Democracy Now!

Noam Chomsky on Trump’s Troop Surge to Democratic Cities & Whether He’ll Leave Office if He Loses

“President Trump is desperate,” says world-renowned dissident Professor Noam Chomsky in an extended interview that begins with President Trump’s vow to send a “surge” of federal agents into major Democrat-run cities across the United States. “His entire attention is this one issue on his mind: that’s the election. He has to cover up for the fact he is personally responsible for killing tens of thousands of Americans. It’s impossible to conceal that for much longer.”

Watch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fire Back on House Floor After Rep. Yoho Calls Her An "F'ing Bitch"

We bring you Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s full address from the floor of the House when she excoriated her Republican colleague, Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida, after he verbally attacked her earlier in the week on the steps of the Capitol and used a sexist slur overheard by a reporter, calling her a “fucking bitch,” then issued a non-apology from the House floor. “My mother got to see Mr. Yoho’s disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television,” she says, “and I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.”

Headlines for July 24, 2020

Paramilitary-Style Tactics in Portland Mirror Decades of U.S. Violence on the Border & Abroad

The harrowing scenes of paramilitary-style units in the streets of American cities like Portland has shocked mainstream America, but award-winning independent journalist Todd Miller, who has reported on border security and immigration for over a decade, says it’s a reflection of how the U.S. has operated around the world. We also speak with Cecilia Menjívar, UCLA sociology professor, who says the image of unmarked vans snatching people from the streets “brings back memories to Latin Americans who lived through disappearances of families and friends and co-workers.”

"Her Front Teeth Were Knocked Out": Chicago Teen to Sue Police Officer Who Hit Her at a Protest

Protesters in Chicago are demanding justice after police officers attacked a teenage activist last week during a demonstration in which people attempted to topple a statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park. An officer struck 18-year-old Miracle Boyd, a recent high school graduate and organizer with the group GoodKids MadCity, in the face, knocking out several teeth. Journalists also reported being mistreated by police officers, who used chemical sprays and batons on protesters. “This is consistent with what we’ve seen from the Chicago Police Department in their response to these uprisings,” says Sheila Bedi, the civil rights lawyer representing Boyd.

Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner on Mumia Abu-Jamal, Police Corruption & Reexamining Old Cases

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has made addressing police corruption a cornerstone of his time in office, and he says it affects many criminal cases, including that of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has always maintained his innocence for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer for which he has spent four decades behind bars. Within weeks of the end of the trial, a third of the police involved in his case were jailed for systematically tampering with evidence to obtain convictions in cases across the city, and at least one police officer in the case, James Forbes, lied on the stand, saying he had properly handled guns. “It is a microcosm of the realities of what progressive prosecutors face now when they’re trying to go back in time and do justice,” Krasner says of efforts to rectify police abuses steeped in “a culture that used to shred and used to hide and used to destroy.”

Philly DA Larry Krasner: Trump Is a "Wannabe Fascist." I Will Charge His Agents If They Break Law

As President Trump announces a “surge” of federal agents into major U.S. cities to confront protesters, we speak with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who warns he will arrest and charge Trump’s police forces if they violate the rights of residents in his city. “The law applies to the president of the United States, even though he doesn’t think so. The law applies to law enforcement. The law applies to civilians. It is real simple,” says Krasner. He also discusses the importance of releasing incarcerated people during the pandemic, and tackling police corruption, such as in the case of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Headlines for July 23, 2020

As COVID Spikes in California, Latinx Workers Who "Keep the State Going" See Up to 5x the Deaths

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across the United States, the Latinx community has been hit especially hard in places like California, where many Latinx workers fill essential jobs as farmworkers and meatpackers. “Latino and people of color basically do the scut work that keep the state going, its economy going, but get very little of the resources,” says Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His recent study shows Latinx Californians between the ages of 50 and 64 have died at more than five times the rate of white people of the same age.

"Silence the Guns": Africa's CDC Head on Delayed Pandemic, Health Equity & Dangers of War

The African continent has mostly escaped the worst of the pandemic, but now the World Health Organization is now warning of an impending acceleration of its spread. “We have always been very clear that the pandemic in Africa was a delayed pandemic, that the continent wasn’t spared,” says Dr. John Nkengasong, director for Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID-19 Lays Bare South Africa's Rampant Inequality & Fault Lines of Post-Apartheid Society

COVID-19 infections are skyrocketing in South Africa, now fifth in the world for coronavirus cases, with an already fragile hospital system. “I really think it’s our inequality reckoning moment,” says Fatima Hassan, a human rights lawyer with the Health Justice Initiative. “All of the fault lines of South Africa’s post-apartheid democracy, and its inequality and its violence, is actually coming to the fore.”

