The F Word: Wake Up, Liberals - Either We Hang Together or We Fall Apart

News & Politics

There’s one thing people on the left need to get deadly serious about under the Trump administration, either we hang together or we hang apart. 

Donald Trump and his supporters are deadly serious about harassing, intimidating, villifying and removing all those they consider subversive. And their immigration program is just a start. 

More than two million people were deported under the eight years of the Obama presidency, greater than any preceding administration. The scope of Trump’s plan builds on the law that Obama left in place, and expands enforcement, with thousands of new agents and enlisting the already expanded force of local police and sheriffs.

The targets of the deportation drive are “Those people who are in this country and pose a threat to our public, or have committed a crime.” Says the White House. Note the phrasing. No crime’s required other than posing a threat. 

We’re talking about a dragnet of the sort last seen in the 1950s. Operation Wetback not only rounded up and carted off over a million people in brutal conditions a congressional inquiry later compared to slave ships, but also fueled and was fueled by a red scare, the same scare that was also targeting labor organizers, civil rights activists and early environmentalists.

Then, anti-communisim fanned the flames of anti-immigrant paranoia. Communists were said to be flooding across the border. Today it’s rapists and terrorists; criminals. The same criminals, let’s remember, whom Americans have been taught to fear for years already, justifying the militarization of our borders, our police forces, our schools, our streets, and in a different sense, our media and Hollywood. 

As we know from our history all those institutions can work seamlessly together to effectively suspend the constitution, given enough public panic. 

Republicans in general and Trump/Bannon/Pence in particular love the fifties and, implicitly, the cold War, Wetback, Jim Crow, Father Knows Best  McCarthyism of those years. Although he declined to name it, the president praised Eisenhower’s deportation drive in the debates. 

The witch hunts and migrant panics divided liberals and the left, split the labor and the civil rights movement and held back the coming together of a movement of movements that’s so urgently needed at this moment.  

What else do we know? The beneficiaries are pretty obvious—then and now, the ones to gain are big business, especially big agriculture, or Big Prison, Big War Machine and Big Police. Anyone, in fact, who profits off a poor and relatively powerless workforce. 

Who’s hurt? Everyone else. So doesn’t that put an awful lot of people in the same big boat? 

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