the famous four from black agenda report

Democratic Fascists Prepare to Drop the Hammer
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report, Jan 28 2021

The US corporate ruling class finally has its “Reichstag fire” to justify suspension of constitutional liberties under cover of “national emergency.” There is, of course, no imminent threat to the US state and its structures. The right-wing mob that broke through the US Capitol’s remarkably thin blue line of defense on January 6th was visibly amazed at the ease of their penetration of the building, and clearly had no plan for what to do once they found themselves inside. However, the same corporate news media that spent four years convincing Americans that “the Russians” were bringing down “our democracy” through brilliant deployment of $100k in Facebook ads, now shrieks that free speech is poisoning the body politic. The great threat to the “stability” of American institutions is the proliferation of speech that does not conform to the corporate version of reality. Free speech must be brought “to heel,” as Hillary Clinton would put it. The Reichstag fire that consumed the German national parliament in Feb 1933, supposedly set by a Jewish communist, allowed Adolph Hitler to turn his Nov 1932 electoral victory into a mandate to smash all opposition to Nazification of the country. From that point on, no worldview was permissible in Germany except Hitler’s own. The US ruling class, beset by real crises of its own making at home and abroad, is desperate to regain control of the national and global narrative. As Barack Obama blurted out on stage with Angela Merkel, barely two weeks after Hillary Clinton’s surprise 2016 loss to Donald Trump:

The extraordinary demands that are placed on the US not just by its own people but by people around the world, that demands seriousness, and if you’re not serious about the job, then you probably won’t be there very long, because in an age where there’s so much active misinformation and it’s packaged very well, and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television. If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect … If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, and particularly in an age of social media when so many people are getting their information in sound bites and off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.

What Obama and his corporate Democrat colleagues were determined to “protect” is the continuity of the US’ never-ending war policies abroad and the “Race to the Bottom” austerity regime at home. As real crises multiply, the first line of capitalist defense is the corporate narrative that deflects blame from the system itself, but counter-narratives of the Right and Left have found deep traction in social and online media, whose audiences often dwarf CNN viewership. Thus the oligarchs, whose obscene wealth multiplies by the day, are unable to halt the public’s consumption of narratives that question the corporate order by any normal means. The ruling class’s crisis of legitimacy must be made to appear as a patriotic defense of American institutions and “values,” of truth itself, requiring restraint of critical speech and deep surveillance of suspected dissidents. The proof of the threat is displayed on the streets of Washington DC, where 25k troops remain on guard against invisible enemies. Although corporate media claim that Donald Trump’s antics in the White House have necessitated curtailment of free speech rights, it was clear to us at Black Agenda Report four years ago that the corporate Democrats were preparing to muzzle dissent. On Nov 30 2016, after the WaPo published a list of 200 web sites slandered as “Russian propaganda outlets and sympathizers,” including Black Agenda Report, I wrote:

Had Clinton won the election, she would have begun a campaign of repression against the Left along the same national security lines as the WaPo article, with that paper probably leading the propaganda charge.

The BAR article was titled, “Fascism with a Democratic Party Face,” a fascism that grows out of the neoliberal corporate order in crisis. As we wrote:

Donald Trump’s fascism is largely the residue of the fascism of apartheid America, under Jim Crow, which had many of the characteristics of, and in some ways presaged, the ‘classic’ fascism of pre-WW2 Europe. The establishment corporate Democrat and Republican brand of fascism is far more racially, sexually and culturally inclusive, but just as ruthless. And, at this moment in history, the corporate Democratic fascists are the more aggressively warlike brand. The oligarchs are unable to halt by normal means the public’s consumption of narratives that question the corporate order.

Make no mistake: both brands of fascism are fully operative and intertwined. There is no bright line separating the two, as is exemplified by Joe Biden himself, whose long career has been marked by white supremacist rhetoric and politics. But the inexorable darkening of the country has convinced most of the corporate ruling class that a deeper accommodation must be made with the more compliant sectors of Black and brown America, who are to be further incorporated into the ruling structures. In plain language that means more Black, brown and Asian faces in high places, even as the masses are pushed deeper into poverty and precarity, the domestic security forces become more brutal, and the US intensifies its war-against-all abroad. Biden telegraphs the corporate fascist strategy when he assures the donor class that “nothing will change” while bragging that his regime will be the “the most diverse in history.”

