From our correspondent in Texas:
The legislature of Texas—a body completely dominated by white supremacist Christian fascists—passed 666 new measures this year, most of which became law on September 1. The two most notorious are a vicious anti-abortion law (see Sunsara Taylor’s article “ALERT! September 1st: Forced Motherhood and Fascist Vigilantism Become Law in Texasˮ), and a law aimed at massive disenfranchisement of Black and Latino voters (see the revcom.us article, “Fascist Voter Suppression Law Looms in Texasˮ). Along with many others, they form a full-bore onslaught to re-write much of the law in service of furthering fascist domination.
Laws that went into effect in Texas on September 11 include measures that:
- Outlaw abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy, and offer a bounty to vigilantes who hunt down anyone supporting in any way a woman who manages to get one.
- “Trigger” a complete abolition of abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
- Criminalize “camping” in city parks, or under highway overpasses, as the homeless population rises in all the state’s cities, and hundreds of thousands of people face eviction.
- Prevent churches from being shut down by government action even during a pandemic, through a “Freedom to Worship Act.”
- Effectively disenfranchise much of the large Black and Latino populations that are the largest2 and fastest growing3 portions of the state, to ensure the continued political domination of white supremacists. These include banning 24-hour voting, which boosted voter turnout in largely non-white Harris County (Houston) in 2020, stricter voter ID requirements, and eliminating third party voter collection, which is aimed at reducing the vote by poor and elderly Chicano and Black people in isolated rural areas.
- Punish cities and counties which reduce funding for their notoriously racist, murderous, and brutal police.
- Mandate playing the U.S. anthem before all professional sporting events, through a “Star Spangled Banner Protection Act.”
- Allow “open carry” of weapons in public spaces by unlicensed, untrained, gun owners.
- Declare Texas a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State,” and prohibit state and local agencies from assisting federal agencies that require some firearms to be registered.
- Ban teachers in public schools from discussing “certain historical events, race and racism...” in class, and ban the discussion of the “1619 Project,” which explores the ongoing impact of slavery on U.S. society, despite the state’s flagrant history of slavery, genocide, and massive theft.4
- Create a project to promote “patriotic education” and a whitewashed version of the state’s supposedly “exceptional” history.
- Almost triple its funding of a “Texas border” wall and funding for added military and police forces, and concentration camps for immigrants along its border with Mexico.5
Each of these laws is horrible. As a whole, they mark a significant lurch towards the imposition of fascist law and rule in the state of 29 million people, and a significant move to advance a fascist agenda nationwide. As just one example—on September 4, the Washington Post reported that after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Texas’s abortion law, “GOP officials in at least seven states ... have suggested they may review or amend their states’ laws to mirror Texas’s legislation, ... more are expected to follow....”6
Mobilizing Fascist Vigilantes to Enforce Fascist Law
Encouraging and rewarding mob—vigilante—enforcement is central to several of these measures. The abortion law relies on vigilantes to enforce the law by filing lawsuits against people they suspect of “aiding and abetting” a woman who receives an abortion. An anti-abortion fanatic in Waco told a reporter from the Washington Post that this is what “puts teeth in the law.” He said it is possible that his organization will send spies and snitches into Waco’s Planned Parenthood clinic: “If you want to strike at the head of the snake, you go to the abortion facility.” Similarly, the law banning the teaching of “critical race theory” does not specify how teachers accused of violating it will be convicted or punished. The Texas Tribune reported that Angela Valenzuela, a professor in education policy at the University of Texas at Austin, told their reporter that “this lack of direction could make the bill even more dangerous to teachers than if it clearly stated how it would be enforced.” She said the law’s wording means that “... everybody’s an enforcer. You create a watchdog situation.”
As Bob Avakian wrote in his New Year’s Statement, the forces driving and now embedding into law these changes are among those “... aiming to reverse, with a vengeance, even the modest concessions that have been made to the fight against social injustice and institutionalized inequality and oppression and to enforce a form of capitalist dictatorship that is overt and unrestrained by the Constitution and the rule of law (or which turns the Constitution and the rule of law into merely instruments of fascist tyranny and atrocity).”
Time to Get Organized—For Revolution
Every one of these laws, and the fascist assault as a whole, needs to be met with mass outpourings and opposition, on a scale and scope similar to what happened during last year’s “beautiful uprising” against police murder and brutality against Black, Latina/o, and Native American people. As Sunsara Taylor wrote about the abortion law, “This should be a stop-everything moment.”
Instead, there have only been a few small (though spirited and angry) protests in Austin and Houston. Much of this is because the Democratic Party and various groups associated with it continue to rely on the political system’s normal channels of legislation, lawsuits, and lobbying. Meanwhile the Republi-fascists have been tearing up those normal channels, packing the courts with like-minded fascists, organizing violent mobs, taking over legislatures, and re-writing the law to serve their aims.
All this is an expression of the deep divisions and conflict tearing at this country, and tearing apart those who have ruled it. The fracturing of this country’s normal functioning does not have to stay on the terms of this system. It also indicates the potential for something radically different, and radically better, to emerge from this turmoil—IF growing numbers of people conscious of the need and basis for that change act on it. Now is the time to get organized for an actual Revolution!
As Bob Avakian wrote in THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY,
It is extremely important to deeply understand this:
As this situation develops, and the ruling class is more and more unable to rule in the old way, society and daily life for masses of people, from different parts of society, can become increasingly unsettled and chaotic, with frequent “disruptions” of the “normal” way things have been.
And as “the normal way” society has been ruled is failing to hold things together—and society is increasingly being ripped apart—this can shake people’s belief that “the way things have always been” is the only way things can be. It can make people more open to questioning—in a real sense it can force people to question—the way things have been, and whether they have to stay that way. And this is all the more likely to happen if the revolutionary forces are out among the people shining a light on the deeper reality of what is happening, and why, and bringing out that there IS an alternative to living this way.
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1. Information in this article from: “666 new Texas laws go into effect Sept. 1. Here are some that might affect you.” Texas Tribune, August 31, 2021; “16 New Laws That Take Effect on Sept. 1”, Houston Chronicle, September 1, 2021; and “1836 Project promoting 'patriotic education' in Texas heightens concerns about whitewashing history, ”Houston Chronicle, June 9, 2021; 10 Interesting Laws that Just Went into Effect in Texas, Tyler Morning Telegraph, September 1, 2021. [back]
3. People of color make up 95% of Texas’ population growth, and cities and suburbs are booming, 2020 census shows, Texas Tribune, August 12, 2021 [back]
5. Texas House approves additional $2 billion for border security as state moves to build border wall, Texas Tribune, August 27, 2021 [back]
6. Texas created a blueprint for abortion restrictions. Republican-controlled states may follow suit. Washington Post, September 4, 2021 [back]