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Hunter writes: "The fate of the new ban will be decided in the streets - not in the courts. So don't assume that judges can do the heavy lifting for us."

The success of the wave of actions against the first ban must inspire renewed protest.’ (photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
The success of the wave of actions against the first ban must inspire renewed protest.’ (photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Don't Rely on the Courts to Fight the New Travel Ban. We Need Protest.

By Rob Hunter, Guardian UK

17 March 17


The fate of the new ban will be decided in the streets – not in the courts. So don’t assume that judges can do the heavy lifting for us

he first travel ban was a fiasco, but will the second one be? Political pressure on the streets was the crucial factor behind an early victory against Donald Trump’s authoritarian racism. The spectacle of simultaneous direct action at multiple international airports formed the political backdrop for the legal proceedings initiated against the ban. We have protesters – and not the courts – to thank for this win. Let’s not forget that as we prepare for round two.

It is unlikely that so many judges would have felt compelled to hear legal challenges so quickly – and to respond with a stay and restraining orders shortly thereafter – had they not been aware of mass anger. That anger was unmistakably expressed through rapid and confrontational protests at some of the most heavily policed and strictly surveilled public spaces in the world.

Legal intervention was a necessary step in the fight against the ban, but only a vigorous exercise in mass democracy was sufficient to secure a victory. It was not a total victory; none of the orders reversed the ban in its entirety, and border personnel at multiple airports did not scruple to detain people simply because judges told them to stop. But Trump clearly provoked widespread opposition.

His Islamophobic intent was unmistakable and – crucially – it was broadly and publicly contested. Trump didn’t just lose prestige. He stumbled into a confrontation with the courts, one sufficiently bruising that he has been forced to revise his ban.

The administration claims that the revised order does not discriminate on the basis of religion. However, it reproduces the same list of countries of concern singled out in the first ban (except for Iraq). Those states – most of which have been bombed or occupied by the US – are majority-Muslim. It’s hard to see how the Islamophobic animus behind the first version of the ban has somehow vanished through the process of revision.

The revised ban is meant to survive a court challenge. Nevertheless, the same organizations and legal collectives that battled the first have vowed to do the same with this one – only now with the knowledge and experience forged in urgent struggle. This should not be cause for complacency.

The court orders against the first ban were hard-won and partial victories, made possible only through oppositional politics. Fighting the revised order is a task for large groups of people, organized and standing in solidarity with one another.

Trump clearly enjoys issuing executive orders – they suit his disdain for deliberation and debate. It may be tempting to criticize him as dangerously unconstrained for seeking to rule through executive orders, but he is not the first president to do so. Trump’s use of them is novel only in its macabre theatricality.

Both George W Bush and Barack Obama were fond of executive orders. Nor are executive orders anything less than legally binding instruments for directing the activity of the executive branch – and that remains the case even when Trump issues them.

We can deplore Trump’s authoritarian pretensions without deluding ourselves that he is a lawless despot. Claims to the effect that Trump has plunged the US into a state of exception – a crisis of legality itself – are not only inaccurate but dangerous. They obscure the fact that millions of vulnerable and marginalized people already live in a state of exception, facing state violence and discrimination every day.

Trump has inherited a vast deportation regime from Obama, who oversaw the unprecedented expulsion of millions of undocumented people from the US. We cannot be content with undoing Trump’s ban, congratulating ourselves that we could, then returning to a status quo.

The success of the wave of actions against the first ban must inspire renewed protest, not only against the new ban but against the maintenance of racism, xenophobia and social hierarchy through state power. The courts cannot do that for us. Only collective action – the confrontational, disruptive and sustained practice of mass democracy – can do that. your social media marketing partner


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For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

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Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+1 # m... 2017-03-17 22:47
I think the 90day travel bans make no sense in and of themselves and could be deliberately designed to fail so Trump can stand before cheering supporters and News Cameras as he denounces the Courts as 'Severely Overreaching' and 'Not Caring About Protecting the American People From Harm' ...and to state that, 'He will Fight for all of Us Against this 'Great Injustice!'
He is Superman-Batman .
All he needs is MORE Power to save us ALL. The only 'Kryptonite' stoping him are Outrageous Courts, A Constipated Congress, A Fake News Press and a 'Deep State' Intelligence Community aligned with Wire-Tapping-Ob ama to destroy his Presidency and the 'Sacred' Will of the People.
See a Pattern Here?.., while the Press seems too busy mired in a deliberate bombardment of details and some brief happiness over momentary non-victories such as overturned Travel Bans that may be just want Trump wants in the first place? A Congress buried in TrumpCare, TrumpTweets and Non Wiretapping.., etc., for anyone to really pause enough to see a possible forest before the trees?
Who makes up Trump's Inner Circle?
Anyone remember this kind of thinking from the Vietnam Era--
'First We Have To Destroy the Village Before We Can Save The Village... Anyone know what Bannon is after and the others there around Trump? The destruction of government?
Could all they need is an 'event' good enough to claim ExtraConstituti onal Authority so they can move forward unimpeded in order to 'Save Us All'..?
0 # librarian1984 2017-03-18 11:04
Appreciate your observations here, and yes, a false flag operation would be quite useful, wouldn't it? And how handy all those generals would be for the purpose!

There is no indication the left or the msm wouldn't fall for it .. and by chasing the current CTs they've certainly damaged their credibility for future cries of 'wolf'.

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