Friday, January 6, 2017

From Talladega College to Dylann Roof and Donald Trump: White Supremacy Runs Amok in 21st Century America...with and without our cowardly complicity


“...To a number of Talladega alumni, the Dec. 30 announcement that the band would march in the parade was an insult to the very principles of the college, which was established two years after the end of the Civil War. The school is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination that was deeply involved in the civil rights movement, and for decades it served as an incubator for theories and practices of social justice.

Nikky Finney, a poet and Talladega graduate who is now a professor at the University of South Carolina, said in a statement this week that the band should not help celebrate Mr. Trump, who, she said, has maligned women and Mexican immigrants and has proposed barring all Muslims from entering the country. In an interview on Thursday, Ms. Finney, channeling a James Brown lyric, said the college had “sold out the history of Talladega College for chicken change” and “maybe a tin star on a hatemonger’s parade route.

As of Thursday afternoon, an online petition calling for the band to withdraw from the inaugural parade had attracted more than 1,900 signers, some of them supporters of the college who have threatened to withhold future contributions..."

...Up the street at a real estate office near the 1830s-era courthouse, Randy and Heather Roberts, a white couple who voted for Mr. Trump, raved about the Talladega College band and its performance at the Dec. 5 Christmas parade. Ms. Roberts showed a video of the band on her phone. “They were phenomenal,” Ms. Roberts said..."


Ending Speculation, Black College Says Band Will Play at Inaugural Parade

January 5, 2017
New York Times

The marching band at Talladega College featured on the front page of a local newspaper in Talladega, Ala. The school has become the subject of an impassioned national outcry. Credit Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times

TALLADEGA, Ala. — For a band at a tiny, little-known, historically black college, it seems in some ways to be the gig of a lifetime: a chance to march and perform at the Jan. 20 presidential inaugural parade in Washington. Some of the musicians at Talladega College have been excited to see the capital for the first time.
But because the president-elect is Donald J. Trump, the school has become the subject of an impassioned national outcry, with online petitions, threats to end donations and a flurry of how-could-yous from alumni who feel that performing in the parade would betray the values of an institution founded by newly freed slaves 150 years ago.
On Thursday, after days of speculation that the college administration might bow to the pressure and remove the band from the parade roster, the president of Talladega College, Billy Hawkins, issued a statement confirming the participation of the band, the Marching Tornadoes, and argued, in essence, that the 58th presidential inauguration is about something bigger than Mr. Trump.
“We respect and appreciate how our students and alumni feel about our participation in this parade,” Dr. Hawkins said. “As many of those who chose to participate in the parade have said, we feel the inauguration of a new president is not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power.”
Similar issues have been raised about other entertainers scheduled to perform, among them the Radio City Rockettes and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. But because of Talladega’s history, the issues have been especially intense here, with calls for the college to reverse its decision to take part in the festivities.
And beyond Talladega, the controversies raise tough questions for Mr. Trump’s most ardent critics as his presidency dawns: What is the proper response to a president as polarizing as Mr. Trump? Should the office of the president be honored, no matter who fills it? Or should there be four years of pure rejection and defiance?
And if Mr. Trump’s opponents refuse to participate in his presidency, can critics on the right do the same thing to some other president-elect in the future?
To a number of Talladega alumni, the Dec. 30 announcement that the band would march in the parade was an insult to the very principles of the college, which was established two years after the end of the Civil War. The school is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination that was deeply involved in the civil rights movement, and for decades it served as an incubator for theories and practices of social justice.
Nikky Finney, a poet and Talladega graduate who is now a professor at the University of South Carolina, said in a statement this week that the band should not help celebrate Mr. Trump, who, she said, has maligned women and Mexican immigrants and has proposed barring all Muslims from entering the country. In an interview on Thursday, Ms. Finney, channeling a James Brown lyric, said the college had “sold out the history of Talladega College for chicken change” and “maybe a tin star on a hatemonger’s parade route.”
As of Thursday afternoon, an online petition calling for the band to withdraw from the inaugural parade had attracted more than 1,900 signers, some of them supporters of the college who have threatened to withhold future contributions.
The campus of Talladega College on Wednesday. To a number of alumni, the announcement last month that the band would march in the parade was an insult to the principles of the college. Credit Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times
But a second petition, which had nearly 300 supporters, argued that the parade was not about politics but “about seeing firsthand the process of a transition” and giving the students a chance to be a part of history. “We are not one-track thinkers and believe everyone is entitled” to their own beliefs, it stated. “However, we are in support of the United States of America.”
As the debate heated up this week in online forums for students and alumni, the leadership at the private, four-year college hunkered down to consider how best to proceed. The campus police ordered reporters off the 50-acre campus.
Brief interviews with a few band members on Tuesday evening revealed a group divided.
Jerome Haynes, 18, a freshman who plays the snare drum, said he hoped politics would not get in the way of an exciting opportunity for the band.
In contrast, Ronald Peterson, 21, a sophomore who plays cymbals, said he was going to talk to the director about staying home. “I feel that those who are not Republicans should not have to play for it,” he said.
On Thursday afternoon, some students said the administration had done the right thing, despite the protests from alumni.
Antonio Phillips, 24, a senior and a drum major, welcomed the exposure. “We’re musicians, so this is a good platform for us to showcase our talent in front of the world,” he said.
His friend Ken Randolph, 20, a junior who is not in the band, said the concerns of alumni like Ms. Finney “weigh heavily on the students of Talladega.” But he said Mr. Trump might benefit from the exposure to a black art form. “This is a part of our culture,” Mr. Randolph said. “With it being on his front doorstep, he might be able to apprehend the vibe and the culture.”
That drama in Talladega, a city of 15,000 about an hour’s drive east of Birmingham, played out as black activists, including the N.A.A.C.P. president, Cornell William Brooks, were arrested on Tuesday in Mobile in a civil-disobedience action at the office of Senator Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican nominated to be attorney general in the Trump administration. Mr. Sessions, who is white, was rejected by the Senate for a federal judgeship in 1986 after he was accused of making racially insensitive statements.
To some Talladega alumni, the possibility that policies long opposed by African-Americans could now be enacted by a Republican-dominated Congress and executive branch was what made the notion of a black band marching for Mr. Trump seem so distasteful.
“There’s a great deal of fear in this country that the Voting Rights Act is going to be abolished, that the Affordable Care Act is going to be abolished, that Planned Parenthood is going to be cut off from funding, that Medicaid is going be cut off from funding,” said J. Mason Davis, a Birmingham lawyer who graduated from the college in 1956. “Don’t you understand why we have a fear of the man?”
“I don’t think they should go,” said Curt Welch, owner of a barbershop. “They might get shot at.” Credit Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times
Donavon Jackson, 24, a former trumpet player in the band who graduated last year, said performing as part of the inauguration would be particularly special for a college of about 1,000 students whose band program is only about five years old. The school does not have a football team, which makes parade invitations all the more important.
“I’m honored to go to a school that can say they marched in an inauguration parade,” said Mr. Jackson, who received a chemistry degree and now lives in Houston. “Not necessarily for the person — and that’s not necessarily saying he’s a bad person.”
In the statement on Thursday, school officials said they still faced the “challenge” of raising more than $60,000 to cover expenses for the trip.
The population of the city of Talladega is divided about evenly between blacks and whites, and to a visitor, it can feel like a place where racial harmony and discord coexist on seemingly parallel planes. Whites speak with pride about the historic black college downtown — though one white person was overheard on Wednesday warning of a liberal plot to foment a “race war” so that President Obama might declare martial law before the inauguration.
While some residents said the band should stay home, and others said it should attend the event in Washington, a few spoke harshly of Mr. Trump while hoping the inauguration would help the band get noticed — something the city, which was bypassed by the interstate highway system, has struggled with in recent decades.
Bonquita McClellan, 26, manages her father’s restaurant, Big Mac’s Open Pit BBQ, near campus. Ms. McClellan, who is black, said the disdain for Mr. Trump among her African-American peers was universal. “If anybody would have had us in concentration camps,” she said, “it’d be him.”
But she also said the band should go and make a name for itself in the nation’s capital. “How often,” she asked, “does Talladega College get a chance to play for the president?”
Up the street at a real estate office near the 1830s-era courthouse, Randy and Heather Roberts, a white couple who voted for Mr. Trump, raved about the Talladega College band and its performance at the Dec. 5 Christmas parade. Ms. Roberts showed a video of the band on her phone. “They were phenomenal,” Ms. Roberts said.
Ms. Roberts, 41, said she grew up with black and white friends. Mr. Roberts, 48, said he and his wife were pleased to cater to their multiracial clientele.
But when they spoke about politics, the couple sounded like people who knew something was broken but did not know how it might be fixed.
“It is not going to be pleasant for the next four years,” Ms. Roberts said. “It is going to be a battle.”


