics 1:1

Andrew Jackson was president of the United States from 1829-1837. He was a populist hero to large sections of whites, especially in the South, promising them prosperity on the basis of the expansion of slavery, and he promised them land stolen from Native peoples. He appealed to the most backward, narrow, racist sentiments of whites. Jackson railed against “elites” in the North—sections of the established banking and political structure that he saw standing in the way of the rapid expansion of slavery. His presidency was a vehicle through which slavery expanded dramatically into lands from which Native peoples were expelled by the U.S. military, and subjected to genocidal “relocation” from the South to Oklahoma.

 Under Jackson's presidency, native peoples were expelled by the U.S. military, and subjected to genocidal
Under Jackson's presidency, native peoples were expelled by the U.S. military, and subjected to genocidal “relocation” from the South to Oklahoma as illustrated on this map.

 In the winter of 1831, the Choctaw were force-marched from Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana to reservations in Oklahoma, some bound in chains and marched double file.  Thousands died along the way on this "trail of tears." In the winter of 1831, the Choctaw were force-marched from Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana to reservations in Oklahoma, some bound in chains and marched double file.  Thousands died along the way on this "trail of tears."

Genocide...

Once in office, Jackson championed and carried out brutal crimes against Native peoples. White settlers, some of whom were already settling illegally on Native lands, pressured the federal government to remove Indians from the Southeast to make their lands available.

Some 125,000 Native peoples lived on those lands that had been guaranteed to them through treaties. Jackson was able to gain Congressional passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which authorized the government to extinguish Indian title to lands in the Southeast.

In 1831, the Choctaw became the first Nation to be removed. In the winter of 1831, under threat of invasion by the U.S. Army, the Choctaw were force-marched from Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana to reservations in Oklahoma on foot. Some were bound in chains and marched double file. They were marched without food, supplies or other help from the government. Thousands died along the way. It was, one Choctaw leader told an Alabama newspaper, a “trail of tears and death.”

This genocidal crime was the model for additional ethnic cleansing to open up new territory for slave production of cotton. The Creeks were driven from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida in 1834. The Chickasaw were driven out of Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee in 1836. And lastly, in the infamous “Trail of Tears,” the Cherokee were force-marched from Georgia to Oklahoma in 1838. 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on the way.

       

Jackson famously tried to justify this with philosophical babble proclaiming, “But true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these vicissitudes as it does to the extinction of one generation to make room for another.” In other words, even though it might seem immoral to kill off the Native peoples, these supposedly “lesser” people must die so others could prosper.

...And a Dramatic Expansion of Slavery

 The removal of Native peoples from their southeastern lands served a dramatic expansion and intensification of slavery.

the
The "whipping machine" was both a literal machine that whipped Black slaves to force them to pick more and more cotton, and also a metaphor for the unceasing and inhuman torture inflicted every hour, every day, under slavery.

Picking cotton in Florida
Andrew Jackson’s presidency marked a massive expansion of slavery, accomplished along with and through the most extreme racist populism. Photo: Florida archives

In The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, Edward Baptist writes that in the eight years following Jackson's election, “U.S. government, the states, banks, private citizens, and foreign entities had collectively invested about $400 million, or one-third of the value of all U.S. economic activity in 1830 into expanding production on slavery’s frontier. This includes the price of 250,000 slaves moved, 48 million new acres of public land sold, the costs of Indian removals and wars, and the massive expansion of southwestern financial infrastructure. The number of hands on cotton plantations expanded dramatically, and the need to repay loans only accelerated the whipping-machine, collectively forcing the total picking that hands could accomplish just a little higher each day."

As Baptist recounts in his book, the “whipping machine” was both a literal machine that whipped Black slaves to force them to pick more and more cotton, and also a metaphor for the unceasing and inhuman torture inflicted every hour, every day, under slavery.

And speaking of the transformations that took place under Andrew Jackson, Baptist writes: "In 1830, the United States made 732,000 bales. As the harvest kicked into high gear in the fall of 1836, men who made a living by gambling on cotton were predicting a deluge of 1.5 million bales, each one a 400 pound snowy semi-cube wrapped in canvas. This was 600 million pounds of clean cotton—or, expressed in a different way more than six million person days of picking under the hot sun.”

* * *

Andrew Jackson’s presidency marked a massive expansion of slavery, made possible through massive violent ethnic cleansing of Native peoples. And this was accomplished along with and through the most extreme racist populism—appealing to and mobilizing large numbers of dispossessed white men by appealing to their basest and most narrow interests.

The fact that people like Rudolph Giuliani, from their own fascist perch, and Trump himself celebrate the legacy of Andrew Jackson foreshadows the kinds of hellish transformations a Trump-Pence regime would mean in the nature of U.S. society. That cannot be allowed to happen.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/sunsara-taylor-speaks-on-the-battle-for-berkeley-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

A Wild Night at UC Berkeley:
Sunsara Taylor Speaks on the "Battle for Berkeley"

May 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“I'm all for public flogging. One type of criminal that a public humiliation might work particularly well with are the juvenile delinquents, a lot of whom consider it a badge of honor to be sent to juvenile detention. And it might not be such a cool thing in the 'hood' to be flogged publicly.”

“...the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantánamo...”

—Ann Coulter

On May 4th, Sunsara Taylor began her speech at the University of California Campus by quoting Ann Coulter's insistence that Black children be publicly whipped, along with other shocking quotes. While many have heard Coulter's name, in recent weeks as two sides battled over whether Coulter would be allowed to speak at Berkeley's campus, few had read and taken seriously the content and impact of Coulter's words, so this set an important context for the speech and discussion that Sunsara Taylor led that night. About 150 people turned out to hear Taylor give a talk called, “The Battle for Berkeley: Why It Is Right, and Righteous, to Drive Fascists Off Campus, Out of Berkeley, and Out of Power!”

In recent months, a series of “intellectual” hitmen—including Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, and Milo Yiannopoulos—have targeted the UC Berkeley campus and on two occasions ready-to-brawl fascist militia types have amassed in downtown Berkeley by the hundreds. Taylor insisted that this cannot be ignored, that it will not “go away” on its own, and is closely linked to the imposition of fascism across the country by the Trump/Pence Regime. Berkeley has become a flash point with high stakes in this larger battle precisely because of its radical history and because if the fascists succeed in making inroads in Berkeley, it will greatly strengthen their hand in consolidating fascism and suppressing opposition nationwide.

At the core of Taylor's presentation and the contentious question and answer that followed was her insistence that the issue was not “free speech”—as most in the media and on campus are claiming—but the right and responsibility of the people to resist and drive fascists out of power in this country before it is too late. Taylor exposed the concrete harm done by Coulter, Yiannopoulos, Horowitz and other fascists who have targeted Berkeley, as well as the ways that these people—and their ideas—are being implemented and given backing from the U.S. government, the most powerful state in human history. Taylor showed how the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of the people to speak and assemble free from government suppression, not the right of those backed by and tied to the government to be “protected” from vigorous protest. She also showed how even the principle that ideas should be heard by their most ardent advocates, while a very important principle, is also not—and should not be treated as—“absolute.” In a world divided into antagonistic classes as well as profound relations of oppression and exploitation, it is “not an even playing field.” Flowing from this, she argued that the ideas and speech that need protection are those that go up against and challenge the entrenched power of the state and the ideas promoted by the state. In contrast, ideas that have backing from that state and from hundreds of years of oppressive traditions do not need that protection or additional platforms.

