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Est. April 5, 2002
January 26, 2017 - Issue 683

Trump’s Trumpets Are Definitely
Not “God’s Trombones”! ...
Are They Clarion Calls
Presaging The Apocalypse?

By Dr. Carlos Russell, PhD

"We need to develop an urban non violent
guerrilla movement designated to rebel,
resist, and attack. It must be one that
incessantly continues to snap at his infantile
ego while building the machinery
to take the reins of power."

When I began this piece I had just read a news item stating that the earth had hit a record high temperature for the third consecutive year. (NYT 01/18/17). I was immediately reminded of James Baldwin’s classic and perhaps, prophetic work, “The Fire Next Time” whose title echoes the lines from the Negro Spiritual of the same name recounting the biblical tale of Noah’s voyage-- at God’s command, to save the creatures of the planet Earth.

And God gave Noah the rainbow sign.

No more water the fire next time”

Donald J .Trump is now the 45th President of the United States of America. With each passing day I am increasingly consumed by what columnist Charles W. Blow, after the Baltimore acquittal, called an “incandescent rage ” at the ignominious reality of a Trump presidency and what it portends for humanity. His denial of “climate change“ and its impact on the planet – a position he has now recanted ; his apparent fixation, if not love, of nuclear weapons and not much respect for their proliferation and/or the devastation they can cause.

I am further chagrined because his “victory” unmistakedly re-exposes the historical truth of America’s systemic racism. Thus, no matter how much those who wear the mask of denial attempt to convince us that Hillary’s overwhelming popular vote majority is a much more accurate indication of the pulse of the nation or that Trump’s victory, in the electoral, college is primarily due to the perceived and/or real dissastifaction, by middle and lower income class whites with the failure of a much heralded growing economy to produce for them and seemingly doing so for others. Nice try I say, but no cigars!

This latter argument humorously brought to mind the existence, in the sixties, of an organization of middle class whites who called themselves “The Society for the Prevention of Negroes getting Everything” popularly known by its acronym S.P.O.N.G.E. The conceptual parallel between the “deniers” and S.P.O.N.G.E. is striking. Sadly, nothing much seems to have changed.

The absurdity of the wearers of the masks of denial fuels my blue-flamed burning rage. I shudder as I think how much easier the fight to end racism in America would be if white people were to, psychologically, and politically, accept culpability for it’s exisistence and collectively move to exorcise its corroding and toxic influence from the very tissues of the nation. Truthfully, I do not expect that to happen soon -- if ever. Also, One cannot deny, nor should we, the majesty of the mammoth march of women and men in the streets of the nation; but, the question remains can it be sustained?

This foreboding sensation has propellled me to ponder the possibility that Trump’s presidency could well be the harbinger of the apocalyptic prophecy of “The Fire Next Time”.

Writing in the “NATION”( 01/18/17) Frances Fox Piven expresseed similar concerns. Responding to the to the many “Stop Trump’” popular initiatives, while supporting them said:

I do not have much hope that any of them, at least not in the limited time we have , to protect the planet from global warming or nuclear catasthrophy or both. ” I share her fear! I am also in accord with her major premise: “When it comes to stopping Trump, petitions will not get it done.”

Amen, I also say!

Trump and his minions whose ostensible vision of and for America -- from the perspective of those of us who still retain a modicum of hope that the country can achieve its laudatory goals coupled with the concomitant eradication of racism-- are inimical to the establishment of a just and egalitarian America. I take the unequivocal position that they must be defeated!

A bit of history:

Baldwin’s masterpiece was and continues to be my favorite of his many works. Its raw and personal honesty, analytical brilliance, powerful language, which, at that time, made white America tremble and temporarily take stock of itself in the wake of what was to become a seismic shock wave throughout the land, namely, the birth of the contemporary “Black Revolution” --that’s what Ebony magazine, on its cover (8/69) -- called it. Yes, it is, without a doubt my, favorite work of his.

