Revolution #498, July 3, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

The Republicans’ Ferocious Assault on Health Care… And a REAL Answer to Those Attacks

Updated July 26, 2017, first posted July 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' note: Since this article was first posted, the health care bill first hit a dead end, and now (as of July 26) Trump and the Republicans are in the midst of an intense offensive to get a Senate bill passed. We will be covering these developments.

 

The Republican Senate health care bill, cooked up by a leading core of Republi-fascists behind closed doors, was released on June 22. It was intended to be rammed through to a vote within the week, but it ran into sharp conflicts within the ruling class. As we go to press, the Republican bill is on hold, but another vote is planned for July. The prospect of these killing attacks becoming law is far from a dead issue. 

The Senate version of the Trump/Pence “health care” bill would strip health coverage from 22 million more poor and oppressed people over the next decade. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, cut vital services, slash Medicaid, defund Planned Parenthood, and kill even more people than are already dying because of this capitalist health care system. At the same time it will cut nearly $1 trillion in taxes for corporations and the most wealthy.

Slashing Medicaid is at the heart of the Republican’s Senate bill. Medicaid covers 20 percent of all citizens and legal residents; 40 percent of all children; half of all births; and 64 percent of all nursing home residents. This bill threatens the lives of broad sections of the poor of all nationalities: those sick with pre-existing conditions, children and adults with disabilities, women, and the growing population of older adults.  

And the anti-woman outlook of Christian fascism is embedded in the bill. Medicaid payments will be blocked for care provided by Planned Parenthood, endangering the lives of millions of women who rely on Medicaid and Planned Parenthood for life-saving cancer tests, maternity care, and birth control. 

All this would come down hardest on Black, Latino, Native American and other oppressed people.

Attacks on Obamacare have, for years, been a rallying cry for the fascist agenda now concentrated in the form of the Trump/Pence regime. Their assault on Obamacare is based on an outlook that society and government have no responsibility for anything bearing on the well-being and welfare of people—a vicious individualism aimed especially at the poor and minorities—as well as an insane and poisonous hatred of Obama, and of Black people in general, that these Republicans tap into and unleash. The fascists fed a feeling among a native born, white, Christian social base that Obama being president meant that America is not “theirs” anymore and that they must “take it back” from “freeloaders” (Black people and immigrants), with an all-but-open appeal to white male entitlement.

This madness turns “who feeds whom” in this country 100 percent upside down. 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) For 250 years, there was the horror of the exploitation of slaves in conditions of indescribable hell... followed by nearly a century of continued brutal oppression in the fields, now as serf-like sharecroppers, and then many decades more of super-exploitation that built up the industry of the U.S., with Black workers being confined to the most dangerous, low-paid and filthiest jobs, last hired and first fired... down to today, with Black people continuing to be discriminated against and oppressed including in employment and credit.

And millions of immigrants have been and are exploited mercilessly, first in the countries they left and now here, by capitalism-imperialism. Undocumented immigrants are denied welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and most other public benefits, even as they pay billions of dollars in sales taxes and in Social Security taxes for retirement benefits they will never receive.

The Status Quo Is No Answer, but There IS an Answer

Trump and the Republicans’ “health care” bill is a horror. In the face of this murderous attack on the most basic kind of medical care, what is urgently needed is an unrelenting resistance that says this Trump/Pence fascist regime has to go!

At the same time, the answer is not to defend the status quo. Obamacare reflected a consensus among powerful sections of the capitalist class that something major had to be done to contain health care costs and expand coverage, in part to maintain social stability in society. But these reforms were constrained by the reality that under capitalism, health care—like everything else—is a commodity to be sold for profit, and subject to the overall needs of a system built on exploitation and oppression.

Even with Obamacare, millions of people have gone uncovered and millions more receive care that is inadequate, often ineffective and very often demeaning. Meanwhile, massive public health crises—the unchecked AIDS epidemic among Black and Latino gay and bisexual men, the opioid addiction epidemic, the diabetes epidemic (overwhelmingly focused among the oppressed), cervical cancer—are either ignored altogether, or the treatments for which get warped and distorted through the demands of capital and its white-supremacist and patriarchal biases.

Yet the basis exists for a huge leap forward in the health and well-being of the masses of people in this country, and this can be done in a way that benefits humanity all over. This points to the facts that a) all this horror and degradation, and being caught in a battle to prevent it from going to a whole lower level, is not necessary, and b) we could do far better. Read from Article 1, Section 2, Point 7, Heading H from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America on what it says about health care. A different—a far better—world is in fact possible... if we are willing to fight for it.

For more on the analysis of Obamacare, see “The  Shutdown, the Showdown, and the Urgent Need To Repolarize… for Revolution” on www.revcom.us



 

 


 

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Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

As the Planet Burns, “America First” Fascist Regime Puts the Torch to Humanity’s Future

July 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The climate change emergency has been accelerating over the past decade or more at perilous speed. The last three years have seen the highest global temperatures on record. Seas are rising, glaciers are disappearing, and Arctic ice sheets are melting. Droughts, floods, and extreme weather are becoming more destructive and frequent.

The leading cause of global warming is the carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases being spewed out by the burning of fossil fuels as part of the expand-or-die, profit-above-all-else workings of the global system of capitalism-imperialism. This environmental emergency is already devastating the lives of millions of people, especially in the poorest and most oppressed regions of the world—those who have done the least to cause the problem. In Africa, where large numbers of people are already suffering from famine and reactionary wars, there were more than one million “climate refugees”—people no longer able to survive where they’ve lived because of climate change—just in 2015.

And climate change is on a trajectory that threatens the future existence of humanity and many other species.

The U.S. makes up four percent of the world’s population but has poured far more CO2 into the atmosphere than any other country. America is responsible for 30 percent of the planet’s excess CO2. The rulers of the U.S. capitalist-imperialist system have been treating the Earth’s atmosphere like a greenhouse gas dump, and making the rest of the world pay dearly.

Now, the Trump/Pence fascist regime is making the climate crisis even worse—pouring gasoline on the raging fire. On June 1, Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the 2016 Paris climate accord that called for 195 countries to put forward voluntary targets for CO2 emission reductions. This agreement, drawn up by the U.S. and other world powers, came nowhere near halting the planetary environmental crisis. But that’s not why Trump rejected it. His move was another leap in a core part of the fascist regime’s program: removing even the most minimal constraints on U.S. capitalism-imperialism’s predatory exploitation and plunder, including environmental regulations. They have already begun gutting the Environmental Protection Agency and regulations on coal-fired power plants, auto emissions, oil and gas drilling, and more, while accelerating the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

The repudiation of the Paris accord is also part of the Trump/Pence regime more aggressively asserting U.S. global power and dominance around the world, including by setting new terms with other global powers—without being constrained by existing international law, norms, treaties, or the like. And Trump’s demagogic promises of jobs and wealth with the exit from the international climate pact are aimed at further riling up his followers—a fascist social base that is cohered around white supremacy, male supremacy, and jingoism and doesn’t give a fuck about science, truth, humanity, or the planet.

The Trump/Pence regime’s vicious assaults on the environment, and on humanity’s chances of survival, have to be met with defiant mass resistance throughout society—as a crucial part of the growing, determined movement to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power.

But people broadly also have to confront the reality that going back to the Paris agreement and the “normal” workings of this system will not fundamentally deal with the climate crisis and save the planet. The problem goes much deeper—rooted in the very nature and workings of the capitalist-imperialist system, which the Trump/Pence regime is an extreme expression of.

But there IS an actual alternative—a society with a different economic and political system, different relations between people and values, which would enable humanity to deal with the environmental catastrophe now looming. This is socialism—and the Constitution for such a society, authored by Bob Avakian and adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America)—lays this out, as well as addressing the myriad other contradictions and horrors that the current capitalist-imperialist system just cannot deal with.

This Constitution stresses that in all spheres of government and social activity, the new socialist state will energetically address the environmental emergency, uniting with people around the world to do so. For instance, one of the three core principles for guiding social production and economic development will be: “Protecting, preserving, and enhancing the ecosystems and biodiversity of the planet for current and future generations.”

As people go forward to drive out the Trump/Pence regime, the question of what kind of societal change humanity needs to get out of this madness is urgently posed for all those who yearn for a better world.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Trump/Pence Muslim Ban Goes Into Effect:

U.S. Fuels Historic Refugee Crisis...Then Slams Door Shut

July 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Last week, the U.S. murderously slammed the door shut on children fleeing gang violence in Central America, on families escaping the slaughter in Syria, on people facing famine and cholera in Yemen, on Afghans languishing in exile or refugee camps, and many, many more.

After the Supreme Court reinstated large parts of Trump’s Muslim ban, the U.S. barred all refugees fleeing violence and persecution from entry for 120 days and anyone from the Muslim-majority countries of Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia for 90 days, unless they can prove an existing “bona fide” family, business, or school “relationship” in the U.S. as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.

This means that a family, like the one from Sudan who had fled reactionary militia violence and after 10 years of “extreme vetting,” were able to resettle in the U.S., would now be blocked because they have no relatives here. It means that children, often traveling alone as part of the flood of Central Americans escaping violence, murder, and destitution (388,000 just in 2016), won’t stand a chance.

Trump/Pence are slamming U.S. borders shut during the greatest global crisis of displacement since World War 2, perhaps ever. Over 65 million people, including millions of children, have been forced to flee wars, violence, and persecution—24 people every minute on average. Millions more are forced to leave their homes every year because of climate change—droughts, floods, or scarce food and water. One study estimates that by 2100 there will be two billion climate refugees!

The Trump/Pence regime claims refugees and immigrants should be treated as terrorists or criminals until proven otherwise. But what has propelled millions to cross scorching deserts; embark on a journey risking rape, robbery, or enslavement; or take their chances at sea where, as the UN reports, a “frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year,” to reach Europe, the U.S. or other countries? Overwhelmingly, the system of capitalism-imperialism, headed by the U.S.

Why DO People Come Here from All Over the World?

As Bob Avakian said in Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About:

Now I can just hear these reactionary fools saying, “Well, Bob, answer me this. If this country is so terrible, why do people come here from all over the world? Why are so many people trying to get in, not get out?”...Why? I’ll tell you why. Because you have fucked up the rest of the world even worse than what you have done in this country. You have made it impossible for many people to live in their own countries as part of gaining your riches and power. (BAsics 1:14)

Under Obama, the U.S. admitted a mere 110,000—of the world’s 22 million—refugees a year. Now the Trump/Pence regime has chopped that in half and is gutting the core of international refugee law: “The premise of refugee law and asylum law is that we should be taking in precisely those people who may lack the ‘bona fides’ laid out by the court,” attorney and activist Diala Shamas points out in the Washington Post. “Those who are least connected, and therefore arguably most vulnerable.”

It is an obscene crime against humanity to demonize and ban the victims of imperialism’s domination and wars around the world—the equivalent of refusing entry to Jews and others escaping Nazi Germany, which the U.S. did during World War 2! It must be relentlessly opposed!

 

 


 

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Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

No Ban! No Wall!
Resist the Supreme Court's Reinstatement of Sections of Trump's Muslim Ban

July 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Supreme Court ruling Monday reinstating significant sections of the Trump/Pence regime’s Muslim Ban 2.0 represented a serious escalation of a war on Muslims. This ban had been halted by several federal courts. One lower court ruled the ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

And the Supreme Court will consider reinstating the entire ban in the fall, something three of the nine “justices” were ready to do right now. In addition, the Trump/Pence regime has demonstrated contempt for legal challenges and court rulings, and has found ways to aggressively implement the Muslim ban already.

By upholding sections of the ban on refugees, visitors, and immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries without “bona fide relationships” to people in this country (whatever that might mean), the highest court in the U.S. put a stamp of approval on dehumanizing and terrorizing Muslims in this country, and around the world. With draconian implications. The ruling intensifies a situation where any Muslim in this country must fear legal persecution or unofficial violence and terror or murder. It ratchets up the hellish conflict between Western imperialism and fundamentalist Islamic Jihad. And, to the extent this goes down without outrage and protest, the Court ruling promotes a toxic climate in society, where people stand aside while their neighbors are rounded uppretending they don’t see. That dynamic led to the Holocaust in Germany. This Muslim ban must be opposed in the interests of humanity.

The Trump/Pence regime is a product of this system. In "The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy...And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer" and "The Fascists and the Destruction of the 'Weimar Republic'... And What Replaces It," Bob Avakian demonstrates convincingly how the workings of this system paved the way for this regime and its crimes; why this system requires something of this order to keep going; and why it must be overthrown.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/1275/avakian-christian-fascist-danger.htm

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

The Danger of the Christian Fascists and the Challenges This Poses

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

Revolutionary Worker #1275, April 24, 2005, posted at rwor.org

EDITORS' NOTE: This is part of a series of excerpts on various subjects — drawn from conversations and discussions, as well as more formal talks, by Bob Avakian — which we will be running in this newspaper over the next period of time. It has been edited for publication and footnotes have been added.

When we talk about the dangers posed by the Christian Fascists and the configuration in ruling structures of U.S. society now, some people say, "Are you people just trying to scare people into scurrying to your banner?" Well, no. This is very real. And one of the things that was very important in the discussion that followed the talk I gave on the dictatorship of the proletariat (" Dictatorship and Democracy, and the Socialist Transition to Communism"), was the question about whether there's "a perfect fit" between this Christian Fascist program and the interests and needs of the ruling class, at this time at least. (This discussion was published in the RW #1261, December 12, 2004.) And I believe this was dealt with in a dialectical as well as a materialist way there, in saying "No, there's not a perfect fit, but that doesn't mean this program won't come to predominate." It was pointed out that things have a momentum and dynamic of their own; these Christian Fascist forces are being courted and even manipulated by people like Bush adviser Karl Rove and others, but that doesn't mean they don't have their own agenda, their own interests (in a manner of speaking), their own outlook, and their own objectives that they're fighting for. And the more that they've been organized, the more this takes on a certain life of its own.

As reflected in that New York Times Magazine article by Ron Suskind ("Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush"— New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2004), this is being recognized even by significant sections of the ruling class and their representatives and spokespeople, and certainly we should not fail to recognize the seriousness of this — both in terms of the dangers it poses, and also in terms of the contradictions it reflects, including in particular the intensifying contradictions within the ruling class. There is a contradiction here, between "not a perfect fit" and the fact that nonetheless there are driving forces behind this Christian Fascist program, which are very powerful and very powerfully connected. That's also a very acute contradiction that's playing itself out and will continue in an even more intense way to play itself out, if not in a straight line necessarily, over a period of time—and perhaps not that long a period of time.

In a number of talks and writings (for example, in the "Right-Wing Conspiracy" piece, Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones, the "Pyramid of Power" article, and recent talks I gave on religion1)—I have been emphasizing that there is a force of Christian Fascists that is very serious about implementing this program. Some of the mass base that's being mobilized behind this may not even be fully aware of the implications of this and what it would really look like to implement this program fully, or they may not even be fully aware that some of the driving forces within this do have in mind to implement this full program. Now, one of the things I have pointed out repeatedly, including in those talks on religion (and this is also in the "Right-Wing Conspiracy" piece), is that there is an acute contradiction between an insistence upon upholding the Bible literally and absolutely — insisting that every word is the divinely inspired and delivered word of god and must be upheld as such, on the one hand — and, on the other hand, things that broadly in society today, particularly a "modern" society like the U.S., can be accepted as decent, right, and just. This is a contradiction that, by and large, most of the mass base of this Christian Fascist movement is not even aware of. We have to hammer at those contradictions, and this is all the more important because, to a significant degree, the leaders of this Christian Fascist movement do not want these people who make up their base to be aware of this at this stage (or at least not fully aware). But, in those talks on religion, I emphasized the point: If you take the word of the Bible as literal and absolute, then you must be in favor of executing homosexuals — not just condemning them as sinners but executing them. You must be in favor of executing women accused of witchcraft, you must be in favor of insisting that people can't get out of even abusive marriages, and in particular women can't. You must be in favor of insisting that children who are rebellious against their parents should be put to death. And on and on—the list of cruel outrages that the Bible upholds, and insists on, is truly long and horrendous.

*****

Now, if you look around, you will see that —for example, in relation to the whole Matthew Shepard outrage— there were these people from Kansas (or wherever they are), these preachers and their followers, who showed up and denounced Shepard as a "fag" and said he was condemned to hell, showing absolutely no sympathy nor mercy. And if you read David Brock's book, The Republican Noise Machine, particularly Chapter 7, "Ministers of Propaganda," he quotes a lot of these people, these Christian Fascist ideologues, saying that a lot of these outrageous things that are in the Bible should be done. It is somewhat similar to what's described by Claudia Koonz in The Nazi Conscience, where she discusses how Hitler was rather cautious, rather circumspect, even after consolidating power, in terms of toning down his overtly anti-Semitic tirades for a while—while at the same time the mass base, the stormtroopers, were running wild with that stuff. And we saw where that all ended up. Perhaps in 1933 or '34 Hitler did not intend to carry out the "final solution," the mass genocide of the Jews, at least in the way and on the scale it was carried out, but that's where the logic led. It might not have led there if things had gone a different way with the war, and so on, but that's where the logic led under the circumstances that actually evolved. I pointed out, for example, in "Right-Wing Conspiracy," that there is a genocidal element in this whole Christian Fascist program—a genocidal program that would be directed toward many people in inner cities and others whom people like the prominent Christian Fascist Pat Robertson regard as putting the stain of sin onto the land. I quoted Pat Robertson on this and then drew out the logical implications of what he was saying. And I made the point in the talks on religion, and also in the talk "Elections, Democracy and Dictatorship, Resistance and Revolution,"2 about why it is that the Bible belt is also the lynching belt. I used that as a metaphor to speak to why it is that you can't uphold traditional morality in this society, with its whole history, and not uphold the most virulent and grotesque kind of white supremacy and repression of Black people and other oppressed nationalities.

Look at Pat Robertson's writings. And who is Pat Robertson? Just some lunatic? Is he a Jeremiah somewhere ranting in the wilderness? No, he's a prominent figure in the ruling structures of this society. Look at the things that are quoted from him in "Right-Wing Conspiracy." Not only his lunatic claims about his personal experience and trauma of undergoing a demonic attack one morning in a hotel near Seattle, Washington, but his statement that it may well be the case that Satan is directly in charge of major cities in the U.S.—and that things like Ouija boards and New Ageism provide openings for the devil to enter. And this is of a piece with his lunacy in general, which is not only unscientific but anti -scientific—including his attacks on the scientifically established fact of evolution. (See, for example, Robertson's book Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions .) I remember reading a book by a woman who got out of this kind of fundamentalism (I mentioned this in the conversation with Bill Martin3—the book is This Dark World, by Carolyn S. Briggs): She talks about how she used to go around and get rid of statuettes and things in her house because she was afraid that Satanic forces would enter through them and get to her children. Well, that's one thing— she was a person with barely a high school education, if that, at the time, and she was just a foot soldier for the Christian Fascists, unconscious largely in terms of the larger implications of this. But for people like Pat Robertson it's very different. Pat Robertson made this chilling statement— that when people get sick of all this decadence and the rest, we will take over.

*****

These people are deadly serious, and there doesn't have to be a "perfect fit." If things go a certain way and there's no other force in the ruling class with both the coherence and the power to prevent it, this may become the ruling force in society. And they have every intention of becoming that. They are not going to go away. And, as has been pointed out, you can't keep making promises to these forces, as the Republican Party does—you can't keep making promises and then leave them unfulfilled, like "we're going to get rid of Roe v. Wade, we're going to outlaw abortion." There is a certain tension there that will rupture beyond those bounds at a certain point. We have seen further indications of this in things like the campaign to hound Republican Senator Arlen Specter after his comment that, basically, Bush shouldn't nominate judges who are going to abolish Roe v. Wade . We are just seeing the beginning of things like that.

And there is a genocidal element in this Christian Fascist program. You can see this if you read what Pat Robertson says and follow the logic of it—once again it's the Richard Pryor thing, "the logical conclusion of the logic." As I have pointed out, Robertson doesn't just say that the death penalty should be used for murder, for homicide, he insists it should be used for crimes that bring a stain upon the society, and which alienate it from god. Well, think about the implications of that and how far-reaching that can be, especially when this is being interpreted by theocratic rulers, people with the mindset and worldview of Robertson.

And, although I have been urgently pointing to this phenomenon for a number of years, at this point at least I am not the only one who is commenting on this in these kind of terms. For example, Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media studies at New York University, who has written a book entitled The Bush Dyslexicon, refers to these people as "Christo-fascists." And he makes a very interesting and important observation: Don't expect to see people with swastikas goose-stepping down the street saying "Heil Hitler"—that is not how this is going to come to America, it's going to come in this theocratic religious form; it's already here and it's already powerful. So, I am not the only one recognizing this—and Crispin Miller is a Jeffersonian Democrat (probably a "Big D" but certainly a "small d" democrat), expressly so. He talks about how these "Christo-fascists," as he calls them, want to go back not just before the civil rights movement, not just before the civil war and the abolition of slavery, but back before the Enlightenment.

