IAGB, Saheli, ISW and Other Asian Organizations Condemn Hate and Violence Against Indian Americans

A group of Indian American and Asian organizations such as India Association of Greater Boston and India Society of Worcester have condemned the rising hate and violence against Indian Americas in the United States.

In a statement titled Condemnation of Hate and Violence – From New England Asian American Organizations” and posted on ISW and IAGB websites, the representatives of these and other organizations said the following:

“We the representatives of Indian American organizations in New England and our allies, strongly condemn the recent act of anti-Asian violence in Plano, Texas. We are very disturbed by this and recently increased acts of violence and hate crimes against Indians, South Asians, and Asian Americans in general. We do commend the Plano Police department for responding to the incident with urgency and understanding.

Asian Americans, like all other immigrants, have made significant contributions to this great land despite facing ongoing prejudice based on accents, color, religion, or perceptions of leadership or other abilities.

We believe in the fair treatment of all human beings regardless of age, education level, race, ethnicity, gender expression and identity, nationality, national origin, creed, accent, physical and mental ability, political and religious stance, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, veteran status, profession, or any other human differences.

We unequivocally and unapologetically condemn the divisive forces of hate, inequity, and injustice. We stand united in love and peace and stand against racist, discriminatory, violent acts against any community.

Together, we say to those who are victims of such acts, “We see you; we hear you; we stand with you.”

President Biden dropped the f-word. He warned during a stump speech in Maryland that the country’s right-wing movement, which remains dominated by his predecessor, former president Donald Trump, has embraced “political violence” and no longer believes in democracy.

“What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden said, referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something — it’s like semi-fascism.”

Biden was gesturing to various ongoing Republican initiatives to restrict voting access as well as a slate of Republican midterm candidates who, to this day, deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election. There’s also the tacit support of some Republicans for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and the violent rhetoric that has emerged among some corners of the right in the wake of a publicized FBI investigation into classified documents Trump kept in his private Florida golf club residence.

The simple invocation of “fascism” elicited howls of outrage from Republicans and triggered a weekend of political chatter. A spokesman for the Republican National Committee described the president’s remarks as “despicable.” Gov. Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) said on CNN that it was “horribly inappropriate” to brand a segment of the U.S. population as “semi-fascist” and called on Biden to apologize.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) tweeted that “communists have always called their enemies ‘fascists.’” One historian of Latin America responded to Cruz, noting that, while communists had other names for their opponents before the rise of fascist parties in the 1920s, fascists have always used anti-communist hysteria to “stir violence” and “augment their power.” (Never mind the relative absurdity of casting a figure with as centrist a record as Biden as a “communist.”)

For his part, Trump posted Monday on his personal social media website another complaint about the 2020 election having been stolen from him and an unconstitutional demand that he be declared its victor, two years later. Over the weekend, leading Republican lawmakers warned of violence in the streets should the Justice Department move to prosecute as a number of investigations into his activities go forward.

Biden and his allies did not back down from the message. “You look at the definition of fascism and you think about what they’re doing in attacking our democracy, what they’re doing and taking away our freedoms, wanting to take away our rights, our voting rights ― I mean, that is what that is,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday. “It is very clear.”

There is no consensus in the U.S. political conversation on what “fascism” even is, let alone which set of political actors should earn its ignominious attribution. On the left, there’s a hardening belief that a Republican Party still captured by Trump is hostile to fair elections, bent on dismantling liberal democracy, and is taking its cues from more clear-cut would-be authoritarians like illiberal Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

On the right, there’s a parallel, if more histrionic, insistence that the Democrats and the liberal establishment comprise some sort of tyrannical front. That grievance has supercharged their long-running culture war and underlies recent moves by Republican state governments to ban certain books and censor what schools can teach about race, history and sexuality.

Numerous historians and political scientists have weighed in on the uses and misuses of forging analogies to the 1930s, when fascism took root in Europe. Experts in comparative politics have charted how the modern Republican Party has drifted toward the extremes of Western politics, even while the Democrats still occupy what can be broadly considered in Western democratic terms as the center.

Scholars of fascism see Trump’s political ideology and style not as a redux of the past, but a brand of far-right, pseudo-authoritarian for the present. Regular readers of Today’s WorldView for the past half decade will know that we have not been shy about invoking “fascism” in the American context as we parsed the tumult of the Trump yearsthe ultranationalism and nativism animating his supporters and his own conspiratorial demagoguery.

