Newsletter – Beyond Russia: The Work Ahead
Above Trump protesters marching toward Trump Tower in New York City on November 8, 2016, by Dustin Kirkpatrick.
As the day that the Electoral College casts its vote for President draws near, so does the frenzy of accusations that Russians hacked the election to benefit Donald Trump and are spreading ‘fake news’ full of Russian propaganda. It seems like everyone is jumping on the anti-Russia bandwagon, including past Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and most of the organizations affiliated with the Democratic Party. Many are calling for the Electors to switch their votes to Hillary Clinton.
The absurdity of the 2016 Presidential election doesn’t seem to have an end. We urge readers not to get drawn into the manufactured distractions of the day. We have real work to do, no matter who is elected, to organize across multiple fronts of struggle.
Let’s Be Clear: There is Not Enough Evidence
With the CIA, FBI, New York Times, President Obama and members of Congress stirring up fears of Russian hacking to influence the Presidential election, we want to make one thing clear: There is insufficient evidence to support the allegations of Russian hacking. Our trusted allies at the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity state:
“The various ways in which usually anonymous spokespeople for U.S. intelligence agencies are equivocating – saying things like ‘our best guess’ or ‘our opinion’ or ‘our estimate’ etc. – shows that the emails alleged to have been ‘hacked’ cannot be traced across the network. Given NSA’s extensive trace capability, we conclude that DNC and HRC servers alleged to have been hacked were, in fact, not hacked.”
Sam Biddle in the Intercept describes what we know about the evidence that Russia did it. After reviewing all the evidence he concludes the public evidence is insufficient: “The U.S. intelligence community must make its evidence against Russia public if they want us to believe their claims. The integrity of our presidential elections is vital to the country’s survival; blind trust in the CIA is not.” He concludes: “The stakes are simply too high to take anyone’s word for it.”
In fact, an entirely different story than the corporate media narrative comes from former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, an ally of Wikileaks, who describes how the DNC and Clinton emails were leaked by a whistleblower upset about the unfair Democratic Party primary. He describes how he was given the information in a park in Washington, DC by someone working with that whistleblower. Julian Assange has also said that the documents did not come from Russia or any other government.
Rather than face up to the corruption and the reasons why Clinton lost, largely due to the failures of the Democratic Party to represent the needs or interests of its voters and Clinton’s ties to Wall Street, war and Walmart, the Democrats are creating a scapegoat and placing the blame on Russia.
This is a dangerous game to play. The United States has been stoking conflict with Russia for years in order to maintain global hegemony. While war with Russia may serve the interests of the military-industrial complex and its investors, the impacts will mostly be felt by the military members who are placed in harm’s way, their families, the civilians who are displaced, injured or killed, those in need of safety net programs that are cut, the planet… and we must remember that the US and Russia have most of the nuclear weapons in the world. When people propagate unsubstantiated claims about Russia, they are feeding the lies and hysteria that comprise drum beats to war. The US has been developing tactical nuclear weapons that can be used in battle; nuclear weapons are a real threat.
Nauman Sadiq writes that the actual ‘fake news’ comes from the mainstream media: “Monopoly capitalism and the global neocolonial political and economic order are the real issues, while Islamic radicalism and terrorism are the secondary issues which are itself an adverse reaction to the former. This is how the mainstream media constructs artificial narratives and dupes its audience into believing the absurd….” When we take a step back to look at the situation, it is hypocritical of the United States to point fingers at other countries. The US has been a world leader in regime change for centuries. Robert Parry explains the hypocrisy of the situation on many levels.
The Work Ahead
No matter who is elected, we must remember that it is the system that is the problem. The current mirage democracy only allows candidates approved by the political elites, with rare exceptions, to make it into the debates and onto the ballot. The current political system at all levels works for the wealthy at the expense of the many. The reality of US oligarchy is more obvious with Trump as his cabinet has more wealth than one-third US households combined.
Our work continues as it has before to educate, organize and mobilize to prevent harmful policies and put in place new systems that address the crises we face. To that end, there is a lot of work being done right now to prepare for harmful policies that are anticipated in the new year.
Muslim activists and allies are pressuring President Obama to get rid of a program, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), that was used to target Muslims and Arabs after 9/11. They are concerned that it will be used by President-Elect Trump to create a discriminatory Muslim database. Jewish activists protested a Hanukkah party held at the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC over concerns that major Jewish organizations are trying to build favor with an administration that will maintain the culture of white supremacy and bigotry.
