Andy Zee is an initiator of Refuse Fascism, and presented this talk at its August 5, 2017 National Meeting
On November 4, 2017, We Begin, This Nightmare Must End:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!
“This Nightmare Must End” captures how millions of people feel right now. This feeling is at times inchoate and, at others, it enrages. It disturbs sleep, dominates conversation. For immigrants and Muslims it is terror that is lived—a foreboding pervading every aspect of life. Where you never know if this is the day you will be snatched from family and the life you have made—perhaps to be returned to a place you don’t know where you may face persecution or even death.
Millions of people agonize over every move of the regime and they worry about the specter of worse to come. They feel trapped in the kind of nightmare from which you desperately need an escape—desperately hoping to wake up so as to put the terror behind you. Adding “This Nightmare Must End” to our demand speaks very broadly to how people feel.
People feel that somehow this must end and yearn for a way out. Refuse Fascism is the hope and the way to drive the Trump/Pence Regime from power.
What people don’t know, and need to know, is that THEY ARE THE WAY OUT OF THE NIGHTMARE, if they join together and act outside all the normal avenues that they expect society and government to provide for redress of their concerns—outside the ways that they would normally think of to act themselves for remedy. Waiting for investigations, waiting for the Democrats to act, thinking that Trump will implode, hoping for 2018 Congressional elections, even protesting each abuse—as righteous and part of people raising their heads as such protest is, these are all acting within the normal frameworks that people have grown accustomed to thinking and acting within for change in policy and direction. But change, even under “normal” times, rarely comes without ferocious struggle if it is not change in the interests of at least some of those in power. BUT EVEN MORE, THERE IS NOTHING NORMAL ABOUT THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME. FASCISM IS NOT NORMAL.
Refuse Fascism is up against what society is up against. Fascism is not the normal way that this country has been ruled. While more and more people are coming to see the qualitative change that the Trump/Pence Regime is bringing, we have a society-wide struggle to wage with people to recognize and come to grips with the reality that with the election of Trump there is a fascist qualitative change in the social, political, and cultural norms of how this society is governed and ruled. The abnormality of Trump consistently gets focused on his narcissistic psychology and/or his financial and other misdeeds, and what is not confronted is the radical tearing up of the norms of society and in its place new fascist norms being cemented into place.
Again, there is a break with what have been the norms we confront, and to deal with this there must be a break with the “normal” ways people seek change from government. The normal forms of petition and protest DO NOT APPLY with Trump—even as they have been difficult enough under the normal functioning of this system.
So we constantly hear the talking heads on cable news, or commentators on social media critiquing and mocking Trump’s outrageous tweets and utterances, his disregard for the truth, his overall buffoonery and his flaunting of the norms of society. And they not only gloss over the full scale and scope of his program and almost never mention its fascist character, but they also consistently “advise” the regime on how to govern “normally.” THE PROBLEM is Trump glories in breaking the norms—and that is why he was elected by a social base that has been riled up for decades behind a racist, misogynist, anti-immigrant program. They believe Trump’s outsider outrageousness and his flaunting of the norms shows that he can and will deliver. The program of the Democrats and their media mouthpieces is restoring the norms. So people who hate and oppose the regime are being led to look to all the ways I mentioned before: elections, hearings, investigations, and protest as usual to “make their voices heard,” as if we are dealing with a normal regime. We are not.
We need to learn from those times in the history of this country, and from around the world, when people stepped outside the normal channels to struggle for their demand. Just this past winter tens, and then hundreds, of thousands of people took to the streets in the capital of South Korea—eventually every day and night—to demand the ouster of the president. After almost four months, they succeeded.
We should recognize, and hold firmly to, our demand that the whole REGIME must go. This is a tremendous strength of Refuse Fascism. No one else, no other organization, has raised this demand. Yet, many are paralyzed at the thought of Trump being removed and ending up with Mike Pence. Their repulsion at Pence is warranted.
Pence is now the political leader of a theocratic Christian fundamentalism—that we should more accurately call Christian fascism. Decades in the making, the roots of this are gone into extensively in The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy… And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer and The Coming Civil War, both by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party and architect of the new synthesis of communism.
