Workers' Voice mailing list
January 12, 2017
RE: More on the movement against Paladino
(More on the actions to remove Carl Paladino from his seat on the Buffalo Board of Education, see also previous report in Dec. 30, 2016 DWV email, http://www.communistvoice.org/DWV-161230.html)
By Mark Williams, Detroit Workers' Voice
Carl Paladino hasn't been showing his face at the Board of Education meetings. And he wasn't invited to the $5,000 a plate Republican fundraiser on January 5 though he's worth over $100 million, he could well afford it and though he was Trump's Western NY campaign co-chair. Carl is hiding out. But protesters aren't. On Dec.29th, 300 people rallied outside City Hall, calling for Paladino's removal from the School Board. These were parents, unionized teachers, students, Black Lives Matter activists, LGBT activists, and other concerned citizens. That evening several hundred people crammed inside the Common Council meeting chamber, spilling hundreds more into the halls. Parents and townspeople testified against Paladino. The majority of the Common Council itself passed a resolution calling on him to resign. Cheers rang out. Two people on the Board who tried to ask "forgiveness" for Carl's terrible remarks were met with hostile calls from crowd who are well aware that Paladino is unrepentant.
On Jan.2, the multicultural woman's organization "Oust Paladino" demonstrated with over 100 people outside City Hall trying to get Buffalo Mayor Brown, himself African-American, involved beyond quietly calling on Paladino to voluntarily submit. (Ostensibly this was because he had no legal right to depose Paladino. But this has to do more with the fact that Brown welcomes Paladino's commercial and residential empire.) A march in South Buffalo to present a petition to Paladino at his front door had to be postponed to next week because of a sudden snowstorm. The petition has thousands of signatures, and the march is of special significance in that the local organizers and participants want to defy the rabid racist elements in the area that have harbored themselves there now and in the past. A different petition for removal has garnered over 23,000 signatures.
The target of these actions, Carl Paladino, is a wealthy real-estate developer in Buffalo and honorary co-chair of the Trump campaign for Western New York. He had responded to some questions about what he would like to see in the future in the Buffalo weekly newspaper Artvoice. It was a KKK-style response. Paladino wrote: "Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford [Hereford, cattle]". Paladino then hopes the disease will kill Obama. He then hopes Michelle Obama will go away: "I'd like her to return to being a male to let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla." And Paladino "jokes" about the Jihadist beheading of African-American White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett.
It's a tragedy that a racist dog like Paladino sits on the School Board in Buffalo. (He narrowly beat out a high school student for the post in the last election!) If there's justice, however, he will be removed as outraged citizens are demanding. Under fire for his despicable stand, Paladino has resorted to all sorts of phony and self-righteous bull. Let's look at some of this:
* "I publicly took responsibility for what I said and confirmed those answers were my answers, but believe it or not, I did not mean to send those answers to Artvoice. Not that it makes any difference because what I wrote was inappropriate under any circumstance ... All men make mistakes."
Well, gee whiz. He's sorry. Can't we forgive this mistake? But it's a little hard to forgive someone when it's clear he's a consistent die-hard bigot. E.g. when he ran as the Republican candidate for NY Governor in 2010 he gained fame for sending emails advocating sending welfare recipients into prisons to learn hygiene, and other racist and anti-Semitic "jokes". Or when he compared Obama's inaugural preparation to an African tribal dance ("I'm sorry that is not Carl Paladino," he said then as he always does). Or that he may be a secret Muslim. Or when he declared, after Trump said a judge could not be fair if his father was Mexican, "By far he's not a racist." Perhaps Trump was joking too?
* "What is horrible is explaining to my 17-year old daughter how her hero could be so stupid".
If Paladino's daughter's views are like that of her brother's, she will condemn her father's statement. But how disgusting is it that Carl sees only the pain of his daughter but not the pain he inflicts by his racist characterizations of blacks, his stand against Asian peoples, Muslims, Mexican-Americans, African immigrants, LGBT people, etc. Paladino's daughter may be a nice person, but not her father. And all this sort of "apology" is meant to do is make you feel sorry for poor old Carl so he can go on the offensive.
* Paladino confesses he wanted to "say something as sarcastic and hurtful as possible about the people who are totally responsible for the hurt and suffering of so many others." And "I could not have a worse choice in the words I used…" Drat. Indeed he thinks a better choice of words would not only absolve him of racism but show him to be the champion of the downtrodden fighting the liberal and socialist elite. What a farce. He's a university elitist. He poses as against the moneyed interests, yet sees the schools as his own money maker. He rails against liberals and socialists because he see them as integrationists. Here's what Paladino had to say when the School Board hired a UCLA professor to investigate a complaint of racial discrimination: The professor "has a predisposition to find segregation everywhere ... Why would the BOE imagine hiring someone who intends to impose his socialist will on the District? ... he intends to use the Buffalo Public Schools as his Petri dish for his socialist social re-engineering." (The Public, 2/17/15, Commentary by Alan Bedenko: "Paladino Mistakes Windmill for Giant")
Though Paladino's is a racist brute, this does not mean that he is alone in the assaults on the public education system. This has been a bipartisan project of Republicans and Democrats alike. Privatization and trying to drag down the conditions of the students and teachers has been going on in city after city, while Obama was in power, and will no doubt be accelerated with Trump.
