Street art in Brussels, Belgium.
Photo by alohaboywashere (instagram) via +Harry Fabel.
Street art in Brussels, Belgium.
Photo by alohaboywashere (instagram) via +Harry Fabel.
“In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” Goodall told The Atlantic. “In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks.”
Goodall added, “the more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”
To date, we’ve not seen Trump drag branches or throw rocks, although anything is possible. Instead of physical displays, the Republican presidential nominee has stuck to verbal ones ― bragging about his penis, launching personal attacks and resorting to racist and sexist insults.
Trump is set to debate his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, on Sept. 26. When it happens, Goodall told The Atlantic she’ll be thinking of “Mike,” a chimpanzee she studied that displayed dominance by kicking kerosene cans, creating a racket that sent would-be challengers fleeing.
Unsurprisingly, Trump has already boasted that he will come out on top, telling The New York Times “I know how to handle Hillary.”
Whether his strategy includes childish tidbits has yet to be seen. Tony Schwartz, co-author of Trump’s book The Art of the Deal, however, bets it will.
“Trump has severe attention problems and simply cannot take in complex information — he will be unable to practice for these debates,” Schwartz told the Times. “Trump will bring nothing but his bluster to the debates. He’ll use sixth-grade language, he will repeat himself many times, he won’t complete sentences, and he won’t say anything of substance.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
Judging by many accounts in the media and from the statements of leading US politicians, race is a central issue in the 2016 elections.
At a point when the American people are more tolerant in their social views than at any previous time in history, they are informed on a daily basis that the US seethes with racial and ethnic hatreds, along with violent misogyny and homophobia.
The Democratic Party, supported by all of the various left-liberal and pseudo-left trends, is particularly aggressive and vociferous on this score. Identity politics, the self-centered, upper-middle-class obsession with race, gender and sexual identity, has become one of that party’s principal pillars.
As opposed to earlier periods, today the question of race is not associated with civil rights, with a major program of social reform, with improvements in the social conditions of the working class as a whole and certainly not with socialism. The debate on race is largely built around demands for the allocation of greater economic resources to sections of the black petty bourgeoisie. There is a marked and noticeable absence of democratic demands and sentiments within the leadership of these upper-middle-class movements.
The character of the present campaigns, including the narrow and vicious tone of much of the rhetoric about race, can be explained if one examines a singular fact: the sharp growth of social inequality within the African American population.
The data suggests that while African Americans still play a very limited role at the heights of the corporate hierarchy, there is a highly significant and influential section that has benefited enormously over the past several decades. These people live in another universe and are deeply estranged from the broad layers of the black working-class population, which has suffered continual impoverishment.
From the administration of Richard Nixon onward, US ruling-class policy has been to cultivate a black upper-middle class that would be loyal to the status quo. In return, this layer abandoned any connection to mass struggle, social protest and opposition to capitalism. This helps explain why there is no leading African American figure, in any field, who today speaks for and to the broad masses of the people.
The facts and figures are striking.
Nielsen, the global information and measurement company, produced a report in 2015, “Increasingly Affluent, Educated and Diverse,” which “focused specifically on a segment of African-Americans who are often overlooked, those with annual household incomes of $75,000 or more. Their size and influence is growing faster than non-Hispanic Whites across all income segments above $60,000.” (The data comes from the US Census, American Community Survey, 2014.)
In fact, black households earning more than $75,000 are the fastest growing income group in the country. According to Nielsen, “In the years from 2005-2013, the income bracket with the largest increase for Black households occurred in the number of households earning over $200,000, with an increase of 138 percent, compared to an increase of 74 percent for the total population.”
In 1960, around the time E. Franklin Frazier wrote his pioneering work, The Black Bourgeoisie, there were an estimated 25 black millionaires in the US. That number has grown 1,400 times. Today there are an estimated 35,000 black millionaires.
The concentration of wealth among African Americans is extreme. According to the Pew Research Study, 35 percent of black households have negative or no net worth. Another 15 percent have less than $6,000 in total household worth. Nearly 7 million of the total of 14 million black households have little or nothing.
Commentator Antonio Moore in the Huffington Post this past May noted that the wealth difference between an American black household in the top 1 percent and the average black household was several times larger than that among comparable white households.
“[T]he median net worth of the few black households in the top 1 percent was $1.2 million dollars, while according to the Census, median net worth for all black households was about $6,000 in total. A black family in the 1 percent is worth a staggering 200 times that of an average black family. If black America were a country, we would be among the most wealth stratified in the world.”
