“Nitchevo, nitchevo”

Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor in Germany 89 years ago today, on January 30, 1933. On this occasion, we publish a text written by the painter and left-wing activist Diego Rivera. Rivera makes recollections of his visit to Berlin prior to Hitler’s rise to power. They are very valuable in exposing the inadequacy and sort-sightedness of the leaderships of the communist parties at the time…

While the fascists were gaining influence and were posing a deadly threat to the workers’ movement, the leadership of the German and the other Communist Parties, by now under the complete control of the Stalinist bureaucracy, were acting in the most outrageous way. They were denying the creation of a united antifascist front with other forces in the workers’ movement, they were considering the social-democrats to be a bigger threat than Hitler and they were convinced that after the Nazis it was their turn to come to power…

Today, the balance of forces is of course very different than in the ‘30’s. But still, we see the same political mistakes being made by sections of the Left internationally, who either underestimate the danger by the far-right and the fascists, or betray the working class and thus feed into their propaganda.

Either way, we need to take on board the lessons from the past in order not to repeat them in the future. We should strive to create united, broad, antifascist fronts to push back the neo-fascists. And link this fight with the struggle to overthrow capitalism, the system that breeds inequality, racist divisions, crises and suffering. No passaran!

“Diego Rivera’s memoir of Hitler: a stunning insight on the rise of fascism”…This was in 1960. It would be another 2 years before my own “awakening” and Leftward move. And, fortunately, at least in the mainstream of activism in the United States, even in the face of McCarthyism and “loyal” American defenders of racism, memories of Hitler’s fascism was strong enough to overcome what we called “parlor pinkos” who didn’t consider fascism a threat, an evil returned to haunt our nation, our lives. All power to the people!

The 2nd American Civil War is beginning


Hannah Beier/Reuters

The US supreme court’s upcoming decision to reverse Roe v Wade (an early draft of which was leaked last week) doesn’t ban abortions; it leaves the issue to the states. As a result, it will put another large brick in the growing wall separating blue and red America.

The second American civil war is already occurring, but it is less of a war than a kind of benign separation analogous to unhappily married people who don’t want to go through the trauma of a formal divorce.

One America is largely urban, racially and ethnically diverse, and young. The other is largely rural or exurban, white and older…

Surveys show Americans find it increasingly important to live around people who share their political values. Animosity toward those in the opposing party is higher than at any time in living memory. Forty-two per cent of registered voters believe Americans in the other party are “downright evil”.

Increasingly, each America is running under different laws…

“States rights” was always a cover for segregation and harsh discrimination. The poor – both white and people of color – are already especially burdened by anti-abortion legislation because they can’t afford travel to a blue state to get an abortion.

They’re also hurt by the failure of red states to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act; by red state de facto segregation in public schools; and by red state measures to suppress votes.

“What is to be done?” is the question waiting for an answer. Not for the first time in any nation; not even the first time in this one. But, a non-violent solution is to be preferred. That doesn’t include “States’ Rights”.

Republicans decide Nazis had the best idea when they came up with burning books

The Republican-led Tennessee state House passed a bill Wednesday that would require public school librarians to submit to the state a list of book titles for approval, as a GOP lawmaker suggested burning books that are deemed inappropriate.

During a contentious debate on the bill in the House, state Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D) asked state Rep. Jerry Sexton (R) what he would do with the books that he and the state consider inappropriate for libraries.

“You going to put them in the street? Light them on fire? Where are they going?” Clemmons asked.

“I don’t have a clue, but I would burn them,” Sexton replied.

“That’s what I thought,” Clemmons said…

Book burning is emblematic of authoritarian regimes, and it was notably carried out in Nazi Germany. One of the most prominent examples in history occurred May 10, 1933, when students in German universities set fire to more than 25,000 books that were deemed “un-German,” according to the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The action came after some 40,000 people gathered to hear Joseph Goebbels, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, deliver an address declaring “No to decadence and moral corruption,” according to the museum.

Under the Tennessee House bill, librarians would be required to submit to a state-run commission a list of book titles in their collections for approval. The Tennessee state Senate approved a different version of the bill. After differences between the two are resolved, it will head to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) to be signed into law.

This new formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party will now literally carry their torch forward to advance racism, discrimination on gender, politics and sexual identity. All the bigotry historically favored by the Nazi Party…is now embraced as the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

“They are preparing for war”

An expert on civil wars discusses where political extremists want to take this country

So we actually know a lot about civil wars — how they start, how long they last, why they’re so hard to resolve, how you end them. And we know a lot because since 1946, there have been over 200 major armed conflicts. And for the last 30 years, people have been collecting a lot of data, analyzing the data, looking at patterns. I’ve been one of those people.

