Friends and readers,
Something is about to happen which is not a bad dream: a man is about to take enormous power in the US as the president, Trump by name, and he erupts periodically in 141 characters utterance on the Internet where in spiteful moronic sometimes mispelled ungrammatical utterances he insults other people. If they are people living inside the US and on TV or theater or in a newspaper, he menaces them with a implied threat he will shut them down. He conducts diplomacy with govt's who have nuclear bombs through this medium and in this way. He uses perverse (unexpected to those who would never vote for him) logic which he knows will delight his followers because it brings out into the open their deep resentments and lies: for example, believing the CIA lies is like believing women who claim to be sexually assaulted (I suggest one of his family members vetted that for grammar). (He does in fact sue anyone he can to shut them up when possible and silences all those he hurts by money.)
He backs this up by going around the US holding rallies where he continues the rhetoric of his rallies which incited anger and violence. He tells them they were "nasty mean and vicious" and now people say "you are mellow. Wrong!" and he proceeds to whip them up again.
The one bright spot of good news is in North Carolina Rev Wm Barber and friends, associates, workers groups each Monday had as mass a demonstration as they could manage, out of that worked together to nominate, get people back their right to vote (if say they had no voter ID), got people who needed help to the limited polling times, they elected a democratic governor. Now the Republican state legislature is seeking to strip the governorship of most of its powers before they go out of office (a coup). Update: 12/19/2016: The brazen stripping of the governor's powers in North Carolina in the last days of legislature has taken my breath away. By not even waiting until they return to a session, they aggressively make it known they intend to end democracy. Eliminating voting rights and nullifying all elections openly is their strategy.
How is Barber going to continue to fight back. Carry on demonstrating, organizing, helping people to vote, fighting in the courts, supporting civil rights organizations, getting candidates on the ballot who are for peoples' needs and liberty and rights. Read on.
A friend on one of the listservs I moderate wrote this history of the democratic party -- I do not agree with it all, I do not think Trump can have any kind of success by freeing up US capital utterly (except for those who have a lot of it); supply side economics is voodoo economics:
There are no rules about the rise and fall of political parties. Their appearance and disappearance, their move from the margins to a more central role reflects big political changes, themselves the result of deep shifts in a society's contending social forces. In the US, presidents have been elected from the Federalists, the Democratic Republicans (later the Democrats), the Whigs, and the Republicans. In the UK, the Whigs have been replaced by the Liberals and Labour. In Canada, something similar has happened. In Europe and elsewhere, new parties come into existence fairly often and sometimes win power, as has happened most clearly in Israel.
Now there are millions of intelligent people who value their lives, liberties, property, monetary arrangements (pensions), health care, education (for most that means public education), who have a good grasp of science, do not live corrupt lives bankrupting, de-frauding, and suing other people. With the demise of the democratic party in office, they are all waiting for this tweeting man to take a powerful office where he can wage horrific wars, make and break treaties with powerful other gov'ts, put people in charge of agencies which affect lives of millions (and he has chosen people who loathe the agency they are in charge of, want to destroy it). Some of these appointees remind me of 19th century people who were indifferent as to whether a majority of people died. He appointed a woman to head public education who hates public education, never spent a day in a public school, has worked very hard to destroy them. 90% of US people go to public schools and every time there is a vote about them, the majority support public schools over charters. One his appointees says he prefers to have robots in his fast food places to people as they never get sick, never take vacations, never complain, can be made to smile all day -- like slaves. If the behavior of those people in charge of some gov'ts that bomb and kill thousands and thousands of people in and outside their country is any indication, they would prefer most people dead: they need only enough other people to get the wealth out of the ground and only enough people with money to sell it too. Everyone else is superfluous. Another doesn't believe (he says) in evolution: he is at the head of heath, education and human services. He is against any public help in gaining housing. Four generals, one whose nickname is "mad dog," another involved in atrocities. The people in congress are salivating to privatize social security; they claim falsely it's in trouble. It is paid for by the people who are to live off these pensions theyve built up by weekly payments over a lifetime. It does not hurt these Republicans at all; it's the principle of the to them. They cannot bear that a huge amount of working people can be secure late in life. That makes these older people strong against any need to work at hard jobs for minimum wages to pay their rent or buy food. I call this wanton cruelty.
Newspapers have supported this new (and continuing) establishment by not televising or offering videos to show happened in North Dakota when the Standing Rock native Americans just now successfully stopped a pipeline going through lands where the pipeline will threaten the water supply. They gave Trump fantastic amounts of air time for nothing. If someone goes to video or report, they are accused of sympathizing with the native people not being neutral . It is the job of newspaper to report both or all sides of a conflict. The courts in North Dakota have issued warrants for arrest of reporters and one was charged with a felony which had a very long prison sentence. Newspapers are normalizing him and saying that he is and will be the 45th president. They are important agents of what happens as well as information, true and distorted both.
