2007 - 2020

Glorifying Violence

Minneapolis has erupted in protest and anger after the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer Derek Chauvin.  Chauvin had already been involved in several incidents, according to a database by Minneapolis’ Communities United Against Police Brutality. The horrific event, witnessed on social media, echoed Eric Garner’s “I can’t breathe” as he was killed by police officer Daniel Pantaleo in New York. The grim roll-call of deaths and murders is relentless and the absence of prosecution has fueled calls for more radical action against the police. As global pandemic stretches and breaks the social contract between the state and the people, trust is breaking down. Now the experience of police brutality – and the seeming impunity from justice – has forced activists to abandon calls for reform.

As Derecka Purnell, a social movement lawyer based in Washington, D.C. wrote: “George, like Dreasjon Reed, Breonna Taylor and other black people killed by police this year, should be alive and breathing. This cycle – murder, protest, calls for justice, non-indictments – is revelatory. We must join others to reduce police power before, during and after these viral killings. Police reform is not enough. We need abolition.”

Now, as the debate about state violence takes root amid burning cities, a significant moment in internet history sparks as Twitter puts a public interest notice on a Tweet from @realdonaldtrump . The company explained: “This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”

Trumps tweet: “….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!

“When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” was a reference quoting the former Miami police chief Walter Headley, who in December 1967 promised violent reprisals to protests over stop-and-frisk tactics. Trump, as we know, has a long history of standing by neo nazis and the far right, famously calling the Charlottesville protestors “very fine people”. The “Unite the Right” rally in 2017 that sparked the violence in Charlottesville featured several leading names in the white-nationalist alt-right movement, and also attracted people displaying Nazi symbols. As they walked down the street, the white-nationalist protesters chanted “blood and soil.”  One of the men seen marching with the fascist group American Vanguard, James A. Fields, was charged with deliberately ramming a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer.

This is a historic moment in America’s decent and the events unfolding in Minneapolis are the culmination of decades of police violence and institutional racism.

Today, as I write, the police are arresting reporters live on television. America is descending into fascism.

As Derecka Purnell points out, the calls to abolish, not reform the police stem from the calls to abolish the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after years of horrific revelations about the abuse of children in “detentions centres” in the US.

Purnell writes:

“One major difference is the mainstream narrative around dreamers: immigrants hoping for a better life and fleeing persecution and violence in their homeland. To be clear, the fight for immigrant justice is crucial and inseparable from the fight against racial police violence. Immigrants, especially undocumented black immigrants, are vulnerable to police violence and face the risk of prison, deportation and death. Yet black Americans, like indigenous and First Nations people, represent particular reminders that white settlers looted land, committed genocide and enslaved people to build a democracy. As a result, black and indigenous bodies remain a public nuisance to be disappeared, exploited, imprisoned and killed by white people and police alike. They want us to live in constant fear of those possibilities for a reason. Thus, black resistance matters, against police and white supremacy alike.”

But as America – a country infested with radicalised and emboldened white supremacists – teeters on the brink of a deeper crisis there is also something that Naomi Klein has called “a coherent pandemic shock doctrine beginning to emerge.”

So while Twitter warning Trump seems like a moment of pure democracy: everyone is equal before the law; it also carries with it its own threat. The tech giants are the core of Shoshana Zuboff’s surveillance capitalism and need reformed and regulated just like any other media as the question arises Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? This as true of the police as it is of Twitter and Facebook.

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  1. David says:

    While I agree with the contents of the article, It come as no surprise the USA has evolved to this, fueled by Trump .
    This post could move to a rant, if i was to adress the faults in the USA’s structure, really that is were it lies.
    The USA doesn’t want to change,and probably can’t
    Trump to me is nothing more than a ignorant right wing fascist WASP (and all that entails)
    The quote used by Trump “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” to me , signify Trump having little thought of utilising the “cheapest option” of control , and show of “his power”

    One Nation under Go(l)d

  2. Daniel Raphael says:

    Thanks for this, Michael. I hope something in the various articles I’ve been tweeting to you has proven useful.

    It is a profound mistake for anyone to attribute all this to Trump or to view it as an aberration. It is neither the workings of one unhinged thug-in-chief nor is it something that just now is a-borning. As you mentioned in your piece, Michael, this is of a part with what built the American nation. A sense of self-justification, possession, and God-anointed superiority are all components of the original, toxic mix that still informs our national character. Throughout our history, the US has referred to itself as Zion, invoked Manifest Destiny, and in a less refined version of what we still hear today, official pronouncements made clear that our rule came directly via God’s approval, and God was white.

