Allan Nairn (b. 1956), Amy Goodman, Amy Goodman (b. 1957), Democracy Now!, Dr. Angela Davis (b. 1944), Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Dr. Ralph Nader (b. 1934), KPFA, Michael Moore (b. 1954), Naomi Klein (b. 1970), neoliberalism, Nermeen Shaikh, Pacifica Radio Network, transcript, Women's March on Washington
We seriously need to have an adult conversation as Americans. That means progressives must talk to conservatives, and liberals to radicals, and so on, and so forth. We are all stuck in our respective ideological silos and, consequently, learn nothing from one another. We have allowed capitalist interests to capture virtually all of broadcast media, as they set their sights on net neutrality. We benefit nothing from our vast American diversity when we are alienated from one another. At the very least, my friends, we must understand one another. Then, we can agree to disagree on the differences and take our respective stands as determined by our respective consciences. Presently, however, the working classes are divided and pitted against one another along ethnic/’racial’ and sundry identity politics lines. Meanwhile, the real meat and potatoes of the matter, or guns and butter as it were, the political economy of the matter, the ability of the working classes to provide lives of dignity for their families is taken away by the ruling classes, by the Republican and Democratic regimes, who work for the 1%, the ruling classes, not the American people.
Every presidential election cycle, the political centre is pushed rightward, either, by a Republican, which is more extremely regressive, antidemocratic, and anti-working class than the last one, or a Democratic president, such as Obama, Clinton, et al., who is acquiescent or accommodating to the Republican capitalist agenda of widening inequality. President Bill Clinton deregulated Wall Street and set the stage for the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/2008, in which millions of people lost their homes and life savings. Then, among other crimes against humanity, Obama made sure that none of those white collar criminals went to jail. That left them all off the hook, encouraging them to do it again. That paved the way for even deeper capitalist capture of government in 2016. A recent example of our perpetual rightward shift is ostensible ‘rising star’ Democrat Cory Booker, who recently betrayed the working classes, not to mention his constituency, by joining Senate Republicans to kill a measure, which would allow the importation of lower price medicines from Canada. We’ve seen the Democrats ‘cross the aisle’, betray their own political party, to support the Republicans in Congress whenever the Republicans are short of votes to pass some regressive legislation or another. Of course, the Republicans will never ‘cross the aisle’ to support progressive or pro-working class policies and legislation. Yet, somehow or other, the working class gets fooled every time. Working class Trump supporters thought Trump might buck the system. But they will only find that Trump will screw the working class over. Working class Obama supporters thought Obama would bring hope and change. Instead, he brought drone strikes and Get-Out-of-Jail-Free cards for corporate criminals, war profiteers, and banksters. Obama deported more people than any president before him. And Obama continued shredding the Constitution, with the NDAA legislation, indefinite detention, extraordinary rendition, domestic surveillance, and so on, and so forth, which took off like wildfire in the wake of 9/11. This two-party dictatorship must be exposed for what it is—antidemocratic and anti-working class—and rejected wholesale by the working classes of America.
Donald Trump, a racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted, ruling class capitalist with no experience in public office, will be sworn in today as President of the United States. He received some three million less votes than his Democratic Party opponent, who, herself, cheated her fellow Democratic Party opponent Bernie Sanders during the Democratic Primary. Bernie Sanders acquiesced to the corruption of the Democratic Party and walked in line, betraying millions of his ‘Bernie or Bust’ supporters. Hillary Clinton and all those behind her, or to the left of her, assumed she would defeat Trump in the popular vote. She did, apenas. But the ruling class controls the Electoral College, an antiquated and antidemocratic body, which is designed as a safeguard against any attempts by the people, by the working class, to translate their political will into political reality. So, we get Trump and his cabinet full of corporatist/capitalist thieves.
[Working draft transcript of actual radio broadcast by Messina for Lumpenproletariat and Pacifica Radio]
DEMOCRACY NOW!—[20 JAN 2017, 05:00 PST]  [dead air] (c. 0:27)
[music break, whilst technical difficulties are sorted out] (c. 1:26)
AMY GOODMAN: “[From Howard University in Washington, D.C., this is a Democracy Now! Inauguration Day special.]
Donald Trump: ‘And we are going to make America great again, greater than ever before. Thank you very much everybody.’
AMY GOODMAN: “[It is Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C., as Donald Trump prepares to be sworn in as the nation’s 45th president. Protests have already begun here in Washington and around the country. Up to 25,000 rallied in New York last night outside Trump International Hotel and Tower. We’ll hear what Michael Moore told the crowd.]”
Michael Moore: ‘As bad as we think it’s going to be, it’s going to be worse. That’s the truth, my friends. I’m sorry to have to begin on such a depressing note. But here is the good news: The good news is there’s more of us than there are of them!’ [audience cheers]
AMY GOODMAN: “[We’ll also speak] with Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.”
Naomi Klein: ‘Let us be clear. What will happen tomorrow in this city is not a peaceful transition of power. It is a corporate coup d’état.” [audience cheers]‘
AMY GOODMAN: “All that and more, coming up. (c. 1:49)
“Welcome to Democracy Now!; DemocracyNow.org; War, Peace, and the Presidency. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re broadcasting live from Howard University in Washington, D.C. on this Inauguration Day of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States.
