Editors’ Note: Following are edited excerpts of commentary by Andy Zee on Episode 16 of the RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less!, a weekly show on the @therevcoms YouTube channel. The July 4th weekend was marked by continuing protests against police murder and the oppression of Black people, and in which people righteously took up burning the U.S. flag, including in manifestations led by the Revolution Club (see revcom.us coverage here). But there was another ugly side, of what Zee terms “the fascist-in-chief Donald Trump on the stolen sovereign native land at Mt. Rushmore or, as it should be rightly known, Paha Sapa,” referring to the name used by the native people.
Following is commentary by Zee on one key aspect of that speech.
TRUMP [speaking at Mount Rushmore]:
Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom….
Our Founders boldly declared that we are all endowed with the same divine rights—given [to] us by our Creator in Heaven. And that which God has given us, we will allow no one, ever, to take away—ever. (Applause.)
Seventeen seventy-six represented the culmination of thousands of years of western civilization and the triumph not only of spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason.
And yet, as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure.
Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children….
Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing. They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive. But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
Andy Zee: This and Trump’s speech the next day in Washington, DC, were a deadly serious doubling down. Among other things, this was a call to battle for his hard core fascist racist thuggish movement.
I call them FASCIST not as hype or curse, but for people to confront what this movement really is. So, here I am making an aside that is not really an aside, but is to the point. Bob Avakian has pointed out in the speech THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible—let’s not keep letting all these newscasters and “experts” keep legitimating these forces as “Trump’s base”—his voting bloc—but call them out for what they actually are—a fascist hard core that are actively preparing to do whatever they have to do to bring about their white supremacist, fascist, theocratic rule over this country as well as the millions more who support that and are not just OK with it, but are a part of it—these are people who support the Confederacy in the form it takes today.
I said that Trump’s “base” is fascist because this is a movement that calls for and supports naked and brutal repression by the police and the military against those groups they consider “undesirable.” This is a movement that is preparing to and does take matters into their own hands putting down or even shooting down anything and anyone who threatens what these fascists perceive as their rightful place—of white supremacy and male supremacy… who want no rule of law other than the law of the Bible taken literally. I just showed you a tweet from the White House: “DESTINY.”
“Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies and even into the stars.” pic.twitter.com/AYCgAC5oN0
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 7, 2020
In front of Mt. Rushmore with fighter jets flying overhead you heard before Trump say: “Seventeen seventy-six represented the culmination of thousands of years of western civilization and the triumph not only of spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason.”
Never mind discoveries of people from Africa, Asia, and the Mideast in the realms of agriculture, architecture, and math, and much more… whose cultures and lands have been trampled on in the centuries since by Western civilization. Never mind the insights and wisdom of the people who inhabited the land of this continent for thousands of years before the conquistador Columbus and the vicious enslavers who followed.
Trump continued: “And yet, as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure. Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.”
If I had had the time before this episode, I could have found such words from Hitler.
Trump goes on: “Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies and even into the stars.”
Manifest Destiny is the idea that “God” gave white men of the early U.S. the right to expand the territory of the United States. Its first expression has been traced to these words: “our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence [that is, ‘God’] for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” In practice, this meant stealing Texas from Mexico for the purpose of spreading slavery! It meant the westward expansion of the U.S. that was a genocide against the native peoples and the theft of their land.
Decades ago Bob Dylan put it this way:
Oh, the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh, the country was young
With God on its side.
And the “god talk” is at the heart of this imperialism. Listen to Bob Avakian—who has done a scientific dissection of this movement and the Christian fascism at its core:
One of the most distinguishing and significant features of this particularly American version of fascism is the “unholy alliance” between Trump and fundamentalist Christian Fascists. As I pointed out in another recent talk:
Trump, I think it’s fair to say, could not have won the election if the Christian Fascists not only had opposed him, but if they’d been unenthusiastic about him…. And… even when the… pussy-grabbing thing came out, they didn’t turn against him (…Jerry Falwell, Jr. and all these others)—because they recognized: ‘“Here is somebody who is going outside of the whole rules and the way this is done in the “‘swamp of Washington”,’ who will actually carry through on this stuff [like outlawing abortion and suppressing gay people]’….” And Trump, for his part, recognized that if didn’t get this force behind him, he was not going to be able to do it….
