Anarchists believe that elections and ‘democracies’ like the current system of government in the United States can do little or nothing to save the Earth and promote well-being, justice and equality across all the lives which the Earth sustains and for which the ‘democratically’-elected Congresspersons and Governors etc are supposed to be responsible. Overall, the ‘visions’ of factions within such systems (parties, movements, pressure groups and so on) actually do little more than fine-tune destructive capitalism, supremacist economics and social control. Because this is their main long-term goal, their few differences are insignificant.
In people’s experience of life, though, some approaches which the US Democrats and Republicans take to the exercise of power cause marginally less harm; others cause much more.
So when a proposal is made – even if it may turn out to be only partly implemented – which would fundamentally overturn the basis of government to ensure a major increase in far right destruction and hatred and which would attempt permanently to concentrate virtually all power in the hands of the US president, we should be alarmed.
Such a proposal has been bubbling away, attracting little notice almost since the start of the Trump presidency.
Project 2025 plans to ‘transition’ almost all federal power (and the control which many states exercise) into the hands of one far right, effectively fascist leader. This – if Project 2025 succeeded – would begin after the next presidential election in 2024; and be completed by the end of that four year term of office. That is if a Republican (at the moment, most likely Donald Trump) is elected (or the election is rigged so that there is a Republican) president in 2024. Thereafter, ideally for those behind the plan, one far right party, one far right leader indefinitely. To “save” America.
Project 2025 makes no bones about these plans. They’re based on four ‘pillars’ of transitioning from democracy to what it calls “conservative ‘leadership'”. For instance, there is a “…180-day Transition Playbook [which] includes a comprehensive, concrete transition plan for each federal agency. Only through the implementation of specific action plans at each agency will the next conservative presidential Administration be successful”.
If this comes to fruition, gone will be a notionally independent judiciary; gone will be an (admittedly not always) independent civil service; gone will be the ability of elected members of Congress to exercise any meaningful control over what the Project calls “unitary executive theory” (this is, actually, fascist near dictatorship). A single man (and it’s likely to be a white male – given the Republican party’s fear of, and hatred for, anyone else) would have unfettered control to carry out a programme – albeit with advisers – to ‘…undo[…] the damage the Left has wrought…’ immediately on that president’s inauguration in January 2025.
Clearly, there will be (legal) challenges. One hopes that the Republicans are trounced in November 2024 and unable to form a majority in either house of Congress – as well as losing the presidential election. And it’s likely that there will be many changes to these stated plans. If for no other reason than that, this really is not what a majority of voters would want if they knew that it was on the cards (which, so far, it seems that few of them do). A lot of the guff of Project 2025 is, frankly, fanciful and impractical. But when a Trump or a DeSantis says that an administration of theirs will dismantle any whiff of equity, tolerance, compassion, respect and care for others, fiscal and environmental stability and regeneration in the name of fascist dogma, we’d better believe they mean it. After all, one of the sickest Republicans in the House of Representatives, Paul Gosar, was neither censured nor in any way stopped when last month he promoted the rather amateurishly put together and wildly inaccurate USSA News, which has carried ‘Holohoax’ messages, and before that asked his supporters to “stand up for Hitler”.
For the moment, Freedom will keep a watch and report on any developments. But the very fact that one of the two major parties in the most powerful country on earth has advanced and published plans to neuter any kind of opposition to a single leader in this way is a huge cause for concern.
Notes from the US have reported before on politicians proud of the way they are bringing up young children to become handy with guns so that they can start murdering and maiming others as soon as possible. Well, here’s the kind of child-friendly hardware they can use.
We’ve also described the illustrious career of Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s Covid-denying, under-qualified and lying Surgeon General. It must be reassuring for Floridians to know that it is indeed Ladapo who will oversee the state’s response to the increasing number of leprosy cases there. But wait – he will have to work without much of the state’s public health apparatus, which DeSantis and Ladapo are effectively dismantling as a typical example of ‘wokeness’… caring for people is weakness.
Hillsborough County is in – where else? – Florida. In schools there, English teachers have to plan the upcoming term’s lessons on Shakespeare by omitting any number of passages from those plays which pupils will be studying… because of their ‘sexual content’. As a teacher at Gaither High School, Joseph Cool said to the Tampa Bay Times, “I think the rest of the nation – no, the world – is laughing at us… taking Shakespeare in its entirety out because the relationship between Romeo and Juliet is somehow exploiting minors is just absurd.”
Kristi Maris taught at the First Baptist Academy in Baytown, Texas, for nearly 20 years. In her own time, recently, she attended a drag show. At the end of July, she was sacked for doing so.