The Democrats have every reason to expect that the Black Misleadership Class and its brown counterparts will be allies in the quest to establish a more politically stable corporate dictatorship in the United States, and in supporting never-ending war in defense of global capitalism. The continued political potency of the more blatantly white supremacist brand of fascism among the Trump Republicans will further solidify the unholy alliance of warmongering Democrat oligarchs and narrow Black “representational” politics. This deepening partnership presents a profound challenge to the militants seeking social transformation and peace under the Black Lives Matter umbrella, who must weigh the full implications of the Black Democratic Misleaders’ deal with the devil. Those forces that oppose racial capitalism and the police that buttress the corporate order are the real targets of the Democrats’ crackdown on freedom of speech and assembly. In the final analysis, the old and new fascisms will coexist and collaborate; the US is after all a white settler colonial state whose mission is world domination. The only difference is that corporate Democrats want all (racial and ethnic) hands on deck and racial peace at home while furthering the imperial project.

Freedom Rider: Pro-Biden Propaganda
Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report, Jan 27 2021

The bad orange man is now back in Florida. Donald Trump, known as “45” by people who refused to speak his name, is history. His accidental presidency is now a bad memory and the sight of him taking his last flight onboard Air Force One was a moment of relief at the very least. Unfortunately, there is too much joy and not enough analysis about his departure and the new Biden administration. Inauguration day was of course full of pomp and ceremony but this year there was more propaganda than usual. Some of it appeared to be trivial, such as the news that former first ladies wore purple to signify unity between red and blue states. But the pro-Biden narrative is strong, so much so that a NYT editor deviated from the rules of journalistic ethics and declared, “I have chills,” upon watching his arrival in Washington. It was especially sad to see black people being entirely too enthusiastic about the occasion. There was excitement at the sight of the Obamas, and Michelle’s lovely outfit and a young black poet reciting her work at the event. Kamala Harris was sworn in as vice president and added a fist bump with Barack Obama to put icing on the cake. Anyone who dared bring a skunk to the party and point out that the promised $2k stimulus was reduced to $1.4k and that no one will see this tiny amount until April, was deemed a sneering killjoy who wanted to rain on others’ parades. The lament ran along the lines of:

Can’t we be happy for one day?

Of course, individuals can be as happy as they would like, but that is no reason for anyone else to censor themselves. Joe Biden is in a position to be a very dangerous president precisely because he follows Trump. The sighs of relief give him an opportunity to get away with just about anything he wants. We have already seen the rehabilitation of George W Bush, election thief and killer of up to 1m Iraqis, all because he seemed nicer than Trump. Barack Obama could destroy Libya, bail out banks and claim a right to kill anyone he wanted but he had a formidable marketing team, solid support from corporate media, and the gift of knowing how to play to the crowd. The Democrat Party and its corporate media have already white-washed Biden, a right wing senator, mediocre vice presidential sidekick, and architect of mass incarceration. They protected him as soon as it was clear the Democrat Party establishment had chosen him to be their nominee. They covered up when it was clear he was not in good health and invented a story of a stutter that no one had ever heard in his 48 years in public life. Twitter banned anyone from sharing the story of his son Hunter Biden’s lost laptop and evidence that he met with Ukrainians who were paying $50k/month for a no-show position at an energy company. Joe Biden has more than the secret service giving him protection.

We are told that Joe is a devout Catholic who loves his wife and is a good and decent man and a loving dad. He is honorable, patriotic and even mentioned white supremacy in his inaugural speech. Of course, the US is foundationally white supremacist, but raising that point consigns one to killjoy status. No-one wants to be thought of as the party-pooper, but no-one should want to be a chump either. The man who was supposed to save us from Trump’s COVID-19 ineptitude now says that the disease trajectory is such that he can’t do anything about the death toll which he estimates will rise to 600k victims. The for-profit health-care system can’t produce enough hospital beds for the already sick or enough vaccine to prevent further harm. The 50 states have 50 different rules for inoculations. Some have run out of the vaccines while others are throwing away a supply that can no longer be used. Of course, Trump will be blamed forever and the miracle that was supposed to come with a new president is nothing but cheap talk.