Taylor also set the record straight on the actual history and meaning of the famous Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in the 1960s. Bob Avakian (BA), now the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party and the architect of a new synthesis of communism, was a student at Cal back then and active in the Free Speech Movement from its earliest days. He was arrested, along with 800 other students, during the sit-in at Sproul Hall that was a decisive turning point in the ultimate victory of the Free Speech Movement. Drawing from BA's experiences, Taylor showed how the Free Speech Movement had been about students demanding the right to stand up against racism and oppression, not of the right to have racists and fascists with ties to the state spew their poison at students unopposed.

The question and answer session that followed her presentation was intense and contentious. The single largest section of the audience was students, but there were also a good number of people from the Berkeley community and beyond. The majority came out of sincere curiosity and interest, both over the “Battle for Berkeley” and over the direction being imposed on this country under Trump. At the same time, organized fascists made up a significant minority of the audience, including off-campus alt-right livestreamers and some who had clearly come to disrupt and even threaten the speaker, as well as on-campus Young Republicans who had invited the fascists to speak in the first place and seemed to be seeking a “youtube moment” by challenging her from the floor. Several times throughout the night, yelling, accusations and physical disruption and intimidation broke out from these fascists in the audience and had to be firmly opposed by the event organizers.

Early in the evening, someone responded to Taylor's exposure on the bone-deep racism and misogyny, which was a core part of the Trump/Pence campaign and now his regime, by asking if Taylor thought everyone who voted for Trump is a racist. Taylor clarified that it is wrong to say that absolutely everyone who supported Trump was a racist, but it was extremely important not to ignore or “prettify” the fact that everyone who voted for him was clearly okay with blatant and grotesque racism and misogyny, and that for a great many this was precisely the appeal. When the majority of the room burst into applause, it became clear for the first time that evening that there was a section in the room deeply opposed to the Trump Regime in the audience. This came out repeatedly in other ways, including when two different students asked very sincerely how they could get involved effectively in refusing fascism and driving out the Trump/Pence Regime.

However, when questions from the audience focused more directly on the question of speech, the room was much divided. Many who deeply hate the content of Ann Coulter's words still feel defensive about her being shut down and are either confused by or in agreement with the argument that she has the “right” to speak at Berkeley. From many different angles, Taylor hammered at the fact that it is Coulter and Trump and the whole cabal of fascists now in power who are the real enemies of free speech (citing Trump's threats and incitations of violence against protesters, his attacks on the media, and more) and that it is the right of people to stand up against fascism that is under attack. While there was clearly a large section of the audience that was more with what Taylor was arguing, and a smaller section of the audience that was really with the fascists, a significant portion of the audience would sway back and forth between the two when the arguments were focused up around “free speech.” This confusion and the deepening engagement on this question throughout the night underscore how important it was that these questions were being torn open and taken on frontally.

This confusion is not unique to Berkeley campus or to the Berkeley community. There are many good people, people who deeply hate and want to do something to end the horrors being committed by the fascist Trump/Pence Regime and their whole fascist movement, who are defensive and paralyzed by the false claims of victimhood of the fascists and specifically around the question of whether it is right to shut these fascists down. Fascists are getting over by claiming the mantle of “free speech” even as they move aggressively to demolish the rights of people to speak against, to report honestly on, to protest, and to resist their crimes. Across the country, hundreds of articles and countless thought-pieces have criticized the students and protesters in Berkeley that shut down Milo Yiannopoulos and were preparing to protest and resist Ann Coulter. Sunsara Taylor is alone in having gone to Berkeley to put forward a vigorous, substantive argument of why it is absolutely right to call Coulter and the others fascist and why it is absolutely right to not only drive them off campus, not only to drive them out of Berkeley, but to drive them out of power.

Everyone who is agonizing about what the Trump/Pence Regime is doing, everyone who is alarmed by the words and outlook of Ann Coulter and others like her who have significant ties to the fascist regime in power, everyone who is trying to sort out what is the best way to stand up against all this, should take the time to watch the video of this event. There is much to wrangle with and learn from how Sunsara Taylor situates and clarifies what is really at stake in this “Battle for Berkeley” and much work for all of us to do to stand up now, in the name of humanity, to refuse to accept a fascist America.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/texas-christian-fascist-governor-tightens-clampdown-on-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Texas: Christian Fascist Governor Tightens Clampdown on Immigrants

May 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On May 7 Texas governor Greg Abbott, a Christian fascist, signed the viciously anti-immigrant Senate Bill 4 (SB4) into law. He signed it Sunday evening on Facebook live, without any prior announcement or even notification to news outlets, in order to avoid protests. Both bodies of the Texas legislature—also dominated by Christian fascists—had overwhelmingly approved SB4 earlier in the week.

Banning “Sanctuary Cities”

We don't have an immigration problem, we have an imperialism problem
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Soon after his election Donald Trump issued an executive order that threatened to strip federal funds from sanctuary cities—cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. That order has been placed on hold by a court ruling. Now SB4 is the first law to make it mandatory for all police agencies in a state to obey U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers—orders that a person jailed or detained for whatever reason be held until federal authorities check the person’s immigration status. Immediately after signing the law, Abbot declared that “Texas has now banned sanctuary cities.”

Who are the people targeted for deportation during the first 100 days of the Trump/Pence regime? They are people like Sara Beltran-Hernandez, a 26-year-old mother of two who police bound hand and foot and removed from Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, where she was awaiting surgery for a brain tumor. They are people like 31-year-old Jose Escobar, arrested when he reported to immigration officials in Houston for his annual check in, and deported to Honduras, a country he hadn’t seen since his mother took him to the U.S. when he was 15.

Both Sara Beltran-Hernandez and Jose Escobar came to the U.S. as children and now have children of their own, who are U.S. citizens. For each person picked up and deported in these kind of arrests and ICE raids that are being carried out, countless others are also devastated. Parents who have worked for years to keep their families together vanish in an instant. Children don’t know why their father or mother suddenly disappeared. Siblings are torn apart. Multiply that by millions, to get a sense of the depth, and the breadth, of the agony fascist measures like SB4 will inflict.

Terrible Crimes—Against Immigrants

Abbott and the other Republican Christian fascists running Texas say SB4 will “help make Texas communities safer” and is aimed at people who commit “terrible crimes.” This is not just a lie but a complete reversal of the truth. Terrible crimes are in fact committed against immigrants.

No ban! No wall! Drive out the fascist Trump regime
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Millions of people in Mexico and Central America have been forced to flee their homelands because of the devastation wreaked by U.S. domination—over decades. They have been forced off their land and out of rural villages. Many have fled to cities, and then have been caught in a cross-fire between criminal gangs and equally criminal police. Millions have been impoverished and denied the ability to make anything but the most meager of livings. Thousands of immigrants and refugees have died crossing hundreds of miles of harsh terrain. Last week the New York Times reported that in Brooks County, Texas, alone, “bodies and remains” of more than 500 migrants who died while trying to make the border crossing have been found since 2009. Millions have been rounded up deported back to the U.S.-created hell they fled. Millions, including children, have been separated from their families. All these immigrants Trump and Abbott call “illegal” live with the constant threat of deportation—any chance encounter can turn their lives upside down in an instant.

Driving immigrants out of the country, and persecuting and demonizing those who somehow remain, is central to the agenda of the Trump/Pence fascist regime and their accomplices like the Christian fascists in Texas. Protests against SB4 have begun in Houston and Austin. More are planned, and lawsuits to stop it will be filed. This is positive.

But the Trump/Pence regime and other fascists will not turn away from their war on immigrants. Defeating their escalating and systematic attacks on immigrants is central to taking on their whole fascist agenda, and driving them from power.