Biden’s decision to deploy the term may reflect a more aggressive stance ahead of a bruising midterm election cycle. That could be a tactic to gin up Democratic voters. “They have thought they weren’t seeing the strong fighter, the person they elected, and they attributed it to age and to weakness,” Celinda Lake, a longtime Democratic pollster, told my colleagues. “I hope we can anticipate more of this. People have been craving it.”

But the substantive claim Biden made is also important. The “semi-” in “semi-fascism” was doing a lot of rhetorical work for the U.S. president, who was not likening Trump and his movement to the genocidal monstrosity of the Third Reich. But his critics nevertheless seemed to suggest that was the subtext of his remarks, and dismissed the charge offhand.

So what may be a useful lens through which to see Biden’s invocation of fascism? Writer Jonathan Katz put forward a thorough analysis over the weekend, citing the work of Robert Paxton, a respected historian of Vichy France and author of the 2004 book, “The Anatomy of Fascism.”

Katz quoted Paxton at length: “Fascism in power is a compound, a powerful amalgam of different but marriageable conservative, national socialist, and radical right ingredients, bonded together by common enemies and common passions for a regenerated, energized and purified nation, whatever the cost to free institutions and the rule of law.”

All of that scans quite neatly onto the rhetoric and atmospherics of modern-day Republicanism, as Katz himself lays out in his essay.

“The danger is not that American fascism will necessarily or even probably turn out like Italian Fascism — or German, Syrian, Argentinian, or any other. We are not going to live a shot-for-shot remake of the Holocaust or the Second World War,” Katz wrote. Rather, he continued, “the danger would be in the triumph of an exclusionary, violent, anti-democratic cult of personality, which by definition will not be dislodged through elections, politics, or civil debate.”

American democracy sits at a crucial crossroads, argues Darrell West, vice president of Governance Studies at Brookings and author of the new Brookings Press book, “Power Politics: Trump and the Assault on American Democracy.” The rise of extremism and a decline of confidence in trusted institutions have created the perfect storm for illiberalism and authoritarianism to take root. While it is easy to blame Donald Trump for the sad state of our democracy, Trumpism is almost certainly likely to outlast Trump himself. Donald Trump’s presidency merely exposed existing cracks in our democracy that are built into the foundations of elections, political institutions, and information ecosystem. ”Power Politics” is filled with a clear delineation of the problems and possible remedies for the threats drawn from West’s extensive experience in the D.C. policy world. West urges us to act now to protect our democracy—and provides a roadmap for how to strengthen our political system and civil society.

On September 1, Brookings will host a virtual launch event for “Power Politics” where author Darrell West will engage in a fireside chat with USA Today’s Susan Page to discuss the current threats to American democracy and the solutions to help mitigate them.

Colorado’s secretary of state, Jena Griswold, has said the fate of free and fair elections in the United States hangs in the balance in this November’s midterm contests.

In many of the most competitive races for offices with authority over US elections, Republicans nominated candidates who have embraced or echoed Donald Trump’s myth of a stolen election in 2020.

Griswold, who chairs the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State (Dass) and is running for re-election, is urging Americans to pay attention to the once-sleepy down-ballot contests for secretary of state – lest they lose their democracy.

“What we can expect from the extreme Republicans running across this country is to undermine free and fair elections for the American people, strip Americans of the right to vote, refuse to address security breaches and, unfortunately, be more beholden to Mar-a-Lago than the American people,” Griswold, 37, said in an interview with the Guardian.

She added: “For us, we are trying to save democracy.”

Having failed to overturn the 2020 vote, Trump and his loyalists are now strategically targeting positions that will play a critical role in supervising the next presidential election, turning many of the 27 secretary of state contests this year into expensive, partisan showdowns.

“In 2020, you and 81 million Americans voted to save our democracy,” he reminded the crowd. “That’s why Donald Trump isn’t just a former president. He is a defeated former president.” As for the midterms, Biden declared, “Your right to choose is on the ballot this year. The Social Security you paid for from the time you had a job is on the ballot. The safety of your kids from gun violence is on the ballot, and it’s not hyperbole, the very survival of our planet is on the ballot.” He added, “Your right to vote is on the ballot. Even the democracy. Are you ready to fight for these things now?”

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