FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Protest in a Time of Great Danger

Across the U.S., groups like Indivisible are countering the horrific actions of the neofascists in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

This past Saturday, a rally took place in Pittsfield, MA, that was organized in reaction to the murders in Portland, Oregon. “Say NO! to Islamophobia” was its theme, as demonstrators stood at Park Square in the city, the traditional gathering place for protest. Pittsfield is much like many other communities around the U.S., with a consistent response of protest to Trump’s policies.

Pittsfield is the major population center (about 42,000 people) in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. When General Electric closed shop, with it went a major employer in the area and a substantial contamination of PCBs was left behind from its manufacturing operation. Military contractors like GE found inland geographical locations like Pittsfield ideal for doing business during World War II because they were largely protected against potential attacks from sea, land, and air. The area is the most liberal geographical part of the state and votes overwhelmingly in favor of progressive candidates. Judging from passersby, both on foot and in cars and trucks, the thumbs up and automobile horns were an indication of the kind of support that is a given here. A few from the right made their sentiments freely known with a raised middle finger and one shouted “Fuck you, bitches!” One man on a bike tried to provoke protesters in a no-win debate, hollering at protesters with ludicrous statements about North Korea, Islam, and women’s rights. Another passerby made a prophetic statement about war and peace: “You go into their country to kill them, and they’re going to kill you.” Most interesting, and somewhat unexpected, was the police officer who passed by twice in his patrol car and sounded several supportive siren blasts with each pass.

In nearby upstate New York, the group Indivisible Chatham has generated many protests focusing in part on the newly elected Congressman from New York’s 19th Congressional District, John Faso, who slavishly supports Trump’s reactionary agenda in Congress, attacking women’s rights and healthcare. I know this Congressional district intimately because I worked there in Zephyr Teachout’s campaign, the Democrat who vied for the open seat against Faso. The group in New York has also focused on canvassing neighborhoods in the district to engage voters for the 2018 election (“A political storm brewing in New York’s 19th District,” Berkshire Edge, June 2, 2017).

But all of this has to be measured against the growth of neo-Nazis and fascistic fellow-traveler groups across the country. In “Is there a neo-Nazi storm brewing in Trump country?” (Guardian, June 2017), the investigative reporting takes an in-depth look at a recent rally of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Pike County in eastern Kentucky (in the town of Whitesburg), an area that is 98% white and gave Trump 80% of its vote in November 2016. The late April rally was planned by the Traditionalist Workers Party.

One of the rally’s organizers, Matthew Heimbach said, “Our motto is faith, family and folk.” Heimbach is known for “shoving and shouting at a young black protester at a Donald Trump campaign rally,” in March 2016. Among Heimbach’s beliefs is that the Holocaust is a Jewish conspiracy.

A local resident said of the gathered rally leaders, “They have a lot of really good ideas. It’s really sad that they just bring this racism.” And this from another resident, “That’s taking us a hundred years back,” referring to the rally’s agenda of hate. That person identified herself as gay. According to the article, “The locals in Pikeville (one of the towns in the area) greeted the influx with outrage and shock.”

The tipping point of a move toward fascism in the U.S. could come at any time during the Trump administration. A real or contrived crisis could precipitate what was once thought of as the unthinkable. But the silver lining, if indeed that is the appropriate term at this point of this political and social disaster in the U.S., is that there are still people who will take to the streets to protest.

More articles by:

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

December 19, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russophobia and the Specter of War
Jonathan Cook
American Public’s Backing for One-State Solution Falls on Deaf Ears
Daniel Warner
1968: The Year That Will Not Go Away
Arshad Khan
Developing Country Issues at COP24 … and a Bit of Good News for Solar Power and Carbon Capture
Kenneth Surin
Trump’s African Pivot: Another Swipe at China
Patrick Bond
South Africa Searches for a Financial Parachute, Now That a $170 Billion Foreign Debt Cliff Looms
Tom Clifford
Trade for Hostages? Trump’s New Approach to China
Binoy Kampmark
May Days in Britain
John Feffer
Globalists Really Are Ruining Your Life
John O'Kane
Drops and the Dropped: Diversity and the Midterm Elections
December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail