German weekly Der Spiegel writes on Twitter about their front page cartoon of this week’s issue:
The true face of Donald Trump. The cover of our latest edition, again designed by @edelstudio.
The Ku Klux Klan hood cartoon reacts to Trump’s comments about murderous racism in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists.
THE BURDEN OF HATE HuffPost examined the rise of modern white supremacy, from Charleston to Charlottesville. Follow our timeline and track hate. [HuffPost]
Singer Billy Joel wore a bright yellow Star of David on stage to let the president know that “Nazis are not good people”.
Man Who Claimed He Was Stabbed After Being Mistaken For A Neo-Nazi Was Lying. He said a stranger came up to him and said “You one of them neo-Nazis?” before stabbing him: here.
ICAHN EXITS BEFORE CRITICAL NEW YORKER PIECE “Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who resigned as President Donald Trump’s special adviser on regulations on Friday, did so just hours before The New Yorker magazine published a critical article that detailed his potential conflict of interest and questioned whether he had acted illegally.” [HuffPost]
A LOOK AT TRUMP’S CHIEF OF STAFF IN LIGHT OF STEVE BANNON’S DEPARTURE Three weeks into John Kelly’s tenure, the question is: Has he gotten through to the president? [HuffPost]
INSIDE A WHITE SUPREMACIST MEETING IN TENNESSEE “Something old, something new, some neo-Nazis and some anti-fascists, too.” [HuffPost]
Monday 21st August 2017
posted by Morning Star in World
THIRTY-NINE people were arrested at Saturday’s far-right march in Berlin to commemorate the death of senior nazi Rudolph Hess, police said yesterday.
More than 500 neo-nazis had attempted to march to the site of the former prison in Berlin’s Spandau district where Hess hanged himself in 1987.
But the fascists were forced to turn back less than a mile away by a counter-protest of left-wing groups and local residents numbering around 1,000, chanting: “Nazis go home!” and “You lost the war!”
Police said yesterday that 35 of those detained belonged to the far-right march, while four were taking part in the counter-protest.
Twelve of the far-right protesters are being investigated for displaying forbidden symbols.
Others detained are being investigated for breach of the peace, assault, resisting arrest, drug offenses and breaking the law on public assembly.
The march was accompanied by about 1,000 police officers.
Authorities had imposed restrictions on the march to try to ensure that it passed peacefully.
Organisers were ordered not to glorify Hess or the nazi regime, carry weapons, drums or torches and could bring only one fl ag for every 25 participants.
Jossa Berntje, who joined the counter-protest, said she decided to join the march after seeing the far-right demonstration in the US city of Charlottesville in which a woman was killed by a nazi sympathiser.
“The rats are coming out of the sewers,” she said. “[US President Donald] Trump has made it socially acceptable.”
Monday 21st August 2017
posted by Morning Star in Features
Big business has started to view the US president as a liability, writes CJ ATKINS
WONDERFUL Confederate culture and beautiful racist statues. Are these the things upon which the fate of the Donald Trump presidency rests? If the last few days are any indication, there is a distinct possibility it could be true.
The massive street protests against fascism and the efforts of some Republican accomplices to distance themselves from the Charlottesville nazis are worries for Trump to be sure, but presidents have survived big demonstrations and the criticism of allies before.
The strongest immediate threat to Trump’s power now is the spreading of rebellion in his own ranks, and that doesn’t necessarily mean among his hardcore base — a recent poll suggests 60 per cent of Republican voters still stand by their man.
Rather, it is among the titans of US business, the military brass, and the political Establishment — the power centres of the capitalist state — where Trump’s stock is falling fastest.
The exodus of corporate CEOs from his economic advisory councils proceeded at such a pace this week that the president was forced to announce the bodies were being disbanded. He claimed it was to save the chief executives from pressure. They said the debate over their collaboration with Trump had “become a distraction from our well-intentioned and sincere desire to aid vital policy discussions.” It was a polite way of saying: “There was no way we could continue to be connected publicly to this guy.”
For many of these business leaders, their public divorce from Trump is not something they embraced eagerly. If only he could control his Twitter impulses and refrain from saying anything positive about nazis, they’d certainly be happy to continue co-operating in advancing his agenda of deregulation, tax cuts, and infrastructure spending that amounts to corporate welfare.
