Freedom News

Notes from the US: The union’s state

Last year, 2023, was officially the hottest continuous period of twelve months since records began. By far.

According to the US Census Bureau (which is unlikely to exaggerate to make a point), in 2022, nearly 38 million people (11.5% of adults in the United States) were officially in poverty.

The US is readily supporting Israel’s massacre of well over 31,000 people (mostly non-combatant women and children) in Gaza. Biden’s administration continues to supply hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms, much of it without congressional approval. Some Republicans are on record as wanting to massacre all Palestinians, and the fascist ‘news’ media repeatedly and deliberately describe peace marches and demonstrations as ‘pro-Hamas’.

Animals are murdered at the rate of 300 million each day across the USA.

Up to date statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that almost half of the US rivers and streams and over a third of the country’s lakes are polluted and unfit for drinking and even swimming.

According to several credible sources, the richest 1% of the US population still owns more than the least well-off 90% does.

Official statistics indicate that well over 100 people die each day from the use of guns. This year (2024) is already worse than previous years. The Republican candidate for this year’s presidential election, Donald Trump, is proud not to have done anything to improve the situation: he both opposed legislation to curb people’s ‘freedom’ to kill one another and enacted none of his own during his term in office.

According to the National Consumer Law Center, 33 million robocalls are sent to those with phones in the United States daily; that’s getting on for 500 a second every day of the year, around the clock. Those with email in the USA get eight billion junk messages every day – or nearly 1,000 a second – again around the clock, day in, day out every day of the year.

So what did the party in power in the House Of Representatives do about any of this – say, a month ago?

They chose to use the most severe censure or attack against an elected official: Impeachment. That is a measure designed to remove those guilty of ‘high crimes or misdemeanours’ from office. They impeached Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary for homeland security. Why? Because he has failed to keep non-white refugees out of the United States in sufficient numbers.

The platforms of both political parties, and most people polled, name the United States’ refusal to atone for its economic and social oppression in Central and South America by welcoming refugees into the country as the most important issue in the upcoming election. Climate doesn’t even figure.

This is despite the huge contribution that guest workers make to life in their communities and nationally. And it is despite the fact that there is no correlation between immigration and crime. Trump, nevertheless, continues to lie about immigration. Nor, of course, is he alone in pushing racist fear-mongering by calling the presence of black and brown people in communities a ‘threat’.

The Republican tasked with making a nationally-broadcast reply to Biden’s State of the Union speech on 7 March, Republican Senator Katie Britt, cited the case of an ‘illegal’ (the Right’s – and Joe Biden’s – word for non-white immigrants) who had committed a crime as a way to whip up fear of non-whites entering the country in hoards, as Trump would have us believe is the case. The trouble was that the crime occurred during the Bush presidency – not that of Biden, who had just made the speech, and in Mexico – not the USA.

That kind of exaggeration, rhetoric and racist language may well be used largely to annoy those whom the right calls ‘liberals’ (because they think that ‘progressives’ are profligate and that they ‘allow’ too much). But it’s still disturbing that at a recent ‘conference’, CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference), one (wing) of the two main parties in the most powerful polities on earth glorifies a Putsch and the deaths caused by those who took part.

At that same CPAC event, Trump himself gave one of his most frightening and disgusting warnings yet about what his presidency would look like if he wins the election – by votes or by force. Fascist rhetoric culminated in talk of “… My ultimate and absolute revenge …” What’s more, several prominent fascists, like Jack Posobiec – speaking at CPAC – made no bones about their intention to “replace” democracy with a kind of dogmatic religious dictatorship. Trump followed this up by labelling Facebook, the “…enemy of the people” and hosting the fascist Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, at his country club in Florida.