Immigrant-rights activists are organizing in their communities to resist raids, threats of deportation and a growing culture of fear that will empower employers to further exploit workers. They are pressuring local law enforcement and schools to refuse to cooperate with ICE even if it means that their cities lose some federal funding. The Alliance for Global Justice is planning a trip to Mexico in March to investigate the impacts of the militarized border and drug war.
Women are planning a march in Washington, DC the day after the Inauguration to say, “We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society.” The march has been somewhat controversial in the way that it was being organized and its focus on permits. Local DC organizer, Cayce D. Utley, describes some of the concerns and provides organizing resources in “A Note to My Fellow White Women…“.
Indigenous rights will be under further assault by the Trump administration. President-elect Trump and Texas Governor Rick Perry, the pick for Department of Energy, are both invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline project. There are reasonable concerns that they may act to allow the pipeline to be completed. Ragina Johnson describes some of the difficulties involved in doing that. She also writes about other efforts led by First Nations to fight fossil fuel infrastructure. Another campaign is focused on stopping Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, which will mean transportation of 1.5 million tons of radioactive ore everyday through and near tribal lands for milling in White Mesa, which is close to a Ute community. You can learn more and support it at HaulNo.org.
The planet faces a greater threat under the Trump administration. Efforts to stop fossil fuel infrastructure and create clean renewable energy will need to escalate. Resistance is showing up in unusual spaces. When the Trump transition team asked for the names of employees at the Department of Energy who work on climate change, the DOE refused. Recently in San Francisco, climate scientists heeded the call of “Out of the lab and into the streets” with a large rally.
One reason that Donald Trump won the election was because voters rejected the Democratic Party for its failures to address the stagnant economy and growing wealth divide. The Affordable Care Act has left almost thirty million people still without coverage and those who have health insurance are forced to pay high premiums and high out-of-pocket costs. The so-called recovery has left workers scrambling to survive in a largely service sector economy rife with part-time hours, low pay and wage theft. While some on the Left are calling for efforts to prevent Trump from entering the White House, we know that a President Clinton would continue the neo-liberal and militaristic policies of the Obama administration. Here is a new guide from former Congressional staffers on tactics for opposing the White House’s agenda. It’s up to us to demand the changes we require.
Putting Forth a Positive Agenda
While the work to stop harmful policies is critical, we must also organize around a positive agenda that promotes the transformational changes we require. This is why Popular Resistance is promoting the People’s Agenda, developed over years of resistance movements. We will launch the first tool in this campaign on December 20 – look for an email from us on that day. We are also holding regular national conference calls. Learn more about those here.
The Trump administration is planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act immediately with a three-year period to come up with an alternative. Tom Price, the choice for the Department of Health and Human Services, is a proponent of privatizing the healthcare system further and dismantling public insurances, like Medicare and Medicaid. An important task for the movement will be to make the demand for the best solution, a single payer healthcare system, the only politically-feasible answer.
Our healthcare system needs to be based on health care for everyone, not profits for a few, Nichoas Conley explains that an improved Medicare for All should be a bi-partisan issue because healthcare is a human right and it is the only approach that makes economic sense. Of course the only thing preventing the obvious solution is corrupt politics dominated by corporate interests including health insurance, pharmaceuticals and for-profit hospitals designed for investors.
Recently, Congress and the White House passed the Twenty-First Century Cures Act, which sounds great on the surface, but actually weakens the regulatory power of the Food and Drug Administration and enhances the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. A single payer health care system would allow greater control over the Big Pharma and would also take health benefits off the table for workers so they could focus more on safer working conditions and higher wages. In New York, workers are currently on strike at Momentive because of proposed cuts to healthcare coverage.
Another positive solution is to push for new economic institutions that are democratized – give greater decision-making power and benefit to people. For example, a new project in Croatia is taking the concept of a credit union even further by not only being cooperatively-run non-profit but also making sure that the projects it funds have a positive social or ecological benefit and ending debt. In the US, there is a growing movement for public banks, such as the state bank in North Dakota. Public banks hold public dollars (taxes, fees, etc) and the public has input into their mission. Rather than paying millions of dollars in fees to Wall Street banks, those dollars are kept in the public bank.
Santa Fe is close to creating the first municipal public bank in the US. Matt Stannard and Marc Armstrong explain why public banks are important and how they protect cities. For example, Santa Fe has made a commitment to being a sanctuary city for immigrants. A public bank will help to stave off the impact of lost federal funding for not cooperating with the administration.
These are some of the tasks and opportunities ahead. Overall, to achieve the changes we need, we must continue to build the culture of resistance. It is great to see more people having the courage to take action. Together, we can prevail.
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