    While capitalism prevails everywhere, the particular American variant of it is especially virulent due to its culture of racism and the valorizing of violence. “Might makes right” acts in tandem with “white makes right;” acts of individual and organizing terror, assaults, and killings are on the upswing, as documented by groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. Capitalism is itself a system that encourages, rewards, and produces people who unsurprisingly embody and reproduce the values that give continuity and accentuate the virulence of its depredations. The actions of a near-trillionair in removing medical benefits from part-time employees is of a piece with police who treat people on the street exactly like enemy combatants. Both are related and intertwined, a pattern of degradation and structural violence that constitutes the fabric of everyday life in the States.

    A breaking point is approaching, and elections are not going to resolve anything. The electoral circus is deliberately and extensively rigged in multiple dimensions to assure continued rule by the wealthy few. How much can and will people put up with? And how will the 99% of Americans line up when the blow-ups begin? That’s a crucial question, because history has shown that when capitalism crumbles, it can go in a revolutionary direction or become fascist. This isn’t rhetoric–the blood and gross injustice being displayed for all to see, is a sign of a society in extremis. This isn’t playtime, and it’s no game. The old labor song comes to mind, “Which side are you on?” It’s a question that we will see answered in the events soon to unfold.

    1. Paul McMillan says:

      Quick check on Wikepedia and the state whose security forces murder the most citizens is ‘socialist’ Venezuala’.
      No fan of Trump (I detest the guy) but both ‘left’ and ‘right’ are more than capable of killing people the US is way down the list but compared to other ‘developed’ societies is way up. Maybe something to do with the gun laws rather than ‘capitalism’.

      1. Daniel Raphael says:

        It would be interesting to see what kind of table/resource on Wikipedia (however spelled) you found that in. Care to provide a link?

        p.s. Venezuela isn’t socialist–Chavez said as much, in response to a question put to him on that very subject. He added, “but that is our intention.” Other nations strive mightily to deny them that choice. Can you think of any who would try to prevent them?

        1. Paul McMillan says:

          So what is ‘socialist’ Daniel?
          Asked you enough times………

        2. Paul McMillan says:

          I’m not very internet savvy. Just type in ‘people killed by their own law enforcement agencies’ and Venezuala is miles in front followed by ‘socialist’ Nicaragua and El Salvador. I await and a condemnatory article in BC about these regimes……

          1. Me Bungo Pony says:

            That argument implies it is okay to be as “bad” as you want so long as you can point to someone who is “badder”. A murderer could claim they weren’t really that bad so long as they could point to someone who had murdered more people than them.

            The article isn’t about the US being the worst in the World. It is about the self proclaimed “Leaders of the “Free World””, with the claims of equality “under God”, descending into a right wing, white supremacist mockery of democracy. Or perhaps it is just the mask slipping.

          2. Kevin Hattie says:

            Whataboutery.

  3. Roger Gough says:

    France has demonstrated that it’s a brutal fascist state over the past 52 weeks: systematic beatings, shootings of peaceful demonstrators every weekend, yet that doesn’t seem to count because no one in the MSM cares to report on it much less examine it in depth. Is there any logical reason for this?

    1. Wul says:

      And closer to home, fellow journalist Julian Assange rots in Belmarsh high security prison. No analysis or curiosity shown in MSM. Or in these pages either. Which worries me.

      1. Daniel Raphael says:

        I share your concern. I’d bet that it’s the wealth of material that could be covered, rather than either ignorance or animus that would explain the absence of that commentary/coverage, Wul.

        1. Jo says:

          Daniel

          “I’d bet that it’s the wealth of material that could be covered, rather than either ignorance or animus that would explain the absence of that commentary.”

          I think you’d lose your money.

          1. Daniel Raphael says:

            I was thinking of the “this site” mention at the end, Jo; so far as the corporate MSM goes, of course. They have an agenda, and freedom of the press and speech is the last thing they want…any more than they want “free markets” or anything like them.

      2. Jo says:

        Wul

        It worries me too. Assange was once quite the darling of many sections of the media, especially the Guardian. It was Wikileaks that provided the outlet for Chelsea (at the time, Bradley) Manning to provide absolute proof of the sinister goings on behind the scenes politically. The Guardian published tons of the information. Manning remains a hero. Assange is now the spawn of the devil! Journalists in the same paper which once courted him are now wetting themselves with excitement at the thought of his extradition to the US. It would make you weep.

        Politics is a dirty environment but, more and more, I’m finding our media an even more toxic and dishonest place altogether. Sites I once thoroughly enjoyed are now unrecognisable.

        1. Wul says:

          Thanks Jo and Daniel for replying. I agree Jo about journalists, they are just mouthpieces for hire now. Pick your paymaster, paste your article, collect your cheque.

          It was specifically this site’s silence on the Assange matter that is worrying me. I hope Daniel’s view is accurate.

          1. I’m not sure how this thread has descended into an attack on Bella, a site that for over ten years has constructed arguments about the problems in the media and was created to respond to that very crisis?

  4. Wul says:

    When physical violence is used within a marriage it is a sign that one party has lost their reason and any claim to credibility. And yet nation states use it time and again against their citizens whilst claiming the moral high ground and higher purpose.