Mind you; things are changing in Texas in other ways, too: the state’s largest school district (the equivalent of the LEA in the UK), Houston, will start this school year with a new approach to the printed word altogether. Not only are books which tolerate diversity of live style and race banned, but in some ways, books themselves are to be done away with. From the start of this coming school year, the libraries at 28 schools will be turned into ‘discipline centres’. As part of his ‘new education system‘, the District’s superintendent Mike Miles is eliminating librarian and media specialist positions in all those schools so that pupils who misbehave can be sent to stare – presumably – at empty or dust-sheeted shelves.
At the end of July, the US Senate approved the highest military budget ever, costing US$886 billion (about £22,000 per second around the clock throughout the year). The version in the House of Representatives is full of discriminatory measures oppressing and potentially augmenting hatred and intolerance of LGBTQ+ members and further removing women’s right to reproductive healthcare.
Indictments and Threats
From the very next day after that indictment, Trump started threatening members of the legal system which is pursuing these cases and, by implication – often not subtly – threatening the judges involved. The Justice Department had to ask the federal judge who is presiding over the criminal case in Washington, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, to intervene after Trump posted online that appeared to promise revenge on anyone who goes after him… “If you go after me, I’m coming after you.” This was only a few hours before he went to Alabama, amongst other things, to celebrate the fact that the KKK was originally headquartered there and endorse (as well as be unanimously endorsed by) the entire Republican Party there for its refusal to redraw its electoral districts to more accurately reflect the racial demographic of the state (see below).
He seems not to care how far he goes. That’s probably because he feels sure that his best chance of avoiding gaol is to delay and prevaricate, then be re-elected in 2024, and then… pardon himself. There are recent precedents in other countries for heads of state operating under… ‘clouds’: Berlusconi was under investigation for three of the times he ran for president. Putin was still being investigated at the start of his presidency. In Israel, Netanyahu has been indicted for bribery and other charges.
(Presidential pardons by Trump, though, have not always worked out well. Eli Weinstein is one of nearly 150 people effectively let off any legal hook for their crimes against others by Trump in his last few days in office. Last month, though, Ponzi scheme operator Weinstein picked up where he left off. The result? He was charged last month with running a similar fraud which affected a good 150 investors.)
The last few weeks have seen ‘unprecedented’ increases in temperatures around the globe. The right-leaning and openly fascist media outlets have either ignored them and continued to deny any kind of – even minimal – crisis. Fox ‘News’, for instance, insists on calling the subject a ‘socialist climate cult’ or ‘hoax’, which is ‘designed’ to deprive hard-working patriots of their assets. This is also largely the stance of most Republicans who have said anything at all about the catastrophe.
Indeed, at the end of the hottest month on record, the US Supreme Court decided to play its part in accelerating the extinction of life on Earth by approving the resumption of construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which will transport fracked gas 300 miles through Virginia and West Virginia. Environmentalists and landowners have vigorously and consistently opposed the project, which will inevitably leak noxious, earth- and life-destroying fossil fuels as well as contribute to more emissions. It will cost US$6.6 (£5.2) billion – a sum that would go; it has been calculated, a long way towards ending world hunger.
Ironically Florida has seen (and its élite continues to ignore) some of the worst effects of the crisis. In addition to the excessive heat, temperatures at the surface of the seas have consistently reached over 37° (100°F). Such heat seems likely to destroy the remaining coral reefs in the region by the end of this summer.
Such ‘stress’ is recorded worldwide. Meanwhile, Biden continues to approve fossil fuel projects which will accelerate the destruction; and Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, has followed the lunatic measures of his predecessor (Rick Scott) in prohibiting state employees from even using the words ‘climate change’.
The notorious Texan senator Ted Cruz has also been at it again, too. As the hottest day and month on record were experienced, he urged his gang to join him in attacking measures – weak though they are – to address the climate catastrophe in the Federal budget which Biden has proposed for 2024. They were asked to reject provisions for spending on climate resilience and environmental justice efforts. “If the goal is to make imperceptible changes in CO2 emissions as part of the administration’s zealous effort to micromanage global temperatures, then Nasa should abandon such wasted mental energy. Nasa should not become a plaything for anti-fossil fuel environmentalists”, Cruz bellowed. He obviously had not seen this report from World Weather Attribution; it confirms the role of human destruction in this summer’s alarming heat. Areas of China, Mexico, Southern Europe and the United States were examined, and the conclusion was reached that so many records would not have been broken without human-induced climate change.
In the same week, at the end of July, the highly respected journal, ‘Nature’ published a report showing how the Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), a crucial ‘component’ in the Earth’s climate system, is in imminent danger of collapse because of human-induced climate destruction. Some estimates fear the possibility of its own collapse as soon as the year after next, 2025.
Just so that we’re clear, Biden isn’t really much better. Last month the Center for Biological Diversity found that in the first two years of Biden’s presidency, his administration approved nearly 5% more permits (6,430 as opposed to 6,172) for oil and gas drilling on public lands than Trump.
