Protesters have claimed that the lockdown measures imposed by their governments violate their constitutionally protected rights by dictating what they can and cannot buy and restricting their civil liberties. US President Donald Trump showed his support for the protesters on Twitter by calling on the three states to remove stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus, and he referenced new gun control measures signed into law by Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam earlier this month.
"LIBERATE MINNESOTA! LIBERATE MICHIGAN! LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!" Trump wrote in three consecutive posts on Friday.
“It seems to be that these protests are really a kind of push by extreme segments of the
Republican Party, as well as various billionaire backers like the DeVos family, to try to exert a right-wing pressure on the country at a time when all of the momentum is going in a direction that says there must be full, national, universal health care for everyone, when there has to be support for working people, when there has to be support for people who are unemployed, when everyone knows that $1,200 in one check is going to do absolutely nothing to help the people who have been laid off,” Dean, who teaches at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and whose latest book is called “Comrade,” told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker on Monday.
According to a report by BuzzFeed News, the protests in Michigan were organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund, which have links to the family of Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, a champion of right-wing education initiatives such as charter schools. The Michigan Freedom Fund was founded by Greg McNeilly, an adviser to the DeVos family, BuzzFeed News reported.
DeVos’ family also includes her brother, Eric Prince, a former US Navy SEAL who founded the infamous Blackwater USA security contractor company whose soldiers-for-hire committed war crimes in Iraq.
“So, I think that these protests shouldn’t be read just as about being against the quarantine. I think what they really are about is against what the protesters are made to perceive as a democratic initiative, a socialist initiative or even a communist initiative,” Dean said.
“It's being mobilized because people are feeling the pressure of the need for a strong national support for the households and families and people who have lost their jobs and become sick because of this. So, I think it’s a right-wing tactic, and it’s a tactic that billionaires are behind in order to exert pressure before Congress comes back,” she added.
“I actually think that one of the reasons there is so much support for socialism from millennials is not just that their lives have been devastated by gross inequalities of capitalism, but because they have grown up in a time when everything that can support their lives has been extensively demonized as socialist and communist,” Dean said.
“It might be the case that for some, the rhetoric turns them against justice or health and safety, but I think for many people, it’s going to be the opposite, and it’s going to backfire,” she predicted.