“Hundreds of thousands of people have descended on Washington, D.C., either to support or to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration. Late Thursday night, police deployed pepper spray against activists protesting outside a pro-Trump ball called the ‘DeploraBall’ at the National Press Club. Protesters held signs reading ‘No Alt Reich’ and ‘No Nazi USA.’ At least one person was arrested. Pro-Trump demonstrators have also arrived in Washington, including members of multiple biker gangs, including the group Bikers for Trump, whose members have vowed to serve as a ‘wall of meat’ between protesters and Trump during the inauguration events. Up to 25,000 people also rallied against Donald Trump in New York City Thursday at a massive protest in front of Trump International Hotel and Tower, where filmmaker Michael Moore, actors Mark Ruffalo, Robert De Niro and Alec Baldwin all called for people to kick off ‘100 Days of Resistance.’ New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also spoke. This is protester Faiza Ali.”
Faiza Ali: ‘We have to be ready to fight. We have to stand united. We must refuse to normalize bigotry and hate, which has been the incoming administration’s hallmark and rise to power. We must be ready to reject Trump’s fascist agenda and resist every appointment, every policy, every single proposal that institutionalizes Islamophobia or is a threat to our values.’
“We’ll hear more voices from the New York City rally, including Michael Moore, after headlines. In California’s Bay Area, students and teachers participated in coordinated protests against Trump Thursday. Many more nationwide are preparing for protests today and tomorrow. In breaking news, people are currently locking down right now at a Black Lives Matter protest this morning here in Washington. Thousands are expected to participate in feminist, pro-black, pro-queer, pro-labor and anti-capitalist actions throughout the day. On Saturday, as many as 200,000 people are expected to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. This is Andrea Pritchett [of CopWatch] leading a Know Your Rights training in Berkeley, California, ahead of today’s protests.”
Andrea Pritchett (CopWatch): ‘There’s a lot of stuff going on this weekend in San Francisco and Oakland. We want people to be prepared. You know, I’ve been doing Know Your Rights trainings for 27 years, and I’ve never seen a climate so hostile to our basic rights as described in the Bill of Rights. So, it’s even more important now that we not only assert our rights, but remember what they are, remember what they’re supposed to be, you know, and not let them get whittled down and whittled away.’
[News Headlines, including Andrea Pritchett (CopWatch); another assassination in Honduras; Wayne Barrett dies of interstitial lung disease/cancer. See a transcript of the headlines here.]
[(c. 23:00) Carla Wills(sp?): update from Black Lives Matter civil disobedience actions, shutting down of police checkpoint by activists at 300 Indiana Avenue protesting Trump]
[(c. 25:45) Back to Amy Goodman broadcasting from Howard University]
[(c. 26:00) music break]
[(c. 27:30) Nermeen Shaikh recaps events thus far, including clips of Alec Baldwin mocking Trump; (c. 28:50) Michael Moore speaking at anti-Trump rally, cites Robert Deniro]
Michael Moore Speaking Before 25,000 NYC Protestors On the Eve of the Inauguration/Coronation of President Donald Trump, 2017 ψ
[(c. 40:35) Back to Amy Goodman…some 25,000 people gathered to protest Trump…]
[(c 41:05) music break: “Respect” by Aretha Franklin]
[(c. 43:00) Naomi Klein]
[additional notes pending]
[snip] (c. 59:59)
Learn more at DEMOCRACY NOW!.
[This transcript will be expanded as time constraints, and/or demand or resources, allow. Also see Democracy Now!’s working draft transcript at DemocracyNow.org.]
DEMOCRACY NOW!—[20 JAN 2017, 06:00 PST] [Hour two of continuing live coverage of Trump’s presidential inauguration]
[Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh continue with their panel of commentators]
[Naomi Klein is brought back into the discussion, including the topics of neoliberalism and privatisation of public resources and institutions (c. 6:00)]
[(c. 8:25) Carla Wills provides an update from the streets, where a Black Lives Matter action is underway, as the police move in on the protestors engaged in civil disobedience]
[(c. 12:25) Back to the round table discussion with Amy Goodman’s longtime journalism collaborator Allan Nairn, Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Naomi Klein.]
[(c. 20:00) Amy Goodman, the consummate Democratic Party apologist asks about ‘rising star’ Cory Booker and his public condemnation of Trump, as if to present some admirable Democrat to force Dr. Taylor into a Democrat apologist position or make herself unpopular by opposing a Democrat ‘golden boy’. Dr. Taylor points out the paltriness of Cory Booker’s stand in going after ‘low-hanging fruit’ in his public condemnations of Trump. (Meanwhile, The Intercept and others have reported that Democrat Cory Booker has betrayed the working classes, not to mention his constituents, by joining Senate Republicans to kill a measure, which would allow the importation of lower price medicines from Canada. See “Cory Booker Joins Senate Republicans to Kill Measure to Import Cheaper Medicine From Canada” by Zaid Jilani and David Dayen, The Intercept, 12 JAN 2017)]
[(c. 24:50) Amy Goodman’s ideological ally, another Democrat apologist, joins in to oppose Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s opposition to the two-party dictatorship.]
