Posts Tagged ‘white supremacy’

The Making and the Breaking of the Legend of Robert E. Lee

August 29, 2017

In the Band’s popular song “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” an ex-Confederate soldier refers to Robert E. Lee as “the very best.” It is difficult to think of another song that mentions a general by name. But Lee has always occupied a unique place in the national imagination. The ups and downs of his reputation reflect changes in key elements of Americans’ historical consciousness — how we understand race relations, the causes and consequences of the Civil War and the nature of the good society.

Born in 1807, Lee was a product of the Virginia gentry — his father a Revolutionary War hero and governor of the state, his wife the daughter of George Washington’s adopted son. Lee always prided himself on following the strict moral code of a gentleman. He managed to graduate from West Point with no disciplinary demerits, an almost impossible feat considering the complex maze of rules that governed the conduct of cadets.

While opposed to disunion, when the Civil War broke out and Virginia seceded, Lee went with his state. He won military renown for defeating (until Gettysburg) a succession of larger Union forces. Eventually, he met his match in Ulysses S. Grant and was forced to surrender his army in April 1865. At Appomattox he urged his soldiers to accept the war’s outcome and return to their homes, rejecting talk of carrying on the struggle in guerrilla fashion. He died in 1870, at the height of Reconstruction, when biracial governments had come to power throughout the South.

But, of course, what interests people who debate Lee today is his connection with slavery and his views about race. During his lifetime, Lee owned a small number of slaves. He considered himself a paternalistic master but could also impose severe punishments, especially on those who attempted to run away. Lee said almost nothing in public about the institution. His most extended comment, quoted by all biographers, came in a letter to his wife in 1856. Here he described slavery as an evil, but one that had more deleterious effects on whites than blacks. He felt that the “painful discipline” to which they were subjected benefited blacks by elevating them from barbarism to civilization and introducing them to Christianity. The end of slavery would come in God’s good time, but this might take quite a while, since to God a thousand years was just a moment. Meanwhile, the greatest danger to the “liberty” of white Southerners was the “evil course” pursued by the abolitionists, who stirred up sectional hatred. In 1860, Lee voted for John C. Breckinridge, the extreme pro-slavery candidate. (A more moderate Southerner, John Bell, carried Virginia that year.)

Lee’s code of gentlemanly conduct did not seem to apply to blacks. During the Gettysburg campaign, he did nothing to stop soldiers in his army from kidnapping free black farmers for sale into slavery. In Reconstruction, Lee made it clear that he opposed political rights for the former slaves. Referring to blacks (30 percent of Virginia’s population), he told a Congressional committee that he hoped the state could be “rid of them.” Urged to condemn the Ku Klux Klan’s terrorist violence, Lee remained silent.

By the time the Civil War ended, with the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, deeply unpopular, Lee had become the embodiment of the Southern cause. A generation later, he was a national hero. The 1890s and early 20th century witnessed the consolidation of white supremacy in the post-Reconstruction South and widespread acceptance in the North of Southern racial attitudes. A revised view of history accompanied these developments, including the triumph of what David Blight, in his influential book “Race and Reunion” (2001), calls a “reconciliationist” memory of the Civil War. The war came to be seen as a conflict in which both sides consisted of brave men fighting for noble principles — union in the case of the North, self-determination on the part of the South. This vision was reinforced by the “cult of Lincoln and Lee,” each representing the noblest features of his society, each a figure Americans of all regions could look back on with pride. The memory of Lee, this newspaper wrote in 1890, was “the possession of the American people.”

Reconciliation excised slavery from a central role in the story, and the struggle for emancipation was now seen as a minor feature of the war. The Lost Cause, a romanticized vision of the Old South and Confederacy, gained adherents throughout the country. And who symbolized the Lost Cause more fully than Lee?

This outlook was also taken up by the Southern Agrarians, a group of writers who idealized the slave South as a bastion of manly virtue in contrast to the commercialism and individualism of the industrial North. At a time when traditional values appeared to be in retreat, character trumped political outlook, and character Lee had in spades. Frank Owsley, the most prominent historian among the Agrarians, called Lee “the soldier who walked with God.” (Many early biographies directly compared Lee and Christ.) Moreover, with the influx of millions of Catholics and Jews from southern and eastern Europe alarming many Americans, Lee seemed to stand for a society where people of Anglo-Saxon stock controlled affairs.

Historians in the first decades of the 20th century offered scholarly legitimacy to this interpretation of the past, which justified the abrogation of the constitutional rights of Southern black citizens. At Columbia University, William A. Dunning and his students portrayed the granting of black suffrage during Reconstruction as a tragic mistake. The Progressive historians — Charles Beard and his disciples — taught that politics reflected the clash of class interests, not ideological differences. The Civil War, Beard wrote, should be understood as a transfer of national power from an agricultural ruling class in the South to the industrial bourgeoisie of the North; he could tell the entire story without mentioning slavery except in a footnote. In the 1920s and 1930s, a group of mostly Southern historians known as the revisionists went further, insisting that slavery was a benign institution that would have died out peacefully. A “blundering generation” of politicians had stumbled into a needless war. But the true villains, as in Lee’s 1856 letter, were the abolitionists, whose reckless agitation poisoned sectional relations. This interpretation dominated teaching throughout the country, and reached a mass audience through films like “The Birth of a Nation,” which glorified the Klan, and “Gone With the Wind,” with its romantic depiction of slavery. The South, observers quipped, had lost the war but won the battle over its history.

