Black empowerment is not the same as white supremacy, Donald Trump

August 24, 2017 9:55 AM CDT BY CHAUNCEY K. ROBINSON

Holy false equivalencies, Batman! In the aftermath of the tragic events of Charlottesville, where white supremacists and Nazis descended onto the University of Virginia inciting hate speech that would eventually lead to death and numerous injuries, Donald Trump did not use this as an opportunity to truly condemn white supremacy and Ku Klux Klan terrorism. Instead, the so-called President of the United States buckled down on vilifying the media and his dangerous rhetoric claiming there was blame on “both sides” when it came to the violence. Trump, like many of his fellow right-wing politicians, tried to reinforce the false narrative that left groups and anti-racist organizations, like Black Lives Matter, are equivalent to the Nazis and white supremacists in their level of extremism. That is just not the case, Mr. President.

Rhetoric like this has an insidious two-fold agenda. First, it normalizes white supremacy as simply a case of one group (whites) seeking representation and fair treatment. It lets white supremacists off the hook. Secondly, it vilifies movements like Black Lives Matter and others who actually seek to protect the rights of the marginalized against real systemic oppression. Trump’s rhetoric says that struggling against racism and state violence is essentially the same thing as the hateful Nazi and white supremacist goal of wanting to place all other races of people below one so-called supreme race.

Neither point of this ideologically driven agenda can be accepted. Both are detrimental to movements that aim to combat unjust racial discrimination against people of color in our society. Thus, it is imperative that people reject this rhetoric, and see it for what it truly is. It is a backdoor way of condemning the much needed fight for racial justice being carried on by people of color and allies. To accept this false equivalency is to play right into the hands of Nazism and white supremacy.

In Trump’s initial statement regarding Charlottesville, he stated, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. [This has been] going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. A long, long time.”

Make no mistake, Trump is not referring to the “long, long time” of systemic racism against people of color in this country that has gone on in various forms, whether it be slavery, Jim Crow, or police brutality.

No, in this sentence, and the tone-deaf speeches that have followed, Trump lumps the calling out of racial oppression (what Black Lives Matter does) into the same pile as the call for subjugating other races under the so-called white race (what Nazis and the KKK call for). It is almost equivalent to one saying, “Those fighting racism are just as much to blame as those being racist.”

Trump is not alone of course in pushing of this false narrative. The vilification of Black Lives Matter and groups seeking racial justice for Black people and others of color is nothing new. In the case of BLM, since its initial inception around the deaths of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and too many other Black lives lost to police violence, a theme has emerged from the right regarding portrayal of this movement. The right depicts it as a movement of violence and so-called “anti-whiteness.”

The National Rifle Association, as recently as this past July, released a video heavily playing up the idea that BLM and other left groups cause disorder and division. The video stated, “All to make them march, make them protest, make them scream racism… To smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding—until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.”

After Charlottesville, Arkansas Republican State Rep. Bob Ballinger zealously joined Trump’s effort. He tweeted: “#WhiteNationalists, #BLM, #KKK, #Natzis, #Antifa, etc, all spew hate and violence. Reject them and their hateful ideologies. #DividedWeFall”  These are only the most recent condemnations, but they are in the company of a long line of similar sentiments. Sentiments that don’t hold much weight when actual facts and statistics are placed against them.

The violence and chaos that have been attributed to Black Lives Matter and other left-leaning groups pale in comparison to violence rooted in white supremacy. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), as recently as 2015, 38 percent of all extremist killings were attributed to white supremacists. Left extremism accounted for just 1 percent of all killings. “Black extremism” wasn’t even a factor.

What this data means, as explained by the ADL, is that the 38 percent of killings could be directly attributed to people committed to the ideology of white supremacy. And no, detractors do not get to claim that violence perpetrated by Black people in large cities can be attributed to Black Lives Matter, because unlike the statistical data that can directly identify white supremacists in this research, it is nearly impossible to connect inner city violence to anyone aligned with BLM. The violence does not compare, and neither do the mission and goals.

The fight for racial equality of Black people is a struggle against oppression that has been rooted in the United States since its inception. Without slave labor, there would be no United States. After the Civil War, Black lives were negotiated away in exchange for political gains. The infamous Compromise of 1877, which resulted in the failure of Radical Reconstruction, ushered in Jim Crow segregation—a system that we continue to feel the remnants of today.

