“Lock Her Up!”: Jeff Sessions Whips Up America's Hitler Youth

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions—the most powerful law enforcement official in the country—smiled and joined in when hundreds of Trumpian high school students broke into chants of “Lock her up!” “Lock her up!” during his July 24 speech. Sessions was at a national conference of right-wing students organized by a group called Turning Point USA. Afterward, Sessions said, “I like this bunch, I gotta tell you. You’re not going to be backing down. Go get ’em. Go get ’em.”

“Lock her up!” became a Trumpian fascist battle cry during the 2016 election, aimed at Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, and was chanted by tens of thousands of rabid reactionaries who flocked to stadiums to see Trump perform live. These “Lock her up!” chants were brimming with threats of extrajudicial, lynch-mob violence. They were fascistic declarations that the prevailing ruling class “norms” of at least appearances of due process and “bipartisanship” were no longer to be respected. Trump was saying outright that he wouldn’t just defeat Clinton at the polls, he’d have her (and perhaps any other opponents) arrested and jailed.

“Lock her up!” was also a declaration of the open, vitriolic misogyny that is a core element of the Trump/Pence fascist program. Hillary Clinton was responsible for many war crimes as Obama’s secretary of state. And in the 1990s, she was a key member of the Bill Clinton White House that greatly stepped up the mass incarceration directed largely at Black and Brown youth. But that’s certainly not why Trump supporters had such hatred for her—it was precisely the fact that she is a woman that stoked their patriarchal rage, expressed in T-shirts (“Trump that B...*”) and homemade posters of her in prison garb that were themselves a kind of sick, semi-pornographic assault.

The DOJ Has Never, NEVER Been About Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) that Sessions now heads has never been an instrument of, by, or for the people. It’s part of the dictatorship exercised by the capitalist-imperialist ruling class to enforce laws that uphold and maintain the functioning of their system of exploitation and its oppressive production and social relations. That’s why under Obama, the DOJ never prosecuted any killer cops—not the murderers of Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, or Michael Brown; not the killers of any of the hundreds of other people, disproportionately Black and Latino, who were killed by police on Obama’s watch.

Obama’s DOJ worked to derail the powerful “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” movement against police murder and terror that erupted after Michael Brown was murdered by pig Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, with phony expressions of concern and promises they would bring justice. Instead, they sided with Michael Brown’s murderer, refused to charge him with any crime, and even tried to discredit and reverse the truth that Michael had his hands up when he was shot dead.1

But now, putting the DOJ in the hands of the white-supremacist KKKlucker Jeff Sessions, as part of the Trump/Pence fascist regime overall, marked a terrible leap toward even greater horrors and injustices. We’ve already seen Sessions turn all border crossers—a great many of them refugees seeking asylum—into felons. Without hesitation, he has separated thousands of children from their parents. He has threatened criminal action against Democratic Party political opponents such as the mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, who warned of a series of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids aimed at immigrants just before they were launched.

But when Sessions takes up the chant “Lock her up,” it signals that past norms, even the rule of law, are being further torn up and that the instruments of state repression can now be turned against any opponent of this regime, not just the ruling class opponents of the Democratic Party, but more broadly among the masses of people. It’s a green light to extralegal, lynch mob-style violence. And it’s yet another sign that the DOJ has become an instrument for implementing a fascist program, locking in unchecked Trump/Pence rule, and punishing those who stand in the way.

Organizing Hitler Youth on Campuses

Turning Point USA operates the “Professor Watchlist,” which organizes right-wing students to identify, publicize, and attack professors whose scholarship, curricula, and role as public intellectuals stand in the way of the agenda of America’s fascists. It pumps large sums of money into campus elections with the goal of having its candidates become the future leaders of campus student organizations. All this is part of an overall campaign to crush critical thinking, censor and reverse scholarship on America’s actual history, role in the world, or treatment of the oppressed within its own borders, and “Nazify” the universities.2

Turning Point USA’s conference was part of their efforts to organize an American version of the Hitler Youth, and Sessions echoed their assaults on liberal universities, claiming they were “coddling” students and creating a “generation of sanctimonious, sensitive, supercilious snowflakes.” And his “Lock her up!” encouragement to these students was aimed at fostering an aggressive, get-ready-for-civil-war-and-violent-repression-type mentality in the youth—including to “take back the universities.”

(The liberal bourgeois New York Times' coverage of the conference normalized and prettified these fascist or fascist-leaning youths, characterizing them as “conservatives” or “right-leaning.”)

The Fight for the Future Cannot Be Avoided—and Must Not Be Shrunk From

Sessions, other members of the Trump/Pence regime who spoke at the conference, and fascist organizations like Turning Point USA, are aggressively organizing youths to fight for the future—a fascist future of violent white and male supremacy, Nazi assaults on immigrants, the plunder of the environment, and “America First” wars and domination.

There IS a tremendous struggle for the future unfolding right now which cannot be avoided—and should certainly not be shrunk from. The question of what KIND of future will be fought for is on the table.

It is tremendously important to oppose the foul crap being whipped up by the Klucker Sessions and the Trump/Pence regime and the all-around fascist assault that will make the hell America has always been for millions and millions even more excruciating and intolerable.

But the fact is that America was NEVER great and has always been a living hell for the oppressed here and worldwide. Why would we want to go back to a society that even on its “best day” was saturated with white supremacy, misogyny, and the most vicious chauvinism toward people around the world... the kind of society that not only breeds sewer creatures like Trump and Sessions but makes them “respectable” and powerful leaders?

A far better and truly liberating future is possible, thanks to the work Bob Avakian has done over decades to bring forward a new synthesis of communism—the new communism—which is embodied concretely in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Readers can dig into this new communism and the breakthrough for humanity that it represents, on the Bob Avakian portal at revcom.us. This visionary, viable, and revolutionary alternative to the horror that is capitalism-imperialism—whether bourgeois democrats or fascists are in charge—must be spread far and wide, and become a real pole throughout society.

1. See “DOJ Report: Coverup for the Police Murder of Michael Brown.”  [back]

2. See “‘Professor Watchlist’—Targeting Critical Thinking and Dissent in the Universities.”  [back]

As I have said a number of times: These reactionaries should not even be allowed to use “conservative” to describe themselves. We should say, “Conservative, my ass, these people are Nazis.”

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:26

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