On Sunday, August 13, I joined other community members at a rally at Julian Abele park, 22nd and Carpenter streets in South Philadelphia, to protest the violence, by racists and neo-fascists, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Here is the story: a “Unite The Right” rally took place in Charlottesville, around the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, to resist the movement to remove statues of Confederate generals from public sight,. originally set up to glorify and sanitize the ‘Lost Cause” of the Confederacy, the regime which committed treason against the United States for the sole purpose of keeping one race of people in slavery, in a status resembling that of cattle.
The neo-fascists were ready for violence; that is part of fascism, the physical and legal beating down of opponents. They marched down the streets of Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us,” and the old Nazi slogan “blood and soil.” They were accompanied by the rightist “militias,” guys who parade around in camo carrying assault rifles like they’re going to invade somewhere-another frightening phenomenon.
Like schoolyard bullies-such as the current inmate in the White House-they taunt their enemies, hoping the enemies attack them to they can beat them up. Photos of the marching neo-Nazis have gone all over the internet, and they have gotten in trouble with their families and employers; know their name, and spread their shame.
Yes, there was a fight, there was violence; how can you not react to when someone yells about wanting to kill you because of your race or religion? In the incident, one young woman, Heather Heyer, was killed when a car by one of the racists rammed into the protestors. Also, two Virginia State troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, died as their helicopter crashed while they monitored the march. (May their memories be a blessing.)
And how did our Commander-in-Chief react? How did he heal thenation’s woulns? He got on TV and acted live all parties, ne-Nazis and protestors, wre equally responsible for violence. That was good news for the white nationalists-neo-Nazis, like David Duke and Richard Spencer, who felt confident that the President of the United States is on their side.
SHAME! There is NO moral equivalence between the racists and neo-fascists one the one hand, and the fine people protesting them and the hate and violence they stand for. The same capitalist class, such as the CEOs populating his manufacturing commissions, has abandoned him-remember, for all his populist talk, trump is one of them-has abandoned him. The military brass has repeated how their forces would never tolerate racism and bigotry in their ranks. The real opposition party in this country is an alert, aroused public, allied with a vigilant news media with backbone; THAT is how we’ll get rid of trump. And so what if Pence talks over after trump? We’ll study, protest repeat against Pence also.
The Mason Missile
The E-newsletter of
John Oliver Mason
May 10, 2017
Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have been celebrating May Day, THE international day honoring workers and our achievements in organizing for our rights, and what we accomplish if the workers stand together and fight the bosses and their political minions. I have been active in these campaigns-don’t worry, we’ll still have Labor Day in September.
The origins of May Day are in the struggles in this country for an eight-hour working day, led by the Knights of Labor. The American origins of May Day have been obscured by the appropriation by the Soviet Union, China, and other Communist regimes of revolutionary culture to further their ends, which have not been revolutionary; it gave the regimes the appearance of being radical and revolutionary. Now, the truth has been coming out, and I urge you to look up the web site, maydayusa.org. (This raises the question: what other things have we been lied to about, in schools, media, and politics?)
We need to have such solidarity in these times of trump as our “president,” and I have NO obligation to show him ANY respect! A woman was arrested for laughing at Attorney General Jeff Sessions-laughing! Political satire, laughing at the doings of our elected (by whom?) officials is a venerable American tradition; currently, we have seeing a new golden age of it, with the work of Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, and Stephen Colbert-who recently faced trumpist howling after a great monologue.
“Fake News,” one of trump’s favorite lines, reminds you of one of Hitler’s favorite insults, “lugenpresse,” “lying press,” against the news media of his day. The news media is not perfect, it is more corporate-slanted towards what is acceptable or palatable to corporate interests; but it so far has helped in keeping an eye on the trump regime and how the trump family-including Jared Kushner, the son-in-law-in-chief-have used these connections to further their business interests.
The Republicans in the House of Representatives (of whom?) finally passed the trump “alternative” to Obama’s signature law, the Affordable Care Act, and are celebrating that heroic act of stripping health insurance from millions of Americans, while providing another tax break for the billionaire class. All through the Obama administration, Republicans have tried SO hard to have it repealed, even though the Obama plan in partially based on the plan in Massachusetts while Mitt Romney (no Trotskyist he!) was governor.
How much did racism play in the Republican crusade against “Obamacare”, which is a term Obama himself wore as a badge of honor? It was from the debates over health insurance that near-riots and threats emerged during congressional town halls in 2009, and I was sure then that some group or agency was behind this; lo and behold, it turns out the tea party movement is what is termed an “Astroturf” movement (as opposed to a ‘grassroots” movement), artificially created by corporate interests, in particular the Koch brothers and others.