Add to that the prison industrial complex, which has Blacks and Latinos incarcerated at a substantially higher rate than whites, mixed with the disproportionate police violence suffered by Black people in the U.S., and it is clear to see why BLM and others are calling for justice. The slogan “Black Lives Matter” of course does not mean white lives and other lives don’t matter. The movement to protect Black lives is not in direct opposition to protecting white lives. The same, however, cannot be said for white supremacy and “white pride.”

Let us be clear, white supremacy and white nationalism are not about some sort of  “white pride,” or  speaking out against any real systemic mistreatment against white people based on race. That is not what is going on here, despite Fox News reporters like Pete Hegseth, claiming young white men are out in the streets because they feel persecuted and like “second-class citizens.”

White supremacy is rooted in the very idea that non-whites should not be afforded the same rights and privileges as white people. When white supremacists and Nazis are out in the streets chanting “Blood and Soil,” and “Jews will not replace us,” they are not calling for equality for all. They are calling for keeping the status quo—which means the systemic oppression of people of color and the extension of privileges for white people.

The defense of Confederate statues, some of which were only erected during the time of the Civil Rights era as a response to the fight for race equality, represents the glorification of a time when Black people were seen as three-fifths human.

The idea that white people are being persecuted under this system because they are white is a myth that needs to be rebuked. The advancement of racial equality is not a detriment to white people. White men and women in the streets fighting for some misguided right to be (or stay) the master race is fundamentally not the same as BLM and other groups fighting for marginalized peoples’ right to exist.

In a time when we have a U.S. president making erratic speeches claiming the media are the ones dividing the country, and that “our history” is being taken away, all while teasing that he may pardon a sheriff who practiced judicial discrimination against Latinos, it is imperative that people speak against racism and white supremacy.

That means we must be clear on what it is, and what it isn’t. And what it isn’t is the same thing as Black Lives Matter and anti-racism movements, or any movement fighting for true equality and justice. The Klan-sympathizing president wants you to think differently. He also stares directly into solar eclipses. Don’t trust this guy, or anyone who pushes his rhetoric. They’re the ones perpetuating fake news.

Via People’s World

White nationalism in Trump administration: The real threat to democracy

August 10, 2017 10:57 AM CDT BY JOHN BACHTELL

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department would begin investigating “intentional race-based discrimination,” the only surprise was the degree of brazenness.

Taken together with a spate of other Trump Administration announcements, its aim is crystal clear: to bull-rush through an unpopular agenda, ensure authoritarian rule, and consolidate a permanent governing constituency based on white nationalism.

The Trump policies, despite their populist mask, are hugely unpopular and face unprecedented resistance. Nevertheless, the Trump administration is forging ahead with an extreme right-wing agenda to radically undo environmental, worker, and civil rights protections and curtail freedom of the press.

These assaults are being implemented behind a fog of lies and a flurry of executive orders and agency and department policy changes. They include radically reforming immigration, both legal and illegal, imposing a Muslim ban (even though it’s not called that), returning to the “war on drugs” and mass incarceration, unshackling law enforcement, carrying out widespread voter suppression, undoing efforts to address systemic racial and gender discrimination, and reversing LGBTQ rights.

Trump is governing as he campaigned. He and his confederates are determined to deeply divide the American people and consolidate a block of white nationalist and social conservative support on the basis of racial and religious resentments, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, and fear.

A white supremacist, alt-right fascist gang

The Trump administration cabinet is the wealthiest and most right-wing in history. They are busy eliminating the Obama legacy of environmental, worker, and civil rights protections.

But the core of white supremacists with fascist alt-right ties in the Oval Office and Justice Department are driving social policy: Attorney General Jeff Sessions and presidential advisors Stephen K. Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka, et al.

As editor of Breitbart News, Bannon met and worked with Sessions and his then assistant Miller. Sessions was the leading voice in the U.S Senate for anti-immigrant restrictions.

During those battles, they discovered their shared outlook and later found common cause in Trump, whom they saw as a vessel for their ideas.

“Trump is a blunt instrument for us,” Bannon told Vanity Fair.

Their anti-immigrant obsession is connected to the much broader belief that sees changing racial demographics—the rising number of people of color and immigrant residents—as the chief internal threat to the country. According to trends, the United States will have a majority people of color population by the year 2050.

They see this as a threat to white patriarchic domination of the U.S. economy, politics, and culture. For them, these shifts are a danger to the very viability of the GOP.

Cultural and social mores are also shifting. A new role for women and the LGBTQ community is emerging. All are shaping a new multiracial, multinational, multi-gender identity, multicultural, multilingual democracy.