And the fact is that, as I have pointed out, the more you dig into this, the more you'll see that the Enlightenment is a watershed event in history for these fundamentalist fanatics. To them this is a time when society turned away from God—even before the Supreme Court decision, in the early 1960s, eliminating prayer in public schools in the U.S.— going back several centuries, the time of the Enlightenment is when society began to go away from God and towards hell, in these people's view. So, this is a very serious thing, with very serious implications, including this potentially genocidal element to it. And there doesn't have to be a "perfect fit" for this to become the ruling and dominating and operative force and form of bourgeois dictatorship in this country—in this period.

*****

The fact is that the Christian Fascists are not an ephemeral phenomenon—they are not something that is just going to be around for a little while—a flash in the pan that is going to go away. Nor is this something that's turned off and on like a spigot by people like Karl Rove and other political operatives in the ruling class. This is a force which has been developed, and cohered, and led, and ideologically indoctrinated and trained, and honed over decades; yes, by political and ideological operatives, but some of whom actually themselves believe in this whole vision and these objectives. Had that not happened, a lot of these forces would have been more dispersed, they wouldn't have lived as much in a self-contained world, and they wouldn't have had the same impact they have had and are having— being politically organized and ideologically conditioned, and oriented, and primed in a certain way. But that is what has happened, and that does take on a life and a momentum of its own. It's not something anybody can just turn off at this point. In Germany, after he consolidated power, Hitler slaughtered the SA stormtroopers at a certain point, because they were getting in his way. That's what the Nazi leadership had to do, to get rid of that particular force at that time, after Hitler had consolidated power; but it would be a whole other matter to do something like that to these Christian Fascist forces. Plus, I don't know who would have the interests to do that, and the inclinations to do that, within the U.S. ruling class.

So, again, it is very important to understand that these Christian Fascists cannot and will not let up. They will not go away, they will not recede into the background, they will not leave science alone, they will not leave the arts alone, they will not leave education alone, they will not leave social relations alone, they will not leave the culture, broadly speaking, alone. They will not leave daily life and work alone. There was another article recently in the New York Times Magazine about these "faith based work places."4 These reactionary Christian fundamentalists are creating, on the one hand, their own infrastructure and self-contained universe where you watch Fox News, and religious channels, and you get "the word," about the world as well as about religion, from the Pat Robertson 700 Club or whatever, and you listen to evangelists on the radio and watch them on the TV—and this fundamentalist shit is on 24 hours a day, all day every day, with massive productive forces and sophisticated technology devoted to it. And, frighteningly, but it's the reality we face, there are massive turnouts of people at these fundamentalist church services, even sometimes multi-national crowds. They cannot and they will not let up. Mark Crispin Miller made this comment, that if you watch only Fox News and live in this whole world I've been describing, you have about as much sense of reality as people living in the ninth century. Now, again that's exaggeration, it's hyperbole (and he would likely acknowledge that), but there's some reality to that. There have been surveys and studies that show that these people—not just confined to the Christian Fascists, but more broadly people who regularly watch Fox News—are qualitatively more misinformed about basic issues than other people in U.S. society, even more misinformed than those who watch CNN, for example. I think a majority (or near majority) of those who regularly watch things like Fox News still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that there was a tie between Iraq and al-Qaida—an operative ongoing link and functioning relationship—and a large number of these people believe that Iraq had something to do with September 11th.

But that's just one manifestation, it's much bigger than that, in terms of not only information and politics but worldview. For example, our Party's national spokesperson Carl Dix talked about how, at a forum on the elections he spoke at, in Harlem, somebody actually raised: "We've got a real problem here, these people can't be swayed or persuaded, they don't listen to reason, they don't acknowledge reason." This is one of the things even the New York Times is bringing out: It doesn't matter if Bush lied, because Bush is on a mission from God (not in the humorous, lighthearted way of the "Blues Brothers" movie). Bush is there—like Jerry Boykin, a general who's still being promoted in the U.S. military, said—Bush is there because God wanted him there, even though in 2000 he didn't win the popular vote. It's not because of very earthly machinations, but because God wanted him there. So what difference does it make about facts and lies and so on, if this is what's behind Bush. God's will and purpose is greater than any fact, or any lie.

*****

So these people cannot and will not let up. And there are two different universes here that people are recognizing—and we'd better recognize it. This is not the total configuration of ruling class forces and ruling class splits—even the Republican Party has many different forces within it, and there are contradictions within this, including contradictions between the Christian Fascists and some other forces within the Republican Party. And, of course, in the society more broadly, there is a much more complex configuration—social configuration and class configuration—and different political and ideological, and social, and cultural trends of many different kinds. But the role and importance of the Christian Fascists— within the Republican Party, where they play a major and in many ways dominant role, and within society more generally, where their influence is very significant and is now growing—this is a major feature of the alignment of the ruling class, and of the character of the society.

There are, in a very real sense, two different universes, two different worldviews and visions of how the world is and ought to be, that are in fundamental and ultimately antagonistic conflict with each other within U.S. society. Newt Gingrich is essentially right in saying that these cannot continue to co-exist without one side or the other finally and decisively winning out and defeating the other.5 But right now it is a fact that the alignment, the polarization that presently exists—the way in which the two sides are taking shape politically and ideologically—is not a good thing. It is not a good thing for two crucial reasons: 1) The opposition to the Christian Fascists, and to the reactionary juggernaut in which they are a decisive force, is still characterized and dominated far too much by outlooks and programs which, in and of themselves, cannot mount the necessary opposition because, despite very real and profound differences, they still see things within and operate within the confines of the same system which has given rise to the Christian Fascists and to their becoming a major force within the ruling class as well as the broader society; and 2) the forces in society which represent, at least in potential, a real, revolutionary alternative, are by and large not yet mobilized and organized around a revolutionary worldview and program. Left to its current trajectory and momentum, this can only lead to very bad results.

But, again, that is where we come in. The challenge we have to take up is to apply the world outlook and methodology of communism, in a scientific and creative way, to correctly and deeply analyze this reality, in all its complexity, and to act to change it—to bring about a radical repolarization in society in a way that offers the prospect and the hope of the real, the revolutionary way out and way forward for society and humanity.


NOTES:

1. See "The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy...And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer" (RW #1255, October 17, 2004); Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones: We Need Morality But Not Traditional Morality (Chicago: Banner Press, 1999); "Elections, Resistance, and Revolution: The Pyramid of Power And the Struggle to Turn This Whole Thing Upside Down" (RW #1237, April 25, 2004); "Christianity and Society—The Old Testament and the New Testament, Resistance and Revolution" and "God Doesn't Exist — And We Need Liberation Without Gods" (audio recordings available at bobavakian.net).

[Return to article]

2. Audio files of the three talks referred to here are available on the web at bobavakian.net.

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3. Bob Avakian and Bill Martin, Marxism and the Call of the Future: Conversations on Ethics, History, and Politics (Chicago: Open Court, 2005).

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4. "With God at Our Desks," The New York Times Magazine, Sunday, October 31, 2004.

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5. This point is discussed in another excerpt from this series, "The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era" ( RW #1274, April 10, 2005).

[Return to article]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/dangerous-nra-recruitment-video-a-fascist-call-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Dangerous NRA "Recruitment" Video—a Fascist Call

July 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A new promotional video released by the National Rifle Association (NRA) is not simply a “recruitment” ad for the organization—as various commentators have noted, it’s a barely disguised call to arms to its five million members and more broadly. After an uproar erupted in social media around this video, the NRA doubled down with a second video attacking some of the critics by name. In April, Donald Trump appeared at the NRA’s national meeting and vowed, in front of 80,000 attendees, “You have a true friend and champion in the White House.”

As images flash by, among them scenes of protest, including the burning of an American flag, the NRA ad declares:

They use their media to assassinate real news. They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again. And then they use their ex-president to endorse “the resistance.”

All to make them march, make them protest, make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia. To smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding―until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.

And when that happens, they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage. The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth. I’m the National Rifle Association of America. And I’m freedom’s safest place.

As we have written before, such mobilization of white-supremacist, America-Number-One, fascist forces is deadly serious—and must be taken very seriously. Go to www.revcom.us regularly for timely reports and analysis of these developments and the fight to drive out the Trump/Pence regime.

In this context, we urge our readers to get into the works of Bob Avakian (BA). As part of decades of work in bringing forward a New Communism, he has scientifically analyzed the rise of this fascism, its underlying causes and drivers, and peculiarly American expressions, such as Christian fascism—and what is to be done for the emancipation of humanity.

In particular, Bob Avakian has pointed to deep divisions in society and in the ruling class that point to a possible “coming civil war”—he has gone into the roots of why that could happen and he has made the analysis to show how, faced with such a situation, revolutionaries must actually prepare for and hasten the emergence of the political conditions where revolution is possible, and then fight to win.

To get into this, begin with the work first published in 2005, The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era and his 2006 work More on “The Coming Civil War.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/right-to-self-defense-black-people-and-nazi-rifle-association-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

The Right to Self-Defense, Black People, and the NAZI Rifle Association

by Joe Veale

July 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

When Philando Castile, a Black man, was stopped by police in Minnesota for a supposed traffic violation, he calmly told the police he had a licensed gun. The pig blew him away, and walked free. And the National Rifle Association—the big defenders of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the “right to bear arms”—suddenly fell silent.

Why? For starters, when this amendment was adopted, Black people were slaves. Said to be only 3/5 of a human being. Black people were made the property of rich white plantation owners. 

The slave ALWAYS wants to kill the slave master. So of course there would be no “right to bear arms,” just as there would be no other rights. In fact, the whole point of this amendment in the first place was to enable slave owners, as well as those who were stealing land from Native American Indians, to form up militias to enforce this thievery, murder and enslavement.

When slavery and capitalism could no longer coexist and slavery was abolished through a Civil War—the system of white supremacy was held in place by Jim Crow and the sharecropping system that served the capitalist system. And this system was held in place by the right of white men to bear arms—to carry out lynching and other forms of terror against Black people.

But the oppressor ALWAYS FEARS those it oppresses. The oppressed ALWAYS want to throw off that which torments them. ALWAYS want to get the boot of oppression off of their necks.   

As Black people came into the cities, the police—still backed up by armed white mobs and the kinds of racist vigilantes who killed Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and Renisha McBride—became the new enforcers of oppression. 

Now we are living in times when those who rule this system have put a straight-up Hitler—a regime of fascists, Nazis, KKK pigs and women-hating thugs—in the driver’s seat to govern their system, to meet the challenges they face in the world.  

Including some of the challenges they face here—bringing down the New Jim Crow on people even harder—because this same system finds it has no profitable use for millions of Black and other oppressed people, leaving them in situations where they are forced to compete with each other in the illegal economy—with its rules of revenge and retaliation.

All this backed up and enforced through this system’s judicial system—which allows murdering pigs to walk over and over—again, again and again—each time they say: “I feared for my life…” as they gun down—in cold blood—a Black person.

Those in the ruling class desperately FEAR Black people exercising their “right” to bear arms in this situation. And now the so-called National Rifle Association—which should more correctly be called the NAZI Rifle Association and which was so silent on Philando Castile—loudly calls on its minions to “bear arms” to help them in this and other atrocities and fascist repression.

When the Oppressed Defend Themselves…

But when the oppressed begin to righteously defend themselves against their oppressor and his violent, illegitimate actions, then that system and all that holds it together can begin to come apart.

The Deacons for Defense and Justice, a Black group, exercised their “right” to defend civil rights activists against white racist lynch mobs, the KKK, and the sheriffs in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama during the 1960s. They did it according to law.

Robert Williams did the same thing in North Carolina, leading armed self-defense of the Black community against the KKK. 

Later, in Oakland, California, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and the Black Panther Party legally armed themselves and patrolled the police to make sure the police would not get away with brutalizing or murdering Black people. 

What did the powers that be do? Did they support, applaud, encourage, and back people for exercising their right to bear arms? HELL NO!

In each case the FBI, together with the KKK and the local police, illegally bugged people—set people up on charges that could mount to decades and life in prison—murdered or attempted to set up people for murder—hounded people out of the country—for exercising the “right” to bear arms—for righteously defending themselves against illegitimate attack, whether carried out by the KKK or the police.    

The oppressor ALWAYS fears those it oppresses exercising the "right" to bear arms. 

Why? Because when the oppressor’s ability to get away with dehumanizing, brutalizing, and murdering people is met with self-defense, then the lines are drawn sharply for everyone in society—and the question is sharply posed:

Who is just in exercising the right to bear arms? Those who represent a system that cannot do without such savage inequality and oppression—or those who exercise the “right” to bear arms to defend themselves against those who enforce such dehumanizing and illegitimate oppression?



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/032/religious-against-christian-fascism.htm

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right

by Dr. Hubert Locke

Reposted July 3, 2017. Originally posted January 29, 2006 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is a reposting of a talk given by Dr. Hubert Locke, which originally appeared in the print issue of Revolution newspaper and online at revcom.us in January 2006. Dr. Locke delivered his talk at the Pacific School of Religion (PSR) in Berkeley on May 17, 2005. Dr. Locke is a retired African-American professor of urban studies, a former trustee and acting president of PSR and former dean of the Daniel J. Evans Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. The views expressed by Dr. Locke are, of course, his own, and he is not responsible for the views expressed elsewhere on revcom.us.

Dr. Locke’s talk was among the voices of religious thinkers and writers as well as clergy people who sounded the alarm on the danger of the growing and powerful Christian fascist movement in this country. This talk has remained very relevant and is quite timely now when Mike Pence—a leader in a Christian fascist movement that aims to impose on society a government, laws, and dominant morality based on strict interpretation of the Bible—is the vice president in a fascist regime in power, with many other Christian fascists in high positions in the government, military, and the courts.

 

I'm always delighted by the opportunity to come and visit my dear friends at PSR but I'm a bit uneasy about what I have been asked to do at the outset of this important meeting. A meditation, by definition, is expected to be thoughtful and reflective; it should be a calm and dispassionate discourse that helps set the mood and atmosphere for whatever is to follow. I hope what follows is thoughtful but I have to forewarn you that it is neither calm nor dispassionate, for I am persuaded we face in our country a movement that is trying its best to hijack this nation in the name of a set of ideals and values it claims to be Christian but which, on examination, are the very antithesis of the Gospel that our Lord preached and by which we, as Jesus' disciples, are challenged to live our lives in the world. If this movement is successful--if it is not stopped in its tracks--it will transform the United States into a political and cultural nightmare that not only turns its back on two hundred years of American history, it will be also one that leaves this nation unrecognizable from all that we have been and all that we might aspire to be as a democratic society.

For me at least, this is the only way to interpret the current campaign by the religious right--an assault on the nation's courts and its judges, an assault on the Constitutional principle of the separation of church and state, an attack on science and its place in the modern world, and an assault on the ideas of tolerance and pluralism in American life. Only a year ago, we thought we were confronting a movement fixated on the issues of abortion and homosexuality as litmus tests of whether one subscribed to moral values in our national life. These turn out to be only the hot-button topics that are used to rally the troops; what is at stake and where the battlelines are now being drawn today are over a wider set of issues and processes far more intrinsic to the way in which this nation conducts its business and makes its policy decisions. The not-so-subtle assault on the principle of the separation of church and state, for example, is an attempt to impose a notion of theocratic rule on this country that died with the Puritan colonists. The attack on the nation's judiciary that takes the form of a crude attempt to pack the courts with jurists who support the right-wing agenda seeks to wipe out any legal opposition to the decrees of state legislatures and a Congress that the religious right believes it has firmly under its sway. And when the president of the National Religious Broadcasters declares "Today, the calls for diversity and multiculturalism are nothing more than thinly-veiled attacks on anyone willing, desirous, or compelled to proclaim Christian truths," his is a thinly-veiled cry to return to a set of ideals and values that this nation demolished when the South lost the Civil War.

The current issue of Harper's magazine describes on its cover what it terms "The Christian Right's War on America." That may be hyperbolic for some but to the extent that it serves as a wake-up call to the rest of the Christian community, I find it wholly appropriate. Let me risk what some might find even greater exaggeration by a reference--not a comparison, mind you, but a reference--to what, for me, has always been the classic modern clash between Christianity and the modern state.

In the aftermath of World War I, the people of three European nations--Italy, Germany and Spain--turned to fascism as a political creed and proceeded to catapult into power governments which promoted fascistic ideals--that peculiar set of notions which manage to combine the interests of unfettered capitalism with excessive nationalism and a totalitarian view of the role of the state that can enforce its will on the populace. In all three countries but particularly in Germany which, unlike Italy and Spain, had more than a single religious tradition among its populace, the church found itself riven by two, diametrically opposed views. One view held that it was the duty of the church to support and uphold the policies of the state which, in turn, would be expected to advance the principles and beliefs of the church; the other that insisted the church owes its allegiance to a different and higher power--one that sits in judgment on the state and on any government that would presume to be a political manifestation of the Divine will.

Because of the cataclysmic devastation that the fascist government of Germany wrought on the world, our attention has tended--and rightly so--to focus on the twelve-year period that it was in power. During that period, James Luther Adams--one of the revered theologians of my generation who taught at Chicago and Harvard--went to Germany as was then the tradition among all newly-minted PhDs where he pursued post-doctoral studies. Adams saw the clash of the church with German fascism first-hand. A quarter-century ago, as he watched the emergence of the religious right in this country as a political force dedicated to "taking back the nation for God," Adams said to his students that they would find themselves having to fight "the Christian fascists" in this nation. He warned that the American fascists would not come wearing swastikas and brown shirts. The American variety, he said, would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

We should make no mistake about what is at stake in this battle with the religious right. It is not happenstance that it is a movement that draws its strength and finds its support principally in the so-called heartland of the nation and especially in its southern precincts. This is the portion of the United States that has never been comfortable with post-WWII America. The brief period of normalcy after the war was followed within a decade by a pent-up and long overdue racial revolution that overturned centuries of culture and tradition, especially in the South. The disillusionment, two decades later, with an unpopular war in southeast Asia shook the foundations of traditional/conventional patriotism in American life; it was followed in the next decade by a sexual revolution that upset deeply entrenched views among this portion of the American populace about the subordinate place of women in society and the non-place of gay and lesbian persons in American life. These political and social and cultural defeats have now erupted into a pitched battle to turn back the clock on the last half-century and return America to its pre-war purity. It is not without significance that teaching creationism in the schools, for example, is such a prominent part of the religious right agenda. That was a battle the right lost in the mid-1920s but it is not one that the right ever acknowledged losing--just as some die-hards have never acknowledged losing the Civil War. Consequently, the restoration the religious right seeks is one that would recapture a way of life that disappeared in this nation a half-century ago.

Were all this only a battle for the hearts and minds of the American people, we could wade into the conflict with a great deal less concern, confident that good sense and human decency would ultimately triumph over ignorance and bigotry. But this is a battle for power--it's about seizing the reins of government, manipulating the courts and judicial decisions, controlling the media, and making incursions into every possible corner of our private lives and relationships, so that what the religious right perceives as the will of God will reign in America.

Our discussion this afternoon and evening, as I understand it, is to determine how this school responds to this situation. It is a discussion that is, thank God, beginning to occur across the country but it is one which has a special compelling urgency for this school. There are at least two reasons for that urgency. In Germany, when the National Socialists came to power and the noise of fascism began to echo throughout the country, the response of the churches came mainly from the pulpits. Here and there, individual theologians spoke out, offering guidance to church councils and synods but by and large the theological faculties were silent, as were the voices of the professoriate in general. That's the first reason why it is important that the seminary be heard early and clearly in this struggle. What is needed is clear theological reflection, theological argumentation, theological challenges to what I believe are the false doctrines, in some instances, and the rank heresies, in others, of the religious right. Those reflections, arguments, and challenges can come best from the theological faculties who can help preachers, parsons and the laity in the mainline Christian community gird themselves for the struggle before us.

Second, this school has staked out for itself a special place in the effort to aid and encourage a religious understanding and embracement of gay and lesbian members in our society. It is, to my knowledge, the only theological institution that has taken up this special challenge and task. The importance of that task has taken on an heightened significance in this larger struggle that I've just tried to describe, and James Luther Adams offers us a poignant reminder of why this is so. Let me cite the last paragraphs of the Harper's article:

Adams had watched American intellectuals and industrialists flirt with fascism in the 1930s. Mussolini's "Corporatism," which created an unchecked industrial and business aristocracy, had appealed to many at the time as an effective counterweight to the New Deal. In 1934, Fortune magazine lavished praise on the Italian dictator for his defanging of labor unions and his empowerment of industrialists at the expense of workers. Then as now, Adams said, too many liberals failed to understand the power and allure of evil, and when the radical Christians came, these people would undoubtedly play by the old, polite rules of democracy long after those in power had begun to dismantle the democratic state. Adams had watched German academics fall silent or conform. He knew how desperately people want to believe the comfortable lies told by totalitarian movements, how easily those lies lull moderates into passivity.