[(c. 29:00) Allan Nairn makes some interesting points about the political climate during and after the presidential primaries. But he misses the big picture, which Dr. Taylor has been articulating so well lately. The big point people miss, including Allan Nairn, when they discuss Trump’s rise to power is that he lost the presidential election, but the electoral college awarded him the presidency anyway. The bigger picture being missed by Democrat loyalists, such as Amy Goodman and Allan Nairn, is that the Democratic Party is antidemocratic in its collusion with the Republican Party to block alternative political parties from meaningfully participating in the democratic process, particularly the presidential debates and ballot access for alternative political parties during midterm elections, which are increasingly subject to Top-Two Primary laws. The electoral college must be abolished. The debates must be opened up. Ranked choice voting must be implemented. And the antidemocratic two-party dictatorship must be toppled. But Democrat Party apologists, such as Amy Goodman and Allan Nairn, will continually steer their audiences toward uncritical support of the Democratic Party because the only political analysis they will engage in is one which exaggerates the evils of the Republicans and downplays or obfuscates the evils of the Democratic Party. It’s very revealing to pay close attention to the editorial slant of Democracy Now! pundits. They are good at generally conveying a progressive perspective, except when the topic around questions regarding the validity of progressives continuing to support the Demcratic Party as a viable strategy for socioeconomic justice, rather than supporting political diversity and alternative political parties, or fighting for true democracy.]
[(c. 39:40) Without being called on to speak by Amy Goodman and company, who seemed to be sidelining Dr. Taylor, she took it upon herself to jump into the discussion. Amy Goodman was giving greater airtime to her ideological ally, Allan Nairn. And, when Dr. Taylor made valid points critical of the Democratic Party, Amy Goodman never engaged her points meaningfully. Amy Goodman would simply change the subject, or remain silent. Only when the topic was bashing Republicans, “low-hanging fruit”, as Dr. Taylor correctly described it, do we see progressive darling Amy Goodman light up and engage in critical thinking.]
[(c. 41:44) Allan Nairn can only be described as a Democrat Party apologist when he argues that the Democratic Party is ‘ripe for hijacking by its “base”. Amy Goodman asks him to identify the Democratic Party’s “base”. Nairn replies that it’s the American working class, then sets out to defend his reform-the-Democratic-Party-from-within ideology by holding up congress member Keith Ellison as a charismatic Democrat, which progressives are expected to put their faith in to transform the corporate Democrat Party into a sincere people’s party.]
[Nermeen Shaikh cuts to an update from Carla Wills, who is reporting on the Black Lives Matter actions of civil disobedience, where the ‘police are moving in against the protestors’. (c. 47:45) Right-wing radio host Alex Jones, who was on the scene, says Carla Wills, “took his hate home” after spreading rumours that ‘a white woman had been assaulted’, presumably by blacks. Apparently, Jones was trying to foment race-baiting rumours in order to undermine the Black Lives Matter actions and the movement, generally.]
[(c. 48:50) Back to Amy Goodman’s live broadcasting. Then, an apparently pre-recorded clip is played of a brief interview with Alicia Garza, Black Lives Matter co-founder, speaking against president-electored Trump.]
[(c. 54:30) Back to Amy Goodman’s narration of the physical whereabouts and ceremonial proceedings of Donald Trump, as makes his way through the inaugural ceremonies, as well as Barack Obama and other inaugural participants.]
[Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is briefly allowed to speak again during the broadcast.]
[Break, end of an hour-long time-block and the beginning of the next.]
[(c. 1:00:00) Amy Goodman airs a clip from Angela Davis’ speech the night before at the Peace Ball. Then, Goodman notes that Solange headlined the Peace Ball.]
[(c. 1:03:45) Apparently to reinforce the Democratic Party apologist line, Amy Goodman gives Allan Nairn another opportunity to reiterate his apologist punditry.]
[(c. 1:12:00) At last, Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor challenged the Democratic Party apologism being presented by Democracy Now!’s editorial slant. Dr. Taylor challenged Allan Nairn’s notions of the Democratic Party being ‘captured by its working class base’, despite, of course, the deep corporate pockets running the Democratic Party.]
[(c. 1:15:00) Given an opportunity to speak again, Naomi Klein agrees with Dr. Taylor’s condemnation of the Democratic Party’s neoliberalism and antidemocratic, anti-working class, politics. Instead of engaging this line of critique, Amy Goodman simply changes the subject.]
[(c. 1:19:00) Amy Goodman airs a clip of actor, director, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Robert De Niro speaking at the Trump protest rally. Then Democrat Bill de Blasio speaks in vague generalities about opposing injustices without upsetting the Democratic Party’s status quo political order.]
[(c. 1:29:40) Amy Goodman turns to the topic of the recent death of investigative journalist Wayne Barrett, who has researched Donald Trump’s background for decades. A clip of an interview Goodman conducted with Democracy Now! colleague Juan González at Barret’s home.]
[(c. 1:43:00) Dr. Ralph Nader is allowed to speak again.]
[Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is allowed to speak again.]
[snip] (c. 1:59:59)
Learn more at DEMOCRACY NOW!.
DEMOCRACY NOW!—[20 JAN 2017, 08:00 PST]
[Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh begin hour four of extended live broadcast coverage of Donald Trump’s inauguration.]
[Carla Wills gives another update at a police checkpoint at Indiana Avenue, which protestors have been organising to shut down through non-violent civil disobedience, including chaining themselves to form a human barricade to obstruct business as usual.]
[(c. 6:50) Back to Amy Goodman, who reports that, in San Francisco, protestors have descended upon Uber, a sponsor of Trump’s inauguration events; at Indiana University in Bloomington, student walkouts have taken place; also civil disobedience actions have taken place in Baltimore as well in protest against Trump’s election to the White House by the Electoral College.]
[Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is allowed to speak again.]
