Robert Meeropol





Robby, Abel, Michael and trains








my perennial chaos

"Robby & Elli" 1968


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Robby speaking at the re-launch of the Mary Pitawanakwat Fund in Toronto

Robby and Cory work on the blog.

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STILL OUT ON A LIMB

Trumpophobia?

June 9, 2016

Tags: Trump, Clinton, cognitive dissonance

Iím not as worried about the possibility of a Trump Presidency as many of my friends.

This could be because I tend to look on the bright side. Often, my initial reaction to bad news is to think that it canít be that bad. But this is about more than denial.

I donít take the possibility of armed Trumpomaniacs patroling the streets lightly. I had family members killed in the holocaust. Roy Cohn, one of the principal engineers of my parentsí frame-up and execution, was Trumpís mentor. I understand the danger of his potential Supreme Court appointments and his racist, misogynist policies. I know a Trump victory could hurt a lot of people and would never advocate voting for him.

But Iím more concerned with the underlying anti-Trump message. Supporting the ďlesser evil,Ē because we canít live with a Trump victory, is a tacit admission that the status quo is tolerable. It isnít. While Trump could be deadly for more of us domestically, our current system already is toxic for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and is in the process of destroying the productive capacity of the planet. Both Trumpís and Clintonís environmental policies would be disastrous for most of the worldís population.

A willingness to vote for the status quo because Trump is worse is also a subtle form of cognitive dissonance. It is a refusal to acknowledge, or to act on the knowledge, that we are about to run out of time and so must make climate change the number one priority. Instead of confronting a longer-term, but qualitatively deadier, environmental impact, some progressives propose we vote for Clinton, a candidate whose policies make that end result more likely, in order to avoid the more immediate sociopolitical threat of Trump. I admit this is not an easy choice, but choosing the latter over the former could be our worst mistake.

Some progressive people say it isnít that bad. We can adjust capitalism to make it greener, a new technological breakthrough will save us or a mass movement could push a Clinton Presidency to change course. Clintonís history of support for war, global, neo-liberal corporate control, and the fossil fuel industry, indicates the last is extremely unlikely. Science suggests that four or eight more years of Obama-style energy policies, plus incremental greening, will not save us. Capitalism, with its grow or die imperative, is not sustainable.

Other progressives reject capitalism, but insist there is no viable alternative. Thatís admitting defeat. We might not succeed, but if radical change is needed, then, by definition, we must step outside of the current political framework to bring it about. We must take to heart Naomi Kleinís brilliant insight that everything has changed and act on it.

Our civilization, even our survival as a species, is at stake. Like so many who have researched this issue, I live every day with that understanding. My fear of Trump pales in comparison.

You Canít Have Your Own Facts

May 15, 2016

Tags: Clinton, Sanders, Trump

Iíve heard liberals on TV tell Republicans that, while they are entitled to their opinions, they canít have their own facts. They canít claim itís a fact that, contrary to all the evidence, Obama was born in Kenya, that Hillary Clinton engaged in a Benghazi cover-up, or that global warming induced climate change is a hoax perpetrated by scientists to get grant money.

But Republicans are not alone in this practice.

Recently, Iíve read online vitriol from Clinton backers attacking Sandersí supporters who say they will not vote for Clinton if she is the Democratic Party nominee. People like me (Iíve explained in other blogs why I wonít vote for Clinton) have been called, stupid, self righteous, selfish, or idiotic, to name a few. Weíve been told that Trump is so bad (and I agree he is) that weíd be crazy not to vote for Clinton in November. Iíve been told to ignore my opinions, hold my nose, and vote for Clinton.

Iíve responded that every national poll taken throughout this primary season has shown Sanders beating Trump by greater margins than Clinton. The most recent poll shows Clinton barely ahead of Trump, but Sanders still has a double digit lead. This is true in the critical swing states. State polls demonstrate, that unlike Clinton, Sanders is comfortably ahead of Trump in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. These same polls report that the majority of voters view both Trump and Clinton negatively, while a majority view Sanders positively. I also note that Sanders wins the ďopenĒ primaries because he is more popular among the independents needed to secure a national victory.