Headlines for July 22, 2020

"I Love My Students. I Also Want to Live": Teachers Demand Safety as Trump Pushes Schools to Reopen

As President Trump continues to push for schools to reopen even as COVID-19 rates skyrocket in many states, teachers are revolting. “I love my students, and I know that the best place for them to learn is in classrooms where they can collaborate and collectively solve problems,” says Seattle high school teacher Jesse Hagopian. He says teachers recognize that online learning is not an adequate replacement for in-class education, “but I also want to live, and I also want my students to live.” We also speak with Jitu Brown, national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, which published an open letter to President Trump outlining 14 demands that must be met before schools are reopened, including zero new positive COVID cases for 14 consecutive days.

Trump to Send Federal Troops to Protests in Chicago & Seattle Amid Violent Crackdown by Local Police

As mayors in six cities call for the immediate removal of the president’s rapid deployment units and for Congress to investigate the tactics of federal authorities against antiracism protests, Trump says he may send troops to Chicago this week. “We’re looking at the infringement on our rights that is just escalating,” says Chicago activist Jitu Brown, national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance. We also speak with Jesse Hagopian, a history teacher in Seattle, where Trump has also vowed to send federal officers to quell ongoing demonstrations.

"Camouflaged Goon Squads": Outrage, Legal Challenges in Portland as Federal Agents Snatch Protesters

The U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon has called for an investigation into the conduct of federal officers deployed to protests in Portland, calling their behavior “unlawful.” Local officials are also mounting legal challenges to remove the agents from city streets. Juan Chavez, project director and attorney at the Oregon Justice Resource Center, says it’s a terrifying situation for Portland residents who face “these camouflaged goon squads” who often refuse to identify themselves or their agencies. “They just appear in the middle of the night next to people who are in and around downtown who then get corralled into these vehicles, not told where or who’s picking them up,” he says.

Portland Protests Grow Despite Violent Crackdown from Militarized Federal Agents & Local Police

Heavily armed federal officers without name tags have carried out nightly attacks on antiracist demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, and snatched people off the streets into unmarked vans, sparking widespread outrage. “What we’ve seen is a continuous escalation in violence against our protesters,” says Lilith Sinclair, an Afro-Indigenous local organizer in Portland. They note the federal violence follows many years of “severe police brutality” from local police. “It’s left the people of Portland not only worried about their safety, but, even more so, justified in the fight that we’re engaged in.”

Headlines for July 21, 2020

Remembering C. T. Vivian, Civil Rights Icon MLK Called "Greatest Preacher to Ever Live"

Reverend C. T. Vivian, whom Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once described as “the greatest preacher to ever live,” died July 17 at age 95. Vivian was a giant of the civil rights movement and a leading proponent of nonviolent struggle against injustice. He spoke to Democracy Now! in 2015 outside the historic Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama, on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in 1965. Vivian describes how he was assaulted on the steps of the courthouse as he tried to escort a group of African Americans inside to register to vote. “There is nothing we haven’t done for this nation,” Vivian said of the civil rights movement and the ongoing fight for voting rights. “But we kept knowing the scriptures. We kept living by faith. We kept understanding that it’s something deeper than politics that makes life worth living.”

Rep. John Lewis on the Freedom Rides, Surviving KKK Attacks, 1963 March on Washington & Malcolm X

Civil rights movement icon and 17-term Democratic Congressmember John Lewis, who died July 17 at the age of 80, helped found SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and was the youngest of the so-called Big Six who addressed the March on Washington in 1963. Before that, he was among the 13 original Freedom Riders who rode buses across the South to challenge segregation laws. He spoke to Democracy Now! in 2012 about his activism and that historic campaign, during which they were beaten and attacked by white mobs and the Klu Klux Klan, including by Klansman Elwin Wilson, who apologized to Lewis decades later. “It is so important for people to understand, to know that people suffered, struggled. Some people bled, and some died, for the right to participate,” Lewis told Democracy Now!

"I Felt Like I Was Going to Die": Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Recalls 1965 "Bloody Sunday" in Selma

As the United States mourns the loss of civil rights icon and 17-term Democratic Congressmember John Lewis, we feature his 2012 in-studio interview, when he tears up remembering the historic 1965 Selma to Montgomery march he helped lead in 1965 as a 25-year-old man, when he was almost beaten to death by police in what came to be called “Bloody Sunday” and helped push the country toward adopting the Voting Rights Act. “They came toward us, beating us with nightsticks and bullwhips, trampling us with horses,” he told Democracy Now! “All these many years later, I don’t recall how I made it back across that bridge to the church.”