Thousands of truckers are being hijacked by anti-vax loonies and encouraged to parade through red state America in search of any remaining Covid-19 restrictions to protest. The so-called “People’s Convoy” is scheduled to leave Barstow, California, on Wednesday, February 23, and meander eastward, picking up truckers as they go for a final jamboree and road-blocking in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 – the day of Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address. Are these the same organizers that brought us Canada’s “Freedom Convoy,” blocking the streets of the capital, Ottawa, for weeks and blocking border crossings to the U.S.? No, those organizers were arrested. Those trucks were confiscated. Those protesters have been debanked and uninsured. This is a whole new crop of American Made truckers.
Right wing politics
As of the middle of August, more than two dozen states have introduced — and 11 states have enacted — bills or rules to restrict the teaching of history and contemporary social realities. Right-wing activists have mounted similar attacks at school board meetings throughout the country. This stunning barrage of legislation and policies aims to ban teaching critical race theory (CRT), and supposedly “divisive topics” in the curriculum. But the real target is the truth. The anti-CRT campaign echoes the Big Lie that Trump won the election. It is the curricular counterpart to the wave of voter suppression laws promoted by the same far-right political forces that have tried to rewrite the history of the 2020 election and cover up the attempted coup on Jan. 6.
Given the current political divide and his ambitions to be the next Republican presidential candidate it should not be surprising that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said he supports what has been called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill going through the state House of Representatives. Not surprising, no, but disgusting, yes. One notices in “Parental Rights in Education,” a portion of the bill reads “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age appropriate…” While the idea of age appropriateness does not sound objectionable on its face, who determines that? And, according to the bill, elementary school kids would not be told that some students have two moms or two dads? Because in reality, some of them do.
Three years after the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil has been transformed from a generally respected rising power into a pariah state, repudiated for its appalling environmental and human rights record and for what Doctors Without Borders has called the world’s worst response to COVID-19. Brazilians like to joke about foreigners only knowing the country as the land of soccer, samba, and carnival. Today it is known as a prominent hub of far-right transnational conspiracy theories and democratic erosion. Bolsonaro, who ascended to the presidency of Latin America’s largest nation on a wave of reactionary bloodlust, willful ignorance, and the wishful thinking of establishment actors convinced they could control him, looms in international coverage of Brazil as a clear and present danger.
Critical Race Theory (CRT), once a little-known academic concept, is now at the center of the national political discussion. CRT is discussed incessantly on Fox News. It is featured in campaign advertisements. And legislation banning it is advancing in statehouses around the country. This didn't happen on its own. Rather, there is a constellation of non-profit groups and media outlets that are systematically injecting CRT into our politics. In 2020, most people had never heard of CRT. In 2021, a chorus of voices on the right insists it is an existential threat to the country. A Popular Information investigation reveals that many of the entities behind the CRT panic share a common funding source: The Thomas W. Smith Foundation.
Since the rise of the internet, and especially since the diffusion of the internet through all parts of everyday life, the far right has scattered, diversified and stuck itself back together. The internet has facilitated these tendencies, filtering and contorting familiar forms of activity and ideology, and pushed far-right groups to adapt, causing the decline of some formations and the break-up of others. Despite the lack of formal mass organizations, the far right has not gone away — instead it has produced new configurations of tactics, priorities and goals.
Wing describes this multiracial base: “We need to build the independent strength of the most determined racial, social, climate, and economic justice constituencies – those that understand that inequality, war, and environmental destruction are rooted in capitalism and that the corporate class is an unstable opponent of racism and authoritarianism.”
On February 4, a Lebanese employee of foreign embassies and NGOs was murdered in the southern Lebanese village of Addousiyeh. Few Lebanese people had heard of the 58-year-old socialite who had made his living in recent years by informing on his own community. But the Western diplomatic and NGO community reacted in horror and grief, as did the small clique of Lebanese citizens who worked with them. The kidnapping and assassination of Lokman Slim on a dark and lonely road attracted substantial Western media attention as well. His death was immediately politicized, with Slim portrayed as a martyr slain for his criticism of Lebanese Hezbollah. But Slim was not merely an opponent of the militant populist Shia group known as Hezbollah.
Benjamin Netanyahu may be deeply immersed in a trial on multiple corruption charges. He may have dragged Israelis to four elections in two years. And he may have held his political rivals – and the country – to ransom by refusing to pass a budget. But despite all that, this election result shows beyond doubt that no party leader is even close to Netanyahu in winning the confidence of Israelis. With most votes counted, his Likud party has 30 seats – nearly twice the number of its nearest rival, Yesh Atid, with 17 mandates. The rest of the pack – a further 11 parties – are jostling far behind, most of them at between six and eight seats each. This election marks a historic victory for what in Israel is termed “the right” but that comprises religious fundamentalist and far-right parties.
“I’m a Trump supporter,” the man told Danny Timpona, and went on to say that as much as he needed affordable health care, he absolutely was not in favor of any plan that included undocumented immigrants. “This country’s too damn free. We need to take care of our own people,” he said. That wasn’t the end of their conversation on a front porch in rural North Carolina. It was the beginning. Timpona shared a bit of his own story, said there were many people he knew and loved who’d moved here from other places. He asked the man what his experience with immigrants has been. Turns out a lot of the people he worked with were immigrants. “They’re hard-working, family-centered, love ‘em to death.”
Again, millions of non-white people crouched over their mobile screens. We crouched just as earlier generations of Black people crouched below window panes, wondering if they managed to outrun conservative white mobs. Mobs that the popular media, then as now, apologised for and referred to as aggrieved. Again, we peered into our screens as if they were a rural town’s night, watching for early signs of trouble. To see if the preferred candidate of the vehicle-ramming white nationalists had won or if we had been snatched to safety by the other one.
In the face of massive early voter turnout and a flood of mail-in ballots, Trump, in a last ditch effort, is continuing to signal that he will refuse to accept the outcome of the election; falling back on the combined power of the supreme court, the repressive power of the police and National Guard against protesters, and violent far-Right groups on the streets engaging in voter suppression and intimidation. Trump and his supporters have also once again started to float the idea of invoking the Insurrection Act; which would allow Trump to unleash the military on American civilians along with a flood of
Katharina Gellein: Charles was the special adviser to the UK's Select Committee on fake news that started in 2017, and I wanted to make a film about fake news. Charles was the first person to walk through the door in Parliament and sit down and say to the MPs: "Cambridge Analytica." This was when everybody was sort of at the level of, "Oh, isn't Facebook a nice thing and isn't that good?" And then of course, shortly after that, [Cambridge Analytica whistleblower] Chris Wiley came with his evidence and the whole case just blew the doors open.