As far as Lee was concerned, the culmination of these trends came in the publication in the 1930s of a four-volume biography by Douglas Southall Freeman, a Virginia-born journalist and historian. For decades, Freeman’s hagiography would be considered the definitive account of Lee’s life. Freeman warned readers that they should not search for ambiguity, complexity or inconsistency in Lee, for there was none — he was simply a paragon of virtue. Freeman displayed little interest in Lee’s relationship to slavery. The index to his four volumes contained 22 entries for “devotion to duty,” 19 for “kindness,” 53 for Lee’s celebrated horse, Traveller. But “slavery,” “slave emancipation” and “slave insurrection” together received five. Freeman observed, without offering details, that slavery in Virginia represented the system “at its best.” He ignored the postwar testimony of Lee’s former slave Wesley Norris about the brutal treatment to which he had been subjected. In 1935 Freeman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in biography.

That same year, however, W. E. B. Du Bois published “Black Reconstruction in America,” a powerful challenge to the mythologies about slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction that historians had been purveying. Du Bois identified slavery as the fundamental cause of the war and emancipation as its most profound outcome. He portrayed the abolitionists as idealistic precursors of the 20th-century struggle for racial justice, and Reconstruction as a remarkable democratic experiment — the tragedy was not that it was attempted but that it failed. Most of all, Du Bois made clear that blacks were active participants in the era’s history, not simply a problem confronting white society. Ignored at the time by mainstream scholars, “Black Reconstruction” pointed the way to an enormous change in historical interpretation, rooted in the egalitarianism of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and underpinned by the documentary record of the black experience ignored by earlier scholars. Today, Du Bois’s insights are taken for granted by most historians, although they have not fully penetrated the national culture.

Inevitably, this revised view of the Civil War era led to a reassessment of Lee, who, Du Bois wrote elsewhere, possessed physical courage but not “the moral courage to stand up for justice to the Negro.” Even Lee’s military career, previously viewed as nearly flawless, underwent critical scrutiny. In “The Marble Man” (1977), Thomas Connelly charged that “a cult of Virginia authors” had disparaged other Confederate commanders in an effort to hide Lee’s errors on the battlefield. James M. McPherson’s “Battle Cry of Freedom,” since its publication in 1988 the standard history of the Civil War, compared Lee’s single-minded focus on the war in Virginia unfavorably with Grant’s strategic grasp of the interconnections between the eastern and western theaters.

Lee’s most recent biographer, Michael Korda, does not deny his subject’s admirable qualities. But he makes clear that when it came to black Americans, Lee never changed. Lee was well informed enough to know that, as the Confederate vice president, Alexander H. Stephens, declared, slavery and “the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man” formed the “cornerstone” of the Confederacy; he chose to take up arms in defense of a slaveholders’ republic. After the war, he could not envision an alternative to white supremacy.

What Korda calls Lee’s “legend” needs to be retired. And whatever the fate of his statues and memorials, so long as the legacy of slavery continues to bedevil American society, it seems unlikely that historians will return Lee, metaphorically speaking, to his pedestal.

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Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Rejects Calls to Resign, Defends President Trump — Yale alumni said it was his “moral obligation” to resign “in protest of President Trump’s support of Nazism and white supremacy.”

August 20, 2017

‘Some of these issues are far more complicated than we are led to believe by the mass media,’ Treasury chief says

Steven Mnuchin is pictured. | AP Photo

 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, citing his own Jewish heritage, said he understood the long history of violence and hatred against Jews and other minorities. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo

 

Aug. 19, 2017 10:20 p.m. ET

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected calls for him to resign in protest of President Donald Trump’s response to violence at a white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, and defended the president in a statement Saturday evening.

Mr. Mnuchin condemned the “actions of those filled with hate and with the intent to harm others.”

“While I find it hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or…

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From Politico
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Mnuchin, facing calls for resignation, defends Trump

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday defended President Donald Trump and called out his critics amid growing condemnation of the president’s response to racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

“I don’t believe the allegations against the president are accurate,” Mnuchin said in a statement. “I believe that having highly talented men and women in our country surrounding the president in his administration should be reassuring to you and all the American people.”

Earlier this week, a group of Mnuchin’s fellow Yale alumni drafted a letter saying it was his “moral obligation” to resign “in protest of President Trump’s support of Nazism and white supremacy.” Trump was criticized after the Charlottesville incident for saying “both sides” were to blame for the unrest.

Mnuchin on Saturday condemned the actions of “those filled with hate and with the intent to harm others.”

Citing his own Jewish heritage, he said he understood the long history of violence and hatred against Jews and other minorities.

“While I find it hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or the president, I feel compelled to let you know that the president in no way, shape or form, believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways,” he said.

Mnuchin said he was “familiar with the culture wars being fought in our country.”

“Some of these issues are far more complicated than we are led to believe by the mass media, and if it were so simple, such actions would have been taken by other presidents, governors, and mayors, long before President Trump was elected by the American people,” he said.

Mnuchin then went after Trump’s critics.

“Our president deserves the opportunity to propose his agenda and to do so without the attempts by those who opposed him in the primaries, in the general election and beyond to distract the administration and the American people from these most important policy issues – jobs, economic growth, and national security,” he said.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/19/mnuchin-defends-trump-charlottesville-241830

Top US generals issue veiled criticism of Donald Trump’s Charlottesville comments

August 17, 2017

Mr Trump has faced widespread criticism after saying there were ‘two sides to every story’

By Chloe FarandAndrew Buncombe New York

The Independent

Two senior US military officers have made what has been interpreted as veiled criticism of Donald Trump in the wake of his comments about the Nazi-led violence in Charlottesville.

