Barr’s Racist Analogy of COVID Measures to Slavery
Yet Another Reason to Drive Out This Fascist Regime NOW!



On September 16, the highest law enforcement official in the U.S., William Barr, said of the coronavirus lockdowns that “other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”

Three things have to be said:

One, this is an utterly disgusting and thoroughly racist minimalization of the brutal exploitation, the torture, the rape, the lack of any freedom that was done to 12 generations of millions upon millions of African-American people and in itself should be cause for this racist to be immediately dismissed.

Two, this denies the actual real “intrusions” on civil liberties which, in addition to slavery, include the theft of land and genocide directed against the indigenous Native American Indians who lived on this continent when the European invaders came; the decades of segregation, lynching, the denial of the right to vote, legal frame-ups, and forced labor as convicts and other terrors too numerous to name directed against Black people that marked America for 100 years following the end of chattel slavery in 1865; the lynchings of Chinese, Chicanos, Mexicans, and Indigenous people that were also widespread in this whole period; the imprisonment of over 100,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II; the whole system of mass incarceration instituted in the 1970s, principally directed at Black and Latino people; the decades of deportations, imprisonment, frame-ups, assassinations, and firings and blacklisting of communists and other radicals; the entire program of COINTELPRO directed against everyone from Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Black Panther Party and which resulted in outrages such as the assassination while he slept of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton; and many, many more that could be named.

Three, and in some ways, most directly ominous, think about the logic of what Barr is saying. Slavery required the Civil War to end it. Barr, in his speeches of late, has been saying that without Trump, America will be “irretrievably lost” and other kinds of apocalyptic predictions. The implicit analogy here is that the coming to power of those who might reintroduce such restrictions—that is, the Democrats—requires a similar remedy: civil war.

Again: from the highest law enforcement officer in the land. Could there be any clearer signal of the lateness of the hour?

We need now to be in the streets, in non-violent and sustained demonstrations, making clear to the world that there is a growing force of people who refuse to accept the fascism being forced into place now by Trump, Pence, Barr and the rest, compelling people to confront the real stakes of what is being put into place at a relentless pace, shaking up and winning over the vacillating, and putting the fascists on the moral and political defensive.



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