America Chooses Between Fascism and Freedom

America fascismIt is a very critical, ominous time.

Tomorrow, November 6, is an election here in America that could change the course of human history. We can find ourselves thrown back in another dark era of fascism, global war, hate, violence, and terrifying repression Hitler style.

We could see all the pro-people gains American people have made since FDR going down the drain, forever. Right to health care, right to education, right to a livable wage, right to a clean environment, right to organize, and gender and race equality would be unachievable dreams — in our lifetime. Fascists and their corporations will destroy it all.

Or, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. It’s that critically important.

If Trump and his unleashed white supremacist forces win, it could well be the last democratic election we see in USA. And that would create massive ripple effect across the world, bolstering fascist and supremacist forces.

That is my prediction, based on my many years of political activism and teaching.

Unfortunately, I have also predicted that there will be some Democratic victories, but not a landslide to capture both the House of Representatives and Senate, without which Trump’s aspiration for a virtual dictatorship would not be nipped in the bud.

Only way we can stop this absolute horror is if young generation, enlightened American men and women — such as the ones who formed recent, major alliances such as #NeverAgain, #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, LGBT and environmental groups, as well as young labor union workers come forward, and flood the voting booths.

A large number of young, bright, forward-looking canididates have put together a great show of solidarity across the U.S. — against formidable, corporate-funded, heavyweight career politicians. I do hope you elect these young leaders.

I have no power other than my words circulated through social media. I urge you to come out to vote tomorrow, and ask people you know to vote.

We are about to see history unfolding.
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A believer of non-violent, democratic social revolution,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

November 5, 2018

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November Elections: Hope My Ominous Predictions are Wrong!

no_we_refuse_to_accept_fascist_americaNext week, America will decide whether or not this country will go down on a permanent path to fascism, violence, and white supremacy.

Just before Donald Trump became the president in November 2016, I had written in a leading Indian daily newspaper, predicting a Hillary Clinton win. I was wrong. I was influenced by New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, and such enormous media, and their relentless forecasts.

When I look back on it, I see a glaring lack of communication with the commoners. Conversations at restaurants, pubs and labor unions actually brimmed with an overwhelming support for Trump. The picture remains the same as the November  election approaches. More or less.

I live in New York, which is supposed be a fort for liberals and Democrats. If this is the scenario here, we can imagine the picture elsewhere. I have often pondered over the question as to how union workers could support Trump and his cronies who want to destroy unions in the first place. It’s beyond me!

On November 6, Americans will vote for the Congress. They will elect 435 House representatives and thirty-five senators. The Democrats at present are minority in both chambers of Congress.  And, they hope win the election by a substantial margin, capture the Congress, and thereby impeach Trump for his numerous heinous and illegal acts — the Nixon and Watergate way.

My gut feeling is that Democrats might win the election by a few seats. But it won’t be enough for a substantial majority. There will be no Democratic landslide at all.

Fascism and dictatorship are getting a lot of steam in America of late — like they are getting it in countries like India, Russia, and Brazil.  Here in USA, it’s become ugly and horrendous. Just a few days ago, a white supremacist shot dead eleven innocent Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Another white supremacist killed two innocent black people in a Kentucky supermarket. Another such person targeted anti-Trump Democratic leaders like Hillary and Obama by mailing pipe bombs: his truck sported Trump stickers all over.

Regular attacks on journalists have become a part and parcel of life now. Trump separated immigrant children from their parents, and put them in cages. Just two days ago, he declared he would abolish birthright citizenship — a U.S. constitutional mainstay for over a century. Fascists are trying to scrap the legal framework altogether — everywhere.

Yet, protests are on. Problem is, apart from Bernie Sanders, no leader in the Democratic Party is capable of bringing everybody together. Sanders, however, isn’t supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton-dictated mainstream Democrats. New York Times and CNN don’t want him to get mass support either. We have seen how they have destroyed the Sanders campaign in 2016.

Given the scenario, I doubt whether there will at all be a strong surge of of educated and liberal Americans on the ballot box next Tuesday.

Yet, I am hoping against hope that people of America will prove me wrong again. I want my so-called prophecy to fail.
Written by: Partha Banerjee, Brooklyn, New York
Translated by: Samya Brata Roy, Calcutta, India

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Picture from San Diego Free Press. For non-profit, educational use.

Homegrown Terrorism in America

Cesar SayocThe bomb suspect’s van was plastered with Trump stickers.

FBI got this man Cesar Sayoc for his suspected role in the bomb plot across the U.S. According to FBI, Cesar mailed explosives to a number of Democratic leaders including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as media.

Trump admitted his Republican Party is in trouble because of this scandal — contrary to what his far right politicians, think tanks, and media tried to cook up. Far right wanted to portray it as a left wing conspiracy just on the eve of November elections.

But who is responsible for such unprecedented violence and hate?

A large caravan of migrants — men, women, and children — are traveling from Honduras through Mexico, to reach the U.S. borders. Trump sent border security forces to control the massive migration.

Trump praised a Republican politician who body slammed and hurt a journalist from The Guardian.

White supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are openly throwing violent threats.

Unbelievable as they may sound, this is all happening right in front of our eyes, here in America. A nation of millions of peace-loving, sane, hard working people — of all races, colors, religions and lifestyles — is turning upside down.

I have lived in the U.S. for thirty three years, first as a foreign student with little knowledge about the country, and then as an activist, educator, writer and political analyst for nearly twenty five years — with lots of knowledge and insight about America.

I have never seen such a massive turmoil. The country is truly falling apart.

Donald Trump, president of the United States of America, has very quickly destroyed the social, economic, and political fabric of this country. Through his 24/7 hateful, anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-poor violent lies and rhetoric, he has encouraged the forces of bigotry, racism and misogyny, and turned them loose.

He has encouraged those evil forces all over the world, including India. He has energized them. Hate groups have rapidly increased in number, in just a couple of years.

This man who sent explosives to Democratic politicians and media organizations is the newest, scariest result of this homegrown terrorism.

I hope and pray that the America I have known in my three decades here — the sane, educated, open-minded American people who believe in inclusion, fraternity, diversity, tolerance and peace — wakes up, and stops this homegrown terror.

God help us understand the gravity of the situation, and act upon it.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Long Island, New York

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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.