Newcastle, England demonstrates against Pegida nazis


Pegida National Front demonstrator in Newcastle

This photo shows a demonstrator of the Pegida Islamophobic movement in Newcastle, England. He carries a flag of the neo-nazi National Front party.

Pegida Golden Dawn demonstrator in Newcastle

This photo shows a demonstrator of the Pegida Islamophobic organisation in Newcastle, England. He carries a flag of the Greek neo-nazi Golden Dawn party.

So much for Pegida’s claims to be really cuddly and supposedly not nazi at all. Claims already made doubtful by the Hitler copycat behaviour of Lutz Bachmann, the German leader of Pegida.

Lutz Bachmann posing as Hitler

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

THOUSANDS STAND UP TO THE PEGIDA THUGS

Monday 2nd March 2015

People of Newcastle turn out to make a stand against just 200 red-faced fascists

THOUSANDS of anti-fascists took to the streets of Newcastle-upon-Tyne at the weekend to oppose a demonstration by racist and Islamaphobic gang Pegida.

While around 200 Pegida fascists were protected by a phalanx of police, 3,000 to 4,000 anti-fascists staged a march and rally, dwarfing their demonstration.

Under the banner Newcastle United, they made a clear statement of the broad base of opposition to the racist group.
Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, people of no faith, trade unionists, students and political activists stood shoulder to shoulder against Pegida.

Unions represented with their banners and flags included Unite, Unison, transport union RMT and the National Union of Teachers.

Pegida — whose German acronym means Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West — peaked last month in Dresden when 25,000 people attended a rally, but its popularity has dwindled following leadership scandals.

Far-right activists in Britain were trying to import its racist beliefs in the forlorn hope of creating a mass movement of their own.

But their turnout in Newcastle on Saturday — and the massed ranks of local people who opposed them — was a major knock to their hopes.

Speaker after speaker denounced Pegida at a rally that followed a march by the anti-fascist protesters.

Among them was Durham Miners Association secretary Davey Hopper — a lifelong campaigner against racism and fascism.

He told the exuberant crowd that the association is restoring a banner of the International Brigades, created in honour of people from Newcastle who went to Spain to fight in the country’s war against fascism in the 1930s.

“When I came here today I thought there would be a few hundred people scattered about,” he said.

“I have been on many demonstrations over the years but today has lifted me.

“The National Union of Mineworkers has never been found wanting when racism and fascism shows its ugly head.

“When you look over there and see the small number of absolutely despicable people, and you look up here and see 3,000 to 4,000 people, it gives you a lift.

“My union has fought fascism through the whole of its history.

“Today’s demonstration must tell those 200 people down there that there is no place for them in Newcastle, Durham and Northumberland, and there should be no place in the country for scum like that,” he said to cheers.

Messages of support were read out from Sunderland and Newcastle football fans’ organisations. Among other speakers was the Lord Mayor of Newcastle George Pattison.

Five people were arrested, including for drunkenness and public order offences.

See also here.

England: MATT WILLGRESS talks to leading lights in the movement for racial equality about the importance of taking to the streets in the run-up to UN Anti-Racism Day: here.

Italy: Racist protest dwarfed by opposition on the streets of Rome. TENS of thousands of anti-fascist and anti-racist activists confronted Italy’s far-right Northern League on the streets of Rome on Saturday: here.

Marine Le Pen ‘reincarnation of Hitler’, says her party colleague


This video from France is about French National Front leader Marine Le Pen and German ex-officer of Hitler’s SS and neo-nazi leader Franz Schönhuber, a political ally and personal friend of the Le Pen family.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Rise of the French far right: Front National party could make sweeping gains at this month’s local elections

However, revelations about the bizarre candidates being fielded mean it may not do quite as well as its 30 per cent support nationwide may suggest

John Lichfield, Paris

Sunday 01 March 2015 …

One FN candidate on Aveyron in south-central France had called on his Facebook page for the “destruction of the Jews once and for all”. Another candidate in Ardèche in the Rhône valley had posted a swastika and the message: “Marine, you are the reincarnation of Hitler. You are going to clean up France.”

Another FN candidate in Puy-de-Dôme in the centre of France was dropped after it emerged that he had had been convicted last year of trying to run over a pedestrian while shouting racist insults. …

There are other telling signs that the FN remains rooted in shallow soil. One far-right candidate in Orne, in Normandy, was imprisoned last month for driving without a licence. He is permitted, under the rules, to remain on the ballot paper.

Film Selma on Dr Martin Luther King, review


This video from the USA says about itself:

12 January 2015

Film director Ava DuVernay, nominated for a Golden Globe for the critically acclaimed “Selma,” joined host Melissa Harris-Perry Sunday for an extensive interview.

On 28 February 2015, I saw the film Selma.

There have already been many reviews of Selma, including the ones of this blog post, and of this blog post.

So, I will try to avoid making the same points of these reviews all over again.

