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

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STILL OUT ON A LIMB

What if

January 6, 2018

Tags: Romney, Trump, Obama

Elli has been binge watching old episodes of The Newsroom for the last few days. This has provided her with ample proof that American TV doesnít have to be stupid. Iíve listened in occasionally without really watching. I had a realization while overhearing a Newsroom episode about their coverage on election night, 2012, of the race between Romney and Obama.

Many insist we must always vote for the Democrats because the Republicans are so much worse. Many castigated me for voting Green in 2012 because it would have been terrible if Romney won. I have no doubt that Romney would have been worse than Obama, but Ö

Guess whatÖ. If Romney had won in 2012, I bet Trump wouldnít be President now.

Trump and Putin

February 25, 2017

Tags: Trump, Putin, Russian hacking

Iíve been leery of making a big deal about claims that Russian agents plotted with Trump operatives to engage in computer hacking to influence our election. Such investigations might weaken Trump, but I thought they were a bad idea for a number of reasons.

First, even if true, this is part of the corporate wing of the Democratic Partyís effort to blame Clintonís loss on Russia. If Russia is to blame, corporate democrats will argue, there is no reason for Democrats to chart a more progressive course. This enables them to avoid confronting Wall Streetís dominance of the party, and keep its grassroots populist wing out of power.

Second, it appears to be part of the ďdeep stateísĒ strategy to re-start a new cold war. Confronting Russia, the worldís second biggest nuclear power, is a very dangerous gambit.

Third, by focusing on hacking such investigations will also be an attack on people like Snowden who have been revealing vital truths to the public.

Fourth, it is hypocritical to get apoplectic about Russia acting to influence our election, when we do this routinely to other countries. Left-wingers should reject such American exceptionalism even when it might serve our purposes. In other words, jumping on the blame Russia bandwagon is opportunistic.

But Iíve also heard Trumpís praise of Putin. Iíve watched Trump fill his cabinet with billionaires. And it is impossible to miss that Trump is using his office to increase the wealth of his family.

This has left me wondering. Does Trump see Putinís Russia as a model for the United States? Does Trump dream of being the strongman of a crony capitalist oligarchy like Putin is? Is that what he seeks to accomplish while in office?

Trump is hardly a deep ideological thinker. As far as I can tell his objectives are making money, getting attention, and receiving adulation. His motivation seems more personal than class oriented. Perhaps this is why he makes many elements of the current American ruling elite so nervous.

If that is the case then exposing team-Trumpís Russian ties takes on a new dimension. A neoliberal, corporate-dominated state under Clinton would have been an environmental disaster the world could not afford. However, mimicking Putinís corrupt extractionist-oriented, authoritarianism in the United States, would place all those organizing domestic resistance in immediate danger while locking in the same environmental devastation.

So, despite my misgivings, perhaps I should support efforts to expose Trumpís Russian ties. I am far from certain about this, however. Am I missing something with a shallow analysis?

I urge those who read this to weigh in with their comments. I read them all and respond to many. I suspect some who comment never check to see if they have been answered. I urge those who do recheck to rejoin the discussion if they wish. This is not an easy issue. It requires further analysis and it will be front and center for the foreseeable future.

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.

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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