From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA:
By our reporters
15 August 2017
Over the past several days, tens of thousands of people across the US have marched and rallied to denounce the murderous rampage of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, which left one dead and 19 wounded. The shock and outrage over the virtual occupation of a university town by hundreds of armed fascists has been compounded by President Donald Trump’s statements providing political cover for the perpetrators.
Rallies, protests and candlelight vigils in support of the Charlottesville victims and against the fascists have been held in cities such as New York, Chicago, Washington DC, New Haven, Detroit, Minneapolis, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego and the Bay Area.
On Monday, protests were held in many locations, including Nashville, Tennessee; Durham, North Carolina; Minneapolis, New York and Washington, DC. In Nashville, protesters at the state Capitol sought to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate officer and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan. In Durham, demonstrators brought down a Confederate monument.
World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to protesters in New York City and Washington DC. In Manhattan, thousands gathered outside of Trump Tower, where Trump was visiting for the first time since his inauguration.
Jorge, a City College of New York student and paralegal said, “I’m here to protest Trump after the rampage by the KKK and Nazis. This is what Trump has allowed, and he has to acknowledge that. Even if he is impeached, you have Pence and Sessions, who are connected to white supremacists, and this whole administration has given them a platform.”
After the WSWS reporter compared today’s conditions to the economic crisis in the 1930s, Cruz added, “I completely oppose fascism in all its forms. The fascism of Mussolini or Hitler checked capitalism in some way, but what we have is almost a new form. Trump is so openly catering to the rich.”
Zack, a high school student attending with two of his friends, said, “We go to a school founded on MLK’s ideas, and we came out in order to join the people that oppose what Trump is doing. He hasn’t called out what happened in Charlottesville as terrorism. These are the people that support him and have his back.”
Zack’s friend, Daniel, added, “Trump has a base that supports itself on their own racial ideals. They are really the majority of his base now. They could lead a small uprising, as they already did. They could also expand their influence and use their ideology to suppress people.”
After some discussion about the consensus between Democrats and Republicans over issues such as funding the military, their friend, Roscoe, said, “It has become like a football game, and there isn’t even agreement among the Republicans on a lot of issues. But the military budget goes through and it is just too much.”
Christopher, an unemployed worker, said, “I see an authoritarian state arising now. I came out here, and I normally don’t go to protests, because I feel like silence is complacency. Trump’s statements make Nazis and white supremacists feel emboldened and we should stand up to them and feel emboldened to stand up to them.
“Trump won’t condemn the violence because he wants to keep these groups up his sleeve for when he is impeached. I’m trying to be optimistic and think this is the rock bottom, but things might get a lot worse before they get better.”
Asked about the Democrats, he added, “I’m not sure how I feel about the Democrats. They are more in line with the corporate interest than our interests.”
Kambale, who was born in the Congo, said, “I’m in the US as a refugee and I hear people telling me now to go back to the Congo. I’m really shocked to see people supporting Trump, but a lot has changed. Two years ago I used to walk around in African-style clothing, but I wouldn’t do that now. You never know who are you going to run into.
“Something was sparked during Trump’s campaign, and I remember telling my friends that if he doesn’t win the election, this movement will not go away easily. He has agitated people beyond a certain point. I’m worried about matters of life and death. In Charlottesville someone died based on the political narrative of this man.”
Asked his thoughts on the political situation, he added, “I don’t believe the major political parties, and I mean both the Democrats and Republicans, are addressing the issues facing the American people. Also, a lot has stayed the same with Trump. The US military is still in Africa. It is still in the Middle East.”
In Washington DC, WSWS reporters spoke to demonstrators in front of the White House. Some 400 people gathered there and then marched to Trump Hotel in the downtown area.
Emma, a young student, said, “It is obvious that hate has no room here. Yet, we have an armed alt-right in our streets. They were mobilized by the election of a president who sympathizes with them.”
When asked why she thought people voted for Trump, she said: “I think people voted for him because they thought he was an outspoken outsider. They did not like President Obama. People in the Rust Belt felt that they no longer have a place in American society, and this is not true.”
The WSWS also spoke with Jake and Misha, two young students. Jake said, “I thought what we saw yesterday was disgusting. Even members of the media were doing intellectual acrobatics to avoid denouncing the protests. Yet, ‘Love Trumps Hate’ has a very American liberal mentality. There are very few genuine socialists or communists here.”
