It is time for a few political truths. Donald Trump is a fascist, as are many of his key political backers and allies.
His Government is whipping up hatred of immigrants to divide the U.S. working-class. This involves locking up thousands of immigrants including children in effective concentration camps where many experience sexual, physical and emotional harm. He has unleashed the Gestapo tactics of I.C.E. in U.S. cities, who are raiding workplaces with guns drawn.
One of his key allies is Steve Bannon, one of the founders of the filthy, fascist publication: Breitbart News. One of his key advisors is fascist Stephen Miller, chief architect of Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban, reduction of US refugee intake and policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.
Trump has praised Nazi’s and white supremacists. This has real-life consequences. Between 2001 and 2018, more Americans were killed by homegrown, right-wing extremists (white supremacists) than by any other domestic extremist group including Islamist terrorists. Donald Trump has unequivocally given the green light to murderous, domestic fascist-violence in the U.S. and across the world.
Trump is an extreme militarist and nationalist who plans a military parade on the streets of Washington. He has unleashed the military to wage even more bloody conflicts and threatened to destroy entire countries. Massive increases in the already gargantuan military budget have been funded by savagely slashing spending on health, welfare education, science and the environment.
Massive tax cuts have been given to Wall St. The ecocide of the planet continues unabated whilst the anti-science Trump regime denies Climate Change.
Donald Trump has expressed hatred for a free press and the judicial process. He is also backed by a range of far-right billionaires and Christian fanatics.
Why is it necessary to explain this in an article about the campaign to defend Julian Assange? It is necessary because some of the most prominent voices within the free Julian Assange campaign insist we must “unite” with extreme, right-wing forces who support Trump in order to defend Julian.
There are a number of prominent, mostly American far-right, fascistic figures who are publicly backing the campaign for Julian and being given prominence in forums such as the Unity4J Vigils.
These include, but are not limited to:
Lee Stranahan: former Breitbart News contributor and now pro-Trump reporter for Sputnik News.
Cassandra Fairbanks: pro-Trump Youtuber and writer for far-right The Gateway Pundit website.
H.A. Goodman: who uses his Twitter profile to attack leftists and campaign vociferously for Trump.
Jack Posibiec: an alt right troll who works for the pro-Trump channel: One America News Network.
Ross Cameron: far-right, ex-Australian Government politician and now Islamophobic, pro-Trump Murdoch journalist.
The Unity4J website states: “In a world of divide and conquer, uniting people is the ultimate act of resistance. Therefore, we must bring together ALL public figures who support Julian and WikiLeaks, regardless of their political views or party affiliation. Putting aside our personal politics in order to create a diverse line-up of advocates who support our message will give us the ability to reach the largest audience possible.”
This logic has a simplistic appeal. If these far-right forces are using their profile to defend Julian Assange and Wikileaks, shouldn’t we welcome them and link arms with them to stand together for Julian?
This is not a sustainable position, as these forces which use their media profiles both within and without the Assange campaign to support Donald Trump and his anti-democratic, racist and militarist agenda are not allies in the defence of democratic rights. As the World Socialist Website commented on the obsecne antics of British fascist , Tommy Robinson: ”The alt-right’s claims to be defenders of free speech are a grotesque fraud”.
They have latched onto the campaign in an opportunistic, partisan way, to attack the Democrats, and their allies in the intelligence services (the Deep State) and corporate media with whom the Trump administration is locked in a ruthless struggle.
This is a struggle between two reactionary factions of the ruling class. Both factions agree the U.S. must compensate for its economic decline through imperialistic force which risks igniting a nuclear world war and both agree on the need to escalate attacks on working-class living conditions. However, the C.I.A. Democrats seek to subjugate Putin’s Russia first whilst the fascistic Trump administration seeks a temporary rapprochement with Russia as it focuses its sights on China.
The far-right within the campaign also seek to foster illusions that Trump is a progressive force who can be harnessed to defend Assange. The fraud of their position is revealed by simply looking at the record of Donald Trump and his government in regards to the persecution of Julian Assange.
In a 2010 television interview, Donald Trump called Wikileaks “disgraceful” and called for the death penalty for their actions.
In 2017, newly-elected President Trump said that if the Justice Department wants to charge Julian Assange, “it’s OK with me”. His Attorney General Jeff Sessions labelled charging Assange a priority whilst his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo labelled Wikileaks a hostile, non-state, intelligence service- clearly signalling the intention to charge Assange with espionage, a capital crime.
His Vice-President, Mike Pence visited Ecuador recently to heavy President Moreno to hand over Assange and betray his asylum.
Yes, it’s true that during the 2016 election, Trump declared he was enjoying the revelations being released about his opponent, as any ruthless politician would have. Since then, his government has been a ruthless enemy of Assange.
None of these facts about Trump lessens the responsibility of the Democrats in the U.S. for the persecution of Assange. Trump has only continued the persecution of Assange and whistle blowers that began under the Obama Presidency. It should be noted, that no-one is currently trying to pretend Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are a friend of Julian Assange!
Julian Assange has stated that he enjoys “helping people who are vulnerable” and that he enjoys “crushing bastards”. Julian also has said “capable, generous men do not create victims, they nurture victims”.
There is no doubt he would look with total disgust at the treatment by the Trump regime of the people of Yemen or the crimes against humanity being committed against immigrants.
Assange risked all to expose the war crimes of the U.S. committed under previous Democratic and Republican Presidents. It is politically repugnant to try and position him when he cannot speak for himself, as a de facto cheerleader for the violent militarism of Trump.
The campaign to defend Julian Assange is inseparable from a broader campaign to defend democratic rights under the sustained assault that is occurring, as a global capitalist system in crisis lurches towards world war and fascist dictatorship. Fascism rose in the 1930’s in the last great crisis of capitalism. Fascism was cultivated by the ruling classes of the time to divide and smash the working class and to head off the threat of socialist revolution. The ruling class today, to defend its immense privilege in the face of increasing working class anger, is once again unleashing the barbarity of fascism.
The historic task of defending democratic rights and freeing Julian Assange cannot be completed without an unrelenting, international, working-class campaign against far-right, fascist forces and the capitalist system that nurtures them. The international working-class must draw a line in the sand to defend Julian in order to defend freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right to dissent and oppose war and corruption. You are either for or against democratic rights for the working class. You cannot assert: I defend the democratic rights of Julian Assange to freely publish but support a government that tramples the rights of millions domestically and abroad.
It must be strongly emphasized that this article is not intended as an attack on the many, hard-working campaigners for Julian Assange who sincerely believe that unifying with all political forces regardless of their politics is a positive thing. Nor do we deny the intrinsic value of the online vigils run by Unity4J that have brought to-gether many respected, prominent figures for Julian Assange and have helped draw valuable attention to this issue. Nor does this article condemn the millions of working class supporters of Donald Trump who have been duped into thinking that his program of nationalism and racism offers a path forward. Ultimately these people have only supported Trump in the absence of a left-wing alternative as the Democrats and Trade Unions have betrayed the working class over decades.
This does not change the political truth that a campaign built on unity with fascists is built on sand and can never lead to the kind of campaign that Julian needs. It will sooner, rather than later, collapse under the weight of its own contradictions – trying to fight for democracy with those who oppose democracy.
It is not necessary for everyone who supports Julian Assange to be a socialist, far from it. We are willing to work with people whose politics is far from revolutionary, even conservative in some regards. However, a line must be drawn somewhere, and support for racism, dictatorship and militarism is not compatible with truly supporting democratic rights. We hope that this article helps build a more meaningful ‘unity’ of progressive political forces who support civil and human rights for all, as part of the struggle to Free Julian Assange!