TRUMP INVESTIGATION – ONE MORE DIVERSION WE SHOULD NOT FALL FOR?
In the struggle we are often tempted to take what we are given and run with it. Sometimes that is wise and sometimes it means we lose focus on what is really important. From the beginning of the Presidential campaign Trump’s personality, moral corruption and celebrity have been a diversion under which a right wing, white supremacist agenda seized the full power of the U.S. government. We would be wise to check our enthusiasm for – and our focus on – the special counsel investigation of the Trump campaign and administration ties to Russia.
The investigation of Trump’s collusion and alliance with Russia has been fueled by both Democratic and Republican commitments to the neo-liberal coalition with Europe and opposition to the China-Russia axis which was providing independence to the nations of Africa and Latin America still emerging from colonization. Democrats leaped to find some Republican allies like McCain and Graham to oppose the President. This growing alliance against the President did nothing to break the Republican majority’s campaigns – or the administration’s campaigns – targeted to marginalize the resistance among communities of color.
A by-product of the campaign to investigate Trump’s collusion with Russia has been a campaign to build up the integrity of the Generals and the Intelligence community. The FBI that gave us Cointelpro and the CIA which continues to destabilize popular third world countries – now in Venezuela – have been forgotten. The generals which gave us Vietnam and dozens of military coups and occupations have been forgotten. Now these are the brave and courageous defenders of democracy against Trump. Wow!
Meanwhile, we should reflect that the campaign of mass deportation is progressing steadily. Deportation arrests are up by 40% and deportation arrests of people with no criminal convictions have doubled to 18,000 over the last three months. The power of Senators to defer deportation has been eliminated and the prioritizations that protected many have been formally eliminated. The tactic which creates the most fear in the community has become the preferred ICE tactic – surprise raids on a family home.
Meanwhile, the campaign of mass incarceration is progressing steadily. The justice department has withdrawn from civil rights actions against racist police departments and called on federal prosecutors to request maximum sentences for all federal crimes – including drug convictions – reversing Obama era reforms. The administration carries on an ongoing propaganda campaign of events opposing criticism and accountability efforts aimed at police.
Meanwhile, even while the new health care initiative aimed at tax reduction for the rich and elimination of health insurance for millions administrative actions have crippled the program in many states. The death gap among the uninsured is steadily rising.
Meanwhile, the district gerrymandering and voter suppression campaign is continuing at states throughout the country – over 80 new laws passed in the last three months. The voter suppression campaign has now been headlined and coordinated at the national level by the new “Voter Integrity Commission” headed by the Vice President of the United States.
Meanwhile, the marginalization of the entire Puerto Rican population on the Island is intensifying, subjugating the island to a group of Bankers.
Meanwhile, the hate campaign aimed at Muslims has been continued even though “Muslim ban” orders have been contested in court. We should remember that victories in the lower courts have relied on “the intentions behind the executive order as evidenced by Trump’s statements” and may well fall in the newly conformed Supreme Court. Hate crimes against Muslims continue continuing the systemic discrimination that marginalizes Muslims nationwide.
These campaigns and their escalation represent a consistent historical pattern: When an authoritarian government takes power through manipulation of the electoral votes it then moves immediately and aggressively to suppress and eliminate the popular opposition. We are aware of these elimination campaigns in Latin America: the mass arrests, criminalization, assassinations and disappearances, etc. Is not the same thing happening here?
The campaign to “Make America White Again” has a powerful, broad and wide political base. It played to racial fears and prejudices cross class lines among whites. The strength of that campaign will continue, buttressed now with more money, more credibility and more government support at the Federal and State level. On the other hand, the campaigns of suppression we have talked about here are having the effect of suppressing participation in the resistance among communities of color – even while the general resistance to Trump seems to have grown among the middle class liberal communities which are not directly affected by the suppression campaigns.
We SHOULD remember the way politicians used issues like immigration and mass incarceration to build political opposition in upcoming elections – while doing nothing to challenge the injustice or protect people between elections. The deportations under Obama worked to suppress the Latino vote even as the Democrats campaigned against deportations and separation of families as a Republican policy.
What should be our response? We must of course step up the resistance to the policies of mass deportation, mass incarceration, voter suppression and health care marginalization. We also must provide survival programs to defend the targeted populations while we are engaged in the policy debate. The resistance must provide protection for those whose lives are being taken apart by the campaigns of suppression and elimination, gathering all available resources in this effort and empowering the most affected communities to mobilize to defend themselves.
The concept of sanctuary which began in a church created a defense and a protection for a mother to continue to raise her U.S. citizen son – even as it raised a significant protest against the policy of separating families. The extension of that concept to sanctuary cities, sanctuary universities, etc. represents a commitment to protecting and defending the people under attack while fighting for the policy change.
We need to expand that concept of sanctuary to the resistance against mass incarceration, health care marginalization, and Islamaphobic and anti-LGBTQ campaigns. That means gaining local defiance to federal policies and it also means gathering and collectivizing existing resources to protect and serve and empower the targeted communities.
In short, we need a focused campaign of survival/sanctuary pending a change in power and policy – or we will never see that change. That survival campaign will bring the realities of the suppression and marginalization campaigns out into the public and stimulate the resistance, especially among the targeted populations.
So what are we doing now to protect the people – now? That is the question which should move the resistance.
So perhaps we should curb our enthusiasm and celebration of the Trump investigation. Donald Trump was only a celebrity cheerleader for white supremacy. Even an impeachment would leave the leader of the suppression and marginalization campaign, Vice President Pence, as the new President. The investigation is a diversion from the resistance we need to build.