A group of protesters gathered outside the building of Blum Capital [on February 6, 2017], where Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband Richard Bloom’s [sic] office is. The protesters were calling on Feinstein to take more direct action against President Donald Trump.
If you go to the U.S. Holocaust Museum, you can see a sign hanging there that tells you what to look for if you’re worried that your country may be slipping into fascism. Let’s take a look at their twelve early warning signs of fascism.
You can follow the links above, but it shouldn’t be necessary if you’ve been paying any attention. Trump’s message is based on putting America “first,” making America “great again,” and is clearly a powerful form of nationalism that we’re also seeing arise in other countries in Europe and Asia.
Trump’s disdain for human rights is legend, but examples include his desire to kill the relatives of terrorists (something he accomplished this week), his insistence that he’ll do “worse than waterboarding” and his statement in the White House that “torture absolutely works.”
Trump has used Mexican “rapists” and Islamic terrorists as unifying enemies. This tactic is actually perhaps the core of his political strategy.
Trump’s sexism is one of the most transparent and well-established things we know about him.
Just this week, Trump advocated that someone friendly to him buy the New York Times. His chief adviser Steve Bannon comes from the Breitbart media dynamo and has told the media to shut their mouth. So far, Trumpists do not own much of the media, so they seek to marginalize and intimidate them. In any case, Fox News does a pretty good job on their own, and the right owns talk radio.
Trump has already used national security as an excuse to ban Muslims and purge opponents in the Justice Department. The State Department comes next.
As for entwining religion and government, that can be seen in Mike Pence’s entire political career, but it’s also evident in the way that Trump has nakedly tried to make his immigration ban apply more fully to Muslims than to Christians. The Republican Party has had fascist tendencies in this regard that long predate Trump, but Trump has really run with (white) Christian nationalism as a fundamental part of his appeal. He cast himself as the defender of this group.
Trump has appointed the richest cabinet in history and proposes corporate friendly policies to match.
On humanities and arts, The Hillreports that under the current budget blueprint, “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.” Of course, the Trumpistas’ disdain for “bicoastal elites” is almost unlimited, and their contempt for intellectuals and academics is total.
Trump’s obsession with crime and punishment is clear from his revival of Richard Nixon’s “law and order” rhetoric and his constant comparisons of black communities to violent hellholes.
Finally, it’s a little too early to talk about rampant corruption and cronyism, but it’s not too early to point out that Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause to the Constitution by using his position as president to attract foreign patronage to his hotels. His refusal to disclose his taxes or to truly distance himself from his corporations will assure both the perception and the reality of corruption and cronyism. In any case, one of the best established things about Trump is that he is a crooked man who doesn’t honor contracts, engages in fraudulent enterprises, and likes to use his financial clout to bully people in the legal system. This will continue now that he’s president.
So, there you have it. Twelve early signs of fascism, and Trump and his movement have already checked 11 of the boxes and are assured of checking the twelfth.
San Francisco constituents urge Senator Dianne Feinstein to vote no on all upcoming Trump nominees.
A robust speak-out against the Trump agenda and his nominees took place on Sunday, February 5 for ninety minutes and it was the second town hall held at Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s mansion in Pacific Heights.
It’s was inspiring seeing folks hoist the enormous rainbow flag over their heads and holding powerful political posters, and parade down the public step leading to her home where democracy in action took place.
Many thanks to everyone who showed up. You were a co-organizer of the event via your presence and participation, whether you spoke or not.
Special gratitude goes out to Mirka Morales for creating this visual news report on the town hall!
If you are like me, you have shortened your attention span and do a lot of your reading online, clicking and skimming. To be a leader of the Black Panther Party, the reading requirement was 2 hours of reading per day. I’m committing to one hour per day! Here’s a list compiled from some of our Movement luminaries. Feel free to send me titles to add to the next one going out.
We need to understand what’s happening in a deep way while we fight it with all we got.