[Allan Nairn reiterates his Democratic Party apologism and unrealistic expectations of reforming the corporate Democratic Party. Then, Nairn works to sell an illusory notion that progressives should devote their time, energy, and resources to supporting Democrat Keith Ellison because Sanders ‘failed to beat Hillary during the presidential primaries’. Amy Goodman insidiously interjects, “But [Sanders] didn’t win.” Of course, Goodman and Nairn both refuse to recall the fact that Sanders was cheated by Hillary Clinton’s camp, which was colluding with the Democratic Party leadership to undermine Bernie Sanders’ efforts.]
[(c. 11:00) Allan Nairn cited Egypt and the ‘colour revolutions’, but without mentioning the ongoing research (e.g., Dr. William F. Engdahl, Douglas Valentine, et al.), which is increasingly indicating that those ostensibly spontaneous uprisings were CIA operations intended to bolster the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, alleged CIA assets. Indeed, the Egyptian uprising led to conditions favorable to the USA. See “U.S.-Financed Groups Had Supporting Role in Arab Uprisings” by Ron Nixon, The New York Times, 14 APR 2011.]
[(c. 15:20) Amy Goodman volunteers political analysis and critique, but only of ‘low-hanging fruit’, only of Trump and the Republican Party, never critique of the Democrats or the two-party dictatorship.]
[(c. 17:20) Allan Nairn talks about funding public spending for job creation through low interest loans, but overlooks heterodox economics and modern money theory (MMT), which shows us how we can use modern money for public purpose, including a job guarantee programme.]
[(c. 19:50) Deena Guzder speaks with sports pundit Dave Zirin.]
[(c. 25:00) Back to Amy Goodman, then more Trump pomp and circumstance.]
[(c. 41:43) music break]
AMY GOODMAN: “President Donald J. Trump’s inaugural address, after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, sworn in by Chief Justice Roberts; before him, Vice President Mike Pence sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas.
“While Donald Trump was being sworn in, thousands of protesters gathered in the streets of Washington. Hundreds of thousands are planning to take part in Saturday’s massive Women’s March on Washington. Protests against Donald Trump are taking place worldwide today. In Mexico, activists burned effigies of Trump during a march and protest at the Zócalo in Mexico City. Demonstrators are gathering in Berlin, Germany, holding signs reading ‘Mr. President, Walls Divide. Build Bridges.’ Hundreds more gathered early Friday in Tokyo, Japan, and outside the U.S. Embassy in the Philippine capital of Manila. Telesur reports more protests are planned today in Paris, Madrid, Brussels, Prague and Buenos Aires.
“This is Democracy Now!’s live coverage of the inauguration and its aftermath. There were about 40,000 people who packed the area around the Capitol for the inauguration. That was, well, about 10 percent of who packed it years ago. And when it came to the number of people who came out for this inauguration, Donald Trump had said his would be the largest. When President Obama was inaugurated in 2009, there were 1.8 million people, nearly 2 million people. Today, about half of the area was full.
“We’re joined, now, by three guests, as we continue our coverage. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. We will be with you until 3:00 eastern standard time. Naomi Klein is back with us, the author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Princeton Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, and four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader is with us. Twice he ran on the Green Party ticket, twice he ran as an independent, well known as a consumer activist in this country.
“Ralph Nader, if you can talk about your thoughts, listening to this address, just around, well, under 18 minutes, around 15 minutes, Donald Trump’s first address, as he talked about issuing a decree, a new vision that is going across the land? From this time on, he said, it’s going to be America first.”
DR. RALPH NADER: “Well, we’ve heard it all before. The rhetoric is completely, now, contradicted by his nominations of billionaires, corporatists, racists, militarists to run his Cabinet and other agencies. So, how long he can continue this fantasy between what he says verbally and what he’s doing in the government remains to be seen.
“But he signaled two weaknesses of the Democratic Party. One is on trade. The Democratic Party bought into this economics 101 free trade [i.e., neoliberalism], allowed whole industries and jobs to be exported to communist and fascist regimes, hollowing out communities, and he took full advantage of that. Had they not done that, he would have had a very hard time finding traction in the Midwest of the United States, where a lot of the factories are empty. And the second thing that he took advantage of was a sense of subordinating our own missions to foreign expenditures and foreign involvements, although he is going to be a heralder of the empire with his nominees, for sure. But when he talks about spending trillions abroad while our public works decay and our jobs are not built here, that’s another huge gap by the Democratic Party. They should not have allowed those kinds of vacuums to occur.
The last thing that he signaled—and this is going to be troubling for everybody—is that he’s going to do a lot of things at once in the first hundred days, unlike Barack Obama, who figured that he could only handle the Democratic Congress with healthcare. He’s going to try to go on all fronts. And that’s perilous for him, obviously, but it’s also very perilous for the Democratic Party, which now is a minority in the Congress. That means he’s going to get the nominee to the Supreme Court up fast. He’s going to start changing the tax system up fast. He’s going to start rolling back health and safety and other regulations fast by all kinds of executive action and in Congress.
And so, what we’re going to see here is a challenge to the stamina of the citizenry, especially the majority of the people who voted against him, and whether they organize in every congressional district or they just engage in important but short-lived resistance is a real question now. We have to build sustained power in every congressional district to use that huge leverage over Congress—535 people whose names we know—as an opposition to what the Trump administration plans to do.
He is now way in over his neck. He doesn’t know how to run the government. He doesn’t like to work hard. He doesn’t like details. He doesn’t like to read briefing memos. He doesn’t like to be briefed. So we’re going to see a huge delegation of authority to his nominees, to his Cabinet secretaries, etc. And we will see a new media emerge, which is his tweeting media and which is basically his public relations arm to 20, 30 million people that tap into that account.
