When It Comes to Fascist Repression—Trump and Sessions on the Same Page

July 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Over the last week, Trump sent out multiple tweets attacking his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and there has been constant speculation in the media over whether Trump will fire Sessions or if he will resign. At the same time, Sessions has blazed on, continuing the Trump/Pence regime’s remaking of society and attempt at consolidating a fascist America.

Stepping Up Attacks on Sanctuary Cities and War on Immigrants

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice headed by Sessions announced a new policy depriving “sanctuary cities” of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants, unless they are in lockstep with the Trump/Pence regime’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants. This includes the requirement that local law enforcement must allow ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents access to their jails to grill people who are detained and who aren’t able to produce documents showing legal status. Cities and states must also have their law enforcement agencies notify ICE at least 48 hours before releasing any incarcerated undocumented immigrants, if ICE had expressed interest in detaining them. The new Justice Dept. policy also requires that local jurisdictions can’t prohibit their employees from handing over information about an individual’s immigration status to the federal government.

These are among the steps that the Trump/Pence regime has been threatening as part of their ramping up of their assaults on immigrants—and now they are moving ahead to put those policies into effect. And more are in the works.

When Sessions announced this new policy, he said, “So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes.” This is part of the Trump/Pence regime’s whipping up a poisonous climate of demonization and scapegoating of all immigrants as “criminals” and “animals” who “make us less safe”—in order to justify the fascist anti-immigrant offensive. This is aimed at criminalizing 11 million undocumented people in this country—and millions of others who are deemed “suspicious” because of the color of their skin, the way they speak, etc.

Sessions stepped up the demonization of immigrants as “criminals” with his July 27 trip to El Salvador to talk to government officials there about how to go after the MS-13 and other gangs. The next day, Trump himself gave a speech in Long Island in which MS-13 was a big focus. Again, all this talk about MS-13 (a violent criminal gang, many of whose members are immigrant youth, some of whom are forced to join) is a deliberate move by the fascists in power to create a pretext to demonize and target a whole section of society, millions of people, as “criminals” who deserve to be ostracized, hunted down, penned in, kicked out, and more. The immigrants who are being terrorized in this way are human beings whose only “crime” is to seek to escape the dislocation, poverty and reactionary violence that the U.S. imperialists have brought to their homelands in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and many other countries across the planet.

Seizing Assets from People Not Even Charged with Crimes

Another repressive step Sessions took was to strengthen federal control over civil forfeiture—a legal process in which law enforcement officers seize assets (like cars and cash) from people who are alleged to be involved in illegal activity—even if they have not been actually charged with any crime. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia had placed some restrictions on these civil forfeitures. Moving against these changes, Sessions announced that the assets seized through civil forfeitures can now be turned over to the federal government—bypassing state regulations on these forfeitures. The federal government will then pool the proceeds and return 80 percent of the amount gained to the local and state police.

Intensifying Assaults on LGBTQ Rights

Early in July, Sessions spoke behind closed doors to the Alliance Defending Freedom [ADF], the largest Christian fascist law firm in the U.S., and pledged the backing of the Justice Dept. for the ADF agenda of imposing Christian fascist ideology on state and federal laws and on every aspect of society. Then, on the same day that Trump tweeted that transgendered people would be banned from the U.S. military, Sessions’s Justice Department filed court papers in an important court case relating to LGBT rights. They pushed the outrageous claim that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a major federal civil rights law, does not protect employees from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

This goes against a long-time federal policy. And while the particular case that the Justice Dept. intervened in has to do with employment law, if Sessions and the regime are able to get their way here, it has much wider implications. The Washington Post points out, for example, that Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendment, relating to discrimination in education, is “generally interpreted in sync with ruling on the employment discrimination law.”

Trump and Sessions: On the Same Page on Fascist Repression

When Trump tweets and questions Sessions’s “loyalty,” and bullies others in his cabinet, he is intentionally raising the fascist bar even higher. One commentator on Fox Fascist “News” said this is Trump “lighting a fire under Sessions.”

During his trip to El Salvador, when asked by a Fox talking head about the Trump tweets, Sessions bragged about how there has been a dramatic increase in criminal prosecutions across the U.S. What this translates into actually is that even more people, disproportionately Black and Latino, are being funneled into prisons and that the war against millions of non-white immigrants is being further revved up.

Sessions and Trump are on exactly the same page when it comes to anti-immigrant attacks and other aspects of the fascist agenda on stepping up repression. As the Call to Action from Refuse Fascism says:

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


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