And these breathtaking changes are taking place over the span of just a few decades. Since 1965, the immigrant population has grown from 9.6 million to 45 million, accounting for 55 percent of U.S. population growth. Between 1980 and 2008, the foreign-born Latino population grew four-fold from 4.2 million to 17.8 million.

These demographic, cultural, and social changes (and the pace at which they are occurring) against a backdrop of economic uncertainty are unsettling to many whites. A significant portion of the Trump vote is a reactionagainst the new multiracial, multicultural society that was embodied in the Obama coalition.

Sessions and Bannon see the Trump administration as the last chance to reverse this. The grand scheme is to slow down, halt, and reverse the demographic and cultural shifts taking place while driving a wedge among the multiracial working class and people. They aim to permanently entrench white nationalist rule.

As The Daily Beast described it, “They also believe that if they can get forty percent of the vote, they can continue to forge the shape of this new historical cycle for the duration. This is Bannon’s plan—to use the Electoral College to maintain the office (with the help of gerrymandering and voter suppression as well, and buttressed by the nationalist messages that traffic in confusion, fear, and paranoia). They believe that if they can get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the non-white vote, which they presume to get by restoring the pre-globalist economy, they can rule for forty years.”

It is part of their vision for an even bigger pan-global European-Christian axis, embodied in the notion of an apocalyptic “clash of civilizations” between the Christian and Muslim worlds.

The grand scheme is to slow down, halt, and reverse the demographic and cultural shifts taking place while driving a wedge among the multiracial working class and people.

This fantasy is being brought to life through several policies:

First, the administration seeks to promote racial resentments among millions of white people. This is the meaning of the attacks on affirmative action going on under the cover of “investigations into race-based discrimination” against whites. The aim is to create “white nationalist” identity of a group being aggrieved economically, socially, and culturally.

Second, the Trump administration seeks the removal of 11 million undocumented immigrants. But they realize it is too expensive, the logistics too difficult and legalities too daunting for government to deport everyone, so the goal is “self-deportation.” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is carrying this out by using tactics that spread terror among undocumented immigrant communities.

The administration aims to isolate and stoke hatred for immigrant communities by convincing the American people that undocumented immigrants are involved in widespread, violent, and heinous crimes. They seek to eliminate opposition to deportation by threatening to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities.

Third, Trump’s government is out to cut legal immigration by up to half through a radical restriction of documented immigrants from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while keeping the flow from Europe.

The administration and its Congressional allies are cleverly posing this as a matter of both documented and undocumented immigrants taking the jobs and lowering the wages of US workers, despite the lack of any evidence of such.

Fourth, there is a sustained effort to restrict the immigration of Muslims. They are achieving this by stoking fear and hatred of Muslims, by equating Islam with terrorism, and by promoting the big lie that Muslims are conspiring to impose Sharia law.

Fifth, Trump and company are seeking to resurrect the failed and fraudulent war on drugs which was responsible for the mass incarceration of millions—mainly African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. The administration is whipping up fear with the “alternative fact” that crime is skyrocketing, especially in African-American communities.

They have no serious measures to address the sources of gun violence in cities like Chicago other than greater repression. “Law and order” is needed, the administration declares, which requires unshackling the police. The administration is not only turning a blind eye to police brutality in communities of color; Trump encouraged it in recent speech to police.

The Justice Department is dropping consent decrees against police departments over racism and police brutality, and the administration hopes to build a mass right-wing base within law enforcement agencies.

Sixth, there is a massive voter suppression effort underway. The ground is being prepared by the Trump-created election integrity commission for a purge of millions of African American, Latino, young, and low-income voters who tend to vote Democratic. It is based on the lie that voter fraud is rampant and that millions of undocumented workers even voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The expanded mass incarceration and criminalization of African Americans will also result in mass voter disenfranchisement.

Miller and Bannon are key advocates of the clash of civilizations view within the administration. | Evan Vucci / AP

Lies, lies, and more lies

The Trump lies blend seamlessly with the vast propagation of deceptions and bizarre conspiracy theories from right-wing media, the network of social conservative groups, the NRA, and fundamentalist Christian Evangelicals and Catholics bombarding millions of people around the clock.

Millions of Trump supporters believe these lies in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Despite all the corruption, conflicts of interest, and collusion with Russia to interfere in the U.S. elections, 83 percent of GOP voters have a stubbornly favorable opinion of Trump.

The outright lies, promotion of perceived white nationalist grievances, scapegoating of racial and religious minorities, and homophobia—combined with the erosion of democratic norms—is the bitter concoction from which authoritarianism and fascism brew. It must be resisted at every turn and defeated decisively through the broadest, most diverse unity possible.

Via People’s World