    These police officers must feel empowered in using violence against black people. They wouldn’t do it if it was “wrong”. Something is telling them it is ok. The violence of policeman’s knee to neck or police truncheon to skull is just the apex of a long, and systemic series of violent acts against some citizens; poor housing, inadequate health care, punishing and humiliating “welfare” schemes, lack of opportunity, degrading work. Not mattering.

    Where does this violence originate? Who/what makes it “ok”? Will it happen to my children?

    1. David says:

      Where does this violence originate?

      In the case of the USA, the behavior of the President who is just an animal,with access to ultimate weapons
      the fact that USA has “Right to Arm Bears” so deeply imbedded in it’s psyche is the core of on which they build.
      The arms business in the USA, amounts to $28 Billion,excluding the current spike in sale since the virus started, that added to sales increase of 141% to 169%

      (The US brought in $192.3 billion from weapon sales last year, up 13 percent. that was in 2018)
      Trump’s rhetoric has created a problem for the Chinese Americans, ie they are crapping themselves that Trump launches a vitriolic attack on them, so they’re buying guns.
      Trump is someone who is a bit unstable( Is that an understatement or not?)

      Who/what makes it “ok”?

      I believe that the answer is in the question of “Who created Trumpism?” ……the US citizens, only they can stop it..If they have the desire to,

      Johnson too has the traits of Trump

      Will it happen to my children?……..Not a clue, but this really need to stop Now

      1. Jo says:

        David

        I’m sorry, I can’t stand the Trump creature but it’s very naïve to put the killing of unarmed black civilians by police down to him. It’s been going on for decades! It’s cold, raw racism. America is deeply racist still. That is the truth. Try starting there.

        1. Daniel Raphael says:

          Exactly.

  5. William Ross says:

    Mike

    This is another ludicrous contribution by yourself.

    1. What happened to Mr Floyd was indisputably criminal and now the main perpetrator has been charged with murder.

    2. Black people certainly are frequent victims of violence in America but the vast majority of such crime is black-on-black. Ten people were killed in Chicago last weekend, but no one cares.

    3. The reaction to loot and burn has been disgusting and it is a disgrace that no-one from Bella to CNN has uttered a word of condemnation. People riot and loot for fun and profit. This is not a Martin Luther King response. Even the Rev Al Sharpton has condemned what is happening.

    4. Trump’s tweet is stupid and inflammatory because of its origin in Florida in a much earlier era. However, his literal words are fully supportable. When looting and burning start the forces of law and order must react, sometimes with bullets.

    5. To support the idea of “abolition” of the forces of law and order is the most brainless concept imaginable. How could a lawyer argue for this?

    6. To claim that America is descending into fascism is embarrassing. It just shows that you have no slightest understanding of America’s true nature. The First Amendment to the American Constitution is the strongest defence of free speech in the World. I wish we had it here.

    7. The settling of America was a racist episode. Well yes it was to some extent. But it happened hundreds of years ago. So what does everyone do? Take flights home to their ancestral countries of origin? Laughable. American society has shown the capacity to change itself for the better. There is hope there. Why is that the roads and seas are filled with people trying to immigrate to America, the heart of the fascist beast?

    8. I lived in the US for seven years and Venezuela for 8. Each day I give thanks that I am living in this well functioning and civilized country. By the way, where would you prefer to be Mike? Which society “works” for you?

    William

    1. Thanks William.

      I have lived, worked and studied in America too, I have travelled across it from East to West and lived in the north and south. I have a great many American friends who agree that the country is teetering on the edge of fascism.

      The people arguing for the dismantling of the police are all across the USA. They argue it is unreformable.

      I dont quite understand why you are asking me if I want to live in Venezuela when we are discussing state murder and police brutality?

    2. Jo says:

      William Ross

      I wish I hadn’t read that. I feel like I should decontaminate myself.

  6. florian albert says:

    The American commentator Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote that; ‘Riots harm their communities. They don’t reform them. They often initiate a general spike in violent crime. Who wants to raise their kids in a neighbourhood where the police station has to be evacuated before it was set ablaze ?’
    This is the lesson of the 1960s. Cities such as Detroit and Newark never recovered from the destruction of the riots of that decade. The big losers were the black people left behind in them. Minneapolis looks set to suffer a similar fate.

    Mike Small quotes Derecka Purnell calling for the abolition of the police. Does she say what comes next ?
    Detroit (population 700,000) has about 270 murders a year; Scotland (population 5.3 million) has about 60 murders a year. I doubt that abolishing the police would improve Detroit’s grim statistics.

    1. Daniel Raphael says:

      It is near midnight here, the following day: police are driving SUVs into crowds, marching through residential neighborhoods, hurling objects into homes and driveways, brutalizing people everywhere. Police exist to “protect & serve” the 1%, the wealthy and powerful, by suppressing the commoners. White people especially tend to be naive about this, but some activism or participation in a prolonged strike tends to bring reality more into focus.

