Tag Archives: Fascism

Donald Trump And The Politics Of Hate

donald-trump

I started this blog primarily to write about, and to offer some resistance to, what I believed to be the greatest threat to our way of life – organised religion.  I must admit that I didn’t expect this to change so soon. But on the night of the 2016 US Elections, it did change. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that Donald Trump is the worst possible choice as the leader of the free world one could wish for. If every US citizen were to draw straws, you’d almost certainly be guaranteed a better option. Sure you might end up with someone who is uninformed, as Trump certainly is. They might even be a misogynist and a racist. But they’re unlikely to also be a world champion narcissist who, for example, thinks that they know more about Iraq and Afghanistan than US army Generals, as Trump has claimed to. Indeed Donald Trump is so uninformed, that his own ignorance is a stranger to him.

Much has been written about the character traits that ought to have disqualified Trump from the Presidency, but it’s worth reiterating a few of them, if only to soften you up for my conclusions, so here goes…

Donald Trump is a racist, a xenophobe and an anti-Muslim bigot. Whether or not his father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan is up for debate, but what is certain is that Donald’s real estate company was sued for racism. In two states, New York and Virginia, black applicants had their forms marked with the letter ‘c’ for coloured. One of his hotels, The Trump Plaza, was also sued for $200,000 for ensuring its black employees did not serve a regular customer who was known to be a racist, in order to accommodate him. Undeterred, Donald would go on to be the most prominent voice in the ‘birther’ movement, a patently racist motivated effort to have Obama’s tenancy of the White House cut short due to him being a Muslim, a Kenyan or some other apparently undesirable non-American. Of course there’s no doubt that what was really meant by all those who supported this despicable movement was that they didn’t want a black man sleeping in the same bedroom previously occupied by Madison, Jefferson, Adams and so on.

When Trump launched his Presidential campaign last year, rather than seeking to reset his reputation concerning minorities, he immediately quadrupled down, calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers and insisting that a 60 foot high wall be built along the US-Mexican border in order to keep them out. Trump then demanded that all immigration from Muslim countries cease immediately (Trump seemed unaware that Muslims also emigrate to America from Europe). Perhaps one of the most unsavoury and under reported events of Trump’s campaign was when he invited an organisation of women that exists solely and unfathomably due to their shared experience of having had a child murdered by an illegal immigrant, to stand alongside him at one of his rallies while he hate mongered to his mob. Deplorable doesn’t even come close.

Donald Trump is a misogynist who has no respect for women. It’s clear from the long history of his predatory behaviour that he sees women as objects without agency that he can do whatever he wants with. If you doubt this, just take another read of what he was caught on tape saying to Billy Bush in 2005:

“I just start kissing them… I don’t even wait. When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

It’s interesting to read the above statement in the context of the sexual assault allegations that have been made against him. Here is a list of those alleged attacks. The correlation with his own professed attitude toward how one can treat women is uncanny:

1980 – Jessica Leeds says Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt on an aeroplane

Early 1990’s – Kristin Anderson claims that Trump put his hand up her skirt and touched her vagina through her underwear on a dancefloor in a New York nightclub

1997 – Temple Taggart, Miss Utah 1997, says Trump twice kissed her on the mouth uninvited

1997 – Four contestants from the 1997 Miss Teen USA, including Mariah Billado, say Trump walked in on them while they were changing. Some of the girls were only 15 at the time, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from boasting about the incident

1998 – Karena Virginia accuses Trump of grabbing her breast at the 1998 US Open Tennis Championship

2003 – Mindy McGillivray says Trump grabbed her bum at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida

2005 – Rachel Crooks says Trump kissed her on the mouth uninvited outside an elevator in Trump Tower

2005 – Natasha Stoynoff, a journalist with ‘People’ magazine, claims Trump pushed her against a wall and forced his tongue down her throat while she was interviewing him at his Mar-A-Lago resort

2007 – Summer Zervos, former ‘The Apprentice’ contestant, says Trump kissed her on the mouth uninvited, grabbed her breast, and thrust his genitals at her during a meeting to discuss possible employment

2013 – Cassandra Searles, the 2013 Miss World winner, says Trump grabbed her bum after the event and invited her to his room

Please remind yourself how Donald Trump mocked a disabled reporter who dared to criticise him. America, meet your new President, the man who now represents you on the world stage:

Video Link

Here are his ‘thoughts’ on climate change:

climate-change-trump

On abortion, Trump said the following in an interview with Chris Matthews earlier this year:

“You have to ban it… there has to be some form of punishment” (for the woman).

During a meeting with foreign policy advisers, Trump reportedly asked on three occasions why America can’t use its nuclear weapons. He also supports the proliferation of nuclear weapons to countries that currently do not have them, specifically naming Japan and Saudi Arabia as good starting points.

