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USA: Against Trump

Thursday 5 November 2020, by siawi3

Source: https://www.thecanary.co/opinion/2020/11/04/donald-trumpss-flirtation-with-white-supremacist-militias-is-a-tried-and-tested-fascist-tactic/

Donald Trumps’s flirtation with white supremacist militias is a tried and tested fascist tactic

Photo: Far-right Oath Keepers patrol Emancipation Park at the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” Rally in 2017

Tom Anderson

4th November 2020

Donald Trump and his cronies have been increasingly cosying up to white supremacist militias since the beginning of his presidential election campaign.

Earlier this year, Trump’s son refused to condemn the actions of self-described militia member Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot dead two people at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse was a Trump supporter.

When asked about Rittenhouse in an interview, Trump Jr remarked: “We all do stupid things at 17”.

During his first presidential election debate, Trump was asked whether he condemned white supremacists, but he didn’t. Instead Trump called on known hate group the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” because “someone’s got to do something about Antifa”.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre says of the Proud Boys:

Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. Proud Boys have appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

Two Proud Boys were jailed last year for attacking anti-racist activists.

Since then, the Proud Boys have attended or provided security for at least two Republican supporting rallies. One was for Donald Trump Jr, and another was attended by Republican member of congress Matt Gaetz.

Last week, Democrats in Alaska and Florida received emails which claimed to be from the Proud Boys, telling them to vote for Trump “or else!” and saying that if they voted for another candidate, “we will come after you”. The Proud Boys and the FBI say that the email was a hoax, and that it came from Iran.

Several militia groups pledged to show up to polling booths, promising to bring their guns with them. There is at least two reports so far of a Trump supporter showing up armed to a polling station. One witness tweeted:

Police in North Carolina arrested another armed man, Justin Dunn. He was only arrested after he had remained at the polling station for some time however, and had returned after being banned from the site. Dunn, a former republican candidate for the House of Representatives, was wearing a pro-Trump hat. He was arrested for a trespass offence, but not voter intimidation.

This report from US anarchist new site It’s Going Down gives a run down of the right-wing violence over the last 48 hours, including armed intimidation of a Biden campaign bus, and a group of Trump supporters jeering at African-American voters in Texas. Graves at a Jewish cemetery in Michigan were defaced with the initials TRUMP.

Trump has been encouraging his supporters on Twitter to volunteer at the booths in an ‘Army for Trump’. This has seemingly given a green light to those on the right who want to create an intimidating presence at the booths.

A tried and tested fascist tactic

This morning, when I was thinking about all this, I couldn’t help being reminded of polling booths I attended thousands of miles away from the US in November 2015. The booths were surrounded by military hardware, with heavy artillery pointing at them. Inside and outside many of the polling stations were uniformed and armed militia members.

It was the Turkish parliamentary election, and the booths were in Turkey’s majority Kurdish Southeast. The militia members were from the state supported ‘Village Guards’. I was part of a delegation of internationalists who had answered a call from Turkey’s People’s Democratic Party (HDP) to act as observers and witnesses. And we heard how local communities were facing a campaign of intimidation to keep them from voting.

I am not, of course, comparing the HDP to the US Democratic Party. The HDP is not only anti-capitalist, but is part of a movement which critiques the concept of the state itself, and which intends to move beyond it. The Democrats, in contrast, are committed to the continued existence of both the state and capitalism, and Joe Biden even voted for the 2003 US attack on Iraq.

But the tactics of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and Trump in cosying up to armed right wing militias are strikingly similar.

In the run up to that 2015 election in Turkey, the left had been the target of murders and bomb attacks linked to a variety of right-wing and Islamic groups, resulting in an atmosphere where mobilisation against the president was very difficult. Many of the groups who carried out those attacks have received support from the Turkish state in one way or another. The result was very favourable to Erdo?an.

The Turkish state consistently uses national and international armed groups to its benefit. For example, in the run up to Turkey’s invasion of Afrin in 2018, at a time when the president urgently needed to dominate and oppress the left, Erdo?an made a hand gesture associated with the Grey Wolves, a neo-fascist organisation associated with massacres inside Turkey.

On Monday 2 November this year, amidst Turkish support for the Azerbaijani attacks on Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Grey Wolves defaced a French memorial to the genocide of Armenians, a genocide that Erdo?an denies happened. The graffiti on the memorial included Erdo?an’s initials.
A tactic used by states worldwide

The comparison doesn’t have to end there. One could easily point to the Israeli state’s use of the armed Israeli settler movement for its own benefit. Or the close collusion which has existed between the British state and Northern Ireland’s armed Loyalists.