Yet if Biden could be prevailed upon to declare a climate emergency, he could at least use executive actions to end leases for new drilling, block new pipelines and ban fracking. He could stop the government in the United States from bankrolling fossil fuel projects abroad, impose a ban on new fossil fuel vehicle sales within five to seven years and prosecute errant fossil fuel companies.
If it’s the cost and ‘bottom line’ that the élite is worried about when it comes to the damage caused by climate-induced disasters, then they should look no further than the government’s own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) recent report. With the hurricane season yet to begin, that document puts the cost to the United States so far this year at US$15 billion (or about £39,000 each minute around the clock).
Back to Florida. There they seem still to believe that there’s some value in books, the right sort of book, though. Added to the list of approved vendors to schools and colleges in the state is ‘PragerU‘, a rabid far right purveyor of material widely acknowledged to be false, misleading, racist, anti-semitic and which denies (human agency in) the climate catastrophe.
For example, one animated video, which could be shown to tens of thousands of children throughout the state, ‘explains’ the evils of renewable energy and touts coal as ‘the answer’; (such) Prager materials equate climate activists with Nazis.
When Marissa Streit, the company’s CEO, announced the agreement, she – rightly – stated, “… if you are a teacher in Florida, you cannot be fired for using PragerU content …”.
Such material will also include the rantings of Ben Shapiro, an associate of the Fascist outlet Breitbart, who has tried to argue that left-leaning politics is a ‘hierarchy of victimhood’ where black people cause the myth of oppression, for example, seeing themselves as victims; as in, “Come on. Snap out of it!“; and that “…Western civilisation is superior to other civilisations“.
To be clear, not every educational institution in the state, which has nearly three million pupils, will be switching to brainwash them with this fascist propaganda. But those teachers and lecturers who do – in small or large measure – can now safely advocate racism, racial violence and intolerance; can now push disastrous falsehoods in medicine, virology and climate science. They will do so with public endorsement, approval and the support of the élite in Florida. And they will potentially inflict such fascist propaganda on a generation of young people misusing their families’ taxable income.
One aspect is missing from the indictment to which Trump pleaded not guilty on 3 August, his actions in attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election: the racial narrative. It was pointed out at the time, but not discussed much since January 6 2021, that the militias’ attempted coup which he endorsed, was an act of white violence. Throughout the seven states in whose electoral process Trump and his gang ‘interfered’ a majority of voters whose votes would have been ‘discounted’ – if that illegal interference had succeeded – were black. The MAGA dogma in whose name these assaults took place is clear: there is no place for non-whites in a newly ‘made great again’ America… for them, the natural and default kind of country is white and male.
Now, another of those you’d-better-sit-down moments: in the middle of July, the Florida Board of Education was busy setting new standards for how Black history must be taught in the state’s schools. Amongst the new rules is one that stipulates that pupils in middle schools (11 to 14 year-olds) must be taught that “…slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit…”; and that slaves had a “…range and variety of specialized roles…”. In other words, presidential candidate Ron DeSantis wants young people to be taught that slavery was, in some ways, a good thing. In fact, another DeSantis appointee has been allowed to teach that slavery wasn’t all that bad because there were white slaves as well. He’s been encouraged to use discredited research and inaccurate sources in order to push this gratuitously supremacist agenda.
Roughly a third of the social studies textbooks that publishers had submitted for approval in Florida were rejected this summer – including those which covered social justice (Black Lives Matter and the practice of ‘taking a knee‘, for example) and any “…other information that was not aligned with Florida Law…” Unions and civil liberties groups have reacted with concern and rage that the state’s children should be so deliberately miseducated.
At about the same time as that indoctrination of racist notions was announced in Florida, Fox ‘News’ had hosts suggesting that the Holocaust wasn’t all bad either: “…you had to survive in a concentration camp by having skills. You had to be useful… Utility! Utility kept you alive!”
A few days later, the same DeSantis asked the pension fund manager of his state (Florida) to take legal action against the parent company of drinks giant Bud Light, AB InBev, because the manufacturer recently (and very fleetingly) engaged in a minor partnership with a transgender influencer, Dylan Mulvaney.
There’s usually more to incidents like the following – at Texas A&M University recently. But the way this one looks is surely very troubling. Texas A&M has an excellent reputation. Last month, the institution’s head, Katherine Banks, resigned, saying she took responsibility for what she called a “flawed hiring process”. This involved Kathleen McElroy, one time editor of the ‘New York Times’ and graduate of Texas A&M. Banks is on record as describing the row over McElroy’s tenure at Texas A&M as “anti-woke hysteria”.
