It’s Bigger than Anything We’ve Ever Known
It’s interesting reading Terijo’s article and its focus on the good old US of A. But its existence in the USA is just where the mole pops its head up. The underground networks stretch, stateless across the globe and Trump is just the big tip of a very big iceberg. But first, a prelude…
Those who only know of my writing through the poetry publication Terijo was kind enough to offer me a writing role on, probably aren’t as aware of my fact-check articles on attacks on society, analytical work to connect the dots and the odd podcast.
Back in Novemnber 2016 I started noticing the work of Cambridge Analytica and became aware of their links to AggregateIQ and SCL on both the Trump campaign and the Brexit vote. Mainly because I was working on the use of similar data science methods and algorithms in a different space some 4 or 5 years earlier. In March 2017, a couple of months before Carole Cadwalladr wrote her first expose in the Guardian, I wrote my first main answer on it on Quora. A platform I was then astroturfed off, by right-wing members who banded together in their usual “consensus attack” mode to report. Can’t have a brown face and be intelligent. Especially if you are independent.
To that end, I can attest to just how hard it is for people to get exposure for breaking stories. Especially if you are a target if a “Trumpian” policy. However sensational it is.
It isn’t enough to have the story. You have to be affiliated with a publication or a paper and I was neither. The writing has to include concepts that are easily understood by the layperson and you have to be able to disseminate it quickly and thoroughly. Which cannot happen with specialist subjects. In any event, none of it is possible without a following. So to that end, and with reference to the diversion of HIV monies from where they’re really needed, I think there is certainly that contribution to that poor author’s article.
The other issue is the ability of the audience to understand it. If you need to have a doctorate to understand it, your readership is limited to those with doctorates and unlike dogwhistle bigotry, which propagates in some 50% to 70% of every population, your crucial contribution only makes sense to 2% at most. Like popularity contests, you will lose elections, every single time. That gives the far-right a “democratic” head start and as long as they can push it over the line before a populace wakes up, they win! Then down goes democracy.
Trump in Brexit Britain: Unwelcome, even by Leavers
Of course, Trump made his way to this side of the Atlantic this week. Saddiq Khan allowed the flying of the Trump baby balloon along the march route, led by several “babysitters”, in a group of some 200,000 marchers in London and several hundred thousand more across the country over the coming days.
Now, I’m not normally an activist on the ground unless it’s a hugely important issue and the one thing I won’t do is align politically. Because frankly, politics only exists due to incompetence somewhere in any system. However, between picking up some documents and a business meeting in the UK capital, I found myself in London’s regents park, at the time Trump and the Trump “pre-protest” was about that evening. The day before the main march. So to kill time, I joined in.
Under the direction of the mayor Saddiq Khan, London had erected a 14ft wall cutting across the full width of Regent’s Park to keep him away from the plebs (See? He loves you really Don!). With turnstiles, armed police and the US secret service behind it, the wall appeased Don’s concerns, annexing almost a square mile from one of London’s biggest inner city parks to land Marine 1 on. Taxpayer’s money (before anyone on “the right” goes on one, the balloon wasn’t taxpayer’s money which was mentioned by one of their ilk).
The crowd and press had gathered from across the world’s media and I found myself wandering into both the shot from Russia Today and a debate between a young Londoner on the right of the political spectrum and a North American lady on the left, carrying an anti-racism placard. He made a statement about “Why Trump? What about Obama, Bush and Clinton?” the lady said that Trump had alienated a lot of people. This is true and it’s an arithmetic exercise to understand why.
On the whole, each individual disadvantaged group is relatively small. The problem is Trump has alienated and basically persecuted several groups:
- Putting innocent children on trial — They could not consent to being taken across the border, don’t understand a legal system and are not given responsible adults to support them.
- “Muslim Ban” — Which wasn’t actually a muslim ban. Trump’s administration introduced a travel ban to stop citizens or refugees from 7 countries from arriving in the USA. Including people who had relatives dying and crucial attendance requirements.
- Women — A huge topic. But the USA voted to put a mysogenist and sexual predator into the White House. Ergo…
- HIV drug money repurposed
- LGBTQ — in his head, not unrelated to the above
- International Allies
- Interfering in British affairs & judiciary — Tommy Robinson and promoting Britain First.
The list goes on. Each of those is a relatively small number. Yet, put them all together and you get a very vocal group.
Picking on Children
The latest of these, the separation and incarceration of children of “illegal” migrants, has provoked a mass outcry across the world. It is something we don’t do here in the UK as it is a direct contravention of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Though we ourselves, have not been squeeky clean here. Britain took 14 years to become signatories and the USA still hasn’t signed it.
This means that, in essence, under UK statute, the USA is a despotic regime. As one of only 2 countries in the 192 members of the UN not to ratify it (the other being Somalia, who have no functioning government). The USA is in breach of it’s intent as signatory and its obligations to report.
When asked by the lady, the chap in the discussion presented that the trial of children is reasonable, as they came across the border with the parents, and used an analogy for the UK’s Joint Enterprise law. Which is wrong. Apart from the fact that minors can’t be tried like that and under the age of 12, can’t be tried at all in principle, to be deemed to have carried any crime out intentionally, you have to both be culpable (you did it) and have capacity to understand that you committed a crime. In Britain, aged 4, you can’t. Even aged 12 you sometimes can’t. That subtle, but extremely important difference means children are not culpable and thus, cannot have committed the crime. Never mind the very obvious fact that the parents will have brought them to the USA pretty much “against their will”. That is basically like convicting a kidnapped person of the crimes of their kidnapper.
In addition, we would do well to remember that trying kids for the crimes of their parents is what is known as “collective responsibility”. A practice most famously perpetrated in Russian Goulags, was also used by Nazi Germany to declare that any German helping a Jew, would be sentenced to death. “Apologists”, “Supporters”. The persecution of those that rallied to the defense of persecuted groups was a signature part of the Holocaust and we’ve already seen the effect this has had. As the murders of Heather Hayer in the USA and Jo Cox in the UK have shown, the lynch mobs should not be empowered to kill. Especially without trial.
Does collective responsibility sound familiar to anyone? If you’ve ever heard the exclamations of “Muslim apologist” or “muslims are ISIS”, or even “lefties”, this is exactly the same manifestation of collective responsibility and punishment. A group of people are being blamed for the actions of a few, regardless of whether those actions are real or not. It has always been a key tactic of the fascist, to create an imaginary enemy in the minds of their population. Which as we’ve seen, spread like wildfire in bigots. Yet, it happens whichever side of the political spectrum they sit on. With Brexit, it was the EU. With Britain, in the English Defence League (EDL), Football Lads Alliance (FLA), Britain First and British National Party, it was Muslims (in practise, anyone who’s brown — they just claim it’s Islam). Trump is very similar in that regard, but he’s certainly the empowerment.
There are only two ways to stop people screaming. One is to satisfy as many people as you can. The second is to kill everyone.
The Salvatory Clauses
Now to the crux of Terijo’s piece. Standing up.
The issue we have is the far-right/alt-right see us as one group. We see ourselves as several individuals. In addition, the far-right/alt-right are attempting to use free speech as a mechanism to attack Human Rights. Taking each respective country back some 60 to 70 years. Their position is illegal. It became illegal in 1948. The last clause in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Salvatory Clause.
But it’s America, right? They don’t need no UN anything! As Brits see it, they do what they want!
Well, not exactly. The USA, as signatories, still have to give due consideration to the UDHR. Plus, the bodies of legislature in the 9th and 14th Amendment, as well as the body of case law and civil rights act of ’64, mean the USA must not breach human rights by using domestic law to breach them.
The UK and Europe have a much stronger alignment. As article 17 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act (in essence, the ECHR in UK law) states:
This is what makes Trump dangerous. This is the same mechanism that was used to violate rights and start World War 2 in 1939.
Are they playing dirty? Absolutely! This applies as much to their supporters, who hide behind anonymity to attack you, then blame you for anonymity. They target ethnic minorities, or any group, to revoke their freedom of speech and kill their digital presence. Mass reports are a favourite of theirs and platforms like Quora, twitter and Facebook are happy to oblige or unwitting in their support.
So I agree with Terijo 100%. We have to get up and keep at it! They are sharing and mobilising against imaginary enemies now and are doing so very fast, because they’ve all fallen for projecting the actions of one person into entire groups of people. Related or not.