Yesterday on CNN the usual wrong explanation was given for why millions of jobs have been lost in the US and shipped abroad: so the explanation given to the head of the United Steelworkers that the ships were being shipped to Mexico was "technology." The technology was doing this. But if you look, you find this is false. In fact the same technologies are used abroad. The jobs are shipped because workers work for so much less money, in bad conditions with no benefits. In Germany jobs stay because the laws and tax is set up to discourage exports of job and keep jobs in Germany; further financial marketeers cannot strip a company's assets, sell it off as bankrupt and then buy it back. This kind of misinformation from CNN is repeated to the point that (as Orwell says) it becomes the accept trut.
Is anyone doing anything effective to control this worse than unfit person once he takes office? or the majority in congress who support him?
A photo take the day Rev Barber succeeded in stopping three forms of voter suppression bills - some of these people are part of the "moral majority" who demonstrate every Monday in North Carolina
The progressive wing of the democratic party -- Keith Ellison at their head, Elizabeth Warren and others, are taking steps to put pressure on congress when the congress meets not to enact the worst of their wanton cruelties on what Romney when he was running for public office called the 47%: those people who receive some form of gov't help, by which he also meant anyone who worked in a gov't job. They say they will be building a "grassroots" movement to once again hold public office so as to stop the republicans from privatizing social security, abolishing medicare, funneling huge amounts of money through tax breaks to the very wealthy and corporations. They have lost because huge amounts of money were funded into Republican campaigns over the country to take state congresses, state governorships and when they did that they immediately gerrymander the areas they controlled so that they could nullify the effect of millions of votes. This never was a country where one person got one equal vote to others, but now the whole system is worked to make sure minority people and the poor in cities get less representatives than rural and white people. A problem here is centrist democrats have voted for mild and other versions of Republican policies, like austerity. Hillary Clinton campaigned on pro-austerity platform.
There have been demonstrations, mass demonstrations around the US since the election results were announced November 8th since majority vote was for Hillary Clinton. A huge demonstration is planned for January 21st. When you have no other tools as a people, if you have the right of peaceful assembly (which it is said US people still do -- though arguably they do not), this what is left.
A Trump is not my president demonstration in the US in the days after the election (NYC outside a Trump building)
Another -- from Reuters
People have been giving money to organizations who fight for civil rights, human rights, women's health, public education, and I have too: southern poverty law center, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Democracynow.org. There are reports that contributions have gone way up for the moment.
One man says he has been working effectively and is beginning to have success: Rev Wm Barber of North Carolina; he was interviewed by Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow.org last night. If you click on the link you can watch the interview or read the transcript. It's worth reading: When the republicans took over North Carolina, it was the most liberal state in the south. They reversed all legislation they could, they gerrymandered the state to stay in power. They cut all legislation to keep minimum wages, refused to allow Obamacare to do its effective job in the state; have decimated worker benefits, gov't jobs; the state is right to work and everything has been done to minimize voter participation among blacks and poorer people in North Carolina.
Barber and his friends and associates worked hard in their weekly demonstrations and meetings; they canvassed people, got a democratic candidate who was for their interests and worked hard to get people voter registration that was accepted and to vote, ahd the democratic man one. The response of these people is to hold an emergency meeting to pass legislation to take power from this office: to demand the man have approval of the congress for any of his appointees, to strip him of power to help put back the clock to start improving wages, health care, education. They are conducting a coup. It might seem Barber is losing but he says no; they are gradually winning. After all they got this man elected. Barber says if only the majority of people who voted for Hillary Clinton worked the way he has across the country, they can start to take back the power they have seded. The first step is to win offices with power and hold onto it.
Barber's thinking is important too. What he says is behind the near majority of voters to vote for Trump. While a segment of these people are impoverished who have lost their manufacturing or good jobs, many many are not: in my small acquaintance I know of about 8 people who told me they voted for Trump: all of them are doing well, and all of them are white. At the Oscher Institute of Lifelong Learning where I teach at George Mason I know of people who voted for Trump: very well heeled, white. Trump can win again more easily in 4 years because the very wealthy and newspapers who backed Hillary Clinton out of fear he would be a populist or help the working class are now much relieved. It's gov't by billionaires for billonaires, pro-fossil fuel industry whatever they want. They will vote for him and support him. Police will. The military -- a huge segment of the US polity. I've read 52% of white women above some age like 40 voted for Trump.
