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Est. April 5, 2002
January 18, 2018 - Issue 725

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The Epithet
Heard ‘Round the World


"The very act of saying 'I am not a racist'
would lead even the casual observer to
believe that he is, indeed, a racist.

The Great Embarassment’s description of some African countries and Haiti did not take long to get from one end of the Earth to the other.

It’s one thing to hear outrage from heads of state and leaders of education and business in the countries targeted by the president, Donald Trump, but it’s another when the representatives of working men and women express their outrage at being so scatologically described by what is supposed to be a leader of the world.

This time, it was the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), which represents more than 92 million workers in every part of the world, which expressed “its unequivocal condemnation of the U.S. President D. Trump declarations of hatred, who during a discussion with lawmakers at the White House, complained about immigrants coming to the United States from ‘shithole countries.’ At the same time, he attacked in a vulgar manner, immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and African countries.”

It has been pointed out by innumerable politicians, national leaders, human rights advocates, and many others, that the countries selected for Trump’s invective are predominantly black countries and he went a little farther and said that the U.S. should try to get more immigrants from places like Norway, which is predominantly peopled by whites.

The outcry has prompted Trump, once again, to proclaim that he is not a racist. He has felt the need to do this frequently and the very act of saying “I am not a racist” would lead even the casual observer to believe that he is, indeed, a racist. The old saying about paying attention to what someone does, not what they say, holds here. His acts and utterances indicate his racism, at least on a weekly basis, if not daily.

The WFTU has put Trump’s character and that of his country in the starkest terms: “These xenophobic, racist and discrediting descriptions have become an ‘ordinary practice’ of the imperialist U.S. government, which at the same moment when it shows contempt for these peoples with its words, it keeps bombing, murdering and sowing death with its imperialist interventions. The WFTU declares that the workers and the trade union movement of all countries have to condemn the statements of the U.S. imperialism, to deploy a wide solidarity network with every people who suffer from the NATO hawks and imperialist interventions, by standing up against monopolies and their policies.”

Although the feelings and opinions of the workers of the world are not heard by the powerful of the world, they should be paying more attention. Ninety-two million workers’ voices, spoken through their labor federation, will give the powerful, including Trump, an idea of the sentiments of the general population of their nations, the overwhelming majority of which are resentful of the attitudes of rich nations and their leaders, who stride about the world as if they own it.

In reality, they do own so much of it. In so many ways the rich nations are in control of those countries disparaged and insulted by Donald Trump, who is commander-in-chief of the most formidable military and weapons systems that the world has ever seen. And, hegemony over the small nations involves economics (think global economy) and politics (rich countries’ interference in elections, governance, and physical control of the poorer countries).

Trump’s outburst at a recent meeting certainly indicated his true feelings about people of color and their nations. To him, they are lesser human beings. While he may insult them and their countries, he is all too willing to exploit their labor (low wage) to do things like make his “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats and his daughter, Ivanka’s, clothing lines. Isn’t that what poor countries are for? Trump and others of his wealth and power obviously think so and they never hesitate to look for the lowest wages to cut their production costs, so their profits are maximized. MAGA might be a code for “make America white again,” and Trump is doing his best to rid his country of people of color, to the extent possible in such a diverse nation. In this, however, he has the backing of the Republican Party, since it apparently has tied its future to Trump’s coattails.

The Republican party should be paying attention to what’s happening in their own country. A small indication that the GOP is losing some of the people who supported them and voted for Trump, but the small indications could be harbingers of the abject decline of the party. In Wisconsin, Democrats have just won in a state legislative race in a district that Trump won by 17 points. The polls also indicate that Trump and his party are in a downward slide. He is one of the least popular presidents after the first year of his presidency, if not the least popular.

The GOP should be paying attention to its rank-and-file, as well. A letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune on Jan. 17 is at least an indication of the danger of their fellow partisans’ leaving the fold. Paul Best of Lake Forest, Ill., wrote the letter, saying that he was a lifelong Republican and adhered to the (long past) principles of the GOP, such as small government, but since the advent of Trump, he no longer can support the party that supports Trump.

Best wrote: “He has brought disgrace to the most consequential office in the world. Over the past year, current events have turned into a bad comic strip. And after the comments Trump made during a discussion with legislators on immigration policy, referring to “s------- countries,” there is absolutely no way I can belong to the same party as this person. I never supported Trump, but now I can’t support the party that nominated him. Beyond wealthy white males, it is very clear based on his behavior and comments that Trump has no respect for humanity. What a frightening thought for a person with so much power. One of the most important lessons I was taught by my parents and have passed on to my children was always to be respectful toward yourself and other people. Unfortunately, our nation’s chief executive doesn’t meet this standard.”

This, from a lifelong Republican, so it is not only workers around the world and their unions who recognize the contempt with which Trump views them, but it’s members of the party, itself. The secretariat of the WFTU perhaps best summed up the solution: “Solidarity is the peoples’ weapon!” Columnist, John Funiciello, is a long-time former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.

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David A. Love, JD
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