Originally published to It’s Going Down
The recent executive orders signed by Donald Trump on Friday officially stopped the entry of green-card holders, upwards of 500,000 people, from re-entering the United States, as well as stopping the entrance of Syrian refugees into the US for 120 days, and also slashed the number of refugees that US will accept in half. These orders come hot on the heels of another set of executive orders which were signed by Trump on Wednesday. These orders call for the construction of a massive border wall, the hiring of 10,000 ICE officials to speed up expected massive deportations, and the beefing up of border guards by 5,000 officers along the Mexican border. While liberals and celebrities have laughed at Trump’s fascistic ambitions from the start of his Presidential run, there is no sign that Trump will back away from his plans, as he has set in motion all of his previous goals so far. Moreover, in true proto-fascist fashion, Trump is also hoping to play up the reality that with racist repression (as with massive resource extraction projects), also comes jobs; ‘good jobs’ that are part of police associations which are also loyal to Trump himself. In this way, Trump can to a small degree, begin to make “a new deal” for at least part of the working-class that is willing to take part in his attempt to redefine who is included, and who excluded.
In the last week, Trump has also entered into a trade war with Mexico, who he contends will pay for the wall, and until they do, he has imposed a 20% tax on all Mexican products (80% of imports from Mexico go to the US), which is designed to force Mexican elites into a stalemate at a time when public unrest over the rising cost of living is at an all time high. Trump also went on to call for the deportation of all undocumented people who have been charged with a crime, which may also include the crime of entering into the US without papers. Further still, Trump has continued to beat the drum of war, with now China even openly stating that open war with the US is an ‘increasing possibility.’ But the push for Trump to stop re-entry of green-card holders, refugees, threats of taking away federal money from sanctuary cities, as well as coordinating a massive assault on immigrant communities is only part of a larger plan that includes massive draconian measures, deportations, and the construction of gigantic detention facilities to hold those awaiting deportation. As Eric London wrote:
The imposition of this program would require the establishment of internment camps to detain millions of immigrants. Rounding up immigrants will involve a massive police mobilization, resulting in the establishment of virtual martial law conditions in neighborhoods with large immigrant populations, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas and many more.
Immigration court proceedings will be increasingly devoid of any basic due process rights or will be abandoned altogether. The lives of tens of millions will be upended, families destroyed, and many migrants will die in the deportation centers or in the violence of their home countries where they will be forced to return.
While a recent ruling in a New York court by a judge, who ruled in favor of the ACLU, has officially (in theory) allowed those who were being detained on Saturday at various US airports to be released, as well as those who were physically flying into the US that day, it still has not stopped the actual ban on those barred from entering the US. In fact, many report that Department of Homeland Security officials have continued to detain people at various airports, often after several hours, and also have refused to allow people to be consulted by attorneys. This reality also shows the growing power play between the courts and Trump himself, backed up by his supporters in the police, ICE, and border patrol. While this shows the cracks within the ruling structure, is also shows the very real possibility that Trump will continue to push for power outside of the bounds of established laws, and call on police, military, and perhaps even reactionary auxiliary powers to maintain (or increase) his power. To be clear, we may be seeing the start of a coup, as Trump consolidates power around him and reaches out to police on the ground to enforce his proclamations.
To make the situation even more frightening, people who are being released are also reporting that DHS officials and their police in the US Customs and Border Protection agency are asking people for access to their social media accounts, about their religious beliefs, as well as their views on President Donald Trump. The implications of these actions, when also coupled with the fact that Trump has embraced torture, waterboarding, and the use of “black sites” is nightmarish, and also represents the tactics the State will intend to use on the broader population as it prepares for even more of a clampdown. This is not only the ‘new normal,’ but the new way in which policing will be done in this country, en masse.
