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The far right has declared cultural war - we have to stop them now
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Rightists Take A Bullet For Trump's Insanity
2019-10-01 02:09:23 UTC
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The far right has declared cultural war - we have to stop them now

For some in the US, the civil war never really ended. The violence seen in
Virginia this weekend must serve as a wake-up call to progressives the
world over

The memoirs of Union general William Tecumseh Sherman make uncomfortable
reading. In among the battle orders and the racist depiction of freed
slaves, he switches occasionally to reminiscences of the post-war era, and
amicable meetings with former Confederate enemies. Over cards and supper,
he accepts their assurance that, if anybody ordered the massacre of all-
black units during the fighting, it wasn’t them.

Sherman opposed the emancipation of the slaves, sabotaged his own troops
efforts to free them and used slave labour on his fortifications. Yet he
did one thing that, in light of the fascist march in Charlottesville, we
can learn from today. He waged total war on his enemies. He ordered his
troops to rip up miles of rail track, torch the farms of slave-owners who
resisted and burn Atlanta. Then he set off for the sea, pledging famously,
that since war was the remedy the south had chosen, “I say let us give
them all they want.”

Nobody, seeing the militias parading with assault rifles and Kevlar this
weekend, wants the US to descend into conflict. But the low-level
political violence and severe cultural dislocations of the US today
contain obvious parallels with the years before the American civil war.

As the historian Allan Nevins observed, by the late 1850s white America
had become “two peoples”, whose radically different cultural identities
could no longer be contained in one polity.

Then, the “two peoples” were shaped by rival economic models: industry and
the free market versus sharecropping and slavery. But the concepts the
Confederates took into battle with them have survived: states’ rights
versus the federal government; white supremacy; the concept of an
ethnically defined nation with a destiny nominated by God.

And they have not survived by accident. The statue of Confederate
commander Robert E Lee, which Charlottesville’s city council voted to
remove, is one of a string of monuments that have become icons of
resistance for the rightwing cultural movement now energised by Donald
Trump’s victory.

Nathan Bedford Forrest, the southern cavalry commander who massacred black
soldiers and went on to found the Ku Klux Klan, is celebrated not only by
an official statue in Memphis, but an unofficial gold one on private land
in Nashville, surrounded by Confederate flags. Forrest was a military
genius whose guerilla tactics are studied in US military academies to this
day. But so was Wehrmacht Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. They were both
fighting for genocide and racial supremacy.


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So with Confederate flags mixed with swastikas on the streets of
Charlottesville, it is not just the US but progressive people across the
world who have to ask a tough question: what are we prepared to do to
defeat the racist right?

They have declared cultural war on us. “This entire community is a very
far-left community,” Jason Kessler, the organiser of the Unite the Right
march, told the media, adding that Charlottesville’s residents had
“absorbed these cultural Marxist principles advocated in college towns
across the country, about blaming white people for everything.”

That is not a cry for help or a petition for reform: it is an expression
of exactly the same kind of cultural hostility to modernity that you find
in the writings of the south’s political leaders. They regarded any demand
for black equality before the law as “Jacobin” – the 19th century
equivalent of Marxism. They, too, saw the elevation of black people to the
status of human beings as the harbinger of their civilisation’s end.

And it is not just a few thousand sad teenagers in pressed polo shirts we
are dealing with. All post-election studies showed Trump’s electoral
coalition was energised by giving millions of people permission to express
their racism and violent misogyny. By electing Trump, his supporters
declared cultural war on liberal, progressive US and told those insisting
“Black Lives Matter” that they did not.

Trump’s radio silence over the killing of Heather Heyer, allegedly by
white supremacist James Alex Fields, is no accident. There are those with
links to the far-right on his own team, including Steve Bannon and
Sebastian Gorka. His entire movement relies on energising racism, not
suppressing it. It was after all New Yorker Carl Paladino who said
Michelle Obama should “return to being a male and let loose in the outback
of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the
gorilla”.

During the final year of the American civil war, Sherman, who was himself
a racist, realised pragmatically that nothing would detach the population
of the south from its attachment to the slave-owning economic model, and
the culture surrounding it, other than its physical destruction.