“Income segregation,” i.e., the tendency of people to live in either poor or affluent neighborhoods, has increased sharply among black families since 1970. “Segregation by income among black families was lower than among white families in 1970, but grew four times as much between 1970 and 2009. By 2009, income segregation among black families was 65 percent greater than among white families.” (Residential Segregation by Income, 1970-2009, by Kendra Bischoff of Cornell University and Sean F. Reardon of Stanford)
According to the Washington Post in 2013, the black middle class, measured by the number of families earning at least $100,000 a year, has grown fivefold in the past 50 years. About one in 10 black households are now in that income category. Between 1970 and 1990, the percentage of black physicians, lawyers and engineers doubled. From 1990 to 2013, there was a 30 percent increase in the proportion of black managers and executives and a 38 percent increase in the proportion of black lawyers and engineers.
Decades of “black capitalism” and affirmative action have benefited a narrow but still substantial layer of the African American population. This is the social element that is most aggressively pursuing wealth and economic advantage today. It cannot be mere coincidence that the central figure in the University of Missouri protests in November 2015, hunger striker Jonathan Butler, came from this milieu. His father, Eric Butler, is executive vice president for marketing and sales at Union Pacific Corp. and raked in $2.9 million in total compensation in 2015.
Importantly, African Americans have gained virtual parity with whites in the professional upper echelons. By 2004, blacks with a doctorate had a median income of $74,207, slightly higher than the median income of whites with doctoral degrees ($73,993). (The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education)
As a recent report (“Closing the Race Gap: Alleviating Young African American Unemployment Through Education”) argued, “African Americans and whites have nearly equal probabilities of employment at high degrees of education.”
What are the implications of this relative parity?
The obsession with race and gender involves the striving for privileges by a layer of black and female professionals, determined to carve out careers and incomes—under conditions of an intensely competitive “marketplace”—at the expense of their white or male counterparts. The shrillness and falsity of the current campaigns on race and sexual violence has much to do with the need, in the face of the fact that there is no significant racial or gender pay gap for these already affluent layers, to leverage past crimes and injustice, and exaggerate the present conditions, to justify continued or greater privileges. This is a bitter conflict taking place within the richest 5 to 10 percent (approximately $190,000 to $130,000 in annual income) of the population.
There is nothing “progressive” or “left-wing” about these campaigns and conflicts. Whether or not the president of the United States is a man or woman or the CEO of a bank or major corporation is white or black is of no possible interest to the working class. E. Franklin Frazier noted half a century ago that black business and political interests had “exploited the Negro masses as ruthlessly as have whites.”
Socialists reject racialist politics in whatever form it appears. In the context of the 2016 elections, this means repudiating the racialist and nationalist filth promulgated by both the Democrats and Republicans and all those who orbit around bourgeois politics. The election campaign of the Socialist Equality Party alone represents the independent political and historical interests of the working class.
August 21, 2016
For the men out there who can’t help but wonder how they stack up in the size department down under, wonder no more — thanks to a nifty interactive graphic recently released by Target Map. The map, appearing to use data taken from earlier studies, shows how long the average erected penis is on a country by country scale. If you move the mouse over North America, for instance, you’ll find the average men there has an erect penis size of 14.2 centimeters (5.59 inches).
When it comes to top honors though, the U.S. and its neighbors are decidedly in the middle of the pack. It’s actually men in Western African countries like Ghana who are the biological winners, with the average length upwards of 16 centimeters. On the flip side, men in Asian countries have the smallest lengths, with the average size ranging from 9.3 centimeters (3.6 inches) to 10.5 centimeters (4.1 inches).
Of course, penis size is hardly the be-all and end-all of a perfectly happy sex life for both men and women. Each gender tends to overestimate how long the average penis is and how important penis size is when evaluating how satisfying a potential relationship could be. When you look in on real-life straight couples, though, the penis size of men rarely accounts for their overall happiness and functioning. Elsewhere, other research has shown that women may prefer longer penises when looking for casual partners but pay much less mind to length when sizing up potential boyfriend material.
None of this is to say penis size is meaningless and not worth caring about, only that it’s probably a lot less important than we think it is. For those of us who remain understandably curious, though, you can check out the map here.
Does Penis Size Matter? Why Bigger Male Genitalia Isn’t Always Better In Bed. Read here.
The Evolution Of Penis Size: Humans Have Large Penises Due To Upright Posture, Body Temperature. Read here.
The enduring cliche of the 2016 election is a comment by Trump that provokes outrage, rebukes, and the declaration, “He’s gone too far.” This happened the moment Trump declared his presidential bid by denigrating Mexicans, then when he attacked veterans, women, the disabled, Muslims, and the judiciary among others, and most recently with his vendetta against Khizr and Ghazala Khan.
