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Cornel West: There is 'a Neo-Fascist in the White House'

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In November, 2019, it emerged White House senior adviser Stephen Miller promoted white nationalist literature and racist propaganda to conservative news website Breitbart in the run-up to the 2016 election.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which obtained the material, Miller pushed racist immigration stories in hundreds of emails to the website.

The SPLC's findings have thrust the racist and white supremacist tendencies of Donald Trump's presidency back into the spotlight.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, about six-in-10 Americans (58 percent) think race relations in the United States are bad, and 56 percent think US President Donald Trump has made race relations worse.

Many lay the blame at Donald Trump's door, pointing to his anti-immigrant rhetoric and hardline policies.

American philosopher and activist Cornel West says the era of Donald Trump is distinctive because of the escalation of white supremacy, he describes Trump's presidency as neo-fascist.

"You have white supremacist perceptions, sensibilities and practices coming from above in a neo-fascist moment with a neo-fascist in the White House," West says.

West also believes Trump himself is racist, "if Donald Trump is not a racist," West says, "then I don't know what a racist is."

"He's a narcissist, he's a racist, he's a xenophobe, he's patriarchal, he's homophobic … he's a sign and symptom of a spiritually decadent culture that allows someone like him to have that kind of power."

West says the US has always been white supremacist, just like it has always been male supremacist, and capitalist, but says this neo-fascist moment is distinctive.

"And this is why I think so many people are depressed, especially on the left and in liberal circles, because they think that somehow this is so new that it might be impossible to overcome."

West says the only way to get through this "neo-fascist moment" is through tremendous struggle and solidarity based on a commitment to poor and working people.

"We have to have real, real examples of integrity, honesty, decency, courage and hope," West says.

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“Independent media is dangerous because it allows people to speak for themselves. And when you hear someone speaking from their own experience - whether it's a Palestinian child or an Israeli grandmother or an uncle in Afghanistan or a refugee in the Calais refugee camp - it changes you. It breaks the sound barrier. It challenges the stereotypes and the caricatures that fuel the hate groups. You may not agree with what you hear - I mean, how often do we even agree with our family members? - but you begin to understand where they're coming from. That understanding is the beginning of peace. I really do think that the media can be the greatest force for peace on Earth. Instead, all too often, it is wielded as a weapon of war. We have to take the media back.” - Amy Goodman, Place to B at COP21