History Need Not Repeat Itself
When I grew up in Fresno, went to school and learned about World War II, there was one thing I could never understand. How could the German people allow Hitler and the Nazis to rise to power, start wars of aggression, demonize and murder people of the Jewish faith (as well as Gypsies and Gays)? It took a while (I’m 65 now), but I think I have figured it out.
In this country today, we have a president and ruling party that attacks Muslims, scapegoats immigrants and is engaged in wars of aggression in many countries. The tax cuts to the rich and corporations, deregulation of industry and privatization (e.g., schools, prisons) represents the merger of business and government interests. This is the classic definition of a fascist state.
With the emergence of a massive video surveillance infrastructure, the militarization of our police and the manipulation of our democratic system by Russia, we are precariously close to being an even larger menace to the world than Nazi Germany.
The only hope I have is that the people of this country will wake up, rip the mask off the Republican/Trump fascist machine and do what the German people were unable to do. There are many possible paths to our success, but one that stands out right now is to help push a Blue Wave in the 2018 elections. If you want to work with fellow progressives on a local electoral strategy, I encourage you to check out and join the Central Valley Progressive PAC (www. cvppac.org).
We also must be prepared to hold public rallies/demonstrations to protest the outrageous policies of the Trump administration. To stay in touch with grassroots groups in the Fresno area, I urge you to subscribe to the Community Alliance newspaper (www.fresnoalliance.com) and radio station KFCF (www. kfcf.org).
In the 1928 German federal elections, the Nazi party received less than 3% of the vote and won just 12 seats in the Reichstag. In 1929, the wealthy gambling in the stock market damaged the global economy (read jobs). After the Depression misery kicked in, the Nazis increased their seats to 107 in 1930. We all know what happened next. Scapegoating works to make threatened people think they are making their lives better.
Take another historical example. As revealed April 8 on 60 Minutes, from 1882 to 1930, the correlation between the price of cotton and the number of lynchings of Black men by Whites suggests that a poor economy induced White people to take out their frustrations by attacking an outgroup. In the past two decades, U.S. businesses giving jobs to foreign countries—or more likely to robots—suggests uneducated, untrained White people are now threatened. Whether it was U.S. politicians lying about Japanese Americans in 1942, Vietnam in the 1960s or Saddam Hussein in 2003, fearful Americans are fertile soil for blaming others for their problems.
Angry conservative Evangelical groups think President Trump is caving on his campaign promises to stop immigration. Yet, in March 2017, the Border Patrol noted that apprehensions at the southwest border were the lowest in at least 17 years. While more 21st century jobs have been lost to robots than immigrants, the corporate media tells you that California farmers need more Mexican labor to do jobs that White people simply will not do.
A former associate recently told me, “I have a friend who is a librarian at a university near Washington, D.C. She told me that if the taxpayers knew what was really going on in Washington by Congress and the corporations, they would burn the place to the ground.”
More Mexican border and wall news? The President is running for re-election.