The message of July 15 resounded off the walls and streets of Manhattan, reaching, shaking up, and challenging people. The marchers came from all walks of life, with a wide range of perspectives and outrages, and a common determination to drive out the regime.
The day kicked off with a dozen or so people who had been part of 100 Hours of NO! In the Name of Humanity, We Indict FOX FASCIST NEWS. They marched through a street fair, down 6th Avenue, chanting, “No pussy grabbing, no patriarchy, no fascist USA;” and “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.” They met up with people from all over the NYC area near Trump Tower. Across the street a few dozen fascists screamed insults and chanted “USA! USA!” and “Build That Wall.”
Trump Tower was the starting point where people gathered holding NO! signs, Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! Jay Walker of Gays against Guns, speaking for the Rise and Resist organization, spoke as people readied to march. As people stepped off to march, the crowd grew to close to 500 people. What compelled them to be there? A white woman in her 70s said, “This is fascism—another Hitler, which means deporting people, no economy, martial law, Gestapo everywhere. My friends don’t see it so strongly. But my family came over here [from Europe] before World War 2 and they described what it was like. That has really shaped me and how I see things now.”
A Latina in her early 20s, said, “As a woman of color, this regime directly affects me and my family—mass deportations, attacks on women’s rights and access to healthcare. But it’s not like my problems are worse than those of people who are cut off from their families because of the Muslim ban. All suffering is equal!”
An immigrant woman talked about overcoming fear to be there: “Even if we’re not citizens we still have the right to speak out, so we have to. Donald Trump opposes everything I teach my children about what is right and what is wrong. Every single thing. Today is small, but we represent millions who couldn’t come, or who were afraid to come.”
A young activist with ACT UP said he was protesting the cuts to a lifesaving program that provides medicine to people with HIV and provides care for people living in the global south. “We are protesting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and cuts to Medicaid which would leave large numbers of HIV-positive without having access to lifesaving medications.”
A young Arab-American, who has been reading Bob Avakian (BA), said, “Trump represents the potential for fascism with all that implies. The glorification of ignorance, the attacks on science, the violence and hatred towards the oppressed that will be much more prevalent. And all the progress of the last decades will be obliterated. And all that’s needed is for people to do nothing—they don’t have to support Trump or like Trump, they just have to stand back and it WILL become fascist. So people need to organize under the leadership of a vanguard party, which to me is the RCP, because BA’s work has done so much to bring forward how the world could be different, like it shows in the new Constitution. That Constitution is so important for people to see. But inaction is implicit consent. So once people realize what’s on the line, we can get the numbers to drive him out.”
There were college students, part of summer programs in NYC. There was a middle-aged steelworker union rep from Wisconsin visiting NYC with his family. He grabbed a NO! sign, and joined the rally. Most of his concerns have to do with the conditions of the other workers, and how things are getting worse. He was opposed to everything Trump is doing except… around trade, where he thought maybe it would do some good.
A young Black man said he was stunned when Jeff Sessions was made attorney general, “I mean Jeff Sessions? A man like that?” Waving his hand towards the march: “You see this, every color and nation and age? This is a cross-section of America, this is our strength.”
People marched from Trump Tower to Broadway and 48th street on the edge of Times Square for a rally with speakers and performers, including a representative of ACT UP New York, the Raging Grannies, Hawk Newsome of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, a dramatic reading of the July 15 statement—leading the crowd in calling out They Must Go! Noche Diaz of the New York Revolution Club read a statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party. The speech from Refuse Fascism was a highlight of the rally; giving people a sense of purpose as they took to the streets to bring the message to many more. Then, the march headed downtown, stopping at the intersection where a white racist who had come to NYC to kill Black people murdered Timothy Caughman, a Black man, on March 20. Hawk spoke to the significance of that murder, and the connection to Trump, and there was a 10-second moment of silence. A smaller crew took the march all the way down to Union Square, reaching parts of the city with more intense support for the message—fists in the air, with a final sendoff rally.