      The question is: who will protect us from the police?

      1. florian albert says:

        Where is here ?

    2. Me Bungo Pony says:

      When you have nothing in the midst of plenty, the forces of “law and order” are arrayed against you, and the colour of your skin is a barrier to any realistic remedy of this situation, is it really surprising when violence erupts? “Reason” is not going to cut it for you when “reason” is being used to maintain your hopeless situation.

      1. florian albert says:

        ‘the colour of your skin is a barrier’

        I have no doubt that racism exists and is a problem in the USA. Against that, a man of colour was elected president twice. Further, the USA is a magnet for foreigners – many of them people of colour. Like the UK, it can’t be too bad if so many people of colour will risk their life – and in the recent distressing case of those from Vietnam – sacrifice their life, to live here.

        1. Me Bungo Pony says:

          As I said; Reason” is not going to cut it for you when “reason” is being used to maintain your hopeless situation.

          1. florian albert says:

            If my situation is, as you say ‘hopeless’, it should be quite easy to demolish my arguments.

          2. Me Bungo Pony says:

            I don’t think you’ve understood my post.

    3. I dont think you’re really undestanding the argument

  7. Devine says:

    Trump is only the latest incarnation of the WASP culture that has plagued America since its inception- and lets face it nearly 75% of the population is of White European ancestry- and as others have already mentioned it has a long dark legacy: The Doctrine of Manifest Destiny, Slavery, Native American genocide and the Reservations, Jim Crow Laws, Lynchings, KKK, and the ‘New Jim Crow’ of the mass imprisonment of young Black men in a privatised prison service and of course Police brutality. Even one of the ‘Great’ fathers of the American nation Thomas Jefferson championed the ‘science’ of racism and White Supremacism. You can only imagine the dangers and devastation caused by a George Wallace, or Woodrow Wilson, a Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan would have caused if they had twitter in the ‘good old days’- Trump is in that lineage and his ignorance is magnified by the immediacy of the social media prism. Has Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement really changed that much- you only have to look at the socioeconomic inequality suffered by the Black community and its systemic problems with high unemployment and housing to realise the ‘System’ is unqualifiedly White. Indeed Trump is the very manifestation of the Whitelash caused by the election of Obama. The Blacks need put back in their box. Everyone needs to know their place in the natural order of things. The likes of Fox News, much aligned to the Alt-Right and the White Nationalist Coalition Movement and the tropes of General Bannon, are fuelling the fires, and it seems to me are hoping to crank up the tensions in the Sundown Towns. WASP culture has always viewed the ‘other’ as inferior: of course at one time it was Highland ‘Celtic’ Scots who were placed on the front lines during wars, whose loss would be no great ‘mischief’, and the Irish Catholics, or Indians or Jews, or Asians, Mexicans or gypsies- everyone who isn’t a White Protestant is inferior and even those whites who are not middle-class or higher are inferior. Theodor Adorno said in the ‘Dialectic of Enlightenment’ that Bourgeois Western Civilisation has something ‘authoritarian’ in its DNA- and that the Death Camps and the Holocaust were in many ways the accelerated end-point or logical extreme of Enlightenment values. Adorno and Horkheimer both identified the central problem of Western Bourgeois culture in the ‘persistence of domination’: “Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology.” Horkheimer and Adorno believe that in the process of “enlightenment,” modern philosophy had become over-rationalized and an instrument of technocracy and by objectifying the totality of existence it ‘dominates’ and violates life. Power sources all utilise domination and violence to effect ‘control’ and maintain ‘order’- this is what the White WASP majority are doing in America right now. As Cornel West has already said ‘America is a failed social experiment’ and the White system of Power cannot reform itself. It simply doesn’t have the capacity. Besides America as a great nation of contrasts and extremes is far to polarised, both demographically and ideologically, to ever change in any stable progressive sense. For the privileged and those who hold Power in any society calls for equality, by the dispossessed and minorities, always feels like an attack on their rights- and as long as there’s political pimps and opportunistic hustlers like Trump there will always be Politicians to take advantage of that dynamic for their own self-interest: its how the system works. At least now we’re seeing Twitter police Trump a little more effectively now- but don’t be surprised to see more inflammatory tweets by Trump and his followers when the push and pull of the system kicks in- and this is a crisis situation ripe for opportunism, especially as the elections loom in the horizon.

    1. Kevin Hattie says:

      This is very thought-provoking, @Devine.

      I am starting to read Critical Theory, having only been vaguely familiar with the ideas from afar. So I haven’t read Adorno or Horkheimer. What is it that is problematic in the Enlightenment tradition? How does it end up with totalitarianism?

  8. William Ross says:

    I am sorry to read that Jo felt the need to “decontaminate” herself after reading my post of earlier yesterday. Since what I wrote was so objectionable, one would have thought that Jo would have debunked my eight points or any of them. Surprisingly, she fails to do so.

