‘It’s not dark yet…but it’s gettin’ there.’
‘Democratic Fascists Prepare to Drop the Hammer’, Glen Ford, Jan. 28, 2021, blackagendareport.com (w/ permission, some excerpts)
“Democrats are determined to snuff out freedom of speech and assembly to protect the corporate ruling order – while pretending it’s to safeguard Black people.
“The militants seeking social transformation and peace under the Black Lives Matter umbrella must weigh the full implications of the Black Democratic Misleaders’ deal with the devil.”
The U.S. corporate ruling class finally has its “Reichstag fire” to justify suspension of constitutional liberties under cover of “national emergency.” There is, of course, no imminent threat to the U.S. state and its structures. The rightwing mob that broke through the U.S. Capitol’s remarkably thin blue line of defense on January 6th was visibly amazed at the ease of their penetration of the building, and clearly had no plan for what to do once they found themselves inside. However, the same corporate news media that spent four years convincing Americans that “the Russians” were bringing down “our democracy” through brilliant deployment of $100,000 in Facebook ads, now shrieks that free speech is poisoning the body politic. The great threat to the “stability” of American institutions is the proliferation of speech that does not conform to the corporate version of reality. Free speech must be brought “to heel” – as Hillary Clinton would put it.
The Reichstag fire that consumed the German national parliament in February of 1933 — supposedly set by a Jewish communist — allowed Adolph Hitler to turn his November 1932 electoral victory into a mandate to smash all opposition to Nazification of the country. From that point on, no worldview was permissible in Germany except Hitler’s own. The U.S. ruling class, beset by real crises of its own making at home and abroad, is desperate to regain control of the national and global narrative. As Barack Obama blurted out on stage with German chancellor Angela Merkel, barely two weeks after Hillary Clinton’s surprise 2016 loss to Donald Trump, he was fearful of “an age where there’s so much active misinformation and its packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television. If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect.”
“Free speech must be brought ‘to heel.’”
What Obama and his corporate Democratic colleagues were determined to “protect” is the continuity of U.S. never-ending war policies abroad and the “Race to the Bottom” austerity regime at home. As real crises multiply, the first line of capitalist defense is the corporate narrative that deflects blame from the system, itself. But counternarratives of the Right and Left have found deep traction in social and online media whose audiences often dwarf CNN viewership. Thus, the oligarchs, whose obscene wealth multiplies by the day, are unable to halt by normal means the public’s consumption of narratives that question the corporate order. The ruling class’s crisis of legitimacy must be made to appear as a patriotic defense of American institutions and “values” – of truth, itself — requiring restraint of critical speech and deep surveillance of suspected dissidents. The proof of the threat is displayed on the streets of Washington, DC, where 25,000 troops remain on guard against invisible enemies .” […]
“Donald Trump’s fascism is largely the residue of the fascism of apartheid America, under Jim Crow, which had many of the characteristics of – and in some ways presaged – the ‘classic’ fascism of pre-World War Two Europe. The establishment corporate Democratic and Republican brand of fascism is far more racially, sexually and culturally inclusive, but just as ruthless. And, at this moment in history, the corporate Democratic fascists are the more aggressively warlike brand.
Make no mistake: both brands of fascism are fully operative and intertwined. There is no bright line separating the two, as is exemplified by Joe Biden, himself, whose long career has been marked by white supremacist rhetoric and politics. But the inexorable darkening of the country has convinced most of the corporate ruling class that a deeper accommodation must be made with the more compliant sectors of Black and brown America, who are to be further incorporated into the ruling structures. In plain language that means more Black, brown and Asian faces in high places, even as the masses are pushed deeper into poverty and precarity, the domestic security forces become more brutal, and the U.S. intensifies its war-against-all abroad. Biden telegraphs the corporate fascist strategy when he assures the donor class that “nothing will change” while bragging that his regime will be the “the most diverse in history .”
The Democrats have every reason to expect that the Black Misleadership Class and its brown counterparts will be allies in the quest to establish a more politically stable corporate dictatorship in the United States, and in supporting never-ending war in defense of global capitalism. The continued political potency of the more blatantly white supremacist brand of fascism among the Trump Republicans will further solidify the unholy alliance of warmongering Democratic oligarchs and narrow Black “representational” politics. This deepening partnership presents a profound challenge to the militants seeking social transformation and peace under the Black Lives Matter umbrella, who must weigh the full implications of the Black Democratic Misleaders’ deal with the devil. Those forces that oppose racial capitalism and the police that buttress the corporate order are the real targets of the Democrats’ crackdown on freedom of speech and assembly. In the final analysis, the old and new fascisms will coexist and collaborate; the U.S. is, after all, a white settler colonial state whose mission is world domination. The only difference is that corporate Democrats want all (racial and ethnic) hands on deck and racial peace at home while furthering the imperial project.”