Trump’s attack on the Khans seems curious as he had nothing to gain. The couple grabbed the moral high ground at the Democratic National Convention by pointedly telling Trump, “You have sacrificed nothing and no one,” in reference to the death of their son as a U.S. Army officer in Iraq in 2004.
The self-inflicted wounds are unlikely to cause Trump permanent harm, however. The New York Times found his attacks on military members and families mainly affected the opinion of undecided veterans, a sliver of voters. Trump also recovered after a similar racist tirade against a U.S.-born judge overseeing lawsuits against the defunct Trump University. Republicans inside the Beltway freaked out in private over Trump’s antics, but in public they are loathe to break with him when polls show 81 percent of the party supports him along with 41 percent of the public overall.
Moreover, Trump’s ranting about the Khans is consistent with his trickle-down revenge and nativism that’s congealed a white nationalist rebellion around him. It shows little sign of faltering. In battlegrounds like Ohio, North Carolina, and Iowa, Trump trails Clinton by less than 1 percent. And while Democrats have opened up new fronts in Arizona and Georgia, Trump lags by 6 percent or less in delegate-rich states such as Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Nevada.
Digging into local data in Ohio and Pennsylvania exposes the seismic shifts in public attitudes that Trump capitalized on. In Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County, a white working-class enclave Obama won by five points in 2012, Trump has a 23-point lead over Clinton. Ohio’s Mahoning and Trumbull counties are the heart of now-vanished “Little Steel” that Obama handily won in 2012 with more than 60 percent of the vote. But with voters flocking to him, Trump is poised to flip these former union strongholds. Even if many working-class whites are intoxicated by Trump’s racism, they are equally embittered by their declining economic fortunes under Obama.
These whites are America’s Brexit voters, battered workers distrustful of politicians, media, and business leaders who have hoodwinked them for decades about the benefits of globalization and empire, even if their anger is nursed on a diet of bigotry and bizarre conspiracies. So they shrug off Trump’s tantrums or spread slander such as Khan is an “al Qaeda double agent.” As some have told Telesur, they support Trump because they want him “to blow up the system.”
Trump’s allegiance to the Republican Party is limited to hijacking it for his outsized ego and ambitions. But he has a death grip on the wheel of the GOP and is blase about driving it off a cliff. Even in defeat Trump will emerge victorious with an army of aggrieved whites, a fundraising machine, and a megaphone to foment trouble. He is already spinning racially tinged yarns that if he loses it’s because the election is rigged. If Clinton triumphs as seems likely, the Trumpian hordes will treat her as delegitimized even before she assumes office.
Given elite antipathy toward Trump there is a danger of underestimating his chances. In July his campaign and the Republican National Committee hauled in $82 million, mostly in small contributions that indicate the depth and breadth of his support. Fine-tuned demographic analysis reveals up to 10 million more white voters over 45 who lack a college degree—Trump’s bedrock—than previously estimated nationwide. If Trump sticks within a point of Clinton in the polls, this subterranean force could tip the election his way, just like Brexit passed despite consistently trailing in surveys.
Hillary Clinton’s strategy is to revert to Clintonian form. In 1994, congressional Democrats were shellacked by Newt Gingrich’s mob of bigots, bomb-throwers, and conspiracists who established right-wing rule of the House that has lasted for all but four of the last 22 years. Bill Clinton responded with “triangulation,” treating unions and progressives as the left counterpart to the rabid right. He staked out the center with insipid initiatives like a “national conversation on race” and a push for school uniforms meant to distract from his anti-poor agenda that rivaled Reagan’s. Meanwhile, Clinton spent his second-term political capital on free trade, loosening banking and commodities regulations, and supercharging media monopolies.
Fast forward a couple of decades to the 2016 DNC. To their credit, Sanders and his rebellious supporters wrested concessions from the Democrats. But Hillary Clinton’s vague calls for raising Social Security benefits, a living wage, tuition-free college, and a jobs program for infrastructure served a purpose other than placating the left. Her proposals sugar-coated the triangulation at the DNC. Nods to social justice and Black Lives Matter were drowned out by bigwigs extolling patriotism, God, militarism, and American exceptionalism. Gen. John Allen said with Clinton as commander-in-chief, the United States would continue to be the “indispensable, transformational power in the world” with a military that would “defeat ISIS … defeat evil” while equipped with “the finest weapons, the greatest equipment.”
Likewise, the Democrats calculated they could insult their base by featuring Michael Bloomberg as a prime-time speaker with little backlash. As New York City mayor, Bloomberg bitterly fought attempts to end racist stop-and-frisk, had police spy on every mosquein a 100-mile radius, imposed big rent increases on millions, and attacked public schools, social programs, and unions with gusto. Bloomberg was only the first billionaire for Clinton, with Mark Cuban, Meg Whitman, and Warren Buffet trotted out after the convention.Whitman is doubly notable as Clinton had courted the right-wing tech executive and she was joined by other prominent Republicans in backing Clinton.