Of course foreign policy hasn’t changed either. Biden will keep the US embassy in Jerusalem, and continue to recognize Trump’s hand picked fake Venezuelan president Juan Guaido. His nominee for secretary of state spits out the usual attacks on China with phony charges of genocide. While the Syrian government demanded that the US stop stealing its oil, the US announced that it would increase its deployment levels in that country which wants it to go away. Biden will be like his old boss Obama, not a lesser evil, but a more effective one. His level of effectiveness is directly tied to the support he receives from the donor class and the corporate media. The stimulus is too little too late and so is any COVID response. That is not how the story will be told, however. The Trump specter will be pulled out of the closet and cheap identity politics along with it:

Do you prefer Trump? Can’t you give Biden a chance? A black woman is the vice president!

Let those who want to be happy at this state of affairs enjoy the moment. Although no one else should silence themselves or stop paying attention. Many crises are coming to a head, and Kamala Harris and her wardrobe choices won’t save anyone.

Neither Class Reduction nor Race Reduction: Toward a Revolutionary Left Framework on an Age-Old Debate
Danny Haiphong, Black Agenda Report, Jan 27 2021

Activists in the US have debated race and class for decades to no resolution. Nonetheless, in this moment of US imperial decay and crisis, the debate over whether race or class takes precedence in the struggle for liberation from US capitalist and imperialist domination rages on. Two prominent strands of the debate have emerged over the last year which intersect with the rise of Bernie Sanders-led “democratic socialists” and the uprising against racist policing led by the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” For many leaders of the Sanders camp, white supremacy is either a distraction or a secondary issue that can be addressed through the amelioration of class exploitation vis-à-vis policies such as Medicare for All. Leaders of the Black Lives Matter camp often discuss white supremacy as the primary problem of US society even if it “intersects” with gender, class, sexuality and other aspects of the human experience with oppression. Both arguments are limited and dragged down by the weight of liberalism. Liberalism presumes that the US’ economic and political system possesses innate qualities of self-correction once the demands of the masses are fully heard. In the case of the Sanders camp, Medicare for All and other universal programs will disproportionately benefit Black Americans. Racism will “wither away” or be significantly reduced after the white masses have received what is rightfully theirs on an equal basis with Black people.

In the case of the Black Lives Matter camp, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Inc has championed a movement “whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.” This is done in part by “combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy.” As a non-profit beholden to mainly Democrat Party donors, BLM’s Global Network has focused on reminding the world of the contributions of Black people, getting out the vote for Democrats, and demanding prosecution of police officers responsible for the murder of Black people. While BLM talks of “liberation,” its activity and analysis are decidedly liberal in that they center the eradication of racism via mild and selective concessions from the US state. Black Lives Matter activists and organizations are of course politically diverse and contain militant elements, with Black Agenda Report having covered the movement extensively since it emerged in 2014. The Black Lives Matter Global Network has been given the most attention from establishment channels seeking to develop a “common sense” among the population that effectively neutralizes radical possibilities. Instead of the further development of mass demands, the debate over how to make “Black Lives Matter” has predominantly centered on questions of diversity and whether institutions of power can speak the language of consultant-driven racial politics.

Both ideological frameworks repeat the errors of “race reduction” and “class reduction.” The reaction from both camps following the Jan 6 riot on Capitol Hill offers a clarifying example. Some on the Left interpreted the mass of white hordes walking (and at times climbing) into Capitol Hill as a marker of frustration among the working class. If Medicare for All or monthly payments had been provided to the masses, then the riots would not have occurred. Others immediately called out the white supremacists and fascists who descended on Capitol Hill and demanded that these forces be apprehended by law enforcement and censored by tech monopolies in a renewed “War on Terror” campaign. Liberalism is by definition ahistorical, so it should come as no surprise that race reductionists and class reductionists get events like Jan 6 so wrong. The white supremacist state cannot censor itself, nor does it have any interest in creating the economic conditions for its own dissolution. White supremacy and class are not separate phenomenon, especially in the context of the US. Gerald Horne and Theodore Allen have both proven through historical record that white supremacy is embedded in the capitalist political economy of the US. Malcolm X stated this plainly when he remarked:

You can’t have capitalism without racism.

