What Does It Mean When Trump’s Chief-of-Staff Says Fighting to Maintain Slavery Was “Honorable”? 

November 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us



After going full fascist in his defense of Trump’s phone call to a military widow, on Monday night Chief-of-Staff Gen. John Kelly was a guest on Laura Ingraham’s debut as a host on the Fox Network.  Ingraham, a hardcore Trump supporter, asked Kelly what he thought about the recent removal of plaques honoring President George Washington and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a church in Alexandria, Virginia.   Kelly said it was a “mistake” to remove Confederate monuments: 

“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man.  He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

The word “slavery” was never mentioned, but that’s what Kelly was upholding.  The Civil War was fought over one thing—slavery.  Lee and the Confederates weren’t fighting to defend their “states”—they were fighting to preserve and extend the barbaric institution of slavery that for nearly 250 years viciously exploited, mangled, and mutilated the lives MILLIONS of Black people!   Kelly calls their fight “honorable”, done in “good faith.”  In fact he seems to think Lee’s cause was more important than what the North was fighting for!

As for compromises, there were plenty of compromises between the Northern capitalists and the Southern slave-owners—all of them involved allowing slavery, from the founding of the U.S. with a Constitution that held slaves were three-fifths of a person, right up to the eve of the Civil War.  So any compromise to avert civil war would have been a compromise to maintain slavery—there was no other compromise possible, as the South repeatedly made clear.  (The South even rejected a compromise that would have allowed slavery to continue where it existed, but not allow it to expand to other territories or states.) 

In all this Kelly not only echoes but underscores Trump’s vicious racism and white supremacy.   He again makes clear through his answers but more than that his whole demeanor and tone and orientation of his remarks, that there is absolutely no space between him and Trump, that he is fully on board with the fascist program—especially the notion of restoring American “greatness” and the “sacredness” of every rotten, reactionary value of pre-1960’s America.

Think about the implications of having a regime in power that upholds the fight for slavery as “honorable.”  A regime that has now signed on, in 2017, to the notion that the Civil War was a war over “states’ rights,” and the Southern “cause” was glorious, one deserving of monuments and presidential praise? 

White-washing—literally—the horror of slavery and honoring those who fought to defend it is a clarion call to white supremacists and KKK-Nazis that Black people are less than human—and deserve to be treated with merciless, relentless insult, degradation, abuse and yes murder, even mass murder.  And this violent re-imposition of naked white supremacy is at the very core of Trump/Pence fascism.  All this could turn what has been a slow genocide into a fast one. 

And Kelly, by raising that “compromise” could have averted the Civil War may also have been sending a message to the Trump/Pence regime’s ruling class opponents:  if you don’t compromise with us this time around—that is, if you don’t essentially capitulate to what we’re demanding and putting in place to buttress and extend white supremacy—then we’re fully ready to bring it at you again, and fight with everything we can muster to stay in power and implement our agenda.   

Yes, there were criticisms by the Democrats.  But was there full-throated outrage?  Demands for Kelly’s immediate resignation?  Calls for the Democratic Party’s base to take to the streets to stop this nightmare?  No!  No! and No!

All this screams out for massive, uncompromising protest and resistance to bring down this regime whose leaders uphold slavery, “honor” the slaveholding South’s cause in the Civil War, and are now bent on reviving its racist, murderous spirit.   There IS a way you can act to do so.  It starts November 4.  Be there!

Where to be on November 4


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