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/awtwns-australia-a-war-on-refugees-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/awtwns-four-points-on-the-french-presidential-elections-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

From A World to Win News Service:

Four points on the French presidential elections

May 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

8 May 2017. A World to Win News Service. The final round of presidential elections in France took place on 7 May. Emmanuel Macron won by a two-to-one margin against the fascist candidate Marine Le Pen. A World To Win News Service will be reporting on this. For the moment the main points to note are:

1) Macron was the imperialist “consensus” candidate, around which the great bulk of the French capitalist ruling class and its political representatives rallied. His victory is in no way a victory for progress or enlightenment.

2) Millions of people voted against Le Pen even while rejecting Macron's avowedly pro-capitalist politics. But this has not removed the danger of fascism. The election process has normalized the fascist right-wing in France (once considered "fringe" extremists) and further legitimized its efforts to reach political power.

3) The election of Macron will mean the continuation and acceleration of right-wing politics in France and internationally. He has pledged, among many other things, to rapidly remove rejected asylum seekers, throw many more petty law-breakers into prison, and slash civil service jobs, social benefits and social protection.

4) The people in France, as elsewhere, need a completely different, revolutionary communist solution to the choice between the continuation of the capitalist-imperialist status quo and a fascist alternative that would actually intensify the ugliness of the same capitalist-imperialist system.

 

On March 17, 2017, A World to Win News Service (AWTWNS) announced its transformation into a more thorough-going tool for revolution based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. Read its “Editorial: Introducing a transformed AWTWNS” here.

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/new-fascist-laws-penalize-peaceful-protest-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

New Fascist Laws Criminalize Peaceful Protest in Dozens of States:
The Case of Oklahoma

May 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

100 days of fascism. Basta ya! Enough!

As Democratic Party operatives and media mouthpieces normalize fascism by spreading complacency about the Trump/Pence regime—laughing at their missteps, claiming that in their first 100 days they “haven’t accomplished anything”—what is actually spreading is the fascist reorganization of society. And this is chillingly evident in the wave of state laws that criminalize many of the forms of bold, peaceful protest—street marches, sit-ins, civil disobedience, protest encampments—that have involved hundreds of thousands in recent years.

Right after Trump’s inauguration, activists had identified eight states that had introduced them. As of April 2, barely two months later, the number has more than doubled to at least 19 according to Common Dreams.

Recently The Intercept pointed to two new laws in Oklahoma—one already in effect, the other soon to be—that take repressive laws to a new level by imposing draconian punishments on protesters who commit very minor infractions of the law.

In Oklahoma, ordinary nonpolitical trespass is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a $250 fine. If you damage or steal property during this trespass, then you face a maximum of six months in jail.

But under the new law, trespassing in the course of protesting at a so-called “critical infrastructure facility” (like a gas or oil facility) is a felony, carrying up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine. And if property is damaged or facility operations are “impeded,” sentences jump to a possible 10 years in jail and $100,000 fines.

Beyond punishing protesters themselves, any organization “found to be a conspirator” with the protester—for instance, a group that calls a protest at which civil disobedience or trespassing occurs—faces crippling fines of up to $1,000,000! And the second bill (not yet a law) would subject anyone who “compensates” a protester (which could include letting someone who is later arrested stay at your house!) with civil liability (i.e., they could be sued for recovery of any damage the protester they “compensated” is accused of causing.)

These laws are explicitly aimed at stamping out political protest. The second bill's author, Rep. Mark McBride, told the press he was motivated by the encampment and mass protests at Standing Rock North Dakota against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Protests that rocked the country and the world, inspiring greater and fiercer resistance among many sections of people, and infuriating the defenders of this unjust system.

Oklahoma fascists fear this kind of resistance spreading. Oklahoma is a major center of the oil and gas industry. Widespread “fracking” (extracting petroleum products by a process of violently “fracturing” underground rock) has destabilized the land so badly that Oklahoma is now the earthquake capital of the world, with 881 earthquakes in 2015 alone. Frequent earthquakes make the huge oil and gas facilities, and especially the pipelines that crisscross the state, even more dangerous to lakes and rivers, farmland, and to sacred sites of Native American people which are near or traversed by them. This has already sparked significant struggle.

Oklahoma is the home of almost 300,000 Native Americans from 39 tribal nations—many of whom are descendants of tribes force-marched across the country from their homes in the infamous “Trail of tears“ in which many thousands died. As at Standing Rock, many Native people oppose the destruction and desecration of cultural and religious sites, as well as the destruction of the land and water. And they have been forging common struggle with other sections of the people—environmentalists, farmers, rural and city people—to oppose new pipelines.

In January, a coalition of these forces announced plans to establish a protest encampment against the Diamond Pipeline, which will carry crude oil from Oklahoma toward Tennessee. The new bills now aim to make people pay an extremely high price for resisting.

The initial response has been inspiring defiance. Mekasi Camp Horinek, a member of the Ponca Nation and a leader of Bold Oklahoma, told The Oklahoman newspaper that the movement won’t be deterred; referencing the civil rights movement of the 1960s he said that “Without those people who were willing to sacrifice themselves and put themselves in a position to nonviolently break the law,” people would not have overcome many of the oppressive laws of those days. And he said that “I’m going to stand up and do what I feel is right for my family, for my people, and the people of this state.”

This orientation is completely righteous and everyone should rally to it. At the same time, it is clear that this wave of repressive state laws—with the Oklahoma bills breaking new ground—constitutes a major step towards the complete fascist suppression of all serious dissent and protest in the U.S. That is the shape of things to come—and not far off at all!—if we fail to drive this fascist regime from power, and fight to carry out a whole different and liberating transformation of society through revolution.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/from-refuse-fascism-protest-firing-of-fbi-director-james-comey-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Revcom.us received the following from RefuseFascism.org:

May 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

RefuseFascism.org

May 09, 2017
10:00PM EDT
For Immediate Release:

Protest the Firing of FBI Director James Comey...
An Escalation towards Fascism
DRIVE OUT THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME

 

The firing of FBI Director James Comey is an outrageous escalation in the unrelenting onslaught of fascist moves from the Trump/Pence Regime.  This firing further reveals the Trump/Pence Regime's total disregard of the rule of law, due process and justice.  Firing FBI Director Comey is an ominous and dangerous move – another in a succession of steps towards consolidating fascism.

Echoing Richard Nixon's firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973, Donald Trump's firing of the FBI Director who is investigating the Trump campaign is a desperate attempt to obstruct justice and tighten their grip on power.  It is a gross violation of the norms that were established through Watergate. 

People must mobilize, take to the streets,  and demand that Trump, Pence, Sessions, and their whole regime be driven from power.  Rallying people all across the country to do this is the mission of RefuseFascism.org.

RefuseFascism.org's Call to Action states that the “Trump/Pence Regime is a Fascist Regime.” Again and again, they have shown that they “fully intend to shred political and social norms with catastrophic consequence.”  And, that “Fascism is not just a gross combination of horrific reactionary policies. It is a qualitative change in how society is governed.”  It requires knocking down obstacles to its power from the people or within the institutions of the government.

We must not try to “wait things out” hoping that a special prosecutor, or the 2018 midterm elections will deal with the grave danger that the Trump/Pence Regime poses to humanity and the planet, including threatening use of nuclear weapons.  We must act together now, strengthen every act of resistance, and build towards the time when millions of people take to the streets day after day and night after night Demanding to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime.

Wednesday May 10, 2017
Protests in cities across the country
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/trump-firing-of-fbi-director-comey-major-step-toward-consolidation-of-fascism-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Trump Firing of FBI Director Comey:
A Major Step Toward Consolidation of Fascism

May 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On Tuesday, May 9, President Donald Trump suddenly fired FBI Director James Comey. This is a major move by Trump to suppress government investigations of him. Comey had played a crucial role during the election for Trump when he attacked Hillary Clinton as irresponsible for her handling of emails and then reopened the investigation of her just ten days before the election (which was later dropped). For this Trump applauded him.

But Comey’s FBI has also been investigating ties between those around Trump and Russia. Yet here Trump, with no notice whatsoever, fires Comey just at the time when this investigation is heating up. The firing of Comey amid this ongoing investigation brings up the specter of Richard Nixon’s infamous firing of Justice Department officials in an effort to squash the Watergate investigations into Nixon’s cover-up of illegal acts by his underlings. Based on what happened during Watergate, presidents are not supposed to have the power to fire or hire those who are investigating, or supposed to investigate, them. The firing of Comey is a big step by the Trump/Pence regime toward eliminating or silencing opposition to them within the ruling class, which is a key part of their ability to move forward with their fascist agenda.

This outrageous step by the Trump/Pence regime to increase their power comes on the heels of a week full of fascist assaults, including tearing up basic rights and norms. To cite three examples: 1) Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said that constitutional changes to the First Amendment were “being looked at” so that they could change libel laws and sue critics in the media; 2) Trump demanded that the Senate eliminate its rules requiring 60 votes for some measures to pass, declaring these norms, which aim to produce a measure of consensus within the ruling class, “an archaic system”; 3) Trump signed an executive order allowing tax-exempt religious organizations to directly endorse political candidates—an assault on the separation of church and state that empowers Christian fascists. (For more see “Trump After 100 Days: It’s Not ‘How Little He Accomplished...’ But How Much Further He Moved Things Toward Full-out Fascism”)

The fascist regime is pushing hard and fast toward consolidating fascist rule in America. The FBI is a key institution within the repressive machinery of this system that rules over the people. Trump himself, in referring to the sacking of Comey, called the FBI “our crown jewel of law enforcement.” By getting rid of Comey, which opens the way for Trump to name a new FBI head, the Trump/Pence regime is moving to more directly control this powerful agency of repression. The FBI has carried out many reactionary acts and crimes against those that the system sees as enemies and against the people overall—and now it is more directly in the hands of the fascists occupying the White House.

As the Refuse Fascism Call to Action says: “Donald Trump and Mike Pence have assembled a vicious cabal that has put forth positions and begun initiatives which demonstrate that they fully intend to shred political and social norms with catastrophic consequence. Because Trump has his finger on the nuclear trigger, the Trump/Pence regime is more dangerous to the world than even Hitler.”

If you had doubts before, look at what is happening now. The fascist Trump/Pence regime is moving rapidly forward in many different fronts to consolidate their power. If they succeed, they will bring on even more massive horrors for people here and around the world. It is imperative now to join with Refuse Fascism in its efforts to call out and resist this latest outrage, and to do that as part of driving out this vicious and illegitimate regime. “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.” (from the Refuse Fascism Call to Action)

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/chicago-message-from-the-revolution-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

May 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

Revcom.us received the following from the Revolution Club, Chicago

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/refuse-fascism-comey-protests-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Get in the streets - stop the regime before they fully consolidate power!

Protests Against Escalation of Fascism Demand: Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime!

Updated May 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

After Trump’s May 9 firing of FBI Director Comey, the Advisory Board of Refuse Fascism released a statement saying, “The question we pose to you, to ourselves as an organization whose purpose is to lead people to Refuse Fascism in the name of humanity, is this: will this be a pivotal moment in which we do act with determination to do all we can to move people—who are right now alarmed and outraged—to take to the streets to demand that this regime be driven from power?And they called on people to protest every night until the Trump/Pence regime is driven out.

There have been beginning protests. And there is an urgent need for the protests to spread and grow. As Refuse Fascism has said, “What matters now is what masses of people do: acting together with determination and creativity, expressing our outrage and anger, taking to the streets with the spirit of no business as usual, demanding that this regime be driven from power. In dealing with the extraordinary, we must rid ourselves of ordinary thinking. Now is a Moment to Act. Start with those you can gather and go out and grow. Make a Statement. Do not underestimate the power of the people when we struggle with courage and conviction.”

We call on revcom.us/Revolution readers to send in timely protest reports/photos/videos to revolution.reports@yahoo.com. Protests are continuing; the following are some brief reports and pictures we have received:

Los Angeles: Refuse Fascism, together with members of the Revolution Club, has been out every day and night in the streets since the Trump/Pence fascist regime fired FBI Director James Comey. People have been going out distributing flyers, calling on people to get in the streets to oppose the further consolidation of fascism in the U.S. Teams have gone out to busy Metro trains, a busy Art Walk in downtown LA, a high school in Hollywood and other places with crowds of people. Refuse Fascism has also gone to protests called for by other groups, including Indivisible, and also to individuals who are outraged and in shock of what is currently happening here.

These demonstrations have not been large but they’ve been significant. Media, including numerous international photojournalists, have been documenting the Refuse Fascism actions. Some other groups in Southern California have acted as well, most prominently 200 demonstrators spelling out the word “RESIST!” at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes.

On Saturday, May 13, Refuse Fascism protested for the third straight night in Hollywood. In addition to Refuse Fascism activists, a number of democratic minded people who sense the Comey firing is a turning point came out, including several who were at an earlier gathering in downtown LA demanding a special prosecutor to investigate Trump. There were also activists with the Hollywood/Silver Lake Resistance Posse and a street theater group doing a silent protest on Russian involvement in U.S. elections.

Things got confrontational real quick when an organized group of about 30 pro-Trump fascist storm troopers came to intimidate and threaten violence, spewing out all kinds of white supremacist, misogynist, xenophobic garbage. Refuse Fascism protesters stood firm, with chants and clear-cut agitation among hundreds, even thousands, of people. A range of people stepped forward in the midst of this confrontation. Some had been supportive of Refuse Fascism’s message but had been off to the side until that point, or had been passing by. These people took up “NO! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime” posters in the face of the fascists, spread the Call to Action from Refuse Fascism to others on the spot, and took up the chants demanding that the regime must go.

Cleveland: To reach out to a different crowd than the more progressive section of people we’ve gone out to in the last two days, some of us from Refuse Fascism went to a Cleveland Indians baseball game to take out our message to thousands of fans, overwhelmingly white people from the city and the suburbs. We got out 300 flyers, stickers, and about 25 people signed up for Refuse Fascism and some gave thumbs up and fists in the air. Of course, there were some Trump supporters yelling at us and the security and police tried to limit us from reaching people going to the game. When the game was going on we went to Public Square (the center of downtown) to reach a mix of people, including Black people, youth, and others. At points during the day, some sharp exchanges with pro-Trump people created a scene where other people could listen and see how serious we are about the need to drive out this fascist regime.

Berkeley: On Saturday, May 13, a “People’s vs. Donald Trump” street theater trial was held on the UC Berkeley campus. A whiteboard was set up, and people were called on to write up charges against Trump for crimes against humanity and the planet: demonization & persecution of immigrants, undermining the separation of church & state, subverting the separation of powers, escalating the destruction of the environment, to name a few.