I could go on of course. There’s hardly a topic you could name that Trump hasn’t said multiple stupid, divisive or truly dangerous things about. The point that I’m trying to ram home is this; his victory wasn’t about economics. It was about hate, plain and simple. Surveys have shown that the average annual income of Trump voters is $72,000 (£57,000). No one chanted about trade deals at his rallies. They screamed “Trump that bitch!” and physically attacked people with dark skin or who simply looked a bit different. If you haven’t already, you really must check out Jared Yates Sexton’s live tweets from a Trump rally in Greensboro in June this year. They’re truly terrifying: https://storify.com/case_face/a-trump-rally-in-greensboro-anger-in-here-is-palpa.

It’s patently ridiculous to suggest that a white man, born into extreme privilege, who has hob knobbed with the rich and famous, including billionaires and Presidents, his whole life, and who hasn’t paid federal income tax for the best part of 20 years, represents the outsider or the hard working men and women of America. One of the great things about the internet age is that everyone has the key information. Everything that I wrote in the first 1,000 words of this article was outlined ceaselessly every night on television and was constantly trending on social media. No one could have been under any illusions as to what they were voting for, and no one surely could have imagined that Trump was really what America needed to be great again. The 60 million people who voted for Trump simply didn’t care. They were fully prepared to burn the house down in service to their lust for hate. For most, it was hatred of ‘the other’ (blacks, Latinos, Muslims, homosexuals, women), for some, it was hatred of Hillary. But I would argue that the latter reveals more than many seem willing to entertain because if you believed it was more important to block Hillary’s path to the Presidency than to resist the sexism and racism of Trump, then in my book you just don’t care enough about sexism and racism. One does not have to travel too far into our past to witness the consequences of such indifference. Sadly, many on the left were also culpable here, and ultimately they too played their part in handing Trump the golden ticket.

So what now? Depressingly, with the Senate and Congress also lost to the GOP, America and the rest of the world can only cross its fingers and hope we get through this with Western civilisation still intact. It’s that bad. Going forward, liberals must learn to recognise fascism when they see it, and be prepared to set aside their petty squabbles to unite against it. They must also learn that elections are largely about personalities, and just as Miliband and Corbyn proved inadequate to resist Farage and the brexiteers, so too was Hillary Clinton incapable of garnering enough support to defeat even an obnoxious buffoon like Donald Trump. Good luck everyone.

Where Are The Feminists?

Suffragettes

The release of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book ‘Heretic’ has predictably reignited the debate on the status of women’s rights, particularly, though not exclusively, within Islamic cultures at home in Britain and around the world.  My regular readers will be aware that I’ve already laid out many of my thoughts on this subject elsewhere on my blog – for example, see: www.believethetruth.co.uk/veil-of-confusion.

However, a brief glance at my twitter timeline has made me feel more than ever before that there is a very fundamental misunderstanding in play here that is subverting the crucial conversations that ought to be taking place, so I am going to revisit this topic.

Firstly though, such is the level of toxicity associated to many of my contentions (indeed I’ve been blocked on Twitter multiple times, but not before being called ‘an EDL-type’ or similar) that it is necessary to preface my thoughts by stating my political persuasions; I call myself a true liberal, mostly of the left but I have opinions that cross the political divide.  I’m an atheist, I support socialised healthcare (the NHS in the UK), I’m pro-immigration, pro-drug legalisation (read strict regulation), pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights including marriage equality, I support the right to die campaign and I’m a passionate defender of animal rights – in fact I spend most of my time working and fundraising in this field.  I despise UKIP with every sinew and I happen to think nationalism a divisive concept – indeed it appears to be the last western government endorsed form of prejudice.

So, while I may be correctly accused of many things, I hope it’s clear that I’m not a far right-wing nutjob!

Below are a couple of tweets I recently read.  This article is not meant as a personal response but they are a useful summary of the challenges I believe we are facing:

“Women within Islam challenge things all the time. Why can’t we just support that?”

“What is our role – it isn’t for us to decide.”

Sometimes it feels as if people who say things like this are totally unaware that, for example,  women were once banned from voting, that black people were treated as second class citizens and that gay people were thrown in prison – all within living memory in western societies.  It’s truly staggering how quickly people forget, how quickly they take their freedoms for granted and how they fail to imagine the complexities of oppression or the barriers it may construct.

The truth is that the progress of western women and various minority groups with regards to human rights would have been impossible without tireless campaigning from outsiders – simply cheering politely from the side-lines but otherwise keeping out of it, as the above comments seem to recommend, would have been all but useless.  The most important step in the liberation of the oppressed from their chains always comes from State backing and legislation.  It ought to be obvious that this is somewhat difficult to achieve for minority groups and for those who are silenced, unless they receive the full and unequivocal backing of other good people.  It ought to be.