But, alas, Trump simply cannot control himself. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, said in an email to employees on Tuesday that the president’s “constructive economic and regulatory policies are not enough and will not matter if we do not address the divisions in our country.” The rest of Trump they like, it’s just his open embrace of white supremacy that is fouling things up.
It’s not just the Fortune 500 crowd who are running from Trump, though. In an open and stunning rebuke of their commander-in-chief, the heads of all four branches of the US military — the army, navy, air force and marines — issued back-to-back co-ordinated denunciations of racism.
Military historian Fred Kaplan described the situation in stark terms: “If we lived in a different sort of country, this could fairly be seen as the prelude to a military coup — and a coup that many might welcome.”
On Thursday, Trump lost the backing of a top Republican senator widely respected by both political parties. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker verged on branding Trump unfit for office: “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor … the competence that he needs to demonstrate.”
Corker joins a short but growing list of Republican senators — including Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — who have called Trump out by name in recent days. Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell have so far continued to dither, denouncing racism in general but not the president himself.
There now appears to be a consensus emerging among at least a section of US capital and within the echelons of state power that Trump (and any prominent association with him) is a liability.
Few CEOs were ready to call him out as a white supremacist directly in the first day or two after Charlottesville, but the president’s repeated expressions of sympathy for the Confederate cause and his praise for the cultural value of monuments to slavery are making it unavoidable.
Even some of the most pro-Trump corporations are feeling the pressure to cut ties. James Murdoch, head of Twentieth Century Fox and son of Rupert, said in an email Tuesday night: “I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to nazis is essential; there are no good nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists.”
T he facade of a post-racial America is essential for US capitalism. No doubt many CEOs fervently oppose racism at a personal level. But at the macro-scale, the dredging up of the realities of systemic racism and the possible broaching of the topic of how big business benefits from the super-profits that come from racial inequality is a threat to the whole capitalist class.
Because if he has accomplished anything, it is this: Trump has blown apart the idea that the United States has moved past racism or that discrimination is a relic of our troubled past. By emboldening white supremacists and fomenting racial animosity on the part of white workers, he has exposed the tactic of dividing working people by race. The threat for capitalism is that more people begin to put together the pieces and realise that it’s not only Trump who is the problem, but the system itself, which thrives on built-in racial divisions.
As a New York Times article on Thursday put it: “Comparing the Trump administration to the nazis may be a stretch, but many business leaders are concerned that stirring up deep-seated racial and nationalist animosities could be destabilising, leading to riots, property damage, and widespread civil unrest reminiscent of the late 1960s.”
“Fomenting racial unrest,” in the words of Jeffrey A Sonnenfeld, a Yale University management expert, is “not in businesses’ interest.” He’s right in more ways than one. Unrest is of course bad for markets, but increased mass awareness of racial disparity also spells trouble for the system. Pair this with the rapid growth of socialist ideas among the young generation, and the future starts to look a bit worrisome.
The abandonment of Trump by the powerful is not a completely novel phenomenon. A certain section of the capitalist class was always against him. The prolonged economic crisis and the increased differentiation of capital between globally oriented sectors like finance, high-tech, and energy on the one hand, and domestically oriented small and medium capital in sectors like services, small manufacturing, and regional energy exploration on the other, have unsettled the old political coalitions that alternated in governing the US state.
The divisiveness of the Republican primary last year was evidence of this uncertainty. Of course, once Trump — who rallied the support of globalisation’s losers, such as white workers from the so-called Rust Belt, small manufacturing, and medium-sized capital — secured a lock on the nomination, other Republican-leaning business elements got on board. This included big oil, resource producers, and slithers of several other sectors.
While internationally focused sectors such as finance and high-tech largely coalesced around the Clinton campaign, a number of actors in these groups also expressed an openness to working with Trump once he was in office. They certainly would have preferred someone not so verbose about closing borders or restricting trade, but they also knew they weren’t necessarily dealing with a man of principle here. There was always wiggle room with Trump.
The reign of the “businessman’s president” proceeded apace, at least on the surface. Two regulations dropped for every one new one. The push to privatise education. Repealing Obamacare to boost the bottom line of insurance companies. There were many proposals that would put a sparkle in a CEO’s eye.
