Will Trump Erase the ”Progress” of the Obama Administration?
Tens of thousands continue to protest the election of Donald Trump to the White House, yet Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report says they should’ve been demonstrating against President Obama’s policies too.
KIM BROWN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Kim Brown in Baltimore.
Not my president. These were the chants of thousands of protestors who took to the streets nationwide over the weekend in opposition to President-elect Donald Trump. The businessman won an elector college victory last Tuesday and has been naming members of his transition team and his White House staff. Now he’s still vowing to deport as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants and he’s still keeping former New York city Mayor Rudolph Giuliani at arms reach under whom the practice of stop and frisk flourished with the New York City police there. But the protest against Donald Trump have brought out a myriad of folks. Many whom are afraid of what a Trump administration would mean to them and lost os of them have expressed concern that Donald Trump will undo a lot of the “progress” the Obama administration made. Will it?
Well joining us to discuss this is Glen Ford. He is a distinguished radio show host and commentator. In 1977 Ford co launched and produced and hosted America’s Black Forum, the first national syndicated Black News interview program on commercial television. In 1987 he launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated hip hop music show broadcast in over 65 stations. He’s also the cofounder of the Black Agenda Report. He’s joining us again today from New Jersey. Glen thanks a lot.
GLEN FORD: Thank you.
BROWN: Glen, a lot of people are very concerned not only of the election of Donald Trump. Many of the people that he’s naming to his transition staff and possibly his cabinet just amid some names floated around there. But a lot of people are really worried that what president Obama was able to achieve will be undone. What are your thoughts about that?
FORD: Well first thing I want to say is that none of the people who’ve occupied the White House were my President anyway. In terms of people’s fears, I think we need to look at these demonstrations form 2 angles. Many of the folks who were demonstrating were activists in the movements against police terror that emerged about 2 years ago. Some of them were activists who waged a relatively lonely battle against Obama’s wars, these nearly 8 years. Many were active in the immigrant movement which fought against these mass deportations by Obama, the Obama administration. Many of them have been active in the movement for a dignified minimum wage that rewards people that work with dignity.
But it’s also very clear that many of these protestors have not been active, not been in the streets during the Obama years and that they are protesting Trump or the idea of Trump. They are expressing their fears about what the Trump administration might bring. Now of course there’s very good reason to be concerned about any US president in this neoliberal era of constant American wars.
But any movement that thinks that it’s going to try to put a break on what Donald Trump might do has to be committed also to repairing the damage that’s already been done by the George Bush administration and by the Barack Obama administration which continued so many of George Bush’s policies and then added all kinds of bestialities of its own. If the goal is to save what’s left for example of social security or the social safety net, people have to remember that it’s not that long ago that it was the Obama administration that began with the declaration that all of the entitlements, social security, Medicare, and all the rest of them would be on the table for cutting. it was Obama who tried and tried and tried to reach a grand bargain with the republicans.
But he did succeed in joining them in austerity and austerity regime that cut trillions of dollars. Most of it from the social programs. Obamacare is probably the biggest item on President Obama’s legacy but that’s a republican program and it is unraveling and it ought to ravel. It is unsustainable and it was designed to keep the profits flowing to the insurance companies and to the drug companies. Majorities of Americans have wanted for decades now is single payer healthcare. But Obama care was designed to forestall that demand, that wish by most Americans.
So if we’re talking about a movement of people, people in the street, well majorities already want single payer and that ought to be on their lips. If Donald Trump, wants to deport more immigrants than Barack Obama, than he has a really hard job, a whole lot of work to do because Obama set the bar really really high. He created the infrastructure that has allowed the deportation of two and a half million people t. That infrastructure put together by Obama has to be dismantled. You don’t dismantle it just by yelling Trump, Trump, Trump. If people are worried about fascism and that’s the word that they connect to Donald Trump, they need to fight to repeal fascist legislation that has already been passed.
