Voices of Conscience and Resistance

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Voices of Conscience and Resistance is a special feature at Revcom.us at a time when people all over are being challenged to understand and act on the crossroads we face: the accelerating moves to lock down fascism in America, concentrated around the elections with the Trump/Pence regime. We aim to aggregate a broad range of voices that are making important public statements shedding light on this juncture. Our aim in this is to better identify and understand the character of the threat, and even more importantly to marshal this understanding to further the struggle to defeat it. 

Noam Chomsky: Trump Is Willing to Dismantle Democracy to Hold On to Power, interview with Truthout.org, October 12, 2020

...Trump and his Republican cohorts are working overtime to implement their strategy of undermining the election or discrediting it if it comes out the wrong way, setting the stage for a possible coup.

In preparation, an “Army for Trump” is being mobilized to descend on polls to intimidate the wrong voters. What was once the Justice Department is easing election fraud inquiry constraints in case that path becomes necessary.

In general, no stone is left unturned in Trump’s campaign to dismantle democratic forms and hold on to power.

...Other major democracies are also decaying, also falling into the hands of leaders with traits of fascism, if not the ideologies...

The whole interview is available here.

Historian Timothy Snyder: America is “in a slow-motion Reichstag Fire right now”

In an interview in Salon.com, Timothy Snyder, history professor at Yale University, responds to a question about how he would answer people who criticize him for his warnings about Trump’s fascism. What would he tell people who say, “You were talking about a Reichstag Fire! It didn’t happen. You are an alarmist…”? (The Reichstag Fire refers to a key nodal point in Hitler’s consolidation of fascist rule, when he seized on the burning down of the German legislature in 1933 to carry out a major leap in repression.) Snyder’s response: “Obviously, we are in a slow-motion Reichstag Fire right now. That is what is happening. Donald Trump is not as skilled as Hitler. He doesn't work as hard as Hitler. He doesn't have the same level of confidence as Hitler, but he's clearly looking for that Reichstag Fire emergency. Trump tried to make Black Lives Matter into that emergency. ‘Antifascists’ and ‘thugs’ and ‘law and order’ and so on is part of that effort. Donald Trump keeps trying to make the Reichstag Fire work.”

Read the interview with Timothy Snyder here.

Sacha Baron Cohen on Trump: “an overt racist, an overt fascist”

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen, known for the satirical movie character “Borat,” is currently appearing as Abbie Hoffman in the new Netflix movie The Trial of the Chicago 7. Featured in a recent wide-ranging New York Times profile, Cohen talks about how, after the 2017 rally by Nazis and white supremacists (who Trump later referred to as “very fine people”) in Charlottesville, Virginia, he was so appalled that he agreed to give a keynote speech at an Anti-Defamation League event. He started the speech by saying, “when I say ‘racism, hate and bigotry,’ I’m not referring to the names of Stephen Miller’s Labradoodles” [Miller, a white supremacist, is a close adviser to Trump and architect of the regime’s fascist anti-immigration policies]. He said doing the speech was “completely out of my comfort zone”—“it was the first time I’d ever given a major speech in my own voice but I felt like I had to ring the alarm bell and say that democracy is in peril this year. I felt, even if it was going to destroy my career and people are going to come at me and say, ‘Just shut up, the last thing we need is another celebrity telling us what to do’... I felt I needed to do that to live with myself.”

Cohen said he asked his late father what he thought of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen recalls, “He said, ‘Two things. He’s extremely entertaining. Far more entertaining than Hillary. Two, he’s a fascist.’ My dad was born in 1932. He’d seen fascists on the streets, Mosley’s Blackshirts beating up Jews. And he knew what fascism was.”

Read the Times feature on Cohen here.

Berkeley Repertory Theater’s Radio Play It Can’t Happen Here

The Berkeley Repertory Theater is currently putting on a radio play production of It Can’t Happen Here. The play is based on the 1935 novel by Sinclair Lewis, written at a time when Hitler had come to power in Germany but it was not fully clear what a full consolidation of Nazi power would mean. As a “Check It Out” by a revcom.us reader notes, “The novel and the play reveal that fascism does not arrive all at once, fully formed, but has a trajectory and momentum, and that people interact with this in ways that can assist fascism or derail and defeat it.” Tony Taccone, a co-writer of the adaptation, said, “When we first did the stage version of the play [in 2016] there was an absolute sense that it could not happen here. In the deepest parts of ourselves we didn’t believe it either. What’s changed is now we believe it.”

Read the full Check It Out here.

Bill McKibben, “The Next Election Is About the Next 10,000 Years”

From the article:

...this time around our last chance at limiting the temperature rise to anything like 1.5 degrees would slip through our fingers...

...as a team of scientists reported in November, we're about to cross a whole series of tipping points, ranging from destabilizing Antarctic ice sheets to slowing down vast ocean currents. These are not reversible; no one has a plan for refreezing the poles.

Read the whole article here.

HBO series The Plot Against America, based on the 2004 novel by Philip Roth, reviewed in the New York Times: “When Democracy Dies in Daylight

Ad by Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), “Trump Is the Biggest Threat to American Jews Today

Phil Kadner, “How fascism takes root

From the article:

People imagine that fascism takes hold of a nation the day a jackbooted soldier kicks in a civilian’s door.

In actuality, it begins when a national leader says that your nation and its people are inherently superior to all others. It begins when a country rejects the idea that all people are created equal.

Read the whole article here.

Jesse Jackson speaking at a NAACP press conference in Kenosha, Wisconsin, August 27, 2020. Jackson’s part starts at 11:38 in the video and ends at 23:30.

Robert Reich, author, professor, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor—Twitter posts on Trump, fascism, and the need to fight: here, here, here, here, and here.



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