This Week in Fascism:
Assaults on refugees, the rule of law, voting rights,
the environment, and more…
June 18, 2018 | Reprinted from Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
While Trump’s trip to Canada and the G-7 meeting, and then to Singapore for the summit with Kim Jong-un, were the focus of world attention this week, the Trump/Pence regime was advancing its agenda and moves to consolidate fascism on many different fronts.
1. Sessions bans refugees fleeing gang violence or domestic abuse from seeking asylum. As immigrant children are being ripped from the arms of their parents on the border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions launched another vicious attack on refugees and immigrants. On Monday he ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to people who are victims of gang violence or domestic abuse. Sessions’s order goes against previously established principles of asylum law. It will immediately impact thousands of people, mostly women, already imprisoned in this country’s jails for the “crime” of fleeing domestic abuse. Such abuse has become widespread and inescapable, especially in the countries of Central America, thanks to decades of U.S.-created poverty and state and gang violence. Denying these women’s right to even apply for asylum, Sessions is sending many of them back to their death.
2. Supreme Court rules in favor of voter suppression. On Monday, June 11, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it upheld the new policy for voter suppression passed by Ohio’s Republican legislature. This policy allows the state to purge people from voter rolls because they didn’t vote in an election. This forces them to re-register to vote in the future. The Supreme Court took this step knowing it will disproportionately reduce the number of voters who are Black, poor, or disabled—voters more likely to vote for Democratic candidates. Their ruling directly contradicts the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which forbade states from kicking people off the rolls simply for not voting. This is another step in the Republi-fascist decades-long efforts to manipulate and control the voting process, through this and other forms of voter suppression as well as blatant gerrymandering.
3. Trump endorses white supremacist for senator from Virginia. On Tuesday, June 12, Virginia Republicans chose Corey Stewart, an open, vitriolic white supremacist, upholder of the Confederacy, and supporter of alt-right fascists, as their candidate for the U.S. Senate in November. Within hours Trump announced his support: “Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia.” Previously, Stewart had made stopping the push to remove Charlottesville’s statue of Robert E. Lee the centerpiece of his campaign for governor, holding rallies for the monument and displaying Confederate flags at his events. Nationally, the Republican Party is shedding its skin, revealing an even more violent, hideous creature within—the “Trump Party.” Only those who already represent, or are willing to become, the most staunch believers in Trump/Pence fascism are welcome.
4. Trump claims he’s above the law, with unchecked power to pardon, end investigations. On Monday, June 4, Trump tweeted “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself.” Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers wrote a 20-page confidential letter to special counsel Robert Mueller claiming that since Trump is the country’s chief law officer, he cannot illegally obstruct justice—i.e., that he’s above the law. They also claimed the Constitution gives Trump the right to end Mueller’s investigation. Since then, all these claims have been repeated by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani also claimed that “In no case can he [Trump] be subpoenaed or indicted” even if he “shot [former FBI Director] James Comey.” All these claims are ominous declarations of the Trump/Pence regime’s aim to centralize unchecked power, including by implication the power to murder, in Trump’s hands—in short, impose full-on fascism. One columnist summed up: “The week Trump went full dictator and no one tried to stop him.”
5. Republicans attack National Resources Defense Council as “foreign agent” for fighting for environmental protections. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading U.S.-based environment group with 1.3 million members, is under attack and facing investigation by Republican leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee. They’re accusing the NRDC of being an “agent of a foreign power”—China—for repeatedly suing the Trump/Pence regime over its roll-back of environmental protections, while speaking favorably about efforts they see China making to promote clean energy. Attacking environmental groups as agents of a foreign power—“aiding the enemy”—is part of the Trump/Pence regime’s all-out assault on environmental regulations—and an escalation of its efforts to vilify, silence and crush its opponents.
6. DOJ arrests alleged leaker, seizes reporter’s phone, email records in attack on press and whistleblowers. On June 7, a former aid to the Senate Intelligence Committee was arrested by federal agents for allegedly lying about an investigation of leaks of classified information. This followed the revelation that the FBI had covertly stolen the phone and email data from a New York Times reporter who had written major stories on the Intelligence Committee’s work. The Times denounced the data theft as an attack on the press that would have a chilling impact on journalists’ ability to cover the government: “communications between journalists and their sources demand protection.” The Committee to Protect Journalists called the government’s action “a fundamental threat to press freedom.” Attacking the press is a key element in the Trump/Pence regime’s efforts to tear down the liberal bourgeoisie and consolidate fascism.
7. California police secretly work with alt-right fascists to target anti-Trump, anti-fascist protesters. At a trial now taking place in Oakland, California, it was revealed that Berkeley police secretly helped and worked with fascist Trump supporter Daniel Quillinan to prosecute five anti-Trump, anti-fascist protesters. On March 4, 2017, pro-Trump, alt-right fascists called a rally in Berkeley and attacked counter-protesters. During that confrontation, the police consistently sided with the fascists, allowing them to illegally bring weapons including knives, poles, and wooden “shields,” and treating them as “victims,” even after they’d assaulted counter-protesters—who the pigs then arrested for assault! This is the second time California has secretly worked directly with neo-Nazis to target anti-Trump, anti-fascist protesters.
8. Rev. William Barber and other activists, held in cockroach-infested cells overnight, brought to court in ankle irons for nonviolently protesting poverty. On Monday, June 11, over 100 people including the Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, were arrested in Washington, DC for non-violently protesting against poverty. Rev. Barber states that research shows that “there are actually 140 million poor and low-wealth people in this country…That’s 43.5 percent of all of the people in this country are poor.” Outrageously, Rev. Barber and other protesters were held overnight in cockroach-infested cells and brought before a judge the next morning in ankle irons. This is another example of the stepped up police brutality against protesters taking place under Trump/Pence rule.
9. Iowa Republican Congressmember Steve King retweeted a racist tweet by Mark Collett, a British neo-Nazi who claims the porn industry is a Jewish plot against Christian families. Collett’s tweet, based on a Breitbart article, read, “65% of Italians under the age of 35 now oppose mass immigration. Europe is waking up…” In the face of outrage, King, who says white Christians have contributed more to Western civilization than any other “subgroup,” doubled down, tweeting out the same Breitbart article again. Throughout all this, NO leading Republican uttered a word of condemnation for King.