White supremacy and class struggle must thus be taken together as parts of a whole social system rather than separate categories of oppression. White supremacy appeared in the historical development of the US as an intentional policy meant to consolidate the rule of settler colonialism and capitalism. European settlers of all classes would be united by their racial affiliation rather than divided by contradictory class interests. Black and other non-white peoples would be terrorized by the racialization of their being, thereby enhancing class exploitation by way of chattel bondage, Jim Crow fascism, and the like. White supremacy justified colonial expansionism, slavery, and the violence necessary to conduct each. White proletarians were kept fed with superiority even as white capitalists intensified the rate of exploitation for all workers, albeit to varying degrees of brutality and theft. When the US became an imperialist power, so too did white supremacy reproduce its relations of domination between white proletarians and their global counterparts in the majority non-white world.

The Capitol Hill riot was an outgrowth of a profound popular confusion that has taken hold in the United States over this basic history. Only a negation of the history of white supremacy could produce the conclusion that Medicare for All and $2k/month would have prevented the addle-minded white Americans from storming Capitol Hill. Many of the rioters believe that Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are “communists” aligned with China against right-wing freedom fighters in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The self-described “patriots” who stormed Capitol Hill are the spawn of the Trump era, a period where the crisis of US imperialism opened a lane for white reaction to pose as “working class” interests. This lane was opened primarily by the Democratic Party, which used the Trump era to promote racist conspiracies of “Russian collusion” and antagonize non-ruling class white Americans as “deplorables.” All the while, white liberals and the so-called leadership of “Black Lives Matter” have followed the Democrats down a “race only” framework which seeks inclusion within a decaying imperialist state alongside openly racist “blue MAGA” demagogues like Joe Biden.

Many on the white left have lamented “identity politics,” while others in the Black Lives Matter camp have condemned socialists for ignoring race. The only means of combatting this irreconcilable contradiction is to return to politics. Radicals and revolutionaries must set the parameters of political debate by raising what the narrow prison cell of liberal politics erases from historical memory. For example, both race-first and class-first advocates often side with the US ruling class on the critical question of war and peace. US aggression toward Syria, China, and a host of countries is virtually ignored in place of false equivalencies between the victim and the perpetrator of imperialist crimes. Class-first and race-first activists, while differing in their approach to domestic affairs, often stand on the same side when it comes to US militarism beyond the “red, white, and blue” painted colonial borders of the US. Unity around endless US wars is a racist unity at its core. But militarism isn’t the only aspect of US imperialism erased by race-first and class-first politics. So too is the plight of political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and Julian Assange. The same goes for censorship and the ongoing repression of the real Left, which has gone virtually ignored since the advent of Russiagate.

Also left off the table is the question of power, entirely. For if power was on the table, then it would be quite easy to link the struggle against US militarism to the freedom of Julian Assange and Mumia Abu-Jamal, not to mention the demand for an end to censorship by corporate tech monopolies and their allies in the intelligence apparatus. These questions dig into the very roots of the US imperialist system and decenter its ideological framework of American exceptionalism. Race reductionists and class reductionists, in the final analysis, are religious zealots of American exceptionalism which orients the fight for justice as a battle for a more “perfect” America where the so-called values of “liberty” and “democracy” are truly applicable to all. One doesn’t have to look far for examples of how to place politics in command and transcend the long debate regarding race and class in the United States. Martin Luther King Jr was killed for venturing down the long road of international solidarity and peace. His last days were spent organizing with striking Black sanitation workers and demanding an end to the US invasion in Vietnam. In his speech Beyond Vietnam, King declared:

I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

King is but one of scores of revolutionary activists and thinkers, particularly in the Black movement, who by their word and deed demonstrate that the debate over race versus class is marked by opportunism. Socialist policies cannot be truly achieved within a racist power structure, and racism cannot be fully eradicated without a transformation of class society, meaning the seizing of the means of production from the ruling class by the exploited classes. The war on Black America is a race war AND a class war. Class must factor into the analysis, and scholars have been popularizing the term “racial capitalism” to assist new generations of activists in avoiding the pitfalls of the “race versus class” debate. A revolutionary framework must approach all struggles from the vantage point that “racial capitalism” or imperialism is incapable of securing socialism, self-determination, and peace. Only from here can we possibly discuss how to move forward in this moment of crisis. While race reductionism and class reductionism must be rejected, attention to self-determination should not. Revolutionaries should reject the liberalism of the “streets to the suits” phenomenon that has occurred in Black politics AND so-called class-centered movements like the Bernie Sanders campaign. Careful attention should be paid to the conditions that gave rise to each. This means that popular demands for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal must speak to, and take into account, the particular conditions of a thoroughly racist social order. The US’ role as the world’s foremost imperialist power must also be placed at the forefront of all political struggle, as no truly social democratic movement can be sustained by championing the imperialist thuggery of its homegrown military apparatus. Whatever 2021 holds for the political future of the US, it is far time that a revolutionary left framework on the debate over race and class be injected into what is, at this time, a still politically immature movement.

