The Clash at Lafayette Square
Donald Trump is a racist authoritarian. He's not even pretending otherwise.
America is an oligarchy organized by the hierarchy of the white supremacist patriarchy. Pancake Brain is a (free) Friday newsletter dedicated to replacing the status quo with equitable public power. If you’re into that kind of thing, I hope you’ll subscribe and share. This project is based on How to Start a Revolution, which you can read (or listen to) here.
Dearest Pancake Brains,
This week marked on undeniable turning point in Donald Trump’s white supremacist, authoritarian regime, as the man who calls himself our leader responded to nationwide protests beginning with the murder of George Floyd by alternately hiding in a bunker and using the military like palace guards.
On Monday, Trump stood in the White House Rose Garden, calling himself “your president of law and order” and “an ally of all peaceful protestors,” while guards wielding flash grenades and an unidentified chemical spray cleared a nearby park of one such group. Many activists who assembled for the protest told reporters they did not hear a warning from officers before they were violently forced out of Lafayette Square with a storm of gas and rubber bullets.
The clash at Lafayette Square was perhaps the Trump administration’s most egregious act of gaslighting to date: He claimed respect for rule of law while simultaneously making a blatant display of rule by force.
It should be noted that peaceful protestors were cleared for a photo-op. More specifically, Americans raising their first amendment rights were violently attacked by officers in riot gear so that Trump could take a picture with a Bible.
The photo-op was an obvious statement meant to signify military dominance, especially in allegiance to the religious right. Since Trump forced his way into the lens for symbolism, perhaps we should analyze it as such by zooming out to the brutal violence the image ultimately signifies: The clash at Lafayette Square will forever be among the most defining moments of Trump’s white supremacist administration. He is a racist authoritarian, who is willing to use military force to suppress the voice of the American people, and he is not even pretending otherwise.
To my fellow white folks, I say this: I hope you are absolutely fucking outraged, and that you will make a long-term commitment to channel that anger toward building equitable public power, which, first and foremost, means overthrowing this racist status quo and building a new paradigm of government that insists that Black Lives Matter.
That project requires voting Trump out of office in a goddamn landslide this fall, but the work of antiracism is a process that must continue well beyond the ongoing protests and the 2020 election, especially at the local level.
If you are able to participate in a protest, here is the (A)BC’S Mini Guide to Protesting.
If you’re in the position to make a donation, Reclaim the Block has shared a list of worthy organizations.
For ongoing daily actions, follow activists like the writer and educator Brittany Packnett. (As she put it on MSNBC this week, “If you benefit from the systems of white supremacy and white privilege, if you benefit from the systems of anti-blackness then it is your primary responsibility to dismantle them. You have to remove your tacit approval.”)
If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Anti-Racist.”
I’m also extremely excited about Zerlina Maxwell’s new book, “The End of White Politics.”
Please feel free to share any other action items or antiracist resources in the comment section below.
With all my fury,