For readers who may be fans (despite issues of political correctness) of the classic movie The Godfather (1972), there is a telling interaction between Michael and his father, Vito, the Godfather, near the end of the movie. Marlon Brando delivers his warning about how the family’s enemies will come after and eliminate Michael in the guise of calling for a meeting to discuss differences between the various organized crime families.
Such is the case in any catastrophe in how the elite will come at us, and there is a very high likelihood of a catastrophe that is either real or invented. The Trump-Pence-Bannon administration will act swiftly to try to install a neofascist regime in the U.S. It can’t happen here could very well become a quaint and outdated notion as a neofascist regime takes ultimate power with the speed of light.
Naomi Klein outlined the three events that could precipitate such a radical reaction from Trump, et al (“Naomi Klein: The Worst Is Yet to Come, So We Must Be Ready for Shock Politics,” Democracy Now, June 30, 2017).
Common wisdom informs that a natural disaster, terror attack (either real or contrived or helped along (my observation), or a financial crisis could give the Trump administration a rationale for installing the ultimate in undemocratic regimes. A financial crisis is almost a near certainty with income inequality and deregulation of the business-corporate sector that is moving ahead by those installed by Trump and his cohorts to destroy the regulatory agencies that currently function to keep the economic system minimally under wraps.
As a war resister from the Vietnam era, I was “heartened” to hear Naomi Klein clearly state the importance of a vibrant antiwar movement in the U.S. as a bulwark against the potential for draconian actions by the Trump administration.
“And, you know, the U.S. has had a strong antiwar movement in the past, but that antiwar movement hasn’t been in the streets in the same way. And, you know, I think that this—these resistance movements are going to have to get ready for that kind of a shock, because once the wars begin, you know, it’s very hard to stop them.”
And there’s the rub! The antiwar movement has been largely absent from the streets since the administration of George W. Bush, though the movement was present in response to the bogus (not bogus for the people of Iraq) 2003 war against Iraq for Iraq’s nonexistent “weapons of mass destruction” and Iraq’s nonexistent links to Al-Qaeda. The antiwar movements’s response to the 2001 war launched against Afghanistan as a response to the attacks of September 2001 in the U.S., however, was very limited..
The Obama administration presented a different kind of conundrum for the anemic antiwar movement. Because Obama was seen as a liberal, and not the neoliberal that he actually was and is, the antiwar movement could not get its act together and largely disappeared altogether from not only the streets, but also from having any positive effect on how issues of war and peace were seen when Obama enlarged the war in Afghanistan, reintroduced troops in Iraq, and bombed the holy hell out of Libya, among many other military actions that destabilized nation after nation and used military action instead of employing diplomacy.
Now we are faced with a much, much greater danger no matter where the next real or staged crisis comes from. Protest will be immediately demonized and sanctions and severe punishments could be doled out against those who take strong and demonstrative actions in the streets like blocking traffic or sitting in, in places like the U.S. Congress. A campaign to limit or prohibit the expression of critical points of view could be enforced through some form of emergency legislation. An already compliant mass media would be more than happy to abet Trump in any crusade to cleanse the streets of those who pose imagined danger to a neofascist regime. Those who do take to the streets could be demonized as traitors to the U.S., and Trump has already shown that he is in favor of using force against those who publicly disagree with him and his policies.
The Website Popular Resistance has a hard-hitting article about military counter-recruitment in U.S. public schools (“Wars start in our high schools and this is where we can end them,” June 20, 2017).
“Military recruitment is the Achilles heel of the American empire. Today’s warmongers are particularly vulnerable because they need full access to our children in our schools while many communities are pushing back. The military’s recruiter handbook calls for “ownership” of America’s high schools, so it is incumbent on each of us to know the extent of recruiting in our schools and take steps to confront it. Few other forms of resistance are more threatening to the ruling cabal.”
Now is the time to organize in schools, on the streets, at work and elsewhere! This is not the stuff of fiction… this is not a scene form the novel 1984 (1949), but rather a clear and present danger. To those who say that it can’t happen here, a safe bet is not only that it can happen here, but it certainly is and will continue to happen here! Trump could very easily encourage white supremacists and haters of all stripes to take action. And it will be too damn late to act without a vibrant antifascist movement in place. Come out, come out, wherever you are!
Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).