Adams told us to watch closely the Christian right's persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, promised to restore moral values not long after he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications. Then came raids on the places where homosexuals gathered, culminating on May 6, 1933, with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Twelve thousand volumes from the institute's library were tossed into a public bonfire. Homosexuals and lesbians, Adams said, would be the first "deviants" singled out by the Christian right. We would be the next.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/495/challenge-from-a-reader-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

A Challenge from a Reader of revcom.us:

Updated August 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It strikes me there is a profound, urgent need—and basis—for the excerpt from Ardea Skybreak’s new book (SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian. An Interview with Ardea Skybreak) that is reprinted at revcom.us, to impact broadly and deeply in society at this moment—when humanity faces truly an unprecedented crisis. The question of what anyone’s life is going to be about is posed right now in a very immediate way. Does the world have to be this way? And if not, where do I fit into that picture? These are questions that the excerpt from the Skybreak book both articulates and poses... and answers... poetically, with science and soul.

With that thought, I am challenging those who read this to return to that excerpt, or read it now if you have not yet, and write to this website with your thoughts on it.

This challenge has to reach students over summer vacation, in whose hearts and minds there is a wrestling match between angst and outrage that the world is what it is, and the supposed voice of “reason” that this is all the world can be and the best one can do is to just find a place within it. It has to reach angry young people caught in the “life,” wondering if there really is another way, and who need to know that they and others like them who dedicate their lives to the revolution can be a spark that kindles the best in people of all walks of life.

It has to especially reach those young (and some older) fighters and thinkers who over the past period have awakened into political life and are grappling with what to do with their lives.

And there is another audience for this message, which impacted me personally as a veteran revolutionary communist, and which is of a piece with the excerpt from Bob Avakian’s The New Communism on the Cultural Revolution in the RCP (read by Joe Veale at revcom.us). Whether you started working with or joined the Revolution Club this morning, or have been in or around the movement for revolutionary communism for decades (or something in between), the question of what one’s life is about, “for whom and for what,” is posed repeatedly, and periodically, very sharply. Once you understand and decide to throw in with “for whom” being the seven billion people on this planet, and the “what” being emancipation of all humanity, the question of whether to continue to revitalize that in an ever-deepening scientific understanding of how things got to be this way and how they can change—without ever losing but rather continually deepening that connection between the masses and the science—poses itself repeatedly and periodically in defining ways.

So again, and with all that in mind, I want to challenge those who read this passage to correspond on it with revcom.us.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/breaking-with-culture-of-me-me-me-individualism-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Breaking with “Self” in a Culture of “Me, Me, Me” Individualism

July 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

What really stood out to me in the excerpt was this notion of “self” in a culture of “me me me” individualism that is a result of capitalism and imperialism, especially in the U.S. & this whole idea of putting “America first” making people think we need to be putting ourselves first and basically saying “fuck you” to everyone else in the world. Or that our careers or “making it” in the system is the only real way we can make a change in it, which is absolute bullshit!

There does come a time when you confront reality and the truth and realize how toxic this system really is for everyone in the world, even for the people who benefit from it. The way this system teaches everyone to narrow their scope of the world and how that it’s so deep-rooted that selfishness is popularized as something innate or “natural” for human beings is so toxic and is a big part of what keeps people subjected to and perpetuating this system. It’s a completely toxic cycle that needs to be broken from if we really want to make a revolution. It’s so difficult to break from since it’s the very culture we live under, but it’s necessary since there’s no other way other than revolution and communism that will get rid of the horrors that capitalism-imperialism has created and continues to create.

Another important point that Ardea Skybreak makes is giving your heart to humanity, and any one single instance of white supremacy, patriarchy, exploitation, oppression, etc. is enough to want to make a revolution. And she is completely right. Every time I even see small instances amongst my friends or family getting hurt, or made to feel less than human because of who they are as women, as people of color, as gay, trans, as undocumented etc., it hurts me so much and every time I think to myself how much it does not have to be this way and is just more motivation for me to want to make a revolution and be a part of this and that’s just on a small scale.

On the larger scale, horrible things are inflicted on humanity every single day as a result of this system, and it can be seen on the news and these things are just accepted as the way things are. But no! This shouldn’t be the way things are, and all of the examples that Skybreak makes are the few of millions of examples, from fucked-up social relations to people getting murdered and killed.

I also really appreciated her comment on looking in the mirror and realizing that we know too much to not want to do something and to change society in a radical way for humanity. And it’s so easy to get pulled into our own personal lives and to carve out a comfortable niche under capitalism, or now fascism, but once you know that there’s a way out to all of this, how could you go back to being comfortable?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/497/carl-dix-trump-sends-federal-agents-into-chicago-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

The Advance Guard of a Reign of Terror on Top of Centuries of Savage Oppression!

TRUMP SENDS FEDERAL AGENTS INTO CHICAGO!

by Carl Dix

June 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The fascist in chief, Donald Trump, tweeted, “Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help.” He has been threatening to send the feds in to fix the violence in Chicago since his inauguration. Now 20 additional agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have been assigned to Chicago to work with the police to deal with gun violence.

The Trump regime blames Black people for the violence in Chicago. When asked what’s driving this violence at a press briefing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “I think that the problem there [Chicago] is pretty clear that it’s a crime problem. I think that crime is probably driven more by morality than anything else.” A representative of a president who wakes up in the morning to spew out women-hating tweets and lies on an almost daily basis, and more, has no basis to question anybody’s morality.

And even worse, they’re blaming Black people for what the system is responsible for. It’s the capitalist-imperialist system that creates the conditions that have young Black people caught up in killing each other. The system has segregated Black people into torn-up communities with few legitimate ways to survive and raise families. The system has geared the educational system to fail the youth. And it has given the police a green light to brutalize and even murder Black people. This leaves people with no way to be somebody except to take up the street life and its code of revenge and retaliation.

Sending the feds into Chicago won’t do anything good for Black people, or anybody else. This is the fascist Trump/Pence regime seizing on the way so many Black people are caught up in killing each other to make Chicago ground zero for an overall offensive against Black people. These ATF agents are the advance guard of an overall program that will bring a reign of terror down on Black people. Along with sending in federal agents, the Trump/Pence regime will dole out a few jobs to enlist people as enforcers for their fascist program, destroy the public schools, and send students to schools that will turn them into Christian fundamentalist drones who are unable to think or resist.

This reign of terror will be on top of the centuries of oppression this system has already perpetrated against Black people. This country built up its wealth and power on the basis of enslaving generations of African people. It continued to brutally exploit and oppress Black people for decades as sharecroppers on the same plantations where many had been slaves, subjecting them to Jim Crow segregation and lynch mob terror. In cities like Chicago, Black people have been bled dry thru cruel and perverse new forms of exploitation and oppression. Now Trump has a program that would take all this to a whole other level, speeding up the slow genocide this system has already been inflicting on Black people.

The fascist threats and measures of the Trump/Pence regime have reached epidemic proportions—the Muslim travel ban; deporting even more immigrants than the deporter in chief, Barack Obama; tweets that drip with hatred of women and attacks on women’s rights; destroying the feeble measures the U.S. had taken to address the devastation of the environment; military aggression and threats of even more aggression; intensifying the War on Drugs and taking the gloves off the police, who have been getting away with murdering Black people again and again. And now, beginning to send the feds to Chicago. All this calls for resistance that is commensurate to the horrors being perpetrated—resistance that aims to drive this regime from office.

And as part of doing that, everybody who hates injustice has to call out Trump sending federal agents to Chicago for what it really is—part of an overall offensive that aims to beat Black people down so far, they could never do anything about the oppression this system enforces on them. And everybody MUST firmly oppose this!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/496/june-24-communique-from-the-revolution-club-in-chicago-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

June 24, 2017
Communiqué from the Revolution Club in Chicago

WE CANNOT STAND ASIDE WITH ARMS FOLDED, WHILE THE PIGS CARRY OUT MURDER AND ARE NEVER PUNISHED!!!

Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma. Philando Castile in Minnesota. Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati. And now, Sylville Smith in Milwaukee. Each of these human beings was murdered by police. Each of their killers walked free, three in the past week alone.

This is how capitalist, white supremacist dictatorship comes down on Black people. Murdered for simply existing. Then the blue-suited killer goes free. Then the pigs blanket the area where Black people live and threaten, hem in, harass and arrest those who protest. The rights this system claims to guarantee—to protest, to bear arms, to be free from police contact without probable cause that you committed a crime, to be respected in your human dignity—are meaningless mockery. And now, with Trump, this will get—and is already getting—even worse!

No! No more! The Revolutionary Communist Party Central Committee says this:

We need to oppose and disrupt the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, “encircle,” brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution. We need to “encircle” them—by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.
(from HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution)

Right now, as part of this, the Revolution Club in Chicago is spreading whistles throughout the communities under attack. When the police roll into the community, do not run away. Stay outside and blow your whistle. Take out your phones and start filming. Post up around their cars. Call the Revolution Club right away. THESE PIGS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO ILLEGALLY AND IMMORALLY CARRY OUT MURDER AND COVER IT UP! The people have a right to resist and prevent such murder.

Then, yes, be part of protest. The Revolution Club organizes, and joins with protest—protest that does not respect their rules... protest that should be built as part of getting ready for REVOLUTION.

This revolution means something specific. It is not just a phrase. This revolution overturns and dismantles the system’s illegitimate instruments of violent repression. This revolution brings in a whole new power, backing up a different economic system and different relations between people. This revolution will make police murder and repression no more, for as BA has said, “if we had state power ... we would sooner have one of our own people’s police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses.” (BAsics 2:16) This revolution—the communist revolution—aims to GET RID OF EXPLOITATION AND OPPRESSION, all over the world, not just smooth it out... or get in on it.

We have the leader of the revolution, Bob Avakian, BA, who has shown the way and charted the path to make this revolution. We have the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by BA, that shows the solution to the madness of this system. We have a strategy to make this revolution, and we are organized into the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Revolution Club to carry this all the way through.

The Revolution Club is clear and straight-up: yes, the young people of Chicago must get out of the madness of killing and retaliating against each other. But the pigs are part of the problem—they are the enforcers of the problem—they are NOT part of the solution, in any way, shape or form. Get with the Revolution Club and be part of ending this madness as soon as possible.

Go to revcom.us every day.

And get in touch with the Revolution Club in Chicago at (312) 804-9121 or come to the organizing center at 1857 E. 71st Street, Chicago, Illinois 60649.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/495/check-it-out-pass-it-over-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Check It Out:

Pass Over, by Antoinette Nwandu

June 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Pass Over, by Antoinette Nwandu, is a pathbreaking play focusing on two young Black men, Moses and Kitch, trapped in the bleak and blasted-out city landscape that could be located either off Fury Road near Thunderdome or a few miles south or west of the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, where the play is being put on. 

Nwandu mashes up Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett,* and the Exodus myth in the Bible—and comments on both in doing so—to give you the humor, aching dreams, humanity and essential predicament of two characters you don't see on the stage very often. Nwandu gives you two characters who will make you laugh (in an interview, she wishes for a world in which they could be seen in the “same family tree as Laurel and Hardy, and Abbott and Costello”) and make you cry. She combines surreal symbolism—which in this case doesn't come off as just “wow, that's weird” but a twisting and exaggeration that lets you see into the inner core of reality—to get you to ask who and what confines these youth. Where is Egypt today? Who is Pharaoh and who are his soldiers? Who really is that strange and seemingly naive white man in the ice-cream suit on his way to “mother's house,” offering a picnic basket full of goodies to Moses and Kitch? Can we rely on the old myths to get free—or is the case, as the play's character Moses says at one point, that that river Jordan ain't for us? Can people transform...and how? And how entrenched are the forces that stand against that? Decades ago a French dramatist, Antonin Artaud, called for theater that would have the urgency of someone burning at the stake who was trying to signal through the flames—Pass Over is in that tradition. 

I hate it when reviewers give away too much of the content of whatever it is they're reviewing, so normally I'd say no more about the play other than to recommend people go see it. But Hedy Weiss, the theater critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, created a controversy by attacking the play for its allegedly one-sided treatment of white cops and, according to her, its failure to speak to the horror of Black youth gunning down each other. So—spoiler alert—some of the actual content must be discussed. But let's just say this: the play cuts right to the essence of how the police treat Black and Brown youth—and in the part of the play Weiss objects to, there is no need for surreal exaggeration, and Nwandu gives you what could pass for a dash-cam documentary, to great effect. As for the argument that the play does not deal with Black youth killing each other: on one level, this is idiotic. Since when do you criticize what an artistic work does deal with by saying it should have dealt with something else? Further, Weiss apparently missed a crucial scene in the play in which that phenomenon IS in fact directly dealt with and another in which it is clearly being touched on. But beyond that—objectively, the play does approach this problem in a deep way by implication and provides a context in which a theater-goer (and Weiss somewhat sneeringly refers to Steppenwolf's “white liberal” audience) could begin to understand that. 

The heart of the matter is this: the core truth of Bob Avakian's quote from BAsics—that the police “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”—comes to life here. And this is what Weiss does not like.

To their credit, Anna Shapiro, Steppenwolf's artistic director, and David Schmitz, the executive director, fired back at Weiss, and other critics, who “revealed at best the ignorance of the critic and at worst, a racial bias that, when captured in print, wounded many people of color in this community and their allies, and served as a horrendous reminder of how far we still have to come in terms of racial equity in this community.”

This is the kind of theater that is needed right now. If you are at all close to Chicago, see this play.

 

* Waiting for Godot is a play by Samuel Beckett, written in the mid-20th century. Two tramps—Vladimir and Estragon—wait in a bleak landscape for someone (a person? A god? Something else? It is not made clear) named Godot who never shows up. The play—which was both very bleak and very funny, very poetic and very philosophical—was hugely influential artistically, and could be understood as putting forward a certain view of “the human condition” which tended to negate the quest for a significance or value to existence larger than the humanity with which people dealt with each other in their personal relationships. [back]

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/michael-slate-interviews-historian-peter-fritzsche-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Michael Slate Interviews Historian Peter Fritzsche

How ordinary Germans became supporters of Hitler and the Nazis, and complicit in unspeakable horror

July 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is from an interview with Peter Fritzsche on April 21, 2017, on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio. Revolution/revcom.us features interviews from The Michael Slate show to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those interviewed are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere by Revolution/revcom.us.

Michael Slate: Historian Peter Fritzsche is the author of Life and Death in the Third Reich and An Iron Wind: Europe Under Hitler and one that really knocked me out, Germans into Nazis. And we’re talking about how ordinary Germans became supporters of Hitler and the Nazis, and complicit in unspeakable horrors. Peter, welcome to the show.

Peter Fritzsche: Glad to be here Michael. Thanks.

Michael Slate: Let’s jump right into it. Let’s talk about how Germany became a fascist country, ruled by a brutal dictator for more than 10 years.

Peter Fritzsche: There are two extraordinary events that happened in the early 1930s. One is the huge rise of the votes for Hitler, between 1930 and 1933. He topped out at 37 percent, and in the parliamentary system, coming from nowhere, that’s a huge number. And that gave him a kind of democratic legitimacy. Moreover, he had a press empire. He had thousands of supporters. He had paramilitary troops, so he had real political power that was visible to almost all Germans by 1932, 1933, but he didn’t have everybody. There were millions of socialists, millions of communists, millions of Catholic voters who were not necessarily for Hitler. But within 100 days of the last election in Germany in March 1933, he had completely dismantled democracy, prohibited all political parties and was riding a wave of popular enthusiasm that historians today are still trying to understand....

Michael Slate: This is one of the things I think we really have to dig into because you can see it happening now. It actually has a lot of potential for repetition, here. The whole point of this popular myth around how Nazi rule in Germany was imposed. You’ve argued in your books that there actually was a reason why Germans became Nazis.

Peter Fritzsche: There is a factor of imposition. They did imprison tens of thousands of socialists and communists in 1933. But this was a popular movement and Nazism was popular because it was different. It wasn’t a “big business” party. It was not associated with middle class interest groups and it was not associated in the minds of its voters with socialism, communism, and internationalism. It was a third way that combined, in the minds of Nazi voters, social progressive policies that would invite workers back into the nation, but would also think, “Germany First,” that Germany had been humiliated, [by] the Treaty of Versailles. It needed to gather all its national energies in order to act on the international stage and recover economically. So, the name of the Nazi party is NSDAP. That means “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.” That acronym is basically the explanation for why the Nazis were able to profile themselves as a new and different force, especially in economically bad times when people were rejecting what they called “the system,” in droves.

Michael Slate: One of the things that really troubled me is when I’m reading this and I’m studying this stuff and reading your books, I keep thinking, in addition to the people who were really jumping into the Nazis and loving the Nazis, they liked the new society but they didn’t like the Nazis. They sort of managed to find some kind of common ground where they became involved in everything that the Nazis were doing on the ground in the country at the time. This actually means that they accepted a lot of the stuff that was the buildup to and pretty quickly, the horrendous stuff, the unspeakable stuff that was done by the Nazis.

Peter Fritzsche: Yeah, it’s a great question and I make a distinction between Nazis and the Third Reich. And you could love the Third Reich, you could support the national revolution of 1933, but not necessarily love the Nazis down the block. And in a dictatorship it’s much easier for corrupt, nepotistic local leaders to be quite powerful. And there’s no doubt that lots of Germans mistrusted the local Brown Shirts in the neighborhood. But the big revolution, “The National Revolution” as it was called, and the larger project of building a Third Reich, of healing the divisions of German history, of creating a sort of ethnic consciousness that would make Germany strong again both inside and outside its borders—that was indeed widely accepted and won increasing assent. Indeed in 1945, many, many Germans blamed the Nazis for betraying and destroying the Third Reich.

Michael Slate: At the same time as you’re talking about all this, there was sort of this point about people themselves turning a blind eye at best and sometimes actually justifying a lot of horrendous things that the Nazis ended up doing. There were all the people that they took out along the way, but then there were also the Jewish people. Reading your books I sort of got a sense of, OK, but people turned a blind eye to this and then sometimes even sort of welcomed this as necessary.

Peter Fritzsche: Something happened in 1918, when Germany lost the war. [Millions of Germans were convinced that this defeat happened because] it was betrayed from within. And the only way you’re going to get your affluent, peaceable, ethnic community is to slay the enemies that betrayed you in 1918. Who exactly those enemies were, people differed [on]. They could be communists. It could be the Jews. It could be someone else. But they understood that there had to be eradication, cleansing, violence in order to reach the desired community imagined in the golden ages of the past, but also then projected onto the future. So, there was a willingness to accept ruthlessness and a willingness to say, “Well, we can’t have Judeo-Christian morality. We have to think as Germans and determine our actions on the basis on what helps Germany.”

Never before in modern history have people so identified their individuals with the body of the nation. And thinking like that means, if you think in terms of betrayal, if you think in terms of a Germany that somehow was lost could be regained, then you have to move against the betrayers. You have to move against the treasonists. That was the communists and that was the Jews. So, there was a lot of complicity, people were complicit in accepting Nazi violence. I don’t think the Germans would have voted for the Holocaust, but they accepted the exclusion of people who had previously been considered German citizens, because they had an ethnic based idea of the German future.

And this proceeded extraordinarily quickly. Within weeks of when the Nazis won their last election people became experts on the “Jewish Question.” How many percent of Jews should be lawyers, should be doctors. Had Jews proven themselves in WW 1? However you framed the question, the Jews were different. And that was the first step: the violent exclusion of people who are otherwise your neighbors, simply by saying, “Heil Hitler” instead of “good day.” You changed every day interactions. And so the exclusion of Jews from German life, called the “cold pogrom,” happened as much from below as it did from regime proclamations. It wasn’t necessarily, at first, a brutal violence, but it was the exclusion of your Jewish neighbors from the newly defined German community. And people wanted the Third Reich and [were] therefore willing to accept, even if they did think that there were what they called “excesses,” were willing to accept them, because they thought in ethnic terms and the Jews were on the other side.

Michael Slate: In your book Life and Death in the Third Reich, you talk about a lot of towns, a lot of cities where Jews would disappear and or people would see them getting on the trains or being trucked out, and then they would rush to get their belongings, or buy their belongings at a local flea market or take over their apartments, which is a level of complicity that is sort of astounding.

Peter Fritzsche: It’s extraordinary. Now, of course most people weren’t involved in that, but a lot of people were. The fact that Jews were being deported in the fall of 1941, and again in the spring and summer of 1942, was known. Then, often visibly, the Jews were brought to the train stations via buses or marches or on the streetcars. The apartments were then emptied and auctions were held. And auctions were advertised in the newspapers. And then people, you can read this in the diaries, had to make decisions whether they were going to buy Jewish linen and sleep in them or whether they weren’t.

Michael Slate: There are some chilling comparisons with the current Trump/Pence regime in the U.S., and anybody who’s listening to this show had to have thought that well before I just said that. There’s a lot of chilling comparisons with regard to immigrants and oppressed nationalities and deportations, arrests, demonization, police terror, etc. Let’s talk about that.

Peter Fritzsche: I ask my students when I teach my Holocaust class, “Why were people not outraged back then?” What outrage is happening to us today, that our grandchildren will say, “Why weren’t you outraged?” And I have two answers. Specifically, one is our huge prison population, which is four times more than our percentage of people in the world, and the willingness to see illegal immigrants and their families being torn apart. This isn’t yet a mass movement but it is happening here in Illinois. They took the guy who owned the Fiesta Café from a downstate restaurant and held him there for six weeks till there was so much outcry. But this is happening. Go to El Paso. Go to Nogales. Go to the border towns. People are scared. People are being taken because they’re presumed to be illegal and “illegal” under the new administration means also probably more criminal. And that means you’re assigning evil features to a collective group. This is very dangerous.

More dangerous is the idea that somehow we lost America; that America somewhere in the past was great, but it hasn’t been, but it could be again. That means your enemies are small in number but sinister and you have to get rid of them; if only we had not done these, and these, and these things. That creates internal enemies. That kind of thinking is extremely dangerous, that there was a wholesome America and now we’re going to get it back. And we’re going to get it back by eliminating, or getting rid of, or somehow undoing the harm between then and now.

And does that mean getting rid of civil rights? Does that mean getting rid of simple empathy when we talk about 11-year-old children, or 15-year-old children, or 17-year-old children who were, perhaps, not born in this country but belong in it? It’s a whole question of how we define “belong.”

That’s what’s happening.

Michael Slate: Yeah.

Peter Fritzsche: And if you change the definition of “belonging,” you’re policing that new border.

Michael Slate: Wow! Yes. Absolutely! Peter, one more question. When I first approached you about coming onto the show, I wrote to you and told you what I wanted to talk about in this first edition, because you are going to be back in about two weeks, I think. And you wrote back to me: “Remember this; no one could save Jews in 1942 in front of the gates of Auschwitz. You could only save those who would later and at that point unknowingly be murdered if you accepted refugees in 1938. That is, poor, non-English-speaking, possibly communist refugees, and that of course, was not done.” Let’s talk about that.

Peter Fritzsche: It was not done and you can look at the acts of Congress. So, we all would vote. We would all say: “No, no, don’t gas people in Auschwitz!” Of course. You’re not saving people from the gates of Auschwitz. You’re saving homeless, persecuted, lonely, scared people in 1938, with all of their foibles. They’re called refugees, and they could be us.

I was in Syria 10 years ago. I never imagined, could never imagine this. And now, so many millions of the people in that country, perhaps people I met, have no home, and no future.

Michael Slate: Alright, Peter. I want to thank you very much for joining us today.

Peter Fritzsche: Well, thank you Michael.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/what-everybody-knows-about-north-korea-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Michael Slate Interviews History Professor Bruce Cumings

What "Everybody Knows" about North Korea—and the Real History of U.S. Aggression

July 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Friday, June 30, after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Donald Trump once again threatened North Korea with military aggression: “The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed and frankly, that patience is over.”

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is an oppressive regime—not a revolutionary socialist state—a reactionary force in the world. For months now, the fascist Trump/Pence regime has threatened it, saying “all options” are on the table if Kim Jong-un does not end the country’s nuclear weapons program. Trump says he wants North Korea to be “dealt with rapidly” and his National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster says that every option being prepared involves a U.S. military attack. So now there is a real danger of a U.S. military attack, possibly including nuclear weapons, which could lead to the deaths of millions in the region.

The following is from a June 9, 2017 interview with author and professor Bruce Cumings on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio. The U.S. rulers and media paint North Korea as the aggressor. But as Bruce Cumings reveals, there is a long history of U.S. war, threats and intervention against North Korea.

Revolution/revcom.us features interviews from The Michael Slate Show to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports, and politics. The views expressed by those interviewed are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere by Revolution/revcom.us.

Michael Slate: In your book, Inventing the Axis of Evil, the truth about North Korea, Iran, and Syria, you make a point I thought was important for people to understand, which is that the United States terrorized North Korea with nuclear weapons during and after the Korean War, and was the only power to introduce nuclear weapons to Korean soil. So there’s a lot that’s just unknown by people even as the U.S. puts out all this stuff about how the North Koreans are crazy and they’re playing with nukes.

Bruce Cumings: It’s a little bit like the invasion of Iraq in 2003, where most people, including a lot of liberals, accepted the fact that Saddam Hussein was a vicious dictator who had WMDs, and there was no real background given; for example, our support of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s in the war with Iran.

Then we have a war, and the war goes very badly. It’s still a complete catastrophe. And all this history comes out. And if we were to go to war with North Korea, which has seemed closer under the Trump administration than it has been in some time, all of this would come out about the U.S. running an operation called Hudson Harbor in 1951, where B29s dropped dummy atomic bombs on North Korea to see whether they might be useful against troop concentrations and cities. President Eisenhower, toward the end of the war in May 1953, tested one of the largest atomic bombs ever tested, and also shot the first atomic cannon. And this was all put on the front pages of newspapers, and was intended to bring an end to the war and intimidate North Korea and China. And then as you said, in 1958, we installed hundreds of nuclear weapons, battlefield tactical weapons and short-range warheads on missiles, into South Korea. So we’re the first ones to introduce nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, and kept them there until 1991, when they were withdrawn on a world scale because the Pentagon felt that precision-guided high explosives, but non-nuclear weapons, would cause fewer problems. You wouldn’t have radiation and collateral damage [as you would] from nuclear weapons. So we drew them back.

We drew them back. But you can leave it to Donald Trump to tell you what the North Koreans still face, which is, for example, a Trident submarine, sometimes called Armageddon in one sausage tube. He mentioned that two of our nuclear submarines were off of North Korea last week. This is of course classified information. He’s not supposed to say that. He doesn’t know that. But the fact is that one of our nuclear submarines, or all of them, could run right up to the North Korean coast and obliterate North Korea in a matter of hours.

Colin Powell back in 1995, which should give your listeners an idea of how long this problem has been going on—it’s really 25 years we’ve been dealing with the North Korean nuclear problem—Colin Powell said if they ever used a nuclear weapon in anger, the U.S. would turn North Korea into a charcoal briquette.

I just want to say one more thing about that. If you imagine North Korea as the Green Team against the Blue Team, rather than the Evil Kim Jong-un with his crazy haircut against the always-perfect United States, you can see what they’re up against. It’s a small country, and the largest power in the world is constantly threatening it with nuclear annihilation. President Obama did this too. He routinely sent nuclear-capable B1 and B2 bombers over South Korea for exercises. So it’s a very dangerous situation, and I think it’s incumbent on Americans to put themselves in the shoes of the North Koreans and look at the world that they face, quite apart from all of our media stereotypes about how crazy they are, and how dangerous they are.

Michael Slate: When you want to talk about crazy and dangerous, you say that North Korea would not have had nukes if the U.S. had actually kept its word in the past.

Bruce Cumings: People who follow the situation closely, and high officials in the Clinton administration like Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Wendy Sherman, her very close aide on North Korea, have written about this—Bill Clinton nearly struck North Korea with a preemptive attack against their nuclear facility in June 1994. It was only later that people realized, or came to understand, how close we were to a war with North Korea at that time. But Jimmy Carter intervened when he heard about all of this. He flew to Pyongyang and talked directly with Kim Il-sung and got a freeze on all of North Korea’s plutonium.

It’s very important to underline that that freeze was completely monitored and checked for eight years, 24/7. You had UN inspectors on the ground, closed-circuit cameras watching it at all times. The reactors were sealed. And of course we know with our intelligence when a reactor starts up. So there’s no question. The North Koreans didn’t have an ounce of plutonium from 1994 to 2002. However, George W. Bush had already put North Korea in his Axis of Evil in 2002. Then in September he announced his preemptive doctrine, for which the euphemism was “anticipatory self defense.” And North Korea, along with Iran and especially Iraq, were listed as the countries for which this policy was developed. He then went ahead, of course, to invade Iraq in March of 2003, which was really a preventive war rather than anticipatory self-defense. We don’t need to get into this, but Saddam Hussein was actually writing a novel at the time and trying to do everything he could not to provoke the U.S.

After that happened, North Korea just said as openly and loudly as it could, Saddam Hussein didn’t have nuclear weapons. If he had had them, he wouldn’t have been overthrown. That’s not going to happen to us. They got back their plutonium, kicked out the inspectors, and systematically began building atomic weapons, and tested the first one just three years later, in 2006.

I don’t think it’s a partisan judgment, but a factual statement to say that George W. Bush had two enormous catastrophes on his hands. One is the invasion of Iraq, which basically wrecked the Middle East since 2003. And second, he is the primary person responsible for North Korea getting nuclear weapons. And I think many experts believe that. Madeleine Albright has written about that. But it doesn’t get out in the media at all, in part because so many of our people want to say, well, that’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. We’re not to sound partisan.

Michael Slate: One of the things you talk about is that most recently, the use of agreements, etc., have been kicked to the curb, that there’s an assumption that no one has been able to rein in the nuts in North Korea and their nuke program, and it’s time to fight or topple. Let’s talk about that.

Bruce Cumings: People routinely say that North Korea has always cheated and never has kept to its agreements. And I don’t know where they’re coming from because it’s simply not true. In addition to the plutonium agreement, the freeze and the missile deal, North Korea in 2000 also opened relations with many of our allies. So they have diplomatic relations with Canada and Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy. We’re one of the last countries not to have relations with North Korea, still trying to isolate it. But the fact is, North Korea was really reaching out, and then they faced the wall of hostility from Bush.

It is true, that if we continue to intimidate North Korea with nuclear weapons, and bring them into the theater by submarines and air power, anybody in North Korea would get a deterrent. In that sense, the critics of North Korea are right that North Korea, when it felt intimidated over many, many years, eventually developed nuclear weapons. It might have happened anyway. But the fact is we did have agreements with them that kept them from moving to nuclear weapons.

Finally, I would say in response to your question, that the discourse about North Korea under Trump has just been absurd, in that Trump, as I said, talked about our nuclear submarines off the coast. He has threatened North Korea. He’s also said he’d like to talk to Kim Jung-un over a hamburger. That might be the better way to go. But he’s so erratic, and the one thing the North Koreans notice is the submarines, the two aircraft carrier task forces that are in Northeast Asian waters right now. What Trump has done privately or secretly, or what the Pentagon has done, is just jam a bunch of hardware up against North Korea.

Meanwhile, our press, and that includes not just Fox News, but CNN and MSNBC, are constantly running scare stories about North Korea. I saw on CNN that Ana Navarro, one of their frequent commentators, even referred to Kim by his first name, saying, “Little boy Un is a maniac.” She probably thought that was his last name. But that’s the level of discourse that we’ve had about North Korea under Trump.

Michael Slate: You’ve also made a point, and I think this is really important, that there’s a whole different perception of the problem, the source of danger, in relation to nukes in Korea. There’s an epistemology that is always bad no matter when it’s used, which is based on “everybody knows.” And that is a very dangerous thing in relation to this. In reality there’s a long history, as you’ve been saying, of nuclear threats against North Korea itself. In fact, the U.S. has recently installed the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea. Let’s talk about those two things.

Bruce Cumings: Well, that was one of the more cynical ploys on the part of the United States in recent years. This Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was jammed into South Korea while the current president, at the time President Park Geun-hye was being impeached, and before the election that was held earlier this month, which brought a progressive to power.

The U.S. fears that Moon Jae-in, the new president, will be an engager of North Korea like his mentor, Roh Moo-hyun, who was president from 2002 to 2007. So they wanted to get that system in and installed before the new president came into office. And he just complained last week that four launchers were brought in without his permission, or without his office being notified about that. In other words, we are continuing to add to the system even after he’s president without telling him.

There’s just an outrageous situation in our relationship with South Korea. We never have problems with the ruling party that goes back to the dictators, but we always have problems with liberals and progressives who want to try a different approach toward North Korea. The only time that has not been true was when Bill Clinton and William Perry brought American policy around to engagement for two years, 1998-2000. That’s the only time we’ve had direct talks with the North Koreans that have really yielded so much.

But I would expect that President Trump is not going to like President Moon very well, and we’ll see a lot of tension in their relationship, just as there was between George W. Bush and Roh Moo-hyun in the early 2000s.

I want to say one more thing about the THAAD system. It’s really designed not to knock down North Korean missiles. North Korea has short- to medium-range missiles that it can launch by the dozens, and there’s no way this THAAD system can knock them down. It’s really there to monitor North Korean long-range missiles and Chinese missile tests and long-range missiles. The Chinese have complained mightily about this.

I think the THAAD system’s installation in South Korea was primarily political, in that it was trying to get it in there before a progressive president was elected, and to do what the U.S. has been trying to do for many, many years, which is to weld South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. together in an alignment, or an alliance, to contain China. It doesn’t really have much to do at all with the so-called North Korean threat. But it has a lot to do with pissing off China and making sure the system’s in there before a president comes to power who might not like it.

Michael Slate: Just how dangerous is this situation, both in terms of war and even the impact of war on human survival?

Bruce Cumings: I’m in touch with 30 or 40 people who work on North Korea, former government officials, scholars. Somehow North Korea’s become the big deal. We have 15 or 20 websites dealing with it now that we never had 10 or 15 years ago. But in the last couple of months, I’ve seen time and again, very well-informed experts worrying about the U.S. and North Korea coming to blows. It could come from an incident that ratchets up into a war, or it could come from a preemptive attack. There was a great deal of talk back in March and April about Trump people favoring a preemptive attack on North Korea, on its missiles. You can’t really attack their nuclear facilities preemptively without letting loose a whole lot of radiation around the region.

There was almost a consensus inside the Beltway in the fall and winter that if North Korea keeps moving toward an ability to hit the United States with a long-range missile and a nuclear weapon, well we just have to think about preempting that. And it’s very, very dangerous, because along the DMZ, there have been cycles of preemption and counter-preemption both happening and envisioned by the respective militaries, North Korea, South Korea and the U.S., going back decades, going back to the Korean War. So to add the threat of a preemptive attack on North Korea’s missiles is to just come close to bringing forth the general war in the region that we talked about.

Dr. Bruce Cumings is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in History at the University of Chicago, and author of many books, including The Korean War, and Inventing the Axis of Evil, the Truth about North Korea, Iran and Syria (contributor).

 

 


 

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

Revolution #498 July 3, 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/498/thousands-in-the-streets-at-los-angeles-impeach-march-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Thousands in the Streets at Los Angeles Impeach March—with Big Presence of the “NO”

July 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Sunday, July 2—Several thousand people took to the streets in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday in the Impeach March, one of a number of marches demanding impeachment of Trump that took place across the country. The march was lively as protestors chanted, “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA” and “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Donald Trump has got to go.” Refuse Fascism had a militant contingent that chanted, “No Ban, No Wall, the Trump Regime Must Fall,” and “Danger, Danger, Fascist in the White House. It’s up to us to drive them out.” The contingent passed out tons of “NO!” signs that became one of the main signs carried by people in the march. The contingent also announced the demonstration to drive out the Trump/Pence regime that will take place on July 15 across the country, including in Hollywood in LA.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/another-day-in-the-hood-until-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

From the Revolution Club in Chicago:

Another Day In the 'Hood—Until...

July 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Sunday of the July 4th weekend, three members of the Revolution Club pulled into a South Side Chicago neighborhood to catch up with some people about the upcoming anti-4th of July picnic. On a stretch of the block where there are usually a lot of people around, it was empty and police were roaming around in the yard of an abandoned house. The revcoms started blowing whistles, and some people gathered while others nearby hung around watching.

The pigs in the yard turned around at the sound of the whistles and came towards where the revcoms were blowing whistles, walking out of the yard. They were trying to laugh it off and make fun of it, as they were heading back towards their car to leave. People were digging that the whistles were having an effect on the police. The pigs decided not to leave. They sat in their car and one of them started yelling out to the people gathered around that if this kept going, they were going to come down harder on people there.

Some people started telling the revcoms they should stop blowing the whistles so that the pigs will leave. Some started saying if you keep doing this, when you leave they are going to come back and come after us. Others said to keep it up, that these police mess with them all the time, and some who had whistles periodically added in their own whistle-blowing. The revcoms spoke and agitated to people: yes, they will come back, if you stand here and stand up to them, they will try to make you pay for it—because that is the whole point of what their role is: they are here to enforce the conditions they’ve got you in, they are the overseers keeping you on the plantation, they are here to keep you in your place and they want you to bow down, to obey, to run from them. They don’t want you to stand up, they don’t want you to get with the revolution. But there’s no way to freedom without a cost, there’s no way to fight to get rid of this system without going THROUGH THEM. The revolutionaries will stand with you, and every time they hit, we will bring forward more forces for revolution and strengthen the ability of people to fight back, and lead people to fight all the way through to get rid of the whole system these pigs are enforcing.

The pigs had called a sergeant onto the scene and they began gathering up like they were getting ready to move on the revcoms. There were about 20 people around—nobody had left and a couple more had gathered, but people were still weighing where they stood in relation to all this. Then, two guys who are known and respected in the neighborhood walked right up to the revcoms, a few feet away from where the police had lined up in a stand-off, and hugged one of them, calling him by name and thanking him for what the revolutionaries were doing. This changed things. The guys knew very well that they were making themselves a target to the police by stepping forward in this way, but they felt compelled to stand with the revolutionaries in this situation. And in doing so, they set an example for others around. The pigs shifted to making more outright and explicit threats, and at the same time the people around got firmer in their own support for the revcoms and standing with them.

One pig in particular, nicknamed GI Joe by the masses, started saying, “Nobody gets a pass around here anymore,” but at that point, the more they huffed and puffed, the less intimidating they looked. His tough guy posturing just looked more and more ridiculous as he zeroed his frown in on one of the revolutionaries trying to look intimidating and that elementary schoolyard shit wasn’t working. One youth joked afterwards that this pig thought he was Denzel Washington in Training Day (and for those who have seen the movie, all the threats made by Denzel’s character didn’t make the people go along).

Eventually, the pigs had to back off, reduced to oinking and snorting out threats as they left, promising to come back and find any excuse—and no excuse—to retaliate and come down hard on people there. Even while some people were predicting, “Somebody over here is going to go to jail tonight,” there was an air of celebration as the pigs drove off. People came up asking for whistles and Revolution—Nothing Less! t-shirts and put them on right there. Up and down the block people were in conversation with the revolutionaries—talking about how to get organized to stand up against attempts by the pigs to retaliate, and talking about what the revolution is about and what it means to get organized for revolution. People were watching clips of Bob Avakian and getting introduced to the leadership we have for how to fight, how to win, and how to make a revolution that is worth winning, to get to the emancipation of all humanity.

This is promising. But the revcoms know that this can’t be a one-shot feel-good one day thing—the organizing has to be done for real, and people from this neighborhood can’t just hold it down here, they have to be part of spreading this citywide.

The revcoms also know that the pigs will try to make good on their threats. But it is clear, right from the mouths of the pigs themselves, that any arrests in this neighborhood will be in retaliation for people exercising their right to assemble and hear people talk, and the revcoms will stand with the masses in fighting any of these bullshit, illegitimate arrests. In fact, we are going back to the neighborhood this week to make good on people’s requests and desire to get organized, and to stand with them against any attacks for daring to raise their heads.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/fighting-aids-in-the-time-of-trump-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Fighting AIDS in the Time of Trump

July 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

This June marked 36 years since the first cases of AIDS were recorded in the medical literature. As a result of the work of medical professionals, researchers, public heath officials, and brave and dedicated activists who fought for treatment and against stigmatization, life-saving drugs have been developed, and HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence. (HIV is the name of the virus that causes AIDS.) In fact, there is no reason that AIDS could not be eliminated—except for the obscene social and economic conditions in the United States and worldwide. Trump and his administration will greatly expand the already devastating toll that HIV/AIDS is having both in the U.S. and worldwide, perhaps causing over one million additional deaths and untold suffering.

A Genocidal Epidemic

While there has been progress in AIDS treatment and prevention in the U.S., HIV/AIDS is taking a devastating toll among certain sections of the population, especially Black gay and bi-sexual men and those who live in states in the Deep South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas).

Rates of HIV Diagnosis per 100,000 people

Credit: Twitter/ @DCReportMedia

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted that if current rates continue, one in two African-American gay and bisexual men will be infected with the virus. Commenting on this, an article in the New York Times Magazine noted, “To offer more perspective: Swaziland, a tiny African nation, has the world’s highest rate of H.I.V., at 28.8 percent of the population. If gay and bisexual African-American men made up a country, its rate would surpass that of this impoverished African nation—and all other nations.” (“America’s Hidden HIV Epidemic” by Linda Villarosa, June 6, 2017)

In Jackson, Mississippi, 40 percent of all gay and bisexual men are living with the HIV virus, according to the Times article. In a time where there are life-saving drugs that can prevent almost all AIDS-related deaths, 2,952 people in the Deep South died with HIV as an underlying cause in 2014, according to an analysis from Duke University. Among Black men in this region, the HIV-related death rate was seven times as high as that of the U.S. population at large.

Greg Millett, a senior scientist for the CDC for 14 years, now vice president and director of public policy at amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, described to the New York Times how the actions of the U.S. government, especially during the administration of George W. Bush, contributed to this new stage of the epidemic: “It is no coincidence that new rates of HIV infection among gay men, especially gay black men, began to spike sharply from 2000 on, because of an anti-science campaign that allowed for little or nothing to be done for a maligned community simply due to ideology and bigotry.”