Then in an utterly cynical maneuver, Obama announced days after the DNC he would push the lame-duck Congress to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership this year. It showed the dishonesty of Clinton and her V.P. pick Tim Kaine in suddenly claiming they were opposed to the trade deal after consistently championing it.
New Deal liberals like Thomas Frank fret that Clinton’s right-wing swerves risk snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. But this is a misreading of history. The elite are aware that the Democrats are more capable managers of capitalist globalization, diplomacy, and war than the Republicans. It’s why Clinton is attracting a bipartisan cast of Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, the mainstream media, and the military and foreign policy establishment.
Clinton also has unions, feminists, and civil rights groups behind her. They serve as progressive window dressing and troops for swing-state trench warfare in return for a “seat at the table” but no real say. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told me at the DNC that organized labor is with Clinton because the Democratic agenda “is our agenda.” When I pressed Trumka about Clinton’s record of supporting nearly every free-trade deal that came before her, he responded, “I’m not worried at all, she’s against TPP” (before smacking me in the face with a cardboard sign).
Trumka is covering for Clinton, and misleading workers, because organized labor has no strategy other than clinging to the globalization express and begging for crumbs off the banquet table. The Democratic election strategy is to win the Rust Belt through micro-targeting of uncommitted whites, a massive canvassing and get-out-the-vote operation, deploying the good ol’ boy band of Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Kaine, and pounding Trump in the media from every imaginable angle—including harkening back a half-century to the infamous daisy ad to ring the alarm about Trump with the nuclear codes. Clinton is also counting on Trump to keep shooting himself in the foot, and he looks likely to oblige. Big business, celebrities, and Obama will throw their full weight behind Clinton. Democrats need to peel off only a small percentage of whites in the industrial Midwest to decisively defeat Trump.
Overall, Democrats are happy to paint white workers as irredeemably racist so they can reject working-class politics. If determined, Democrats could enact legal and regulatory changes that provide unions with the tools to rebuild the labor movement. But that would alienate the corporate constituency the Democratic Party belongs to and relies on for its core support. The logical path, then, for the Clintons, Obama, and the rest is to look to the right for votes.
The Democrats are seeking a historic triangulation by trying to occupy the center for a generation. They will then berate the left, telling them there is nowhere else to go, and watch the radical right flail around with guns and sinister ideas, damaging society but not elite power. The Democrats think they can deliver a fatal blow both to Trump and Trumpism with a blowout victory this election, while demographics takes care of any lingering threat. But this is a fantasy as Clinton’s right-wing policies will produce new white nationalist threats, as they did during the 1990s. And elements on the right are taking advantage of the Democrats’ disdain for workers by scheming on how to turn the GOP into “a (white) workers’ party.”
From this viewpoint, the left response is simple: it should do nothing to help Clinton, not even push people to vote for her in swing states. If Clinton can’t beat Trump with the combined might of capital and labor, then a tiny, disorganized, threadbare left is not going to make any difference. Instead, the left should affirm people’s right to decide if they want to vote and then whom to vote for, such as Jill Stein, Sanders, Vermin Supreme (my favorite), or Clinton. And it should denounce Clinton apologists working feverishly to bully or scare people into voting for her. Fear-based politics makes a mockery of any democratic claims.
Jill Stein will far outstrip her 2012 vote total of 469,000 as she harvests the anti-Clinton vote on the left. But her current polling average of 4 percent will shrink by election day, which is typical of third-party candidates. Stein serves a vital role by blasting Clinton for a “terrifying track record” on the economy, foreign policy, and climate change. She reminds voters Clinton is distinctly dangerous. But pouring energy into Stein’s bid replicates the mistake of prioritizing electoral politics above all else. Third-party presidential runs measure discontent that exists. They do little to build radical movements and often divert energy and resources from organizing. (Though local elections can create space and provide aid for movements.)
But there should also be no illusions about a Trump presidency. It would be open season for the police, state, and vigilantes on Black Lives Matter, Muslims, immigrants, Mexicans, and the left. Left forces would be on their heels, fighting limited defensive battles and grateful to survive, even in a weakened state. Whatever remains of Sanders political revolution would dry up and blow away.
But climbing on the Clinton train means muting criticism of her right-wing policies. It would hobble the left going into four years of more war, more free trade, more oil and gas drilling under Clinton. And that’s exactly what the Wall Street Democrats want.