No Regrets From Dylann Roof in Jailhouse Manifesto

Officers with the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday outside the courthouse in Charleston, S.C., during the sentencing phase for Dylann S. Roof. Credit Leroy Burnell/The Post and Courier, via Associated Press 


CHARLESTON, S.C. — More than six weeks after killing nine members of a black congregation here in 2015, Dylann S. Roof wrote extensively in a journal about his purpose, emphasizing that he hoped to incite others to join him in fomenting a race war.
“I did what I thought would make the biggest wave,” the then 21-year-old white supremacist wrote, “and now the fate of our race is in the hands of my brothers who continue to live freely.”
Page after page from the journal was read aloud on Thursday afternoon in Federal District Court here, where jurors will decide, perhaps as early as next week, whether to sentence Mr. Roof to death. The journal provided a startling extension of the manifestoes Mr. Roof wrote before he opened fire in the fellowship hall of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015.
Seemingly aware that he faced the likelihood of at least a life term in prison, Mr. Roof wrote that he “would rather live in prison knowing I took action for my race than live with the torture of sitting idle.”
Mr. Roof’s choice to represent himself in the penalty phase of his trial, and to reject a defense based on mental incapacity, has raised questions about his desire to avoid execution. But in the aftermath of the attack, at least, he saw a continued purpose for his life.
“I want to live now,” he wrote in the journal, most of which was read from the witness stand by a Charleston County Sheriff’s Office official, Lauren M. Knapp. “I want to see a future. I want to help make the way.”
He began by explaining that he wanted to complete the rambling racist thoughts included in an online manifesto that he began before the massacre, which he said he “was unable to finish before because I was in a hurry to get to Charleston.”
In a dizzying blitz of insults and stereotypes, predictions and perceived problems, Mr. Roof railed against Jews, Hispanics, African-Americans, gays and Muslims. He said that Adolf Hitler would someday “be inducted as a saint,” and he warned that unless white people “take violent action, we have no future.”
Prosecutors used the writings, which were confiscated by jail officials on Aug. 3, 2015, to bolster their contention that he had opened fire with “substantial planning and premeditation,” which the authorities argue is an aggravating factor in Mr. Roof’s capital case.
The reading of Mr. Roof’s journal and Ms. Knapp’s accompanying testimony took less than an hour on a day that was otherwise focused on four of the shooting’s victims: the Rev. DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49; the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., 74; and Myra Thompson, 59.
Family members and friends of the dead repeatedly walked to the witness stand and recounted anecdotes of vacations and holiday meals, final conversations and funerals.
“DePayne was a stickler for the truth, and she was a stickler for rules and order,” said Bethane Middleton-Brown, a sister of Ms. Middleton Doctor. “She governed her life according to the word.”
Mr. Roof and his court-appointed lawyers have grown frustrated with the hours of testimony about the victims of the shootings.
“If I don’t present any mitigation evidence, the victim-impact evidence will take over the whole sentencing trial and guarantee that I get the death penalty,” Mr. Roof wrote in a motion that was unsealed on Thursday.
One of Mr. Roof’s lawyers, David I. Bruck, argued that some witness testimony had been improper for the trials’ sentencing phase. “This is sentencing,” Mr. Bruck told Judge Richard M. Gergel on Thursday morning. “It is not a memorial service.”
Although Judge Gergel rejected Mr. Bruck’s request that he be allowed to object to testimony, he cautioned prosecutors against calling an excessive number of witnesses. Julius N. Richardson, a prosecutor, said that the government expected to rest its case on Monday.
Mr. Roof has said that he does not plan to call any witnesses.