‘Ajamu Baraka: We Are Entering a New Totalitarian Era’, Ann Garrison, blackagendareport.com, Jan. 27, 2021 (w/permission, some excerpts)
In this interview for Pacifica Radio’s Covid, Race and Democracy, Ajamu Baraka warned of a new era of totalitarian neoliberalism.
“Anybody who is in opposition to the hegemony of the neoliberal project is at some point over the next few years going to experience the heavy hand of the state.”
Ann Garrison: On January 20, we saw Joe Biden carry on about “unity” behind seven-foot fences topped with razor wire and 25,000 plus National Guard troops deployed . One friend of mine said that this pointed to an irony deficiency. Is there anything you’d like to say about it?
Ajamu Baraka: Well, I think it is ironic, but it’s quite understandable that the kinds of activities that the US has been involved in promoting and supporting globally—undermining democracies, subverting states, undermining and destroying any semblance of the rule of law—have basically come back to haunt them. You have a militant movement in the US partially inspired by the inability of the state and the system to address their material interests and to look at their concerns regarding their own understanding of democracy and its deficiencies. They feel like they lack space to articulate those views, and they’ve decided to engage in militant actions to make sure that their voices are heard, and they believe that they are upholding democracy.
And their experience with the state made them feel justified in advancing their concerns about democracy in violent forms. The state has demonstrated to them that the way you defend democracy is through state violence. So they were taking their defense into their own hands and bringing it right back to the center of empire. Some of us call that blowback.
AG: For the past four years, liberals on the coasts have excoriated the white working class in the middle of the country, whom they perceive to be deplorable Trump supporters. Do you think that this is helpful?
AB: No. Not only is it not helpful, it is inaccurate and it has helped to create the narrative that many of these forces have embraced; that is the centerpiece of their grievances. They believe that liberals and the liberal order have not addressed their needs, their interests. They believe that the economic elites are only out for themselves and that therefore they needed to rally behind Trump, a billionaire who claimed that he understood their interests and would fight for them because nobody else was.
So this characterization of them as deplorables, and as either Nazis or Nazi-like, is not only not helpful but also contradictory in the sense that those folks who level those charges still have not been able to explain why the Trump presidency happened.
For example, some nine million people who voted for Trump in 2016 had voted for Barack Obama in 2012. Liberals can’t explain why, after four years of constant anti-Trump rhetoric, the Trump forces expanded their ranks by another 11 million voters. So this is something in play that’s a little bit more sophisticated than these people just being deplorables or Nazis. And that something has to be interrogated. It has to be extracted. It has to be understood if you’re going to have a politics to counter it. And right now the liberals have not understood where these elements are coming from because they have basically painted those 75 million people as a monolith of deplorables.
The neoliberals have constructed a politics that is going to result in a continuation of the same conditions, politically and economically, that created what they pretend to be most opposed to—the Trump movement. So this is the failure of imagination, the failure of critical analysis, the embracing of illusions that has characterized much of the politics in the US for a couple of decades now. And we see the consequences of that with us every day. […]
“Donald Trump represents the kind of attitude and the kinds of values that made the US settler state what it is today.”
AG: Neoliberal militarists are comparing the Capital Riot to 9/11 and using it to justify the further militarization of Washington DC and Biden’s domestic terrorism bill . At the same time, he has appointed infamous militarist Susan Rice to a new position, Director of Domestic Policy. Who do you think will become domestic targets during the Biden-Harris years?
AB: Anyone who is involved in oppositional politics, including those elements that are part of the Black Lives Matter movement, and anyone else who questions US colonial policies. Anyone who will advance sharp analysis of the capitalist state, who will question some of its dominant ideals, who might even suggest that police forces should be withdrawn from certain neighborhoods. And anyone who would advocate better relations with the so-called adversaries of the US, like the Chinese and the Russians.
There’s no telling what is going to be seen as acceptable speech and political practice because we are entering a new totalitarian era. So I think anybody who is in opposition to the hegemony of the neoliberal project is at some point over the next few years going to experience the heavy hand of the state.
Let me just say this about the state that we’ve been talking about. People say that these Big Tech entities—Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube, etcetera—are private corporations, and that therefore they have no obligation to protect free speech rights: We need to make a correction. These entities are of course private, but the essence of neoliberalism is the spinning off of elements of the state that are public to private entities. So what we have with these Big Tech companies is, in fact, the spinning off of the function of speech monitoring and massive surveillance to these private companies.
These companies are in fact, from my point of view, part of the ideological state apparatus. They are part of the state, just like the private corporate media is part of the state. So we have to expand our understanding of what we refer to as the state.
