Thursday, August 17, 2017

Black Bloc Brings Down the Confederate Monuments

In this morning's story, "Trump Comments on Race Open Breach With C.E.O.s, Military and G.O.P.," by Michael Shear, Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, there is evidence that Trump has reached his "At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" moment:
The president’s top advisers described themselves as stunned, despondent and numb. Several said they were unable to see how Mr. Trump’s presidency would recover, and others expressed doubts about his capacity to do the job.
In contrast, the president told close aides that he felt liberated by his news conference. Aides said he seemed to bask afterward in his remarks, and viewed them as the latest retort to the political establishment that he sees as trying to tame his impulses.
Mr. Trump’s venting on Tuesday came despite pleas from his staff, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. Instead of taking their advice to stop talking about the protest, the president eagerly unburdened himself of what he viewed as political correctness in favor of a take-no-prisoners attack on the “alt-left.”
On Wednesday, even Fox News, a favorite of the president’s, repeatedly carried criticism of Mr. Trump. One Fox host, Shepard Smith, said that he had been unable to find a single Republican to come on-air to defend Mr. Trump’s remarks.
Whether Trump continues to hemorrhage depends on the next couple of days. The dissolution of two industry advisory panels by the White House yesterday, followed by news that Trump is fleeing to the bunker of Camp David, show an administration that is ducking and covering.

We can only hope the spotlight tarries on white supremacy for as long as possible. Charles Blow's column this morning, "The Other Inconvenient Truth," on the op-ed page of The New York Times is that that could appear in CounterPunch:
In 1994 John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser and a Watergate co-conspirator, confessed this to the author Dan Baum:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
The era Ehrlichman referred to was the beginning of the War on Drugs. Nixon started his offensive in 1971, declaring in a speech from the White House Briefing Room: “America’s public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.”
The object of disrupting communities worked all too well — more than 40 million arrests have been conducted for drug-related offenses since 1971, with African-Americans being incarcerated in state prisons for these offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that for whites, according to Human Rights Watch.
In 1970, Nixon’s political strategist Kevin Phillips told The New York Times, “The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans.”
The Republican Party wanted the racists. It was strategy, the “Southern Strategy,” and it too has proved wildly successful. From there this cancer took hold.
The party itself has dispensed with public confessions of this inclination — at least until Trump — but the white supremacy still survives and even thrives in policy. The stated goals of the Republican Party are not completely dissimilar from many of the white nationalist positions.
This is all true and an excellent thumbnail sketch of the constant rightward drift of national politics since Kevin Phillips penned The Emerging Republican Majority in 1969. But what Blow leaves out is how this superannuated strategy could still deliver the White House 50 years on. The answer is that the Democratic Party is guided by neoliberalism and militarism. The working class has nothing to support.

Enter Antifa. One could see this coming. With normal channels of political action ossified, anarchism has come back in a big way. It is the willingness of the Black Bloc to engage white supremacists that has prompted the rush to bring down the Confederate monuments. Public officials don't want to preside over the next Charlottesville.

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