She speaks for us and we’ll stand with her

September 24, 2018

Our mobilizations to oppose Brett Kavanaugh could help stop a supreme injustice from taking place today — and help shape the future struggle against Trump and the right.

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD has bravely agreed to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the sexual assault she suffered as a 15-year-old, committed by the man who is nominated for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

She can’t be left to stand alone.

Blasey will reportedly testify on Thursday, but the Senate committee is apparently planning to allow Kavanaugh to respond to Blasey and possibly to other allegations that were surfacing as this article was being written.

The Republicans are determined to ram through Kavanaugh’s confirmation. But the shock and outrage at what Blasey suffered — and the callous response of Trump and the right — is causing pressure to build that could be enough to break off several Republican senators to vote “no.” Kavanaugh could even be forced to withdraw his name.

Standing in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in Washington, D.C.
Standing in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in Washington, D.C. (Faculty Forward)

There will be protests in support of Blasey throughout the week in Washington, D.C., including a direct action by survivors of sexual assault on Monday. Thursday will be a nationwide day of action, with “We believe Christine” speak-outs planned for 12 Noon in cities around the country.

The voices raised in Washington need to be joined by many more everywhere — so there isn’t any doubt that the majority of people in the U.S. want those in power held responsible for what they’ve done, support the right to choose abortion, and oppose another reactionary judge being given unaccountable power over our lives.

We hope everyone reading this article will find ways — on their campuses, at work, in their communities — to show their support for Blasey and their determination to stop Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation was meant to be the crowning achievement of perhaps the most successful part of the Republican agenda under Trump: packing the federal courts with reactionary judges whose idea of “justice” is to forcing women to carry a pregnancy to term or giving Corporate America everything it ever dreamed of.

And with a right-wing fanatic in the White House and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, it had seemed to most people like it was an uphill battle to stop Kavanaugh.

But Blasey’s courage in confronting her attacker these many years later has exposed the truth, not only about him, but those who stoop to new lows to defend him.

A USA Today/Ipsos Public Affairs poll released on Friday found that many more people opposed than supported Kavanaugh’s nomination by a 40-31 percent margin — a dramatic reversal of the results of surveys in previous months. No Supreme Court nominee in the past, even those who withdrew, ever had more opposition than support in public opinion surveys.

This is a golden opportunity to not only stop a reactionary judge, but galvanize opposition to the whole Trump regime. Another day of Women’s Marches called in the coming weeks before a full Senate vote on Kavanaugh would almost certainly turn out even larger numbers than the record day of protest back in January 2017.

Unfortunately, liberal organizations, which previously seemed to be preparing for defeat without a fight, have still shown no signs of responding on a level that would mobilize the full outrage at Kavanaugh.

So it will be up to everyone who does recognize the stakes of this battle — and wants to do something about it now — to step up wherever we can to organize forums and discussions, protests and pickets, direct action, and anything else that will turn the public opinion against Kavanaugh into a loud and visible resistance.

THE KEEN anger at Kavanaugh that crystallized when Blasey — now a professor and research psychologist, telling the gut-wrenching story she has lived with all her adult life — came forward would never have been as pointed before the #MeToo uprising against sexual assault and harassment that began a year ago.

But that anger is also part of a larger and ongoing discontent in a polarized society, where people are moving both further left and further right.

It took Trump longer than expected to go on the attack against Blasey. But sure enough, there was the sneering tweet demanding that Blasey and her “loving parents” release the police report she must have filed if she was “really” attacked.

But smears like that have only intensified the anger. Within hours, there was a new hashtag rising to the top of Twitter: #WhyIDidn’tReport, with powerful stories from survivors that make it painfully obvious why a 15-year-old victim of attempted rape might not contact the FBI or even tell her parents.

That won’t change the minds of Republicans, of course. An aide to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley tweeted last week that the GOP was “[u]nfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

This could sum up the whole full-steam-ahead history of the Trump presidency, even now, as it faces multiple scandals and outrages.

Though this has been overshadowed by the Kavanaugh hearings, Trump and the Republicans may very well shut down the government in the coming weeks if the president doesn’t relent on his threat to veto spending bills that don’t fund his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Previously, congressional Republicans had been trying, behind the scenes, to coax a climbdown out of the White House rather than be held responsible for a government shutdown with an election coming in a month.

