• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

CounterPunch needs you. piggybank-icon You need us. The cost of keeping the site alive and running is growing fast, as more and more readers visit. We want you to stick around, but it eats up bandwidth and costs us a bundle. Help us reach our modest goal (we are half way there!) so we can keep CounterPunch going. Donate today!
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
May 24, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Iran, Venezuela and the Throes of Empire
Melvin Goodman
The Dangerous Demise of Disarmament
Jeffrey St. Clair
“The Army Ain’t No Place for a Black Man:” How the Wolf Got Caged
Richard Moser
War is War on Mother Earth
Andrew Levine
The (Small-d) Democrat’s Dilemma
Russell Mokhiber
The Boeing Way: Blaming Dead Pilots
Rev. William Alberts
Gaslighters of God
Phyllis Bennis
The Amputation Crisis in Gaza: a US-Funded Atrocity
David Rosen
21st Century Conglomerate Trusts 
Jonathan Latham
As a GMO Stunt, Professor Tasted a Pesticide and Gave It to Students
Binoy Kampmark
The Espionage Act and Julian Assange
Kathy Deacon
Liberals Fall Into Line: a Recurring Phenomenon
Jill Richardson
The Disparity Behind Anti-Abortion Laws
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Chelsea Manning is Showing Us What Real Resistance Looks Like
Zhivko Illeieff
Russiagate and the Dry Rot in American Journalism
Norman Solomon
Will Biden’s Dog Whistles for Racism Catch Up with Him?
Yanis Varoufakis
The Left Refuses to Get Its Act Together in the Face of Neofascism
Lawrence Davidson
Senator Schumer’s Divine Mission
Thomas Knapp
War Crimes Pardons: A Terrible Memorial Day Idea
Renee Parsons
Dump Bolton before He Starts the Next War
Yves Engler
Canada’s Meddling in Venezuela
Katie Singer
Controlling 5G: A Course in Obstacles
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Beauty of Trees
Jesse Jackson
Extremist Laws, Like Alabama’s, Will Hit Poor Women the Hardest
Andrew Bacevich
The “Forever Wars” Enshrined
Ron Jacobs
Another One Moves On: Roz Payne, Presente!
Christopher Brauchli
The Offal Office
Daniel Falcone
Where the ‘Democratic Left’ Goes to Die: Staten Island NYC and the Forgotten Primaries   
Julia Paley
Life After Deportation
Sarah Anderson
America Needs a Long-Term Care Program for Seniors
Seiji Yamada – John Witeck
Stop U.S. Funding for Human Rights Abuses in the Philippines
Shane Doyle, A.J. Not Afraid and Adrian Bird, Jr.
The Crazy Mountains Deserve Preservation
Charlie Nash
Will Generation Z Introduce a Wizard Renaissance?
Ron Ridenour
Denmark Peace-Justice Conference Based on Activism in Many Countries
Douglas Bevington
Why California’s Costly (and Destructive) Logging Plan for Wildfires Will Fail
Gary Leupp
“Escalating Tensions” with Iran
Jonathan Power
Making the World More Equal
Cesar Chelala
The Social Burden of Depression in Japan
Stephen Cooper
Imbibe Culture and Consciousness with Cocoa Tea (The Interview)
Stacy Bannerman
End This Hidden Threat to Military Families
Kevin Basl
Time to Rethink That POW/MIA Flag
Nicky Reid
Pledging Allegiance to the Divided States of America
Louis Proyect
A Second Look at Neflix
Martin Billheimer
Closed Shave: T. O. Bobe, the Girl and Curl
May 23, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Belligerence of Empire
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail