Fascism IS Here in USA.

Occupy dot comA quick analysis that very few will pay attention to.

Honestly, the entire anti-Kavanaugh protests by feminists — without ever undermining their just anger (I believe Christine Blasey Ford is a brave role model for all women worldwide, as was Anita Hill) — was focused on one single issue, and that’s how elite and privileged, liberal Democrats and their New York Times, CNN, and Washington Post built it. It was against Kavanaugh’s sexual predatory past.

And it didn’t work.

The same with Trump. The more we focus on his personal character — however obnoxious and nauseating he is — it brings him higher media ratings, and his no-challenge (no press conference unlike any other president) Twitter one-liners make more impact on hardcore right wingers, white supremacists, Alt-Right, and fascists. In fact, such misplaced anger is pumping up their base: they are energizing even more.

Liberal Democrats did not want to build the anti-Kavanaugh, anti-Trump protests on economic and political issues, because their own closet is full of dirty linen. From private prison to Wal-Mart to police brutality to deportation of poor immigrants to global warfare to Monsanto to big bank bailouts to no-tax GE — show me ANY significant difference between these two oligarchies.

There is practically none. And they know it.

So, with no such weapons in their arsenal, they harped on one single issue — sexual assault — to bring Kavanaugh down. And honest, decent, moderate Americans hoped that Susan Collins would cast a woman-for-woman solidarity vote. They have been kept naive by New York Times and CNN. And then there was Manchin the Democrat, whose Mylan CEO daughter profited big on EpiPen.

I quote from what I wrote in my blog just two days ago.

“Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court — a lifetime appointment — is not ominous for women and their choice only. His confirmation is bound to create an absolute majority for the far right on the highest court. And America will go back to its prehistoric days — once and for all.

It is very likely that even if Roe v. Wade is not overturned (which many Americans are worried about), other irreversible constitutional changes will happen with the Kavanaugh vote on key social, political, economic, and environmental issues.

Social Security, Environmental Protection, right to political rallies and demonstrations, free speech, right to organize, right to unionize, right to education, right to health, equal opportunity, civil rights, civil liberties, and right to judiciary — all such landmark progresses the American people have achieved over two centuries of struggle — would very likely be destroyed.

Roe v. Wade — however precious — is only one small item, compared to the others I listed. Fascists, neo-Nazis, religious and social extremists, gun lobby, war industries, private prison industries, big banks, Wall Street, GMO and drug industries — along with the richest of the rich (the 0.01%) will be ecstatic.”

That’s what I wrote.

What’s more, people who are hoping that somehow in November, all will be changed, Democrats will take over Congress, and Trump and Kavanaugh will be impeached — are day dreaming. This elite DNC leadership will fail again.

And I sincerely, swear to God, cross my heart and hope to die — that I am proved wrong and stupid.

Fascism is here.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Cartoon from Occupy dot com. Only one-time, non-profit, educational use.

Kavanaugh Confirmation.Why are We Shocked?

Fascism protest NY
As I am writing this little blog, Brett Kavanaugh is all but certain to become a U.S. Supreme Court judge. 

And some people are shocked — both in USA and around the world — that even after it was exposed that he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and this brave, dignified woman came forward to tell her very private story, almost all Republican senators and even one Democratic senator voted yes to confirm him.

But I am not shocked at all.

This Republican Party is now a far right party, with deep connections with white supremacist groups. Trump’s father Fred Trump was involved with KKK, and Trump himself spoke softly about neo-Nazis — starting from the neo-Nazi demonstration at Charlottesville.

Republican Party today is not Lincoln’s Republican Party. In fact, it’s not even the party of Ronald Reagan, president who destroyed FDR’s New Deal economy, and began a new era where America as a country turned upside down.

This Republican Party is now openly, explicitly the party of the richest of the rich. It’s openly anti-immigrant, anti-black, and anti-women. They are against any iota of equality, they are indoctrinated by ultraconservative church and social extremists, and they are funded by billionaires like Koch Brothers who want to destroy the government and any pro-people programs once and for all. This Republican Party’s leaders believe climate change is a hoax, and in case it is real, it occurred because of people’s body heat (I am not making it up). This Republican Party is explicitly against science and arts.

This Republican Party is controlled by known proponents of fascistic rule — such as Karl Rove and Steve Bannon. And they are all supported by a large swath of news media.

Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court — a lifetime appointment — is not ominous for women and their choice only. His confirmation is bound to create an absolute majority for the far right on the highest court. And America will go back to its prehistoric days — once and for all.

It is very likely that even if Roe v. Wade is not overturned (which many Americans are worried about), other irreversible constitutional changes will happen with the Kavanaugh vote on key social, political, economic, and environmental issues.

Social Security, Environmental Protection, right to political rallies and demonstration, free speech, right to organize, right to unionize, right to education, right to health, equal opportunity, civil rights, right to judiciary — all such landmark progresses American people have achieved over two centuries of struggle — would very likely be destroyed.

Roe v. Wade — however precious — is only one small item, compared to the others I listed. Fascists, neo-Nazis, religious and social extremists, gun lobby, war industries, private prison industries, big banks, Wall Street, GMO and drug industries — along with the richest of the rich (the 0.01%) will be ecstatic.

Far right politics took over the Republican Party for a long time. What we see today is the ultimate manifest of it.

People who thought these Republican senators would suddenly behave differently were day dreaming.

Of course, I am sad. This is a very sad day for the United States of America. Very likely, it’s Doomsday clock ticking from now on.

Sad, but I am not surprised or shocked at all.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy: For one-time, non-profit, educational use — The Silent Majority.

Christine Ford and Anita Hill: Two Brave Women

Two brave womenI have total support for Christine Blasey Ford. This man Kavanaugh does not deserve to be a U.S. Supreme Court judge.

(And Trump is a racist and a womanizer who doesn’t deserve to be the president of America.)

That said, I remember the time when Anita Hill’s testimony about Clarence Thomas was strikingly similar to Christine Ford’s. I remember how appalled I was then. How disgusted to see a great travesty of justice unfold!

I was new in America, and didn’t know a lot of American politics; yet, I was aghast.

Not too many white liberals came out to support Anita: she was black, and Clarence Thomas, one of the staunchest conservative judges on the highest court is also black. The support (justified 100%) Christine is getting today was simply absent.

Hypocrisy, if you think about it that way.

It’s not only a double standard in America in the Republican world. It’s the same in the corporate Democratic world too.

(And I’m not even mentioning Bill Clinton here: we all know the salacious scandal corporate media and Republican Party drooled over. And the entire world laughed to see the unthinkable moral degradation of this great country).

I congratulate and applaud Ms. Christine B. Ford, for taking this bold step, against all threats, fears, and intimidation by racists and violent powers.

Ms. Anita Hill also took such a bold step, and was so extremely steady and articulate. But I remember she did not get much support from white liberal Americans.

Time to put some history in perspectives.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Is Trump the Ultimate Doomsday Clock for Humanity?

Trump 1Think about it. Verify with your real-life experience.

Every time you hit the road here in America, you quickly find out how angry and obnoxious people are. Obviously not all of them, but a very large number. And it happens on a daily basis: you just need to pay attention.

You drive a car following all the rules carefully, and suddenly somebody is passing you in high speed, honking at you, because guess what — you’re driving at 30mph on a 30mph road, and that too, a school zone in school hours. They (mostly men, but some women too) would pass you on an incoming lane to cut into your lane, roll down their window, and hurl words that are filthy, and full of hate. And it makes you sad and depressed that people insult you and hurt you even though you’re innocent. You feel even more sad and depressed if you have your family and children with you, and the exhibition of obscene, violent ego happens in front of them.

There are many other real-life examples of this arrogance and “I live for me only and I don’t give a sh.t about you” attitude. I just used one, because it happened again today. Reflecting on it, you travel to any other country — practically any country across the world — and you quickly find out how much calmer and saner people are. People actually care for each other, and especially for women and children. There is a perceptible sense of humanity.

Why is it so different here in USA? My quick analysis is that (1) people are extremely stressed and on edge here, because of the unstable, anti-people economic situation that makes them continuously rat-racing for survival; (2) people have grown up to be rabidly individualistic (thanks Ayn Rand and her cohorts), where care for the larger society is totally absent: practically, outside of some labor unions and immigrant communities (and dubious cult groups), there is no society left at all; and (3) the deeply-ingrained American lifestyle of “bigger, higher, and faster” — which is manifest in people’s zeal to buy big cars, speed recklessly, and grab anything possible as quickly as possible.

Add to it the 24/7 media exhibition of violent movies, car chases, gun worshipping, extreme video games, and drug use — and you know the background.

America was different: saner, calmer, and humane before this “We are the best in the world, and you better follow my rules, or else” violently egotistic, arrogant lifestyle took over the society.

And now with this man in the highest seat of power, through corporate media’s relentless advertising of his obscenity, illiteracy, zero respect for anybody who doesn’t look like him, and violent muscle-flexing (let alone womanizing), ordinary Americans are learning fast that this is how you become more popular and more powerful. People not just in America, but around the world — crazy for quick success at any cost — are emulating him and his group of people who thrive on spreading hate, and telling lies.

The world was already a dangerous place to live for ordinary, peaceful, law-abiding people like us, before he took over. Now, with every single day he is in power, humanity is closing in for a total destruction. The Doomsday Clock is ticking very close to midnight — when human civilization ceases to exist.
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Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
September 26, 2018

Doomsday Clock

Golden Memories

Diary from Calcutta

Memories are extremely precious, and in my case, extremely haunting.

When I feel alone, very old memories take me back to those sunlit, golden days back in Calcutta. I have written a lot about it, both in English and Bengali. And I am going to write a lot more.

Memories are lovely, and memories are friends. What’s more: they are therapeutic.

Try this immigrant life in America. You’ll know.
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Here’s a picture of my little notebook I carried with me all the time when I was in my early twenties in Calcutta. We didn’t have means to buy new notebooks. This one was one from 1970, which I was using in 1980.

In fact, it is still with me. (But the bed sheet in the picture — the blue one I used all the time in that little half-room in our North Calcutta home — well, it was a part of my life.)

This page in Bengali is a description of a classical all-night music program I attended in one of the public auditoriums — if anybody remembers where it was, let me know.
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November 22, 1980. — The program started at 9 P.M. and went all the way through 6.30 A.M. the next morning.

Artists who performed:

1. Dinanath Mishra (vocal). sang Raga Jog, and a Bhairavi thumri

2. Buddhadev Dasgupta, accompanied on tabla by Swapan Chowdhury — played sarod. Raga Bagesree, and a Pilu thumri.

3. A dance recital by Mira Chatterjee — I have completely forgotten about it. Not a trace of memory on this.

4. Sunanda Patnaik (vocal) — Raga Bilaskhani Todi, and a famous Bhajan in Bhairon (Jagannath Swami…).

5. Sohan Lal Sharma on harmonium and Tarun Bhattacharya on santoor — Duet — Raga Hansadhwani.

6. End of the program soiree — Sitar by Manilal Nag, accompanied on table by Maha Purush Mishra. Raga Ahir Bhairon.
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I could write a hundred pages on this memory. But I am savoring it tonight. I will sleep with this tonight.

 

Immigrant in America,

Partha Banerjee

Long Island, New York

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September 11.

911 anniversary WTAP dot comToday is September 11. A day to mourn. And a day to reflect.

Seventeen years ago, on this day, we went through one of the most horrible terrorist acts in the history of human civilization. My family and I went through the experience, where we were disconnected for a long time: none of us knew where the others were. Our high-school-going child saw the twin towers collapsing, and hapless people jumping to their deaths. We lost countless innocent people — of all races and religions. Windows of the World, the restaurant at the top of the tower, had a number of Muslim workers who all perished with the others.

But then, we saw how the ruling class took advantage of the terror that they could not prevent (and many say it was insider job, hushed up), and unleashed global terror. New York Times and other media with their fake WMD in Iraq stories legitimized genocide, and Bush and Cheney with complete disregard for the American and international people, wreaked havoc. Countless people were killed, and the destruction of Iraq de-stabilized Middle East. More terrorist groups were born, with alleged help from CIA and U.S. government. Bush, Obama, and Trump have all continued the bombing and killing ever since.

Fanaticism, hate, bigotry and violence-based politics have risen their ugly heads — in an unprecedented way that we have not seen since the demise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. People who supported Hitler and genocide of the Jews are now in power — both in the U.S. and in India. Trump’s father was a white supremacist, and Trump himself is openly supported by hate groups in America. In India, those who eulogized Hitler and killed Gandhi are now ruling the land of Tagore, Kabir and Sri Chaitanya.

The world order of peace and harmony that human civilization aspired for and nearly reached — is now a dream of the past. The international Doomsday Clock is now put at the closest hour to midnight, by scientists. As Noam Chomsky, whom New York Times ostracized repeated, climate catastrophe on one hand and threat of nuclear bombs on the other have brought us and our children on the brink of destruction.

I mourn the lost lives on 9/11. I pray for their souls. I condemn any variety of terrorism. And I mourn the loss of humanity, equality, peace and justice — because of the aftermath and politics of hate and violence, following 9/11.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy (for one-time, nonprofit, educational use): WTAP.com

Labor Day Parade — An Inspiration

Labor Day Parade 2018

This Saturday, at the Labor Day parade, corporate media did their no-show, again!

But, regardless of the blatant Journalism of Exclusion, I had my reasons to celebrate. I realized the value of the work I’ve done for so many years here in America. It came back to me one more time that I may have lost a lot leaving India. But I have gained enormous knowledge and analysis that was impossible for a very ordinary man like me, with no opportunity to see the world.

Yes, it was unthinkable back then that I would spend more than half of my life in USA.

Saturday, I went to march along with at least 25,000 union workers and their families and loved ones in New York. This is my personal estimate, and I could be totally undercounting the massive parade.

With their warm, genuine smiles and handshaking, my students who are also my union brothers and sisters rekindled my hope that the political education we’re sharing with one another for so many years has made an impact.

Sure, we still have differences in the ways we talk about solutions to this unthinkable mess: I believe in democratic, nonviolent socialism, and many of them believe in status-quo Democratic politics. But we all understand the gravity of the situation — in areas of climate change, food and health care crisis, immigration and human rights scenarios, women’s rights, education, race and economic inequality. We all understand that America is teetering on the brink of fascism.

Yesterday, I saw light in the eyes of my fellow foot soldiers.

And I shall support new, honest, progressive political candidates — away from the DNC status quo. I hope you do, too.

On September 13, 2018, New York Democrats will vote in the primaries. I shall vote for candidates who promise me peace, tolerance, harmony, democracy, socialism, equality, health care, affordable education, and a clean, cooler, saner, humane climate.

I invite all my union brothers and sisters to think hard about their future. And the future of their children.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy: Smart Destinations. Only for non-profit, educational, one-time use.

Another Disaster in India. Question Why?

Majherhat bridge collapse KolkatatodayAnother India disaster today, but nobody answers the real question: WHY?

A busy flyover collapsed in Kolkata (Calcutta) today: second such disaster in a few years. In our worst nightmares, we have never seen anything like it.

A terribly corrupt, reckless and inefficient government, unthinkable population explosion, total disregard for safety, extreme privatization, and stealing of government maintenance money — all contributed to it.

Reminds me of the overhead bridge collapse in Florida a couple of years ago, which people already forgot. Nobody talked about extreme privatization in that case, either.

In case of Kolkata and West Bengal, God forbid, more tagedies will happen in future, with such callousness. Makes it easier for Trump-supporting BJP to come to power. Their own massive corruption will be forgotten, and swept under the rug by their propaganda machine.

Another sad day. I pray to God to save the hapless. Because the people in power won’t.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo Courtesy: For non-profit, education only use: Kolkatatoday.com.

Our Children Will Live on Boats

Kerala flood 2018 Financial Express
People will live on boats. Very soon. And no such rescue would be necessary.

The only tropical rain forests and pristine nature in the Indian subcontinent are under an unprecedented, catastrophic flood. Most people still do not understand the gravity of the situation: massive man-made climate change, combined with out of control capitalism.

As I said many times, it’s profit before people. This American model that India adopted is great evil: it’s destroying America, and it’s destroying India.

Indian rulers are greedy, corrupt, fanatic, bigots, and have no regard for science. Just the same way Christian fanatics called the Connecticut and Florida school children killed by gun violence sinners, Hindu fanatics in India are calling the Kerala flood victims sinners and beef eaters. It’s not only ridiculous. It’s also cruel.

India’s BJP government also refused to receive foreign aids, adding more suffering to the marooned and hapless people. Their supporters are busy on social media, ridiculing the “Muslims, Christians, and communists of Kerala.”

Weather: Monsoon rain causes flood in Kerala
Of course, thanks to big media and corporate politicians, even today, cricket and Bollywood and such money-driven games are top news. One billion helpless people’s lives are at the brink of extinction. Those who are exposing the truth, and criticizing the greed and profit-only system — the people in power are trashing them.

Prediction is, in one generation, climate catastrophe will practically submerge Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bombay, Goa, Andhra, Orissa, West Bengal, and Bangladesh.

Read this World Economic Forum article: Why India is Most at Risk from Climate Change.

Our children will live on boats, fighting for food and water.

Kerala flood 2018 India Today

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy (only for non-profit, academic use)

  1. Boat rescue — The Financial Express
  2. Rope rescue — First Post
  3. Boat and bananas — India Today

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1924-2018)

 

 

A Brilliant Leader Who Understood Moderation

My Personal Tribute
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Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born in 1924. So was my father Jitendranath. They were both lifelong RSS and BJP’s political preachers — Vajpayee as a top leader, and my father as a totally un-ambitious foot soldier. They knew each other closely for many years. My father, until his death last year, always spoke affectionately about their years together.