So much was the political anxiety, trepidation, discomfort and fear among white people, caused, not only by Baldwin’s writings and eloquence, but by other Black intellectuals, poets and scholars as well; such as, Amiri Baraka, Dick Gregory and Harold Cruse —to name but three-- that white liberal America also squirmed. Consistent with their traditional behavorial pattern—speaking with forked tongue-- , Baldwin was both praised for his literary talent and eloquense and attacked for his sexual preference and mocking his physical appearance .

In later years I would be vividly reminded of that era when former Congressman Charles Rangel, speaking in another context and of another person on Gil Noble’s “Like it is” program in New York remarked “ When a society desires to destroy someone they first move to demonize them.”

The not too subtle attack on Baldwin, was relentless and deceitful. White liberalism praised his intellect, political acumen and literary talent, but dishonestly questioned his premises and laughed at the shape of his eyes and love life.

As this occurred, Black America, for the most part behaved, just as they did whenever Joe Louis scored a victory. After listening to the fight at he window of a store in a segregated town they would slowly and silently walk away and when they were out of the eyes and ears of “”white folks” they suddenly paused, applauded and literally “hooped and hollered”.

Up South” Blacks also “hooped and hollered” in our bars and living rooms with the fervor of hearing “Malindy” sing “ whenever Baldwin or another bright brother or sister scored a point on “Meet the Press” or “Face The Nation.”

If my memory is correct, at a public forum which took place at “Town Hall” in NYC featuring James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, James Wechsler, then of the “liberal” New York Post of Dorothy Schiff and Murray Kempton, and television liberal producer/host David Susskind, either Susskind, or Wechsler exclaimed, “I do not want to be a waterboy in a battle I once led. Honestly, I do not recall which one!

Throughout the years – fifty plus-- those words have remained ingrained in my psyche. Why? Because I see them as a reminder that they may well be the eternal pebbles in the sandals of white and Black “Liberals”

Saul Alinsky, author of “Reveille for Radicals” once wrote, and I paraphrase, “ the liberal is he who runs when the fights starts” Dick Gregory, author of “Nigger” and a prolific raconteur comedian, and political activist, describes the liberal in much more sanguine terms. He once wrote “ The liberal is he who will hang you from the lower limb”.

In the age of “Trumpism” liberalism of the type described by Alinsky and Gregory must remain where it should have always been – buried. Radical Progressives must now take center stage.

One has only to read “Herr Donald’s” inaugural address to be nauseated and repulsed by his dark vision of America; his seeming disregard for the lives of all others except his and those of his ilk; the infusion of additional elements of fear into the fragile tissues of our social psyche. It is unexplainable.

Times columnist Roger Cohen tell us that America will have to fight to preserve it’s civilization. I am absolutely convinced that the fights, must be waged; however, not to preserve “America’s civilization” --- it produced Donald Trump and enslaved Black people, one cannot preserve what is not there. The on going fight is to transform our society from a society predicated on corporate greed to a just society one that King called “The Beloved Community.

Professor Piven suggested that to defeat Trump we must “throw sand in the gears of his machine.” Not only do I endorse that view but expand upon it. We need to develop an urban non violent guerrilla movement designated to rebel, resist, and attack. It must be one that incessantly continues to snap at his infantile ego while building the machinery to take the reins of power. If we fail to do so I fear that the apocalypse may indeed be near. Guest Commentator, Dr. Carlos E. Russell, PhD is Professor Emeritus C.U.N.Y. - Brooklyn College. In the sixties, he served as an Associate Editor of the Liberator magazine. As such, he was one of the first to interview Malcolm X after he left the Nation. He is best remembered as the founder of Black Solidarity Day in New York in 1969 and as the Chair of the Black Caucus of the Conference on New Politics in 1967. In addition, he was a consultant to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the planning for the Poor Peoples March. Excerpts of his participation can be seen in Citizen King and Eyes on the Prize (PBS Mini Series Boxed Set). Born in the Republic of Panama, he has served as that country’s representative to the U.N and the O.A.S. with the rank of Ambassador. He has also served as the nightly host of “Thinking it Through” a talk show that was aired on WLIB in New York. He is a playwright and poet as well. Contact Dr.Russell.




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