What unites them: they are just about all white. Rev Barber calls the glue that holds the things together, that unites this constituency systemic racism If we want to fight this group, we must fight systemic racism. I know this is very hard as the people who are racists will appear indignant and angry if you call them that (some of them all the while knowing better); but the other day some Ku Klux Klan type asserted if we all have a right to our opinions, he has a right to his. But if you ignore it or pretend it's not there, you cannot make any inroads. I think through education that is integrated you can begin, but as we know over the last few decades education has returned to being segregated through income which means also race and ethnicity.
I quote from the ending of his talk:
"they keep talking about just an economic fix, or we just need to talk to white working poor people. But if you do not factor in race and how, as Nell Painter said at Princeton, the—you would not have a Trump without an Obama, that President Obama’s election represented a kind of inversion of a hierarchy in this country. And so, what we have to wrestle with is what caused, for instance, many whites to vote for a candidate that actually says—and there are 8 million more white people that are poor than black, but they vote for a candidate that’s against living wages. What causes many whites to vote for a candidate who says, "I’m going to cut your healthcare," when 80 percent of the people who will lose their healthcare are persons that do not have a college degree, and 56 percent of them are white?"
Tthe "fusion" coalition he speaks of is Jesse Jackson's idea of a rainbow coalition. It's not mullticultural, but people standing alongside one another for their own interests. He says it's Ryan and McConnell are the important racists, not so much the KKK or David Dukes or calling somebody the N-word. It’s policy. It’s systemic racism.
Then talking about the conviction of Dylann Roof,the young white man in South Carolina who murdered 9 black people who welcomed him into their church Bible reading group and was planning this as an uprising to murder more minority people, he ends:
"the irony of it is we’ve come through this campaign, this Trumpism, with all of this overt racism and othering, you know, this—at the same time we’re convicting Dylann Roof. We have a candidate, you know, who is now president-elect, who began his movement on birtherism and demeaning and denouncing the very birthright of our president. We have policies being proposed. We’ve got Jeff Sessions, who attempted to prosecute civil rights leaders for participating in registering people to vote, who is against voting rights and civil rights, who now will be possibly the attorney general. We have alt-right, or I call it alt-wrong, and Steve Bannon and white supremacists in the heart of the Oval Office. We haven’t seen that, at least that blatantly, since 1915, when Birth of a Nation was played in the Oval Office by Woodrow Wilson. And by the way, Dylann Roof was captured in Shelby, which is the hometown of the playwright who wrote the movie and the script for Birth of a Nation. And now we have this alt-wrong in the Oval Office, 100 years later, exact almost to the date. We’ve gone from Birth of a Nation in the Oval Office to alt-right in the Oval Office."
"We have a rise in white supremacy, but we also have a rise in systemic policy. We have people being put in place that are going to do what Icall destruction from the inside. Price over HHS, Health and Human Services, who I believe will do great damage to the Health and Human Services, will hurt many black people—and many white people. And we’ve come through this election where people have been divided by race and fear. You know, Donald Trump is not the first white man who has used racial division to be elected. This is not the first time America has dealt with a racist president. But what we should be surprised about is the ease at which he was able to use it in the 21st century and the way in which people bought the con and bought this racism and othering that we have seen now."
I remember a joke that was made just before Obama won for the first time. We see a white working class man drinking beer and watching football; his wife with an apron on her skirt goes to the door. It's a canvasser; she yells. He yells back, "Tell him we're voting for the nigger." The joke is that the man has not overcome his racism but has rather made an exception for Obama.
So what you have to start with is to have a candidate these people will make an exception for. Berne Sanders thinks that his programs will so favor working and all people, middle class, that he can get the bigoted people (he's Jewish, was a socialist) to vote for him. He will shore up social security, genuinely support all sorts of social programs and initiatives that do create jobs, support a higher minimum, improve public education. He almost beat Hillary Clinton in the primaries. He does get people to vote for him from different constituencies and was at the head of a movement when he stopped campaigning. Can he resurrect this? Had he been the democratic candidate all the republican establishment and newspaper people who supported her would have attacked him ferociously. He has dared to object to US foreign policy where we fight against genuine people's movements and support dictators (back them in their wars by not stopping funding them).
To be honest, I don't know that he would attract these people. That they would make an exception for him. But that is what you have to do it seems. When enough candidates get into office and improve lives for these people (the billionares who are taking power are a tiny minority of them), you have to hope they will be grateful and carry on voting for better lives. While there, if they ever get back, the democrats have to make a supreme court which will over turn Citizens United, for that is where the avalanche of republican victories came from.
Right now it looks hopeless by peaceful means, and so, to return to my opening, that is why millions are sitting doing nothing or blogging or tweeting or writing messages on face-book, listservs or other social media or publishing on and off line in newspapers, journals, on websites against it.