AG: A lot of people are frightened, particularly Black, Brown, and Jewish people, and most likely Asians now given all the bipartisan China-bashing underway. People, especially in these communities, have good reason to be frightened. And a lot of people are using the word fascist as they have for the past four years. But you’ve warned that neoliberal fascism will also get worse. Could you tell us what you mean by neoliberal fascism?
AB: Well, first let me say that it’s quite understandable, and we should be quite concerned about some of the more hardcore elements that we associate with the traditional right, who are quite capable and seem to be committed to using various methods to advance their political project. We saw some of those elements in the Capitol on January 6. So it’s understandable that we be concerned with that, but I’ve been warning people also that we should be more concerned with the neoliberal elements that control the state and did even during the time that Donald Trump was occupying the executive branch. We have to remind ourselves, or at least come to the understanding, that neoliberalism is a right-wing ideology. It is a right-wing set of policies, including privatization, deregulation, globalization, so-called free trade, austerity, and reductions in government spending, all to empower the private sector and diminish the public sector. Neoliberalism has to be connected to its essence, which is neoliberal capitalism.” […]
“That right-wing, neoliberal, totalitarian element is the element that is now constricting the range of acceptable political activity.”
And I’m suggesting to people that, even though we hate Donald Trump and the traditional right, we are in a position now where we have to defend their traditional bourgeois rights as well as our own, and not allow the acceptable space of political, ideological opposition to be reduced.
We know that the state will reconcile with the right. Their real opposition and the basis for a potential cross class united front is opposition to socialists and communists, those of us on the left. And we on the left we are the real targets of this settler political state. So we’ve been trying to warn people to be vigilant and not allow themselves to be manipulated by these very powerful forces. And it’s very difficult because they control all of the major means of communications and thought dissemination. But we’ve got to, to the extent that we can, present an alternative perspective so that we can build the kind of opposition we have to build if we’re going to survive this critical period.
AG: So it sounds like you think there’s more we can do than duck and cover.
AB: We have to. Those of us who have been part of the Black Liberation Movement, we have survived because we have resisted, and we also have survived because we know that we have been through the worst. You see, this thing referred to as fascism is nothing new for us, a colonized people, people who have been enslaved. It has typically been called fascism only when white people do certain things to other white people.
When the Nazis were studying, how they were going to construct laws in Germany, they were studying the apartheid system in the US. The Germans practiced building concentration camps in their murderous assault on the territory today referred to as Namibia. So it’s when these policies of brutality, of systematic violence, of rape, when they are moved from the periphery, from the colonial periphery to the Global North, that’s when they become Hitlerist, the ultimate expression of violence.
King Leopold II in the Congo? That’s written off. It’s not something that’s important, even though 10 million African people lost their lives. And we don’t quantify the level of irrational violence, but we do say that we have an experience with this kind of irrational violence. And so we know we have to resist. And so we know that Donald Trump is not the worst US president. We know that things can in fact get worse. And what we do and have done is to prepare our forces, to resist, and to try to provide leadership to other resistors. Because we know even though it will get more difficult, we know that we are still on the right side of history. And there are enough people of conscience in this country who believe that we can build a new, better world. We believe that once we can organize ourselves, even though it may be difficult for a while, we have a real possibility of not only surviving, but also transforming this backward society.”
Well, I’ve been to London and I been to gay Paris
I’ve followed the river and I got to the sea
I’ve been down on the bottom of the world full of lies
I ain’t lookin’ for nothin’ in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there…
~ Bob Dylan
‘US put on ‘heightened terrorist threat’ alert through APRIL, DHS cites concerns over politically ‘frustrated’ Americans’, 27 Jan, 2021, RT.com
“The National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin issued Wednesday warns that “some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence.”
In the accompanying press release, the DHS admits it “does not have any information to indicate a specific, credible plot” but that “violent riots have continued in recent days” – likely a reference to the ongoing violence in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington perpetrated by ‘Antifa’ activists, as no riots by supporters of the former President Donald Trump have materialized.
In Wednesday’s bulletin, the DHS also cited the “misinformation and conspiracy theories” about Covid-19 that allegedly drove “threats of violence against critical infrastructure, including the electric, telecommunications and healthcare” in 2020, as justification for their assessment.
While implying that people who had doubts about the 2020 presidential election are potential domestic terrorists, the DHS also declared it was committed to preventing violence and threats against people “on the basis of their religion, race, ethnicity, identity or political views.”
The bulletin advises: ‘If you see something, say something!’. It sounds like a job for Twitter’s new Birdwatch thought police to me! You can help! Is martial law coming soon?
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)