The subject of this film is the civil rights movement in the USA; especially the struggle for equal voting rights in Selma, Alabama in 1965.

One of the first images is of girls, aged 11-14, in a church in Birmingham, Alabama. They have a happy conservation about hairstyles. Would a hairstyle like Coretta Scott King‘s during the 1964 March on Washington, fit them, or are they still too young for that? Then, exploding Ku Klux Klan dynamite makes the church a bloody ruin. Four girls die, many others are wounded.

Another scene in the film shows a local official demanding that a prospective voter recite the preamble to the United States Constitution. The African American woman wanting to vote recites it correctly. Next, she gets a question about the number of county judges in Alabama. When this question is answered, it is followed by the demand to name every one of these judges. Oprah Winfrey in the role of Annie Lee Cooper cannot name them all. The racist official then triumphantly marks “DENIED” on the voter registration form. There might have been many more scenes like that in the film. I once read that one prospective African American voter had replied correctly to lots of questions on United States constitutional law. Then, the official showed him a Chinese language newspaper. ‘Now, doggone you, what does that mean?’ The prospective voter replied: ‘It means that you white folks don’t want me to vote.’

An effective part of Selma is that again and again, typewritten texts appear on the movie screen. They show the spying on Dr Martin Luther King by the FBI. The FBI bugged the telephones of Dr King and of many other ‘uppity’ African Americans, of Nelson Mandela, and of many others; and spied on them in other ways.

Another ‘intelligence’ service spying on Martin Luther King was the NSA (not mentioned in the film). Today, infamous for spying on millions and millions of people. Living proof that the ideals which Dr King stood for still need to be fought for today. Thinking also about all the other agencies, still violating civil rights and spying today, more than ever during the 1960s. Including domestic spying by the CIA: illegal, but the CIA even spies on the committee of the Senate which is supposed to prevent illegal CIA activity.

Some of the scenes of the film are around the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. To get in or out of Selma, civil rights marchers needed to cross that bridge (named for Edmund Winston Pettus, who was a Confederate brigadier general in the 1861-65 civil war, U.S. Senator from Alabama and Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.)

As the marchers approach that bridge, they see heavily armed Alabama National Guard troopers at the other end. Cinema audiences then hear the song Masters of War by Bob Dylan.

This music video from the USA is called Bob Dylan – Masters of War – with lyrics.

The film indicates the struggle for voting rights was part of broader issues. Dr King and other activists linked it to opposition against the Vietnam war and against poverty.

After the Selma marches, the Voting Rights Act was at last signed by President Lyndon Johnson under pressure of the massive civil rights movement, including, as the film says, protesters outside the White House stopping First Lady Lady Bird Johnson from sleeping. That Voting Rights Act is undermined today in several states in the USA; like by ‘driving while black’ penalties for minor traffic infractions, especially if by African American motorists, making these motorists ‘felons’, threatening their rights to vote.

The end of the film shows Dr King’s speech in Montgomery, capital of Alabama. Dr King then said that rich racist white people deceive poor white people into becoming racist. They say, lying: even though you are poor, you are still beter people than blacks. Here, I think of a link to Bahrain today: Bahraini pro-democracy political prisoner Ms Zainab Al-Khawaja, inspired by Martin Luther King. The Bahraini dictatorship plays similar divide and rule games as United States southern rich racists in the 1960s; it promotes sectarian conflicts between Sunni and Shia Muslims in order to continue its autocracy.

Among the last words of Dr King’s speech in the film is: ‘His truth is marching on!’ Dr King meant God. But many people in his audience may also have thought of John Brown, to whom this tune and lyrics were applied as well. John Brown, fighting in the nineteenth century against supporters of slavery like General Edmund Winston Pettus. And I thought about Dr King himself. 47 years after he was murdered, his truth still needs to march on.

At the end, the film shows (white) Ms Viola Liuzzo from Detroit in the northern USA, murdered by the Ku Klux Klan just hours after her participation in the march from Selma to Montgomery.

The theme song of Selma mentions the present civil rights issues in Ferguson, Missouri at the very end of the film.

Madonna warns against French neo-fascism


This video says about itself:

Madonna Defends Use of Swastika on Marine Le Pen‘s Forehead: Front National Party Threatens Suit

27 July 2012

American pop singer Madonna is defending her use of an image depicting French far-right politician Marine Le Pen with a swastika superimposed on her forehead after Le Pen‘s party threatened legal action. Madonna said the image was meant to highlight intolerance toward immigrants and religious minorities and she refused to remove it from a video played during her live performances.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Madonna: France feels like Nazi Germany

6 hours ago by Lewis Smith

Madonna has renewed hostilities with France’s far-right National Front (FN) party in outspoken comments in which she lambasts France and the rest of Europe for intolerance.

The singer, fresh from her tumble at the Brit Awards, said in a radio interview that racial intolerance and other forms of discrimination had risen to “scary” levels.

