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.
___________________________________________

A believer of non-violent, democratic social revolution,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

November 5, 2018

###

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

______________________________________________________

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

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

###

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

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.
______________________________

Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
September 26, 2018

Doomsday Clock

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

___________________

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

My Wife Said, “Let’s Have Some Indian Music.”

Ravi ShankarIs that a good title for today’s blog? Well, I believe it is. I’ll tell you why.

So, yesterday, Park Slope Food Coop — a member-run not-for-profit specializing on healthy foods — put her in charge of preparing meals for some of the longtime staff at the coop. Obviously, because of her new reputation with Mukti’s Kitchen, they asked her to cook Indian dishes.

She found a number of volunteers to sous-chef, and I volunteered as one too (!).

It’s a two-day process. The first day, yesterday, five or six coop members helped her to cut vegetables, boil and peel eggs, grind spices, and then cook some of the dishes. The second day, today, they are going to finish it all — to cap with a sumptuous lunch. They’re all looking forward to it.

So, a half hour into the preparation early in the morning, Mukti said, “Why don’t we play some Indian music?” I said to myself, “Why couldn’t I think of it first? It’s natural today.”

On my iPhone, I began playing a Ravi Shankar sitar. He is a legend I spoke and wrote about many times. Here’s a CNN story after his passing. Moni Basu quoted me in it.

Ravi Shankar’s sitar was the first thing that came to my mind. Salute to the great maestro, who along with Ali Akbar Khan had thought about bringing Indian music to America long time ago, back in the sixties, when the Beatles became his fans, and George Harrison took sitar lessons after the phenomenal concert in California.

Then, Nicholas took over. He was one of the sous-chefs.

Nicholas turned on the coop kitchen computer, and put on an incredible sitar off YouTube. I don’t know who the artist was: could be Ravi Shankar, Vilayet Khan, or Budhaditya Mukherjee — one of the new maestros. I am not exactly sure.

But it was absolutely beautiful. I could use other terms to describe it: magical, spiritual, divine. But I would leave it up to you to decide. Meditative and relaxing, for sure. The entire environment in the kitchen lit up. He left the music on for the entire day — it played from 8 A.M. to 1.30 P.M., when we adjourned.

Today, August 14, is the day when I left my beloved India, Bengal and Calcutta — out of emotional and political desperation — to come to USA. It was extremely difficult.

Looking back, I am deeply sad that I could not stay back in a place that I care for so much. Its people, its love, its poetry. Looking back, I am extremely happy that along with my wife, I built a life from zero in an alien land, and gained knowledge, critical thinking, and reputation. (Oh yes, I couldn’t speak a full sentence in English before; now I can — a little bit.)

Both countries have given me so much. I owe so much to both places. In our small ways, we are giving back to both of them.

My wife is giving back through teaching Indian cooking secrets to her American students — literally hundreds of them. I am giving back through teaching my labor union worker students — literally thousands of them. Writing and translating 24/7 about our culture.

Ravi Shankar did it in his magnanimous way. He brought the treasures of the Indian civilization to America. And Americans — like Nicholas — are still in love with it.

We are doing it in our little ways.

I’m glad she was the one who thought of playing Indian music in the kitchen, and we all loved to help her cook Indian food, for the enlightened and embracing American friends.

Today, August 14, is a good day for us — to celebrate.

Sincerely, in love and gratitude,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

###

MK foods
Courtesy: Mukti’s Kitchen, Brooklyn, New York.

Football, Cricket, or Politics: Why I’m Never Going to Support England

Bengal Famine 1943It is the biggest lie that England invented football. Or, soccer.

I mean, do you believe that in five thousand years of glorious history of China, Egypt, India, Inca, Maya, Aztec, Arabia or Africa, nobody ever knew that playing a ball with feet was possible? With a set of rules?

Like in Bengali we say, “Shala, what garbage!” This white supremacist violent axis of evil killed us in the stomach, looted our countries, made us poor, and put our brains to sleep too. And we praise them!

***

A labor union leader here in New York whom I respect a lot just told me he read about the British-created famine in Ireland, driving mass exodus of Irish immigrants, who were treated in USA like animals.

So, I told him how we read about the biological aspects of the Irish famine back in Calcutta: the fungus causing Late Blight of Potato, etc. But we didn’t know the political history then. They never told us.

We thought maybe, it happened out of thin air. Actually, we didn’t think anything. Thinking was not a part of our education. That is, the education British shoved down our throats. Or, down other body parts.

What we knew though is that British powers violently colonized India in 1757, and in ten years, we saw a historic, unthinkable famine that killed millions. And five years before they left India in 1947 after sucking our blood, we saw another Great Famine caused by Churchill that killed three million people only in Bengal.

Bengal and India never knew what hunger and death out of starvation was. British powers in two hundred years transformed one of the richest countries into one of the poorest. They never apologized for their tyranny. There was never any demand of reparation the South Africa way.

Our “independent” rulers sucked up to them, and later, to American powers.

FOOTNOTE: Shashi Tharoor’s book Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India says that in 1703 (before their violent occupation), India was 24% of the world economy. One and a half centuries of occupation, 1903, India was reduced to only 4% of the world economy. The British plunder was unprecedented in history. But Indian history books don’t discuss simple arithmetics.

If you are even thinking of supporting the British supremacist, violent, looting, lying hegemony, please, you are not my friend. I shall never support any British hogwash.

Is it important to talk politics during the 24/7 World Cup fun? You bet it is. This is the best time to do it. Especially when Indians and Americans are going gaga with British football.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

###

Women and Immigrants Rising in America. Can India Learn?

ap_18178174410938

A new social revolution is happening in the United States of America. It is exciting, and I hope you notice. I hope you participate. This is history in the making.
Minority and immigrant women are winning in mainstream elections. Yet, this is not news in India or countries that copycat USA. People in India, in particular, are totally uninformed about this new nonviolent revolution. Media never highlight them.
The people of power never allows them to discuss about women’s empowerment, and they use corporate media as a brainwashing machine. They never inform people about how middle-class, working-class women are fighting back in America — how they are rising at home, on the streets, at schools and colleges.
Big media never tell us especially in a country like India how these brave women are fighting elections from city councils to congress — against all odds. Why? Because it may be dangerous for the ruling class.
Of course, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh all have had women prime ministers, but these are three countries I know that have fallen way behind the rest of the world, when it comes to overall empowerment of women. The situation is pathetic, with the rape epidemic, acid throwing, bride burning and dowry deaths, and massive domestic violence — major and minor.
Yet, even Muslim countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia, Malaysia, or even Saddam Hussain’s Iraq, and Latin American countries like Uruguay, Columbia, Brazil have better social and economic situation for women. We are never told that in these countries, women have more economic freedom and equality than what we have in India.
We have  a strange misconception that only Muslims are responsible for the population explosion in India. Our social leaders have told us that Muslims have four wives, wearing hijab, and they have too many children. And we have always blamed Muslims, without any reality checks.
I have hundreds of Muslims friends. As a rights activist and labor educator, I have attached with hundreds of Muslims — both men and women — from Bangladesh to Bolivia, Iran to Indonesia, Pakistan to Peru. That “four wives, countless children” propaganda is bogus. I am sure some backward places, they still practice it, but so do orthodox Hindus, Christians and Jews. In many areas here in the U.S., ultraconservative Christians are against any scientific family planning.
But many of us fall for propaganda and rumor, and they are brainwashed by media talks and newspapers and social media. Over time, many people have completely lost their ability of thinking rationally.
America is changing at the grassroots level. On one hand, ordinary people are standing up against Trump, his white supremacist administration, and their corporate power.
On the other hand, a revolutionary change is happening in the world of women and immigrants. Black leader Stacey Abrams is a strong candidate for the governor of Maryland. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28 year-old young Latina, defeated big Democratic party congressman Joseph Crowley, here in New York City. She is a Democratic Socialist from Barney Sanders’ camp. I have worked with Pramila Jayapal, recently-elected Congresswoman from Washington state. A young Muslim woman Ilhan Omar defeated another Democratic Party big boss in the state of Minnesota. These are the bright faces of hope and modernism. They help us believe in a progressive, revolutionary change unfolding on the ground.
True, fascism, hate politics, gun violence and such extremism are overwhelming us. At the same time, bright young women and immigrants are rising up, assuming political power.
I keep my torch of optimism aflame.
Sincerely,
Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
###

The Legal vs. Illegal Immigrant Debate

TEASER-no-blacks-no-irish-no-dogs

Let’s have some fact checking on the “Illegal vs Legal” Immigration debate. That is, let those of us who want to check facts, and not go by hearsay and propaganda.
Trump is using his white supremacist, racist violent politics against immigrants, and even some of our union members are falling for it. Here’ss some quick points for those who care to read and think.

