Anti-dote for Trump Bigotry: Resist, Resist, Resist

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Resistance is the word. Photo: Hakim Mutlaq

[Commentary: Truth to Power]

Recently, activists affiliated with Greenpeace, unfurled a giant banner on a crane overlooking the White House which in big bold letters read: resist—and that word must become our marching mantra to obstruct the Trump reactionary agenda. It is indeed clear that in the next four years we will need to maintain massive mobilization in our marches and protests—like we’re seeing in response to this bigoted Muslim travel ban, and during the recent historic women’s march.

Americans, of honesty and conscience, must continue to resist Donald Trump and his amoral big-money band of thieves, con-men, and assorted scoundrels who are all positioning themselves to rob this country blind. Since Trump’s victory much has been said, by political press pundits, about the lip-service he has given to the topic of economic insecurity along with the increased anxiety of regular White-Americans.

This issue is surely on the minds of many Americans—both, Black and White. But Trump’s fear-mongering use of racism and bigotry to stoke those fears has been minimized, as a topic of deeper discussion. Is Trump’s current Muslim ban—reportedly, authored by Steve Bannon and Senator Jeff Sessions— anything more than a wink and a nod to the “alt-right” and assorted bigots who voted for Trump that he will champion their xenophobic worldview in the White House The scapegoating religious prejudice embodied in the Muslim ban is similar to the tactics politicians have historically used to divide the White working-class from unifying with African-Americans, a strategy that allows politicians—and their elite bankrollers—from ever addressing the real problem.

Donald Trump has succeeded in swindling, largely with insinuation, many White-Americans into believing that his building of a “wall” will somehow keep “illegals” from getting certain jobs that are not available to the average White-American. Somehow, it’s the fault of Mexicans that corporate America has sold-out the country’s working-class.

What about the fact that Trump's own signature clothing-line are produced in sweatshops outside the country? Time and again, political tricksters—the bought and paid for puppets of greedy corporate entities—are able to shift the blame for the economic conditions in the nation to already marginalized minorities. Unfortunately, there are still many White Americans who think economic injustice in this country can be solved separately, without seriously tackling the racism and prejudice that has been used to cement America’s economic inequalities into the everyday regular reality.

Establishment press punditry has made the case that Democrats lost last November because they ignored the White working-class. Trump’s mischievously malicious use of bigotry gets overshadowed in this debate—because many White-Americans are still uncomfortable with dealing honestly about American racism. Here the insights of Hubert Harrison, “the Father of Harlem Radicalism” sheds light on this problem. Harrison reminds us that “Race prejudice is not innate. But it is diligently fostered by those who have something to gain by it.”

Trump indeed talked about the “rigged system” and conned many Americans, who fail to see that as the son of a rich man he is intimately aware of how the political game in Congress is played. Families like his are the ones who have been rigging the system for their personal gain. America’s economics have always been rigged—and racism has been used from the early days of this republic to divide the White working-class from their similar economic interests with Black people.

On this, Harrison said it is in “the interests of the capitalists of America to preserve the inferior economic status of the colored race, because they can use it as a club for the other workers. Besides, the lower the lowest wage level, the lower the average wage. They are interested in keeping the average wage as low as possible so they pit the workers, White against Black…To this end they must divide the workers, and they find race prejudice a very useful tool to do this with.”

For centuries, America’s economic elites have exploited both White and Black working-class people by giving a little more of the spoils of America to the White working-class. Here again, Harrison’s words are instructive: “If White working people in the South can be made to hate Black working people the result will be that the economic interests of the White workers will be advanced at the cost of the Black man’s economic interests.”

There’s no doubt this misguided and also manufactured hatred for Blacks that Harrison talked about is still alive and well—especially, when we see “law enforcement” police killing and murdering Black people, routinely, with no major outcry from the political class in this country. Latinos and Muslims are now also factored into the mix of those that White-Americans are told they should fear because of their shrinking paychecks. Many working-class White-Americans have been made to believe Mexicans are taking jobs away from them. Isn’t this why so many actually believe silly talk about "building a wall" at an estimated cost of $10 billion?

Why is very little said about those rich companies and persons—like Governor Mitt Romney, and reportedly Trump himself—who hire these so-called “illegals” to work at their businesses and in their homes? During a 2011 Republican debate, after being questioned by Texas Governor Rick Perry about his employment of undocumented workers, Mr. Romney blamed it on the landscaping company he hired saying “we went to the company and we said: 'Look you can’t have any illegals working on our property. I’m running for office for Pete’s sake."

This explanation, and Romney’s curious choice of words, suggests he was only worried about how this revelation could hurt his presidential political aspirations. We often hear a lot of bloviated trite talk about America being a “nation of laws.” So, why aren’t these upstanding politicians calling for the arrest and prosecution of those rich individuals who hire undocumented immigrants to work in their companies and homes? Why aren’t corporations being investigated and fined?

Republicans like the issue of immigration—because they know they can count on it to rile up their base. But they really aren’t interested in fixing the immigration situation—because it is beneficial to their business benefactors and to themselves. Undocumented labor is something corporate America loves—so, therefore, their Republican lackeys like it too.

Now while some White Americans may well agree with the assessment that Democrats lost the election because they forgot to address the needs of the White working-class—especially, since Democrats are only marginally better in alleviating the economic problems of regular Americans—this notion has several flaws. First of all, there is a racist insinuation here that Democrats have done more for Black Americans and those non-White “others” than for White Americans.

Where is the statistical evidence for this? Black unemployment has been about double that of the White population for over 50 year. In some categories for young Black males --depending on age range-- it's over 40%. Have the Republicans been better in delivering living-wage jobs to Americans with decent benefits and pensions than Democrats? The awful truth is: both of America’s two main political parties are handcuffed by the billionaire bankers and corporate crooks who control American politics with the corrupting influence of the cash they spread around Capitol Hill.

This is why the campaign financing issue is such a critical one—and why most politicians in Congress avoid it. White-Americans who have been deceived as a result of economic hardship must come to grips about where the destruction comes from-- the greedy corporations and companies who don't invest in jobs are always trying to increase their profits at the expense of the workers—all workers, whether Black or White.

This is time to reject divisions and to resist, resist, resist.

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