Norman Solomon on KPFA: Time for the People to Raise Hell & Force Our Representatives to Follow

War Made Easy author, activist and media critic Norman Solomon, a West Marin resident, encouraged activists and all Americans interested in resisting President Donald Trump’s brand of neo-fascism to raise some hell and don’t bother waiting for the Democrats to lead the way, in conversation with KPFA The Sunday Show host Philip Maldari on February 5.

Given the perilous times – dangerous but also ripe with opportunity – Solomon hoped that recent events had dispelled two persistent myths:

  1. That there’s no difference between the Democratic Party and Republican Party. This myth has been thoroughly and completely demolished in the first weeks of the Trump Administration.
  2. That we can depend upon the Democratic Party leadership.

Solomon had encouraging, compelling commentary to share with activists. Read on for a transcribed excerpt.

“We cannot depend upon Democratic Party elected officials at all.”

“One of the avenues we have to pursue, in addition to the legal challenges to this horrible Muslim travel ban, supporting those challenges, doing everything we can to denounce that kind of bigotry and xenophobia and anti-Muslim bias, we also I think have this opportunity to raise hell with elected officials.”

“Right now there is some uncertainty among many of the Democrats in Congress how hard they are going to fight. How hard they are going to fight in the Senate against this right wing nominee to the Supreme Court, and there is uncertainty but possibility among the members of the House of Representatives of whether there will be an introduction of a resolution of impeachment based on the – among other possibilities, but this one is tangible – the fact that the moment, literally the moment that Donald Trump became President, if you will, or so-called President, he was in violation of both the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses of the Constitution, which prohibit the President from benefiting financially from either foreign entities while President or U.S. states or the U.S. government, and he’s in flagrant violation.”

“So, one question to raise, whether your congressperson is Barbara Lee or Jared Huffman or Zoe Lofgren or anybody else is, do you believe in the Constitution enough to fight for impeachment?”

“Even the very best of us must be pushed from the grassroots.”

Is Donald Trump above the law?

“That’s a fundamental question. We can talk about the politics of it and the results of an impeachment process, but you sort of begin there. Because if somebody is above the law, and they are President of the United States, and we say “Oh well, it’s the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, but no big deal, it’s not efficacious or wise, prudent or strategic for us to challenge it, then we’re saying that this guy is above the law.  As I remember when we study characteristics of fascism, one is that the power and capacities and finances of business become merged with the power and the capacities of government, and in the person of our so-called President, that’s where we are.”

Asked by the KPFA host to comment on former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown’s suggestion to Senate Democrats that they should not filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination because they don’t have a chance of winning and should keep their powder dry for the next battle, Solomon replied instantly.

“Well, Willie Brown has been advising Democrats to keep their powder dry for several decades and we’ve seen the results of that kind of accommodation. The fact is you fight like hell on these issues, you don’t simply accept the power of the right wing to dominate. In this particular case, clearly the nominee, [Obama nominee] Judge Garland was not even provided a hearing, and the Democrats in the Senate and generally in Congress have been way too nice, and when you’re that nice against the cutthroats who are running the Republican Party, then they’re gonna roll you. When you’re a doormat, you’re going to get rolled.”

“So yeah, there’s always that rationale, ‘put off the battles for another day.’ I think this is an instance – and there are many, I think impeachment is another – where, when people lead, leaders may follow. If people don’t lead, forget about it.”

“Passivity, in our current context, would be a terrible mistake.”

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