Action Alert: Fighting white supremacy
On Saturday, the egregious display of racism and bigotry in Charlottesville served as a reminder: we have a long way to go to end the ugly history of white supremacy in the U.S.
As we reflect on and grieve the violence we must also ask a key question: What can you and I do to fight white supremacy in this country?
I have some ideas about what we can do. Below there is a link where you can share your ideas too.
When we take on the hydra-headed beast of racism in our society we can take action on many levels and in many ways. We can hold vigils and rallies in our communities, work to help protect those people who are targeted in our communities, and push to change entrenched unjust policies at the local, state and federal level.
Let’s also attack white supremacy at the very top. Write your members of Congress today and ask them to push for the ousting of Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka.
While the history of white supremacy goes back centuries, something significant has changed in the last year. We can’t underestimate how powerful and pernicious the dog whistles and encouragement coming out of the White House are in emboldening the forces of bigotry in this country. White nationalism is emanating from the White House both in statements and in nativist policies like the Muslim ban and the president’s immigration proposals. We need to oppose the policies AND the people most responsible for them.
So today I am asking you, in addition to anything else you are doing to fight racism and bigotry, to contact your member of Congress and ask them to call for the firing of the white nationalists in the West Wing: Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka.
Can you write your members of Congress today and ask them to call for the firing or resignation of Bannon, Miller, and Gorka?
No one has done more to mainstream the racist “alt-right” than Steve Bannon. He helped build coalition that came together in Charlottesville by providing them with a platform at Breitbart News. Stephen Miller has been serving up a mixture of coy far-right dog whistles and blatant nativism in his communications role in the White House. If we fail to hold these leaders accountable their movement will grow.
Bannon and his “White Nationalist” cronies Miller and Gorka are now under fire after Charlottesville. Calls in the media for their removal have mushroomed over the last couple days, #FireBannon is trending, and you and I can make that clamour grow. If we are successful in encouraging our members of Congress to consistently speak out, the heat on the White House will grow.
Please write today and ask for your members of Congress to do everything they can to push for the removal of Bannon, Miller and Gorka. Bigotry, whether blatant or thinly veiled, has no place in the White House.
The fight against racist violence, racist policies and racist politicians will sadly take many years with many victories and setbacks along the way. But let’s not let the bigots win this round. Let’s kick their figureheads out of the West Wing.
Please tell us your ideas on fighting bigotry and racism in the comments section below.
I thought I’d also share this list from our colleague Kate Alexander at Peace Action of New York State of activists of color who are leaders in the modern civil rights struggle as a resource to learn more from:
Tara Zhaabowekwe Houska
W. Kamau Bell
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
The Middle Eastern Feminist
Rep. Ted Lieu
and Bryan Stevenson’s work at the Equal Justice Initiative
Yes! We need to get the white nationalists out of the White House. I have started a We the People petition on this, and we need people to sign it. It’s at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/purge-white-nationalists-white-house
My research suggests that the balkanization of the US body politic has been driven in large part by the commercial imperatives of the mainstream media in the US, especially the broadcasters, to segment their markets and suppress investigative journalism: Investigative journalism threatens to expose favors that major advertisers get from the government. The commercial media are not in the business of biting the hands that feed them. This balkanization has also been facilitated by terminating the fairness doctrine in the US in 1987. The hegemony of the mainstream media is threatened everywhere by net neutrality. Trump’s Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is attacking net neutrality with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “Restoring Internet freedom”: That’s the freedom of Internet access service providers like Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Spectrum (formerly TWC) to censor your Internet usage — block or throttle your access to web sites they don’t like, e.g., that compete with theirs, redirect users to web sites they didn’t want and strip encryption from people’s use of the Internet. Redirection and stripping encryption makes users vulnerable to identity theft. These tactics are documented in comments filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to FCC’s proceeding 17-108 at “fcc.gov/ecfs”. If Trump succeeds with this, it could be the single most consequential achievement of the Trump administration. People concerned about this are encouraged to send comments to the FCC and their representatives in the US Congress via “BattleForTheNet.com”. Spencer Graves, Founder, EffectiveDefense.ofg.
I think racism and violence have to be acknowledged as inherent in american society. Not everybody, of course, but a considerable segment. Trump’s language has allowed it to come out into the open. Now it needs to be dealt with as a society, by looking first of all at our history and then by admitting our faults. We need a Day of Repentance to start the process of change. Until we do this, it’s just a matter of time until the next tragedy.
Thanks Sem. Good ideas.
A minor tactical issue, perhaps, but here it is. I’m not a pacifist; I don’t believe that non-violence is a moral imperative. But I think those on the nonviolent left should explicitly distance themselves from antifa and others of that kind (including the man who punched Richard Spencer), and say that those people are not welcome at their marches, protests, etc. Violence against those on the far right is not only unethical but also tactically stupid. The right has way more weapons than we do, and will often have the police on their side in a brawl. It may seem that I’m criticizing the left disproportionately, but I don’t think I need to state the obvious about the right. The alt-right types are deplorable for their ideology, not for exercising their first amendment rights.
We need to come to terms with the broader meaning, in view of the fact that the woman who was killed was white. But with that said, it has been counter-productive to try to discuss race to the exclusion of class. Years of work went into pitting middle class against poor, and pitting the poor against each other by race. We’re 20-some years into one hell of a war on the poor that even liberals brush aside as irrelevant. Countless poor families have been torn apart, and the overall life expectancy of the US poor already fell below that of every developed nation. Although the majority of US poor are white, it is perceived as a black issue. All of this feeds into racial tensions.
The relationship between racism, classism, and economics cannot continue to be ignored. Racism is, at least in part, an economic issue. Nor can we continue to ignore the mental health issues of our seated president. 60,000 mental health professionals broke ranks with their professions to call attention to Trump’s issues. They affect us all, yet I have seen no one with the courage to bring this to the attention of the public at large. We remain the only developed nation that fails to provide universal health coverage to our citizens. It is past time we stood up to all attempts to marginalize people because of external, superficial characteristics and joined together to celebrate our diversity.