It was Barack Obama who passed a bill that made it legal to detain people without trial or even without charge. That totally gutted due process of law in the United States. That needs to be repaired. If folks are against wars, they have to end George Bush’s wars which Barack Obama continued and end those wars that Barack Obama started on his own. We’re talking about Libya and Syria and all the small wars that Obama’s deep deep deep penetration, military penetration in Africa has spawned. It’s a whole list of things that will take up most of the time of a really effective anti-war movement and we don’t have an effective anti-war movement. Obama’s record is one of absolute criminality when it comes to international law. He is the one who has refined this doctrine of so called humanitarian military intervention which just does a whole way with the whole notion of national sovereignty and allows this superpower to attack anybody that it wants.
That’s Obama’s policy. That needs to be dismantled. I’ve just gone through a very small list of the reasons that the Obama legacy is no guide for the future. The truth is that some of the organizations that are involved in this flash of protests against Trump are really only interested in rebuilding the democratic party. They’re not for real change. They are for a change in parties. What we need is a real movement. A movement for peace and a movement for social justice. The republicans and the democrats are not about that. That’s not the business that they’re in.
BROWN: So Glen, let’s get into some of the things that you mentioned that President Obama has done and it’s not exactly clear whether President-elect Trump will continue these policies. So, for example, you mentioned mass deportations of undocumented people. President Obama has deported I think two and a half million people. President-elect Trump has said that he will put up similar numbers between two and three million undocumented people. But to President Obama’s credit, so to speak, he did pass the Dream Act or signed the Dream Act, as an executive order that would allow undocumented people who came here as children to be able to remain in the country and not get deported. Isn’t that a good thing?
FORD: Well that’s what we used to call window dressing on the set when we applied it to racial measures. Obama and the democrats in general are very good about that. They launch these programs that are fundamentally damaging that have massive negative impacts on whole classes of people and then they come up with these programs like the Dream Act that gives some consideration to a very small group of those same people. It reminds me very much of the troop of American soldiers in somebody else’s country laying waste to villages but giving out candy to the children.
BROWN: Indeed. Many in the globe are concerned about the Paris Agreement, the newly passed multinational agreement to try to contain the world’s global temperature to under I believe it’s 2 degrees Celsius in the coming decades. Donald Trump has said that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese. He has vowed to remove America from such an agreement. Again not a good thing?
FORD: Oh not a good thing. Donald Trump and climate, not a good thing. President Obama and climate, not much better. That is President Obama of course acknowledges as all civilized people do that climate change does exist and the earth, the biosphere is being destabilized and Donald Trump does not. But in terms of controlling the emissions by the major powers on the earth, this administration has not done anything like be a leader in that area. If we remember Copenhagen who single handedly and very aggressively destroyed any hope that there would be mandatory limits that the big powers like the United States and China would have to answer to. So yea an unmitigated disaster on climate with Donald Trump. Very little progress under President Obama.
BROWN: And Glen I wanted to touch on something that you said earlier when you were talking about the protests and how a segment of the protestors are out in the streets to try to reassemble what’s left of the democratic party which finds itself spinning. At the moment, its in search of new leadership, there have been talks that representative Keith Ellison from Minnesota could be tasked with heading the DNC but he’s facing a challenge from a couple of other folks including establishment democratic person, former Governor Herald Dean. Who is now currently a Washington lobbyist. But what about the folks who keep saying now it’s time to go to work and they’re not talking about being a democrat per say but basically trying to stop Trump in anyway possible. What? Is that even possible at this point?
FORD: Well the only way that any of these folks that work for the corporations and that means almost everybody in the republican and democratic party, the only way you do stop them is by building social movements and that’s what we need to be concentrating on. That will require a lot of argumentation about the stances that folks take, priorities that people attach to different issues. Movements are a ruckus and noisy and sometimes get a little bit bloody. But that’s the kind of situation that we need. Not getting sucked in to be some kind of junior league for a democrats regaining their seats in congress or the White House. Remember who they are. There is a duopoly and corporations control both of them.
BROWN: Indeed. We’ve been speaking with Glen Ford. He’s the cofounder of the Black Agenda Report. Glen we appreciate your time today. Thank you.
FORD: Thank you.
BROWN: And thank you for watching the Real News Network.
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