But unfortunately for them (and fortunately for the rest of us), Trump proved to be supremely incompetent at navigating the terrain of coalition politics necessary to pass major legislation in Washington. The intense pressure being put on elected officials by a mobilised and outraged public also didn’t make it any easier to push through the president’s major proposals.
But now, all bets appear to be off. The wall on the Mexican border wasn’t enough. The ban on transgender military service wasn’t enough. The possible collusion with Russia in the elections wasn’t enough. Even the threat to launch a nuclear holocaust wasn’t enough. But openly and repeatedly defending a neonazi and KKK march that cost one woman her life is finally the bridge too far.
The exodus from Trump has begun. Where or when it will end is not yet clear, but the likelihood of his presidency lasting for a full four-year term is diminishing by the day.
Most reluctant to abandon the president are the companies which heavily benefit from their direct connection to the government — defence suppliers like Boeing or energy giants such as ExxonMobil. Those more dependent on the whim of consumers fed up with racism, like athletic clothing retailer Under Armor, have been some of the quickest to bolt.
The turmoil is now spreading into the heart of the administration.
It would seem that even Trump is perhaps realising, belatedly, that he and Steve Bannon may have gambled and lost this time. They pushed the envelope on the Confederate statue issue, assuming it would cause enough distraction so that they could advance the rest of their agenda. Bannon, for instance, revelled in the controversy surrounding the monuments and pushed for more confrontations in the streets. “Just give me more. Tear down more statues, say the revolution is coming,” he said last week. “I want [Democrats] to talk about racism everyday. If the left is focused on racism and identity and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush them.”
But their efforts to fan the flames of racism have apparently backfired and Bannon has gone back to fascist fake news site Breitbart.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels once declared that “the executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” It may sound a bit simplistic given how complex the machinery of power has become, but they were onto something. The chasm opening up between Trump and those who hold the levers of economic, military, and political power demonstrates that there are splits within Marx’s infamous “committee.”
The task now is to take advantage of these splits and push for the ouster of a nazi sympathiser from the White House and deliver a powerful blow to not only the racism he supports, but to the agenda of deregulation, privatisation and tax cuts he’s been pushing — an agenda which threatens the wellbeing of working people of all races and nationalities.
Saturday 19th August 2017
posted by Morning Star in Features
by Emile Schepers
THE crime and tragedy of Charlottesville is of national and even international importance, but its specific “Virginia” context is also important to understand — as is the role of Virginia politicians like anti-immigrant Corey Stewart, who has announced his candidacy for the federal Senate seat now held by Tim Kaine in the 2018 midterm elections.
Virginia has elections this year for governor, lieutenant governor and all 100 seats in the House of Delegates, which is the lower house of the state legislature.
Although historically the heart of the Confederacy and a bastion of racist Jim Crow politics, Virginia has in recent years been a swing state in elections. It went for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and for Hilary Clinton in 2016.
Both current US senators are Democrats (Mark Warner and Tim Kaine) and of the 11 federal House seats in Virginia, four are held by Democrats and seven by Republicans. The current elected state executive officers are all Democrats — Governor Terry McAuliffe, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring. Yet the Republicans hold a slight majority in the state Senate (21 to 19) and a very large one in the House of Delegates (66 to 34).
How can that be? One important reason is that the election calendar in Virginia is staggered so that federal, state executive, state Senate, and House of Delegates elections are not all held during the same year. So the excitement generated by a national presidential election, or even a federal mid-term election, is absent during purely state elections. This affects turnout, to the detriment of the Democrats.
Nationally, the Republican game plan at present is to emphasise gerrymandering and vote suppression, which has a disproportionate impact on minority and low-income working class people — the Democrats’ natural base.
In this year’s Republican primary for governor, the candidate of the extreme right was Corey Stewart, the head of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. Stewart, who according to his own description was “Trump before Trump was Trump,” relies on the same right-wing populist appeal as the current occupant of the White House.
As early as 2007, Stewart had targeted Prince William County’s growing Latino immigrant population with false claims that they were the source of a mostly imaginary crime wave. He pioneered the idea of deputising Prince William County sheriff’s department police to demand proof of citizenship or legal residence from Latino people they contacted, for example, in traffic stops. Subsequently, Stewart falsely claimed that this had lowered the crime rate in his county.