    I wonder if an enraged protestor sought to burn down her house and business would that be OK with Jo? Would she expect the police to do something? Like arresting or shooting the hoodlums? Is mindless violence against innocents away to protest injustice?

    I am glad that Mike has had experience living and studying in the USA. If he had studied the American Constitution he would be familiar with the extraordinary free speech provisions of the First Amendment. Free speech and an independent judiciary are the very foundations of liberal democracy. The looters, rioters and narcissists who are causing the current devastation have nothing to say to that constitution. They are simply wreckers in the best criminal and anarchist traditions.

    Mike calls the killing of George Floyd a “state murder”. He cannot be serious to claim that the killing of Mr Floyd is the “state” policy of the city of Minneapolis? The state of Minnesota? The USA? Preposterous. The killer of George Floyd is himself a criminal, acting outside the law. His police uniform does not protect him.

    William .

    1. Daniel Raphael says:

      I tried (but failed) to get one of the many articles with photographs showing the “protect and serve” gang in action last night…but don’t fear–you can see and read stories from German media, US, and others, including press who were shot, beaten, detained, arrested by our protectors. Those who are fine with rule by white will see nothing other than vandals and the usual color of depravity; those who have even a passing thought for centuries of unrelieved white racism will see another picture.

      Do check around–reality is knocking. It is the First Intifada over here. Which side are you on?

    2. Devine says:

      I think the reason she feels she has to ‘decontaminate’ herself is because of the unctuous tone of the post and how it dutifully it never questions the abuse of power. I’ve often wondered why some people- those who vote Tory and Republican- always take the side of power against the powerless. You are one of those dupes. You are being deliberately obtuse so that you don’t have to see things in a more complex way, in terms of social structures or dynamics and how they interact- instead you use the old conservative tool of blaming the individual: ‘What happened to Mr Floyd was indisputably criminal and now the main perpetrator has been charged with murder’- nothing to see here. Its all just so plain and simple and black and white. Everything else is just drama. Lets move on. You’re the guy who views Trump words and view of the situation as ‘fully supportable’- but Jo is the one being unreasonable and dramatic, according to your warped interpretation. In the context of British culture and politics you are the one in the minority- who in their right mind would think of defending Trump in this context? Seriously, are you trolling/at the wind-up, or are you really that thick? You’re embarrassing yourself pal. You’re ‘Points’ are so inane, adolescent and such nonsensical straw-men arguments that its pointless to even engage with them- maybe that’s why she never ‘debunked’ your so-called ‘eight points’.

  9. Devine says:

    I would just like to add that much of the violence we see now is a culmination of long subdued forces erupting to the surface- decent people America are generally sick and tired of the system and how in thrall it is to corporate lobbying and levered in favour of big business. People of all persuasions feel helpless and disempowered in the US. The difference for Black people is they are frightened, and fear more often than not leads to violence, and especially now with the militia and militarised police forces patrolling City streets–they’ve just watched a young black man being murdered on their TV screens. They’ve just seen their President tweet ‘when the lootin starts the shootin starts’ – if that doesn’t put the fear in you then nothing will. Dispossession is the liberatory oppositional factor that progresses society- the Conservative privileged ‘majority’ will resist change as long as they can/but history tends to show that violence and destruction of property tends to work strategically with the dominant class- force and resistance are the language they seem to respect and its consequences cost money, which is always the primary motivation for the dominant priveleged class. The Black Community and the minorities, youth groups, the precariat classes have nothing much left to lose- violence sometimes is all you have left when the enemy has stripped you of all dignity and human status. I, for one, see the fires and riots as the prefect logic in the algorithm of progressive resistance to the dominanting power of the Conservative majority.

    1. Arboreal Agenda says:

      One note of caution here. There are convincing reports that some of the current violence is being deliberately caused by far the right to stoke hatred of Black Lives Matter but also because some on the far right also hate the police and think them oppressive, though they refuse to acknowledge the fact that police brutality is an issue that disproportionately impacts people of colour. Vice News has several reports on this phenomenon like this one:

      https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/pkyb9b/far-right-extremists-are-hoping-to-turn-the-george-floyd-protests-into-a-new-civil-war

  10. William Ross says:

    Devine seems to think that I am a “Tory and Republican” and a Trump supporter.

    In fact, I have been a lifelong SNP supporter. If he reads my posts he will see that I critique Trump who is inflaming the situation. Devine does not like the tone of my comment. He feels I should be wrong.

    Let me ask him the question I addressed to Jo. If someone was burning down his house and business because they were outraged at the racist acts of third parties would he be happy? Would he understand that things are actually not “black and white”? Would he not want the protection of the police?

    One of the great principles of the US Constitution is that of “equal protection” That means that law applies equally to everyone no matter their colour or sex. That is what I believe in. I am not interested in identarian politics.