This past week, two Catholic Vatican scholars close to Pope Francis warned U.S. Catholics that the Christian evangelicalism of the Trump/Pence Regime is “not too far apart” from the kind of Islamic fundamentalism that is tearing up the Mideast. The Trump/Pence Regime is saturated with and dependent on this Christian fascist social base, and already they have made huge strides in implementing their agenda, with catastrophic impact on the lives of women and LGBTQ people as well as on medicine, healthcare, and public education. Impact that will disproportionately hurt communities of oppressed nationalities.
Christian fascism runs through this regime, from Steve Bannon’s world apocalyptic view of a war for Western (read white) Judeo-Christian civilization on through the Trump cabinet with Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and that vicious nut job now on the Supreme Court—Neil Gorsuch. This is a REGIME—that word matters—it is an amalgam of all the strains of fascism that have run through America’s history which have become forged over the last decades and now, in the context of the huge problems this country and system faces, has come to power. It may have shocked all or some of these fascist movements that Donald Trump is the vehicle that they are riding, but they have recognized it, and now it is so. Bannon and the Nazi Rudy Giuliani have said: THIS is our last chance (even as they have left unsaid, but made clear) to consolidate fascism.
In our July 15 message, we posed: “Could it happen here? The Answer: Yes… It is an American Fascism—Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism—a fascism wrapped in the Bible taken literally and the American flag, saturated with racism, misogyny, and xenophobia.” And, in answering yes, we said: “It is happening and the responsibility falls to all of us to stop it before it chokes off air in society.” The point is: this is not just another normal swing of the pendulum—it is a REGIME bringing about a Fascist America.
ONLY REFUSE FASCISM has a PLAN for DRIVING OUT THE WHOLE REGIME, and THIS MATTERS AND IS OUR STRONG SUIT.
That REFUSE FASCISM identifies and demands that the whole regime must go is a great strength and should be a magnet for people to get with the vision for November 4. Our two slogans, “This Nightmare Must End, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” and “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!” concentrate a lot of understanding of the situation that we face and the road forward—they need to be everywhere and everywhere struggled over.
Our plan requires thinking and acting, as they say, outside the box. We are calling on people to put a lot on the line—taking to the streets and the public squares day after day and night after night and not stopping. For this to happen more and more people need to understand in a basic way the situation—again, the necessity—that humanity faces with fascism coming to power in the most powerful country in the world. We need to deeply get this too, because if we want others to be strong, we must be no less.
The seven panels of indictments we have developed are a tremendous tool—that bring people the brutal reality of what this regime has actually done; what they have said they are going to do; and what their regime has unleashed in the states and in their vigilante fascists groups. We have not fully appreciated the role that these panels can play in mobilizing the people. After reading the panels, people have told us: “I didn’t really know.” The SCALE AND THE SCOPE of what the TRUMP/PENCE FASCIST REGIME HAS DONE IN SIX MONTHS IS BREATHTAKING.
The panels have three key dimensions:  Education—getting people the facts, the reality (the scale and scope of fascist remaking of society);  They are a tool for politically provocative actions—wielding the panels and the research concentrated in them to hound the enemy: the regime, Congress, administrators from agencies such as ICE, the Border Patrol, and more; or, to go out and shake up and wake up those who normalize fascism and distract the people from the real deal going down and steer people away from the fact that there is an organization and a way to fight this—this includes media like CNN and MSNBC, as well as Democrats and social democrats among others; and  These panels are a tremendous organizing tool. People can download the panels in different sizes and get them out in their city or neighborhood. We can’t be everywhere, but the panels can be. People want to form a group for November 4? Hold a discussion on each of the panels in light of the Refuse Fascism Call to Action and the November 4th Call, and take the display out to the people.
I will come back to plans at the end of this presentation, but what overall will be decisive in bringing forward masses of people is using this sharp agitation—the exposure of what this fascist regime has done—in politically provocative actions: like the protest outside and inside Trump’s recent rally in Youngstown, Ohio; the disruption and protest during the Ann Coulter Politicon panel; or the 100 hours of around-the-clock protest exposing Fox News. In the 1980s and ’90s ACT-UP did a lot of research on AIDS, and they had the goods on the government and what it was not doing to deal with AIDS. But they didn’t just sit on this information—they took creative, disruptive, even shocking actions, and that became a critical form of ACTIVE education that was, at the same time, a form of struggle. What the Trump/Pence Regime has done and is about should shock the conscience, but for all the reasons of “normalization” that I have been talking about, part of what we must do is act in ways that put the “shock the conscience” quality of this fascism in front of people where it can’t be ignored.