Escalating militia violence in the US

The story has been similar in the US this year, with white supremacist militias implicated in escalating acts of violence. According to It’s Going Down there has been:

a string of arrests of far-Right, militia, and neo-Nazi groups plotting various acts of murder and violence. While news of the plot by Michigan militia members has made major news, less known is the Proud Boy in North Dakota who threatened to blow up a polling station, a police officer in Phoenix, AZ who threatened to murder the local Democratic Major, and the GOP activist who conspired with militias to kidnap the Governor of Ohio. Meanwhile far-Right militia groups like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percents have publicly stated they will organize armed demonstrations at the polls; engaging in violence if necessary.

Unsurprisingly however, the State isn’t interested in the actual threat of far-Right violence. Instead, it’s focused on putting down protests that may arise if Trump attempts to steal the election.

What’s in it for Trump?

So, what’s in it for Trump? I guess what’s in it for him is the same as when other politicians have flirted with the violence of paramilitary groups. He gets to outsource the violence of the state by egging on a bunch of gun-toting racists, while all the time maintaining the plausible deniability of never quite being directly associated with their most extreme actions. He is also clearly increasingly playing to, and building a base within, the extreme right.

The ongoing courtship between Trump and white supremacist militias is a chilling reminder of the depth of the US’s growing right-wing violence. We need to stand in solidarity with those who rebelled across the US this year after the death of George Floyd, and who bore the brunt of the violent reaction by both the state and the militias. Whatever happens over the coming days, they are going to need our comradeship.

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Source: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/11/04/every-vote-must-be-counted-democracy-defenders-face-against-trump-lies-about?cd-origin=rss&utm_term=AO&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Email

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

’Every Vote Must Be Counted’: Democracy Defenders Face Off Against Trump Lies About Election Results

“Politicians do not get to decide whose votes will count and whose votes won’t count. We choose our politicians, they do not choose us.”

by Jake Johnson,
staff writer

A member of the “Democrats Abroad” organization holds a placard during a demonstration in front of the Brandenburg Gate, near the U.S. embassy in Berlin on November 4, 2020. (Photo: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images)

As President Donald Trump doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down on his baseless claim of widespread voter fraud as results from Tuesday’s election continued to slowly roll in Wednesday, watchdog organizations and rights groups made clear they are undeterred by the president’s dangerous rhetoric and committed to doing everything in their power to ensure that all legally cast ballots are counted.

“In our democracy every vote counts and every vote must be counted,” Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn said in a statement Wednesday as the outcome of several key battleground states remained uncertain. “The will of the people is reflected in how we cast our ballots. Politicians do not get to decide whose votes will count and whose votes won’t count. We choose our politicians, they do not choose us.”

“The world is watching. We won’t back down until every voice is heard and every vote is counted.”
—Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA

As of this writing, Democratic candidate Joe Biden has pulled slightly ahead of Trump in Michigan and Wisconsin as officials continue to tally absentee ballots. In Pennsylvania and Georgia—both of which the president is leading with many votes left to count—officials in charge of the states’ respective elections said that the counting of votes was continuing in an orderly and steady process.

Kathy Boockvar, secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said during a press conference Wednesday morning that election officials have been working “around the clock” to ensure ballots are counted in a timely and accurate fashion. The process, according to Boockvar, has thus far been “incredibly smooth.”

“Every vote will be counted,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, assured the public.

The officials’ assessment of the evolving situation on the ground in their states came as Trump fired off several tweets from the White House baselessly alleging a Democratic conspiracy to push Biden over the top in the crucial battlegrounds likely to decide the election. According to the New York Times, Biden currently holds a 227-213 advantage in the Electoral College and a 2.8 million vote lead in the popular vote.

“They are finding Biden votes all over the place—in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan,” the president wrote. “So bad for our Country!”

In the face of Trump’s predicted and ongoing efforts to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the election results, Public Citizen president Robert Weissman urged patience and continued vigilance as votes are tabulated in the hours and days ahead.

“In a democracy, every vote counts and every vote must be counted,” Weissman wrote to supporters. “That’s the message we all must hammer home until, in fact, every vote is counted.”

Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA, delivered a similar message in a statement Wednesday morning, saying that it is “more important than ever that we listen to the record number of voters who turned out demanding action.”

“We knew going in that certifying the results would take longer because more people voted absentee more than ever before due to the pandemic,” said Leonard. “The basis of American democracy is that we pick our leaders. Any politicians can say whatever they want, but it’s the will of the voters that decide. The world is watching. We won’t back down until every voice is heard and every vote is counted.”

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Source: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/11/04/biden-campaign-condemns-trump-false-victory-claim-naked-effort-take-away-democratic?cd-origin=rss&utm_term=AO&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Email

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Biden Campaign Condemns Trump False Victory Claim as ’Naked Effort to Take Away the Democratic Rights of American Citizens’

“If the president makes good on his threat to go to court to try to prevent the proper tabulation of votes, we have legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort. And they will prevail.”

by Jake Johnson,
staff writer

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden along with his wife Jill Biden speaks during election night at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, early on November 4, 2020. (Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

With millions of votes still left to count and several key battleground states very much up for grabs, the Biden campaign issued a statement early Wednesday morning denouncing President Donald Trump’s false declaration of electoral victory, completely baseless claims of fraud, and threat to bring his case to the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court as “a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.”

“Having encouraged Republican efforts in multiple states to prevent the legal counting of these ballots before Election Day, now Donald Trump is saying these ballots can’t be counted after Election Day either.”
—Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden campaign manager

“The president’s statement tonight about trying to shut down the counting of duly cast ballots was outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect,” said Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon. “Having encouraged Republican efforts in multiple states to prevent the legal counting of these ballots before Election Day, now Donald Trump is saying these ballots can’t be counted after Election Day either.”

While voicing confidence that former Vice President Joe Biden will emerge victorious once all legally cast ballots are tallied, Dillon stressed that “Donald Trump does not decide the outcome of this election. Joe Biden does not decide the outcome of this election. The American people decide the outcome of this election.”

“And the democratic process must and will continue until its conclusion,” Dillon said.

The Biden campaign’s statement came hours after Trump, as predicted, took to a podium in the East Room of the White House and claimed outright victory in the election and vowed to turn to the U.S. Supreme Court—which now consists of three of his nominees—to help him stop the counting of legally submitted ballots.

At present, Biden holds a slim Electoral College lead with Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania—among other states—still outstanding. The winner of the remaining states could take days to determine as officials work to count the unprecedented number of mail-in ballots submitted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“If the president makes good on his threat to go to court to try to prevent the proper tabulation of votes,” said Dillon, “we have legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort. And they will prevail.”

Read Dillon’s statement in full:

The president’s statement tonight about trying to shut down the counting of duly cast ballots was outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect.

It was outrageous because it is a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.

It was unprecedented because never before in our history has a president of the United States sought to strip Americans of their voice in a national election. Having encouraged Republican efforts in multiple states to prevent the legal counting of these ballots before Election Day, now Donald Trump is saying these ballots can’t be counted after Election Day either.

And it was incorrect because it will not happen. The counting will not stop. It will continue until every duly cast vote is counted. Because that is what our laws—the laws that protect every American’s constitutional right to vote—require.

We repeat what the Vice President said tonight: Donald Trump does not decide the outcome of this election. Joe Biden does not decide the outcome of this election. The American people decide the outcome of this election. And the democratic process must and will continue until its conclusion.

Nearly 100 million people cast their ballot before Election Day in the belief—and with the assurances from their state election officials—that their ballot would be counted. Now Donald Trump is trying to invalidate the ballot of every voter who relied on these assurances.

If the president makes good on his threat to go to court to try to prevent the proper tabulation of votes, we have legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort. And they will prevail.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will stand for the right of all Americans to have their votes counted—no matter who they voted for. And we remain confident that when that process is complete, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.

Progressive lawmakers also sounded the alarm over Trump’s false victory declaration, denouncing it as a brazen power grab that, if successful, would silence millions of voters. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who easily won reelection Tuesday night, tweeted early Wednesday that “Donald Trump’s premature claims of victory are illegitimate, dangerous, and authoritarian.”

“Count the votes,” continued the New York Democrat. “Respect the results.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who also handily defeated her Republican opponent Tuesday, said in response to Trump’s lie-filled victory speech that “you can’t stop ballots from being counted. This isn’t a dictatorship.”

“This man is dangerous,” Omar added.