Dylann Roof, Addressing Court, Offers No Apology or Explanation for Massacre
January 4, 2017

Dylann Roof Himself Rejects Best Defense Against Execution 
January 1, 2017

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Dr. Charles W. Mills on the Political Dynamics of Race and Class in the United States in the 21st Century and the Fight Against Trump's Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions


Race and Ethnicity
The Left
That’s Debatable

What Is the Left Without Identity Politics?

Four writers consider the question dividing the Democratic Party
by Walter Benn Michaels, Charles W. Mills, Linda Hirshman and Carla Murphy

Whose Identity Politics?
by Charles W. Mills
December 16, 2016
The Nation

(b. January 3, 1951)

The causes of Donald Trump’s stunning electoral victory will be debated for years: FBI director James Comey’s October 28 letter about Clinton’s e-mails, her “basket of deplorables” comment, the Democratic campaign’s neglect of the Rust Belt states, and so on. But the pernicious and enduring role of identity politics was crucial.

I refer, of course, to the white racial identity politics that has shaped the United States from its birth.

Needless to say, this is neither the standard narrative nor the usual framing. For the orthodox white left, now claiming a cheerless we-told-you-so vindication, identity politics is their politics—particularistic, pandering to special interests, balkanizing; ours, of course, are supposedly very different—universalist, general-interest, unifying. Not “recognition,” but redistribution; not “identity” but material inequality; not “race,” but class. The proletariat, Karl Marx informs us, is the universal class, subject to no racial or gendered categorizations, whose emancipation is going to free everybody. In a somewhat diluted non-revolutionary form (social-democratic redistributivist capitalism), this vision still informs white mainstream left-liberal thought today.

But if it was wrong even in Marx’s time and Marx’s world, it is even more mistaken in the United States of the 21st century. American capitalism (white supremacist from the start) created heterogeneous structures of subordination that had different effects on white workers than on black and brown workers. White working-class identity politics—even as a junior shareholder in the overarching system of white supremacy—would pay off for its subscribers in multiple ways: not just in terms of greater political input and civic/social recognition than their non-white counterparts, but also in the form of material access to better jobs, better (segregated) neighborhoods, a better education for their children, and far greater wealth (through racially discriminatory mortgages and state transfer payments, the racialized implementation of the GI Bill, and so forth). The so-called identity politics of people of color has always been reactive, recognizing whiteness as an illicit set of entitlements to these political and economic advantages.

White working-class identity politics is a junior shareholder in the overarching system of white supremacy.
Doesn’t the white working class have legitimate grievances? Of course it does. But these must be separated from illegitimate grievances about diminished white privilege, both identitarian and economic. After all, the non-white poor and working class are hurting worse, and (for the most part) they didn’t vote for Trump. Achieving a genuine universalism responsive to the interests of both the white and the non-white disadvantaged will require an admission of whites’ differential historic positioning in the political economy, and how the prism of race has always refracted their perception of their group interests. As plutocracy and the New Gilded Age of inequality consolidate themselves, the white left needs to ask itself whose identity politics brought us to this point in the first place.