Mark A Milley, the US Army Chief of Staff, said in a tweet the army did not accept “racism, extremism and hatred”, though he did not specifically condemn the President, or even mention him.

In the tweet, Mr Milley said: “The Army doesn’t tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our rank. It’s against our values and everything we’ve stood for since 1775.”

The Army doesn’t tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks. It’s against our Values and everything we’ve stood for since 1775.

Another senior officer, General Robert B Neller, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, also appeared to counter Mr Trump’s comments. “No place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC. Our core values of Honour, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act,” he said on Twitter.

No place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC. Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act.

Mr Trump has faced widespread criticism since he veered off the teleprompter at an infrastructure press launch and began answering questions as to whether or not he had been slow to denounce white supremacist-led violence that resulted in the death of one young woman, Heather Heyer, and the injury of up to 20 others over the weekend.

Mr Trump had initially sought to say there had been wrong on “all sides”, but under intense pressure from within his own party and without, he then issued a statement in which he said racism was evil and denounced white supremacy and neo-Nazism.

But as he was questioned on Tuesday afternoon about his slow-paced response to the incident, Mr Trump became defensive and then went on the attack.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly watches on nervously at Trump’s Charlottesville press briefing

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” he said. “I thought what happened was a horrible moment for our country, but there are two sides to every story.”

Many public figures and officials have come out to condemn the violence at the white supremacists’ rally in the Virginia college town, including senior member of the Republican Party. There have been mounting calls for the President to fire a number of his White House staff, among them Steve Bannon, who have been accused of promoting nationalism or white nationalism. Mr Trump notedly refused to voice his support for Mr Bannon when he was asked at the same press conference.

This is not the first time that Mr Milley has appeared to stand up to some of  Mr Trump’s more controversial comments or directives. Last month, when Mr Trump tweeted that transgender people could not serve in the armed forces, Mr Milley was among those within the military hierarchy that said it would not act on the announcement until it received a formal directive from the White House.

“We grow up and learn to obey the chain of command, and my chain of command is secretary of the Army, secretary of Defence and the president,” Mr Milley said. “We will work through the implementation guidance when we get it. …To my knowledge, the Department of Defence, Secretary Mattis has not received written directives yet.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/mark-milley-us-army-chief-staff-donald-trump-charlottesville-latest-racism-extremism-hate-neo-nazi-a7896366.html

The Poison of Identity Politics

August 16, 2017

The return of white nationalism is part of a deeper ailment.

Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other alt-right factions near Emancipation Park (Formerly ''Lee Park'') in downtown Charlottesville, Va.
Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other alt-right factions near Emancipation Park (Formerly ”Lee Park”) in downtown Charlottesville, Va. PHOTO: ALBIN LOHR-JONES/ZUMA PRESS

As ever in this age of Donald Trump, politicians and journalists are reducing the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday to a debate over Mr. Trump’s words and intentions. That’s a mistake no matter what you think of the President, because the larger poison driving events like those in Virginia is identity politics and it won’t go away when Mr. Trump inevitably does.

The particular pathology on display in Virginia was the white nationalist movement led today by the likes of Richard Spencer, David Duke and Brad Griffin. They alone are to blame for the violence that occurred when one of their own drove a car into peaceful protesters, killing a young woman and injuring 19 others.

The Spencer crowd courts publicity and protests, and they chose the progressive university town of Charlottesville with malice aforethought. They used the unsubtle Ku Klux Klan symbolism of torches in a Friday night march, and they seek to appear as political martyrs as a way to recruit more alienated young white men.

Political conservatives even more than liberals need to renounce these racist impulses, and the good news is that this is happening. The driver has been charged with murder under Virginia law, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened a federal civil-rights investigation and issued a statement condemning the violence: “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.” Many prominent conservatives also denounced the white-nationalist movement.

Mr. Trump was widely criticized for his initial statement Saturday afternoon that condemned the hatred “on many sides” but failed to single out the white nationalists. Notably, David Duke and his allies read Mr. Trump’s statement as attacking them and criticized the President for doing so.

The White House nonetheless issued a statement Sunday saying Mr. Trump “includes white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups” in his condemnation. As so often with Mr. Trump, his original statement missed an opportunity to speak like a unifying political leader.

Yet the focus on Mr. Trump is also a cop-out because it lets everyone duck the deeper and growing problem of identity politics on the right and left. The politics of white supremacy was a poison on the right for many decades, but the civil-rights movement rose to overcome it, and it finally did so in the mid-1960s with Martin Luther King Jr. ’s language of equal opportunity and color-blind justice.

That principle has since been abandoned, however, in favor of a new identity politics that again seeks to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, gender and even religion. “Diversity” is now the all-purpose justification for these divisions, and the irony is that America is more diverse and tolerant than ever.

The problem is that the identity obsessives want to boil down everything in American life to these categories. In practice this means allocating political power, contracts, jobs and now even salaries in the private economy based on the politics of skin color or gender rather than merit or performance. Down this road lies crude political tribalism, and James Damore’s recent Google dissent is best understood as a cri de coeur that we should aspire to something better. Yet he lost his job merely for raising the issue.

A politics fixated on indelible differences will inevitably lead to resentments that extremists can exploit in ugly ways on the right and left. The extremists were on the right in Charlottesville, but there have been examples on the left in Berkeley, Oakland and numerous college campuses. When Democratic politicians can’t even say “all lives matter” without being denounced as bigots, American politics has a problem.