We went from thinking, even as late as the 1980s, that every one of these was unique…Then methods and computers got better, and people like me came and could collect data and analyze it. And what we saw is that there are lots of patterns at the macro level…

In 1994, the U.S. government put together this Political Instability Task Force. They were interested in trying to predict what countries around the world were going to become unstable, potentially fall apart, experience political violence and civil war…

Originally the model included over 30 different factors, like poverty, income inequality, how diverse religiously or ethnically a country was. But only two factors came out again and again as highly predictive. And it wasn’t what people were expecting, even on the task force. We were surprised. The first was this variable called anocracy. There’s this nonprofit based in Virginia called the Center for Systemic Peace. And every year it measures all sorts of things related to the quality of the governments around the world. How autocratic or how democratic a country is. And it has this scale that goes from negative 10 to positive 10. Negative 10 is the most authoritarian, so think about North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain. Positive 10 are the most democratic. This, of course, is where you want to be. This would be Denmark, Switzerland, Canada. The U.S. was a positive 10 for many, many years. It’s no longer a positive 10. And then it has this middle zone between positive 5 and negative 5, which was you had features of both. If you’re a positive 5, you have more democratic features, but definitely have a few authoritarian elements. And, of course, if you’re negative 5, you have more authoritarian features and a few democratic elements. The U.S. was briefly downgraded to a 5 and is now an 8.

And what scholars found was that this anocracy variable was really predictive of a risk for civil war. That full democracies almost never have civil wars. Full autocracies rarely have civil wars. All of the instability and violence is happening in this middle zone…

And then the second factor was whether populations in these partial democracies began to organize politically, not around ideology — so, not based on whether you’re a communist or not a communist, or you’re a liberal or a conservative — but where the parties themselves were based almost exclusively around identity: ethnic, religious or racial identity.

Sounds like home to me. The country I grew up in has changed in so many ways. I reflect on that, sometimes. Not actually better excepting a piece of civil rights.

No fears strong enough enough to label “concrete”. Not many ideas on how to “fix things”. This article seems to be a sound starting point.

100 years ago, Mississippi’s Senate voted to send all the state’s Black people to Africa

One hundred years ago, the Mississippi state Senate voted to evict the state’s Black residents — the majority of its total population — not just out of Mississippi, but out of the country.

The Senate voted 25 to 9 on Feb. 20, 1922, to ask the federal government to trade some of the World War I debts owed by European countries for a piece of colonial Africa — any part would do — where the government would then ship Mississippi’s Black residents, creating “a final home for the American negro.”

The act is a reminder of just how long after the end of slavery some White Southerners were pushing not just to strip African Americans of their political rights but also to remove them from the land of their birth

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 21 was written by Sen. Torrey George McCallum, a former mayor of Laurel in Jones County. The county has achieved some measure of Hollywood fame as the “Free State of Jones,” a pocket of Unionist sentiment during the Civil War, but the McCallums were deeply engaged in the institution of slavery. Torrey’s grandfather Archibald enslaved 51 people on his plantation in 1860 and had a net worth of $80,000, about $2.5 million today…

His resolution argued in flowery language that “the spirit of race consciousness” had grown with a postwar increase in nationalistic feelings worldwide and that it was “our most earnest desire to reach a just, fair, amicable, and final settlement” to what some White people then called “the Negro question.”

I can’t know exactly how such a vote would total out, nowadays. Been a few decades since I’ve been in Mississippi; but, this crap still would have passed, then. I think it would pass, now. And this kind of racism isn’t limited to one state, just one piece of our nation’s history.

White Christian Worldview ain’t an anchor – it’s just a dead weight!

From an article by Robert P.Jones

As I came of age in Woodville Heights Baptist Church, on the white working-class side of Jackson, Miss., I internalized a cycle of sin, confession and repentance as a daily part of my life. Though I wasn’t aware of it at the time, this was a double inheritance. Beneath this seemingly icy surface of guilt and culpability flowed a deeper current of innocence and entitlement. Individually, I was a sinner, but collectively, I was part of a special tribe. Whatever our humble social stations might be, we white Christians were God’s chosen instruments of spreading salvation and civilization to the world.

The power and sheer cultural dominance of white Christianity in America historically bound these contradictory sensibilities together. But today we are witnessing the unmaking of this white Christian worldview, and it has unleashed remarkably destructive forces into American life.

Understanding this dissolution is the key to deciphering one of the most vexing puzzles in our politics: how a purportedly sober Christian worldview has become a volatile cocktail of fealty to Donald Trump, wild-eyed rants about vaccines, faith in QAnon conspiracies and hysteria over critical race theory.

Recent surveys by PRRI, an organization I lead, reveal disturbing realities among white evangelical Protestants today: 61% believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. And the idea of patriotism has taken a troubling turn: 68% believe Trump is a “true patriot,” and one in three believe that “because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.” More than seven in ten deny that the history of slavery and discrimination in the U.S. has any bearing on economic inequalities between white and Black Americans today. White evangelicals are the religious group most likely to refuse COVID-19 vaccines and object to mask mandates. One in four are QAnon conspiracy believers.

RTFA. Please. I try hard as I can to differentiate between ignorance and stupidity. Especially among religious folk who embrace both with open arms, open mouths, forever open wallets…and closed minds.