Ajamu Baraka: We Are Entering a New Totalitarian Era
Ann Garrison, Black Agenda Report, Jan 27 2021

In this interview for Pacifica Radio’s Covid, Race and Democracy, Ajamu Baraka warned of a new era of totalitarian neoliberalism.

Ann Garrison: On Jan 20, we saw Joe Biden carry on about “unity” behind seven-foot fences topped with razor wire and 25k+ National Guard troops deployed. One friend of mine said that this pointed to an irony deficiency. Is there anything you’d like to say about it?

Ajamu Baraka: Well, I think it is ironic, but it’s quite understandable that the kinds of activities that the US has been involved in promoting and supporting globally—undermining democracies, subverting states, undermining and destroying any semblance of the rule of law—have basically come back to haunt them. You have a militant movement in the US partially inspired by the inability of the state and the system to address their material interests and to look at their concerns regarding their own understanding of democracy and its deficiencies. They feel like they lack space to articulate those views, and they’ve decided to engage in militant actions to make sure that their voices are heard, and they believe that they are upholding democracy. And their experience with the state made them feel justified in advancing their concerns about democracy in violent forms. The state has demonstrated to them that the way you defend democracy is through state violence. So they were taking their defense into their own hands and bringing it right back to the center of empire. Some of us call that blowback.

AG: For the past four years, liberals on the coasts have excoriated the white working class in the middle of the country, whom they perceive to be deplorable Trump supporters. Do you think that this is helpful?

AB: No. Not only is it not helpful, it is inaccurate and it has helped to create the narrative that many of these forces have embraced; that is the centerpiece of their grievances. They believe that liberals and the liberal order have not addressed their needs, their interests. They believe that the economic elites are only out for themselves and that therefore they needed to rally behind Trump, a billionaire who claimed that he understood their interests and would fight for them because nobody else was. So this characterization of them as deplorables, and as either Nazis or Nazi-like, is not only not helpful but also contradictory in the sense that those folks who level those charges still have not been able to explain why the Trump presidency happened. For example, some nine million people who voted for Trump in 2016 had voted for Barack Obama in 2012. Liberals can’t explain why, after four years of constant anti-Trump rhetoric, the Trump forces expanded their ranks by another 11m voters. So this is something in play that’s a little bit more sophisticated than these people just being deplorables or Nazis. And that something has to be interrogated. It has to be extracted. It has to be understood if you’re going to have a politics to counter it. And right now the liberals have not understood where these elements are coming from because they have basically painted those 75m people as a monolith of deplorables. The neoliberals have constructed a politics that is going to result in a continuation of the same conditions, politically and economically, that created what they pretend to be most opposed to—the Trump movement. So this is the failure of imagination, the failure of critical analysis, the embracing of illusions that has characterized much of the politics in the US for a couple of decades now. And we see the consequences of that with us every day.

AG: In the 48 hours after Biden became president, Israel bombed Syria, killing a family of four, a US convoy of trucks crossed into Syria to steal oil yet again, a double suicide bombing in Baghdad killed 32 people and Foreign Affairs, the journal of the US Council on Foreign Relations, published a piece with the headline “The Myth of a Responsible Withdrawal from Afghanistan,” which said:

The Biden administration should accept that there is no feasible middle way for a responsible withdrawal.

What do you think is next?