Those Iíve argued with refuse to accept these facts. They say they donít trust the polls. Come onÖ all of them? Over six months? Really? Or they argue ďwait until Trump starts red-baiting Sanders,Ē as if Sanders hasnít called himself a democratic socialist so many times that it has gotten boring, and as if Trumpís attacks on Clinton wonít be just as disgusting. Clinton backers are in denial about this. But they canít have their own facts.

Come November, if Trump wins a close race against Clinton, I expect Clintonís voters will blame voters like me for Trumpís victory. That doesnít make sense. If beating Trump is their primary concern, they should look to themselves if they voted for Clinton, along with all the others who voted for her, in their stateís primary. Those voters ignored facts, chose the weaker Democratic candidate, and in doing so left the White House door ajar for Trump.

It is not too late to change. If fear of a Trump presidency drives them, they should start contributing to Sandersí campaign. They should be calling on the super delegates to back Sanders, and if they live in the few states with remaining primaries they should switch their votes to Sanders.

You canít make everyone happy

December 24, 2015

Tags: Clinton, Sanders, Black Lives Matter

At one point in the Democratic Party debate Saturday night, Sanders and Clinton were asked if corporations would be happy if they were elected. Sanders bluntly answered ďno,Ē but Clinton said her goal was to make everyone happy.

Clintonís desire to please everyone is like countering BLACK LIVES MATTER with ALL LIVES MATTER. With replacing WEíRE THE 99% with WEíRE FOR THE 100%.

At first these responses may sound reasonable. Of course the President should work on behalf of everyone. Of course all peopleís lives are important. However, they fail to recognize the divisions in our society along race and class lines, and that our laws, police, courts, educational system, tax code, zoning regulations and so much more are designed to keep it that way. At best these broadening statements are meaningless platitudes that miss the point. At worst they are evidence of racism, class bias and acceptance of corporate criminality.

Those who respond ALL LIVES MATTER either donít get, or refuse to accept, what the slogan really means: black lives should matter as much as white lives. BLACK LIVES MATTER attacks the systematic devaluation of African-American lives; the ALL LIVES MATTER position refuses to admit that the United States is racist. It refuses to acknowledge how our society forces African-Americans into ghettos, denies them meaningful education and employment, and imprisons an alarmingly high percentage. ALL LIVES MATTER doesnít view the police as an occupying militarized force that shoots and kills hundreds of African-Americans every year. The WEíRE FOR THE 100% position argues that singling out the 1% is divisive and destructive. This position ignores the fact that our economic/political system is owned by and run by the 1%, and those who serve them, for their exclusive benefit. This position ignores how the rich and powerful have rigged our system.

Sanders doesnít go far enough, but his response indicates that he understands that giant corporations are at the core of our problems, fattening their own wallets while sucking the rest of us dry and destroying the environment. Clinton, on the other hand, is a corporate democrat. She will never accept that it is necessary to attack corporate power in order to drag a hundred million Americans out of debt and poverty, as well as prevent globe-spanning climate-related catastrophes.

Clinton ignores the corporate rot in our system, dismissing the need for basic change. Whatever she says about change or improvement, at the heart of her program is an acceptance of the status quo. If, like me, you find the status quo unacceptable, you will reject candidates who and the slogans that espouse it.

Selected Works

Memoir
"Bravery is rare. Tyranny is commonplace. Both define the life of Robert Meeropol, son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. In his heart-wrenching, honest memoir, Meeropol recounts the emotional terrors of his childhood, the kindness of Abel and Anne Meeropol-who adopted him and his older brother after their parents' execution-his struggle to vindicate his parents, and his own political activism, culminating in the creation of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, which he now directs."
ĖPublisher's Weekly
"one of those rare books everyone should read"
ĖJoyce Carol Oates

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