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Response to Fresno State College Republicans Hosting Tyler Russell

Response to Fresno State College Republicans Hosting Tyler Russell

FRESNO—The Fresno County Democratic Party strongly condemns the Fresno State College Republicans decision to host far-right Internet personality Tyler Russell. The Canadian YouTuber and livestreamer is a self-styled leading voice of the “Canada First” movement.

Among his supporters, the terms “Canada First” and “America First” are used interchangeably, a flub that sweeps away the political theater Russell refers to as his “optics” to expose the White supremacy underneath.

The Fresno State College Republicans had previously booked Russell for a virtual event in August. However, after Antisemitism.org posted to Twitter expressing their horror at the union, the Fresno State club canceled the event on the day it was scheduled.

The Fresno State College Republicans did not cite any reasoning at the time. Looking back, it is clear all they feared was the visibility, not Russell’s actual messages of cultural supremacy and intolerance. Rebooking him after outside attention waned is the proof.

The College Republicans knew exactly what they were getting with Russell. During a 2020 protest in Ottawa, amid a mixture of flags of Canada, Donald Trump and the Confederate Army, Russell delivered the speech that helped secure his right-wing credentials.

On that day he was a small part of the much larger protest against any potential government efforts to recognize, as the Idle No More movement phrased it, “all of the lives lost to the Canadian State¾Indigenous lives, Black Lives, Migrant lives, Women and Trans and 2 Spirit lives¾all of the relatives that we have lost.”

In his speech, Russell instead mourned the fate of the Proud Boys, a recognized hate group in Canada. He announced that to be called racist was a badge of honor.

Russell has since bragged on his online forum about infiltrating a Palestinian solidarity rally with the goal of harassing Jewish counter protesters and inciting greater conflict between the groups.

The Unabomber’s manifesto is suggested reading for young joiners of Russell’s movement. On his moderated chat forum for his supporters, voiced hesitation that some more extreme rhetoric could be interpreted as a call to violence is countermanded by the man himself. Russell responded, “No. We will do whatever it takes to win.”

The Fresno State College Republicans have begun to develop a concerning pattern of behavior. In August, the club was also criticizing veterans and calling most military service members “glorified DMV employees.”

This, combined with two separate invitations to Russell, shows a troubling trend in Fresno’s Republican landscape. We like to think that as a city we have moved on from the years when Fresno State’s first gay pride parade was met with drive-by protests from Ku Klux Klan members in full regalia, but perhaps, as Russell might phrase it, only the “optics” have changed.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Positive School Renaming

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Positive School Renaming



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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2021
Positive School Renaming

 

fresnoThe Fresno County Democratic Party applauds the Fresno Unified School District’s decision to rename the former Forkner Elementary School to H. Roger Tatarian Elementary School.
Roger Tatarian’s decades of work for the public good with Fresno State and the Fresno Bee warrant this recognition. As the executive director of Fresno State’s Institute for Media and Public Trust and executive editor of the Bee following his tenure as editor-in-chief of United Press International, he demonstrated an admirable commitment to our city by returning to his hometown to enrich our community.
It is also welcome that Tatarian is the first Armenian name to grace one of our local schools, and his story as a child of immigrants raised and educated in Fresno can be an aspirational example for the many students of Fresno Unified who are also part of the immigrant experience.
The name Tatarian is replacing also represents Fresno but instead harkens to our darker past that we still strive to overcome. The original J.C. Forkner was a wealthy property developer whose company implemented strict racial covenants to prevent anyone perceived as a lesser ethnicity from living in the Fig Garden area.
Indeed, Tatarian’s family would have been banned, as the documents explicitly refused sale to “Asiatics, Mongolians, Hindus, Negroes, Armenians or any natives or descendants of the Turkish empire.” In this racial exclusion, Forkner represented the kind of endemic racism that has shaped our country but now must be overcome.
Renaming Forkner Elementary to honor Tatarian is a small step in a good direction. Combating racism does not only mean that we should prevent new offenses, but it also necessitates identifying and, where possible, taking steps to rectify old harms. There might be some people who disapprove of changing the name of Forkner Elementary out of a sense of nostalgia or a hesitancy toward any change, but no good can come of keeping Forkner’s name on the school.
For more information, contact the Fresno County Democratic Party at 559-495-0606 or dems@fresnocountydemocrats.org.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Public Health Official Speaks the Truth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Labor Access to Farmworkers

 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2021
Labor Access to Farmworkers

 

fresnoThe Fresno County Democratic Party condemns Governor Newsom’s decision to veto the law that would have allowed farmworker unions to provide a vote-by-mail option for their eternal elections similar to California’s statewide process. The party stands in solidarity with the United Farm Workers as they march in protest from Tulare to French Laundry, the Napa restaurant where Newsom visited during Covid restrictions to much legitimate criticism. Hamstringing unions is a poor way to repay the hard work progressives just put into saving Newsom’s job.
California’s own experience, including the election that just allowed Newsom to retain power, shows that vote-by-mail elections can be conducted in an effective and secure manner, and are a vital tool for increasing the power of the public.
Now, instead of following his own example, Newsom has bowed to the interests of rich agricultural landowners who do not want anything that might tip the lopsided power arrangement toward equality with those who provide their labor.
    With sickening timing, the Trump-packed Supreme Court has set Americans back again, by striking down a 50-year-old California law that gave farmworker unions the right to approach work sites to recruit members. This law had been an achievement of legendary labor organizer Cezar Chavez, who campaigned to end the special exemption that provided farmland more protection than other industries.
Since farm labor is characterized by occurring within expansive swaths of privately owned land with no public facing presence, California’s law allowing union organizers to approach workers where they congregate is necessary. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority decision to value property rights over worker power will only hurt our nation.
Ag owners like to say that any potential lessening of their privilege is a threat to the general food supply. But the landowners are just one part of the chain—the ones who can get rich off it.
We know who’s really doing the planting. Agricultural workers are more likely to be poor with unreliable access to communication technology and reside in multiple scattered locations as they pursue seasonal work.
Direct contact with union organizers was a lifeline for a population otherwise far too vulnerable to exploitation, and now the law crafted to protect them has been slashed apart while a law to strengthen their operation has been stopped at the gate.
The conservative campaigns to weaken unions have been a major contributor in the gulf of inequality that has grown between those who labor and those who profit off ownership. Pressure from California unions has just succeeded at helping pass a speed-quota transparency law, aimed at combating the culture of ambiguity and fear that Amazon has used to extract extra labor from its warehouse staff.
If elected Democrats such as Governor Newsom continue to act in agreement with conservative judges by weakening unions, the future of working people in the United States looks bleak.
For more information, contact the Fresno County Democratic Party at 559-495-0606 or dems@fresnocountydemocrats.org.
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