Millett told the Times that he is not optimistic about the prospects for Black men who are living with HIV/AIDS: “We are going to eventually end AIDS in the United States, but I fear it’s not going to happen for black M.S.M.,” he said, referring to men who have sex with men. “We have waited too long. With so many black gay men already infected, the horse is already out of the barn.”

“Trump doesn’t care about HIV. We’re outta here.”

On June 16, six members of the President’s Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS publicly resigned from the committee and published an op-ed in Newsweek titled, “Trump Doesn’t Care About HIV. We’re Outta Here.” They said in their article, “The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and—most concerning—pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease.”

Citing the fact that 60 percent of people living with HIV in the United States are still unable to access the life-saving medications that have been available for more than 20 years, the former officials pointed to several of Trump’s actions as a huge step backwards in fighting the epidemic:

Making the Epidemic Exponentially Worse

In fact, it isn’t just that Trump and his administration don’t care. By fanning racism, anti-gay, and anti-scientific attitudes, by cutting funds for research and treatment, the epidemic is being made exponentially worse.

* Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and the LGBT community as a whole is already widespread and is viciously promoted by Trump and others. This stigma contributes to people not being tested for HIV. This has real implications. More than 20 percent of Black gay men infected with HIV have AIDS (meaning that they are very sick) by the time they receive their diagnosis. Early diagnosis is a key factor in effective treatment, which reduces viral loads thereby reducing HIV transmission.

*Trump and Pence have called for legal and legislative actions that allow discrimination against LGBT people in the name of “protecting religious liberty.” Before becoming vice president, Pence was known as one of the most anti-LGBT politicians out there. In 2006 he said that banning gay marriage is enforcing “God’s idea.” Pence is also a supporter of conversion therapy, dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

* In 2002, Pence, backing the abstinence-only educational policies of the Bush administration, promoted the lie that condoms were not effective in preventing transmission of HIV and that he considers condoms “too modern, liberal.” 

* Intravenous drug use (shooting up) is one of the ways that HIV spreads. Trump seems to favor a “war on drugs” approach, which has proven to be cruel, racist, and ineffective. In May, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price spoke against opioid replacement therapy, such as methadone and buprenorphine, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that these are among the most effective treatments.

* Trump’s proposed budget includes a $186 million cut in the CDC’s funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and support services. Speaking of these cuts, Carl Schmid, deputy executive director of the AIDS Institute said, “We would have probably a million fewer HIV tests because of that and we don’t know how many more people will become [HIV] positive and not get the messages.” 

* As part of huge cuts to the National Institutes of Health, the Trump regime aims to slash research in HIV and AIDS by $550 million.

* The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program provides a comprehensive system of care that includes primary medical care and essential support services for people living with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured. Trump’s budget proposes a $59 million cut to the program

* Cuts to Medicaid proposed by Trump would deny services to many of the most in need: 40 percent of HIV-positive people rely on Medicaid. The AIDS Drug Assistance Program reported more than 9,000 people in the U.S. on a waiting list to get medication to treat HIV, primarily Black and gay men in the Deep South, where Medicaid expansion was blocked. As one AIDS activist in Mississippi said of the situation if the Medicaid expansion is phased out, “The entire country becomes Mississippi.”

Phill Wilson, chief executive and president of the Black AIDS Institute, told the New York Times, “For the most vulnerable, do we end up back in a time when people had only emergency care or no care and were literally dying on the streets? We don’t know yet, but we have to think about it.”

Can all of this be described as anything other than genocide (defined by Webster as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group”)?

The Global Pandemic

HIV/AIDS is a global nightmare, and the failure to address this is a major crime of the capitalist-imperialist system worldwide; 35 million people have died since the start of the epidemic. According to an article in the British medical journal Lancet (7/19/16), as of 2015, 38.8 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide (and this number is steadily increasing), there are 2.6 million new infections annually, and 1.2 million people died in that year.

Of the people infected with HIV, 69 percent live in the poor countries of sub-Saharan Africa, and 91 percent of HIV-positive children are in Africa. Only about half of those infected with HIV worldwide receive life-saving drugs.

These are the conditions BEFORE Trump. “At least one million people will die in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, researchers and advocates said on Tuesday, if funding cuts proposed by the Trump administration to global public health programs are enacted,” the New York Times recently reported (5/23/17).

Trump has proposed cutting $800 million from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), programs that address the AIDS pandemic. According to data compiled by amfAR, among the effects these cuts in 2018 will be:

Cuts to international aid are not the only way that Trump will deepen the worldwide AIDS crisis. One of Trump’s first actions on taking office was to re-institute and make even stricter the Global Gag Rule, which denies U.S. funding to any organization that even mentions abortion to women seeking health services. This means that clinics that treat women with HIV would lose any funding if they discussed abortion as an option, even though almost all physicians would consider such a discussion necessary to inform a woman of her choices.

What Are YOU Going to Do?

Think about what all this means. Up to one million deaths worldwide. In the U.S., up to 50 percent of Black gay men becoming HIV positive, and many being denied treatment. This is not acceptable! We cannot remain silent in the face of these horrors. We need to drive out the Trump/Pence regime!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/487/why-do-u-s-rulers-consider-north-korea-dangerous-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Why Do the U.S. Rulers Consider North Korea "Dangerous"—and What Does That Say About the Danger of the Trump/Pence Regime to Humanity?

April 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Massive Bombs, Skyrocketing Civilian Deaths, Nuclear Roulette: This is Fascism!
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In the midst of the barrage of “coverage” of Korea in the mainstream imperialist media, one thing to take note of is that many of the “military analysts and experts” who have been featured say that Kim Jong-un and others in the North Korean leadership are not going to launch a “first strike” nuclear attack against the forces of the U.S., South Korea, or Japan. They note that Kim and others know such a strike would certainly lead to the devastation of North Korea and the end of the regime. For instance, William Perry, who was defense secretary under Bill Clinton, said on CNN, “I do not believe that the North Korean regime is suicidal. Therefore I don’t believe they’re going to launch an unprovoked nuclear attack on anyone.” These “experts” say that North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons—and missiles capable of delivering them, including over long distances—is essentially for deterrent purposes. They are for deterring (in other words, discouraging or preventing) others from attacking North Korea.

Now, let’s be clear—these U.S. “military analysts and experts” are no “peace advocates” and opponents of American dominance over the world. Their arguments are based on what is best for the interests of U.S. imperialism.

So let’s follow the logic here. If North Korea is not going to launch a “first strike,” then why does it pose such a “threat” and why are its actions “dangerous” or “provocative”? The only logical answer is that the development of nuclear weapons and missiles could serve precisely as a deterrent, and render North Korea less vulnerable to bullying, and possible aggressive military actions, by the U.S. and its allies. So, in reality, the Trump/Pence regime, now at the helm of U.S. imperialism, is threatening and taking actions that could lead to a major—possibly nuclear—war, because an adversary is doing things that might make it less vulnerable to bullying and aggression by these imperialists!!

Let’s proceed further according to logical, rational thinking: While the North Korean regime is in fact oppressive and not at all a genuine “socialist” or “communist” state, or a force for progress in the world, it is the U.S., ruled now by the Trump/Pence fascist regime, which poses the real, and very dangerous, threat in this situation, and indeed is the greatest oppressor in the world and threat to the future, and very existence, of humanity. This is underlined by the “tour of bellicosity” that Pence just took in the region, even going right to the demilitarized zone in Korea to threaten war.

And, speaking of the danger of a fanatic who’s threatening war—you have it, right there in Mike Pence, a religious fundamentalist lunatic threatening war while representing a system and a fascist regime with its hands on weapons of mass destruction, in fact the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons!

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/michael-slate-interviews-sam-menefee-libey-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Michael Slate Interviews Sam Menefee-Libey on Fascist Persecution of Inauguration Day Protesters

"The appropriate response to crisis is for people to stand up and mobilize and take action..."

July 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

The following is from an interview with Sam Menefee-Libey from the Dead City Legal Posse, on June 16, 2017, on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio. Revolution/revcom.us features interviews from The Michael Slate Show to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theatre, music and literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those interviewed are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere by Revolution/revcom.us.

Michael Slate: Joining us now to talk about what happened in Washington, DC during the demonstrations against the fascist Trump on his January 20 inauguration and the continuing assault against more than 200 demonstrators who were arrested that day and are currently being prosecuted on major charges. Sam Menefee-Libey, welcome to the show!

Sam Menefee-Libey: Thanks very much for having me!

Michael Slate: For those who don’t know, can you describe what was going on in DC on the day of Trump’s inauguration and the J20 Defendants?

Sam Menefee-Libey: Sure. I’m a member of the DC Legal Posse, which is a group that became a collective after the mass arrests on January 20. On January 20, Trump’s Inauguration Day, there was an organization called Disrupt J20 that pulled together folks who engaged in all forms of direct action. People from across the country and across the world did things like blockading checkpoints onto the Mall, for folks who would become spectators for Trump. So, if you go and see aerial photos of the Mall that day, you’ll see that the north half of the Mall is notably emptier than the south half, and I think it’s from a direct action undertaken by folks that day. There were parades of resistance, there were festivals, there were fairs, there were speak-outs, there were concerts, there was also an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist march. That anti-capitalist, anti-fascist march was met with hundreds of cops in full riot gear who indiscriminately deployed pepper spray and what are called stinger grenades, which are like concussion grenades with rubber cluster munitions in them. And they wound up kettling over 230 people. Over 200 of those people are still facing charges. They mass-charged all 230 with felony riot, and subsequently in a superseding indictment at the end of April added eight more felony counts including conspiracy to riot, destruction of property, assaulting a police officer. It’s been really crazy.

Michael Slate: Now tell me this, Sam, when you say that they kettled people, what does that mean?

Sam Menefee-Libey: Kettling is a technique that has been banned by the European High Court of Human Rights, amongst other things, where basically riot cops surround and compress and don’t allow people to escape. Oftentimes it means that they are creating a line with shields that you can’t break through, and then deploying, with so-called less-than-lethal munitions, into the kettle to basically try to do mass arrests. And that is brutal brutality.

Michael Slate: Now in this case what you’re talking about is they penned people up in this kettle maneuver, and then basically went in, did their beating, pepper sprayed them, and attacked them in other ways. Now, when they captured people in this kettle, there were a number of people who were simply marching in the demonstration as well as others who were simply crossing the street and, as I understand, there were also a number of journalists captured in the kettle. People were just rounded up, and many of them were also clubbed and gassed. When I read about it I was reminded of the kinds of assaults the apartheid South African police used to bring down on South African township demonstrators.

Sam Menefee-Libey: Exactly. There are dozens of videos online of police brutality both in and outside the kettle on Inauguration Day. You can go to our website, you can go to DClegalposse.org, there are numerous videos. Yeah, there were over 230 people kettled by the Metropolitan Police Department, which is the police department in DC. People were subjected to all sorts of so-called less lethal munitions, and then held for often, I mean, over nine hours without access to bathrooms, food or water, before being processed. And actually the MPD didn’t have the capacity to deal with over 230 arrestees, so they shuttled them all over the city, and most of those arrested didn’t have very much to eat, if anything. They didn’t provide any options for the vegans in the group, and no one had any opportunity to wash off any of the pepper spray, so everyone kept reactivating pepper spray all night and all through the next day.

People were held in jail overnight before being arraigned for felony riot the next day. They sat there all day. They were kettled a little after 11 am, and the cops continued to be brutal to people both in and outside the kettle. A little after 1 pm, the MPD started indiscriminately throwing stun grenades and pepper spraying the crowd outside the kettle, and that lasted for hours. So people were actually terrified since there were explosions going on around them and massive amounts of pepper spray and screaming and they saw children getting hit with pepper spray, and people being indiscriminately attacked. Folks were terrified, they didn’t know what was happening and no one would tell them. They were just trapped there for hours and hours and hours.

Michael Slate: You’ve already mentioned this, but I want to get into it a little bit more, the charges that people are facing. You had these hundreds of people who were marching in a demonstration and they’re not facing individual charges, where the cops would charge people with what they claimed people did. But this was a group arrest and they are all faced with group charges and group punishment.

Sam Menefee-Libey: Right. Listeners can go online and find the superseding indictment that was released on April 27 and they can read through it. There are a couple of people here and there who are alleged to have committed specific acts, but most people are being charged en masse. Even the five counts of destruction of property are being charged against everyone, as if everyone was responsible for each effort, each act. And it’s really wild; the lack of particular suspicion here has lawyers across the country both baffled and up in arms.

Michael Slate: How many years in jail are people facing?

Sam Menefee-Libey: We’ve got different numbers from different people, but they average about 75 years, if they’re convicted on all counts and sentenced to the maximum.

Michael Slate: Seventy-five years in jail!

Sam Menefee-Libey: For showing up to a protest.

Michael Slate: This is extremely significant and it opens the door for this Orwellian-quality legal oppression. You know, the idea that people are guilty by virtue of being at a demonstration, not of anything that happened at that time or in the immediate vicinity.

Sam Menefee-Libey: Yeah, it stretched the capacity of the DC Superior Court, where the cases are actually being tried. They don’t know how to handle this many people. It’s been almost comical if it weren’t so scary and sad, to see the judge trying to deal with dozens of defendants in a single-status hearing, and to wonder how they are going to have the capacity to bring all these folks to trial. And they upped the charges afterward, and this seems a clear-cut case of punitive charging where they’re just trying to get people to plead out. They don’t have the capacity to actually grant people’s right to trial and respect people’s right to due process. So they’re just trying to stack on charges until people buckle under the pressure or the terror of the possibility of spending the rest of their lives in prison, and plead to some lesser charge.

Michael Slate: So basically these charges are piled or applied to each defendant indiscriminately, no matter what they can prove that individual did or did not do.

Sam Menefee-Libey: Exactly. So as you mentioned earlier, of the initial 230 arrests there were legal observers, journalists, lawyers, medics and a number of people had their charges dropped. But several medics and several journalists are still facing charges, the same charges as everyone else. And their charges are just as bogus as everyone else’s charges.

Michael Slate: This really is a fascist assault on democratic rights. In this case they are using existing laws to carry out this kind of oppression. You’ve spoken about this in relation to the trashing of the First Amendment. Let’s talk about that.

Sam Menefee-Libey: This is a weird case, but I guess it’s not weird, right? It’s totally typical. It’s the same sort of situation and experience that millions of people in the United States face in their confrontations with the so-called criminal justice system—especially people of color and especially people on the left. Here we have an instance where an assistant U.S. attorney, Jennifer Kerkhoff, who’s an Obama appointee, who is explicitly trying to overturn a standing case precedent that says that riot statutes can’t be applied to First Amendment activity and is blatantly trying to set a new precedent that allows all of these standing laws to be applied to protesters and resisters and dissenters and those who are trying to create a better world.

Michael Slate: There’s something else you brought out, in terms of all the people that have been arrested. We’re talking about the Nazification that’s going on across the entire country. Many people who have been arrested in demonstrations are careful not to bring names and addresses to the demonstration because it is possible if you get arrested, the cops will take down the names you might have on you and start adding them to the “keep an eye on” list. And in this case they took people’s cell phones and examined them for content, is that right?

Sam Menefee-Libey: They did. Yeah. Everyone who had a cell phone at the time, it was confiscated and it was held as evidence. No one has gotten their cell phones back. Most of the cell phones were encrypted and there was reporting done by Mashable, I believe, that said that an Israeli security company, Cellibrite, has been hired to hack into these encrypted cell phones. They also raided another activist’s house on April 3 and took every piece of electronics in the house that belonged to him and anyone else in the house, including the speakers he had attached to his computer. They’re clearly trying to data mine as much as they can. And there have also been multiple subpoenas for people’s online social media accounts and their online profiles. They really are trying to go in and track down every piece of public and private information they possibly can about people and weave it together into some sort of argument that will allow them to apply these laws and send people off to prison [essentially] for life for protesting.

Michael Slate: Now the other thing here is, you also talk about doxxing happening to some people. Tell people what it is and what it means when it’s happening.

Sam Menefee-Libey: Yeah, doxxing, d-o-x-x-i-n-g, sometimes with just one x, is a process where folks have personal and sensitive information put out online, oftentimes for the purpose of them being bombarded by harassment or sometimes even the threat of physical violence. There have been a series of doxxing incidents in this case. The first major one was actually a PDF with the charging documents for all 230 arrestees, with their full names and addresses, that was posted online, on, I believe, [right-wing troll] Chuck Johnson’s website. And metadata later suggested that that PDF came from an officer of the MPD. So we’ve seen both doxxing by online trolls hacking into people’s accounts but also doxxing by members of the police.

Michael Slate: Right now, what would you say is imperative for people to understand and for people to do?

Sam Menefee-Libey: That’s a great question. I think that it’s really important right now that folks start paying attention to these cases that are just criminally under-covered. There’s been some great reporting from Patrick Strickland at Al Jazeera, there was a great piece in The Baffler by Maximillian Alvarez, and if you go to our website at DClegalposse.org and there’s a website defendthej20resistance.org that has all the news clips and that has been updated consistently so folks can get a good handle on what’s going on. And as you mentioned earlier, Al Jazeera did a live video with time sync that gives an overview of the case to date that folks should be able to find online, through time sync’s Facebook page, through their website, through DClegalposse’s website or just by Googling my name Sam Menefee-Libey. So people gotta start paying attention. We’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars so far, but for over 200 defendants that’s just a drop in the bucket. We’ve gotta raise more money. You can donate at DClegalposse.org, or there are places you can donate to regional groups of defendants on Defendj20resistance.org, We’re also going to be pursuing the DC Council after the Office of Police Complaints issued a report condemning police brutality on Inauguration Day and suggesting an independent investigation. We testified to the DC Council and the DC Council has allotted $150,000 for an independent investigation into the Metropolitan Police Department’s actions on Inauguration Day. So people should pay attention to that and should call the DC Council and ask about that and pressure the council to start the investigation immediately. They can also get more information about that on our website.

Michael Slate: I just want to get this out to people—Crimethinc, tell them how to spell it. There is a video which people should see,  Fighting State Repression: An Overview of the J20 Prosecution.

Sam Menefee-Libey: Yeah, crimethinc is c-r-i-m-e-t-h-i-n-c, and you can find it on Facebook or at crimethinc.com.

Michael Slate: Now I want you to step back for a minute, Sam, and just look at this in relation to the day before January 20. What is it that made you and made others that you work with feel compelled to be out in the streets like that? And that continues to make you feel that you have to, beyond the camaraderie and the need to step in and support each other, what continues to make you feel that this is the most important thing that people can be doing, in terms of what you did—the demonstrating at the inauguration, and the seating of the fascist ruler. What is it that you think is so important about that and what can you say to people in terms of what they need to do?