But some recent reports indicate the Republicans’ thinking is shifting. The anti-immigrant fanatics among them know they probably won’t have a chance of winning border wall funding in the next Congress — and their best hope of motivating their right-wing base to come out and vote might be to whip up a hateful frenzy, even if that means letting the federal government close down.

UNDERSTANDING THE enemy can help our side answer the questions that people opposed to Kavanaugh, Trump and the whole right-wing agenda ask themselves: What can we do, and when should we do it?

Trump is detested, and the Republicans in Congress are even more hated. Trump’s approval rating has stayed relatively steady at around 40 percent because of the hardening of his right-wing base behind him, but the intensity of the opposition to him has only grown.

If this were a real democracy, where it mattered what the majority of people thought and wanted, there’s no way Trump would still be president — not that he ever won a majority vote to become president.

But the structure of the government and the two-party system insulate political leaders from public opinion, at least formally — which is why so many of the anti-Kavanaugh e-mails landing in your inbox end with an appeal to make the Republicans November, not now.

According to just every indicator, the Democrats will make major gains in the midterm elections. They will likely regain a majority in the House, and they even have a shot in the Senate — where the odds have been stacked heavily against the Democrats because of which 33 senators are running for re-election.

If the so-called “blue wave” does swamp the GOP majority, it will be far less about anything positive the Democrats offered than an expression of the majority opposition to Trump and the right, which has no other real outlet to express itself within the confines of the two-party system.

So the Republicans will pay — but not nearly enough.

First of all, even with a Democratic victory, the next Congress won’t take office until four long months from now — and the Trump administration needs to be confronted now. If the Republicans get away with confirming Kavanaugh, January 2019 will be far too late to start resisting.

Second, a Democratic Congress — if the party’s lawmakers don’t appease and concede — might be able to obstruct further Republican proposals, but it would face major obstacles in undoing the damage that the administration and its Republican allies have done legislatively.

Plus, Trump would still have the powers of the presidency, built up under Republicans and Democrats before him. When a grassroots opposition managed to stop the GOP drive to repeal and replace Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Trump continued to undermine the law through executive orders and bureaucratic restrictions.

And that’s not even accounting for the Democrats’ long history of talking tough about Republicans to win votes from their liberal base, but then compromising and conceding once they take office.

No one should forget the Democrats’ record when it comes to reversing the policies of a hated Republican. For example, Barack Obama and the Democrats took office in 2009 with a majority in both houses of Congress, having vowed to cancel the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy — a Robin-Hood-in-reverse rip-off on the same scale as Trump’s.

They did exactly nothing for two years while they had the majority — and once the Republicans won back control of Congress, Obama and the Democrats “negotiated” a weak compromise that locked in almost all the Bush tax cuts, while raising taxes on working people. “Just a few years ago,” the New York Times concluded, the Democrats’ compromise “would have been a Republican fiscal fantasy.”

AS WE wrote several weeks ago in an editorial, the lesson is simple and stark: No one is going to save us but ourselves.

The stakes of the Kavanaugh nomination can’t be sugarcoated. Trump and the Republicans are trying to guarantee a Supreme Court with a majority of conservative ideologues who can defend and extend a right-wing agenda that is already being opposed by a large and growing majority of people in the U.S.

If they succeed, there will be mass protests and mobilizations to pressure the courts in the future, and it’s important to remember that some of the most important legal advances for democracy and justice have come when a generally conservative Supreme Court bowed to social pressure.

But it’s obvious that if there is a chance to stop this nomination now — before we have to mobilize against a Supreme Court with a majority of right wingers — nothing could be more important.

Signs of the anger at Trump and the Kavanaugh nomination are visible even in the mainstream media, not to mention the independent press and social media. But it has to be mobilized and amplified.

We shouldn’t wait for liberal organizations to rise to the occasion, because too often in the past, they haven’t gotten up off the ground. If they won’t do it, activist organizations and the left need to reach out and unite on campuses, in unions and our communities.

Kavanaugh is unfit to determine what justice is on numerous grounds, which is why so many different areas of activism can unite around this struggle. The anti-choice bigots’ misnamed “40 days for life” begins this Wednesday, and defenders of the right to choose are planning to counter it.

We can hold forums and protests and more — anything to raise our voices with the message: We believe Christine Blasey Ford. Stop Kavanaugh.

Further Reading

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