The left should concentrate on what it does best: laying the groundwork for new movements such as the antiwar and global justice movements, Occupy Wall Street, union, immigrant, and low-wage worker organizing, and Black Lives Matter. Clinton has bankers and liberals, pundits and billionaires, hawks and Republicans all advocating for her. Someone needs to advocate for people.
Originally published by Telesur English.
Barack Obama concluded his address to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night by declaring himself ready to “pass the baton” to the party’s nominee and his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. Accounts of the address in the corporate media have repeatedly referred to the US president casting Clinton as the continuator and custodian of his “legacy.”
But what is the legacy of Obama? In its essential political terms, it consists of his having succeeded in overcoming internal divisions on the question of war that have plagued the Democratic Party for half a century. His administration marks the return of the Democrats to their roots as the premier party of US imperialism, a status the party maintained though two world wars and the subsequent Cold War with the Soviet Union.
Obama, who was swept into office on a wave of popular antiwar sentiment, will enjoy the dubious distinction of being the first president to keep the US at war throughout two full terms in office.
He has continued the wars he inherited in Afghanistan and Iraq, while launching a new one that toppled the government and decimated the society of Libya; engineering a proxy war for regime change that now includes US troops deployed in Syria; and carrying out attacks in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and beyond.
With its “pivot to Asia” and steady buildup of US-NATO forces in Eastern Europe, Washington’s military might has been increasingly directed against Russia and China, in a relentless quest for global hegemony that poses the growing danger of a third world war.
Obama’s administration will also be remembered for its vast expansion of drone warfare, targeted assassinations and kill lists, along with vicious attacks on civil liberties and the militarization of America’s police.
What is extraordinary in the face of all of this is that war was not even a subject of discussion at the convention in Philadelphia. The silence on the matter was guaranteed by the fraudulent opposition candidate Bernie Sanders, who publicly backed Obama’s wars during his campaign, and officially ended his “political revolution” by uncritically endorsing Clinton, the chosen candidate of both Wall Street and the massive US military and intelligence apparatus.
In advance of both major party conventions, there were many comparisons in the media of this presidential election year with that of 1968, with predictions that, once again, there could be violence in the streets.
While no doubt the Trump campaign has escalated the atmosphere of violence in American politics, wholly ignored in these largely superficial analogies was the core issue that brought about the violence of 48 years ago: mass popular opposition to the Vietnam War, which ended up tearing the Democratic Party apart.
The incumbent Democratic President Lyndon Johnson was unable to run for re-election because of the hostility within his own party to the war in Vietnam, expressed in support first for the candidacy of Eugene McCarthy and then for that of Robert Kennedy, who broke with Johnson on the issue.
While Robert Kennedy’s assassination was followed by the nomination of Vice President Hubert Humphrey, a supporter of the war, and his subsequent defeat by Republican Richard Nixon, Vietnam shattered the ideological foundations of the old Democratic Party, based on the filthy deal that was the foundation of Cold War liberalism: lip service to social reform at home, combined with unwavering support for US imperialism abroad.
In 1972, the antiwar candidate George McGovern won the nomination and was defeated by Nixon. Nonetheless, the Democratic Party was compelled to take antiwar sentiment into account, in its political calculations, for decades after the war in Vietnam ended.
A chasm had opened up between the party’s leading personnel within the US capitalist state and the Washington think tanks, who remained committed proponents and strategic thinkers of US imperialism, and a political base, including academics and upper layers of the middle class, in which there remained broad hostility to war.
This produced internal conflicts within the party in one election after another. On the one hand, Democratic candidates were compelled to posture publicly as opponents of war, in order to retain credibility with broad sections of the party’s electoral constituency. On the other hand, the Democratic candidates sought desperately to maintain credibility with the corporate and military-intelligence establishment, which expected that the candidate, once elected, would conduct foreign policy with the necessary ruthlessness.
In the aftermath of the election of George W. Bush came the mass antiwar demonstrations of 2003, and the subsequent attempts by various pseudo-left forces to channel this opposition back into the Democratic Party.
With the 2004 presidential election, Howard Dean emerged as an early favorite, campaigning as the representative of the “democratic wing of the Democratic Party” and appealing to antiwar sentiment within the party. Even after his candidacy was derailed by the party establishment and the media, John Kerry, who had supported the war, was compelled to posture as an opponent, tying himself up in political knots and handing a re-election victory to Bush.
Finally, in 2008, the decisive reason that Barack Obama won the nomination and Hillary Clinton lost it was Clinton’s vote in 2002 to authorize the US war in Iraq.
In the promotion of Obama’s candidacy, his racial background was presented, particularly by the pseudo-left, as some kind of credential for progressive and antiwar politics, even as a close examination of his political record showed that he was no opponent of militarism. His family and professional connections to the US intelligence apparatus, meanwhile, were kept out of the news.