Frederick Douglass

Women’s rights in cultures that have their roots in the developing world are facing an emergency.  Currently, the situation is so uniquely terrible that we now have fascism playing both sides of the board.  On the one hand, religious fascists, largely from the Islamic community (this is not to say that all Muslims are fascists – but various surveys inform us that some significant percentage clearly are, and it is those to whom I refer), are campaigning to keep women in the dark ages via the concept of ‘honour’ enshrined within their faith.  This, they believe, entitles men to decide who women can have sex with, who they can marry, what clothes they can wear, what, if any, education they should receive, when they can go outside and with whom, and even if they should have a clitoris or not.

Yet as I write this, the only significant pushback to this dreadful set of circumstances that millions of women endure every day, is coming from the far right and white supremacists in Europe and from the Tea Party conservatives in America.  This is a shameful and un-mitigating disaster for women everywhere, for all of us in fact.  One only has to take notice of how these people tend to talk to white women (the ‘get back to the kitchen sink’ brigade) to know that they do not really care about women’s rights.  They are simply using the plight of Muslim women as a pawn in their racist, anti-immigration, bigoted agenda.  Imagine how hopeless this scenario must appear to those who dare to dream of one day deciding their own destinies.

Western liberals, particularly feminists, have a responsibility to take this fight out of the hands of people with ulterior motives and to stand up to misogyny in all its forms.  That it may occasionally be justified within holy texts should make no difference, and frustratingly, when it comes to the various outrages against women with regards to birth control that are becoming increasingly common across the Bible belt in the US, most seem to understand this.  But bizarrely, when the backdrop switches to other cultures, far too many people are seduced by cries of racism or Islamophobia.

This must stop.  Now.  We must not allow the terrible behaviour of our ancestors in the colonies to fool us into believing that only white Christians can ever oppress people.  Sadly, it isn’t even necessary to journey to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan to witness State complicity in the oppression of women.  Here in the UK, tens of thousands of women have been genitally mutilated (to say nothing of the millions of men, without explicit consent) yet there has not been a single conviction – and only one case has ever been tried.  Forced, arranged marriages are all but ignored.  Shari’a jurisprudence is allowed to take precedence over inheritance claims, meaning that women are often left with no financial support to raise their children.  In mosques and on university campuses, gender segregation is enforced and protected, and the ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal has revealed that many of our state funded schools are also segregating children on the basis of gender, as well as teaching some truly awful things about the roles of men and women in society, including that women cannot say no to men in the bedroom.  Finally of course, many liberals wear the defence of the effacing of women via the niqab, as a badge of honour.

I believe that now is the time to rediscover the spirit of the suffragettes and finally call time on these injustices.

Will you march for Muslim women’s civil and political rights? Or will you wait half a century for the movie..?

-Ayaan Hirsi Ali


Wear The Poppy With Pride

Poppy

On the 4th August, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany to defend Belgium, and by proxy France, after Germany had set its ‘Schlieffen Plan’ in motion (a military operation intended to defeat Belgium, France & Russia in six weeks).

On the 3rd September, 1939, Britain declared war on Germany again, this time to defend Poland from Hitler’s search for ‘Lebensraum’ (living space) for the German people in the east.

In June 1992, a UN force, including British soldiers, entered the Bosnian war to protect Bosnian Muslims from the unfolding massacres being perpetrated upon them by Serb & Croat forces (with the encouragement of at least some Catholic Priests).

Currently, our soldiers are in Afghanistan and Iraq attempting to help re-build those societies and protect their people, having freed them from the suffocating, violent and all too often deadly consequences of living under religio-fascist dictatorships.  Whether you think this is a good thing or not, this is what they are doing.  They are risking their lives to protect the rights of women, to defend freedom of speech and to advocate the necessity of democratic, secular governance for a peaceful world.  As it’s a particular passion of my own, I think it’s worth mentioning that they are also saving animals from cruel practises such as bear baiting and dog fighting.

Of course one should never forget the vital contributions made from across the commonwealth, in the first and second world wars in particular, to assist the propagation of our most deeply held principles.  People from India, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada for example selflessly gave their lives alongside British troops.

And so it goes on.  Our shores have not been seriously threatened since 1588 and have not been breached since 1066.  The proudest moments in the recent history of our armed forces are represented by its defence of others, whoever they maybe, against nationalistic or religiously inspired aggression.   Whenever we have let ourselves down on the international stage, as for example we’ve undoubtedly done so on occasion in Northern Ireland, it has largely been due to us forgetting the core values for which we are generally, sometimes begrudgingly known for across the globe.

How distressing it must be then for those who’ve sacrificed so much for such noble, liberal, humanist causes, to see their legacy distorted by a section of the remembrance fraternity.  Some members of certain organisations (you know who they are), often whose essential business it is to ask for respect and support for our soldiers, far too often stain their reputations with racist, xenophobic and Christian rhetoric that are precisely not the values our soldiers fight and die for.  They are in fact the very evils being resisted.

So please wear the red poppy with pride this Remembrance Sunday.  But be sure to take a moment to consider what it truly stands for.  Let’s take back this fitting occasion from those who are perpetually angry and fearful of a changing world.