Houston: Small numbers of people have been protesting at the Galleria, an upscale shopping area, for several days. There has been a lot of debate among people around two themes. One is an assumption among many that Trump is going to be impeached anyway because of his firing of Comey. Two, the U.S. political structure is strong enough to withstand even full-blown fascism. While small in numbers, it seems the very presence of people demanding that the Trump/Pence regime be driven out of power has alarmed the Galleria owners, who have now put up “no protest” signs, which they haven’t done since the upsurge of protests against police brutality.

Earlier Protests

Trump’s May 9 firing of FBI Director Comey was met with protests next day in different cities around the country by a range of groups, including around 300 people in front of the White House. Refuse Fascism in New York City led about 100 people in a protest at the Trump Tower in Manhattan (see below), and there were other Refuse Fascism protests in several cities. The Advisory Board of Refuse Fascism released a statement saying, “The question we pose to you, to ourselves as an organization whose purpose is to lead people to Refuse Fascism in the name of humanity, is this: will this be a pivotal moment in which we do act with determination to do all we can to move people—who are right now alarmed and outraged—to take to the streets to demand that this regime be driven from power?” And they called on people to protest every night until the Trump/Pence regime is driven out.

Protests are continuing, and here are some brief reports and pictures we have received:

Los Angeles: Refuse Fascism hit the streets of LA on Wednesday and Thursday, spreading the word on social media and calling on people who are outraged to get in the streets and stay in the streets until the fascists are driven out. On Wednesday 30 people, including representatives of different organizations, came to the Federal Building in downtown LA before marching to a busy freeway overpass and doing a banner drop. It also got important press coverage, including from Spanish TV news. On Thursday over a dozen people rallied in front of the Trump star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. People from all parts of the world and all over the U.S stopped to take pictures of the Trump star surrounded by NO! posters and signs, many disturbed about the fascist Trump/Pence regime, and some joining the protest or hooking up with Refuse Fascism. An amateur rapper duo walking by were supportive and donated to Refuse Fascism. Everyone was called on to come back every night until the Trump/Pence regime is driven from power.

Hawaii: About 25 people joined a protest against the firing of FBI Director Comey Thursday at the Federal Building in Honolulu. The protest was called by World Can't Wait-Hawai`i, in solidarity with the call sent out by Refuse Fascism.

Cleveland: On Thursday around 15 people from Refuse Fascism and Indivisible answered the call to act given the firing of James Comey and Trump/Pence regime's moves to further consolidate fascism. People marched through a cultural area of the city. People on the streets were glad we were out calling for "Trump and Pence Must Go!" Some signed on to become part of Refuse Fascism. Two women working at a Starbucks brought out coffee for everyone and joined up. In the spirit of "every day until he is gone," plans were made to be out on Friday and Saturday.

San Francisco Bay Area: On Wednesday, about 25 people rallied in front of the Federal Building in downtown Oakland, including a couple of people from the Berkeley Indivisible group and someone who drove quite a ways to get there, and some that joined on the spot. There were quite a few supportive honks from the passing cars, and a lot of support from the workers coming out of the Federal Building. On Thursday, about 20 people gathered at 5 pm at 14th and Broadway. At a certain point it was actually quite a scene, with a cacophony of cars honking, and about six or seven people joining on the spot. One Black woman took the bullhorn and spoke passionately about how Trump is destroying the democracy that protects different marginalized groups. A young white woman got really emotional on the bullhorn, starting with “fuck Trump,” and talking about how he’s hateful and divisive. Two young people came from an animal rights center. One woman came at the end, saying she saw the demonstration on TV news. At the end we made plans to be in San Francisco at Castro and Market the next day.

Boston: Around 75 people rallied outside the statehouse in Boston on May 10 in a Stand for Truth rally that had initially been called for June but was moved up in response to the firing of Comey. A number of those present grabbed up “NO!” posters and the Refuse Fascism Call to Action and liked the theme "In the Name of Humanity."

100 Angry Protesters at Trump Tower With Plans to Return

May 10, 2017—On a few hours notice, about 100 people turned out at Trump Tower in NYC on Wednesday, May 10 to express their outrage at the illegitimate firing by Trump of FBI Director James Comey.  The crowd was angry, diverse, and involved an important breadth of professionals, activists from different movements, students and youth, and parents with their kids.

Sunsara Taylor started things off by calling out the illegitimacy and danger of Trump's firing of Comey, how this is not only an obstruction of justice and a violation of established norms, but also a major escalation in the consolidation of fascism in this country.  She insisted that it was up to the masses of people, everyone who had done the right thing to show up at this protest, as well as millions more that we have to reach out to and mobilize, to drive out the fascist Trump/Pence Regime and she called on people to get organized with Refuse Fascism on the spot.

Others from the crowd voiced their deepest fears, their visceral outrage, and their heartfelt determination to do everything they can to stop the Trump/Pence Regime.  One man described being just seven years old when Richard Nixon was forced to resign and spoke of believing that things had gotten better.  That today his son is seven years old, and things are even worse than during Nixon.  He said Trump stands as an embodiment against every single belief and value he has ever held dear – against truthfulness and integrity, against concern for the planet and for other people.

A young man stepped forward with his 4½ year old daughter.  In a small but beautifully earnest voice she led the crowd in two verses of “We Shall Overcome.”  Another man got up and said, “I'm not very good at standing in front of a crowd, so I'll just list what I am against.”  The crowd cheered more and more loudly as he went through his list: racism, bigotry, sexism, lying, imperialism, ignorance, and more.  A woman from the organization Rise and Resist at one point led the crowd to repeat after her, “Twitter and Facebook are NOT a protest! Take to the streets!”  Someone else warned the crowd that Trump would be looking for any kind of “terrorist incident” in order to seize even greater power, drawing the analogy to the Reichstag Fire (the burning of the parliament building) during Nazi Germany that Hitler seized on as the pretext to undermine the rule of law and vastly consolidate his power.

About midway through the protest, an organizer asked who thought everyone should come back on Saturday to protest again and with bigger numbers.  Someone from the crowd shouted out, “What about tomorrow?”  Someone else answered, “Every day until he's gone!”  Within moments, the whole crowd was chanting it, “Every day until he's gone! Every day until he's gone!”

The main sign being held among the crowd was the Refuse Fascism NO! sign, calling out the fascist Trump/Pence Regime, but there was also a spattering of very creative handmade signs.  One teenager stood next to her mother with a sign created to look like an email demanding that Congress impeach Trump, with an alert added on that “This is NOT SPAM.”  Another cited legal codes and definitions of obstruction of justice.  Others depicted connections between Trump and Russia.

At the high point of the protest, and as part of leading people to get organized to go forward, two young organizers spoke from Refuse Fascism.  Both emphasized the fascist nature of the regime and the limited window in which to act to drive out the regime, calling on people to get organized and come to the mass organizing meeting after the rally.  One did powerful exposure on the vicious assaults on women, Muslims, immigrants, environment, people around the world, science, LGBTQ people and more.  The other built on this while also emphasizing that the Trump/Pence Regime is illegitimate not mainly because of potential ties to Russia, but because they are fascist.

After a bit more than an hour, everyone was invited to come down to the Refuse Fascism mass meeting to make plans for going forward.  A core of freshly energized new people accompanied the veteran organizers of Refuse Fascism downtown for their meeting and together they made plans to step things up and push hard to make good on the mood and desire expressed in, “Every day until he's gone.”  After making plans to be back at Trump Tower the next several days in growing protests – reaching out to many other organized forces to join – the bulk of the people at the meeting took off in a march through Greenwich VIllage in downtown New York City.

 

       

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/bethune-cookman-graduates-boo-devos-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Bethune-Cookman Graduates Boo Fascist Regime’s Education Secretary DeVos

May 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Graduating students at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida, one of the country’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), righteously booed the Trump/Pence regime’s education secretary Betsy DeVos when she came to the podium to receive an honorary doctorate degree on Wednesday, May 10. Half of the 380 graduating students stood and turned their backs on DeVos when she began her commencement speech; and repeatedly shouted during the speech.

Petitions demanding that DeVos not be allowed to speak, signed by alumni and others, had been delivered to school administrators. Organizers reported that more than 50,000 people had signed the online petition; and the NAACP Florida State Conference called for the university president to resign. Last month, DeVos told the world that she considers this country’s Historically Black Colleges pioneers in the creation of “school choice”—completely covering up the reality that these schools are a product of the fight for education during the near century of segregation, when Black students were kept from access to higher education.

One of the students who kept their backs to DeVos for nearly the whole speech told the Washington Post: “She made racist comments about HBCUs, she doesn’t know anything about us, and she has the nerve to come down here and speak to us.”

The students at Bethune-Cookman University have joined the ranks of students across the country who have been protesting fascism.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/Refuse-Fascism-protest-firing-of-comey-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

The Firing of FBI Director James Comey Unfolds...
An Escalation towards Fascism
Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime

From the Refuse Fascism Advisory Board

Updated May 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

We are at a pivotal moment. The sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey on May 9 shocked the country and the world. Editorials in major papers and magazines, commentators on TV, and prominent political figures called it a constitutional crisis. The NY Daily News front page shouted: “Coup de Trump.” Rolling Stone wrote: “the creeping sense of terror you’re feeling in the wake of the president firing James Comey is entirely appropriate.” This is, as Refuse Fascism wrote, “an ominous and dangerous escalation of the Trump/Pence Regime’s moves to consolidate fascism.” Subsequent utterances and actions from the Trump/Pence Regime and their supporters have only deepened the danger and the alarm.

The question posed to every person concerned about the future, and to Refuse Fascism as an organization whose mission is to drive the Trump/Pence Regime from power as the only way to meet our responsibility to humanity to refuse fascism, is this: Will we do everything now to lead masses of people who are alarmed and outraged to act with determination to take to the streets to demand that this regime be ousted from power? Will Trump’s despotic firing of James Comey, who was leading the FBI investigation of whether or not Trump’s election campaign committed a crime or an impeachable offense—a firing that is a stark rejection of the rule of law, be a crack in the wall through which the outrage of masses of people pours forth?

Millions of people who have been angered by and even protested the Trump/Pence Regime have just received a huge jolt—a shock of the lengths the regime will go to. This regime is fascist. They have shown again and again and now very acutely that, as Refuse Fascism’s Call to Action states: the Trump/Pence Regime “fully intends to shred political and social norms with catastrophic consequence,” and that, “Fascism is not just a gross combination of horrific reactionary policies. It is a qualitative change in how society is governed.”

This is the time to act. If not now, when? The case must be put before masses of people to move beyond upset and anger, to break out of channeling their desire for change into pleading with those in power or looking to elections two or more years in the future. This is a time for RefuseFascism.org to lead masses of people to act with audaciousness to demand that Trump and Pence, and their whole illegitimate regime, be ousted from power.

There can be no compromising with a fascist regime. They will not listen to reason or the rule of law. Trump summarily firing Comey reveals that if the law or institutions or anyone in a powerful position stands in their way, these fascists will knock them down. Trump, Pence, Sessions, the whole regime has told you that this is what they intend to do. And, they just did it again—in spades. If these fascists are not driven from power, they will rewrite law, get rid of their enemies, prohibit dissent, and remake society in ways beyond what people imagine possible.

Waiting things out, banking on a special prosecutor, or that the 2018 midterm elections will deal with the grave danger that is the Trump/Pence Regime will have disastrous consequences for humanity.

What matters now is what masses of people do: acting together with determination and creativity, expressing outrage and anger, taking to the streets with the spirit of no business as usual and demanding that this regime be driven from power. In dealing with the extraordinary, we must rid ourselves of ordinary thinking. The Refuse Fascism Call to Action needs to get before hundreds of thousands of people now. The Refuse Fascism “NO!” already seen in protests around the country needs now to be everywhere—including everywhere in the face of the fascists and those Democrats who accommodate them.

Start with those you can gather and go out and grow. Make a Statement. Reach out to organizations. Do not underestimate the power of the people when we struggle with courage and conviction.

At a protest in front of Trump Tower in NYC the night after Trump fired Comey, a man in the crowd called out that people should protest against Trump: “every day until he’s gone.” We are taking up his call in many different ways—out in the streets, in town halls, and in the halls of power, make it known that masses of people are gathering, determined that Trump and Pence Must Go. This is the only way that this fascist regime can be stopped. Driving these fascists out will require millions of people taking to the streets day after day, and night after night, demanding it. Every act of resistance today must be aimed at creating the conditions for and organizing for that single unifying objective.

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

DRIVE OUT THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME!!!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/pro-trump-media-giant-set-to-take-over-more-stations-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Letter from a reader

Pro-Trump Media Giant Set to Take Over More TV Stations

May 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

:

Fascist-supporting media is growing with media to be purchased by Sinclair Broadcast Group.

This week, the right-wing media company Sinclair Broadcast Group announced it will buy the Tribune Media Company and its 42 local TV stations, including WGN America in Chicago, KTLA in Los Angeles, WPIX in New York, and WDCW in Washington, DC.

The Sinclair Broadcast Group currently owns 173 TV stations in 81 cities, and this acquisition will add television stations in 33 markets. Such acquisitions need official approval from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). It’s a safe bet that the FCC under the fascist Trump/Pence Regime will make sure that this deal goes through.

The Los Angeles Times noted, “The deal follows recent moves by the FCC to loosen restrictions on ownership of local TV stations, changes that could create a wave of deal-making in the broadcast industry.”

Sinclair has been on the forefront in supporting the Trump/Pence regime. The Washington Post reported in December, “In a speech to business executives in New York (last week), Jared Kushner (Trump’s son-in-law) said Trump’s campaign struck a deal with Sinclair to provide access and coverage... Kushner reportedly said that Sinclair’s stations, particularly in swing states such as Ohio and Florida, reached a far greater audience in their local area than a national network like CNN could.” Sinclair has denied that such a deal was struck.

According to the Washington Post, “Mark Hyman — a Sinclair executive and conservative commentator who appears on Sinclair stations — regularly criticized Clinton or highlighted positions favorable to Trump in his on-air commentaries.” The Post’s article gives further evidence on how Sinclair gave air time in support of Trump and against Hillary Clinton.

NPR reported, “Sinclair recently signed former Trump campaign aide Boris Epshteyn as its chief political analyst. To lead its Sunday public affairs show, Sinclair hired former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, an investigative reporter whose scrutiny of the Obama administration won her the admiration of many conservatives.” 

In a conference call this week, Sinclair Chief Executive Chris Ripley announced that scripted TV shows being shown on WGN would “probably not continue.” Those scripted shows includes the excellent show Underground, a dramatic show about the Underground Railroad, depicting the harrowing and courageous journey of runaway slaves from the southern slave states to the northern states and the actions of the white abolitionists who supported them. Variety reported that Underground has excellent TV ratings and is WGN’s “most-watched original scripted entertainment program to date.”

This could very well point to what we are going to get with Sinclair adding these new stations—deleting shows like Underground while turning their stations into support for the fascist Trump/Pence regime.