Sam Menefee-Libey: You know, I think we’ve seen mobilization all across the country, millions and millions of people, many of whom have never shown up before precisely because things are horrifying right now. We have a looming climate catastrophe, we have a situation where eight men control as much wealth as the bottom half of the entire world’s population, we have a carceral state that houses and continues to engage in repression of millions of people, especially people of color, all across the country. We have money that can totally wreck the political process, we have under-funded political parties, we have an entire situation where we are in crisis, and the appropriate response to crisis is for people to stand up and mobilize and take action and demand that they have control over their lives.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/486/chicago-they-are-destroying-public-schools-and-preparing-to-turn-our-youth-into-mindless-robots-and-killing-machines-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Chicago: They Are Destroying Public Schools, and Preparing to Turn Our Youth Into Mindless Robots & Killing Machines

Updated July 5, 2017, first posted April 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Update July 5, 2017: Since we first posted this article, the city of Chicago at the end of May officially approved the outrageous proposal by Mayor Emanuel—requiring that high school students have proof of acceptance into college or vocational school, have a job, or enlist in the military before they can graduate. This is on top of a situation in this city where more than 1,000 teachers and school staff were laid off last year and the chance of male Black high school freshman eventually getting a college degree is only six percent, while the unemployment rate among 20- to 24-year-old Black men is at 43 percent.

~~~~~~~~~~

Editors’ note: From Day One in this country, when enslaved Black people were killed for learning how to read, up to today, when students in predominantly Black and Latino schools are treated as if they are in prison and subjected to terrible mis-education, and young Black people are discriminated against every step of the way if they pursue an education—this system has worked to keep the people it most oppresses in the deepest ignorance.

Now, in Chicago in particular, this is poised to take a whole leap. The Trump regime plans to funnel Black and Latino youth into Christian fundamentalist charter schools. They intend to mold these students into mindless, religiously fanatic robots. This article shows how the Democratic mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is greasing the skids for this.

In Chicago, one big way youths are told they’re worth nothing over and over is through their experience in the schools. In the cruelest of jokes, young people are told that getting an education is the only path out of grinding poverty, yet the educational system is a bitter insult in spite of the best efforts of many teachers.

After closing down 50 schools just three years ago—it is now very possible that Chicago public schools will also end the current school year almost three whole weeks early due to “lack of funds” to keep schools open.

For students, this is devastating in terms of their education. In Chicago, it literally means more likelihood of getting shot, or sitting indoors while the sun is shining to keep safe. For teachers, it means a 10 percent cut in pay as well. For everyone―parents, teachers, students—it means scrambling, since closures may be decided just days ahead of time.

As if all this weren’t happening, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a proposal that in order to graduate from high school, students will have to meet a huge new requirement—a plan for what they are doing after high school. If the Chicago Board of Education approves Emanuel’s proposal, starting with next year’s sophomores, in order to graduate, students will need proof of a college or vocational school acceptance letter, a job offer, or enlistment papers for the military! So, it’s not enough to just complete school—now you have to have proof of where you’re gonna be, or else—and if you can’t get a job offer, in a city where unemployment for Black teenagers remains sky-high, and you can’t afford to go to college, then you don’t even get the diploma that you earned. Unless, that is, you agree to go fight and kill for the country and system that put you in this situation in the first place!!

The U.S. military already preys like vultures on inner city students. Branches of the U.S. military literally run entire public schools in Chicago, as well as major ROTC programs and surprise recruitment assemblies. The recruiters lie like pimps... listening to them, you would think the military was the biggest college assistance program in the country. You would have no idea that you are being enlisted to be part of the U.S. killing machine, massacring other oppressed people in countries across the globe.

Now Rahm Emanuel wants to shovel students into the military; that is the option that many students will be forced to choose in order to graduate from high school under his new plan! Trump should thank him for his service.

Currently, fewer than one in four CPS students will graduate from a four-year college. Among young Black men, a little over half will graduate from high school at all. This is a school system where 200-plus students had a sit in at their high school to demand that the one librarian not be laid off and to demand that their school’s library be kept open in 2016. And it was one of the few schools with a library! What kind of educational system is it where students have to fight just to have a library? At a single high school in the wealthy North Shore suburbs, there are 10 librarians.

A system which offers millions and millions of youths no future—that alone is reason enough to sweep this system from the face of the earth!

After the revolution, the educational system will be one where students actually want to go to school!!! It will really enable students to learn about the world and to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity. It will play a critical role in breaking down the oppressive relations in society in the world as a whole.

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/as-trump-escalates-war-threats-vs-north-korea-act-in-interests-of-humanity-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

As Trump Escalates War Threats vs. North Korea: Act in the Interests of Humanity, Not Based on “America First”

July 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Trump/Pence fascist regime has escalated the threat of war against North Korea. This, in response to missile tests by the North Korean regime. Any U.S. military action against North Korea—according to all commentators and experts across the spectrum—will have devastating consequences in destruction and loss of life, especially in the whole Korean peninsula. And military action could possibly escalate to nuclear war.

Trump himself is dictated by an “America First” worldview and policy, with little restraint or doubt on “first use” of nuclear weapons. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock on the danger to humanity—stemming from use of nuclear weapons (as well as climate change)—to 2.5 minutes to midnight, the greatest threat since the Cold War era of the 1950s.

In the Name of Humanity—from the standpoint of the people of the world—this is unacceptable, and cannot go on. The world cannot be held hostage to this fascist regime’s threats of war. Drive Out this Regime, at the soonest possible time. Protest and demonstrate this July 15 with the demand that the Trump/Pence Regime MUST GO!

People may find solace in the thought that civilized norms and warnings and fears of unchecked destruction will restrain Trump, force him to other options like “diplomacy.” That the “adults” in influential positions—the experts and the U.S. military itself—will restrain him and carry the day.

NO! Trump has shown repeatedly—over and over again, from the very first day of his campaign—that he does not give a damn about humanity, or about norms, in pursuit of his worldview and goals. When will people learn?

People may find solace in the thought that “the international community,” the UN, and efforts from China and Russia, will restrain Trump.

NO! The war threats against North Korea are about “America First”—and Trump is NOT going to be “checked” by other powers, who are reactionary gangsters themselves, but intends to steamroll over them if he can’t bend them to his will and intent. China has its own strategic interests in the region, as does Russia—Trump knows this and is not going to abide by their moves and plans unless it serves American imperialist interests.

What this means for the people of the Korean peninsula and the world is a dangerous game of nuclear brinksmanship, Mafia style, with potentially horrific consequences for humanity. When will people learn?

What Trump and the U.S. Have Done to the World

In response to the missile launch, Trump tweeted, “Does this guy [Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea] have anything better to do with his life?”

Imagine if you turned that around to Trump. Doesn’t Trump have “anything better to do” with his life than to terrorize and deport immigrants... bomb people in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen... deny people health care and LET THEM DIE... ban people based on religion... threaten other countries at will and whim... deny women basic rights of equality... threaten Black youth in Chicago on a periodic basis... and the list goes on and on.

Pulling the lens back on history, didn’t the U.S. rulers have “anything better to do” than to drop nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki... carpet-bomb and napalm-bomb Vietnam and Cambodia... repeatedly invade Latin American and Caribbean countries in the 1900s... depose democratically elected rulers who don’t do their bidding—in Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Chile and more...?

Remember How the U.S. Has Justified Wars and Mass Murder

People may think, as the media and other voices trumpet, “But doesn’t Kim Jong-un have to be stopped—isn’t he a madman? There isn’t any choice but to support U.S. military action if it comes to that, is there?”

Remember, this is the same playbook of demonization the U.S. has run against anyone they seek to depose or overthrow or go to war against. Remember Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega—weren’t we told that “they have to be stopped”? And remember how the lies about “stopping weapons of mass destruction,” “saving lives,” and so on were used to justify the invasions, bombings, and occupations in many areas of the world that have led to the violent murder of hundreds of thousands of people and tens of millions being forced out of their homes?

The development of these capabilities by the North Korean regime is changing the “balance of power” in this whole region—potentially constraining the ability of the U.S. imperialists to dominate and wield influence in this region. This is deemed unacceptable by the powers that be on “both sides of the aisle”—from the Trump/Pence regime to the Democrats and Obama, to the military and the national security establishment. The interests of these rulers are sharply and profoundly opposed to those of the great majority of people here and around the world.

This is about U.S. domination and great-power rivalry, now escalated in doctrine to Trump’s “America First.” For those who say, “There are no good options,” please consider: whose voice and viewpoint are you reflecting, even parroting? From whose standpoint are there “no good options”?

From the standpoint of humanity, or from “America First”?

Stop thinking like an American. Start thinking about humanity.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/defiant-struggle-and-support-intensify-at-adelanto-immigrant-detention-center-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Defiant Struggle and Support Intensify at Adelanto Immigrant Detention Center

July 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

A new hunger strike was declared on July 4 by over 30 immigrants imprisoned at Adelanto Detention Center, California’s largest immigration prison. This is the fourth time in less than a month that immigrants held there have gone on hunger strikes against the inhumane conditions. On June 12, nine people (known as #Adelanto9) began a strike to demand political asylum—and one has since been deported. The remaining eight began a second hunger strike on June 22. And about 30 women prisoners held a day-long solidarity hunger strike on June 14.

On July 4, the immigrants support group Sureñxs En Acción issued a statement:

While previous hunger strike by the #Adelanto9 primarily involved Salvadoran asylum-seekers, the current strike has spread to detainees from various nationalities, including a contingent of detained Haitians. In a handwritten letter delivered to supporters, the hunger strikers argue that bonds set as high as $50,000 are impossible to pay for refugees who “have had to cross 3 and in some cases 9 different national borders” and who “have been the victims of theft by different criminal groups that stole the little money we were able to bring with us.” Hunger strikers assert that the policy of setting impossibly high bonds exists in order to “break our spirit so that we give up our rights to due process.”

The statement also said that in retaliation for the June 12 protest, the #Adelanto9 were “beaten, tortured, denied medical care, placed in segregation, and denied their right to private attorney-client communications.” This included blocking of the phone numbers of the detainees’ legal counsel and prominent journalists from the Spanish-language network Univision.

Besides lower bond and release from detention, including the granting of asylum applications, the hunger strikers are demanding better medical care and documents provided in English or access to translation tools. The hunger strikers are also demanding that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) release the video of the June 12 attack on the #Adelanto9 and hold a press conference where “both sides” can tell their story. The letter from the prisoners on July 5 announcing the initiation of the new strike included the important point that they “are aware of cases where our Haitian brothers were deported and when they arrived in their country, they were murdered.”

On June 30, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a letter demanding that ICE and GEO Group, the for-profit company that directly runs the prison, immediately “Put a stop to the ongoing mistreatment of the hunger strikers; Initiate disciplinary proceedings for staff responsible for the abuse; Meet with the detainees to address their mistreatment and discuss the grievances that led them to initiate the hunger strike.”

Religious groups and family members rallied in support outside the Adelanto Detention Center, and they’ve been confronted by fascist Trump supporters screaming vile threats while waving their Amerikkkan rag. This poses the new terms in the struggle for immigrant rights in the era of the fascist Trump/Pence regime, and this fight needs to be part of the larger struggle with the unified goal of driving them out—with the July 15 protests across the country a crucial juncture in this.

From RefuseFascism’s urgent call for mass defiant protests July 15:

Immigrants are full human beings, not “illegals” or criminals, to be demonized, terrorized, hunted down, locked up and thrown out. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime ... they must GO!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/review-jay-zs-4-44-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Jay Z's 4:44

Financial Counseling on How to Be a Modern-Day Slavemaster When What We Really Need Is to Get Free

July 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Setting aside the artistry and heart-baring, Jay Z’s new album, 4:44, amounts to a celebration of this system as it is. This is nothing that people who want to get free should celebrate.

Jay is right—in his song “The Story of O.J.”—that this system treats every Black person—whether they be light, dark, faux, house, field, rich or poor—as a “nigga.” But the answer he gives to this is cruel and ugly. One or two billionaires “the same hue as you” is not going to do shit for the masses of Black people living from check to check, dogged by the pigs every minute of every day, can't get work and treated by every unjust authority in this system like they ain’t shit. But even worse: the wealth Jay is telling you to grab for comes through cutthroat competition and from the blood, sweat and brutal exploitation of people living in slums and shantytowns in every corner of this world... living in the same situation as people in Watts, in Englewood, in East New York or Jackson or where have you.

The other part of the cruelty here is that once again, Jay ends up blaming the youth themselves for the position they're in, saying it’s because they're not holding onto their wealth. He blames them for mimicking the shit this system tells them about personal value being bound up with personal wealth—meanwhile Jay parrots the same message. But is the fact that a handful of young rappers or hustlers waste their money the reason that the masses of Black people don't have “financial freedom”? This is straight bullshit!

This country was built on the backs of Black people, and since then, through all the struggle and change, the rulers of this system have worked overtime to keep Black people in an oppressed and exploited position—in every part of society. And they have used their KKK or pig police to terrorize them when they fought back. Right now, there is a literal genocide being waged against Black people—of mass incarceration and police terror, broken-down schools, horrible health care and all the rest, all about to be ramped up on steroids by the fascist Donald Trump. Especially now, people have to look at the real problem and stop being played by this system’s game.

Ain’t no slice of this system’s pie and ain’t no cake worth having! Let’s work to where we can tear this whole capitalist shit system down once and for all... let’s get serious about making a real revolution at the earliest possible time. Let's lift our heads, stop dogging each other, stop fighting and killing each other, stop trying to mimic the motherfuckers this system holds up as heroes, stop looking to wannabe kings and queens.

Jay rhymes about leaving a legacy of personal wealth for his family and small group of friends as if that’s something deep and full of wisdom. How is that different from Donald Fucking Trump and his family of parasites? Fuck that small-minded conservative old system shit! Instead, put everything on the line to leave a legacy of real liberation—breaking each and every chain holding down every exploited and oppressed sister and brother in the whole world. That’s what it can really mean to be free.


 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/colin-kaepernick-on-4th-of-july-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Colin Kaepernick on 4th of July: “How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs?”

July 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback, sent out a tweet on July 4 saying, “How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs? To find my independence I went home.”

After that tweet he posted a statement and a video on Instagram that explained what he meant by going home:

“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?” - Frederick Douglass.

In a quest to find my personal independence, I had to find out where my ancestors came from. I set out tracing my African ancestral roots, and it lead me to Ghana. Upon finding out this information, I wanted to visit the sites responsible for myself (and many other Black folks in the African Diaspora) for being forced into the hells of the middle passage. I wanted to see a fraction of what they saw before reaching the point of no return…

Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem last NFL season after he announced that “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” At that time, he made a visual statement about police murder and brutality when he wore socks with a pig wearing a police cap during one of the team’s practices. In response to Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, of “Make America great again,” Kaepernick said, “Well America has never been great for people of color and that’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013. After last season, he opted out of his contract with the 49ers. But despite having an excellent season, he remains unsigned by any team at this time, which has prompted several players to say that Kap is being blackballed for his political views.

Kaepernick has made it clear that he wants to play again, but he has not backed off his principles in order to have a team sign him. On June 16, after the acquittal of the pig who murdered Philando Castile, he tweeted, “A system that perpetually condones the killing of people, without consequence, doesn't need to be revised, it needs to be dismantled!” With that tweet he posted a meme that had two badges—one of a “Runaway Slave Patrol” and one of a “Police Officer” with the words “You can’t ignore your history. Always remember who they are.”

For more, see revcom articles about Kaepernick here and here.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/tens-of-thousands-confront-global-oppressors-at-g-20-summit-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Tens of Thousands Confront Global Oppressors at G-20 Summit

UPDATED July 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hamburg News update [Saturday]:
Saturday, July 8. More than 50,000 people flooded the streets of Hamburg, Germany for a third day of protest against the G-20. There were two separate demonstrations that then converged making it the largest demonstration since the G-20 started on Thursday.

The police had the city center on lockdown, with the main streets barricaded after clashes between the cops and protesters the night before, when protesters had again fearlessly gone up against the police, erecting barricades using trash cans, bicycles, and road signs. One protester told a reporter, “The police are provoking people by running into the protests, crowding people together so that they start to panic. They know people will get injured.” Hundreds of cops went into buildings to arrest people and continued to use water cannons against protesters. At least 11 protesters were severely injured after they fell from a wall during a confrontation with the police. News reports on Saturday said that at least 143 people have been arrested and another 122 taken into custody. And now the police are going after people, including calling on people to upload photos and videos to their server to help identify people to be arrested and prosecuted.

On Saturday, once again, people spoke out in different ways against a long list of outrages perpetuated by the capitalist system: holding signs and chanting about climate change, the rights of women and migrants, Kurdish independence, LGBT rights, environmental issues, and more. Hip-hop and Turkish music blasted out from speakers. The huge crowds of protesters included all kinds of people, including lots of youth, families with their children, and Kurdish groups. One news report described the protest as an “eclectic and international mix ... a show of anti-capitalist muscle in earshot of the world’s top leaders who were finishing up at the G20 summit.” Some of the signs read: “One World―One Vibe,” “Unlimited Solidarity,” and “Hamburg Shows Attitude.” For days tens of thousands had taken to the street, marched, taken over parks, defied police orders to disperse, and defended themselves against vicious police attacks—sending a message to the whole world of protest and RESISTANCE against the G-20 and all it represents.

~~~~~~~~~~

Friday Night, July 7. In Hamburg, Germany, over the last two days, some 100,000 people have taken to the streets in protest and rebellion and reporters on the scene say it doesn’t look like this is going to end anytime soon. People are protesting the G-20 meeting and acting against a whole host of outrages perpetuated by the capitalist system. In many ways these protesters in Hamburg are speaking for many more around the world—going fearlessly right up in the face of the heads of state who carry out crimes against the people all over the world.

The G-20 (short for Group of 20) is dominated by the world’s most wealthy and powerful governments, and their annual summit is where they get together to compete over and plan how to continue preying on the people of the world. Many protesters came to confront Trump, who is there representing the U.S., and who is despised, among other things, for his attack on any effort to combat life-threatening climate change and his war on immigrants. Some of the signs people carried read: “No Ban, No War,” “War on Terror, War on Climate, War on the Poor, NOT IN MY NAME,” “Capitalism Kills,” “Stop Ruining Our Amazing Planet,” “Planet Earth First,” “Build Bridges Not Walls,” and “Freedom of Movement.”

The G-20 is taking place at a time when the world is facing its biggest problems perhaps in human history: continuing wars in the Middle East; massive migration due to famine and war; climate change threatening the very life of the planet; a growing danger of nuclear war. And the “world leaders” presiding over the imperialist world face big contradictions and uncertainty. The Western-dominated post World War 2 order is breaking apart on many fronts. The exploitation and oppression of people around the world is ever more unbearable, giving rise to protest and rebellion. And as tensions between big powers intensify, fascism has reared its genocidal head—with the fascist Trump/Pence regime and other fascist leaders in Europe. None of the leaders gathered at the G-20 have any answers to these world problems—because they’re representatives of the global capitalist-imperialist system, fighting over how to maintain their own reactionary interests and that system overall.

There were actions leading up to the summit—12,000 people took to the streets in a protest which was called “G20—Welcome to Hell.” One protester, quoted in the news, said the “point is to disturb the G20... it’s not right that a few countries get to decide what happens to the rest of the world at this summit.”

On Thursday thousands of militarized police confronted protesters, demanding people wearing masks take them off. Then when the police moved in to try and separate those wearing masks from the rest of the march, all hell broke loose as people defended themselves against the pigs. Police unloaded with high-powered water cannons, pepper spray and batons, claiming they had been attacked with bottles and other objects. For hours, there were skirmishes in the streets and defiant protesters stayed in the streets past midnight. Then on Friday, protests continued as tens of thousands continued to take to the streets, with more clashes with the police in some areas. People are righteously going up against the vicious attacks by the police, refusing to back down—which should give heart to all those who hunger for a better world.

By Friday night, some news reporters were estimating that 100,000 had taken part in protests—and more than 20,000 police had been mobilized against the demonstrations. On Friday night, a CNN crew on the scene said the sea of protesters stretched for at least one mile. Earlier that day, climate activists in 15 boats tried to reach a concert hall where G20 participants were gathered; some of the Greenpeace activists jumped into the water and started swimming toward the building before the police stopped all of them.

On Thursday and Friday police viciously attacked people with teargas, water cannons, and flash-bang grenades. Water cannons were used against people standing on bridges and rooftops—seriously endangering people’s lives. There have been more than 80 arrests and dozens of others detained and at least 14 demonstrators have had to go to the hospital, three with serious injuries.

The democratic Germany hosting the G-20, with its “moderate” chancellor Angela Merkel, has its police violently attacking the protests—revealing once again that bourgeois democracy has always been a ruthless capitalist dictatorship, even if at times it wears a tattered velvet glove. The media and authorities decry the “violence” of the protesters even as the G-20 carries out daily violence on an astronomical scale globally—from its wars of empire, to the savaging of the planet itself, to the brutality against and oppression of the masses every day.

It has been reported that there have been as many as 30 different protest marches in different parts of the city. Some were attacked by the police. There have been creative actions, like the day before the summit began where 1,000 artists from many countries carried out a powerful performance piece—covering themselves in ash and walking around like zombies, “to move the people in their hearts, to give them the motivation to get politically engaged again.” And as G-20 leaders gathered to hear a Beethoven concert at Hamburg’s famous Elbphilarmonie concert hall, protesters responded by blaring the music of Jimi Hendrix.

The name of one of the protests in Hamburg, “G20—Welcome to Hell,” speaks to the reality of a world of horrors created by capitalism—a world in which eight people have more wealth than 3.5 billion, a world of unending wars, a world whose fabric of life is being shredded, a world with billions with no jobs and no futures. As protesters are pointing out, those who rule over all this have no right to dictate the future of the people and the planet.