The WSWS reporter spoke to the students about the role played by Leon Trotsky in diagnosing the situation in Germany prior to Hitler’s rise to power and his struggle to provide a revolutionary leadership for the German working class. Misha said, “I have done a lot of research into this period. Trotsky was a man of action and understood what type of organization was needed to defeat counterrevolution. I believe we need a revolutionary vanguard in this country.”
A member of the Socialist Equality Party spoke before the assembled crowd. He said, “It is clear that Donald Trump represents a mortal danger to the working class that must be removed. But on what basis and under what program? The Democratic Party will not stop the rise of fascism. In fact, the far right is emboldened in large part by the betrayals carried out by what passes for the ‘left’ today. We call for a break with the Democrats and the Republicans. Both are responsible for the rise of Trump and neither party can be trusted to oppose him.” The crowd responded with cheers and applause.
This video from the USA says about itself:
Families Mourn Charlottesville Victims
14 August 2017
Heather D. Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and Berke M.M. Bates lost their lives during the Charlottesville protests. Cenk Uygur, the host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.
Friends described her as a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised who was often moved to tears by the world’s injustices. That sense of conviction led her to join demonstrators protesting a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
“We were just marching around, spreading love — and then the accident happened,” a friend, Marissa Blair, said. “In a split second you see a car, and you see bodies flying.”
The authorities said Ms. Heyer, 32, was killed when a car driven by a man from Ohio plowed into the crowd.
“Heather was such a sweet soul, and she did not deserve to die,” Ms. Blair said on Sunday.
Others said Ms. Heyer, who lived in Charlottesville, spoke out against inequality and urged co-workers to be active in their community.
“Heather was a very strong woman,” said Alfred A. Wilson, manager of the bankruptcy division at the Miller Law Group in Charlottesville, where Ms. Heyer worked as a paralegal. She stood up against “any type of discrimination,” he said. “That’s just how she’s always been.”
Read more here.
By Patrick Martin in the USA:
Mounting evidence of White House collusion with neo-Nazis
15 August 2017
The rampage through Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend by hundreds of neo-Nazis did not come as a surprise to the Trump White House. On the contrary, both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported the mounting threat of violence by white supremacist groups more than three months ago.
According to a document obtained and made public by Foreign Policy magazine on its web site Monday, the FBI and DHS issued a joint warning that white supremacists had already carried out more violent attacks than any other US-based groups over the past 16 years and “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year.”
The eight-page intelligence bulletin was issued on May 10, 2017. Its significance was underscored two weeks later when a white supremacist carried out a murderous assault on a Portland, Oregon commuter train, killing two men who tried to prevent him from harassing two … women, one of them wearing traditional [Muslim] dress.
The report, titled “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence,” found that US neo-Nazis “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016… more than any other domestic extremist movement,” including Islamists inspired by ISIS or Al Qaeda.
The targets of the white supremacist extremists (WSE in FBI jargon) in 2016 alone included blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims and Jews. They were stabbed, shot, beaten and in one case attacked with a hatchet. There was one death, numerous injuries, and one attempted mass casualty attack that was detected and disrupted by local police.
The perpetrators “included members of racist skinhead groups, Klan members, and individuals who lacked group affiliations.” Racist prison gangs and individuals recruited over the Internet were involved in some of the attacks.
The FBI-DHS bulletin explained that the targets were not selected exclusively on a racial basis: “A review of incidents since 2000 shows racial minorities have been the primary victims of WSE lethal violence. The second most common victims were other Caucasians, including the homeless, drug dealers, sex offenders and other white supremacists perceived as disloyal …”
In language that is eerily predictive of the Charlottesville attack, the bulletin continues, “Although plot-derived mass-casualty violence remains possible, we judge it more likely that violence will continue to be spontaneous and involve targets of opportunity.”
The FBI-DHS bulletin makes nonsense of any suggestion that the deadly attack in Charlottesville could not have been foreseen. It was precisely as described in the report, involving a “target of opportunity” taking place on the outskirts of the largest assembly of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in recent US history.
There is no doubt that the FBI and DHS were heavily engaged in monitoring the actions of the fascist rioters in Charlottesville and had undercover agents active in their ranks. They would have been well aware of the danger of cars driven at high speed into crowds, not only because this has been a well-publicized technique of ISIS-linked terrorist attacks in Europe, but because an “All Lives Splatter” decal, threatening automobile attacks on demonstrators against police violence, has been widely circulated on right-wing and pro-police web sites.
This variation on the racist “All Lives Splatter” decal which encourages drivers to wound or kill protesters against police brutality is specifically a call to kill or injure supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. It is from the nazi site Daily Stormer, one of the organisers of the Charlottesville violent fascist rally. The murderer of Heather Heyer got his inspiration from this.