AB: The continuation of policies that have resulted in the US being bogged down in Afghanistan for two decades, policies that will ensure that the wars that the US is involved in will continue. There will be a continuation of the commitment to US global full-spectrum dominance. In other words, violence is still at the center of the neoliberal project. And they intend to reintroduce that instrument under the Biden administration. There were reports leading up to the election that Democratic Party-associated elements were secretly suggesting to the Afghan authorities that they would not have to worry about a peace process being executed once Joe Biden came to power. And they made the argument using some of the same terms and framework that we saw in that article in Foreign Affairs, that the US had a responsibility to remain in Afghanistan. And so they will fully prepare to undermine whatever progress was made for extracting US forces from that territory. So we’re not surprised to see the kind of elements that Biden has brought to his administration. These people were part of the Obama Administration, and they are committed to the US national security strategy, which is attempting to maintain US global hegemony using the instrument that they believe they are dependent on now, which is in fact global violence.

AG: Yesterday, I signed a petition to Twitter to restore @RealDonaldTrump, the Twitter account of the 45th POTUS. I didn’t share the petition on my social media pages because I didn’t want to have to fend off a lot of cancel culture, but I had enough faith in Pacifica to think I wouldn’t get kicked off the air for sharing it in the broadcast version of this conversation. What do you think of Twitter’s suspension of Trump and 70k more accounts that they said were linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory?

AB: I think it was quite troubling. I understand the disgust, the revulsion people have to Donald Trump. We know who Donald Trump is. He’s a sociopath, he’s a white supremacist. He’s despicable, but Donald Trump is in fact America. Donald Trump represents the kind of attitude and the kinds of values that made the US settler state what it is today. So, this notion on the part of the liberals that he is some kind of aberration is completely ridiculous. In fact, it’s ahistorical, but because of the disgust and because of the very serious legitimation crisis the US is facing, and the concern that neoliberal politicians have with the possibility of a return of Donald Trump, they have used the incident on January 6th as their opportunity to not only target Donald Trump as a person, but to target his “movement,” to undermine an above ground, legal political tendency, a tendency that generated 75m votes. If they can move against Donald Trump and make a connection between his speech and what occurred on Jan 6 in order to justify a permanent ban on someone who was the POTUS with 88m followers, then arbitrarily take down these other accounts that they say are “conspiratorial,” and if people then cheer because they hate Donald Trump, we are seeing a monumental mistake being made by liberals who think that this state is their friend, and that this state will get rid of Donald Trump, but somehow be able to maintain a commitment to civil liberties. No, they are in fact conditioning the public to accept the constraints of civil liberties, or to have faith in private capitalist entities to determine what is acceptable speech and information that can be disseminated. I believe they are, in essence, setting up the kind of dystopia that we see in science fiction movies, where you have corporate interests that have a complete and total control over every aspect of our lives. And of course, complete and total control over the ideals that are disseminated in those kinds of totalitarian society. So, this is a quite troubling and even more troubling because so many people don’t recognize that it’s dangerous. But it’s quite slick because, like you said, you don’t want to share your petition because you know people would go crazy if you said in public that you believe that Donald Trump’s rights have been violated. So, this is a quite dangerous moment because what we see, in my opinion, is the hegemony of irrationality.

AG: Neoliberal militarists are comparing the Capital Riot to 9/11 and using it to justify the further militarization of Washington DC and Biden’s domestic terrorism bill. At the same time, he has appointed infamous militarist Susan Rice to a new position, Director of Domestic Policy. Who do you think will become domestic targets during the Biden-Harris years?

AB: Anyone who is involved in oppositional politics, including those elements that are part of the Black Lives Matter movement, and anyone else who questions US colonial policies. Anyone who will advance sharp analysis of the capitalist state, who will question some of its dominant ideals, who might even suggest that police forces should be withdrawn from certain neighborhoods. And anyone who would advocate better relations with the so-called adversaries of the US, like the Chinese and the Russians. There’s no telling what is going to be seen as acceptable speech and political practice because we are entering a new totalitarian era. So I think anybody who is in opposition to the hegemony of the neoliberal project is at some point over the next few years going to experience the heavy hand of the state. Let me just say this about the state that we’ve been talking about. People say that these Big Tech entities, Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube etc, are private corporations, and that therefore they have no obligation to protect free speech rights: We need to make a correction. These entities are of course private, but the essence of neoliberalism is the spinning off of elements of the state that are public to private entities. So what we have with these Big Tech companies is, in fact, the spinning off of the function of speech monitoring and massive surveillance to these private companies. These companies are in fact, from my point of view, part of the ideological state apparatus. They are part of the state, just like the private corporate media is part of the state. So we have to expand our understanding of what we refer to as the state.