Mr. Trump didn’t create this identity obsession even if as a candidate he did try to exploit it. He is more symptom than cause, though as President he now has a particular obligation to renounce it. So do other politicians. Yet the only mission of nearly every Democrat we observed on the weekend was to use the “white supremacist” cudgel against Mr. Trump—as if that is the end of the story.

It isn’t, and it won’t be unless we confront this underlying politics of division. Not long ago we were rereading Justice Clarence Thomas’s prophetic opinion in Holder v. Hall, a 1994 Supreme Court ruling on dividing voting districts by race.

“As a practical political matter,” he wrote, “our drive to segregate political districts by race can only serve to deepen racial divisions by destroying any need for voters or candidates to build bridges between racial groups or to form voting coalitions.” Writ large, Justice Thomas was warning that identity politics can destroy democratic trust and consent.

Appeared in the August 14, 2017, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-poison-of-identity-politics-1502661521

Woman, 22, who pulled down Confederate statue in North Carolina is arrested and could face PRISON – as Democrat governor vows to remove all ‘anti-American’ Civil War monuments from his state

August 16, 2017

  • Takiyah Thompson, 22, was arrested after she admitted to helping bring down a Confederate monument on Monday in Durham, North Carolina
  • She said she climbed a ladder to the top to tie a rope around the monument before the crowd tore it down
  • On Tuesday before her arrest, she said her actions were justified because Confederate statues represent white supremacy
  • She is charged with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue, damage to real property and two other felony counts
  • Vandalism comes after violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday over a statue of Confederate hero Robert E. Lee 

A woman who claims she took part in the toppling of the Confederate statue with a group of protesters in North Carolina has been arrested and is facing several charges.

It comes as the state’s Democrat governor Roy Cooper said on Tuesday that he wants to bring down Confederate monuments around the state, thrusting himself into a debate stoked by violence in Virginia.

Cooper said: ‘We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery,’ Cooper said in a statement. ‘These monuments should come down.’

Takiyah Thompson, 22, was taken into custody on Tuesday by Durham County sheriff’s deputies shortly after protesters held a news conference at North Carolina Central University where she identified herself as the person who climbed a ladder to the top to tie a rope around the monument before the crowd tore it down on Monday.

She can be seen in video showing the moments before the Confederate statue was toppled.

During the press conference, Thompson said that her actions were justified because Confederate statues represent white supremacy.

Scroll down for video 

Takiyah Thompson (above), a woman who claims she took part in the toppling of the Confederate statue with a group of protesters in North Carolina, has been arrested and is facing several charges

Takiyah Thompson (above), a woman who claims she took part in the toppling of the Confederate statue with a group of protesters in North Carolina, has been arrested and is facing several charges

Thompson was arrested Tuesday by Durham County sheriff's deputies shortly after protesters held a news conference where she identified herself as the person who climbed a ladder (above) to tie a rope around the monument before the crowd tore it down on Monday

Thompson was arrested Tuesday by Durham County sheriff’s deputies shortly after protesters held a news conference where she identified herself as the person who climbed a ladder (above) to tie a rope around the monument before the crowd tore it down on Monday

She can be seen in video showing the moments before the Confederate statue was toppled at the top of the monument (above).
During the press conference, Thompson said that her actions were justified because Confederate statues represent white supremacy

She can be seen in video showing the moments before the Confederate statue was toppled at the top of the monument (above). During the press conference, Thompson said that her actions were justified because Confederate statues represent white supremacy

Authorities charged Thompson with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue, damage to real property, participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500.

During the press conference and prior to Thompson’s arrest, protesters called for authorities to drop any charges related to the incident.

‘The people decided to take matters into our own hands and remove the statue,’ Thompson, a member of the far-left Workers World Party and a student at N.C. Central University, said before being arrested.

‘We are tired of waiting on politicians who could have voted to remove the white supremacist statues years ago, but they failed to act. So we acted.’

But Sheriff Mike Andrews said protesters who toppled the nearly century-old Confederate statue in front of a North Carolina government building would face felony charges.

‘No one is getting away with this,’ Andrews said. ‘We can all agree yesterday went too far.’

The Confederate Soldiers Monument, dedicated in 1924, stood in front of an old courthouse that how houses local government offices. The crumpled and dented bronze figure has been taken to a warehouse for storage.

Sheriff Mike Andrews said protesters who toppled the nearly century-old Confederate statue (above) in front of a North Carolina government building would face felony charges

Sheriff Mike Andrews said protesters who toppled the nearly century-old Confederate statue (above) in front of a North Carolina government building would face felony charges

The incident in Durham on Monday comes in response to the violent clashes that erupted at a rally by white nationalists who were protesting the pending removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

Cooper says Confederate monuments ‘should come down’ and wants the legislature to repeal a law preventing state and local governments from removing them permanently and limiting their relocation.

The Democratic governor says Civil War history doesn’t belong in ‘a place of allegiance on our Capitol grounds.’

North Carolina is one of only three states – along with Virginia and Georgia – that have 90 or more Confederate monuments, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A state tally shows at least 120 Civil War monuments around North Carolina, with the vast majority dedicated to the Confederacy. Around 50 are located at contemporary or historic courthouses.

The Republican-controlled legislature would have to repeal the 2015 law restricting the removal of monuments.

Cooper says he’s also asked state officials to determine costs and logistics for removing Confederate monuments from state property.

