Fresno State professor who tweeted 'Trump must hang' issues statement
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) - Back in February, a California State University, Fresno professor, who is not a fan of President Donald Trump or the Republican Party, tweeted some politically charged tweets.
Over the weekend, those tweets were picked up nationally, leading to a statement by Fresno State President Joseph Castro on Monday.
Castro says the statements will be reviewed for potential threats of violence that may violate the law.
After hearing about Castro's statement, Professor Lars Maischak reached out to FOX26 News with a statement of his own.
Below is the text of his email:
Statement regarding President Joseph Castro's "Statement regarding lecturer's social media posts" of 10:25am, today, April 10th, 2017
I am appalled that the president of the university is allowing himself to be instrumentalized for a right-wing smear campaign.
Specifically, the suggestion that I had made "potential direct threats of violence that may violate the law" is unwarranted. It constitutes an embrace by the university of the claims made by right-wing propaganda outlets.
I would have wished for an opportunity to explain my views to the university prior to any statement on its part on the substance of the public accusations against me. I was not contacted by them, even though I sent a message to the president on Saturday.
The Breitbart/DailyCaller piece that created a selective collage of some of my weeks-old tweets had the purpose of inciting a campaign of harrassment and intimidation by claiming I had either made a tangible threat against Mr. Trump, or had advocated for violence against either Mr. Trump, or Republicans in general.
The author of this piece has a history of identifying and accusing Liberal and leftist professors of subversive activities.
Prior to publication, he had contacted me with a generic request to identify myself as the owner of the twitter account. The article was published before I had an opportunity to reply.
Neither Daily Caller nor Breitbart asked me for clarification of my opinions and intentions.
I have explained on twitter, as well as in a statement to several media outlets over the weekend, the context of one of my incriminated tweets, containing the assertion that "Trump must hang."
It is based on the assessment that the substantial continuity between Fascism and the present Republican Party makes it likely that the deeds of his government will be the subject of court proceedings, or even a tribunal akin to the Nuremburg Trials.
Historical precedent suggests that such proceedings often end with the incarceration or execution of the leadership.
My assessment at that time was based on Mr. Trump's then-recent characterization of the press as the "enemies of the people," language that suggests he was consciously embracing authoritarian models.
Given that turn of events, Mr. Trump could be reasonably seen as a threat to democracy.
To read this as an invitation to, or expression of intent for, murder or assassination is far-fetched.
Another incriminated tweet, that read "#TheResistance #ethniccleansing Justice = The execution of two Republicans for each deported immigrant," was made under the impression of the deportations of law-abiding, harmless residents under the eyes of their family members by ICE agents.
This vision of people dragged from the street in bright daylight, or ripped from their homes under cover of night, evoked for me images of similar raids in 1930s Germany, which are always present in my mind as an essential part of my upbringing. Like in 1930s Germany, the form of the law may be upheld in such arrests, but the underlying substance is racial resentment. Hence the reference to "ethnic cleansing."
Most observers will consider these arrests a blatant injustice. My thought at the time was that if this were to become a mass phenomenon, encompassing in the end all eleven million undocumented immigrants, the guilt amassed by the present government and its supporters would be tremendous, and would lead to demands for vengeance.
The tweet represented a dark prediction that stemmed from this train of thought.
I can see how a malicious observer could twist it to mean an incitement to violence. I would be horrified to learn that anyone would have read this tweet as an invitation to violence. I still do not think, within the context at the time, and within the context of my other statements on twitter, that any reasonable reader could come to that conclusion, however.
Authors of the numerous items of hate-mail I have been sent by the dutiful followers of the right-wing propaganda sub-culture have taken issue with my comparison of Mr. Trump and his followers with German Fascism.
This is a debate worth having, but it is a point that cannot be adequately argued in sound-bite format.
For starters, a few pieces of evidence:
1) The claim that immigrants (undocumented and otherwise) are inherently dangerous, and take away jobs from honest, hard-working citizens, has become the basis for the policies of this administration. This is a claim made by neo-Nazi parties in Europe since at least the 1980s. It has never been embraced by the government of a civilized, Western nation before.
2) The insistence that members of an entire religious group pose a threat to the safety of citizens of this country informed both the Muslim Ban and the planned Muslim Registry. This is a departure from core values of Western, constitutional liberalism that consider citizenship a term neutral to race, ethnicity, and religion. The revocation of German citizenship from Jews in the 1930s constitutes one of the rare historical precedents for this radical rejection of the idea of civic equality.
3) Social Darwinism informs the social policy and attitude towards organized labor taken by the Republican Party, even before Trump. In practice, the embrace of a free market by politicians like Paul Ryan represents a committment to the survival of the fittest.
4) Mr. Trump, in his inaugural address, made positive reference to the "America First Committee," an organization that hoped to prevent the United States from entering into war with Nazi Germany. For the founders of this organization, the motivation for this stance was agreement with Hitler, and support of his policies.
If the standard for identifying a set of political ideas as "Fascist" is that it result in a genocide that claims the lives of six million people, as was the case with German Fascism, then there are no more Fascists after Hitler.
But Italian Fascism is no less Fascism for the absence of an anti-Semitism to match that of the German Nazis in its ideas and practices.
Neither was Mr. Hitler less of a Fascist in 1932, before he accomplished any of his goals, than he was in 1945.
I am currently working on a paper laying out my argument for the comparison between the current Republican administration and party, and German Fascism, in more detail and with more differentiation.