Finally, I think what we—we’re going to have to do something to get over the yuck factor. The liberals have to get over the yuck factor. They disagree with conservatives back home on certain issues, as we know—reproductive rights, etc., gun control. But there’s a huge left-right worker alliance that can be dealt here, because, as he alluded to, they all bleed the same way, and, as I would expand, they all get ripped off the same way by the healthcare industry, by the utilities, by the employers, by the low wages. That’s the alliance for the future against Donald Trump and his billionaires.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: You mentioned, Ralph, that Trump, of course, he’s become famous for this now, or infamous, using Twitter to convey his policies and proposed policies and all forms of communication. I mean, one of the things that was striking about the speech is that, in a way, it read or sounded much like his Twitter messages, like a series of declarative statements, that—you know, one not necessarily following from the other. Keeanga, your response? What did—what struck you particularly about what he said?
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: I think that there are a couple of things. One is the kind of bellicose, bullyish nature of it. Not only did he declare a new decree of America first, but in the first couple of sentences, you know, he talked about how this election, his ascendance to the presidency, would not only chart a new course for America, but would chart a new course for the world. And I think, you know, that is consistent with a kind of thuggish, bullying posture that Trump and his supporters have taken since the campaign, and certainly since the election. And so, I think that that is worrying, and it’s concerning.
I think also the sort of—the language about America first and hiring Americans first and—what kind of threat that that poses in combination with the continued discussion about the wall and attacks on immigrants, and what that will mean, and also his strange call for unity through the kind of disappearance of important differences that exist. And so, this whole discussion that we all bleed the same is a way of really avoiding the issues of race and ethnicity in the United States in dangerous ways, I think, in ways that really ignore the extent to which this country has been embroiled in racial strife and discord over the last several years, evidenced by the struggles around immigration, struggles around the DAPL pipeline struggle or the DAPL pipeline protests, and, probably most well known, struggles around Black Lives Matter and the movement against police abuse and violence.
And so, I think that in ways that those of us who have been critical have talked about, that the breadth of the Trump attack was put on full display. And so, if there was any surprise, it was the way that there was no attempt to temper that message, which is also consistent with the Cabinet appointees, that—as Naomi said earlier, that there is no pretense that this is anything but what it actually is, which is a power grab by the rich and influential, a smash-and-grab operation to get away with as much as they possibly can to—as they have said, to reset government. And so, I think that the parameters of what the resistance has to do, and what it will look like, have been set forth clearly. And it really is time to move from the despair and anger—not necessarily anger, but despair and disbelief—into defiance and anger and organizing against this.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, let’s go back to part of President Trump’s speech.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That’s President Donald Trump speaking at his inauguration speech just a few moments ago. So, Naomi Klein, could you comment on this, his emphasis on America first? And another thing that he lamented in his speech was the fact that the U.S. has so subsidized other countries that its own military has been depleted, which, of course, he naturally categorized as very sad, of course, not mentioning at all that the U.S. spends more on its military than all the other countries of the world combined. So, give us your reflections on his speech.
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, and, of course, one of the remarkable things about his appointments is the number of not so recently retired generals, all of whom have ties to military contractors who are going to benefit directly from this arms race that he’s been tweeting about, including a nuclear arms race, right? “Bring it on!” But, you know, I have to say, listening to this America—this defiant America firstism, and, you know, picking up on what Ralph said about how this is tapping into the failures and the weaknesses of the Democratic Party, you know, he’s speaking directly to people’s feeling of being disappeared and neglected and so on. And I think until there is a very clear alternative, that will continue to resonate, despite all of the obvious hypocrisies that we’ve been delineating all day.
It does make me think about something else, though. You know, I’ve been involved in the free trade battles for a couple of decades now, you know, taking on—going back to the original free trade agreement with Canada and the NAFTA and the creation of the WTO and all of that. But I was never comfortable with the way in which particularly the U.S. labor movement used America firstism—right?—and did not use enough the language of internationalism—right?—and including employing easy, xenophobic language about the Chinese and opposing these deals on the basis of this easy nationalism. And unfortunately, that, I think, moral failure, that moral failure to stand up for principles of international workers’ rights, interventional environmental standards, instead of just this easy hypernationalism, is now something that Trump can and is picking up. We’re seeing it right now. Some of these messages aren’t that different than the message we heard from unions. I know I’m not going to make some people happy saying that, but it’s too familiar. And we can’t move forward making those same mistakes. It’s wonderful to see the internationalism in the response to Trump, and we’re going to need to be an international movement, because this is not just something that’s happening in the United States, right? This is happening in the midst of austerity programs around the world. It’s—
AMY GOODMAN: And Donald Trump—
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: —acknowledged that he was speaking to the world, not just the United States.
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Right.
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, one thing I did like in his speech was the “Now arrives the hour of action.” And seeing as he’s appropriated a lot of, you know, pseudo-populist slogans, I say we take that one and apply it to our movements.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to Donald J. Trump, now President Trump, his first inaugural address.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
AMY GOODMAN: So, there you have—there you have President Trump talking about eradicating radical Islamic terrorism, something he hit President Obama hard on, saying he refused to use those words. He also, for years, led the birther movement, which said very clearly that President Obama was an illegitimate president because he was not born in the United States, was a secret Kenyan. He would say he has investigators on it, he’s got the documents to prove it. But let’s start with you, Naomi, on that issue.