Charles W. Mills is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. He is the author of numerous books on race and political theory, including The Racial Contract (1997), Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race (1998), and the forthcoming Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism (2017).

Dear MoveOn member,

Senator Jeff Sessions' spokesperson lashed out at MoveOn today after nearly 200,000 MoveOn members signed a petition supporting the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP and national NAACP leaders in their peaceful sit-in at Sen. Sessions' office in Mobile to protest against his nomination for attorney general.1

Sen. Sessions' bizarre attack against MoveOn and the NAACP is only the latest in his history of attacks—over his career, he's attacked voting rights and immigrants, women, LTBTQ Americans, and so much more.

Take a minute to watch this video MoveOn just released featuring civil rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, and other advocacy leaders talking about the danger Sen. Sessions poses as Trump's attorney general pick.

Stop Jeff Sessions

Americans from all walks of life are speaking out against Sen. Sessions, and it is for the same reasons the Senate rejected his nomination to the federal judiciary decades ago: his track record of racism, his avid opposition to civil rights and human rights, and his false claims about his own history of civil rights work to try to deflect criticism.2

As attorney general, Sen. Sessions would be a threat to us all. Please take a moment to watch this video and share it with your friends and family so they know what's at stake.
Thanks for all you do.

—Jamiah, Justin, Maria, Alex, and the rest of the team
P.S. If you haven't yet signed the petition from the Alabama State Conference president of the NAACP, calling on Congress to reject Sessions' nomination, you can add your name here.


1. "NAACP protest of Sessions 'a fundraising gimmick,'" Washington Examiner, January 5, 2017

2. "Jeff Sessions says he handled these civil rights cases. He barely touched them." The Washington Post, January 3, 2017…

Want to support our work? The MoveOn community will work every moment, day by day and year by year, to resist Trump's agenda, contain the damage, defeat hate with love, and begin the process of swinging the nation's pendulum back toward sanity, decency, and the kind of future that we must never give up on. And to do it we need your ongoing support, now more than ever. Will you stand with us?


NAACP arrested in sit-in of Trump AG Jeff Sessions’ office amid rising opposition:

Six members of the NAACP were arrested during a sit-in at the Mobile, Alabama, office of Senator Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Attorney General. The organization’s president, Cornell Brooks, who wrote a statement in November objecting to Sessions’ opposition to the Voting Rights Act, was among those arrested. Meanwhile, 1,100 law school professors sent a letter urging Congress to reject the nomination. To discuss this, ‘News With Ed’ is joined by Larry Cohen, chair of the Democracy Initiative and a critic of Sessions.

Over 155 civil and human rights organizations led by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and joined by leaders from the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, National LGBTQ Task Force, The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Transformative Justice Coalition—raise their collective voices against the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general. These organizations advocate for the rights of immigrants, LGBTQi, women and people of color—they are deeply entrenched in the battle for voting rights and criminal justice reform. Sessions' voting record demonstrates a clear disregard for the civil and human rights of all Americans. Share this video, call your senators today to voice your opposition, and sign this petition: #NoSessions

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How Donald Trump Will Make America White Again and the Fight To Stop Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions Now

Immigration Policy
Donald Trump

January 30, 2017 issue

How Donald Trump Will Make America White Again

His plan for fixing the legal immigration system is simple and disturbing: Bring back 1890.

by Julianne Hing
January 4, 2017
The Nation

PHOTO: US Citizenship Ceremony
A new America: By 2065, nearly one in five US residents will have been born abroad, thanks to the 1965 immigration-reform law. (Reuters / David Ryder)