On Sunday, a statue commemorating John B. Castleman, who served on the Confederate side of the Civil War, was discovered splattered with orange paint in Louisville, Kentucky. Above municipal workers attempt to remove the paint on Monday

On Sunday, a statue commemorating John B. Castleman, who served on the Confederate side of the Civil War, was discovered splattered with orange paint in Louisville, Kentucky. Above municipal workers attempt to remove the paint on Monday

Workers began removing a Confederate statue in Gainesville, Florida on Monday. The statue is being returned to the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which erected the bronze statue in 1904

Workers began removing a Confederate statue in Gainesville, Florida on Monday. The statue is being returned to the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which erected the bronze statue in 1904

Cities and states accelerated their plans to remove Confederate monuments from public property Tuesday as the violence over a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, moved leaders across the country to plan to wipe away much of the remaining Old South imagery.

Only two statues were taken down immediately, in Gainesville, Florida, where the Daughters of the Confederacy removed a statue of a Confederate soldier known as ‘Ole Joe,’ and in Durham, North Carolina, where protesters used a rope to pull down that Confederate monument.

But the anti-Confederate momentum seemed to ensure that other memorials would come down soon.

Many local and state governments announced that they would remove statues and other imagery from public land, or consider doing so, in the aftermath of Saturday’s white nationalist rally that killed one person and injured dozens more.

The changes were publicized as President Donald Trump defended Confederate statues in wide-ranging remarks.

‘This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down,’ Trump said during a visit to Trump Tower in New York. ‘I wonder, is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?’

Asked specifically whether Charlottesville’s Lee statue should come down, he said: ‘I would say that’s up to a local town, community or the federal government, depending on where it is located.’

All around the country, Republican and Democratic officials at the state and local levels moved swiftly to begin a process to remove the statues.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4791662/Deadly-rally-accelerates-removal-Confederate-statues.html#ixzz4pucnEHmv
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Why are Nazis In America?

August 14, 2017

The ‘Last Week Tonight’ host didn’t hold back Sunday night.

By

This weekend, the nation was fixated on the horrifying display of hate in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a group of neo-Nazis held court armed with tiki torches, military cosplay, guns, clubs, and an outrageous sense of entitlement.

These preppy fascists were said to have congregated on the University of Virginia campus to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, but really, most of these whiny brats couldn’t tell you the first thing about the Confederate general. They came to instigate outrage, and violence. And when all was said and done, a suspected white nationalist was arrested for allegedly plowing his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least another 19 people.

“It was truly a weekend of horrifying images. We saw Nazi flags and marchers carrying torches—tiki torches, by the way, because nothing says ‘white nationalist’ like faux Polynesian kitsch,” said John Oliver.

The Last Week Tonight host opened his program Sunday evening by addressing the events in Charlottesville—including President Donald Trump’s rambling, insufficient reaction to the tragedy, with the commander-in-chief refusing to denounce white nationalists, slipping in President Barack Obama’s name, imploring Americans to “cherish our history” (see: Robert E. Lee’s statue), and condemning hate “on many sides.”

“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence—on many sides. On many sides,” declared Trump from his Bedminster golf club.

“Wait… on many sides?!” exclaimed Oliver. “This was a white nationalist rally—you have to call that out by name. There aren’t many instances in modern American politics where you can honestly think, ‘That guy really should have mentioned the Nazis,’ but this is emphatically one of them. It’s like a reverse Godwin’s Law: if you fail to mention Nazism, you lose the argument.”

And, after “having made a wild false equivalence between Nazis and people who oppose Nazis,” Trump attempted to clear his own name, saying, “It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”

But this rally did have plenty to do with Donald Trump—according to the white nationalists who participated in it. In addition to white nationalists chanting things like “Heil Trump,” David Duke, a former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (whose presidential endorsement candidate Trump famously refused to disavow for several days), was interviewed in Charlottesville by a reporter.

“We are determined to take our country back. We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believe in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump,” said Duke.

“I’ve gotta say, David Duke and the Nazis really seem to like Donald Trump, which is weird because Nazis are a lot like cats: If they like you, it’s probably because you’re feeding them,” said Oliver, adding, “And that kind of connection there is something that anyone in their right mind would want to immediately and repeatedly disavow, and it’s not like Trump wasn’t given the opportunity.”

Yes, Trump was repeatedly asked to condemn the white nationalists in Charlottesville, many of whom took to the streets in his honor, as he exited his Bedminster press conference. “How do you respond to white nationalists who say they’re participating in Charlottesville because they support you?” one reporter asked. “Do you want the support of these white nationalist groups who say they support you, Mr. President?”

The questions fell on deaf ears.

“Here’s the problem with that: A non-answer in a moment like this is an answer,” said Oliver. “And look, don’t take that just from me. White nationalists seemed pretty clear about the message Trump had sent to them with his response.”

Indeed, neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer ran a piece on Saturday praising President Trump’s vague speech. “Trump comments were good… He said he loves us all. Also refused to answer a question about white nationalists supporting him. No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him,” they wrote.

“And look, maybe Trump will eventually take a second swing at personally condemning the white nationalists. Maybe he has since we’ve taped this show. But even if he does, it’ll be too late. Because his first response is who he is. And the truly infuriating thing is how predictable this was,” offered Oliver.

