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The Return of American Race Laws
Posted on Feb 26, 2017
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White Europeans who are undocumented are not being targeted. The executive orders of President Trump are directed against people of color. They begin from the premise that white Americans are the true victims of neoliberalism, deindustrialization and falling living standards. The Trump orders are written not to make America great again but to make America white. They are an updated version of the Nazis’ Nuremberg race laws, the Jim Crow laws, the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Naturalization Act of 1870. They are intended to institutionalize an overt racial hierarchy in the United States, one already advanced by the miniature police states in which marginal communities of color find themselves. In these impoverished enclaves there is no right to trial or due process. Militarized police kill with impunity, and the courts lock people away often for life. Rights are treated as privileges that can instantly be revoked. The poor, especially poor people of color, have been exempted from moral consideration. They are viewed as impediments to social cohesion. And these impediments must be eliminated. This is the template for what will come. Jews—their community centers under threats of violence and their graveyards being desecrated—will be persecuted. American fascism will be cemented into place by uniformed and heavily armed paramilitary squads clutching the flag and the cross and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer.
“Little or no prospect of rescue from individual indolence or impotence can be expected to arrive from a political state that is not, and refuses to be, a social state,” the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman warned in “Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age.” “Without social rights for all, a large and in all probability growing number of people will find their political rights of little use and unworthy of their attention. If political rights are necessary to set social rights in place, social rights are indispensable to make political rights ‘real’ and keep them in operation. The two rights need each other for their survival; that survival can only be their joint achievement.”
Presidential chief strategist Stephen Bannon, in his public comments and his films such as “Generation Zero,” has embraced a historical determinism worthy of Karl Marx. He posits that Western culture has been contaminated and is being destroyed by darker races and barbaric religions and belief systems. His conspiratorial view of history and society sees a global war between the white race and the lesser breeds of the earth as not only inevitable but one that will reinvigorate and purify America.
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In a 2014 speech, Bannon said, “I believe we’ve come partly off-track in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we’re starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism.” (He delivered the talk via Skype to a group of other right-wing Catholics gathered in the Vatican. For a transcript posted by BuzzFeed, click here.)
“There is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global,” Bannon said. “It’s going global in scale, and today’s technology, today’s media, today’s access to weapons of mass destruction, it’s going to lead to a global conflict that I believe has to be confronted today. Every day that we refuse to look at this as what it is, and the scale of it, and really the viciousness of it, will be a day where you will rue that we didn’t act.”
Bannon, as Micah L. Sifry points out in The Nation, is a proponent of the theory popularized by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe in their books “Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069” (1991) and “The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy—What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous With Destiny” (1997). This theory holds that roughly every 80 years, roughly an average human life span, the country goes through a cataclysmic crisis. This crisis unleashes genocide and other killing that last a decade or more. In its aftermath the social order is rejuvenated. Strauss and Howe highlight the American Revolution of 1775-83, the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II as examples of how the cycle works.
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