Donald Trump’s plans for undocumented immigrants are what get all the headlines. There’s the wall, of course, and his promises to dismantle deportation-relief programs for undocumented young people, known as Dreamers. There are his proposals to detain and deport millions of noncitizens. But lurking behind the president-elect’s frightening promises to crack down on people who live in the United States without documentation is a much larger ambition: to slow the nation’s massive demographic change by curtailing our legal-immigration system as well.
“Within just a few years, immigration as a share of the national population is set to break all historical records,” Trump said during an immigration address in Phoenix this past August. The goal of his presidency, he continued, would be “to keep immigration levels measured by population share within historical norms.” He added that the country ought “to choose immigrants based on merit—merit, skill, and proficiency. Doesn’t that sound nice?”
The reference to “historical norms” was an unusually circumspect choice of words for the president-elect, but it’s a phrase that ought to worry many. What Trump’s hint meant was a return to an explicitly racist immigration system put in place in the 1920s.
David FitzGerald, a professor of sociology at the University of California at San Diego, described the thinking among early-20th-century US lawmakers, who were alarmed by the unprecedented waves of poorer, swarthier immigrants coming to the nation at the time. “There was a near-consensus among policy-makers of the day,” FitzGerald told me in a conversation this past summer, “that the more Northwestern European immigrants there were, the more they would improve the stock [of the US population]. And the more they were from Southern and Eastern Europe, [the more] they would degrade the stock and contribute to crime.”
So Congress created a system designed to curb immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe. Through a series of laws passed in the 1920s, lawmakers set annual quotas for immigrants from European nations. Using the 1890 Census as a benchmark, they capped the number of future immigrants from any given country at just 2 percent of the foreign-born population from that nation living in the United States in that year. Pegging the quotas to the 1890 Census was important, since it represented a time before the large flow of Southern and Eastern European immigrants to the United States commenced. Until the system was reformed in the 1960s, immigrants from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Ireland were entitled to fully 70 percent of the visas under this quota scheme, according to the Pew Research Center. What’s more, the Asian Exclusion Act of 1924 completely barred immigration from East and South Asia.
These policies had their intended effect: a precipitous drop in the nation’s foreign-born population, from a high of 14.8 percent in the 1890s to its lowest level on record—less than 5 percent—in 1970. These pre-1890/post-1920s levels are presumably the “historical norms” to which Trump was referring on the campaign trail. In short, he was pledging to halt the demographic trajectory that the country has been on since the 1970s. In 2013, 13 percent of the US population was foreign-born. Current projections suggest that by 2065, nearly one in five people in the United States will have been born outside the country.

Trump’s reference to “historical norms” is a phrase that ought to worry many.
But slowing this trend will require Trump to do more than simply deport people who are here without authorization: It will mean slashing the numbers of those who immigrate legally as well. As it stands, there are two main avenues by which people can apply to become US residents. The first is through family: reunifying with family members who are US citizens already living in the country. The second is through “merit”: by happening to have the education and skills deemed attractive by US employers. After the election, Trump again stressed which of the two groups he’d prefer the legal-immigration system to serve.
“We’re going to have people coming in,” he told Time (in the same issue that anointed him “Person of the Year“), “but we’re also going to have them coming in based to a certain extent on merit.” That would mean inverting the current legal-immigration system. The immediate relatives of US citizens made up 41 percent of the roughly 1 million green cards issued in 2014. Those who came based on employer preferences? Just 15 percent of the total.