“It simply doesn’t get easier than disavowing Nazis. It’s as much of a presidential gimme as pardoning a fucking turkey. It is almost impossible to screw it up. But that’s exactly what happened,” the comedian continued. “So there is clearly no point waiting for leadership from our president in moments like this, because it is just not coming, which means we will have to look to one another, because incredibly, in a country where previous presidents have actually had to defeat Nazis, we now have one who cannot even be bothered to fucking condemn them.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/john-oliver-accuses-trump-of-feeding-the-charlottesville-nazis

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‘Why are these Nazis able to come into our city?’ Charlottesville left in shock after day of violence

At the scene where a suspected far-right extremist mowed down anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville, local resident Anna Quillom spent Sunday laying dozens of carnations along the street.

“I grew up here but this doesn’t feel like my home anymore. The lid’s come off it,” said Miss Quillom, 36, who runs wine tours in the historic college town. Welling up with tears, she added: “It was the best place in the world, inclusive, everyone cares about each other. Why are these Nazis able to come into our city?”

Nearby, at a makeshift memorial, a sign read “No Place For Hate!” A red shoe, lost by one of the victims, had been stuffed with roses.

 A mourner lays flowers at a makeshift memorial at the scene of where a car plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville
 A mourner lays flowers at a makeshift memorial at the scene of where a car plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville CREDIT: JUSTIN IDE/REUTERS

Charlottesville, a town of 47,000 with a university very much at its heart, was shattered by Saturday’s events when hundreds of racist extremists descended and violence erupted.

In the high street, dotted with book and antique shops, people appeared stunned….

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/13/nazis-able-come-city-charlottesville-left-shock-day-violence/

Trump Pressed to Disavow White-Nationalist Groups After Virginia Attack

August 14, 2017

Charlottesville violence shines a light on groups that have backed the president

Charlottesville residents on Sunday viewed a street memorial for the victim of Saturday's attack on those protesting a white-nationalist demonstration.
Charlottesville residents on Sunday viewed a street memorial for the victim of Saturday’s attack on those protesting a white-nationalist demonstration. PHOTO: SCOTT P. YATES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

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Aug. 13, 2017 7:53 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump, in the wake of deadly weekend violence at a white-supremacy rally in Virginia, is facing pressure to break decisively with such nationalist groups that largely backed his campaign and presidency, or risk a fraying of his fragile governing coalition.

The rally erupted in violence in Charlottesville on Saturday, and a woman was killedwhen a driver allegedly mowed down a group that had gathered to counter messages from the white nationalists, some of whom were self-described Nazi sympathizers. Dozens were injured in the car attack; later, two state troopers monitoring the demonstrations were killed when their helicopter crashed.

The president initially said the altercations came from “many sides” of the event, which leaders from both parties said seemed to improperly spread blame equally between the white nationalists and the counterprotesters.

Then on Sunday the White House issued a statement saying Mr. Trump “condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

Mr. Trump’s eldest daughter, White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump, said in a tweet Sunday: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis.”

White nationalists flocked to Mr. Trump early in his candidacy and even before then, when he became a central figure in falsely questioning whether former President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. During his presidency, such fringe groups have become increasingly vocal.

For example, Mr. Trump’s Saturday comments were cited on the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer as evidence of “no condemnation at all” of such groups by the president.

That dynamic is causing friction between Mr. Trump and many leaders of the Republican Party whom Mr. Trump now needs to advance his agenda in Congress.

“I would urge the president to dissuade these groups that he’s their friend,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) told “Fox News Sunday.”

Pointed condemnations of such groups also came Saturday from GOP leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan as well as Senate conservatives such as Ted Cruz of Texas and Orrin Hatch of Utah.

“We should call evil by its name,” Mr. Hatch said on Twitter. “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

Other Republicans sought a middle ground between denouncing their party leader and seeming unwilling to single out racists and neo-Nazis.

“I stand with President Trump and leaders from both parties condemning these actions and encourage Americans to stand together in opposition to those who encourage hate or promote violence,” said Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama.

The Virginia clash has also re-focused attention on the White House role of Steve Bannon, who helped steer Mr. Trump’s election victory. Mr. Bannon joined the campaign from Breitbart News, which he once described as a “platform for the alt-right.”

The alt-right is shorthand for the “alternative right,” a loose agglomeration of groups with far-right ideologies, some of which embrace the tenets of white supremacy, while others consider themselves rebels against mainstream Republicans.

Over the past seven months, Mr. Bannon has fallen in and out of favor with the president, advisers to Mr. Trump have said, and in the wake of the Charlottesville episode, some of Mr. Trump’s supporters want to see his influence curtailed.

Anthony Scaramucci, who did a brief stint as White House communications director, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday and decried what he called the “Bannon-bart influence” in the White House, a mashup of Mr. Bannon’s name and the news site he used to run.

“I think the president knows what he’s going to do with Steve Bannon,” said Mr. Scaramucci.

Mr. Bannon declined to comment.

Throughout history, race has proved the most combustible domestic issue presidents have confronted.

In the modern era, John F. Kennedy faced down Southern insistence on segregated schools, while his successor, Lyndon Johnson, ushered in landmark civil-rights legislation. Mr. Obama, as the first black president, entered office with hopes of bridging the gap between the races only to find divisions hardening over his two terms.

Many white nationalists made themselves known at Mr. Trump’s rallies last year, although some took pains to conceal their affiliation for fear that it would embarrass his campaign. At a convocation of white nationalists in Tennessee last year, various attendees identified themselves as Trump campaign volunteers but said they kept secret their affiliation even from some fellow supporters.

“White nationalists were suspicious of candidate Trump in the early part of his campaign, but they were won over by a steady stream of signaling from the campaign, and later from the administration,” said J.M. Berger, who studies extremist ideologies and is a fellow with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism—The Hague.