Let’s be clear this is a ratcheting up of the fascist media in this country, which will be part of further consolidating this regime. One of the hallmarks of fascism is a leap in directly and indirectly controlling and influencing the mass media.

People can’t be standing on the sidelines watching this fascist regime as it continues to consolidate its power piece by piece. It must be stopped!

Our single unifying mission must be: Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime.

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

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

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

 

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

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

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

Stan Van Gundy, Coach of the NBA Detroit Pistons, Supports NFL Players Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem and for Their Demands

From a reader:

In a November 14 essay in Time, Stan Van Gundy, the coach of the NBA Detroit Pistons, said he supports the NFL players who are refusing to stand for the national anthem in protest of police brutality and social injustice and he calls on others “to join me in supporting them.”

Van Gundy, who is white, talks about coaching in the NBA for 20 years in a league that is 75 percent Black and what he has learned about “the issues they and their families have had to encounter.” He wrote, “I have an obligation as a citizen to speak out and to support, in any way possible, those brave and patriotic athletes who are working to bring change to our country. I believe all of us do.”

Van Gundy points out that “These athletes could take the easy route and not placed their livelihoods at risk by standing up for what they believe in. They’ve put in their hard work. They could accept their paychecks and live lives of luxury. Instead, they are risking their jobs to speak up for those who have no voice.”

He goes on to say that “Those who have been at the forefront of great advances in social justice have always been willing to make significant personal sacrifices, and that group has always included athletes,” and he names Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, and Colin Kaepernick as those who have sacrificed for the cause of calling out social injustice, and that these current NFL players are following in their footsteps.

He points out that these NFL players are not just protesting on Sunday, but “On virtually every Tuesday during the NFL season (the NFL’s traditional off-day), these committed athletes are using their platform as professional athletes in town halls, statehouses and even Washington, D.C., to listen, learn, meet with leaders, advocate for change and put the issues of criminal justice reform in the spotlight.”

The changes they are advocating for are:

At the end of his essay, Van Gundy says, “We should all join them in ensuring their collective voice is heard.”

Van Gundy’s essay is online here.

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

From a reader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wish I could take a knee with Kaepernick.

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

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Hertha Berlin Soccer Team Takes a Knee in Solidarity with Kaepernick

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

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

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

German soccer club takes a knee

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

Credit: AP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From a reader:

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

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

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

Jabari Parker, player for the Milwaukee Bucks:

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

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

Stan Van Gundy, head coach, Detroit Pistons:

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

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

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

Gregg Popovich, coach of the San Antonio Spurs:

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

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

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

Erik Spoelstra, coach of the Miami Heat:

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

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

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

He wrote in part in a Washington Post opinion letter:

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

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

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

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

Letter from a reader:

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

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

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

From a reader:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In another interview she said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Messages of Resistance at the MTV Video Music Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On his website, Joseph Guay says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From David Strathairn:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read text of her talk here

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

Neil Young: “Children of Destiny”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch the video:

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

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

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

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

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

Read Stoll’s entire essay at Vulture.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Diala Shamas’s article here.

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

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

Watch the video:

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of Reza Aslan’s interview here.

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of Jacob Ayol’s story here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Steven Thrasher’s article online here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read C. Christine Fair’s op-ed here.

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

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

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

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

Read Lincoln Blade’s entire article here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He goes on:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole speech here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are USC Faculty.

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

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

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

We are committed to:

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

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

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

We will Fight On!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole article here

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

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

Here are some excerpts from Bennett’s statement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Tim Roger’s article in its entirety here.

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

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

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

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

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/490/vice-president-mike-pence-christian-fascist-alternative-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence: The Christian Fascist "Alternative" to the Fascist Donald Trump

May 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

As the crisis sparked by Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey deepens, the possibility of forcing Trump from power is now openly discussed, both by forces in the capitalist-imperialist ruling class and among the masses of people. That could be a good thing, but there is an urgent need right now for growing numbers—ultimately millions—of people to take to the streets and insist that Trump and the whole Trump/Pence regime must go, and stay in the streets until that happens! Otherwise, the Democratic Party, and the “orderly processes” of congressional hearings, FBI investigations, and court hearings will sideline and suffocate the masses and will at best lead to Trump himself being impeached or resigning, leaving the rest of the regime intact, and Vice President Mike Pence at the helm to lead a Christian fascist reboot.

While Trump functions as the leader and front man of a whole regime, Pence has been the main pillar and behind-the-scenes operative. Pence is down with Trump every step of the way, hailing his executive orders, working with Congress to rip health care from millions, repeating Trump’s crazy lies in a calmer manner. Pence proposed a law to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. of undocumented parents; he backs police suppression of Black and Brown communities through “Stop-and-Frisk” and a stepped-up militarized “War on Drugs”; he denounces protesters against police murder and defends cops as “the best of us.” As warlike as Trump, he boasts that they will “name the enemy” and then “marshal the resources of our nation and our allies to hunt them down and destroy them.”

But Pence is not just a Trump wannabe—he is a leader of a powerful Christian fascist movement that is backed by a major section of the U.S. ruling class and aims for nothing less than a Christian theocratic society ruled by biblical law and morality. These forces believe that the problems U.S. imperialism confronts in the world stem from America getting off of “God’s path,” and that restoring America to “greatness” means reorganizing the government, schools, courts... everything... on the basis of “God’s plan” (as interpreted by them, of course).

In fact, there is no god, and even if there were, the idea of basing the political order of a society on the cruel and bloodthirsty God of the Bible would be horrific. This is shown by the actual program that Pence and the whole Christian fascist movement support. First, their program is steeped in medieval patriarchy, seeing women’s role as fundamentally bearing and rearing children. Pence has such a narrow view of women as either “mothers” or “whores” that he will not eat a meal with a woman other than his wife! More significantly, Pence is a strong opponent of abortion rights, pledging that “We’ll see Roe v. Wade [i.e., legal abortion] confined to the ash heap of history where it belongs.”

This opposition is at bottom about enforced motherhood,which is a form of female enslavement. This is why Pence and his movement oppose all birth control, and want to shut down Planned Parenthood, the main provider of birth control and sex education for millions of women. Pence once claimed (falsely!) that condoms offer “very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted disease.”

The Christian fascists hold to the biblical condemnation of all non-heterosexual sexual expression or identity. Pence opposes same-sex marriage and civil union, and as Indiana governor, he gained national prominence by signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed people, companies, and institutions to discriminate against gays if their “religious principles” called for that.

These Christian fascists also use the Bible to justify the cruelty of mass incarceration and the death penalty, both of which have been used and are being used against Black and Latino people. As Bob Avakian convincingly shows in “The Truth About the Right-Wing Conspiracy...” the “logic of the logic” of their program could lead to full-out genocide against Black people in the U.S. They believe in and promote the idea that a war between the Christian countries and majority-Muslim ones is inevitable, and they tar every Muslim within the U.S. with the brush of their mirror opposites, the Islamic fundamentalist jihadists. All this, they teach their fanatical followers, can be found in biblical “prophecy.”

The Christian fascists have been building their strength for decades. Their network of churches, schools, and media indoctrinates millions in their reactionary and anti-scientific outlook. They’ve taken over hundreds of local and state school boards, working to replace the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution with the religious nonsense of creationism and “intelligent design.” They control governorships and legislatures. They have strong influence in the U.S. military, particularly in the officer corps. A prominent Christian fascist, Erik Prince (brother of education secretary Betsy DeVos), founded Blackwater, a private mercenary army that committed war crimes from Iraq to New Orleans.