NAOMI KLEIN: I mean, I think a lot of what he’s signaling here is—you know, and this is—I think we have to recognize people in this country and around the world are very frightened right now, are frightened about being rounded up in this country, because he’s absolutely signaling that it’s immigrants, and particularly Muslims, who are going to be targeted first. I think that’s very clear in this rhetoric. There’s this sort of pseudo, weird embrace of people in inner cities, but this is—this is what he’s signaling. He’s signaling who’s first in line as the enemies. And I think if we are to have any hope in this moment, there has to be an absolute clear resolve to have each other’s backs. This has to be a unified movement. As Ralph said, they are going to be doing it all at once, right? They’re going to be—they’re going to be trying to do everything at once. And our only hope is that not putting us into that state of shock and scrambling in all directions, but really building a unified movement that gets out of our silos, that doesn’t just sort of say, “Well, OK, well, we’re safe because he’s going after Muslims, and we’ll just keep our heads down—right?—and hope he doesn’t come after us.” I think that was basically what was tried during the Bush years, and there has to be a lot more courage than that.
AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader?
RALPH NADER: You notice he never used the word “peace.” He doesn’t know how to wage peace. And if he’s just going to pursue more and more military action overseas, he’s just going to spread the opposition, just the way Bush and Obama did—started out with a gang in Northeast Afghanistan and 9/11, and it metastasized into 20, 30 countries, and will always be there as long as the argument of the fighters against us over there is “get rid of the invader.” As long as we’re there, as long as it’s imperialism and colonialism and militarism and big oil, etc., they will have the argument that will enlist a lot of people on their side in all these countries. So, he just gave us a prescription for more war, more boomerang, more reach into this country. And, of course, he can turn into a monster if that happens. If we have another major attack in this country, or two, he’d turn into a complete monster in civil liberties and priorities and lashing back overseas, massive destruction. And we end up with a militarized society and a police state. We are very, very vulnerable to that. Our defenses as a democratic society were shown to be very weak after 9/11. And he has got that kind of demagogic capability to exacerbate that kind of a rush to a fury that he can feed, and he can do it directly with his Twitter masses, as well as with the mass media. So, that’s a very frightening thing.
You always ask in an inaugural address, “What words are never used?” And, for example, Reagan almost never used the word “justice.” He always used the word “freedom” and “liberty.” Well, there’s no freedom or liberty without justice. And he doesn’t use the word “peace.” And he’s got all these Cabinet secretaries and generals basically aching for a fight, except with Russia. That’s the one bright light, whether it’s due to his economic entanglements with the Putin regime. Hillary Clinton was waiting to pick a fight with Putin, and that has enormous ramifications. So, we’ll see what he does. But, you know, the idea of blaming China and Mexico—it was U.S. multinationals that emptied out these factories and unemployed these workers, often with tax advantages by Washington, D.C., to go to China and to Mexico. So, he’s—I think the best word to describe Trump is the “twistifier-in-chief.”
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Let me—can I just say that I do—I think that there are a couple of things. One is that with Trump, you can see the move from the kind of dog whistle to the foghorn around racism, but I think that he’s also trying to do something interesting, which is to try to include African Americans into this “America first” by talking about how, you know, we’ve got the crime-infested inner cities, but we’re going to save them, and they’re Americans like the rest of them, and we need to include them in our efforts to put down radical Islamic terrorists, in our efforts to build the wall and to keep the Mexicans out. And I think that there is a basic incoherence at the heart of that, which is that the policies that Trump is pursuing domestically will have a disproportionate impact in their harm on African Americans. So, for people who are in disproportionate need of state protections, of a public sector, that the efforts to subvert that, to get rid of those types of regulatory protections, but also those types of social welfare programs, will have a devastating impact on black people in particular. And so, the effort to sort of unite people around this false idea of America first by attacking immigrants, by attacking Muslims, is built on—is built on sand, in some ways, and it’s built on incoherence, when you actually begin to unpack that.
AMY GOODMAN: As you tell this story, and just before, Naomi, you weigh in, the Obamas’ helicopter has just arrived. Donald Trump and Melania Trump are bidding farewell to Michelle Obama and Barack Obama. Donald Trump just kissed Michelle Obama on both cheeks.
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Where’s his hand?
NAOMI KLEIN: “Where’s his hand?”
AMY GOODMAN: And one of the things that was caught on microphone when Donald Trump and Barack Obama were walking in the Capitol—the camera catches a snippet of the conversation. Obama is heard to say to Trump, “Well, as I said, we’ll be right around the corner.” President Obama is now waving to people who see him and Michelle getting into the plane. They will now head off to Palm Springs, California, where they will take a brief respite and then return to Washington, D.C., where their youngest daughter will finish high school. Right now, Donald Trump, hand in hand with his wife, Melania Trump, are leaving the helicopter. There will be a congressional lunch, and then there will be the inaugural parade. And as you pointed out earlier, Keeanga, the attempts by Donald Trump to have more military presence at the inaugural parade, to actually have tanks rolling down the streets, apparently was vetoed by the military, shot down by the military. They didn’t want these extremely heavy tanks wrecking the streets of Washington, D.C. Right now, Mr. and Mrs. Trump, Mr. and Mrs. Pence are waving goodbye to the Obamas. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, “War, Peace and the Presidency,” as we broadcast from Washington, D.C., from the PBS studios of WHUT at the Mecca, at Howard University, here in Washington, D.C. Naomi Klein?