Now, though, white nationalist groups are closely watching Mr. Trump’s response to the crisis. They say they weren’t the ones to start the fighting.

Jared Taylor, editor of the white nationalist website American Renaissance, said that virtually all the violence between such groups were caused by counterprotesters.

“Whenever these confrontations take place, it’s where pro-white groups try to have a rally,” said Mr. Taylor, who said he wasn’t at the Charlottesville demonstration. “You will notice that pro-white groups never make a fuss or demonstrate when other groups have meetings that stand for things they abhor.”

David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, in response to a Trump tweet Saturday calling for unity and condemning “hate,” tweeted in reply: “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”

As a candidate, Mr. Trump’s campaign said it didn’t rely on white nationalists to win. “The President has never considered this fringe to be part of his coalition,” said Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign aide.

But some critics said that, as a candidate, he didn’t denounce such supporters in unequivocal terms. They also said messages from the campaign seemed aimed at a white nationalist audience.

In a CNN interview in early 2016, Mr. Trump was asked about Mr. Duke’s expressions of support. “I don’t know anything about David Duke,” he said. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.”

In subsequent interviews and media appearances, he renounced the support of white supremacists and Mr. Duke in particular.

“David Duke is a bad person who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years,” Mr. Trump said on MSNBC in March 2016.

Democrats, for their part, saw the Virginia episode as evidence of the Trump-era Republican Party as beholden to extremists.

“The President’s talk of violence ‘on many sides’ ignores the shameful reality of white supremacism in our country today, and continues a disturbing pattern of complacency around such acts of hate,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said in a statement.

With images from Charlottesville dominating cable TV coverage, Mr. Trump is at a crossroads, Mr. Berger said.

“So the next few days will be crucial,” he said. “President Trump is facing substantial political pressure to make a stronger statement about white nationalist violence.”

Write to Peter Nicholas at peter.nicholas@wsj.com

Appeared in the August 14, 2017, print edition as ‘Virginia Clash Tests Trump.’

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Ivanka Trump denounces white supremacy, neo-Nazis after Charlottesville

August 13, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Ivanka Trump speaks during an event with small businesses at the White House in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2017

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka weighed in Sunday on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia with an appeal for unity, saying there was “no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”A woman was killed and 19 injured in the university town Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd after a white nationalist protest rally turned violent.

Trump, who has a following among white supremacist groups attracted to his nationalistic rhetoric, has come under fire for blaming the Charlottesville violence on hatred and bigotry “on many sides.”

Ivanka Trump was more pointed in a tweet Sunday calling for unity.

“There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis,” she said.

“We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED. #Charlottesville”

Donald Trump’s Charlottesville Comments Draw the Attention of Cartoonists

August 13, 2017

Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

BY HAGAY HACOHEN, SHOSHANA KRANISH
The Jerusalem Post
 AUGUST 13, 2017 07:58

 

After violent clashes in Charlottesville in which one woman died, US president denounced violence ‘on many sides.’

US President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, US July 2

US President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, US July 25, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS)

In a televised announcement, Trump told reporters that he condemned the “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Trump’s decision not to specifically condemn the white supremacy rally where the violence occurred has earned him scorn.

We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST.

John Cole, a Pennsylvania-based editorial cartoonist, tweeted four drawings. One depicted a man wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat – a hallmark of Trump’s campaign and presidency – with a Hitler-esque mustache, standing in front of an American flag while performing a Nazi salute. Another showed Trump standing in front of a crowd of KKK members and other assumed white supremacists, with his arms opened to a Black couple, encouraging them to join him. One of the cartoons was a play on the film The Producers, in which a Jewish accountant helps produce a play about the ‘happy home life of Hitler.’

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

I’ve drawn a few cartoons about @POTUS‘ normalization of white nationalism/neo-nazism. Here are a few. 

Trump’s statement that ”we are all Americans” drew criticism from many people.

The original rally, called ”Unite the Right,” was headlined by prominent white nationalists and neo-Nazis, including Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler. The organizers called the protest against what they saw was an infringement on the rights of white Americans, and a perceived special treatment of people of color and immigrants. The organizers also made explicit their support of the confederacy movement, a modern reincarnation of the original Confederacy.

The Confederacy was a union of slave-holding states that sought to secede from the United States, which led to the American Civil War.

Virginia was an important state in the Confederacy and throughout the South, the memory of the Civil War is a complex issue that deals with states’ rights, racial relations, and politics.

One of the more famous cartoons associated with the alt-right and the neo-Nazi movement during Trump’s campaign was Pepe the Frog, who reportedly made a few appearances at this weekend’s rally.

An alt-right protestor holds a sign depicting Pepe the Frog

An alt-right protestor holds a sign depicting Pepe the Frog
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China, International Voices Condemn the U.S. — U.S. going backward in racial relations since Obama’s election?

June 21, 2015

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Police close off a section of Calhoun Street near Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., after a shooting there June 17, 2015. AP photo

By Chicago Tribune writers and wire services

Often the target of U.S. human rights accusations, China wasted little time returning such charges following the shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina that left nine people dead. Elsewhere around the world, the attack renewed perceptions that Americans have too many guns and have yet to overcome racial tensions.

Some said the attack reinforced their reservations about personal security in the U.S. — particularly as a non-white foreigner — while others said they’d still feel safe if they were to visit.