* * *
Trump’s perspective on immigrationreform is troubling not solely because of its inherent elitism, or the way in which it reduces immigrants to widgets of labor, mere economic actors. It’s also one more plank in the far right’s direct attack on the civil-rights era.
Everything about Trump’s rhetoric and the cabinet he’s assembling suggests that the new administration plans to push an immigration-reform agenda in the Republican-led Congress that will mirror the far right’s approach to the Voting Rights Act. The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act is the landmark law that replaced the discriminatory national-origin quotas of the 1920s with a more egalitarian, family-focused system. There is widespread agreement that this law desperately needs an update: Its own system of allocating an equal number of visas to all countries has created an insurmountable backlog for those that account for the vast majority of applications, among other problems. Years’ worth of bipartisan efforts at reforming the system have failed. But Trump’s leading advisers and allies have articulated a “reform” agenda that would roll back, rather than update, the law.
When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act into law at the foot of the Statue of Liberty in October 1965, he acknowledged its racial-justice mission. The act “does repair a very deep and painful flaw in the fabric of American justice,” Johnson said. “It corrects a cruel and enduring wrong in the conduct of the American nation.”
And it is that correction, far more than the much-discussed presence of undocumented immigrants, that set the country’s enormous demographic shift in motion. White people will likely cease to be the majority in the United States by 2042.
Slowing demographic change by curbing legal immigration is one thing; stopping it is another.
So it’s perhaps not surprising that Trump has zeroed in on the legal-immigration system. His threat is more than just rhetoric: There already exists a clear blueprint for rolling back the 1965 law. Much of it comes from Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for US attorney general, who has a long history as a hard-line anti-immigration zealot. In the last two decades, according to The Washington Post, Sessions has opposed nearly every immigration-reform bill that has included some pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. But he’s also fought to curb avenues for legal immigration. In a 2015 op-ed for the Post, Sessions called the current system “the primary source of low-wage immigration into the United States.” He opened the piece with a wistful recollection of the era of the national-origin quota system, presenting it as smart policy-making that protected American workers.
Trump has also repeatedly consulted with Kris Kobach, Kansas’s secretary of state and an architect of Arizona’s notorious 2010 anti-immigration law, SB 1070. Kobach has also served as counsel for the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, a far-right anti-immigration group that can be expected to play a prominent role in Trump’s Washington.
The federation released a position paper just after the election setting out its immigration-policy wish list for the new administration. In it, the group called on lawmakers to dramatically cut the numbers of those allowed to enter the country legally, decrying a system that admits “immigrants who already have family members in the country. We do not make immigration decisions based on whether or not an immigrant can contribute to our economy.” Lawmakers ought to “implement a merit-based immigration system,” the paper urged.
Once a fringe group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform has now been brought into the mainstream of political discourse. The group has often been deemed too xenophobic and racist even for many conservatives. Its postelection position paper also included calls to end birthright citizenship, which was granted as part of the 14th Amendment; penalize sanctuary cities; expand the immigrant-detention system and aggressively prosecute the act of entering the country without papers as a felony; and further deputize local police to enforce immigration-law violations. Now its suggestions are likely moving straight to the president-elect’s ear via Kobach.
Slowing down demographic change by curbing legal immigration is one thing; stopping it is another. Already, more babies of color are being born in the United States than white babies. Between 2012 and 2016, 3.2 million US-born Latinos turned 18; these citizens make up the bulk of the Latino electorate’s growth. Fifty years after the immigration law that paved the way for the demographic remaking of the United States, it’s not likely that shutting down legal immigration will stop the changes now under way.
But that doesn’t mean Donald Trump won’t try. 

We, the undersigned, oppose and condemn in the strongest of terms President-Elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor. Bannon’s anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic agenda deserves no place in the White House, let alone second-in-command to the most powerful office on the planet.

Steve Bannon

45149 total signers.

