We are at a perilous moment… fascist movements and regimes are advancing around the world. At the apex of this is the Trump/Pence regime here in the most powerful superpower. The stakes of recognizing that what the world faces in this regime is an American fascism and the urgent necessity to drive out this regime are nothing less than the future of humanity—either through the devastation of the environment or through the heightened danger of nuclear war in pursuit of the Trump/Pence regime’s America First program.
Right now, seeing 80,000+ people—refugees and immigrants—detained in horrific conditions including in massive makeshift tent prisons, caged outdoors under bridges, or in warehouses retrofitted with fenced-in pens with people sleeping on the floor, and most shockingly, with children separated from parents and held in cages, is torture and has shocked the consciences of millions.
In response to this, analogies to the concentration camps of the Holocaust as well as to other present and historical examples of fascism have been aptly made.
Outrageously and harmfully, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC issued a statement that said such analogies “demean” and “disrespect” the Jewish people murdered in the Nazi Holocaust and those who survived. And that such analogies take away from people learning the lessons of that catastrophe by simplifying and flattening the history. NO. The “simple” here is profound. The museum’s position is obfuscating bullshit and does harm. Aside from acting as the proprietors of the crime and horrors of the Holocaust, this position undermines the urgent necessity to learn from the past to meet the urgent danger of the present.
THE MUSEUM’S WAS NOT THE LAST WORD… thankfully. Mostly young Jewish activists have put their bodies on the line in protest at immigrant detention centers around the country, putting forward the slogan from the Holocaust experience: NEVER AGAIN!
I want to highlight two points from their letter to the directors of the Museum:
The very core of Holocaust education is to alert the public to dangerous developments that facilitate human rights violations and pain and suffering; pointing to similarities across time and space is essential for this task….
We are not only scholars. We are global citizens who participate in public discourse, as does the Museum as an institution, and its staff. We therefore consider it essential that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum reverse its position on careful historical analysis and comparison. We hope the Museum continues to help scholars establish the Holocaust’s significance as an event from which the world must continue to learn.
There is a great need for more people, including professionals from many different fields of endeavor, to recognize that they are not only their professional selves, but responsible to humanity including as representatives of different fields—academia, science, the arts, law, medicine, etc. NOW IS A MOMENT TO SPEAK OUT COLLECTIVELY—against what the Trump/Pence regime is doing… and also against every attempt to stifle discussion and debate over the nature of what we face with the Trump/Pence regime and what must be done in response.
To the professors who signed this letter of refutation and demand that the Holocaust Museum change its position, I not only want to salute your letter but to challenge you about two important things that should be of concern if you are to be consistent and responsible in your stand.
First, there exists the most thorough and popular discussion of the nature of the Trump/Pence regime and how and why this fascist regime has come to power in the U.S. and what is to be done about it, in the film of a talk by Bob Avakian, the revolutionary leader and architect of the new communism,titled: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible! Watch it. Do not turn away because the idea of watching a talk by a revolutionary communist leader makes you uncomfortable, or because you think you already know it. I have read many of your books, and while there are many important insights, none go to the historical roots and where this could all lead in the way Avakian does in this film. If you teach: assign it or show it to your students; you would do a disservice to not do so. And, I have a further challenge: while in this particular talk Bob Avakian does not go into the revolution we need and the radically new society that is envisioned in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which he authored, go there next—surely you would want to see if there really is a far better alternative to this system that brought forth a Donald Trump and Mike Pence as a part of its normal workings.
Second, there is an organization, RefuseFascism.org, which I was a part of initiating, that has a cogent and compelling Call to Act that puts forth a sharp, compelling analysis that what we face is fascism and not the worst, most extreme swing of the pendulum. It advocates for, and it is organizing for:
A different kind of protest. We need to organize now for the time when we can launch massive, sustained nonviolent protests in the streets of cities and towns across the country—protests that continue day after day and don’t stop, creating the kind of political situation in which the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from power is met.
This is not mysterious. Look at Hong Kong and many other countries just within the past decade.
I conclude this letter with how the Refuse Fascism Call to Act ends, which pertains to what moved professors to make their statement and really to everyone who cares about justice and humanity—from those of us who believe that a future fit for humanity lies in a revolution to bring about a far better system or whether you believe that this system can be made to achieve that better world. We write:
We must confront the reality that the world as we have known it is being torn asunder. This requires getting out of our comfort zones and not allowing our differences to stand in the way of rising together in an unprecedented, unrelenting mass struggle to confront the danger of a Trump/Pence fascist America.
WE PLEDGE that we will not stand aside while there is still a chance to stop a regime that imperils humanity and the earth itself. Join us. Let’s stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to struggle with all we’ve got to demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go.
Andy Zee is the spokesperson for Revolution Books and is an advocate for the new communism developed by Bob Avakian. Andy Zee is also a co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org.