While Obama’s election was hailed by the pseudo-left as “transformative,” what has emerged over the course of his administration, facilitated by these same political forces, has been the utilization of identity politics in the furtherance of US imperialism.
This formula was on full display at the Philadelphia convention, where identity politics—the promotion of race, gender and sexual orientation as the defining features of political and social life—was woven directly into an unabashed celebration of American militarism.
This found carefully crafted expressions in Obama’s speech, including his declaration that “our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity, forged into common service,” a claim that could be made on behalf of another “all volunteer” imperialist fighting force, the French Foreign Legion.
He went on to state, “When we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen. And if you doubt that, just… ask the Marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband that he loves.”
The US military had long been a bastion of fanatical homophobia, with over 114,000 service members forced out, with dishonorable discharges, over the issue between World War II and the scrapping of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011. That allowing gays into the military would erode discipline had been an article of faith for the US command.
Central to support for changing this policy was the recognition, within both the ruling political establishment and decisive layers of the military brass, that it would prove politically useful in winning support for the military among a privileged upper middle class layer that had identified with the politics of American liberalism.
The message at the convention was explicit: “These are your troops. These are your wars. They are being fought in your interests.”
Similar issues of identity politics were employed by the Obama administration in its attempts to whip up the anti-Russian hysteria that was on display in Philadelphia. Thus, well-orchestrated campaigns were mounted around Pussy Riot and statements made by Putin in relation to gays during the Sochi winter Olympic games.
In response to the heated rhetoric at the convention, the Washington Post’ssecurity columnist wrote a piece entitled “Clinton has now made the Democrats the anti-Russia party.” He noted: “In their zeal to portray Donald Trump as a dangerous threat to national security, the Clinton campaign has taken a starkly anti-Russian stance, one that completes a total role reversal for the two major American parties on US-Russian relations that Hillary Clinton will now be committed to, if she becomes president.”
The anti-Russian campaign has been ratcheted up sharply in response to the WikiLeaks release of Democratic National Committee emails exposing the collaboration of the DNC leadership and the Clinton campaign in the attempt to sabotage the campaign of her rival, Bernie Sanders, and rig the nomination.
Clinton and her supporters have attempted to quash any discussion of the damning contents of these emails by casting their release as a “national security” issue, with the absurd charge that Vladimir Putin was the real author of the leak, aiming to subvert the US elections.
The same method, it should be recalled, was employed in response to earlier exposures of US imperialism’s crimes abroad and wholesale spying at home, with Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden bearing the consequences in the form of vicious persecution, imprisonment and exile.
Opposition to this relentless repression, as well as to war, found no expression in the Democratic convention. Needless to say, Clinton not only supported, but participated in both.
Most tellingly, a whole political layer, commonly referred to as the “neoconservatives,” which broke with the Democrats in the 1960s and 1970s and moved into leading positions with the Reagan and Bush administrations, have now come home, issuing open letters and statements in support for Hillary Clinton.
This political evolution of the Democratic Party is not merely the matter of machinations within the party leadership and the state apparatus. It has a social base within a privileged social layer that has moved sharply to the right, providing a new constituency for war and imperialism. The systematic fixation on the issues of race, gender and sexual orientation—deliberately opposed to that of class—has provided a key ideological foundation for this reactionary turn.
The convention in Philadelphia has exposed a party that is moving in direct opposition to, and preparing for a confrontation with, a growing radicalization of the American working class.
The next period, as the class struggle emerges powerfully, will see a resurgence of opposition by American workers to war.
The Socialist Equality Party is the only party campaigning to prepare and give conscious political expression to this development, fighting for the political independence of the working class and the building of a mass international movement against war based on a revolutionary socialist program. We urge all of our readers to support and build the SEP campaign of Jerry White for president and Niles Niemuth for vice president.
Bill Van Auken
WEDNESDAY, JUL 20, 2016 10:30 AM PDT
The most far-right party at the 2016 Republican National Convention may have also been the most pro-LGBT.
Breitbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos held a “gays for Trump” party late Tuesday night in Cleveland.
He was joined by far-right anti-Muslim leaders Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders. All three gave adoringly pro-Trump speeches full of anti-Muslim vitriol.
The rhetoric was strikingly reminiscent of the extreme anti-Semitism of the early 20th century, yet directed at Muslims instead of Jews. All of the speakers explicitly condemned Islam itself, not just Islamic extremism.
LGBT for Trump founder Cris Barron stressed the importance of defending “Western civilization” from the existential threat posed by Muslims.
Wilders spoke of a “war” against Islam. He proclaimed “Islam is the problem” and condemned refugees for turning Europe into “Eurabia.”