He fondly told his life’s story. “We were walking together, and I said to the other swayamsevaks (volunteers) with us: ‘Look, we’re now walking with the future prime minister of India.’ And the humble man would retort, ‘Come on, Jitendra-ji, what are you talking about?’ In Hindi, आरे भाई जीतेन्द्रजी, यह आप क्या बात कर रहें हैं? And we would laugh together.”

That was a day when it was unthinkable that far right RSS, its first political offshoot Jan Sangh (later renamed as BJP), and their men would ever become the thumping-majority ruling party in India. That the mighty Gandhi-Nehru Dynasty would nearly disappear. But Nostradamus (or Varāhamihira) he was not, my father’s prediction came true. In late 90’s, Vajpayee became India’s prime minister. And far right RSS and BJP were accepted as a normalized voice. People forgot about their dark, dangerous, KKK-like past. And it had a lot to do with Vajpayee, and his reasoned voice of moderation.

Leaders like Vajpayee knew that in India, you can’t run the country, and hold it together, unless you are inclusive and respectful to all religions, castes, and genders. Truly, like my father I’ve seen evolving into a mellowed, moderated voice, Atal Bihari Vajpayee became a sane, kind face — whom the Indian people, regardless of their politics, loved.

The present-day RSS, BJP, and their many powerful, well-funded organizations around India and overseas would not learn from Vajpayee’s moderation, or his personal integrity and sacrifice. Today’s right wing in India is rather strikingly similar to Trump’s right wing here in America. They thrive on violence, bigotry, fear-mongering, and hate. This BJP and its leaders cannot imagine, and would not imagine, how men like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Jitendranath Banerjee lived their lives — totally free of greed, lies, and corruption.

Yes, they were both lifelong believers of Hindu fundamentalism, if not in Hindu supremacy. They were strong, ardent followers of RSS ideologue Guru Golwalkar, who once championed Hitler. Over my 15+ intimate years with RSS, I have seen them very closely: they were fiercely anti-Islam, anti-Christianity, and anti-socialism. In my book “In the Belly of the Beast: Hindu Supremacist RSS and BJP of India — An Insider’s Story” (1998), I have detailed and analyzed their social, political, and economic theories.

Islam, Christianity, and socialism — these have always been the Sangh Family’s (RSS’) three worst evils.

Vajpayee and Jitendranath were both militants in their early years: Vajpayee’s speeches were fiery, extremely eloquent, and often incendiary. He allegedly incited communal riots — in Assam and other places.

My father in his early years was also a top-notch speaker, a grassroots organizer who left his brilliant student career, and left home to preach his socio-political doctrine. He suffered greatly because of his non-completion of education, coupled with wrath he earned from the Gandhi Dynasty and their Congress government. My father was a diehard Hindu KKK, before he came to Bengal, knew my mother, and married into a family that was a symbol of love, kindness, inclusion, and secularism. He slowly but surely, steadily changed.

His early years, in his own words, were full of animosity against personalities like Gandhi and Tagore. His later years were love and respect for the great poet. Bengal’s soil, rain, and love converted him into a moderate man…well, sort of.

And I am being totally open and honest here. This has a lot to do with my tribute for Vajpayee today.

My mother, I, and our family never knew what economic stability was. But, as with most of the former RSS activists who lived for their patriotism, my father never complained about his hardship. Money was never a reason for him to live.

Both spent a few years in jail and exile, after RSS volunteer Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi, and the organization was banned. Both lived up to their deep faith and ideology, built around their personal integrity, sacrifice, and honesty.

I have forever quit RSS and their extremist, supremacist, bigoted doctrine (my old friends admonish me that I am the worst-possible fool: had I not quit, I would now have become an elected parliament member in India).

My tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayee today is about the man, his mission, and his unflinching faith for what he had believed in. In a way, it’s also a personal tribute to my father. Unlike the hard left and elite center, who would automatically reject the conservatives, I have a lot of respect and acceptance for them.

But my acceptance is only for the moderates like Vajpayee and his school. I would never have anything positive about today’s extremely hateful and violent RSS and BJP leaders and followers who are destroying the social fabric of India.

I truly wish there were more conservative leaders like Vajpayee. Today’s India cries out for them.

I deeply mourn the loss of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

___________________

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York