Three years ago, she was drawn into a row with the FN leader Marine Le Pen, whom she portrayed as having a swastika on her forehead in a concert video, but said the level of intolerance today is even worse than in 2012.

“It’s happening all over Europe but particularly in France. The level of intolerance is so enormous, it’s scary. We’re living in crazy times. It feels like Nazi Germany.

France was a country that embraced everyone and encouraged freedom in every way, shape or form – artistic expression of freedom.

Now that has completely gone. It used to accept people of colour, and was a place artists escaped to, whether they were Josephine Baker or Charlie Parker.”

Madonna to Europe 1 radio

United States politician’s suicide because of Republican colleague’s anti-Semitism


This video from the USA says about itself:

Was Tom Schweich Assassinated by GOP?

27 February 2015

Tom Schweich, Missouri Auditor And Gubernatorial Candidate, Dead At Age 54

Schweich attended Yale University and then Harvard Law School, made his political debut in 2009. He had initially considered running for the seat being vacated in 2010 by Republican U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, and he had the encouragement of his mentor, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth. But Schweich defered to Rep. Roy Blunt to avoid a divisive GOP Senate primary and instead challenged and defeated Democratic State Auditor Susan Montee in the 2010 election.

Schweich spent last weekend wooing fellow Republicans during the state GOP’s annual conference in Kansas City. He spoke energetically, frequently touting his work rooting out government waste and corruption as auditor.

But he also emphasized charity, citing his Christian beliefs as a source of compassion and promising to cut back on government spending and misuse without hurting the poor.

“Part of being a Christian is you gotta help people,” Schweich said while speaking to about a dozen members of the Missouri Republican Assembly on Saturday, his wife watching from the back of a small conference room in the Kansas City Marriott Downtown.

Later that day he scooped dollops of ice cream for supporters until his hands hurt.

Schweich was Danforth’s chief of staff for the 1999 federal investigation into the deadly government siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and followed Danforth to the United Nations, where he was chief of staff for the U.S. delegation.

President George W. Bush appointed Schweich to the State Department in 2005 as an international law enforcement official. Two years later, Bush picked Schweich to coordinate the anti-drug and justice reform efforts in Afghanistan.

By Nick Barrickman in the USA:

Missouri Republican candidate, apparent target of anti-Semitic comments, commits suicide

28 February 2015

Missouri’s state auditor Tom Schweich died Thursday from a single gunshot to the head in what police are ruling an “apparent suicide.” According to a spokesperson for Schweich, he had been preparing to go public with allegations of anti-Semitism against state Republican Party Chairman, John Hancock.

Schweich, a practicing Episcopalian with a Jewish grandfather, had announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor of Missouri in the 2016 elections. Hancock, who is alleged to have made disparaging remarks about Schweich’s faith and ethnicity in private discussions, had worked as a consultant for rival Republican gubernatorial candidate, Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

“The campaign had been difficult, as all campaigns are,” said Schweich’s spokesman Spence Jackson. “There were a lot of things that were on his mind.” Attempts to identify Schweich as Jewish were seen as potentially damaging to his chances of appealing to the Christian fundamentalists who play an enormous role in Republican primary elections.

Hancock denied the claims, stating that, “I don’t have a specific recollection of having said that,” while adding that it was “plausible that I would have told somebody that Tom was Jewish, because I thought he was, but I wouldn’t have said it in a derogatory or demeaning fashion.”

According to Tony Messenger, the editorial page editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Schweich had contacted him personally the morning of his death, requesting reporters be sent to his residence for a videotaped interview on the matter. Messenger said in a public letter that Schweich had been experiencing “significant angst” in the days prior to the suicide, and that “he had heard from campaign donors that while political consultant John Hancock was doing work for gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway, he would mention in passing that Mr. Schweich was Jewish.” Messenger stated that Schweich had said he had a number of donors who would go on record to support the allegations.

A series of phone calls on the day of his death suggest that Schweich was undergoing some sort of crisis or breakdown. He called first the AP, then the Post-Dispatch, setting up appointments for interviews on the charge of anti-Semitism, but shot himself a few minutes later.

Whatever the circumstances that precipitated the fatal events, Schweich had held a series of responsible, high-stress positions in the federal government, beginning with a 1999 appointment as chief of staff for former US Senator John Danforth, who headed the federal probe into the FBI’s actions at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

He worked as chief of staff to the US ambassador to the United Nations for three years, serving three successive ambassadors—Danforth, then Anne Patteron, then John Bolton. He was also principal deputy secretary of state in the administration of President George W. Bush, responsible for international law enforcement, with a particular focus on illegal drug trafficking in Afghanistan under the US occupation.

That such an individual could be driven to suicide—if indeed that is what happened—speaks volumes about the toxic political environment in the American political establishment, and particularly in the fever swamps of the Republican Party’s right-wing.

See also here.