Tuesday 5 March, saw primary and caucus elections in 14 states. It was essentially those results which have confirmed that the presidential election in November will be fought between Biden (whose record on the environment is not a particularly good one) and Trump. Amongst notable results was the one in North Carolina where the incumbent Lieutenant (deputy) Governor, Mark Robinson, won that state’s Republican primary for the post of governor. Robinson denies the Holocaust and is virulently anti-gay and anti-abortion. Indeed, The Human Rights Campaign calls Robinson ‘…one of the most radical anti-LGTBQ+ MAGA politicians on the ballot this year, with a long record of demeaning LGTBQ+ people and spreading hateful, vile rhetoric’. His record on most issues has to be seen to be believed.


The élite’s bigotry, fear and determination to oppress people in many states continue; indeed, they are perhaps accelerating.

In one school in Florida, parents have apparently had to tender written permission for their children to learn about black history. This is in line with a move by the University of Florida at the beginning of March to discontinue all its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) funding and staffing.

In West Virginia, new legislation (House Bill 4654) allows for educationalists and librarians to be prosecuted if they use materials deemed ‘obscene’. And we all know who will decide what does and does not fall into that category. Originally, there was a clause which specifically excluded teachers from the bill’s scope whenever it was clear that extending access to such material would be in pupils’ interests – both by enabling them to be better informed about contentious issues and by allowing them to sharpen their abilities to exercise informed discrimination when making decisions about the context and veracity of such sources. That clause was voted down.

Then, nine judges who sit on the US Supreme Court are appointed for life by the sitting US president. The Court was initially intended to act as an impartial check on any legislation that the founders of the country thought might be (seen as) antithetical to the wellbeing of the population as a whole. In recent years, the Court has become increasingly politicised and biased against the majority of the population. The most recent example of this bias occurred recently when the Supreme Court issued an opinion insisting that Trump be placed back on the ballot in Colorado after officials in that state removed his name because Clause Three of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US constitution specifically disqualifies anyone engaged in insurrection (as was Trump in 2020 and 2021) from (subsequently) holding public office. Candidates must have been born in the United States and be 35 years of age or older, and not have served two terms as president.

The Supreme Court’s decision effectively shields Trump, the indicted current candidate (and future holders of the office of president) from consequences if they engage in attempts to overturn governments.

Justice Clarence Thomas is one of the judges who most aggressively sides with the élite and breaks the rules with impunity. A black male, Thomas recently hired a law clerk with a reputation for overt racism: Crystal Clanton. When she was the field director of the fascist student group Turning Point USA, she apparently sent a text message which included the words, “I hate Black people”.

In line with this, lawmakers in Utah took a step closer to giving themselves the power to overturn Federal election results when the vote doesn’t go Republicans’ way.

In the middle of February in Nashville, Tennessee, there was an openly Fascist march attended by an admittedly small (fewer than 20) group of neo-Nazis. They were all men, who wore black trousers and red, long-sleeve T-shirts with the words ‘Blood Tribe’, which – according to the Anti-Defamation League – is a white supremacist organisation apparently founded in 2021 by former marine Christopher Pohlhaus. Some of those present carried and waved flags with swastikas and wore face coverings. Small and without much apparent support? Yes. But in daylight, in a major US city at a time when they were highly visible and advocating a return to Hitlerism.

Anti-gay legislation signed into law by the Republican governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, last month makes it legal for public officials to refuse to perform a marriage there, stating simply that ‘…a person shall not be required to solemnise a marriage…’ It seems likely that legalised bigotry could spread to refusals to marry interracial and interfaith couples. After all, for at least one member of the Republican party (Oklahoma state senator Tom Woods), members of the LGBTQ+ community are ‘filth‘ who should be kept out of his state.

Racist persecution of guest workers continues in Texas, where a faith-based migrant aid organisation which has helped newcomers to the US in El Paso, Texas, for nearly half a century revealed that Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is trying to close it down. The discredited Paxton ordered Annunciation House to turn over documents about its work – within 24 hours. This is clearly designed to intimidate and compromise the group’s work; the documents contain legal service referrals, data which identifies asylum-seekers and other sensitive personal details.

~ Louis Further

Image: Alyx Volzer / Paradise, US, forest fires Nov 2018

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