Pence is obviously a critical linchpin in… this uniting of what’s represented by Trump… and the Christian Fascists…. The regular bourgeois institutions,… like CNN, the Democratic Party and so on, they keep… saying: “He can’t do that, that’s not the way things are done.” But then [Trump] does it, because he’s not playing by those rules. He’s not working within the norms as they’ve been. He is going directly up against them, precisely as an important part of what he’s doing.
And, while Pence plays a very important role in all this, he is far from the only Christian Fascist in this regime. Besides the appointment of Neil Gorsuch, who is himself a Christian Fascist, to the Supreme Court—re-establishing, after the death of Antonin Scalia, the right-wing majority on the Court—Trump’s cabinet is full of these Christian Fascists.
Perhaps it seems harsh, or even extreme, to refer to these fundamentalist Christians as fascists. Well, in Katherine Stewart’s book The Good News Club, The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, she cites these comments by Rich Lang, himself a former Christian fundamentalist, who broke with that and became a liberal Christian pastor:
“When I was born again [Lang recalls], faith was something inside of you, something you were supposed to reflect through your life. But in the 1980s, something happened. Fundamentalist Christianity jumped back into the public square with the intention to reshape the country as a Christian nation as defined by them….
“It’s no different than the Nazis wanting to start with the Hitler Youth. That is where you’d want to start if you were trying to build a fascist movement….
“That’s the word, ‘fascism.’ Nobody likes to use it in this country. But I believe that in this country, underneath the appearances, that is exactly the great temptation of our time…. and you have to call it what it is—‘Christian Fascism.’”
Stewart further summarizes Lang’s views this way: “Modern fundamentalism, like fascism in earlier times, [he says], involves a strong feeling of persecution, typically at the hands of godless liberals or a religious ‘other’; the belief that one belongs to a pure race or national group that is responsible for past greatness, suffers unjust oppression in the present, and is the rightful ruler of the world; the impulse to submit unquestioningly to absolute authority; and the relentless drive for power and control. It is, [he says], a kind of supremacist movement, with religion rather than race at its core.”
And there is this chilling statement by Lang:
“People have no idea it’s going on….
“What does it mean that the conservative church that’s growing in America is an end-times church? What does it mean that we are raising a generation of children to believe that they are the last generation? What is going to happen if we keep on telling them, ‘“Don’t care about the environment, and bring on the war, because we’re going to be lifted out of here, and you can forget about loving your neighbors, because they’re just going to get blown away?’”
So, that is the insight of someone very familiar with these Christian Fascists. And the fact is that, in this country, with its whole history of genocide, slavery and racism, any form of fascism, including one basing itself on “Christian supremacy”—any urge to “restore past greatness”—cannot help but be bound together with white supremacy.
The Republican Party has been moving in a fascist direction since the late 1960s, with further leaps since then to becoming more and more openly fascist.
In running for president in 1968, Richard Nixon adopted what has been called the “southern strategy,” which the Republican Party has followed ever since. This is a direct appeal to white supremacy—to the racism of white people, particularly (though not only) in the Southern states, who are enraged that Black people are not “staying in their place.”
The Republican Party is not “the Party of Lincoln”—as it sometimes demagogically claims to be—it has become much more the Party of the Confederacy.
Trump spoke in Washington the day after his speech at Rushmore and said this: “No enemy on Earth stands a chance—$2.5 trillion, we’ve invested—all made in the USA. We’ve never had anything near the power and the equipment that we have right now. We did that over the last three years…. Everywhere these aircraft have flown, they’ve rained down American thunder, delivered American justice, and they have fiercely defended every square inch of American sovereignty…. In their steel frames, broad wings, and roaring engines, we see the story of America’s daring defiance, its soaring spirit, and undying resolve.”
This is what Manifest Destiny means to people around the world today—and what it has meant to the eight million killed in U.S. wars, coups, and subversions in defense of their empire since World War 2 alone.