Stephanie McCurry’s explication of the Confederate States of America not as some “libertarian symbol of small government and resistance to federal tyranny” but as a repressive, white supremacist, “centralized state” conscripting its population to fight a “rich man’s war” includes a description of its political reality which seems mightily and distressingly familiar.
The war brought a terrible reckoning for the Confederate States of America, subjecting it to the military test of the Union armies and the political judgment of its own people. The C.S.A. was a nation built on a slim foundation of democratic consent: Of its total population of 9 million, only about 1.5 million were white men of voting and military age; the rest—white women and the enslaved—formed the vast ranks of the politically dispossessed. Political consent, and popular support for the war effort, were accordingly shallow.
What’s galling isn’t only that the Trump campaign bought Facebook advertisements using an old Nazi symbol for communists, socialists, and other antifascists but that the antifascist response to it has been historically disingenuous. It took me all of maybe five minutes on Google to find that one variant or another of Antifascist Action engaged in “reclamation of the red triangle symbol used by the Nazis to label communists” and maybe two more minutes to find that the Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime, an antifascist organization founded in 1947 which “emerged from victims’ associations”, had “adopted” as its symbol “the ‘red triangle’, the sign sewn on the concentration camp uniforms of political prisoners”.
(The symbol also appears on “many postwar memorials to the victims of the Nazis”.)
On such monuments, typically an inverted (point down, base up) triangle (especially if red) evokes all victims, including also the non-Jewish victims like Slavs, Poles, communists, homosexuals, Roma and Sinti (see Porajmos), the handicapped (see Action T4), Soviet POWs and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
None of this is to say that the Trump campaign isn’t full of shit here, or didn’t know exactly what nasty shit they were doing; it’s not a widely-used symbol of “antifa”, but to say that it isn’t one at all only erases these early antifascists, many of whom were actual victims and persecutees of the actual Nazi regime, which seems counterproductive and unfair. This sort of reappropriative reclamation of language or symbols by persecuted groups has a long and storied history — including, most (in)famously, the pink triangle by LGBTQ communities — and the inverted red triangle was part of that.
So, is the Supreme Court’s declination to hear challenges to “qualified immunity” for cops because they see the nation roiling over police accountability and want to let that political process play out, or because they simply don’t want to revisit their old decisions?
This is by design and I’m not exactly sure what the White House is trying to prove here, but the white nationalism is strong with this one. With the world already smoldering from the Black Lives Matter protests against the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, holding a white power rally on the day that slavery ended in the place that “remains one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history,” is low, even for this administration. This has the potential to be a molotov cocktail of destruction and if this all goes to shit, and America will have itself to blame and Stephen Miller—always Stephen Miller.
From Trump’s Holding His First Rally in Months on Juneteenth in Tulsa, Okla., and All of This Stinks of Stephen Miller by Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Holy hell. I was going to link the latest Heather Cox Richardson because of the bit on the Republican Party’s “abandonment of writing a party platform” — but then I was caught short by the part about the move of Mine Furor’s nomination acceptance speech to Florida.
Trump will give his acceptance speech in Jacksonville on August 27. The date is the sixtieth anniversary of a brutal attack on Black Jacksonville residents by white mobs brandishing baseball bats and ax handles, an event known as “Ax Handle Saturday.”
Coming as it is on the heels of his Juneteenth rally in Tulsa, the site of another historically brutal attack of black Americans by white mobs, we now appear to have the beginnings of a pattern. It’s enough to make you doubt the campaign’s claims of surprise regarding Tulsa.
Black Tulsans are pushing back against Mine Furor’s upcoming rally on June 19, and maybe the most aggravating thing is the bit the about campaign’s thinking.
The Trump campaign was aware in advance that the date for the president’s return to rallies was Juneteenth, according to two campaign officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly about internal discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity.
When the date was discussed, it was noted that Biden had held a fundraiser a year ago on Juneteenth. Though choosing June 19 was not meant to be incendiary, some blowback was expected, the officials said. But the campaign was caught off guard by the intensity, particularly when some linked the selection to the 1921 massacre.
There’s a calendar of Portland Black Lives Matter Events if anyone’s trying to find things to do.
There’s an important point in the latest Jill Filipovic newsletter regarding the sort of seismic shift that’s happened in how the country talks about policing.
Today, commentators on CNN are discussing what it would mean to defund the police. Politicians are having to tell the public what they’ll do to fix this problem. Democrats are being asked about cutting police funding (they nearly all say that they want to scale back bad policing, but virtually none say they want to get rid of police entirely). Still, the middle has moved so rapidly left that “reform the police” is now the conservative position.
Politico talked to National Guard troops about struggling with their role during recent demonstrations, including in and around Mine Furor’s park-clearing photo-op.
Public support for Black Lives Matter is growing fast, as is acceptance that African-Americans really do face systemic racism.
Over the last two weeks, support for Black Lives Matter increased by nearly as much as it had over the previous two years, according to data from Civiqs, an online survey research firm. By a 28-point margin, Civiqs finds that a majority of American voters support the movement, up from a 17-point margin before the most recent wave of protests began.
The survey is not the only one to suggest that recent protests enjoy broad public support. Weekly polling for the Democracy Fund’s U.C.L.A./Nationscape survey shows a significant increase in unfavorable views of the police, and an increase in the belief that African-Americans face a lot of discrimination.
The tension right now between protestors and politicians is about where in the iceberg to aim policy interventions. Protestors, to my view, appear to be pushing for changes in “system structure” by demanding shifts in not just the way police officers interact with people of color, but also in the way they’re funded and the laws they enforce. The politicians, for the most part, seem hopeful that by dealing with the “event”—particularly punishing the “bad apple” police officers who are directly responsible for specific acts of violence—they will solve the problem. While holding individuals accountable is certainly part of the solution, the iceberg model clearly shows that in order to create more wide-scale and lasting change, you must intervene deeper in the system, just as the Black Lives Matter movement and many others before them have been advocating. The point of demands like defunding the police and changing laws/policies that are overwhelmingly aimed at policing Black and brown people, is to focus on the more deeply-rooted “systems structure” rather than just the “events” that sit at the surface.