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Rev. Barber on Republican desperation: “They had to go all the way to Russia and get help just to win”

In a rousing speech designed to highlight the strength of progressive unity, Rev. William Barber pointed out that Republicans “had to go all the way to Russia and get help just to win.” Speaking to the United Steelworkers 2017 conference, whose theme was “the power of unity,” Barber highlighted how “afraid” the right is “of our […]

By Oliver Willis - April 21, 2017
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DEM 2016 Convention

Speaking to the United Steelworkers 2017 conference, whose theme was “the power of unity,” Barber highlighted how “afraid” the right is “of our unity.”

He then pointed out the right’s campaign of voter suppression, the use of outside dark money, and the influence of Russian meddling on the outcome of the election.

BARBER: They tell me, in order to make steel out of iron ore, you’ve first got to remove the impurities. In order for America to be America, there’s some impurities we’ve got to remove. Racism is an impurity, anti-unionism is an impurity, meanness is an impurity. Hate is an impurity. Poverty is an impurity.

Don’t you understand how afraid they are of our unity? Think about this. If they had to engage in voter suppression just to win, if they had to spend pornographic sums of money to divide and conquer us, if they had to go all the way to Russia and get help just to win, if they had to depend on 97 million voters, black and white, Latino, not voting, we are not weak. Somebody fears our unity. Because you don’t cheat somebody that you can win in a fair fight. So I came by here to say what your theme says: no more separation. Black and white, Latino — let’s come together. No more separation. Economics and racism, we’ve got to bring all of that together. No more separation. White workers and black workers and health care and voting rights and immigrant rights — all of those things are interconnected. No more separation. Voting rights is a union issue. Wages is a civil rights issue. We need a steadfast togetherness so that our movement will not have movement fatigue. We can’t bow down now. Now we must be strong together. Now we must fight back together. Now we must save the soul of this nation together. Now we must fight for love together. Now we must save our children’s future together. And if we come together now, then one day, because we did, we will be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. But we must come together now.

Barber has been the mind behind the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina, and has given a boost to the resistance to the Trump administration’s attempt to repeal Obamacare. He has demonstrated an ability to deftly undermine the right’s rhetoric and posturing on issues over and over again.

And he is right. A new poll shows that enthusiasm among Democrats who are fighting back against the Trump administration and the Republican agenda is a “national phenomenon” that could pose a serious threat to the GOP-controlled Congress in 2018. And if that enthusiasm continues, and those who believe in justice and civil rights, come together and stay united, as Barber has called on them to do, we can prevail.


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