The future under the G-20 IS a hell. But there can be a better future. The myriad of contradictions faced by these world leaders; the breaking apart of formerly stable institutions; continuing rebellions from those who refuse to live this way—all this can present openings for revolution.

~~~~~~~~~~

July 6: Tens of thousands of people from all over Europe and beyond have been defiantly protesting in Hamburg, Germany, bringing their demands and their outrage to the G-20 Summit. The G-20 (short for Group of 20) is dominated by the world’s most wealthy and powerful governments, and their annual summit is where they get together to compete over and plan how to continue to prey on the people of the world. Many protesters came to confront Trump, who is there representing the U.S., and who is despised, among other things, for his attack on any effort to combat life-threatening climate change and his war on immigrants. One train entered the station with young people hanging out the windows holding up cutout signs with fists and “Stop Trump” painted on them.

Even before the march began thousands of militarized police confronted the protesters and demanded that people wearing masks had to take them off. When the police moved to separate those wearing masks from the rest of the march, all hell broke loose. Police unloaded with high-powered water cannons, pepper spray and batons, claiming they had been attacked with bottles and other objects. For hours, there were skirmishes in the streets.

More than 100,000 demonstrators are expected to be in the streets over the next two days.



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/isabel-cardenas-statement-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Received from refusefascism.org:

On July 15 We Must Startle the Conscience of Society

July 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

by Isabel Cardenas, Salvadoran American activist

IMMIGRANTS ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not “illegals” or criminals to be demonized, terrorized, hunted down, locked up, and thrown out. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime…they must GO! So begins the CALL for July 15 – the national mobilization “THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!”

As we write, July 15 protests are planned in 14 cities across the country. July 15 calls on us all to refuse to stand aside while fascism is consolidated. It challenges us to organize together to demand the Trump/Pence Regime Must GO! And it does that calling for a determination to stop the unprecedented attacks on – and to declare the full humanity of – immigrants, Muslims, refugees, women and LGBTQ, Black, Latino and people of every country, including the children, elderly, disabled and poor. The Call declares the earth itself should sustain life and not be despoiled by ignorance, greed and the disregard of science.

July 15 is calling for a unification of our resistance – for people with different programs and diverse views to join together and say NO! It declares “… if we don’t stop the consolidation of fascism by organizing together to demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go, people’s lives here and around the world, and the earth itself will face greater catastrophe.” We write to you at a time when the future for immigrants, refugees and all of humanity is at an historic turning point.

As people and organizations whose mission is to give service to the needs of this immigrant and refugee community – who fight for their rights as full human beings – I ask you to step forward now and join with us on July 15 because we do not accept what is being done by this government to our people. We need, at this time, to make clear we will stand with immigrants and refugees being targeted. Way too many people and organizations have been hanging back, out of fear or illusions that remaining quiet will save people. It won’t. Instead, inaction and paralysis only makes it more possible for the regime to execute its reign of terror with impunity over those most defenseless.

The raids, arrests, deportations and bans are meant to deliver a message of terror. We’ve seen what can happen when a government declares “open season” on “foreigners” – unimaginable horror. We must recognize that the character of fascism is that it can absorb separate acts of resistance while continually throwing the opposition off balance by rapidly moving its agenda forward. The Trump/Pence regime has already launched highly repressive measures and has begun to clampdown on all resistance, and remake laws. They must be stopped.

July 15 must mark a leap to more sustained struggle, inspiring people to see the possibility of ousting this regime through the tremendous power of the people.

Standing up to oppression in large numbers is always the most effective way of pushing back against the most horrendous oppression. In this way we startle the conscience of society, making it more difficult for the Trump/Pence Regime to carry out its program.

We must bring together all the people who agonize and rage at what this regime is doing to people – this is the only way to push back against, and ultimately stop this regime!

Will you join us on July 15?

Isabel Cárdenas ~ Activista Salvadoreña-Americana

LOS INMIGRANTES SON COMPLETAMENTE SERES HUMANOS, no “ilegales” o criminales para ser demonizados, aterrorizados, perseguidos, encerrados y echados fuera. ¡NO! ¡Rehusamos aceptar el futuro cruel y brutal del Régimen de Trump y Pence! ...¡Tienen que IRSE! Así empieza el LLAMADO PARA EL 15 de Julio –La movilización nacional “¡EL REGIMEN DE TRUMP/PENCE DEBE MARCHARSE!” En el Nombre de la Humanidad “¡REHUSAMOS Aceptar a un Estados Unidos Fascista!”

Mientras estamos escribiéndoles, se planean protestas en 14 ciudades a través del país para el 15 de Julio. El 15 de Julio nos llama a todos nosotros a rechazar el estar parados de lado mientras el fascismo se consolida. Nos reta a organizarnos juntos para exigir que ¡El Régimen de Trump/Pence se VAYA! Y lo hace llamándonos a una determinación de parar los ataques sin antecedentes – y a declarar como completa humanidad a – inmigrantes, Musulmanes, refugiados, mujeres y LBGTQ, Morenos, Latinos y gente de cada país, incluyendo a niños y niñas, ancianos, incapacitados, y a los pobres. El llamado declara que la tierra misma debe mantener la vida y no ser despojada por ignorancia, avaricia y por la negligencia de la ciencia.

El 15 de Julio está llamando a una unificación de nuestra resistencia – a la gente con diferentes programas y puntos de vista diversos para unirse y juntos decir ¡NO! Este llamado declara “... Si no paramos la consolidación del fascismo organizándonos juntos para exigir que el régimen de Trump/Pence se vaya, las vidas aquí y alrededor del mundo, y la tierra misma, se enfrentará a una mayor catástrofe. Les escribimos a ustedes durante una época por la cual el futuro de inmigrantes, y toda la humanidad, está pasando por un momento crucial.

Como pueblo y organizaciones cuya misión es darle servicio a las necesidades de esta comunidad de inmigrantes y refugiados – que luchan por sus derechos como seres completamente humanos – les ruego que den un paso adelante ahora y se unan a nosotros el 15 de Julio porque no aceptamos lo que este gobierno le está haciendo a nuestra gente. Dejamos claro que, durante esta época de crisis, permaneceremos de pie junto a los inmigrantes y refugiados que están siendo el blanco de este gobierno fascista.

Demasiada gente y organizaciones se están quedando atrás por temor o ilusiones de que si se mantienen callados y quietos salvarán a la gente. Esto no sucederá. Al contrario, la inacción y parálisis solo harán más posible que este régimen ejecute con impunidad su dominio del terror sobre los más indefensos.

Las redadas, deportaciones y prohibiciones son hechas con la intención de mandar un mensaje de terror. Hemos visto lo que puede pasar cuando un gobierno declara “temporada abierta” hacia “extranjeros” – horror inimaginable. Debemos reconocer que el carácter del fascismo es que puede absorber actos separados de resistencia mientras continuamente está tirando fuera de balance a la oposición para rápidamente seguir adelante con su agenda. El Régimen de Trump/Pence ya ha lanzado medidas altamente represivas y ha empezado a apretar las clavijas a la resistencia y rehacer las leyes. Debemos detenerlos.

El 15 de Julio debe marcar un gran paso para mantener una lucha mayor, inspirando al pueblo para ver la posibilidad de sacar a este Régimen por medio del tremendo poder de la gente.

Enfrentándose a la opresión en números grandes es siempre la manera más efectiva de empujar a la opresión más horrenda. De esta manera asustaremos a la consciencia de la sociedad, haciéndole más difícil al Régimen de Trump/Pence para que lleve a cabo su programa. Juntos debemos unir a la gente que agoniza y se enfurece de lo que este régimen le está haciendo al pueblo – ¡Esta es la única manera de irnos en contra, y ultimadamente parar a este Régimen!

¿Te unes con nosotros este 15 de Julio?

Isabel Cárdenas ~ Activista Salvadoreña-Americana

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/refuse-fascism-july6-lesson-of-the-day-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Refuse Fascism -- July 6, Lesson of the day…

There is no neutrality under the shadow of rising fascism

A rationale to not act on JULY 15

July 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Objection: Some people and organizations claim that while they believe that Trump and Pence must go, they or their organization, won’t build for it or participate because it “will undermine their independent integrity—their objectivity—and the ability to leverage their voices if they give up their appearance of neutrality by taking a firm stand against the Trump/Pence Regime.”

The REASON TO ACT on JULY 15 to DEMAND THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO:

TRUTH: By attempting to remain or at least appear, “neutral,” one is objectively normalizing what  is being done by the fascist Trump/Pence Regime. There is “no neutrality on a moving train.” In actuality, the train of the fascist Trump/Pence regime will likely swallow up your “neutrality.” From the RefuseFascism Call to Action, “…the character of fascism is that it can absorb separate acts of resistance while continually throwing the opposition off balance by rapidly moving its agenda forward.  The Trump/Pence regime will repeatedly launch new highly repressive measures, eventually clamping down on all resistance and remaking the law…IF THEY ARE NOT DRIVEN FROM POWER.”

THE RIGHT THING TO DO: Join people from diverse perspectives standing shoulder to shoulder in the streets July 15. As the July 15 unifying Statement says:

IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY, THE TRUMP AND PENCE REGIME MUST GO! Only the people acting together in the streets and public square can force this demand before the world. Should we fail to do so, the future and values we aspire to could be brutally cut short by the actions of the Trump/Pence Regime.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/there-is-only-one-guarantee-from-refuse-fascism-org-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

From RefuseFascism.org

There is Only One Guarantee

July 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Is your protest going to be big? Will it bring out all the groups and the people that need to come out? Will it lead to something better? Will it be safe? Will it succeed?

These are some of the questions people have asked, in various ways, as we spread the call for July 15th nationwide protests. These questions have probably occurred to most of us at one time or another. Will this work? Is there an easier way, a better way? Am I risking too much for too little? Some even go on to tell us why we won’t succeed. They say, Americans are too passive. Things aren’t bad enough yet. What you’re calling for is too extreme.

Here is a hard truth. As much as we hope for success, as much as we work day and night to mobilize the thousands and ultimately millions of people that can defeat this fascist regime, we don’t know that all of the planned July 15th demonstrations (now in 14 cities) will be as big as they need to be. No protest since the Women’s March has been able to guarantee that. We cannot guarantee that fascist thugs won’t show up to these demonstrations and attempt to surround us, as they did at the impeachment march in Austin, Texas on July 2nd. We cannot guarantee that all the major organizations will endorse what we’re calling for. We cannot guarantee that these demonstrations will change the momentum of the resistance, which has been pulled in many different directions so far.

Every one of us is being called on to make hard decisions right now, knowing that these decisions have repercussions beyond our immediate spheres of influence, beyond, even, our own lifetime. We should not make them lightly. But our decisions should not be based on what everyone else is doing, or on what is most likely, in our minds, to succeed. Our decisions should be based on what is true and what is right. Without that, all we have is self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you have read the entire call for the July 15th demonstrations, if you agree that it is an accurate reflection of what is already happening and what is further being threatened against immigrants, against Black and Latino youth, against women, against the poor, the elderly, the disabled, against LGBTQ people, if you are indeed raging at the emboldened racist xenophobia in the name of America First, if you are inspired every time you see people rising up and resisting, and if you can imagine the power of people flooding the streets to say we refuse to spend one more day accepting a fascist America … that is what your decision should be based on. Not a wish for others to step out first. Not a promise no one can deliver.

Think about the future that Trump and Pence are promising. A future in which the environment is past the tipping point of being able to sustain life, in which women have no rights to control their own bodies, in which LGBTQ people are forced back into the closet, in which people of color are terrorized by white nationalists, in which the poor, sick, and disabled have no safety nets and are left to fend for themselves, in which there is no free press and there are no checks and balances. We can and we must stop them from cementing this nightmarish future right now.

Is our success guaranteed? Of course not. But if we don’t set our sights higher, we will continue to accept the unacceptable, and if we don’t make the choice, as individuals, to do everything we can to form this united front to drive out this regime, there is a guarantee of failure, and with it an intolerable future for humanity.

No one who is building this movement should be making empty promises. But if we are all compelled to make our decisions based on what is true and what is right, there is a chance, a great chance, that we will succeed. And in the course of this we might find that we don’t need any saviors. We don’t need things to get worse before they get better. We don’t need the perfect conditions to act. We don’t need to impose limits on what we can achieve. All we need is ourselves and each other, throwing in together and coming out that much closer to the future we want.

July 15 Protest and Demand: THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
Find the protest near you. Facebook.





 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/refuse-fascism-lesson-of-the-day-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

July 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Refuse Fascism – Lesson of the day…

 

Refuse Fascism – July 7, Lesson of the Day...

Particular Battles Matter, But Only Driving the Regime Out Will Turn the Tide

A rationale to not act on JULY 15:

 

No one says it would have been easy for the German people to stop Hitler and the Nazis. Everyone says they should've done it anyway.

The Objection: Some people are focused on responding to particular outrages piece by piece, or assisting the most targeted (helping immigrants make plans for their children if they are deported, raising funds for artistic institutions under attack, and more) and feel they will be more effective in achieving those seemingly more “concrete” goals if they steer clear of tangling with the whole fascist program and regime.

The REASON TO ACT on JULY 15 to DEMAND THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO:

TRUTH: While this work is important and we support it, the logic of shying away from the risky but necessary fight of driving out the whole fascist regime has been tried many times in history and the results have never been good.  In Nazi Germany, for example, trying to help a few or beat back just the latest assault, without turning the tide and driving out the whole regime: a) meant fighting on ever shrinking ground, b) aided in normalizing unspeakable and previously unthinkable horrors, c) led to towering crimes which still cast a shadow on humanity. As it states in the July 15 Statement: “History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.”

THE RIGHT THING TO DO: Join people from diverse perspectives standing shoulder to shoulder in the the streets July 15.  As the July 15th unifying Statement says:

IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY: THE TRUMP AND PENCE REGIME MUST GO!

Only the people acting together in the streets and public square can force this demand before the world. Should we fail to do so, the future and values we aspire to could be brutally cut short by the actions of the Trump/Pence Regime.  

 

Refuse Fascism – July 6, Lesson of the day…

There is no neutrality under the shadow of rising fascism

A rationale to not act on JULY 15

 

sign on fence

The Objection: Some people and organizations claim that while they believe that Trump and Pence must go, they or their organization, won’t build for it or participate because it “will undermine their independent integrity—their objectivity—and the ability to leverage their voices if they give up their appearance of neutrality by taking a firm stand against the Trump/Pence Regime.”

The REASON TO ACT on JULY 15 to DEMAND THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO:

TRUTH: By attempting to remain or at least appear, “neutral,” one is objectively normalizing what  is being done by the fascist Trump/Pence Regime. There is “no neutrality on a moving train.” In actuality, the train of the fascist Trump/Pence regime will likely swallow up your “neutrality.” From the RefuseFascism Call to Action, “…the character of fascism is that it can absorb separate acts of resistance while continually throwing the opposition off balance by rapidly moving its agenda forward.  The Trump/Pence regime will repeatedly launch new highly repressive measures, eventually clamping down on all resistance and remaking the law…IF THEY ARE NOT DRIVEN FROM POWER.”

THE RIGHT THING TO DO: Join people from diverse perspectives standing shoulder to shoulder in the streets July 15. As the July 15 unifying Statement says:

IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY, THE TRUMP AND PENCE REGIME MUST GO! Only the people acting together in the streets and public square can force this demand before the world. Should we fail to do so, the future and values we aspire to could be brutally cut short by the actions of the Trump/Pence Regime.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/police-murder-of-alton-sterling-one-year-anniversary-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Grief and Outrage on the One-Year Anniversary of the Police Murder of Alton Sterling

July 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On July 5, 2016, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police tackled Alton Sterling to the ground, held him down, tased him, and then shot him dead in cold blood. In May, the Department of “Justice” announced there would be no charges filed against the police who murdered Alton Sterling. On July 5 of this year, the one-year anniversary of Alton Sterling’s murder by police, there were expressions of pain and outrage.

In the evening, a memorial service was held at the Arc of Safety Ministry. After the memorial, dozens of people went to the Triple S store. The store features a larger-than-life mural of Alton Sterling, and protesters displayed a striking banner demanding “Justice for Alton.” Alton Sterling’s family members and others gave passionate statements of grief and anger that one year later, there is still no justice for Alton. In response to promises of change and reforms, in the wake of mass and determined protests last year, one woman, a nurse who lives near the site of the murder, said “Nothing got better. Nothing changed... They haven’t even given us justice for Alton.”

Earlier in the day, in an incident spread widely on social media, Baton Rouge police brutally assaulted protesters at police headquarters, at an action organized by the New Black Panther Party. That protest included relatives of Alton Sterling. Police attacked with Tasers, stun guns, and pellet guns, and arrested seven people on specious charges of “entering and remaining after being forbidden” and “resisting an officer.”

Speaking of the exoneration of the cop who murdered Sylville Smith in Milwaukee, the refusal to indict Alton Sterling’s murderers, as well as the exonerations of police who murdered Philando Castile in Minnesota, and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Carl Dix said:

This amounts to a statement from this system that no matter how outrageous the murders the police commit, no matter how many people have seen the videos of these murders; all the murdering pigs have to say is: “I feared for my life,” and they get a do not go to jail card.

Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), says: “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.” I challenge anybody to deny the truth of this statement.

If the brutality, terror and murder carried out by the police was the only thing wrong with this capitalist-imperialist system, that would be reason enough to get rid of it once and for all thru revolution. And this is far from the only horror this system enforces on humanity. The RCP is organizing people into a revolution to overthrow this system at the soonest possible moment. If you want to see police terror and all the other horrors humanity is subjected to ended, you need to get with this revolution.

 

       

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017


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

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/academics-who-offend-trump-targeted.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

The Stakes of Standing Up to Threats and Terror Targeted at Academics Who Offend Trump

July 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At least eight professors on different U.S. college campuses have been the targets of death threats and harassment, most in the last month, from pro-Trump white supremacists, misogynists and Nazis. These attacks have led to one firing, two incidents where campuses were temporarily closed, and scholars forced to cancel speaking engagements or leave town. Most of the professors being singled out are women and/or people of color. Overwhelmingly these attacks are based on comments or statements they made on social media or elsewhere, manipulated to discredit them as scholars while unleashing the vicious, hardcore social base of the Trump/Pence regime against them. These attacks are one front of an overall assault on critical thinking and dissent in academia, in service of the Trump/Pence regime. They cannot be tolerated.

Campus Reform—a right-wing “news” site aimed at academia directed by the powerful, conservative Leadership Institute—is the source of many of these attacks. Students are sent to comb through professors’ remarks on Facebook or Twitter, or elsewhere in public, searching for “liberal bias and abuse on America’s campuses.” Comments are taken out of context, distorted, and turned into hit pieces to be picked up by Fox News, the National Review, and other right-wing national media. Their sensationalized coverage whips up online pro-Trump trolls to terrorize these professors.

Meanwhile, Republican state congressmen threaten legislative action if the institutions don’t discipline their faculty. The impact is sending a chilling message throughout academia, exposing every professor to the threat that any off-hand or controversial remark they make in any context can be used to ruin their careers and silence their work.

Who Is Being Targeted?

The list goes on, including Professors Dana Cloud at Syracuse University; Sarah Bond at the University of Iowa; Tommy Curry at Texas A&M University; and Joseph Palermo at Sacramento State University, who’ve each been similarly threatened and terrorized.

Why Critical Thinking in Academia Is Under Attack

Political attacks on academics whose work challenges the agenda of the ruling class are not new. Academia is one place in this society with relative freedom to explore ideas. And in the past few decades, significant groupings of professors coming out of the 1960s especially, have brought forward new scholarship that sheds light on and refutes the official narratives about America’s history and role in the world. While it hardly dominates the overall character of universities today, this kind of intellectual challenge has been seen by a section of those in power as an extremely dangerous threat to the legitimacy and stability of this system. Scholars have been singled out and hit with overt blacklisting, invented academic scandals (as in the case of Ward Churchill), denial of tenure or other forms of censorship and suppression. And there has been a systematic effort to discredit academia as a whole.

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

       

New Level of Political Assault on Academia

With the coming to power of the Trump/Pence regime, the attack on academia has taken on a whole other level of virulence and danger. Within days of Trump’s election, a “Professor Watch List” was publicized, announcing a list of 185 “unAmerican” professors who should be “watched,” and calling on students to report other professors. Very significantly, the person who started the “Professor Watch List” spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland where Trump was nominated. This was followed by the battle at UC Berkeley where pro-Trump fascist propagandists were denied a platform to spew their poison on campus (see sidebar).

So far none of the threatened professors have been physically harmed. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the American Sociological Association are condemning the attacks on individual professors and calling on universities to protect those whose speech is targeted. There is no exaggerating the stakes involved in resisting these attacks, not just for the colleges and universities, but for whether this regime will succeed in enforcing a uniformity of views in society as a whole. The most powerful opposition must be built, determined to stop these attacks and the whole assault aimed at delegitimizing, and silencing academia, as a vital part of stopping this fascist regime and advancing toward an actual revolution.





 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/trump-in-poland-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Trump in Poland
Raising the Battle Flag of White Christian Fascism

July 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Picture the scene: July 6, Warsaw, the capital of Poland, a country ruled by an ultranationalist, ultra-religious, law-and-order party—i.e., a fascist party, “Law and Justice.” Thousands of Law and Justice supporters have been bused into the city to welcome their brother-fascist, Donald Trump. American flags are waving in people’s hands, and making absolutely clear what this is about, right in the middle, 5,000 miles from the American South, flies a big Confederate flag. That flag was a fitting symbol of what was to come.

This was a major speech by Trump celebrating the superiority of white, Christian people and culture (euphemistically referred to as “our Civilization” or “the West”) now and down through the centuries, and calling people to a holy war to defend it.

Trump declared “the West” is “the fastest and the greatest community. There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations. We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs ... and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God.”