Pence himself played a key role in filling the regime’s cabinet with like-minded theocrats who are now wielding their power to further advance Christian fascism. Fundamentalists who think the “day after” pill is murder, that homosexuality is an “abomination,” and that trans people are “crazy” are in charge of public health education; a woman who wants to gut public schools and put kids in Christian academies to train them as unthinking fanatics is in charge of the education department... and on it goes.

The essential point is this—Pence heads a highly organized and very strong fascist current within the regime that is entrenched in the upper echelons of power and connected to a broad mass base, financial base, and military base. If Trump goes but this cabal remains in place, they are well positioned to regroup, remobilize, and carry forward—with a somewhat different tone and playbook, no doubt—the basic fascist transformation of U.S. society begun under Trump’s leadership, but now with a Christian fascist reboot.

This might well satisfy many of the bourgeois forces whose main problem with Trump is not that he’s a fascist, but that he’s a volatile and unstable fascist. But that is not what humanity needs, nor what we should be fighting for. This is why it is necessary for millions of people to get off the sidelines and into the streets, determined to stay there until every remnant of this fascist regime is driven from power.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/ba-the-bible-taken-literally-is-a-horror-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Excerpt from AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World by Bob Avakian

The Bible, Taken Literally, Is a Horror

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

May 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: The following is an excerpt from the book AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian (available from Insight Press). The book was published in 2008.

 

All this is why, with profound reason and justification, it must be said that the Bible, taken literally, is a horror. And the fundamental question demands to be posed: Is what the Bible portrays about people and their relations—how those relations ought to be, how, according to the decrees of God, they have to be—is that really the kind of world we want?

From what has been shown so far, and what will be gone into further in the course of this book, it becomes unmistakably clear that the following are some of the extremely oppressive relations and beliefs that are upheld—and not just upheld, but advocated, commanded and celebrated—in the Bible:

Slavery and other forms of ruthless exploitation.

The domination and degradation of women by men, including the so-called right of male conquerors to carry off women, especially virgins, as prizes of war, rape them, and make them concubines—sex slaves—of the conquerors.

The killing of women who are not virgins when they get married.

The execution of women alleged to be witches.

The condemnation of homosexuality as not just a sin, but an abomination deserving of death.

The right, and indeed the duty, as commanded by God, to plunder and slaughter people—including the babies and infants of people—following other religions.

The slaughter of people of the one true faith who displease that God.

Killing of children who rebel against their parents.

Belief in superstition and fear, and fear-inspiring ignorance, such as demon possession and exorcism.

The cruel notion that disease is caused by sinfulness.

The condemnation to eternal damnation and unbearable suffering in hell for all those who do not accept “the one true God”—and, in the case of Christianity, Jesus as the son of God who was crucified but then raised from the dead.

All of this, along with many other atrocities and outrages, is upheld and promoted in the Bible. If you believe in the Bible—and especially if you believe and insist that it is the divinely-dictated, or divinely-inspired word of God and all of it must be taken literally—then all of these atrocities and outrages are things that you must say are right and good because the Bible says they are right and good. And that is precisely the case with the right-wing Christian fundamentalists who can be very accurately characterized as Christian Fascists.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/ba-christian-fascism-and-genocide-en.html

Revolution #490 May 8, 2017

Excerpt from AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World by Bob Avakian

Christian Fascism and Genocide

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

May 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: The following is an excerpt from the book AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian (available from Insight Press). The book was published in 2008.

 

In this connection it is important to examine the genocidal implications that are part and parcel of the Christian Fascist outlook and program. This, again, is one of the great ironies and injuries of the promotion of this religious fundamentalism among the masses of oppressed people who are already the most direct victims of white supremacy. In “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy…and Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer,” I pointed out that a leading Christian Fascist, Pat Robertson—and he is not alone in this—advocates a legal system based on the Old Testament of the Bible. And what does that call for? It calls for things like public floggings and the shaming of people who commit minor offenses, and with regard to people who commit more serious offenses, it insists upon the death penalty—not just for what are now considered capital crimes, such as murder, but also acts which, in the eyes of people like Robertson, would turn the society against God and destroy the fabric of society. As I pointed out in “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy”:

it is necessary to place this in the context of American society today, in which, through conscious government policy as well as the "normal operation" of the laws of capitalist accumulation and competition, whole sections of people are being consigned to the ranks of "unemployables," people for whom the only viable alternative within this system may be participation in the underground economy. With this in mind, we cannot avoid recognizing that the logic of Robertson's call for applying "the biblical model" for crime and punishment involves an unmistakable suggestion of a "final solution" against the masses of people in the inner cities as well as preparation for the use of extreme repression, and even execution, to punish a broad array of activities which today are treated as minor offenses or as no crime at all. (“The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy” was first published in the fall of 1998 in the Revolutionary Worker [now Revolution] and was reprinted in the October 17, 2004 issue [no. 1255]. It is available at revcom.us. For the arguments by Pat Robertson on applying “the biblical model for crime and punishment” that is referred to here, see Pat Robertson, Answers to 200 of Life’s Most Probing Questions, Bantam Books, 1987 edition, pp. 198-99.)

As has been pointed out several times, among those things for which the Bible insists people must be put to death are homosexuality and adultery and—particularly for women—sex before marriage. And if you think of all the people who are currently caught up in the penal system in the U.S.—with over 2 million in prison at this time and many more on parole and probation—particularly youth from the inner cities, and then you add to that a certain logic that says, “why should we spend all this money housing these people in prisons,” you can very easily see the genocidal implications of a Christian Fascist “Biblical” approach to crime and punishment.

This is not hyperbole. People like Robertson are very serious about what they’re seeking to do. What did they say after 9-11? Jerry Falwell insisted that this was brought on by liberals, the ACLU, idol-worshippers and secularists, people upholding the right to abortion, homosexuals and others of like mind. This, Falwell claimed, brought down the wrath of God on America. And Pat Robertson jumped in, to express strong agreement with this. 33.

These people, and others like them, firmly and fanatically believe that the unadulterated assertion of their fundamentalist outlook, backed up by the force of law and the state, is essential in order to achieve and maintain their vision of what America is and should be, and what it needs to do as it goes out into the world to carry out the grand design of God and to realize the special destiny of an exceptional people whom God has chosen to rule the whole world—once they have gotten right with God.


Footnote

33. On September 13, 2001 Jerry Falwell appeared on The 700 Club, hosted by Pat Robertson, and here is a part of the exchange between Falwell and Robertson:

Jerry Falwell: The ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this [terrorist attack].

Pat Robertson: Well, yes.

Jerry Falwell: And, I know that I’ll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools.  The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”

Pat Robertson: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we’re responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system. (A press release from People for the American Way, dated September 17, 2001 provided a transcript of this discussion between Falwell and Robertson on The 700 Club, September 13, 2001, and this appeared on “Common Dreams progressive newswire,” September 14, 2007.)

Coming under pressure from various quarters, Falwell issued an “apology” shortly after this. But this was the kind of “apology” in which someone “giveth with the left hand, while he taketh away with the right”: In “apologizing” Falwell continued to make the same arguments about how America had become vulnerable to terrorist attack because God had been angered by the kinds of things Falwell spoke about in the statement for which he was supposedly “apologizing.” (See CNN.com/U.S., September 14, 2001. Stories regarding this were also posted on the New York Times and the Washington Post websites [www.nytimes.com and www.washingtonpost.com], September 14, 2001.) [back]