[Tennessee] State Rep[ublican] Rep[resentative] Matthew Hill has filed a bill that says if a driver hits a protester who is blocking traffic in a public right-of-way, then that driver would be immune to civic liability if the demonstrator is hit and hurt, as long as it wasn’t intentional. “If you want to protest, fine, I am for peaceful protesting, not lawless rioters,” Hill said. “We don’t want anyone to be hurt, but people should not knowingly put themselves in harm’s way when you’ve got moms and dads trying to get their kids to school.”
The Patrick Martin article comtinues:
The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security at the time the May 10 bulletin was issued warning of white supremacist violence was retired General John F. Kelly, who was recently chosen by Trump to serve as White House chief of staff. Thus, an official with detailed, intimate knowledge of the imminence of ultra-right violence has been standing at Trump’s side for the past three weeks.
If Kelly had been monitoring the activities of the fascist right from the “outside,” so to speak, other top Trump aides, including chief political counselor Stephen Bannon, speechwriter and adviser Stephen Miller, and counterrorism counselor Sebastian Gorka, had multiple contacts from the “inside.”
It was Bannon who boasted he had made his Breitbart News web site the political home of the alt.right, the “respectable” label for white supremacist elements. Miller echoed the language of the Nazis when he branded critics of Trump’s proposed 50 percent cut in legal immigration as “cosmopolitans.” Gorka only a few days ago, in the course of a political rant against Muslims, declared that there was no such thing as a “lone wolf” terrorist and that white supremacists were not a threat to anyone.
According to the New York Times, Bannon and Miller were in meetings with Trump throughout Saturday, where they insisted that he issue an “even-handed” statement that would condemn supposed left-wing violence as well as the obvious right-wing violence.
This is the context in which one must evaluate Trump’s grudging 600-word statement Monday, dragged out of him by political advisers and congressional Republicans, making perfunctory, stilted and obviously insincere criticisms of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK for the violence in Charlottesville.
It was widely noted that Trump required 48 hours of nonstop public shaming before he would distance himself even verbally from the neo-Nazis. Until then, he had equated the victims and the attackers in Charlottesville, condemning violence and intolerance “on many sides.”
The substance of the actions announced was extremely limited. Trump said after meeting with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Department of Justice “has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that killed one innocent American and wounded 20 others.” This suggests that the probe will be limited to James Alex Fields, the driver of the car, and that the organizers of the fascist demonstration, which included the mobilization of dozens of heavily armed gunmen in militia dress, will go scot free.
Trump read the statement from a teleprompter and refused to take any questions. He again refused to take questions from reporters at a later White House event to announce anti-China trade measures.
No prominent Democrat has demanded that Trump shed his coterie of White House pro-fascists, even after the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which includes a half dozen establishment civil rights organizations, issued a statement Sunday calling for the firing of Bannon, Miller and Gorka.
Meanwhile the Trump reelection campaign—already raising funds and conducting operations more than three years before the 2020 election—released its first campaign ad, a 30-second commercial that brands both Democrats and media figures as “the president’s enemies.” The tone and content of the ad demonstrate that the appeal to ultra-right and fascistic forces will be the axis of Trump’s efforts to mobilize support now and in 2018 and 2020.
This video from the USA says about itself:
White Supremacists Brutalize Black Man In Charlottesville
14 August 2017
De’Andre Harris was participating in the Charlottesville counter protest when he was jumped by white supremacists. Cenk Uygur, the host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.
“As a gang of white supremacists was beating him bloody, De’Andre Harris thought he might not survive and wondered why police were not rushing to defend him.
A few moments before, the 20-year-old Charlottesville resident and four friends, all of them African Americans, were screaming curses at white nationalists marching along Market Street in downtown Charlottesville on Saturday and carrying neo-Nazi flags and yelling racial slurs.
The verbal confrontation soon turned ugly.
As Harris recounted in an interview Sunday, he suddenly found himself fighting as many as five of the marchers.
Harris, a hip-hop artist and assistant special education teacher at a high school, said he did not know why the marchers singled him out, though he had tied a white towel around his neck on which he had scrawled epithets directed at the Ku Klux Klan and police. As he fled into a nearby parking garage, the men caught up with him, hitting with their fists and wooden poles.
But a group of police officers who were only a few yards away when the fight broke out did not attempt to break it up, according to Harris and another eyewitness.
“They were trying to kill me out there,” Harris recalled. “The police didn’t budge, and I was getting beat to a pulp.”