    Does Devine think he represents British culture? What a laugh.

    William

    1. Kevin Hattie says:

      Do you really believe that people are treated equally by the law in the US, regardless of their race? Or are you just saying you agree with the ‘principle’ of it?

    2. Devine says:

      William I think you’re either an idiot or a liar, maybe both or you are profoundly confused- confused possibly because you’ve boxed yourself into a ideological corner. You’re certainly not a social democrat, which is how the SNP describe themselves. The tone of your language has the whiff of smug complacency you normally get with right-wing types, a sort of glib superficial certainty. You said you ‘critique Trump’- but its clear you said ‘the literal words of Trump’ are ‘fully supportable’- how can anyone take that stance knowing fine well what Trump really meant? No one is that naive or stupid- even a brain damaged mollusc knows what Trump’s meaning is. Its not rocket science. Trump is not the most sophisticated guy in the world. So again, you’re a liar- at the very least you’re lying to yourself- but then maybe you’re stupid and you can’t help it. If so, then I apologise.

      Let me indulge your adolescent conjecture for a second, you say: ‘If someone was burning down his house and business because they were outraged at the racist acts of third parties would he be happy? Would he not want the protection of the police?’ First of all who is being burned out of their homes? Can you offer me a link to people being burned out of their homes? And yes I’ve seen businesses being burned and torched and if it was my own business I would not try and protect it- why would a sane man confront an angry frightened mob of people and try and stop them setting fire to some bricks and mortar with perishable material goods inside? My life is more important than that. If it was my home, yes that would be different- but show me where this is happening?

      People in the US have no more rights than anyone in the UK or Europe or anywhere in liberal social democracies in the world- so I fail to see what the first amendment has to do with anything. America has very often lurched toward the lynch mob mentality and fascism, in all but name, any number of times, particularly during Jim Crow era, the McCarthy witch hunts, the fascistic corporatism of the Robbers Barons, the various crimes of Republican presidents such as Wilson, Nixon, Regan, and the Bush’s have all flirted with overt fascistic tendencies. And I don’t presume to represent ‘British culture’ I just know that your support of Trump puts you in the minority when it comes to the British people- jesus, even Boris Johnson was laughing at how much of a redneck yahoo Trump was at the Nato summit last year. I mean I’m no fan of Bojo or the Tories but you cannot compare him or them with with the white trash Republican supporters of Trump or the man himself. Don’t be the village idiot again and pretend you didn’t defend him. You did. That’s it.

      1. Paul McMillan says:

        Meanwhile millions of ‘BAME’ people from across the world would give their right arm to live in the ‘fascistic’ USA……..something not quite right with your argument. Sorry!

        1. Devine says:

          There goes the complacent voice of white male bourgeois privilege…and so because people want to leave their own dysfunctional hyper-authoritarian states where the immediate threat of of physical violence is very real to go to a country with basic human rights then that country is beyond reproach- is that the logic here? You can’t criticise something that is bad because somewhere else things are worse. Is that the level of reasoning? So if I’m homeless and I want a bed for the night but the only place I can sleep is a piss-stained hovel with crappy food and a bad landlord who charges too much for the rent- does that mean I should be pleased at lying in the piss stained room as long as I’m not cold, I’m not hungry and have a roof over my head? And by consequence I can’t argue or criticise the landlord for over-charging me for the poor condition I find myself in? Just know my place and be grateful for the shit I get? Is this the level of ambition we have now for the human condition- if so then what is the point of anything if this is as good as it gets? Surely we must believe in some Utopian alternative ideal- a future possible world that may be inherent in the limitations of the present one- and to which we might with creative imagination strive and by which we measure how the present conditions are to be tested?

          1. Paul McMillan says:

            Why do you presume I’m white and male….OK my name gives it away. But bourgoise (however its spelt) how do you presume to know my background?
            At least you are good enough to admit that whilst the USA is far from perfect the rest of the world is a lot worse. I presume thats the fault of ‘white bourgouise’people like me (hope i got the spelling right). Presume your aware that the ‘black’ (socialist) govt of South Africa kills far more black people than the ‘fascist’USA. Life and societies are not perfect and never will be but most people (rightly so) will move to societies that gives them the best opportunities. Its why ‘capitalist’countries have to build walls to keep people out whereas ‘socialist’societies build walls to keep people in.

        2. Me Bungo Pony says:

          No Paul, it is your argument that is found wanting. You seem to believe the conditions people have to endure in other parts of the World somehow excuses the overt racism that exists in the USA. It doesn’t. Its the eternal rationalisation of injustice used by those on the Right to excuse worsening conditions, whether social or economic, for those that are not “them or their’s”. The argument goes that so long as they can point to somewhere where things are worse, you cannot complain about worsening conditions anywhere else until they are just as bad. Left unchallenged, that logic would lead to those on the wrong side of the equation, throughout the World, living in conditions just slightly above the worst sh*t hole on the planet.