AG: A lot of people are frightened, particularly Black, Brown, and Jewish people, and most likely Asians now given all the bipartisan China-bashing underway. People, especially in these communities, have good reason to be frightened. And a lot of people are using the word fascist as they have for the past four years. But you’ve warned that neoliberal fascism will also get worse. Could you tell us what you mean by neoliberal fascism?

AB: Well, first let me say that it’s quite understandable, and we should be quite concerned about some of the more hardcore elements that we associate with the traditional right, who are quite capable and seem to be committed to using various methods to advance their political project. We saw some of those elements in the Capitol on Jan 6. So it’s understandable that we be concerned with that, but I’ve been warning people also that we should be more concerned with the neoliberal elements that control the state and did even during the time that Donald Trump was occupying the executive branch. We have to remind ourselves, or at least come to the understanding, that neoliberalism is a right-wing ideology. It is a right-wing set of policies, including privatization, deregulation, globalization, so-called free trade, austerity, and reductions in government spending, all to empower the private sector and diminish the public sector. Neoliberalism has to be connected to its essence, which is neoliberal capitalism. The turn to neoliberalism was born out of an act of violence. A neoliberal capitalist project was imposed on the people of Chile after the assault and the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973. So this is a right-wing, violent phenomenon. Okay? Now it’s been able to dress itself up in the garb of state respectability, but it is a rightist tendency. And so that right-wing, neoliberal, totalitarian element is the element that is now constricting the range of acceptable political activity. They are the ones that re-introduced McCarthyism, McCarthyism 2.0. They are the ones that are now moving to smash this political opposition in the form of the Trump movement. They are the ones that have allowed the FBI to create first, the Black identity extremist category to target us and to modify that with another term but the same objective—to target and undermine Black radical political opposition. So I’ve been making the argument that while we have been watching the theatrics of Donald Trump, the neoliberal state has been systematically conditioning the people to accept a new kind of totalitarianism. We’ve always had totalitarianism, but this is a new kind that will, they believe, ensure the continuation of their dominance. And I’m suggesting to people that, even though we hate Donald Trump and the traditional right, we are in a position now where we have to defend their traditional bourgeois rights as well as our own, and not allow the acceptable space of political, ideological opposition to be reduced. We know that the state will reconcile with the right. Their real opposition and the basis for a potential cross-class united front is opposition to socialists and communists, those of us on the left. And we on the left we are the real targets of this settler political state. So we’ve been trying to warn people to be vigilant and not allow themselves to be manipulated by these very powerful forces. And it’s very difficult because they control all of the major means of communications and thought dissemination. But we’ve got to, to the extent that we can, present an alternative perspective so that we can build the kind of opposition we have to build if we’re going to survive this critical period.

AG: So it sounds like you think there’s more we can do than duck and cover.

AB: We have to. Those of us who have been part of the Black Liberation Movement, we have survived because we have resisted, and we also have survived because we know that we have been through the worst. You see, this thing referred to as fascism is nothing new for us, a colonized people, people who have been enslaved. It has typically been called fascism only when white people do certain things to other white people. When the Nazis were studying, how they were going to construct laws in Germany, they were studying the apartheid system in the US. The Germans practiced building concentration camps in their murderous assault on the territory today referred to as Namibia. So it’s when these policies of brutality, of systematic violence, of rape, when they are moved from the periphery, from the colonial periphery to the Global North, that’s when they become Hitlerist, the ultimate expression of violence. King Leopold II in the Congo? That’s written off. It’s not something that’s important, even though 10m African people lost their lives. And we don’t quantify the level of irrational violence, but we do say that we have an experience with this kind of irrational violence. And so we know we have to resist. And so we know that Donald Trump is not the worst US president. We know that things can in fact get worse. And what we do and have done is to prepare our forces, to resist, and to try to provide leadership to other resistors. Because we know even though it will get more difficult, we know that we are still on the right side of history. And there are enough people of conscience in this country who believe that we can build a new, better world. We believe that once we can organize ourselves, even though it may be difficult for a while, we have a real possibility of not only surviving, but also transforming this backward society.

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