November 4, 2017, we begin. Why have we set this date? Because without the kind of mass determined opposition of millions of people being in the streets day after day night after night, there is little chance of the whole regime being removed before they are able to cement into place a fascist re-ordering of society. By setting the date, we focus our attention and that of the whole society on the form of political protest that is required.
We have recognized that there are two windows that are still open that make it possible to do what we are calling for. First is that the Trump/Pence Regime has not, as yet, been able to fully institute fascism. They have made significant progress, they have plans in the works, but there is still an opening. As we and others have pointed out, it would only take one serious international or domestic incident for that window to suddenly slam shut with the regime taking “emergency” measures. And even without such an incident, things can reach a point through executive measures and laws that the regime pushes through, where the window closes in that way—with the result that fascism is consolidated.
This morning Jeff Greenfield, a long-time political commentator, was on CNN, and he argued against the prevailing discourse that Trump is “off track, not able to accomplish anything.” Greenfield said that while we, speaking of the news media and people following the media, have been caught up in the daily onslaught of outrageousness from the Trump White House, the regime has been making significant real progress in advancing their program. He pointed especially to outsourcing the appointment of federal judges to the Federalist Society, which is resulting in appointments to the federal courts of judges in the mold of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, who will radically reshape law in a reactionary direction for decades.
There is a second window that we have pointed to in that there are still millions and millions of people who are not adjusted to or resigned to the Trump/Pence Regime. There is still willingness of masses of people to protest. While protests have not reached the numbers of the Women’s March, and there is a lot of normalization that has taken place, there remain millions of people who are alert. And if they saw and understood that there is a program to really remove this regime, and people acting on it, they could be moved to act.
With the actions on July 15, we put on the political map that there is a national movement dedicated to fighting for the demand that the whole Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!—and that organization is Refuse Fascism. The demonstrations were relatively small, hundreds in key cities, yet people came forward in the face of threats and the presence of organized fascists. In LA, when the fascists began chanting “USA! USA!” they were answered with chants of “Humanity First! Humanity First!” We should grasp the potential and the significance of that. We should not fail to appreciate and build on the embryo of July 15.
Yet we do not have the numbers or enough leaders right now for what is needed to begin on November 4. We can get them in the next two and half months. This proposal is made in full recognition of the huge leap in our work, and for the millions of people who want the nightmare to end.
First, we must understand that the kind of struggle that we are calling for on November 4th is absolutely essential. Waiting till next year could well be too late. There is freedom in really understanding this. To just keep on keeping on with what we and other forces have been doing will very likely lead to real catastrophe. Understanding that hard truth opens up and compels us, together with many other people, to find and fight for the ways and means to meet that necessity that is objectively posed and underscored by setting a date to begin. The principle here is that really understanding the necessity we face opens up the potential to find and act on new freedom to transform that necessity.
We should clearly understand that we are not organizing for November 4 in a situation where nothing else is happening but us and the Trump/Pence Regime. Quite the opposite. Every social force in society is in the mix in one way or another. The process of organizing and leading towards November 4 will be the back and forth, the interrelationship between what the Trump/Pence Regime does, what other fascist forces do, how the Democrats and even some Republicans conciliate with and also object to and oppose the regime, what other social forces do—the analyses they put forth and the struggles they initiate, as well as actions and events in the world from other governments, and even natural disasters (recall Katrina1); AND, all of this in relation to what Refuse Fascism puts forth and does. We will have to lead through a contentious mix of forces and events consistently putting forth our position as concentrated in the two Calls (the Call for November 4 and Refuse Fascism’s founding statement) and leading struggle as part of organizing to make a real beginning on November 4. By calling for November 4, we will actually be in a far stronger position, should masses of people come out in response to a breaking event in large numbers, to advance the date to earlier, if conditions emerge that make that possible.
There is another important dimension to comprehend about why only the people through mass struggle in the ways that Refuse Fascism is calling for could lead to removing the whole regime and a positive outcome.
I want to read two paragraphs that appear on the website of the Revolutionary Communist Party, REVCOM.US:
The Democrats, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, etc., are seeking to resolve the crisis with the Trump presidency on the terms of this system, and in the interests of the ruling class of this system, which they represent. We, the masses of people, must go all out, and mobilize ourselves in the millions, to resolve this in our interests, in the interests of humanity, which are fundamentally different from and opposed to those of the ruling class.