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CPD Action
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Bannon was the executive chairman of one of the country’s most prominent far-right news sources, Breitbart News. Bannon has used his platform for constant and dangerous attacks against people of color, women, Muslims, LGBTQ people, immigrants, Jewish people, and people with disabilities.
As one of Trump’s first moves, the appointment affirms the President-Elect will follow through on the most dangerous promises that brought him to office, including a pledge to ban Muslims from entering the country and plans to forcefully deport immigrants by the millions.
Too few politicians have acknowledged the harm Bannon would inflict on this country. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and others have feigned ignorance when asked what they know about Stephen Bannon, a claim that stretches credulity. But whatever elected officials do or don’t know, we are certain of this: A man like Stephen Bannon cannot be allowed to drive US policy.
By fighting this appointment we are delivering a vital message to Trump: We will meet you in the streets and in the halls of Congress. We will meet you with our protests and campaigns. We will keep fighting for equality, dignity, and liberation. You have us to answer to.
Bannon’s appointment is not normal, and we will refuse to treat it as business as usual.
We demand Trump rescind this appointment before the damage is done; we demand congressional lawmakers take up their responsibility to protect all Americans from discrimination, bias and harm; and we call on all others of conscience to refuse to cooperate with the appointment of a white nationalist to one of the highest offices in the country.
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African American Ministers In Action
Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO
America's Voice
American Jewish World Service
American Muslims for Palestine
Arab American Institute
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Border Action Network
California Immigrant Policy Center
Center for Jewish Nonviolence
Center for New Community
Citizens for Justice in the Middle East
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Courage Campaign
Detention Watch Network
El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Friends of Sabeel North America
Grassroots Leadership
Hand in Hand
Human Rights Campaign
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Immigrant Advancement Matters
Immigrant Defense Project
Immigration Center for Women and Children
Indiana Center for Middle East Peace
Israel/Palestine Mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Jewish Community Action
Jewish Voice for Peace
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Kadima Reconstructionist Community
Kairos USA
League of United Latin American Citizens
Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition
Main Street Alliance
Make The Road NY
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
Media Mobilizing Project
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© Jewish Voice for Peace 2016

Jewish Voice for Peace
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Dear MoveOn member,

I'm Benard Simelton, the Alabama State Conference president of the NAACP.

I was arrested last night while taking part in a nonviolent sit-in at Senator Jeff Sessions' Mobile office in Alabama to oppose his nomination for attorney general. He is wholly unqualified to be the nation's top law enforcement official, as demonstrated by his long and troubling record in opposition to civil and human rights.1


Will you click here to sign and share my petition asking Congress to reject Sessions' nomination? It's urgent: congressional hearings to approve his appointment start next week.

Members of Congress must reject the nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general. As a known racist with a long record of opposing civil rights and equality, it is unimaginable that he could be entrusted to serve as the nation's top law enforcement official. 

Sign the petition

As the highest law enforcement official, the attorney general has the responsibility to protect the civil and human rights of Americans of all races, colors, and genders. Senator Sessions is not that person and presents an extreme danger to the equality, diversity, and inclusiveness that the U.S. has achieved over the last decade.

There are just days left to urge your members of Congress to block the appointment of Sessions. Click here to sign the petition.

There are many reasons for Congress to block the appointment of Jeff Sessions:
He has a long history of opposing civil rights enforcement and making racist statements.2
He has championed voter suppression.3
He opposes hate crime protections for LGBTQ victims.4
He has opposed multiple efforts to address pay equity for women.5
He is a staunch opponent of legal immigration.6
...and so much more. In the words of U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez, "If you have nostalgia for the days when Blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man."7
Diversity, equality, and compassion make America stronger. We must stand together and resist any effort to divide us up and strip away the progress that we've made.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

—Benard Simelton


1. "Civil Rights Activists Arrested For Protest Over Jeff Sessions As Attorney General," NPR, January 4, 2017
2. "Jeff Sessions’ Record on Civil Rights, Race Revisited After Trump’s Attorney General Tap," The Associated Press, November 19, 2016
3. "Donald Trump’s atrocious attorney general pick: Jeff Sessions will roll back voting rights and civil rights," Salon, November 18, 2016…
4. "Jeff Sessions Fought Against Hate Crime Protections for LGBT Victims," Mother Jones, November 22, 2016…
5. "Senator Jeff Sessions’ Problematic Record on Women’s Rights," National Women's Law Center, December 20, 2016…
6. "Sessions' Anti-Immigration Influence Will Go Far Beyond His Role as Attorney General," Mother Jones, November 18, 2016…
7. "Trump picks Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general," Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2016…
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