Stopping Fascism: Understanding What Happened and What to Do About It:
Reading / Film List
“From Dictatorship to Democracy” (Roadmap for how to fight tyrants, demagogues, and dictators) Gene Sharpe
‘The end of protest is not the absence of protest.’ Photograph: Yana Paskova/Getty Images
The marches will remain ineffective as long as we aren’t capable of moving from the streets to governing locally and nationally
The astonishing triumph of Donald Trump can be traced to the bitter defeat of Occupy Wall Street, a pro-democracy movement that transcended left and right, sparking unrest in hundreds of cities and rural towns in 2011. Occupy’s consensus-based encampments demanded that President Obama get money out of politics. Instead, we got mercilessly smashed by his progressive administration. Now the dark irony of history is bashing back.
Trump – an uber-wealthy, partially self-financed candidate who promises to “drain the swamp” – was elected president just one week before the fifth anniversary of Mayor Bloomberg’s eviction of the Zuccotti Park encampment. President-elect Trump, a charismatic strongman with an autocratic temperament, is not what millions of Occupiers were dreaming of when we took to the streets against the monied corruption of our democracy.
Now, as the nation experiences a disturbing rise of hate crimes against the groups singled out by Trump during his campaign, protests descending into riots are rocking our cities. These visceral protests will undoubtedly continue into 2017. Celebrated progressive Kshama Sawant, a socialist councilwoman in Seattle, has already called on people to disrupt Trump’s inauguration in January.
At the same time, despite the excitement of seeing militants marching in the cities, leftist activist networks are buzzing with the painful realization that contemporary protest is broken. The dominant tactic of getting people into the streets, rallying behind a single demand and raising awareness about an injustice simply does not result in the desired social change.
Nominally democratic governments tolerate protest because elected representatives no longer feel compelled to heed protest. The end of protest is not the absence of protest. The end of protest is the proliferation of ineffective protests that are more like a ritualized performance of children than a mature, revolutionary challenge to the status quo.
Activists who rush into the streets tomorrow and repeat yesterday’s tired tactics will not bring an end to Trump nor will they transfer sovereign power to the people. There are only two ways to achieve sovereignty in this world. Activists can win elections or win wars. There is no third option.
Protest can play an important role in winning elections or winning wars but protest alone is insufficient. Just think of the three years many activists spent on Black Lives Matter versus the 18 months it took Trump to sweep into power. It is magical thinking, and a dangerously misguided strategy, for activists to continue to act as if the masses in the streets can attain a sovereignty over their governments through a collective manifestation of the people’s general will. This may have been true in the past, but is not true today.
What is to be done now? American activists must move from detached indignation to revolutionary engagement. They must use the techniques that create social movements to dominate elections.
The path forward is revealed in the rallying cry of the people in the streets: “Not My President!” This protest slogan is eerily similar to the one used by Spain’s 15-M Movement of indignados who set up anti-establishment general assemblies in May of 2011 and chanted “No Nos Representan!” (“You Don’t Represent Us!”) during their election. Their assemblies inspired the birth of Occupy. But when the refusal of the indignados to participate in the election resulted in a shocking victory for Spain’s right wing, the movement’s activists and supporters quickly internalized an important lesson that Americans must now embrace.
Realizing that new forms of social protest are better equipped to win elections than disrupt elections, many of the indignados transformed themselves into Podemos, a hybrid movement-party that is now winning elections and taking power. A similar story can be told of the Pirate party in Iceland, or the 5 Star Movement in Italy or the pan-European Diem25. Focus on the form, not the content, of these hybrid movement-parties: their organizing style is the future of global protest.
Concretely speaking, activists must reorient all efforts around capturing sovereignty. That means looking for places where sovereignty is lightly held and rarely contested, like rural communities. Or targeting sovereign positions of power that are not typically seen as powerful, such as soil and water district boards or port commissions. Protests will remain ineffective as long as there is no movement-party capable of governing locally and nationally.
This is a struggle for sovereignty. The endgame is a populist movement-party that wins elections in multiple countries in order to carry out a unified agenda worldwide. The spark for this electoral movement is bound to emerge from an unexpected place.