        3. Kevin Hattie says:

          @PaulMcMillan

          You seem to have a very simplistic, ahistorical view of the places you have cited throughout this comments section. Nicaragua, El Salvador, Venezuela; all cited as places to make the US look like a paradise of tolerance and peace. But do you know about the history of US foreign policy in Latin America, Paul? Do you actually believe that these countries are undesirable to live in simply because of their current governments? Shall we ignore the history of European colonialism, American imperialism, and the US sponsored ‘war on drugs’, fuelled by America’s cocaine habits?

          You speak as though the answer to your question regarding why people want to live in America is ‘Capitalist America good. Socialist Nicaragua bad.’ It’s so lacking in understanding and any critical thought. Do some bloody research!

          1. Paul McMillan says:

            The tragedy of central/south america is that they we’re colonised by the spanish/portugese and not by the British. Although the ‘Scottish’colony in Pananama which led to the bankruptcy of the mercantile/aristocratic classes of Scotland led to them begging the ‘English’ to bail them out and hence to the ‘Union’.
            Compare Canada to Mexico……

          2. Me Bungo Pony says:

            Wow Mr McMillan! Ill informed, naive and xenophobic! Perfect fodder for the populist right.

          3. Jo says:

            MBP

            Lost for words here too.

    3. Me Bungo Pony says:

      “One of the great principles of the US Constitution is that of “equal protection” That means that law applies equally to everyone no matter their colour or sex. That is what I believe in. I am not interested in identarian politics”.

      The US Constitution is fantastic …. in principle. It’s just that, for so many, it does not seem to apply to them.

  11. William Ross says:

    MBP

    If you are saying that Equal Protection guarantees that there will be no racist murders burnings etc in the USA then you would be right. We need only look back to what happened a few days ago in Minneapolis to see that.

    However, every American citizen has strong enforceable rights under the US Constitution and the vast array of federal and state civil rights laws. Civil rights have been vindicated on countless occasions through the application of these laws. If you listen to CNN you will find that commentators giggle when Trump boasts that he and he alone can control when lockdown ends. He doesn’t. There is a separation of state and federal authorities. This system of laws is why America is a million miles away from fascism. Fascism and law does not mix.

    On the other hand, equal protection and its progeny does not guarantee equal outcomes.

    Compare countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua and El Salvador and you will find that their legal systems are worthless. Judges are corrupt, legal rights are uncertain and crime is rampant. In Venezuela, we have 4.5 million refugees, over a million per cent inflation, the most dangerous non-war zone city on earth and a situation in which a country which is floating in oil desperately needs oil imports from Iran.

    You couldn’t make it up!

    William

    William

    1. Me Bungo Pony says:

      William cries “Oh no! The populist right is coming under criticism for enacting and justifying horrible acts of racism and injustice! Quick, mention Venezuela as much as possible. That’ll sort things”.

      The rest of us read it and think “wtf”!!!!

      Things being particularly bad in one place does not justify poor conditions in another place simply because they are not as bad as in the former place.

    2. Bill says:

      Nicaragua, Venezuela El Salvador and want others of that ilk make no claim to be the “leader of the free world” and the model to which we – all the rest should aspire. It therefore does raise concern when we see what is happening under Trump in America. The threat of using the military to shoot civilians is the last act of a madman. It is reminiscent of the Thirties and worrying that America is going down the fascist route

      Bill

  12. William Ross says:

    I am afraid that Me Bungo Pony grabs the wrong end of the stick again.

    The murder of George Floyd was not in response to any enactment of the populist right. And I am not a representative of the “populist right” in any event. What happened was that a thug in uniform killed a human being in cold blood. There have been huge protests in the USA and also massive mindless violence, looting and arson. Democratic protest is fine and we should expect it in a free society like America. After all, this is not some totalitarian rat-hole like China.

    But the criminality is inexcusable. It is time to call it out. Mr Floyd`s girlfriend has done so. https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/05/george-floyd-protests-riots-are-their-own-form-of-oppression/ Maybe she is also a reactionary patsy.

    El Salvador, Nicaragua and Venezuela were cited by Paul McMillan. Venezuela is an utter catastrophe as I know to my cost. MBP has no interest in the plight of millions of refugees and the famine of the people. He will continue his jihad against America, the World`s greatest democracy. But then again he has the right to free speech unlike so many billions of people in this World.

    So be it.

    William

    1. Kevin Hattie says:

      It’s disingenuous to say “What happened was that a thug in uniform killed a human being in cold blood”; a statement that de-contextualises everything. Someone who hadn’t heard anything about the incident would read how you’ve summarised it and think that a “bad apple” in the police force killed an innocent person, and that’s the end of the story. You gloss over the fact that the person killed was black and that this incident is far from a one-off in the United States. It’s not for nothing that a campaign titled ‘Black Lives Matter’ has sprung up in the country in response to institutional racism and structural inequality. The murder of George Floyd was not an aberration in an otherwise perfect society. It was another example of serious problems that have deep roots in American society, within and outwith the political/State structures.