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, just picking up on what Keeanga was saying earlier about this sort of—building this kind of false racial unity united against Muslims, it’s interesting that his chosen model for this was the military, right? I mean, we all—I think he said, you know—
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Yes.
NAOMI KLEIN: —”As the soldiers know, we all bleed the same.” Right? And so, that’s what he’s holding up—right?—as the model of going to war, and, you know, overwhelmingly against Muslim countries, and this sort of heavily armed, united America against all enemies. And I think that that’s the plan. That’s the game plan. And it’s certainly worrying.
RALPH NADER: I think—I think Jim Hightower once said, “It’s not left-right, it’s top-down.” And I think there’s a real argument to be made. If you really want to unify the American people against the Trump billionaires and plutocracy that have just acquired the U.S. government—they’re no longer buying and renting politicians; they have literally acquired the U.S. government with this minority vote that he got, and then won by the Electoral College, which I hope is on the way out. You know, there’s an interstate compact with many states now pledging—California, Illinois, New York—to throw the electoral vote to whoever wins the national popular vote. The website is NationalPopularVote.com. So, he comes in. He’s really not a majority president by any means. He’s low in the polls, and so he’s looking to make some really daring, spectacular moves.
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, that’s very important, 32 to 34 percent in the polls—
RALPH NADER: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: —compared to when Barack Obama first came in. He was at what? Fifty percent higher, at like 84 percent. In fact, that popularity rating of 32, 33 percent is 10 points lower than Obamacare—
RALPH NADER: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: —than health insurance, which is at around 44 percent right now. And it looks like people, like we’ve never seen before, are flocking to get this insurance that the Republicans are pledging to repeal.
RALPH NADER: Yeah, I think we should have a betrayal index, because he’s going to start betraying people from day one. I mean, imagine the expectation levels he’s done in this little speech. “As of now, you know, street crime and bad schools stop. You know, gangs stop. And everything is going to start as of now.” So he’s holding himself up.
NAOMI KLEIN: But the tricky thing—
RALPH NADER: So he’s holding himself up, too.
NAOMI KLEIN: He is. He is. But, you know, we talked about Twitter, but it’s not just about Twitter, right? I mean, there’s a whole news infrastructure that is going to be amplifying his message. You can call it fake news or whatever. But I don’t think we should underestimate Trump’s brilliance as a marketer. Right? So he is going to be marketing, constantly, everything that he’s doing.
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: And—
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah.
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: I also think the problem that folks were talking about earlier is that when he inevitably fails with the content of the programs—
RALPH NADER: Yeah.
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: —bringing jobs back, refurbishing the cities, transforming America—when that inevitably fails, he and his administration will double down on racism. They will double down on the wall. They will double down on radical Islamic terrorists in our midst. And they will double down on racism in the blacks in the inner city. That is the political formula. It’s been a bipartisan formula. And we’re about to see that formula amplified in ways that we probably haven’t seen in more than a generation.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re seeing some new things on websites right now—what just went up on the WhiteHouse.gov website.
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Executive orders?
AMY GOODMAN: It is a plan to get rid of the Climate Action Plan. You know, for months now, climate scientists have been trying to copy the documents and the science on government websites around climate change, making backup, as you coming from Canada—
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, in Canada.
AMY GOODMAN: —data in Canada, you know, a kind of data refuge project. So, what this plan now says—it is called the—let’s see, “An America First Energy Plan.” It says, on the WhiteHouse.gov website, “For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.” What does that say to you, Ralph Nader?
RALPH NADER: Well, he means what he says. And, you know, he’s like a bull in a china shop. And he’s—they’re coming into Washington, the billionaires and the militarists and the corporatists, drunk with their own power, and they’re going to—they’re going to fall into a lot of traps. First of all, they’re disregarding the ability of the civil service to resist. There are a lot of law-abiding civil servants who don’t cater to having their lawful missions unlawfully disregarded. And there are going to be a lot of whistleblowers, and he’s going to get in trouble. The press is—the mass media is turning against him, because he turned against the mass media, which created him in the Republican primary. So, I think we’re underestimating the trouble he’s getting into.
I mean, there’s a certain level where the passivity of the American people and notorious apathy of the citizenry reaches its limit. As Tony Mazzocchi, a labor leader, once said, you can push around the American workers, and push them and push them and push them. Once you go past a certain point, watch out. And the rhetoric cannot mask the low-wage economy that he’s going to try to preserve. It cannot mask the rampant corporate crime waves against consumers, tenants, homeowners, debtors, students that he’s going to preserve. So, I don’t think he’s going to be able to paper this over. And we have to assume the Democrats are going to start getting a little smarter and showing how many Achilles’ heels he has, starting with his own personality and his easily bruisable ego, which makes him also a very risky politician from his own standards.
AMY GOODMAN: We want to go to the whole issue of the border wall and of cracking down on immigration. The WhiteHouse.gov website also says, in the section “Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community,” “Our country needs more law enforcement, more community engagement, and more effective policing. … President Trump is committed to building a border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities. He is dedicated to enforcing our border laws, ending sanctuary cities, and stemming the tide of lawlessness associated with illegal immigration.” It also reads—and I’m reading from the WhiteHouse.gov website that went up minutes ago—
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: His contract, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: “The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.” At the Republican National Convention, one of the speakers immediately said that the first movement that they would go after, criminalize, investigate, was the Black Lives Matter movement. Keeanga, you have written a book about the Black Lives Matter movement. What about this? Where will these movements stand, or is this now being taken to a whole new level?