Whatever the background, this has to be seen in the context of the fascist governor of Texas, Greg Abbott’s recent signing of a bill to outlaw programmes supporting DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) at state-funded public universities (of which Texas A&M is one) in his state. And in the context of a media frenzy protesting against McElroy’s appointment. To put it bluntly, it does seem as though black appointees in Texas are unwelcome.
In July, the board which oversees state schools in the staunchly Republican County of Waukesha in Wisconsin sacked the teacher of first grade (UK Year 2) pupils at Heyer elementary school, Melissa Tempel. This was because she criticised her district’s decision to censor a song, ‘Rainbowland’, at a children’s concert in her school because it deals approvingly with the virtues of inclusivity.
You might want to be thankful that you do not live in a developing suburban area of Gastonia, North Carolina. The developer of housing estates there, one Brock Fankhauser of the provocatively-named ‘1776 Gastonia’ company, obliges anyone who buys one of the houses which he has built there – that’s right, actually makes it a contractual obligation – to fly the US flag from their property to show that they are true patriots who have come to be “where freedom lives”.
It’s uncommon for Republicans and the far right media to acknowledge, let alone support, a Democrat. Unless that is, it’s presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who recently implied that there were racial ‘motives’ in the Coronavirus which caused the Covid-19 pandemic: “Covid-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.” It will come as little surprise that Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, approves so strongly of the expression of hatred towards Jews and Asians – especially when these are laced with lies, conspiracy theories and denial of virology, immunology and preserving life – that he declared himself open to offering Kennedy a role in his administration if he (DeSantis) is elected president next year. Such an elevation to the office of such a… ‘questionable’ lawmaker would be in either the United States’ most important health organisation, the Food and Drug Administration, or the equally prestigious Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last week Florida’s Ron DeSantis outlined to NBC News that he would allow individual border patrol agents to “use their own judgement” when it came to deciding whether deadly force was warranted against what he insists on calling an ‘invasion’ of refugees seeking a better life in the United States. It’s clear what this means. Those thus empowered to carry out a significant wave of murders as potential guest workers arrived at the US-Mexico border would most certainly do so. According to the Costs of War project, the exercise of such ‘judgements’ resulted in a figure probably in excess of 200,000 civilian deaths in Iraq during the illegal occupation of that country by the United States.
At the beginning of June this year, the US Supreme Court ordered (election) officials in Alabama to redraw the state’s congressional map in such a way that it reflected the racial demographic which now obtains in that state: 27% Black. Practically, this meant that two constituencies in Alabama must be drawn accordingly: majority-Black. The (white) élite in Alabama wants to restrict black voting as much as it can. So towards the end of July, the Republican governor, Kay Ivey, approved a map with only one majority-Black district – thereby defying the Supreme Court.
In nearby Louisiana, education officials are also acting against federal law. This time that which unequivocally insists on the separation of church and state. Since 1st August, all schools have been required to display the motto ‘In God We Trust’ inside classrooms. Again, this is illegal.
Along the coast in Texas, fascist governor Greg Abbott is also refusing to comply with the law. His party, the Republicans, has always touted its apparent belief in ‘law and order’, of course. Not so when it comes to keeping out non-white people. Abbott recently had his cult followers erect floating barriers in the Rio Grande to broaden and strengthen his exercise of supremacy over guest workers with darker skins than his (and his followers’) own. The Department of Justice gave him until the afternoon of 24 July to remove them because of the risk to the environment which these structures pose and the risks to refugees. These refugees, when accepted into the US, represent a net gain to its economy and a significantly better life in the host country whose economies and social structures that country has done so much to destroy. Abbott simply defied the federal order and refused to comply. Sure enough, within ten days, two dead bodies had been found attached to the barrier.
Meanwhile, a volunteer group which has been donating food to the unhoused in Houston for nearly 30 years has been issued with over 40 ‘tickets’ for giving food to the needy. If found guilty, Houston Food Not Bombs faces fines of US$80,000 (£63,000).
Former Vice President Mike Pence has made it plain where he stands on racist rhetoric as well. For him, those fleeing persecution in the Central and South American countries are to be classed as ‘invaders’ – according to comments he has made on a fascist site. That’s often the rhetoric of anti-guest worker mass shooters.
It would be members of the police force, of course, who see that order is kept. On wonders, though, whether such ‘order’ also means unleashing an attack dog on an unarmed Black lorry driver – as happened on 4th July during a traffic stop south of Columbus, Ohio. In that example of ‘upholding the law’, 23-year-old Jadarrius Rose – with hands in the air – was bitten, dragged by the arm, had to be sent to hospital and later charged at the Ross County Jail for failure to comply with requests from the ‘law and order’ people, who – so far – have not faced (disciplinary) charges.
~ Louis Further
Image: Rod Webber