It could start from a women-led backlash against the pack of patriarchsgoverning the globe: Putin in Russia, Erdoğan in Turkey, Duterte in the Philippines, Xi in China and now Trump in America. Or maybe activists will start moving into neglected rural cities – low-population areas of America – and prepare to sweep city council elections. That is the strategy I’m pursuing in Nehalem, Oregon, where I recently ran for mayor. In any case, avoid falling for the exhausting delusion of endless urban protest or the nihilistic fantasy of winning an insurrectionary war.
The difficult path of merging innovative protest, social movements and electoral parties is the only viable way forward. And with only two years until the next election in America, there is no time to waste.
His upcoming action tonight demands an immediate response from us. Most of the country lives near a city with a federal courthouse (US District Court) or federal office building. Find the federal courthouse near you here. (Image: Common Dreams / CC BY 3.0)
The following message was posted to Michael Moore’s Facebook page Tuesday morning:
Another Dark Day Is Upon Us.
There’s no way to put a good face on what will happen tonight at 8pm when Donald J. Trump begins his attempted takeover/coup of our United States Supreme Court. Tonight he will announce his first choice to fill the seat the Republicans have refused to let President Obama fill for the past year.
And there’s more bad news on the horizon. Justice Anthony Kennedy has indicated he will retire this year. And many are worried about Justice Ginsberg’s health. Thus Trump may have a chance to fill THREE seats on the court. This will damage the country for the rest of (many) of our lives.
His upcoming action tonight demands an immediate response from us. Most of the country lives near a city with a federal courthouse (US District Court) or federal office building.
We need to go in large numbers to our local federal site at 7pm ET tonight to protest his pick whom he’s promised will make abortion illegal. Call your local media to let them know you’re going to be there. Take pix and video and post them on social media. We must be loud and present on this most important issue on this most important night. I’ll keep you posted here throughout the day…
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
A note from SF: We are asking that people who have been expecting or are expecting visitors to arrive at SFO from one of the seven countries in yesterday’s executive order – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen – and have not heard from their visitors or have heard that their visitors have been detained or denied entry to please contact the ACLU of Northern California and leave a message at 415-621-2488. We will be checking this voicemail regularly throughout the weekend. Please leave a message slowly and clearly with contact information for the caller as well as the following information about the visitors if possible: id, country of citizenship, form of visa or entry authorization, date and time of arrival, flight number and airline. We stand ready to challenge detentions and denials of entry where possible to do so.
“We are suffering just now from a bad attack of economic pessimism. It is common to hear people say that the epoch of enormous economic progress which characterized the 19th century is over; that the rapid improvement in the standard of life is now going to slow down — at any rate in Great Britain; that a decline in prosperity is more likely than an improvement in the decade which lies ahead of us.
I believe that this is a wildly mistaken interpretation of what is happening to us. We are suffering, not from the rheumatics of old age, but from the growing-pains of over-rapid changes, from the painfulness of readjustment between one economic period and another…”
–John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren (1930)
I spent a good chunk of the holiday break in a cabin with a spectacular view of a bay just off the Pacific Ocean outside the tiny town of Inverness north of San Francisco. It reminds me of the view from the cabin I grew up with in the American heartland, outside the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Looking out over the natural beauty of this amazing country of ours helped me think through the tumultuous past year with a big-picture, more timeless perspective. It helped me get clear about what lies ahead.
The Brexit vote in England and then the election of Donald Trump, those two unexpected but consequential convulsions, are going to bring some big changes, many to be feared, but others to be welcomed. To my mind, both were driven by fear of the future and “a wildly mistaken interpretation of what is happening to us.” Both are going to make for some near-term chaos, but in the end I actually think they are going to accelerate changes that finally need to come.