KEEANGA–YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Well, I think that Trump said on the campaign trail that Black Lives Matter was a terrorist movement and that organizations connected to the movement were terrorists, as well. And so, I think that the movement against police violence and abuse has been in the crosshairs of not just Trump, but of the Republican Party, since its inception. And so, this presents a significant challenge to the Black Lives Matter movement that I think should not be underestimated. I think that that’s very important. But I think also—what we have said earlier today is that the issues of solidarity and the ability to connect with other social movements organizing is critical right now. And so—and I write about this in my book, the need for the movement against police abuse and violence to ally and connect itself with all of the groups of people who are threatened by this—and that, most pronouncedly right now, concerns the immigrant community, it concerns Arabs and Muslims in this country—and that we really have to actively develop those links.
AMY GOODMAN: Which brings us to Ai-jen Poo. Last night at the Peace Ball at the African American museum of the Smithsonian, the brand-new museum, Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, spoke, and I had a chance to speak with her just before she addressed the thousands of people who came out for that ball.
AI-JEN POO: My name is Ai-jen Poo, and I’m the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. And we work with nannies, house cleaners and caregivers around the country, many of whom are immigrant women, undocumented, and women of color, who will be on the front lines of some of the attacks of this administration. And I’ll say that I have in my mind one of our members, Ana, who was on our tele-town hall the day after the elections. And she said to me, she said, “Ai-jen, I risked my life crossing the border through the desert to give my children a better life here in this country, and I want to fight. I want to fight for them. I want to fight for this country. And I’m ready.” And so, I have her very much in my heart as we enter this next period in American political life. We’re all marching on Saturday as part of the Women’s March on Washington. We’re extremely excited about it. We’re expecting a million people to come to D.C., and there are 600 marches around the country. And it’s just a small indication of how much energy there is to take action, to stand up and to build the most powerful opposition movement the world’s ever seen.
AMY GOODMAN: One of the news reports around Wilbur Ross, who would be perhaps the wealthiest Cabinet member, if in fact he is confirmed, was that he employed an undocumented immigrant in his home for years. So, he assured people he fired her. Your thoughts?
AI-JEN POO: It’s just a clear indication of the hypocrisy of this administration and of this notion that we could somehow uproot and just dispose of immigrants. Immigrants are already so deeply embedded in our homes, in our communities, in the fabric of this country. And people who are taking the stance of that we can somehow dispose of and deport immigrants in this country are just—it’s the most un-American kind of attitude and action that he took that I can imagine. It’s completely hypocritical.
AMY GOODMAN: How will you be organizing from here on in? And the people that you work with, what else are they telling you right now? Are people afraid?
AI-JEN POO: People—it’s interesting. Like the member that I described earlier, Ana, who is without a doubt going to be on the top of the list when the immigration raids start happening—she has multiple family members who have deportation orders—she’s incredibly courageous. She is ready to fight and to organize. And she’s part of building community defense committees around the country. We are preparing to defend communities, but also to fight for what we deserve. We believe that the best defense is offensive and that we should not—we should not give up the space around the solutions that we need and deserve in this country. And we should continue building movement and building the power to win them.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, who will be out in force with domestic workers tomorrow at the Women’s March on D.C. Democracy Now! will be covering that march from 10:00 Eastern Standard Time in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon. Check out democracynow.org. Naomi Klein, you also addressed the Peace Ball. And the issues you want to raise now in these first minutes of a Donald J. Trump administration?
NAOMI KLEIN: Look, I think it’s tremendously inspiring and a real source of hope that there are a lot of these intersectional spaces that are emerging, and movements coming together, recognizing that the only way you can confront an onslaught like this is with unity—but not by collapsing everything into itself, right? I mean, not pretending that everything is the same, but by developing—first of all, identifying how all of these issues are interconnected. And certainly, they’re connected within the Trump administration. The same people who are denying climate change are some of the most openly racist of his appointees. So, and the solutions must be connected, too, right? What worries me is this idea that because there are so many obvious contradictions, we can kind of wait for it to collapse. I think that would be disastrous. It can’t just be a resistance strategy. It has to be resisting, on the one hand, and proposing, on the other, because people do feel so neglected, that if there is not a real alternative that speaks to—
AMY GOODMAN: Five seconds.
NAOMI KLEIN: —that feeling of neglect, I think that this strategy can be successful.
AMY GOODMAN: “I want to thank Ralph Nader for joining us—four-time presidential candidate, well-known, world-renowned consumer activist. Naomi Klein, you are listening to, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. And Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. We’re continuing our discussion for several hours today, in these first minutes of the new administration of Donald J. Trump. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. Stay with us.”
[End of hour five of the Democracy Now! Special Inauguration Day extended broadcast] (c. 1:59:59)
Learn more at DEMOCRACY NOW!.
DEMOCRACY NOW!—[20 JAN 2017, 10:00 PST]
[snip] (c. 1:59:59)
Learn more at DEMOCRACY NOW!.
 Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving: Democracy Now!, this one-hour broadcast (part one of an extended five-hour broadcast) co-hosted by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, Friday, 20 JAN 2017, 05:00 PST.
Also see the archives of all five hours of this special Democracy Now! Inauguration Day extended broadcast, including their versions of working drafts of transcripts, at DemocracyNow.org.
[Image of Swearing In of Trump by White House photographer – Official White House Facebook page, (public domain)]
[22 JAN 2017]
[Last modified at 12:58 PST on 24 JAN 2017]