The Republican Party establishment has long looked for foot soldiers, along with the plutocrats writing the big contribution checks, to do their voting, show up at rallies, yell at and intimidate their opponents, hand out leaflets on the streets, and fold and mail said leaflets. In the 1970s through the 1990s it was the religious fundamentalists, led by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson; now it’s the tea parties worked up about supposedly being taxed to death to pay for lazy welfare recipients, who are, in their mind’s eye, people of color.
Now, the foot soldiers have taken over the general staff; Republican leaders, no matter how conservative they have been, are not conservative enough for the Republican base. This is why the republican rank-and-file cast aside politicians, who actually have occupied political office and have strong conservative programs, for a reality-show star whose political leanings consist of his own publicity, whose business record is one of bankruptcies and not paying contractors, who allowed a foreign power to assist him in his campaign and thus undermine our elections and what remained of our democracy.
What are we to make of the trump voters? Are they frightened people worried about the fate of their nation, disgusted by our political elite, and therefore waging a “populist” movement? Or is it a collection of infamous racists and bullies, who enjoy his calls for banning Muslims, his contempt for women, his supporting violence against his enemies?
It’s all on video: the punching of protestors at his rallies, the racial slurs spouted by the attendees, the racism and anti-Semitism, and the Confederate flags, on display. It’s not being “elitist” to call out people like this; it’s telling the truth, and it’s calling for challenging the racism that has been a pre-existing condition in our country that needs to be cured once and for all. We must plainly tell any fellow citizen, most particularly any working person, who engages in violence against Muslims, African-Americans-LGBT people, or any minority, “Brother, sister, you’re+ wrong to do this. It’s not worthy of an American.”
Since the Civil rights movement, so much has been made of the ‘white working class,” as if they are one homogeneous group, violently opposed to any minority group-women, African-Americans, Hispanics, LGBTs, what have you-asserting their rights. Commentary I have heard says that the Democratic Party lost its way, made a big mistake, by seeking the votes of these former outgroups, and neglecting the “white working class” voter.
Is this true? Should, therefore, the needs of the former outgroups be ignored so that the party could attain once again the “white working class” voter? Is this an either-or situation? I don’t see the logic in this idea.
This bifurcation, if it truly exists, is not inevitable. Due to my education in Labor Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I have learned that issues of race and class in this country are inseparable; the Civil Rights leaders of the 1960s-Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph, and Bayard Rustin-sought the labor movement as allies in the struggle for equality for African-Americans, the vast majority of whom are working class, just as Americans in general. The March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom of August 1963-where Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech”-pointed out the problems the nation faced with racial and economic inequality. Civil rights Activists worked closely with progressive Labor groups, such as the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and King worked with the United Steel Workers of America (USWA) and the United Automobile Workers of America (UAWA) under Walter Reuther.
Randolph, leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, brought together over 800 trade union and civil leaders to take part in the march, along with the International Fur and Leather Workers Union (IFLWU), the Seafarers International union, and several public sector unions, all with an interracial membership. Along with this Randolph and Rustin organized a group of economists, trade unionists, and civil rights activists to draw up the “Freedom Budget,” released in 1966, which called for job-creation programs to combat unemployment, a guaranteed annual income for poor families, and increased federal spending on schools, eradicating slums, and public works.
I have just come from voting in the local elections here in Philadelphia-District Attorney, Controller, judgeships-mundane stuff, but these offices it most directly affect our lives, and this is where Presidents, Senators, and other officials get their start. It’s at this level where we begin to know the kind of elected officials they would be, and it’s where progressives needs to start to bring the party into a more people-oriented direction. Plus, people coming out for such unexciting races as for township supervisor, county commissioner, and city council-member sends a message that we the people are paying attention to the affairs of our community, and are willing to hold our officials accountable.
This is something we must continuously work on-especially in this dangerous era-for the sake of our children-bye!
There are still those who say the Confederacy was a noble cause, and downplaying, WAY down, the fact that it was all about maintaining a slave system and giving poor whites the illusion of having someone to feel superior to. This is nothing to be proud of. The Confederacy was a racist, class-based, oligarchic system that needed to be destroyed.
Tea Partiers Hold ‘Pro-Confederate Rally’ on MLK Weekend (Video) | Americans Against the Tea Party
Scalise didn’t know what David Duke was about? In the politics of Louisiana? That’s the Republican strategy, appeal to racist attitudes while denying being racist.
Scalise\’s Dark Knight Casts a Shadow | Brian Levin, J.D.
If Only Santa Anna Had Been a Better General, Texas Would not be OUR Problem