The Gathering Storm (annotated)

Keep your eyes open, your heads up, your minds alert and your bodies ready. Trump ran an explicitly fascist campaign, and no one should now be surprised that he’s moving quickly to promote a fascist program and consolidate a fascist government. It’s not fascism yet, but demonstrably pre-fascist, and what we do now will be decisive.
The fight-back is inspiring—but we must keep organizing, gathering, staying mobilized, joining hands and rising up.
An authentic and effective opposition (I repeat myself) will not be led by the Democrats, because a bipartisan effort got us to this spot: permanent war, austerity, privatization, trade unions destroyed, mass incarceration, income inequality, hyper-segregation, and more. Take education…Democrats and Repulsicans alike have agreed that education is a product to be sold at the market place; yes Betsy DeVos is a monster, but she stands at the end of a long road taken decades ago.
So we must build the opposition, unite all who can be united, and offer an alternative to both neoliberalism and fascism. The US empire is in a steady and irreversible decline, a moment of great danger and real possibility.
Here we go!
Forges national unity under an autocratic, authoritarian leader—the classic Strong Man—who will “solve all your problems” as he implements a program advocating stability, law and order, and more and more centralized power, claiming all of this is necessary in order to defend the homeland, and to respond effectively to economic instability.
Trump’s inauguration speech is a textbook: “America first;” depicting the country as damaged—“American carnage”— and in need of radical restoration; claiming legitimacy exclusively from the people who voted for him; stating that he alone stands above the corrupt political class and has a mandate to sweep the slate clean and start over.
Trump issues an executive order denying federal funds to “Sanctuary Cities.”
White nationalist and top Trump advisor Steve Bannon is appointed by Trump to a permanent seat on the National Security Council, as the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence are removed.
Trump purges most of the top officials at the State Department in a single day.
Attempts to mobilize a mass base through deliberately constructed fear and hatred as the leader prepares for armed conflict and permanent war, holding the military as a unifying model of organizational excellence, expanding the carceral surveillance state, glorifying national greatness and appealing to patriotic nationalism, and militarizing the police and security forces and all aspects of society; agitates bigotry, intolerance, and threats as it fuels violence by demonizing targeted, distinct racial, religious, or gendered vulnerable populations, and creates sacrificial scapegoats who are repeatedly blamed for every social or economic problem people experience.
Trump signs an executive order to build his $20 billion border wall, and promises aggressive efforts to round up and deport millions of undocumented workers and families.
Trump signs an executive order codifying his long-promised Muslim ban, barring indefinitely Syrian refugees from entering the US, suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days, and blocking citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from entering the US for 90 days. The US is currently bombing five (Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia), has troops deployed and military bases in another (Sudan), and imposes harsh sanctions and frequent threats against the last (Iran). No one from those targeted countries ever killed a US citizen. Notably missing from his scapegoat list: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE—places where Trump has extensive business dealings.
Trump reinstates and massively expands the “global gag rule” punishing any foreign family-planning organization that uses its own money to provide, or even discuss, abortion services; millions of poor women will lose birth control access, and thousands will die from unsafe abortions in the name of pro-life.
Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, defends the unusual failure to mention Jewish people in a statement recognizing Holocaust Remembrance Day: “I mean, everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust including obviously, all of the Jewish people affected and the miserable genocide that occurred — it’s something that we consider to be extraordinarily sad.”
Criminalizes whole communities and populations.
Trump issues a warning on day one, saying that his is a law and order regime, and anyone who disrespects the police or questions their legitimacy is “on notice.”
“If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!”~~Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
Promotes disdain for the arts, for intellectual life, for reason and evidence, as well as deep contempt for the necessary back and forth of serious argument or discussion.
White nationalist Steve Bannon, Trump’s Joseph Goebbels, issues a directive to the press: “The media should keep its mouth shut for a while.”
Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump advisor, argues in a televised interview that the administration is looking at “alternative facts” to bolster the bosses ongoing lie that a million or a million and a half people attended his Inauguration, according to Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary and official mouthpiece who always looks like his head is about to explode, “the largest crowd in history, period!”
Trump says repeatedly—Big Lie style—that 3-5 million votes were cast illegally.
Kellyanne Conway demands that journalists who “talked smack” about Trump be fired.
Suppresses or crushes dissent.
Trump asks the Department of Energy for the names of climate scientists; tells the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service to put in a ban on “any public-facing documents,” including “news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content;” freezes all Environmental Protection Agency grants and suspends its Twitter account; scrubs the White House web pages of references to climate change or energy alternatives to fossil fuels; deletes Tweets about climate change from Badlands National Park; calls the director of the National Park Service to ask why his staff had released data about the inauguration crowd, which Trump insisted was the largest ever, a lie repeated by his terrified press person.
Trump signs orders advancing the dangerous Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines and cancels a federal conference on the health impacts of climate change.
200 protestors and several journalists are arrested during the Trump inauguration and are charged with felonies.
Conservative legislatures from coast-to-coast are introducing legislation that will criminalize protest, turning traditional civil disobedience into felony crimes, sometimes defined as “economic terrorism.”
Trump fires his acting Attorney General when she tells him that his travel ban is illegal.
Entangles corporations, the military, and the state, creating a military/industrial/corporate complex that takes over the instruments of government while it works to destroy the commons or a free and public space (public schools, public health, public safety), and disappear any sense of a public or a collective need in favor of hyper-individualism.
Exxon Mobile is in charge of the State Department, Goldman Sachs at Treasury, Amway at Education, and the uniformed military—not civilians—in charge of Defense.
Civil Courage is Needed Now!
Organize! Organize! Organize!
Resist! Rise Up!

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