Geller joined the speakers in applauding Trump’s “ban on Muslims from jihad nations,” which she called a “logical, rational and reasonable” policy.
Milo called Trump “the most pro-gay candidate in American electoral history” and proclaimed, “The left’s stranglehold on homosexuals is over.”
Not one speaker mentioned U.S. and European foreign policy and wars, instead conflating the Islamic extremism fueled by Western-backed military conflicts and the political Islamism spread by Western allies with the millennium-old religion practiced by 1.6 billion Muslims.
The speakers all also excoriated the left, which they accused of supporting Islamism and of valuing Muslims over LGBT people.
The art used to publicize the event is a cartoon depicting Donald Trump as a superhero, joined by sidekicks Milo and Geller.
The party, which was officially named “Wake Up! (the most fab party at the RNC),” was a big event for the so-called “alt-right,” a far-right movement that supports liberal social policies and portrays itself in certain ways as libertarian, but harbors some extreme right-wing, fascistic views.
A large yellow Gadsden flag reading “Don’t tread on me,” a common libertarian symbol, was in fact hung on the wall behind the DJ, but the speakers are people who have no problem with big government when it comes to Muslims and migration.
Unlike the so-called New Atheists, who claim they oppose all religions equally — although they reserve particular hatred for Islam and Muslims — the alt-right does not feign impartiality.
Milo mentioned his Catholicism, and Geller openly argued that Christianity and Judaism are better religions than Islam, insisting Islamic law subjugates non-Muslims while Canon and Jewish law do not repress those of other faiths.
Chris Barron, the founder of the pro-LGBT conservative NGO GOProud and the leader of the “LGBT for Trump” campaign, introduced the speakers.
Barron set the tone of the event right from the get-go, warning a “radical Islamic ideology” threatened LGBT Americans. He called it a “life or death situation.”
Barron and the other speakers blamed the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando in June on Islam, although the U.S.-born shooter was likely himself gay and had previously attended the club. Additionally, a former gay lover of his called it a “revenge” attack.
Trump not only supports LGBT people, Barron claimed, but also employs them, “making gay people part of the Trump empire.”
None of the speakers mentioned Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, although the Trump poster on the podium clearly displayed his name.
Protesters outside the event uniting under the name Queers Against Racism emphasized that Pence has a long history of openly opposing LGBT rights, including voting for legislation that allows business to deny services to people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
While they stood behind the Trump-Pence poster, all the speakers also stood in front of photography depicting young slim white men wearing “Make America great again” hats. These works are part of a series by art photographer Lucian Wintrich titled “Twinks4Trump.” Wintrich told Salon he will soon be having a Trump-themed gallery exhibit in New York City’s East Village.
Barron noted that the event was funded by far-right website Breitbart; Andrew Marcus, director of the film “Hating Breitbart”; and Mike Flynn, the founding editor of Breitbart’s Big Government blog, who passed away in June. Barron also thanked Fox News for its support.
Geert Wilders, a far-right politician from the Netherlands who has frequently beendescribed as a fascist, was the first to speak at the party.
Barron introduced Wilders as the “hope for Western civilization,” rhetoric the Dutch leader himself frequently uses.
Wilders opened his speech warning Europe has been turned into “Eurabia,” due to Arab and Muslim migration.
“Europe is imploding,” he claimed, adding it has been flooded with “jihadis.”
“It will only get worse,” Wilders insisted, because Europe’s “stupid governments” keep letting in refugees from Muslim-majority countries.
He called open borders “the worst policy ever.” He also condemned “cultural relativism, the biggest disease in Europe today.”
Wilders claimed refugees and migrants are not integrating and assimilating into white European culture, leading to a “suicide policy.”
The far-right Dutch leader stressed that the enemy is not just Islamic extremism, but Islam itself.
“Get rid of your political correctness,” Wilders declared, as the audience went wild. “Islam and Sharia law are exactly the same,” he said, warning Americans not to “allow Islam to be planted in your soil.”
He accused Muslim migrants of being behind an “explosion of crime, rape… of harassment of our daughters, of the gay community.”
“We are at war,” Wilders proclaimed and reiterated, claiming Sharia law is being implemented in Europe and the U.S.
“Islam is the problem,” he stated clearly, condemning “bullshit about ‘radical Islam.’” The audience applauded loudly, and a young man with a Trump hat on shouted, “Send them back!”
“I don’t want any more mosques in the Netherlands,” Wilders said. He proposed closing borders to Muslim refugees and migrants and deporting those in the country. Then the government should “de-Islamize” society, he said, not expanding on what exactly he meant.