As Trump exhorted the crowd: “[W]hat we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again.... [E]very foot of ground, and every last inch of civilization, is worth defending with your life.”

What Are the Actual “Values” of “the West”?

What has been most characteristic of “the West”? Symphonies??? No. To put it simply, the legacy of “our civilization” that Trump celebrates makes Game of Thrones look like the Woodstock festival of peace and love.

As early as the 15th century, and through the 19th century, colonial powers of the white, Christian “West” enslaved millions of Africans and sold them into generations in hell in the Western Hemisphere. In Peru, the Spanish reportedly worked eight million indigenous people to death in their silver mines. In Congo, Belgian colonialists routinely chopped off the hands of miners who failed to meet their daily quota. In India, the British took rebels against their rule and tied them across the mouths of cannons which they then fired. In the U.S., Australia, and Canada, genocidal wars virtually wiped out the Native populations. In the 20th century, wars over who would control the biggest empire, along with wars to control the colonized peoples, killed easily 100 million people. (Hitler, who led Germany in the most savage of these wars, was also quite fond of bragging about the marvelous symphonies that German musicians had created, and thus trying to depict Nazi savagery as somehow being in the interests of humanity!)

And they justified all this butchery, barbarism, and blood with the racist mantra of the “White Man’s Burden”—insisting as they murdered, raped, and plundered that they were doing those they slaughtered and enslaved a favor by bringing them the glories of “Western civilization.”

There is nothing in any of this that any decent human being should want to celebrate, much less violently defend. To the contrary, we should do everything we can to wrench society beyond the long dark night of oppressive class societies, and into a future that transcends wars and other crimes that have served exploiting classes and the domination of humanity by the imperialist powers Trump glorifies.

What Does Trump Mean by “the West” and by “Our Civilization”?

In truly Hitlerian tones, Trump railed, “[T]here are dire threats to our security and our way of life.” From whom? From enemies “from inside or out, from the South or the East.”

Journalist Peter Beinart points out that Trump used the terms “the West” and “our Civilization” a total of 15 times in his speech. And Beinart makes an important point: “The West is not a geographic term”—for example, Australia (in the South Pacific) is definitely part of “the West,” but Mexico and Haiti, definitely are not. Nor is Trump using it to describe countries which respect formal democratic rights like freedom of speech and the press. In fact, Trump himself is a vicious enemy of such rights, and Poland is now in the process of sharply curtailing freedom of the press, cracking down on the independent judiciary, etc.

No, what Trump means—and what his fascist supporters understand—is the nations of Europe, as well as settler states (like the U.S.) established by European colonists, that were historically either overwhelmingly white or were solidly white supremacist, and Christian (or Judeo-Christian).

 

       

In this clash of civilizations paradigm, and in a speech written by “white nationalists” (white Christian fascists) Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, the existential threat “from inside and out,” from “the South or East” are the billions of people in nations ravaged by Western imperialism. And to the extent reactionary Islamic fundamentalist Jihad has taken root in some of those places—in the soil and environment created by imperialism—that and any other challenges to Western imperialism must be crushed “at any cost.” And, in this genocidal paradigm, because they undermine the white supremacist coherence of “the West,” Muslims must be banned from entering the U.S., Europe, and Australia, and treated as pariahs, demonized, terrorized, hunted down, and driven out of those countries. That, in the context of a horrific global refugee crisis that has driven 65 million human beings from their homes as a result of the economic, military, and environmental horrors produced by “the West.” How is this different than Hitler’s targeting the Jews, and where do you think this will lead?

We cannot here survey the whole deadly package for the fascist restructuring of societies in “the West” that flows from this genocidal clash of civilizations agenda, but we have to take particular note of something in that regard in Trump’s speech. He bragged that in “the West,” “We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success.” In the next sentence, he made clear what he means by this: “We put faith and family ... at the center of our lives.” This directly echoes the Nazi slogan “Kinder, Küche, Kirche” (“Children, Church, Kitchen”) as the way in which women are “pillars” of society. This is an extremely patriarchal view that does not see women as full human beings.

Speaking in Poland—a country with the most draconian prohibitions against abortion in “the West,” and where the rulers have forged a tight bond with Catholic fundamentalism—Trump said, “We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive.” (emphasis added)

A War Cry From a Nuclear-Armed Madman

Over and over in his speech, Trump invoked wars, in graphic and bloody detail. Invariably he wildly distorted the nature and context of those wars to contort them into the paradigm of the white Christian West fighting desperate battles of survival against existential threats from enemies of white Christian civilization. He wasn’t doing this to teach a fractured history lesson—he was doing it to forge a section of people to go along with, and fight and slaughter in, coming wars.

How else do you understand him demanding that people be willing to fight for “every foot of ground, and every last inch of civilization ... with your life”? Or, posing the question of whether “the West has the will to survive”?

And this from the mouth of the madman who asked a national security expert three times in one meeting: If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?

A Fascist Speech From a Fascist President Who Must Be STOPPED!

This speech should serve as a final, loud, obscene wake-up call: This regime is not just stupid and opportunistic. It is not impotent, unable to do any damage, unraveling and bound to go under soon.

No, this speech shows that the regime is thoroughly and coherently fascist, and that whatever bumps and detours it encounters, it is on the offensive, not only in the U.S. but internationally. This is a fascist regime, a product and extreme manifestation of capitalism-imperialism, and an imminent threat to humanity.

And this speech points, very sharply, to the need to seize the time, while things are still in a state of flux, to mobilize the millions and tens of millions who would hate to see a world like this, to take to the streets and stay in the streets until this regime is driven from power.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/whats-so-great-about-NATO-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

What’s So Great About NATO? Not a Goddamn Thing!

(Unless You’re Fighting to Preserve a World of Exploitation, Domination, and Horrors)

July 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Donald Trump is getting near universal praise in the U.S. establishment, including from some vociferous critics, for uttering some more forthright words of support for NATO. In his speech in Poland, Trump praised this U.S.-European military alliance, reaffirmed NATO's Article 5 committing all members to go to war if any are attacked, and criticized Russia’s “destabilizing” activities in Ukraine and support for the governments of Iran and Syria.

Why all these kudos? Trump’s criticisms of and lukewarm support for NATO, while hesitating to criticize Russia, have been a big flashpoint of struggle within the ruling class between the Trump/Pence fascists who are bent on radically reshaping America, including in some ways its relationship to the rest of the world, and those imperialists who want to preserve the existing structures and world order, including NATO, because it has been a key U.S. tool for dominating the post-World War 2 global order.

Expressing this latter perspective, former CBS anchor Dan Rather, who has written stinging criticisms of Trump for attacking the press and trampling on the rule of law, tweeted: “President Trump pro-NATO speech in Poland is the best of his Presidency” and “Trump Poland speech reverses previous statements questioning value of NATO. And first time he has been so critical of Russia.” As if Trump may have finally “come to his senses” and would become a more “normal” imperialist marauder. Fat chance, Dan.

What’s So Good About NATO for Humanity?

Praise NATO? This 29-country, U.S.-dominated military alliance was formed after World War 2 to surround and threaten the socialist camp, that existed at the time, headed by the Soviet Union and China.1 From the start, NATO has always reserved for itself the “right” to use nuclear weapons first to advance its imperialist interests! NATO’s formation was part of the forging of the American-led “European alliance” by the U.S. rulers and the CIA working with a cabal of former Nazis, fascists, and other reactionaries, many of whom became prominent officials in post-war Europe. One of this alliance’s first moves was launching vicious and very heavy reactionary attacks against communist parties in Europe which, while already heavily weighed down with non-revolutionary, revisionist lines, were nonetheless seen as obstacles to the U.S. domination of the continent.

Today, NATO countries, with the U.S. leading the way, together spend nearly $1 trillion a year—more than half the world’s military spending—on instruments of death and destruction in service of Western imperialism.

Led by the U.S., NATO talks about “keeping the peace” and “humanitarian work” but what does it actually do?

For decades, the U.S. bloc faced off with the former Soviet Union (by the mid-1950s an imperialist state) and its Warsaw Pact bloc of countries—nose-to-nose, nuke-to-nuke in Europe. Both sides were armed to the teeth, threatening humanity with a nuclear holocaust. NATO was right in the thick of it and nukes are still its “core component” and “supreme” guarantor.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, did NATO turn its swords into plowshares? No, it aggressively recruited former Warsaw Pact countries into its ranks and moved its weapons right to Russia’s border, heightening the tensions and rivalry between U.S.-NATO and Russian imperialism. Now NATO is flying “air policing missions” and installing U.S. Patriot “defense” missiles in Eastern Europe, again threatening the world.

NATO’s crimes haven’t been limited to Europe by any stretch of the imagination. NATO deployed aircraft to Turkey in 1990 and 1991 in support of the U.S.’s massive Persian Gulf War invasion of Iraq, an imperialist slaughter which left 100,000 to 200,000 Iraqis dead. In the 1990s, as the former Yugoslavia was splitting apart, the U.S. and NATO forces, deployed in the name of humanitarianism, indiscriminately bombed farmers, suburbanites, city dwellers, factory workers, reporters, diplomats, people in cars, buses and trains, hospital patients, the elderly, and children, to extend Western imperialist control. NATO forces remain in Kosovo to this day.

When the U.S. invaded and occupied Afghanistan in 2001, NATO was right with them, and remains there nearly 16 years and hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect deaths later, its bombs having obliterated wedding parties, farming villages, people walking to visit neighbors or relatives.

In 2011, NATO’s seven-month bombing campaign to topple the government of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi led to a reactionary bloodbath that left between 10,000 and 50,000 dead, and turned Libya into a nightmarish battlefield between jihadist, warlord, and imperialist forces, making life hell for millions of Libyans.

       

In 2016, as thousands of migrants were fleeing across the Mediterranean to escape famine, war, poverty, and persecution, NATO sent warships to the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey—not to rescue them, but to discourage further migration and perhaps position military forces nearer Russia and the Middle East.

All of NATO’s war making—and “peacekeeping”—has been aimed at maintaining a world of Western imperialist, especially U.S. imperialist, global exploitation and domination that confines billions to lives of degradation, brutality, and endless poverty, defending a system which is now shredding Earth’s thin life-supporting membranes.

Why are these crimes and war crimes any less criminal, or these horrors any less horrible, because the U.S. teams up with allies rather than “going it alone”? Since when is a gang of criminals less threatening than an individual thug? Isn’t ganging up called racketeering?

What’s so good about NATO? Not a goddamn thing! It’s a bloody nightmare for humanity!

People should hate Trump because he’s a fascist—not because he doesn’t support the blood-soaked NATO alliance enough! And we need to drive the whole Trump/Pence fascist regime from power—but not to return to the “normal” world of imperialist pillage and mass slaughter! Praising Trump for supporting NATO and confronting the rival imperialists in Russia is fighting to maintain a predatory world order that was NEVER GREAT and that’s now fracturing at the seams. We need to go forward to fight for a world without capitalism-imperialism, and the nightmares its “normal” workings visit on billions and the planet.

No one with any heart for the people should want to preserve that. Stop thinking like Americans, people, and start thinking about humanity!


1. For more on this, see the interview with Raymond Lotta: You Don’t Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future” [back]

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/hamburg-correspondence-supporters-of-bob-avakians-new-communism-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Correspondence from Hamburg from Supporters of Bob Avakian’s New Communism

July 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

supporters of Bob Avakian's new communism rallied protesters

Supporters of Bob Avakian’s new communism rallied protesters who were attacked by police in Hamburg, and reached thousands with leaflets promoting the new communism and the statement from Refuse Fascism: NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! Drive out the Trump/Pence Regime! Credit: Special to Revolution

 

Thursday night—Following a murderous jihadist attack last year, Donald Trump had contemptuously thrown out the word “hell” to deride Europe’s inner cities—and its rebel youth had not forgotten. A huge banner rode high over the crowd who assembled on a warm summer’s day along Hamburg’s centuries-old harbor proclaiming defiantly to Trump and the G-20 leaders: “Welcome to Hell!” The 12,000 protesters, with several thousand militant “black bloc” anarchists in the fore, had marched barely 300 meters when they were stopped by a phalanx of riot police some 10 rows deep. Within minutes, the riot police ran with truncheons raised into the protestors, trying to cut off and isolate what they considered the hard-core militants. Hamburg has deployed an arsenal of 33 water cannon at all times for several days now and three opened up on the protestors—much of even Germany’s mainstream press expressed amazement at the viciousness and large scale of the unprovoked attack.

As thousands backtracked in the face of the police onslaught, the team of supporters of the new communism unfurled two of their banners and acted as a rallying point. They quickly brought together a couple of hundred of the dispersed protestors on an almost hour-long wildcat march through Hamburg’s back streets. The marchers were greeted warmly by the residents of social housing blocks, who included some of the newly arrived refugees from Syria and the Mideast. The march was tracked overhead by one of the 23 police helicopters that now buzz through the city’s skies almost 24 hours a day—eventually squads of riot police were mobilized to disperse the march—but not before word of revolution and the new communism had gotten out broadly in a new part of the city.

Several thousand leaflets were distributed and the team had aroused widespread respect and curiosity for its bold promotion of revolution and the new communism, not only from many of the radical youth who’d come, mostly from Germany but from throughout northern Europe and even further, but also from press from over a dozen countries. Interviews were conducted with Russian and Chinese national media curious about the “new communism,” and many others.

One question that came especially from some of the more mainstream media was about the violence—this, in the shadow of the summit of G-20 leaders whose wars have spilled the blood of many hundreds of thousands, who incarcerate millions, who have driven millions out of their homes, watching idly as several thousand drown every year in the sea “protecting,” in their eyes, Europe from Africa and the Middle East.

Friday—as the summit actually began, the city shuddered to a halt. A large-scale student strike brought hundreds of students from the high schools and universities down to the edge of the “blue zone”—a large buffer area surrounding the inner “red zone” reserved solely for attendees of the summit. The students, joined by the team, set off boldly, and marched through the city streets, past the dozens of riot police guarding every major cross street into the blue zone.

By the end of Saturday’s mass protest, over 20,000 copies of a leaflet, titled in German, “Humanity Needs Revolution and the New Communism,” will have been distributed, along with many thousands of the statement from Refuse Fascism: NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! Drive out the Trump/Pence Regime!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/charlottesville-virginia-kkk-defenders-of-slavery-confronted-by-1000-protesters-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

Charlottesville, Virginia:
KKK Defenders of Slavery Confronted by 1,000 Protesters

July 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Earlier this year, the city council in Charlottesville, Virginia, decided to remove a public park statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee—who led a war to defend and expand the enslavement of Black people. The council also changed the name of the park from Lee Park to Emancipation Park.

As has happened in other cities, the decision to remove these blatant symbols/celebrations of SLAVERY provoked the outrage of all kinds of white supremacist scum—both official and “good old boy” variety. In May, a nighttime rally of 100 people with burning torches, some with automatic weapons, chanted “We [white people] will not be replaced.” On Saturday, July 8, the KKKers rallied again—and were confronted by a huge counter-protest.

The KKK had announced beforehand that they were going to come armed to their rally, and the city granted them a permit for their march.

A small handful of klukkers, a couple dozen, showed up, wearing white KKK robes, sporting handguns in holsters, carrying Confederate flags, and shouting “white power” slogans. And a crowd of about 1,000 counter-protesters, people of many different nationalities, rallied to SHUT THESE MOTHERFUCKERS DOWN. The counter-protest was organized by members of Black Lives Matter and the Charlottesville Showing Up for Racial Justice group. People shouted, “shame” and “racists go home.”

More than a 100 police were there and (as usual) set up a line to PROTECT the KKK—and attack those taking a determined stand against white supremacy and slavery. Wearing riot gear, the police declared the counter-protesters “an unlawful assembly,” used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd, and arrested 23 anti-KKK protesters.

Jalane Schmidt, a professor at the University of Virginia who has been among those calling for the removal of the statue, was in the crowd and told reporters, “It is important for me to be here because the Klan was ignored in the 1920s and they metastasized. They need to know that their ideology is not acceptable. I teach about slavery and African American history and it’s important to face the Klan and to face the demons of our collective history and our original sin of slavery. We do it on behalf of our ancestors who were terrorized by them.” (Washington Post, July 8, 2017)

There is a growing demand and movement in a number of different cities to take down Confederate monuments. And the KKK and white supremacists are crawling out, armed, to defend “white culture,” their racist “way of life,” and what they consider a glorious history of the South, i.e. defending SLAVERY.

This battle—between defenders of slavery, and all those who recognize the need to take a determined stand against white supremacy—is intensifying as KKKers in a number of cities are vowing to hold more protests against the removal of Confederate monuments. In Charlottesville there is a “Unite the Right” rally planned for next month.

What does it say about America, that for over 100 years now after the Civil War, there are some 1,500 Confederate place names and other symbols in public spaces, both in the South and across the nation; and that now, as there are moves to take these hated symbols of white supremacy down, this is provoking a heated battle?

This is a completely illegitimate system whose whole history is steeped in white supremacy and the oppression of Black people—which continues in many forms today. And as revcom pointed out in May when the KKK rallied in Charlottesville: “This violence-tinged defense of slave owners and genocidal regimes of the past is not just about ‘history’—it is BLATANT terrorism being directed specifically against Black people, and more broadly against all the groups being targeted by the Trump/Pence regime: immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and anyone who stands with them.”





 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/one-year-after-police-murder-of-alton-sterling-en.html

Revolution #498 July 3, 2017

One Year After the Police Murder of Alton Sterling:
Defying Pig Threats, Demanding Justice in Baton Rouge

July 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader who went to Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

One year after the police murder of Alton Sterling, and no pig has been charged, Alton’s family called for people to come to Baton Rouge for five days to “Commemorate Alton Sterling, Protest His Murder!” A team of Revolution distributors went to join them in Baton Rouge.

The crowds were much smaller this year. Veda, one of Alton’s aunts, said that people in the neighborhood are scared to come out, but she is not going to stop calling them to come out, because Alton still deserves justice. One woman from the community said that the police came to her house and warned her, “Don’t go to North Foster” (where the Triple S store, where Alton was murdered, is), but she came anyway.

Veda brought up how even more now, since Trump is the president, the police act like they can do whatever they want. Several people spoke to this. A longtime community activist said that Trump and his racist cronies are opening the door for more police killing Black people and getting away with it—look at how many cops got off just this month—and the only way out is for people to fight, for all people coming together to fight.

A couple of people brought up how the way they see it, Trump and the white supremacists are trying to start a civil war between whites and Blacks. One young woman added, “When Trump talks about make America great again, he’s just saying make America white again, and we need to come together to fight this.” One young woman, who was out there all day with her two little kids, responded to police brutality in the context of the fascist program, and said that she hates how Muslims are being treated right now and all the injustices people are enduring everywhere.

People were very happy to see Revolution newspaper, and several people said that they remember the Stolen Lives banner (showing the faces of dozens of victims of murder by police) that was a prominent part of the scene outside Triple S a year ago amid the protests after Alton’s murder. A couple of people said that they are glad that Revolution came back, because a lot of times, people just come and go, try to make a name for themselves, but they can tell that the revolution is serious about this and really care about the people.

One man came up and said that he doesn’t care if he lives or dies. That he had just spend 22 years of his life in prison, and is on parole for 40 more years. He said, show me what I can live for—and he got a copy of Revolution. The next morning we ran into him at Triple S again, and he said that he had started reading some of the articles, and that it was real deep, and something he wants to find out more about. But he asked how can he get involved, the system has him trapped.

There was a lot of debate over why more people hadn’t been coming out to protest. One guy agitated about Black-on-Black crime. Another guy started saying that there is Black-on-Black crime, white-on-white crime, there is crime no matter what race you are, so that’s not why people are being killed by the police. We had gotten out a lot of the Chicago Revolution Club communiqué, and several people said, Wow, they’re doing that? And one guy said he wanted a stack of them to give out in the community.

       

On Wednesday evening, there was an impromptu rally, and several people came up to speak and these were some common themes:

One young man said, “You gotta be willing to sacrifice some of yourself for this movement if you want to keep going, the reason more people aren’t out here is because they don’t see people committed to transforming the situation—and you want that to happen, you got to change your lifestyle—be like Veda.”

An 18-year-old woman said: “Why aren’t we doing more? Asking for more? There should not have been a man laying on this sidewalk with his blood splattered here!... Why are Black people just asking for peace? [Mocking the authorities] ‘We want you to be civil’—Civil?!—Civil?! We want you to treat us like humans!... Don’t tell me that at 18—and I have my whole life ahead of me—that this is what I have to settle for—Why?”

A man who distributed posters he made honoring Alton Sterling talked about the afternoon protest. Why go to the police station and subject yourself to that? “Standing up for yourself should never be condemned. We got condemned for standing up for ourselves, we got prosecuted for standing up for ourselves, we got beat and abused because we stood up for ourselves. And at the end of the day until we stand up for ourselves everything don’t matter what you do on a daily basis. Facebook don’t matter, Instagram don’t matter, Snapchat don’t matter. When you realize that this is the most important thing in your life—right now—that’s when you’ll come to terms with what’s going on right now.” He called on people to continue resisting and set an example for the youth.

Another man decried the fact that people’s tax money is going into the pockets of these murderers—who get paid time off for killing. He said, “I’m tired of saying ‘no justice no peace’—we want justice NOW.” And led the crowd in chanting that.

Veda said, “It’s about you, Black people! I love you all, love you enough to come out and protest this thing. We gonna be out here tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Come out here because I know you got children. I’m out here for mine.”

A woman who was listening said, with tears in her eyes, that she feels so bad for the families. She said that she had only daughters but now has six grandsons and she worries about them all the time—that if you’re born Black you’re in danger. She said how she was married for “way too long” to a police officer. When Alton Sterling was murdered she felt compelled to go down to the store, to be with people, to take a stand. When her husband asked her why she wanted to go mess around with all those “hoodlums,” she said, OK that’s it, and left him for good. She described how this Black man had become such a hater of his own people—calling them things like “roaches.” She had encountered the Revolution Club there last year and was excited to hear about what they are doing in Chicago and took extra papers and flyers to get out to people she knows.