Read more here.
By Joseph Kishore in the USA:
The political and social roots of fascist violence in the US
15 August 2017
The eruption of Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend has come as a shock to millions of people in the United States and around the world. The images of pro-Nazi white supremacists assaulting counter-protesters and the brutal murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer have exposed the socially and politically rancid state of American society. Nazi thugs rampaged through a university town and terrorized students and other residents while smirking policemen stood by and winked their encouragement to the attackers. The country that presumes to preach morality to the world and holds itself up as the beacon of law and democratic stability is breaking apart at the seams.
There is a vast difference between the deep-felt anger of millions of ordinary people over the events in Charlottesville and the formal hand-wringing and hypocritical condemnations of violence by politicians from the Democratic and Republican parties and the corporate media. Their statements reek of insincerity. Their pro forma denunciations of the violence in Charlottesville are devoid of any serious examination of the underlying social and political conditions out of which it arose.
Typical was Monday’s editorial (“The Hate He Dares Not Speak Of”) in the New York Times, which speaks for the Democratic Party. The editors criticized Trump for not condemning the white supremacist groups responsible for the violence. They declared that Trump “is alone in modern presidential history in his willingness to summon demons of bigotry and intolerance in service to himself.” The president is clinging to white supremacists, the editors added, “in his desperation to rescue his failing presidency.”
Were it not for Trump, the Times implies, the streets of America would resound with hymns of brotherly love. But the “Evil Trump” interpretation of history explains nothing. The swaggering thug in the White House is, like the violence in Charlottesville, a symptom of a deep and intractable crisis.
As a political and social phenomenon, fascism is a product of capitalism in extreme crisis. Analyzing the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany in 1932, Trotsky explained that the ruling class turns to fascism “at the moment when the ‘normal’ police and military resources of the bourgeois dictatorship, together with their parliamentary screens, no longer suffice to hold society in a state of equilibrium… Through the fascist agency, capitalism sets in motion the masses of the crazed petty bourgeoisie and the bands of declassed and demoralized lumpenproletariat—all the countless human beings whom finance capital itself has brought to desperation and frenzy.” (“What Next? Vital Question for the German Proletariat”)
Fascism is not yet a mass movement in the United States. The national mobilization of far-right organizations to oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee drew only several hundred people.
Notwithstanding their limited support among the broad mass of the population, however, these reactionary elements enjoy the backing of powerful sections of the state, including the White House itself. They have the financial support of billionaire backers (Stephen Bannon, Trump’s fascistic chief strategist, has developed close ties to hedge fund executive Robert Mercer). And they have the active sympathy of significant sections of the police and military apparatus.
Throughout his campaign and his first seven months in office, Trump and his fascistic advisors have pursued a definite political strategy, based on the belief that they can exploit widespread social anger and political disorientation to develop an extra-parliamentary movement to violently suppress any popular opposition to a policy of extreme militarism and social reaction.
However, Trump is less the creator than the outcome of protracted economic, social and political processes. His administration, composed of oligarchs and generals, arises out of a quarter-century of unending war, four decades of social counterrevolution and the increasingly authoritarian character of American politics. Torture, drone assassinations, wars of aggression, police murder—overseen by both Democrats and Republicans—form the backdrop to the events in Charlottesville.
Trump’s greatest asset has been the character and orientation of his political opponents within the ruling class. He defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election because the Democrats ran as the party of the status quo, the embodiment of complacency and self-satisfaction. Since the election, their opposition to Trump has been oriented entirely to the intelligence agencies and the military, where fascist elements flourish, on the basis of demands for a more aggressive policy against Russia. They are unable and unwilling to advance a program that can command any significant popular support since they represent an alliance of Wall Street and privileged layers of the upper-middle class.
Trump has been able to win a certain base in regions of the country that have been devastated by deindustrialization …
As the Trump administration was intensifying its cultivation of fascistic forces over the past several months, Google—in alliance with those sections of the state particularly associated with the Democratic Party—was implementing a program of censorship targeting left-wing and progressive websites, above all, the World Socialist Web Site. The response of all factions of the ruling class to the social and political crisis that has produced Trump is to seek to block and suppress any challenge to the capitalist system.
Long historical experience has demonstrated that fascism can be fought only through the mobilization of the working class on a socialist and revolutionary program. The fight against the extreme right must be developed through the unification of all sections of the working class, of all races, genders and nationalities. Opposition to fascism must be connected to the fight against war, social inequality, unemployment, low wages, police violence and all the social ills produced by capitalism.