While the latest moves by the Trump regime are serious attacks on international law and constitutional rights, they are simply the extension of similar assaults on civil liberties and the passing of anti-Muslim legislation that was streamlined during the Obama administration. As London pointed out:
Trump’s executive orders cite as legal authority statutes passed with the support of the Democratic Party. Trump cites “the authority vested in me” by “the Secure Fence Act of 2006, and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996” (IIRAIRA) as legal authority, as well as the Immigration and Nationality Act.
IIRAIRA was signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton after House and Senate Democrats provided enough “yes” votes—88 in the House and 22 in the Senate—to pass the law. House Democrats provided the Secure Fence Act with 64 “yes” votes, enough to secure a majority, while two-thirds of Democrats in the Senate voted “yes,” including then Senators Barack Obama, Joseph Biden, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer.
Trump’s deportation and border militarization plans are extensions of policies implemented by the Obama administration, which deported 2.5 million immigrants, more than every previous president combined. The Obama administration also established that even immigrant children as young as three years old do not have the right to an attorney and must appear by themselves in court.
These current fascistic orders also showcase the growing power of former Alt-Right media mogul and current top Trump advisor, Steve Bannon, who most recently was added to the National Security Council on Saturday, while at the same time, Trump kicked out top military and intelligence advisors. This move is unprecedented, and shows the degree in which Trump is attempting to assemble a completely loyal team all around him that is completely unchallenged and answers to no one, as Republicans leaks in the White House describe him as being egomaniacal, unruly, and totally unorganized.
Bannon himself has also been busy as of late, becoming a real ‘power behind the throne’ and also pushing full steam ahead a white nationalist agenda against non-white immigration. Just recently, Bannon promoted Julie Kirchner, a white nationalist and former member of the anti-immigrant group FAIR (Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform), to the head of the US Customs and Border Protection, which acts as the police force for Homeland Security. Bannon has also promoted the writings of white nationalist and current Breitbart columnist Tom Tancredo, as a respected expert on immigration issues. Not surprisingly, Tancredo was recently scheduled to speak (the event has been shut down at this time) at at white nationalist conference hosted by V-DARE, one of the groups that attended Richard Spencer’s DC National Policy Institute convention where people gave Neo-Nazi salutes as Spencer screamed, “Hail Trump.” These links only further clarify the connection between not only Bannon, but also Trump, and the so-called Alt-Right, as the current regime mines it for ideas as to better implement its policies, especially in the field of immigration.
Against all of this, we see growing opposition spilling out right now in streets and airports across the United States. This massive flood of action is needed now, desperately. The task in front of us is multiple. It is to defeat these authoritarian and racist executive orders but also create a real crisis within the country; one that physically blocks the ability of the State to govern. Also, while the vast majority of the US did not vote for Trump and disapproves of his policies and his rule, at the same time, the position presented in the media is that people should “give Trump a chance” to “govern correctly.” In short, in just over a week, the established power structure from the mass media to the Democratic Party has all sought to normalize the Trump regime in the hopes of keeping a lid on the social peace. We can’t allow that, and need to fight against attempts by liberals, Democrats, and non-profit managers to lead struggles at every turn.
We have no friends in politics. The Democrats aren’t going to save us; they currently have helped usher in all of Trump’s appointees and have also sought to work with Trump in every possible way. Fuck them.
We must also deal with the problem that people coming into this moment are often not part of a continuity of struggle. Many people still think that the police, DHS officials, and border cops are potentially are friends. Regardless of who these people were growing up, or what they are like ‘off the clock,’ their position in society is not neutral. They can detain, surveill, harass, and kill with impunity. They are not our friends, they are not on our side, and they do not ‘work for us.’
On our end, we have to attack not only the legitimacy of the regime, but also the legitimacy of the State to rule. We have to physically shut things down. Not in a symbolic sense, but in a way that physically stops the ability of the State to function as such. That stops it from being able to carry out these executive orders and ultimately, to continue to govern.
To do this, we need to take space and not give it up. We need to push, and we need to continue to deepen these occupations and seizures of space; these shutdowns, and these blockades.
There is no going back to normal. Either they win, or we do.