(1) Immigration does not happen overnight; nobody wants to leave their country unless they are desperate. I wouldn’t have left India to come to America, had I not been desperate.

(2) Find out what our ruling class has done in Mexico and across the world to drive this exodus from Mexico. Check out what Clinton’s NAFTA did to destroy Mexico’s economy.

(3) Illegal or paperless immigrants do not fit in one box: for example there are 185 types of visa to enter and remain in USA, and countless people are trying for 10, 20 or 30 years to get papers. Their children were born and grew up here.

(4) Even today, crossing the U.S. border without papers is not a criminal offense. It is a civil offense. There is no criminality involved.

(5) It’s not the poor immigrants that you should go after; catch the real criminals who are forcing these people to come, and then exploiting them as slaves. Private prison industry is making billions in profit by jailing poor blacks and undocumented immigrants.

(6) All immigrants pay taxes: sales taxes, and even pay income taxes and Social Security deductions (literally billions of dollars each year). In many cases, these income taxes are stolen by their unscrupulous American employers using forged IDs.

(7) About the history of immigration in America (in case anybody is interested to know history), check out this short video. Quickly, you’ll find out how “illegal” most of American ancestors were with no English speaking abilities.

(8) Trump and his white supremacist, racist people in power are using the immigrants as scapegoats to cover up their own evil acts.

(9) All the anti-union people have joined hands on this game including Koch Brothers, Heritage Foundation, NRA, KKK, and more.

Etc. Etc. Etc. All fact, and no hearsay or rumor.

At the end of the day, if you are afraid that immigrants take away your jobs, don’t worry, White America was built on genocide, war, violence, slavery, and racism. They even had publicly posted signs such as “No Dogs or Irish or blacks Allowed.”

Let alone signs such as “Whites Only. No Spanish or Mexican.”

Look, you’re not reading or learning: you are just falling for the traps the 1 percent created for you, to keep us divided and hateful. It serves their purpose, and not yours or mine. What is the difference between what your ancestors faced and what these immigrants are facing now?

Thank you for thinking.

The vast country of America is falling apart, and just like India, hate, bigotry and violence have taken over.

Extremism on one hand, and deliberate ignorance on the other have conquered America and India — the two countries I know.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

###

Whites only sign

Flip-Flop Trump Stops Separation of Children, for Now. Media Never Discusses Why Undocumented Immigrants Come to America.

CNN children separated

CNN photo courtesy: for non-profit, educational use.

Trump now signs an executive order to stop separation of immigrant children from their parents. In a day, he changed his position 180 degrees! Even his own Republican Party (the so-called moderates) imploded.

This is not law and order. This is outrageous dictatorship, however way big media spins it. And many Americans (including many union workers) are viciously against “illegal aliens” because “they broke the law and must be deported, period.” Or, they are equally confused about the issue of immigration and immigrants, and believe there must be a way to keep “check and balance on the out of control” border crossing.

Why is there so much opposition and confusion by Republicans and Democrats alike? Because media and politicians — CNN, Fox, NYTimes or whatever — practically never discusses the reasons behind such a massive migration.

They never talk about U.S.-inflicted wars across the globe (Vietnam to Angola to Bangladesh to Salvador), and CIA-Kissinger’s support of tyrant dictators (Suharto, Pinochet, Marcos, the Shah of Iran…) that made millions flee.

Who destroyed stability in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and to keep in power which power…we all know who. Who helped to create Taliban, IS. They never talk about corporate America’s war on food, water, agriculture, small businesses, and environment. They hardly ever talk about Clinton’s NAFTA that destroyed Mexico’s economy.

Bill Clinton’s repressive anti-immigrant law passed in 1996 never features on media discussion, even today!

Without any knowledge about what American rulers have done for decades, the ordinary American people must remain opposed or confused. Media and politicians from the two parties would not talk about the above, because their hands are bloody.

Check out the facts before you start another meaningless conversation.

New York Times published a good report on the immigration scenario. You can get the numbers from the study. But this day and age, nobody cares to read anything serious. People are driven by hate, rumors, fear, and yes, media lies and half truths.

You decide what you want to do.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

###

NYTimes immigration map

New York Times map on immigration around the world. Read the article to know the numbers of immigrants in various countries. USA has a much lower percent than some other countries. But people do not know.