I did not see Trump coming. I was one of those who could not believe that the America I knew, a country of decent, common-sense people, could elect a person like him. I was despondent on election night and disoriented for weeks. I’ve spent the last couple months listening, reading, thinking, and staying open to what is really happening, and what now needs to be done. On the eve of his inauguration, here’s my positive reframe of what I think is really going on:
Trump Begins The End
Trump is a symptom of something much bigger and more fundamental going on in the world. So are the people behind Brexit in Great Britain. They are not driving the change, they are reacting to the change. They are not showing the way forward, they are making desperate attempts to cling to the past, a past that is gone forever.
The world is in the relatively early stages of an almost inevitable transition to what can be best understood as a new 21st-century civilization. Relatively early — meaning roughly one-third of the way through. And almost inevitable — meaning it can be derailed if we make some catastrophic political choices.
There are three fundamentally different characteristics of this civilization: One, it will be run totally on digital technologies, smarter and smarter, more and more interconnected computers. Two, it will be totally global and operate on a planetary scale. And three, it will have to be sustainable, in its energy usage and its impact on the planet.
All three of these shifts are well underway and can be tracked and explained by pointing to investments, the morphing of the advanced economy, the positioning of leading companies, and just following what innovative people are doing. In many ways, these developments are happening despite what governments do. Governments can make things better, and accelerate changes, or slow down changes, but they can’t stop them at this macro level.
That said, politics can really screw things up. Changes of this magnitude can be very scary. New digital technologies allow totally new ways to do almost everything so they are very disruptive to old industries. The newest developments arriving just now are especially scary — self-driving cars, advanced robots, artificial intelligence. The globalization of everything is unleashing floods of cheap goods as well as waves of migrants.
It’s easy for politicians to whip up public fears against these changes and rally people to go back to the old ways, to make America great again. This is the standard playbook for right-wing nationalism. In the 1930s, when Keynes wrote the prescient passage above, that era’s right wing took those fears and drove a good chunk of the world into fascism and a world war. Today Trump is heading down that path — but he won’t get far.
I think Trump ultimately is going to do America and the world a service by becoming the vehicle that will finally take down right-wing conservative politics for a generation or two. He is getting the entire Republican conservative establishment to buy into his regime. He is creating an administration that is blatantly all about rule by — and for — billionaires, sold out to the oil and carbon industries, and celebrating an out-of-control corporate capitalism. It will be a caricature of conservative policies. In short order he will completely and irrevocably alienate all the growing political constituencies of the 21st century: the Millennial Generation, people of color, educated professionals, women. He’ll eventually do the same for a significant number of more moderate Republicans. And does anyone out there really think Trump will do anything for the white working class that got him elected? Watch as repealing Obamacare blows up in his face.
I think the backlash will be fast and furious. And it won’t just be Trump that goes down — it will be large swaths of conservative Republicans who will be almost helpless to stop Trump or distance themselves from him. They will pay the price for creating the conditions that created him. I think the next 4 to 8 years are going to see a serious sea change in politics — to the left, not the right. The analogy is closer to what happened to the conservative Republicans coming out of the 1930s — they were out of power for the next 50 years.
A Hillary Clinton win would not have brought about that kind of political transformation. She would have ground out some progress through trench warfare and built somewhat on Obama’s legacy— but the Republicans would have locked her down worse than they did with Obama. Hillary would not have been able to finally bring down the conservative movement and its archaic ideology. The conservatives arguably brought a healthy revitalization to Western politics in the Reagan/Thatcher era. But that vitality is long gone and the movement has been running on the same old out-moded ideas for decades now. The world needs to move on.
Hillary would not have been the transformational leader that America needs right now either. We need leadership to help take the world to the next level, making the full transition to digital technologies, reshaping capitalism to rebalance massive inequalities, and making big progress on climate change.
California is the Future
Where do we look for that leadership? Without outsiders taking much notice, California has gone through that political transformation, as usual, early. We were trapped in the polarized politics that paralyzed government in the 1990s and 2000s. We had the high numbers of immigrants who were scapegoated. We had a frustrated electorate elect a Hollywood celebrity with no government experience with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Been there, done that.