Wilders called for electing new far-right leaders. “We are no longer represented,” he lamented, and boasted that his far-right Freedom Party is on the verge of taking state power, having topped the polls for a year.
“We have no alternative,” Wilders concluded. “We will win this war.”
Pamela Geller, a leading figure in the anti-Muslim hate movement in the U.S., was next to speak.
“Pamela has been fighting against the jihad for several years,” LGBT for Trump founder Chris Barron said as he introduced her.
In May 2015, Geller and Wilders were attacked by Islamic extremists at a “Draw Mohammad” event in Garland, Texas. Geller said the “Wake Up!” RNC party was her first public speaking engagement since the attack in Garland.
Geller opened her speech with a joke: “A jihadi walks into a gay bar,” she began, to laughs from the audience. What does he order? “Shots for everyone,” she said.
The room erupted in laughter. Geller replied, “It’s not funny, because it’s true.”
She said she supports Trump, LGBT rights and “freedom,” proudly calling the Republican Party “the party against jihad.”
Geller — who backs a presidential candidate who wants to deport 11 million people and ban refugees from particular racial and ethnic groups — went on to accuse the left of becoming “increasingly authoritarian.”
“You’ve got to love Trump, ’cause he gives them all the middle finger,” she said simultaneously. “His ban on Muslims from jihad nations is logical, rational and reasonable.”
Geller criticized more mainstream right-wing pundits like Bill Kristol. People in the audience shouted “cuckservative” (a popular insult in the alt-right) and “traitors!”
At one point, she stopped her speech to join the audience in a “Trump! Trump!” chant.
Like Wilders, Geller claimed “Muslim gangs” are raping young girls and threatening LGBT people in the U.S.
The GOP supports “equality for all,” she claimed, ensuring “no special treatment for special classes.”
“Islamophobia,” Geller maintained, “doesn’t exist; it’s a myth.”
The left, she added, is embracing Islamism. “It’s not PC; it’s Sharia,” Geller said.
In his speech, Milo Yiannopoulos reaffirmed many of the same points, with his characteristic narcissistic flair.
Barron introduced the Breitbart columnist as “the world’s most dangerous faggot.”
“It’s a war,” Milo began his speech, “a culture war.” He insisted that politicians should stop talking about economics and politics and instead talk about culture.
Milo argued that the left no longer defends LGBT rights, that it is only the right that does so.
“Radical Islam, or let’s say it, Islam” threatens gay people, he said, while the left is “welcoming a religion that wants us dead.”
Muslims are fundamentally incapable of integrating into capitalist democracy, Milo claimed, which he called “the only system that works.”
Milo, who is British, pointed to Europe as a “warning” to Americans. He said he will soon be traveling to Sweden to lead “a gay pride march through the Muslim ghetto in Stockholm.” A man in the audience shouted, “Bring bacon!”
Unlike the other speakers, who focused almost exclusively on Muslims and the left, Milo also made his hatred of journalists very clear.
“Most journalists are idiots,” he stated casually. He later swore that he is “dedicated to the destruction of liberal media.”
“I have the entire American media at my disposal,” he taunted at one point, listing the leading news outlets who had reporters at the party. “Fuck the lot of you; fuck you,” he said to the room full of journalists.
Milo accused the left of “shutting down free speech” with political correctness. To the room full almost exclusively of white people, he joked about his sexual preference for Black men, claiming they have big penises and do not know who their fathers are.
Trump is “the most pro-gay candidate in American electoral history,” he asserted.
“The left’s stranglehold on homosexuals is over,” Milo concluded, summarizing the underlying thesis of the event.
Outside of the event, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, protesters could be heard chanting “8-6-4-2, if you love Trump we don’t love you!”
A few dozen people gathered for a few hours, carrying a large banner reading “Queers Against Racism.” They soon began chanting, “No more queer Muslim hate!”
Salon spoke with a protester who declined to be identified. “We heard there was a gay pro-Trump event and we were like, hell no!” she explained.
She said the demonstration was not organized by a group, but rather by a collection of individuals. The protesters were from all around the country, not just Ohio, and had convened to protest the RNC.
The protesters did not like speaking with the press, so they passed out a “Queers Against Islamophobia, Racism and Fascism” handbill reading:
“There’s nothing fabulous about racism. You can’t hide racism and Islamophobia behind gayness.
Our grief is not a catalyst for xenophobia. We will not be opportunistically used to promote Trump’s rhetoric of hate.
What happened in Orlando is a result of a homegrown culture of homophobia promoted by Trump, Pence and conservatives for decades.
Racism and xenophobia further erodes the safety of LGBTQ people, many of whom are Muslims, refugees, immigrants and people of color.
We will fight for the liberation of all people!
Only self-hating gays love Trump.”