Letter from a reader in Chicago:

Trump’s Plan for Chicago Is Not Just “More of the Same”—Along with Portland, It Is a Major Move Toward All-Out Fascism

| revcom.us



I agree strongly with the article posted on Friday at revcom.us about Trump’s clampdown in Chicago. I want to add a few points and catch people up on developments, as I see them.

I would say that there is increasingly a sense that things like the Gestapo in Portland is fascism but much less clarity that what is happening in Chicago in all its dimensions is just as much a hallmark of fascism. “Law and order” is not just a campaign device or a slogan. It is a program—and it is rapidly becoming a reality—in the face of the beautiful uprising. The regime aims to demonize the Black masses as the real cause of their own suffering; to celebrate and unleash the pigs; and prepare the way for possible massive imprisonment. All through waving the banner of gangs, drugs and guns—problems that the system itself is responsible for.

As Bob Avakian put it in his piece "Anything But The Truth":

For those—whether outright racists or people who have allowed themselves to take up the thinking of racists—who try to dismiss outrage about police murder of Black people by talking about how more Black people are killed by other Black people than by anyone else (including police): As I have emphasized in a number of talks and writings, this, too, is caused by this system—it is the system “working on” people, confining masses of Black people in conditions of deprivation, degradation and hopelessness, and continually pumping at them the “dog eat dog” mentality that fuels this cut-throat system of exploitation and oppression, from top to bottom.

The federal forces coming in will unleash and give federal backing to the pigs. (There is some important exposure of this going on in Portland too.) It also removes the prosecution from District Attorney Kimberly Foxx, a self-styled reformer. The assertion of federal authority over the cities, with troops at Trump’s disposal, is very strategic.

Note as well that the June 26 Executive Order issued by Trump on “protecting American monuments” specifically empowers these forces to investigate political forces opposed to the regime.

Mayor Lightfoot Does the Back-off Boogie

After some initial posturing, the liberal Democrats, the mayor and the governor have increasingly welcomed the federal surge while expressing some wariness that Trump might not stick to his word and could use them against protestors ala Portland.

Originally Lightfoot’s stand was, “Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents.”

Then it was, “We welcome actual partnership, but we do not welcome dictatorship... We do not welcome authoritarianism, and we do not welcome the unconstitutional arrests and detainments of our residents, and that is something I will not tolerate.”

Then it was, “Mayor Lightfoot maintains that all [federal] resources will be investigatory in nature and be coordinated through the U.S. Attorney’s office.” This was in the wake of Trump’s press conference, after which he called Lightfoot according to the Chicago Sun Times (7/22).

Lightfoot has been telling the press that she was reassured by the fact that the federal prosecutor based in Chicago, Lausch,1 will be in charge of Operation Legend.

This is at best dangerous wishful thinking but much more likely conscious deception AND unity with elements of the Trump program.

Note well that Lightfoot is a former federal prosecutor. She also had a long history protecting pigs when she headed the Police Board under the previous mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

On July 24, hundreds of people took to the streets near Mayor Lightfoot’s residence. Protesters were outraged over 1) her backing for the CPD attacks on protestors as they sought to have the Columbus statue taken down a few days earlier, and 2) her collaboration—agreeing to let federal forces come into Chicago. Defiantly, they danced and sang Nipsey Hussle’s song “FDT” (Fuck Donald Trump) and turned YMCA into “Fuck CPD.” More of this is needed!

Operation Legend Gets Under Way

Another part of the picture is the three arrests so far that are being touted in the media as the first ones under Operation Legend. (For more on Operation Legend, see the revcom.us article “Federal Pigs Deployed Against Protesters and Black Communities Across U.S., TWO ‘OPERATIONS’—ONE FASCIST OFFENSIVE.”) This relates to what are some of the implications of this among the basic masses. The first media accounts made these sound like random stop-and-frisks that resulted in gun charges.

But one outlet actually went to the federal record and gave a more accurate account. All three are facing federal charges and being held in federal detention. Two were clearly targeted for arrest–warrants to search their premises were granted and then supposedly a gun or in one case just ammo were found. But because they were felons, supposedly possessing a weapon or ammo was the basis for the charges. This is the type of pretext that could be used to round up many, many people in this city, especially given the widespread prison records that dog whole swaths of people, the felt need for self-protection, as well as planting weapons by police, etc.

These early Operation Legend arrests seemed aimed at conveying that this is just getting the “bad guys” off the streets. Right. Just like Trump was going after MS-13 when he attacked every undocumented immigrant, tore families apart, and threw small children and infants into concentration camps separated from their parents. People need to wake up here.

Sleepwalking Through the Gates of the Concentration Camps

Lightfoot’s stand has been supported by Clarence Page, the Black liberal columnist at the Chicago Tribune. While exposing Portland and going into how “law and order” has been used since Nixon to get elected, Page still concludes, “In the meantime, I still hope the president can do something that really does help those of us who live in Chicago and other cities fight surges in violence, if we can hold his attention long enough.” (Chicago Tribune, 7/24)

Say whaatt??? Just substitute “Der Fuehrer” for “the president” to see how truly dangerous this sentiment is. And I am quite serious about that, including the implications. Trump, remember, instituted draconian concentration camps at the border three years ago and now, after some initial outrage, this has become totally normalized.

There have also been at least two press conference/protests (not widely covered) where “community” people including some religious forces have expressed support for working with law enforcement to put an end to the violence. These were not people who are well-known figures. Again, the analogy that fits here is wannabe Judenrat—referring to those Jewish community leaders in the lead-up to the Holocaust who helped the Nazis round up “criminal elements” in the ghettoes of Eastern Europe.

The presence of the feds and the demand for more policing is widely rejected. The demand for defunding the police and putting resources into the community is the main form this takes. One of the spokespeople for Black Lives Matter Chicago has been on national TV saying police don’t solve anything—they had police posted near a recent funeral, and it still got shot up, with 15 injured. The big protest near Lightfoot’s residence raised “Fuck Trump and you too if you collaborate.”

But this is not only more police repression, though it is that; it is, for all the reasons analyzed in “Trump Deploys More Pigs to Chicago—This Will Only Make Things Worse” and elsewhere on the site, a key part of a major counter­-offensive and move toward fascism. More serious struggle and debate needs to be done to bring home the significance of the threat posed by the sending of the feds in relation to the attempt to consolidate fascist rule. The struggle against fascism—and raising and rallying people behind the demand to drive out this fascist regime NOW—is not somehow in opposition to the beautiful uprising; and in fact, if this regime IS able to consolidate, this will make any struggle for change far far more difficult.


1. In an interview by Chicago Sun Times, (July 22) Lausch said the more than 200 extra agents “will be folded into the current FBI, ATF, DEA and (Department of) Homeland Security teams that are already working in Chicago with the Chicago Police Department and the other local and state law enforcement.” According to the Sun Times, “Lausch was explicit in stating that the beefed-up agent presence in Chicago would not resemble Portland, where camouflaged federal agents are patrolling streets and making arrests as part of their ‘mission’ to protect federal buildings. ’This is not patrol. This is not against civil unrest,’ he said.” [back]


Chicago. Protesters gathered near Mayor Lightfoot's home demanding Christopher Columbus statue come down.



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