This, of course, does not mean that the struggle among the powers-that-be is irrelevant or unimportant; rather, the way to understand and approach this (and this is a point that must also be repeatedly driven home to people, including through necessary struggle, waged well) is in terms of how it relates to, and what openings it can provide for, “the struggle from below”—for the mobilization of masses of people around the demand that the whole regime must go, because of its fascist nature and actions and what the stakes are for humanity.
From my point of view, what is concentrated in these two paragraphs is extremely important and helpful to understanding the dynamics at play in the situation we face and the plan we have put forward—even as it is not necessary for people in Refuse Fascism to share this analysis of the system and its ruling class that is concentrated in these paragraphs.
There are two points I want to underscore here. The first paragraph concentrates the reason why the people must take independent action outside the normal confines of two-party politics. The Democrats will not and cannot provide an answer that is in the interests of humanity to this fascism because they are part of the same system which has created the conditions that gave rise to and foster this fascism. As we saw when Trump launched missiles at Syria, the Democrats applauded, showing that when it comes to fundamental interests of their empire, they share with the fascist section of the ruling class a belligerent grotesque American chauvinism. Listen to the praises of the Democrats for the Generals John Kelly and Mad Dog Mattis. When Trump in his State of the Union address sang the praises of one of the Navy SEALs from the January raid in Yemen, CNN commentator Van Jones gushed that in that moment, Donald Trump “became President.”
Second, as the new Refuse Fascism Call for November 4 says: “The cracks and divisions among the powers already evident today will sharpen and widen. As we draw more and more people forward to stand up, all of this could lead to a situation where this illegitimate regime is removed from power.” In other words, the infighting among the rulers—between the Democrats and the Republicans, and things like the Mueller investigation—all provide openings for the struggle from below. Without that struggle from below, these cracks at the top will either amount to nothing, or will resolve in ways that could be bad for the people—such as with Pence put in power with all factions of the ruling class firmly uniting behind him and the fascist program intact.
Before moving to our immediate plans, I want to underscore again that a key obstacle that we must overcome is people today having little experience with truly mass struggle that steps outside the bounds of the normal political processes, including protest as usual. Our actions and our organizing between now and then must make this different way of doing things come alive for masses of people.
In the July 15th Refuse Fascism speech, after putting forth the vision of the kind of struggle that we are calling for on November 4, we said:
This is both unprecedented, and at the same time, there are models and experience to learn from. Nixon and his Vice President, Spiro Agnew were both driven from power.
More recently in South Korea millions filled the streets night after night, at first starting just on the weekends, and they eventually drove their President from power. The Ukraine, Tahrir Square in Egypt—people in their millions protested day after day night after night creating a political crisis for those in power to remove despised leaders. There were shortcomings for sure, and there are differences, but never, NEVER, underestimate the power of the people when we struggle righteously in the interests of humanity.
WE CAN DO THIS. The people are there. The anger is there. If we act creatively with determination, confronting the regime and their representatives and institutions and always doing so in ways that puts the truth to the lies of what they represent. Making people feel through what we do that immigrants, Muslims, women, Blacks, Latinos, LBGTQ, people all over the world are full human beings, showing through word and deed that we will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime … that they must GO! And that they, and we, are the ones to make it happen.
Before moving to briefly putting out the plans, I want to reiterate that while we should aim for mobilizing millions and put that before people, and if they all came out on November 4 that would be great, but the process is more likely to be, and what we must concretely achieve through our organizing, is that at least several thousand people in each of several key cities begin on November 4, and that through a process, this quickly becomes a platform from which to rapidly call forward and draw forward more and more people. There will be a back-and-forth struggle in the media, among the people, and with the authorities. Through this there will be a dynamic where through ebbs and flows as well as attempts to slander and suppress what we are doing, more and more people can be drawn forward. Where thousands become tens and then hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions.
After discussion of the proposal and Call for November 4, 2017, we will discuss the upcoming Regional Conferences on August 19 and develop plans to organize and build for November 4.
I will close with the last lines of the Call for November 4, which echoes the mission statement of Refuse Fascism, the Call to Action:
“On November 4, 2017, we will stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to demand: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!”
1. Hurricane Katrina was a major hurricane in 2005. In addition to being a devastating natural disaster, Katrina became a significant political and social crisis due to the criminal response of George W. Bush and his administration that dramatically magnified the death, the suffering, the vicious and racist repression and the widespread displacement of those hardest hit, especially larger numbers of Black people.