Paladino weeps of "broken homes and children who can't get the education they need to break that cycle of poverty". He boasts "I spent years trying to help out the cycle of poverty in our inner cities." Where? When? I have not been able yet to examine all the work of Paladino, but from what I've seen, his so-called concern about poverty is a sham. Instead he has called for cutbacks of numerous social programs, wage-slashing for union and non-union workers, cuts in Medicaid, etc. He wails about the education system, and indeed, the present system does suffer and has its faults. One of Paladino's "solutions" is to earn what he calls modest 5-10% profits by renting the land for charter schools. His basic idea is to push public education over the cliff. He wanted to maintain segregated schools supporting anti-busing, promotes new voucher-financed charter schools, and utilizing the Catholic Church education system. And of course, no Paladino plan would be complete without constant attacks on the teachers.
If you think there's a shred of decency in Paladino, here's his final "apology": "And yes, it's about a little deprecating humor which America lost for a long time. Merry Christmas and tough luck if you don't like my answer." Carl tries to make it cool and hip and "tough" to be racist. Maybe this was hip for rich landlords like Trump when he kept black tenants out of his housing properties.
While the School Board called for Paladino to resign, he refused. So now the case moves to the State Education Commissioner who has the power to remove Paladino. This process could drag out and the result are uncertain. He could be found to be exercising free speech under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, which allows you to spew the worst racist garbage. He could be considered to be acting on the job when he made such statements and legally restricted to an extent in his speech. He could be found to be hindering the work of the School Board by his consistent outrageous behavior. And there may be other grounds for removal. But from the standpoint of the anti-racist masses, there can be only one answer in this case. Paladino must go no matter how it is done. He must have no say in the lives of Buffalo students.
In the end, his removal will depend on one thing. Will the protests that have broken out already continue to bring pressure on the powers that be? Will the mass movement from below force the officials to reach a just outcome.
Paladino's recent racist tirades have become something of an embarrassment to Trump's minions so they have issued a statement criticizing them. But this fools no one. Trump echoes Paladino's white-supremacy. Are the Obamas not American? Remember Trump's infamous "birther" campaign. At least seven times he went before the TV camera and denied Obama had a US birth certificate, hinting he must be from Kenya. And what of the ugly characterization of Michelle Obama. Didn't that bring to mind Trump's public verbal abuse of women who are not at fashion model size? It's no accident that Trump has received hugs and kisses from racist and fascist groups here and abroad, including the KKK and the American Nazi Party. Oh, Trump will deny that he supports these groups, that he is connected to them, that he would go along with what they say, blah, blah, blah.
But actually there are direct connections: for one, Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon who has run Breitbart News for the last four years. Breitbart is a major platform for the "alt-right" political trend and every sort of older fascist group as well. Bannon himself grades out high on the lovers of racism chart. For example, there was his remark "every telephone pole in the South [should] be festooned with the Confederate battle flag." This is an unvarnished declaration for the days of white masters and black slavery. Worse, it was said right after the 2015 shooting to death of nine black church attendees in Charleston, SC by a young white man seeking to incite race war. The killing provoked a discussion over displaying the Confederate Flag as the killer did on his web site. Bannon sided with the symbol of white tyranny.
What then is the "alt-right"? It is an updated trend of white supremacy; a new trend under the racist banners of white nationalism seeking to create fear and terror against nonwhites and non-Christians. What they love about Trump is the hysteria he creates about immigrants and foreigners, Muslims, his talk of rounding up 11-million Mexicans living in the US, building "the wall" to ban their entry. And for the black and Latino ghettos here he will keep a close eye on any discontent with his police-state. Such things have encouraged the outright racist and fascist groups to step out from under the rocks and recruit new members. They have new confidence they can terrorize non-whites without fear and make racist ideology the new norm.
It is apparent that the next four years will be a grim fight requiring
the unity of workers of all nationalities. We can't wait around for the
Democratic Party to do something about it. Obama, Clinton, Sanders and
co. are not Trump, but they are not friends of the working people
either. We'll need to keep fighting at every turn and get our own
struggles and groups together if we, the ordinary working people, are
to have a chance to survive Trumpism and to rid ourselves of local
pests like Paladino. <>
Back to main
how to order CV,
Posted on January 24, 2017