Especially in Australia and northeast Asia, where firearms are strictly controlled and gun violence almost unheard of, many were baffled by the determination among many Americans to own guns despite repeated mass shootings, such as the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.

“We don’t understand America’s need for guns,” said Philip Alpers, director of the University of Sydney’s GunPolicy.org project that compares gun laws across the world. “It is very puzzling for non-Americans.”

A frontier nation like the U.S., Australia had a similar attitude toward firearms prior to a 1996 mass shooting that killed 35. Soon after, tight restrictions on gun ownership were imposed and no such incidents have been reported since.

A similar effect has been seen elsewhere.

“The USA is completely out of step with the rest of the world. We’ve tightened our gun laws and have seen a reduction,” said Claire Taylor, the director of media and public relations at Gun Free South Africa.

Ahmad Syafi’i Maarif, a prominent Indonesian intellectual and former leader of Muhammadiyah, one of the country’s largest Muslim organizations, said the church shooting shocked many.
“People all over the world believed that racism had gone from the U.S. when Barack Obama was elected to lead the superpower, twice,” he said. “But the Charleston shooting has reminded us that in fact, the seeds of racism still remain and were embedded in the hearts of small communities there, and can explode at any time, like a terrorist act by an individual.”

A 21-year-old white man, Dylann Roof, now faces nine counts of murder for the South Carolina shooting. An acquaintance said Roof had complained that “blacks were taking over the world.”

Many places around the world struggle with racism and prejudice against outsiders, but mass shootings in the U.S., where the Constitution’s second amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms, often receive widespread global attention.

“Guns are in their constitution,” said Joanna Leung, a 34-year-old Toronto resident. “I’m pretty sure no one else has anything similar. I never understand why they think gun violence is going to solve anything.”

In Britain, the attack reinforced the view that America has too many guns and too many racists. The front-page headline of The Independent newspaper said simply, “America’s shame.”

The newspaper said in an editorial that America seems to have moved backward in racial relations since Obama’s election, and that the “obscene proliferation of guns only magnifies tragedies” like the church shooting.

The leftist Mexico City newspaper La Jornada said the U.S. has become a “structurally violent state” where force is frequently used domestically and internationally to resolve differences.

“In this context, the unchecked and even paranoid citizen armament is no coincidence: Such a phenomenon reflects the feeling of extensive sectors about the supposed legitimacy of violent methods,” it said.

In China, the official Xinhua News Agency said the violence in South Carolina “mirrors the U.S. government’s inaction on rampant gun violence as well as the growing racial hatred in the country.”

“Unless U.S. President Barack Obama’s government really reflects on his country’s deep-rooted issues like racial discrimination and social inequality and takes concrete actions on gun control, such tragedy will hardly be prevented from happening again,” Xinhua said in an editorial.

On China’s Twitter-like Weibo microblogging service, some users compared the United States to lawless Somalia and said racial discrimination was fueling violence and high crime rates. Many reflected the official view that gun ownership and violent crime are byproducts of Western-style democratic freedoms that are not only unsuited to China but potentially disastrous.

Recalling the recent killings of Chinese and other foreign students in the U.S., office worker Xie Yan said he was still eager to visit the U.S., but would be “extremely careful” there.

Xie said he had heard much about racism in the U.S., but was uncertain about the underlying dynamics.

“We tend to see the U.S. as a violent place, but I don’t think we understand a lot about racism there. Chinese are free to study, visit and live there so it doesn’t feel like we’re discriminated against,” Xu said while waiting for a train on Beijing’s busy subway line 1.

Like Australia, China has had its problems with racial and ethnic discrimination. China is overwhelmingly dominated by one ethnic group, the Han, and activists decry the lack of awareness about discrimination in jobs and housing faced by minorities such as Tibetans and Turkic Muslim Uighurs from the northwest.

Chinese police have been accused of heavy-handed tactics against those labeled separatists or terrorists, although such measures appear to be supported by most Chinese.
In Japan, discrimination tends to be based less on skin color than on national origin, resulting in biases against Chinese and Koreans, said Hiroko Takimoto, 41, a patent attorney in Tokyo.

Racially motivated killings are “simply something Japanese as a people cannot understand,” she said.

Yukari Kato, vice president of the company Ryugaku Journal that assists Japanese students on overseas programs, including about 2,000 in the U.S., said violence there was nothing new and most of the country remained perfectly safe.

“It’s no different from Japan. There are places where you can become a victim of crime. You just have to be prepared to defend yourself,” she said.

However, Yuka Christine Koshino, 21, a political science student at Tokyo’s Keio University, said she was devastated by the shootings, particularly after having participated in racism awareness campaigns while studying at the University of California, Berkeley. Those interactions had given her hope that the situation was improving. The shootings “shocked me,” said Koshino.
Chairman of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates Max de Mesa shared the sentiment of civil rights activists in South Carolina who pointed out that the Confederate battle flag, the symbol of the pro-slavery South during the Civil War, continued to fly over the state even as it mourned.

“Some of the (old) structures and some of the attitudes remain and they were even nurtured, at least that is being shown now,” de Mesa said.

“That would be no different from a suicide bomber,” he said. “For a jihadist, ‘I will be with Allah if I do that.’ The other says, ‘I am proving white supremacy here.'”

Indonesian intellectual Syafi’i Maarif said he hoped the incident would help Americans stop equating terrorism with Islam.

“Terrorism and radicalism can appear in every strata of society under various guises and in the name of ethnicity, religion and race,” he said.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-charleston-church-world-reaction-20150619-story.html#page=1