    2. Me Bungo Pony says:

      Wow! So many assumptions about me. All of them wrong. Still, Venezuela got more incongruous mentions so not all bad 🙂

  13. William Ross says:

    Kevin

    The question you have to honestly ask yourself is whether the killing of George Floyd represents the policy of the City of Minneapolis? The State of Minnesota? The United States of America? I do not believe in such a policy, but maybe you do.

    My heart also bleeds for those black and minority victims who are killed by criminals every weekend and for whom nobody mourns.

    There I leave it.

    William

    1. Kevin Hattie says:

      Are you trying to say that if racism is not formalised into State policy, then it’s not an issue?

      1. Me Bungo Pony says:

        Now you’re getting it. It’s great. All you have to do is have an official bit of paper that says “Be excellent to each other” and then let the institutionalised racism run free. If anyone points out that people aren’t being excellent to each other, you just point to the bit of paper and claim its all good ….. because of the piece of paper.

        1. Paul McMillan says:

          MBP, Just got back from a wonderful full day of work on a building site, but hey thats what bourgouis people do….
          If you were presented with a choice,:
          1. Live in the ‘fascist USA’
          2. Live in ‘socialist’ Venezuala.
          Be honest with yourself……
          No fan of the USA, been once in my life no intentions of ever returning but the ‘left’ are obsessed with the ‘evils’ of the USA whilst turning a complete blind eye to far worst abuses in ‘socialist’ countries. This is the hypocrisy I was trying to highlight.
          Anyway my ‘bourgoise’ body needs a good hot shower followed by a sinful ciggie and glass of single malt. Keep well!

          1. Me Bungo Pony says:

            What a bizarre comment. If I was to choose the US would that mean I couldn’t criticise its gradual slide into a right-wing, populist parody of a “free society”? Are you seriously suggesting you cannot criticise the US until things are as bad as 《insert name of country here》? Do you not think it would be better to highlight and address these problems BEFORE they get that bad? Or would you be happy to see things gradually worsen until the US was only marginally better than 《insert name of country here》? The topic of discussion is the worsening situation in the US not 《insert name of country here》. Your attempts to deflect it onto unrelated subjects suggests you are happy with what the rise of the populist-right. Is this the case?

          2. Arboreal Agenda says:

            I’d rather live in a fascist USA than live in a ditch on the Moon (even with oxygen supplies). Hope that helps.

  14. William Ross says:

    Kevin

    If racism is not a city, state or national policy then racist acts are the acts of rogue individuals like Mr Chauvin. They need to be rooted out.

    Mr Floyd,s brother is now praying for peace and justice. Should we not join him?

    1. Kevin Hattie says:

      I don’t think that’s true at all. For example, since Barack Obama was elected as President, the Southern Povery Law Centre noted a 400% increase in racial hate groups throughout the country. It’s really not convincing to say that such an issue is down to “rogue individuals”.

      We haven’t even ventured into the debate about policies that, while not explicitly racist, affect communities of colour disproportionately. It has been well documented how America’s drug laws disproportionately affect the African American community, for example. ‘The land of the free’ has the largest prison population in the world, where African Americans are once again disproportionately represented. The same applies to fatal police shootings.

      How do you factor all this into your “rogue individuals” theory?

      1. Paul McMillan says:

        I doubt the ‘land of the free’would round up 1.5 millon muslims and shove them in ‘re-education camps’as recently been done in China. No great admirer of the USA (in my opinion would have been better if the ‘British’ had won the war of ‘Independance’ but the USA (for all its faults) has been a force for good in history. Its not perfect (no society has been or ever will be) but without the USA WW2 would have gone the ‘wrong way’ and for that we should be grateful

        1. Kevin Hattie says:

          What a strange comment. I’ve pointed out that there are problems with institutional racism in the US, and you’ve tried to defend it by randomly bringing up China and then WW2. What have either got to do with the problems I’ve highlighted?

          1. Me Bungo Pony says:

            It’s called “deflection” Kevin. Defined as “throwing someone or something off course, often by using a distraction”. In this case, Venezuala and, even more bizarrely, WW2 is being used to “deflect” from criticism of the institutionalised racism in the US (and it’s attempted validation by the populist-right).

  15. Kevin Hattie says:

    @Me Bungo Pony

    It is behaviour befitting of Donald Trump himself. Paul has shown himself to be a faithful servant of the populist right within this comments section; batting away any criticism of American society with sheer whataboutery aimed at what he perceives to be “socialist countries”. It’s as if he is frozen in time; stuck in the paranoia of the cold war.

    Then there’s his strange belief that the world would be a better place if Britain had colonised more of it. I’ll not say too much more about it, because it must be an attempt to troll.

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