Today it may seem that there is no physical infrastructure of American
racism left to destroy. But it exists. The operational policing rules that
see a black face in a white neighbourhood as an excuse to stop and search;
the criminalisation of young black men via the justice system. The
existence, all across public life, of unacknowledged segregation. And the
relentless echo chamber of racist attitudes whose pinnacle is Fox News,
but whose depths are the local radio talkshows whose hate speech drifts on
to your radio just as soon as you change frequencies at the city limits.

Every one of the people who showed their faces in the fascist torch march
has the constitutional right to free speech. But they also have websites
hosted by US companies, jobs, phone contracts, bank accounts. There is no
constitutional right to use the infrastructure of corporate US to organise
violence.

Above all, the institution enabling the recrudescence and violent action
of the far right is the Trump presidency itself.

All over the world, liberal, progressive people are confronted by plebeian
movements that want to roll back the social changes of the past 50 years.
The response has been to look for economic grievances that can be
assuaged, or to seek protection via the law and the constitution and – at
a granular level – ignore the mindless venting against migrants, black
people and Muslims by relatives, taxi drivers or the bloke on the bar
stool next to us.

We should have stopped this long ago. Charlottesville is the wake-up call
to progressives everywhere. Whether you are in a university city or a
poverty-stricken multi-ethnic town, Kessler and his allies across the
globe are mobilising to punish your community for its “cultural Marxism”.

If someone is waging a culture war against you, at some point you have to
fight back.


http://bit.do/enU67
Gavin Newsom Buck
2019-11-19 12:10:55 UTC
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On Tuesday, Ed Buck, a prominent Democratic donor and a
“violent, dangerous sexual predator” according to Los Angeles
County prosecutors, was arrested and charged with three counts
of battery causing serious injury, administering
methamphetamine, and maintaining a drug house.

Since 2017, two gay black men — Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean —
have died in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment of overdoses under
suspicious circumstances. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles District
Attorney’s office said that a third man had overdosed on
September 11 in Buck’s home after he received “two dangerously
large” injections of crystal meth. (The man, whose name has not
been released, survived.) “With this new evidence, I authorized
the filing of criminal charges against Ed Buck,” Los Angeles
County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement on
Tuesday. Prosecutors added in court papers:

From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his
victims into participating in his sexual fetishes [which]
include supplying and personally administering dangerously large
doses of narcotics to his victims … Not deterred by the
senseless deaths of Moore and Dean, the defendant nearly killed
a third victim last week.”

Prosecutors also state that Buck attempt to stifle his victim’s
attempts to get help; he eventually made it out of the apartment
on Laurel Avenue and called the authorities from a gas station.
In Buck’s home, police found hundreds of photographs of men in
what the Los Angeles Times calls “compromising positions” — a
detail consistent with allegations in a lawsuit filed by LaTisha
Nixon, the mother of Gemmel Moore, which asserts Buck kept
“revenge porn” in his home.

Moore was the first man to die in Buck’s home, overdosing in
July 2017. A 26-year-old escort, Moore wrote that Buck “gave me
my first injection of chrystal meth.” On Tuesday, prosecutors
accused Buck of preying on Angelenos struggling with
homelessness and addiction — a claim already levied by community
activists. As Amanda Arnold at the Cut noted after the death of
Timothy Dean:

Activists in the area say Buck has a history of preying on young
black man and pressuring them into partaking in dangerous drug
use. Jasmyne Cannick, a progressive Democrat who’s running for
delegate in the 53rd Assembly District and has worked with
Moore’s family, told the Cut in an email, “For two years, I have
worked to bring forth witness after witness who told authorities
about Ed Buck and how he uses the internet to stalk and prey on
young, Black gay men who are usually homeless, HIV-positive and
often work as male escorts.”

In late July 2018, prosecutors declined to file charges against
Buck, citing insufficient evidence. Less than six months later,
55-year-old Timothy Dean was found dead from a methamphetamine
overdose. “Had Buck been arrested and prosecuted in the death of
Gemmel Moore, chances are he would not have been around to
solicit and prey on vulnerable young black gay men,” Cannick
said, responding to Dean’s passing.

Buck will appear in court on Wednesday for his arraignment;
prosecutors are requesting that his bail be set at $4 million.
If convicted for all three charges, he faces over five years in
prison.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/09/democratic-donor-ed-buck-
arrested-after-third-od-at-his-home.html

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