Ashley Williams confronts Hillary Clinton

Ashley Williams confronts Hillary Clinton

I salute Ashley Williams, the young African-American activist who confronted Hillary Clinton and reminded Clinton of her extremely racist rant in a January 25, 1996 public speech in which Clinton had proposed a virtual war against youth of color, especially Black youth. Williams told the media, “I wanted to bring her to confront her own words. We did this because we wanted to make sure that Black people are paying attention to her record, and we want to know what Hillary we are getting.”

What Hillary Clinton said in 1996 was so offensive, it is hard to repeat here, but it’s important for people to know her real views. She firmly proclaimed her accusation. She didn’t utter it privately, thinking a mike was turned off, although that would have been just as outrageous.

No, Hillary Clinton advocated it in a public speech, on behalf of Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential re-election campaign. What did she say exactly?

“We need to take these people on. They are often connected to big drug cartels. They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called super predators: no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

Bill Clinton who was running for a second term, had engaged in an offensive against the African American and other poor communities since his first term.

People of color — and poor white people as well — were the main target of Bill Clinton’s policies. They were thrown under the bus en masse with a whole series of measures that drove Black, Latino and other people into prison and into deeper poverty than before.

I can imagine what Ashley Williams must have gone through, knowing that they [Williams’ pronoun] risked prosecution, and later, being abused by Hillary Clinton’s supporters in the crowd.

Because, don’t you know? If you engage in freedom of expression that really challenges the powers that be, you can get tossed in jail. That’s freedom U.S.A.

I know what they went through because I disrupted Bill Clinton on October 20, 1996, in Teaneck, New Jersey. Clinton had supported many elements of rightwing Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” in 1994 and 1995. Many of us activists at the time called it the “Contract on America.”

The Contract on America gutted essential social programs that had existed since the radical struggles that arose out of the depression of the 1930s. Among the many cruel provisions was the denial of welfare assistance to young mothers under 18 and a total cut-off of Aid to Families with Dependent Children after five years.

The Contract weakened many mandated social and environmental programs by tying their functioning to separate Congressional votes on funding. If no funds were appropriated, the programs were gutted. Clinton also signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Law of 1996.

On Oct. 20, 1996, President Clinton headed a fundraiser for Robert Torricelli, Congressman from New Jersey running for the first time for U.S. Senator. Torricelli had notoriously authored the 1992 “Cuban Democracy Act,” tightening the U.S. blockade on Cuba at a vulnerable time for the island, when its main trading partner, the Soviet Union, had disappeared. That law still exists, imposing suffering on the Cuban people.

I went to Clinton’s fundraising soiree. As soon as Clinton began talking on stage, I pulled out a placard denouncing him for throwing a million women off welfare.

I shouted to Clinton, “You should be in jail for throwing a million women off welfare, you should be indicted for killing a million Iraqi people through sanctions, and for blockading Cuba!”

Well, the crowd of people, who had donated a minimum of $1,000 for the evening, began to scream, “Let the president speak!” A couple of women pulled my hair, a man next to me kept kicking my legs.

I continued for several minutes to interrupt Clinton, until the Teaneck police arrived and pulled me out of the hall.

Fast forward to 20 years after Hillary Clinton’s despicable statement about “super predators” being “brought to heel.” She is now traveling through the South, pretending to care for African American people, while Bill Clinton’s policies remain in full force.

With these the most grotesque and rigged elections ever, progressive activists feel compelled to protest and take on reactionaries like Trump and Clinton.

It took a lot of courage to do what Ashley Williams did. They bravely faced a hostile crowd and shined a light on the real Hillary Clinton.