In this year’s election, he has continued to emphasise anti-immigrant themes such as denouncing sanctuary cities, but has also picked up on the issue of Confederate monuments.
This is where the Charlottesville events come in.
After the June 2015 massacre committed by Dylann Roof in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, a national movement began for the removal of monuments and place names which honour Confederate generals and politicians from public spaces around the South. In Virginia, this is a tall order because there are so many of them, but there has been some progress.
Roanoke, Arlington and Alexandria as well as Loudon County and the state capital Richmond are all communities where this issue has been raised and, in some cases, votes have been taken in local legislative bodies.
The statues of Confederate generals Robert E Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in Charlottesville — in parks respectively named after these two individuals — were targeted for removal and in February the Charlottesville city council voted by three votes to two that they must go.
Statues of Lee, who commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in many Civil War battles and who is considered a great hero by Southern white racists, are particularly offensive for many African-Americans.
He was not a mild-mannered statesman who, after the war, worked for the unity of the nation as some apologists claim.
When he was still a colonel in the federal army, Lee was the executor of the estate of his father-in-law, George Washington Parke Custis.
Custis had told the slaves on his Arlington plantation in Virginia that when he died they would be free. But Lee tried to delay their freedom and when some of them left the plantation anyway he had them pursued, captured, brought back to Arlington and whipped.
During the campaign of the Army of Northern Virginia that ended with its defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg, Lee’s troops rounded up free African Americans, including children, in the Pennsylvania towns through which they marched and kidnapped them to be enslaved in the South.
So it was only a matter of time that in various Virginia communities, including Charlottesville — a university town that went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election — efforts to remove these racist monuments from public view would begin to move forward.
The problem has arisen that Virginia law does not permit local governments to remove or modify war monuments without the official permission of the state legislature.
But Lee, whose Charlottesville statue was erected in 1924 during the worst Jim Crow and lynch-law days, and his ilk were recognised traitors to the US, which some people think should surely make a difference in whether their monuments go or stay.
While courts have temporarily blocked the statues’ removal, on June 5, Lee Park was renamed Emancipation Park and Jackson Park was renamed Justice Park.
Stewart, seeking to win the Republican primary by getting the fervent support of hardcore racists and Trump voters, began to target Charlottesville, Roanoke and Richmond for grandstanding campaign events which heavily emphasised opposition to removing the statues.
He visited Charlottesville to denounce the proposal to remove the statues in February and said on that occasion: “Nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don’t matter.”
Stewart evidently does not consider African Americans in the South to be “Southerners.” He is, by the way, from Minnesota, a state whose soldiers were an important component of the Union victory in the Civil War.
He ran for governor on the issue of the statues and “illegal immigration” and was considered to be too extreme to win votes beyond his hardcore racist basis. But in the Republican primary on June 13, he shocked many by coming within one percentage point of beating the “establishment” Republican candidate, Ed Gillespie, a longtime Republican Party operative.
Gillespie has since mimicked Stewart on the immigration issue, while using more sedate language.
As of August 9, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, the Democratic Party candidate for governor, Ralph Northam, is ahead of Gillespie 47 to 39 per cent, but Democrats and progressive political organisations are taking no chances lest this advantage be negated by low turnout and vote suppression.
Meanwhile, Stewart intends to replace Democratic Senator Kaine in next year’s federal mid-term elections and says he will run a “vicious, ruthless” campaign.
It’s a safe bet that he will continue to use the demagogy about “our [white] Southern heritage” and the issues of the Confederate statues and “illegal immigrants” in that campaign as well.
The vote in Charlottesville to remove the statues and change the parks’ names, plus Stewart’s demagogic agitation on the issue and focus on Charlottesville specifically, were a major motive for the ultra-right movement to target the city, specifically, for their “unite the right” rally of last Saturday.
It is in this context that the tragedy and crime of Saturday, August 12 unfolded.
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Department of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen echoed President Donald Trump’s comments about the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, in which he claimed the violence was the fault of “both sides.”
During the Aspen Security summit, Nielsen was asked about the president’s comment that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the rally, where a counter-protester was struck and killed by a man who was allegedly “infatuated” with Nazis.
“Both sides were aggressively pitted against each other,” she told NBC’s Peter Alexander, offering the solution to “prepare” and detect the “warning signs.”
Then, she added: “It’s not that one side is right and one side is wrong.”
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