Today California is totally run by a new generation of progressive Democrats. Every single state-wide office. Super majorities in both Houses. There are no conservative Republican elected officials to speak of in California right now. The conservative ideology, those policies, are dead.
I’ve long been thumping the idea that California is the future. The San Francisco Bay Area is obviously ground zero for Silicon Valley and tech. It’s about as good a melting pot of global influences as anywhere on the planet. And it’s on the front lip of clean energy and sustainability. So that would be a good place to look for how those three massive 21st-century shifts will play out.
In other words, to use the Keynes framework that started this piece, California is already living in the next economic period — and it’s booming. The next economy is working here — and working for the vast majority. Even the white working class is on board. Trump lost to Hillary in California by 4 million votes.
Now add to that a state and local political environment where progressives have no meaningful opposition and an open field ahead of them. I think we’re going to see an explosion of innovation that roughs out a new way forward for the center-left in America and even has implications for Europe and the world.
My company Reinvent is really fortunate to be in the middle of that swirl of possibilities. We bring together top innovators in deep conversations about how to solve complex challenges — and then make media about the ideas to emerge. We partner with forward-thinking organizations who want to generate new ideas and drive more innovation in a field. We also host What’s Now: San Francisco that each month focuses on the latest developments in one of the many fields exploding in innovation across the region.
Look for innovation to now move into hyper-drive in the realms of government and politics throughout California — and particularly in the San Franicsco Bay Area. I know our company is working on ways to catalyze these kinds of conversations and do our part to reinvent political grand strategy along the lines of what I’ve been laying out here. But there are already many efforts popping up to move this next-generation politics forward.
The Real Beginning is Still Obama
Now it’s possible that this whole analysis I have laid out is wrong. After all, I predicted that Hillary was going to win this last election. (Though who didn’t?) But it’s certainly worth seriously considering a scenario like this. Republicans clapping at Trump’s Inauguration should be very careful about what they wish for. Democrats wringing their hands in anguish should pause too.
Stay open to counter-intuitive, out-of-the-box interpretations. Too few of us did last year. Be ready to make hard choices when unexpected new options open up quickly. We all may be faced with them soon. Brace for the big changes to come. They’re coming.
Most of all, for those who supported President Obama, stay hopeful. I truly believe that the politics and policies that President Obama helped usher in will prevail in the end. In the big-picture view of history, the brief Trump reign will be seen as a difficult but necessary step in the massive transition between one economic period to another.
Obama’s decade of work will be seen, in the decades to come, as the truly enduring foundation. He laid the groundwork for what will certainly become the all-digital, fully global, sustainable civilization of the 21st century.
Join us for NewCo Shift Forum, taking place Feb. 6–9 in San Francisco. We are bringing 400 of the best minds in business, technology, and government together for two days of focused, action-oriented dialog.
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Mail Bag Episode Announcing: our very first mailbag episode of the Medicare for All podcast! Live this Monday at 11AM ET on Facebook, Twitter, & Youtube. Submit your most pressing questions about organizing, politics, policy, or something completely off the radar that would be fun and entertaining to talk about on air: SUBMIT A QUESTION Joining us for our inaugural mailbag is Rose Roach, Executive Director of the Minnesota Nurses. Together, we’ll answer the questions we love and also the questions we hate! Get your question about the Medicare for All movement into the mailbag and then tune in on Monday at 11AM ET to watch us… Continue reading →
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Join us on Monday, May 17th as we talk with Representative Chuy Garcia, talk about our organizing in West Virginia and Arizona, and highlight some progressive candidates running for local offices! RSVP NOW
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Join us Thursday for another engaging conversation on our national organizing call at 6PM EST. We’ll be discussing the Supreme court and Birddog strategies with Center for Popular Democracy’s very own Julia Peters from CPD’s Innovation Team! We’ll also be discussing Medicare-for-all and Senate filibuster updates happening in our progressive fight. Hope to see you all Thursday at 6PM. Register here to join! Thank you, Innovations, Center for Popular Democracy CPD Action 449 Troutman Street, Suite A Brooklyn, NY 11237 United States