Refuse Fascism Regional Conferences, August 19, 2017, Presentation 1: What Are We Calling For?
Good Evening. Here now the news for Friday night November 17th 2017:
Our top story tonight remains the continuing protests and occupations now taking place in over a dozen cities and on more than 20 campuses nationwide. Protesters vow they will not leave or stop until Trump and Pence are removed from office. This morning, police in Los Angeles arrested over 300 protesters. Protest organizers announced this afternoon that hundreds of thousands will take to the streets on Saturday in coordinated marches in protest of this mass arrest. Alt-Right websites ominously called for their members to put a stop to the weekend marches. Supporters of President Trump have called for a “March to Keep America Great” over Thanksgiving weekend.
In related developments, lawsuits have been filed by several city governments to remove protesters, and in response, civil liberties organizations have countersued. A coalition of multi-faith religious leaders has presented a letter to Congress requesting that they act now on the demand of the protests to remove this administration for the good of the country and the world. German Chancellor Merkel spoke to European leaders about issuing a statement that the U.S. should respect the rights of their citizens.
Later in this broadcast we will have responses from Trump Administration officials and Congressional leaders. But first, after a break, we return with the latest tweet from President Trump.
Friends, the break we are going to make this afternoon, is planning a breakthrough to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power. We are going to break with how, up to now, opposition to the regime only engages in never ending critique and protest against each outrage of the Trump/Pence Regime and actions of the Alt-Right Nazi thugs. Yes, exposure, critiques, analysis and especially protest are all righteous and necessary, but because we are dealing with a regime that is fascist—remaking law and the norms of society with enormous peril to all of humanity and the earth— we must act so they are removed from power. Today we have the responsibility and the opportunity to get down and seriously plan, struggle, and organize for the only way these fascists could be removed from power. Plan and organize so that the “FAKE NEWS” report I just read… becomes the REAL NEWS… News that we, Refuse Fascism, together with thousands and then millions of people make, beginning on November 4th 2017.
Welcome to the Regional Conference of Refuse Fascism on getting organized to End the Nightmare!
Nazis with torches marching. Nazis murdering. Nazi white supremacist, anti-Semitic, misogynist, homophobic thugs backed up by the President who belligerently let the whole world know this is the way it is going to be in the America he and Pence now rule. Pence said he stands with the President. Trump and his regime are shattering what have been the norms of governance and society in pursuit of a different way of rule, fascism. Trump did not and will not back down. And, while many in power from both parties may criticize and cover their asses and distance themselves from the blunt course language of Trump, they will not call this out as fascism, they will not call out the whole regime, on their own they will not move to remove the whole fascist cabal from power. That is on us.
We undertake this responsibility today not for ourselves alone. We do this now honoring the legacy of Heather Heyer. Most of all we do this because it is in the interests of humanity.
The Call for November 4th says:
THIS NIGHTMARE MUST END. . .
ON NOVEMBER 4, 2017:
We will gather in the streets and public squares of cities and towns across this country, at first, many thousands declaring that this whole regime is illegitimate and that we will not stop until our single demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
Our protest must grow day after day and night after night—thousands becoming hundreds of thousands, and then millions—determined to act to put a stop to the grave danger that the Trump/Pence Regime poses to the world by demanding that this whole regime be removed from power.
“Our actions will reflect the values of respect for all of humanity and world we want—in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime.”
“Our determination to persist and not back down will compel the whole world to take note. Every force and faction in the power structure would be forced to respond to our demand. 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.”
Let’s flesh this out a bit.
First, there are recent historical precedents that give a vision of what we are talking about. In Seoul, South Korea in October of last year, tens of thousands began protests against the President of that country. By mid-November their numbers climbed on certain days to around a million. Then came counter-protests supporting the corrupt President—these were also in the hundreds of thousands. A back and forth struggle unfolded as more and more evidence piled up against the President. But, what kept the issue in front of their country and the world was the unrelenting determination of people to not stop their protest until President Park was removed. She was impeached in early March—over 4 months after they began.
In 2010 and 2011, throughout the Mideast starting in Tunisia and then spreading to Egypt Presidents were removed from power in what has been called the “Arab Spring.” These were significant outpourings of masses of people—millions in some cases—demanding regime change—day after day and night after night. In some countries this lasted weeks, in others, months.
More recently in the United States, on Sept 17, 2011, a few hundred people occupied Zuccotti Park beginning “Occupy Wall Street” to protest income inequality. Encampments spread around the country until mid-November when nationally coordinated police raids shut them down. This was a top story around the world tarnishing the reputation of the U.S. as a “bastion of opportunity.” More recently, last year thousands of people went to Standing Rock to support and take part in the Native American’s brave struggle to protect the water from a pipeline carrying tar sands oil.
Each of these struggles offers lessons, positive and negative, and yes, their particularities are different. Yet, what we should learn from all of these struggles is that when confronting an extraordinary problem—like the necessity for regime change—masses of people must act outside the bounds of normal protest—and do so with the determination to not stop until the demand is won.
What will taking to the streets and public spaces look like here? We must begin in the key cities with at least several thousand people in each city. Many will come in shifts—with the protests swelling in the afternoons and evenings. In some places there will be encampments. Everywhere there will be a need for a round the clock base of operations: for literature, food, hygiene and many other needs.
Starting now we need to plan to be organizing work in different communities to bring a broad and diverse group of people into the protest. The many “Nightmares” described in the Call for November 4th indicates who to reach out to, involve and partner with—who needs to be “in the house.”
The character of the main protest will be nonviolent and respectful of different peoples, genders, and cultures. As it says in the Call: “Our actions will reflect the values of respect for all of humanity and world we want—in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime.”
The protest will be the polar opposite of the “White Power” Nazi/KKK thugs the world saw in Charlottesville—not only in the diversity of who’s there, but in the values, the conviction and courage we project to the world.
We can imagine now that there will be different focuses on different days—different issues, organizations, artists, speakers coming to speak and be present where the protest is centered. We can imagine marches coming to the site and stepping off from the site to locations that concentrate the outrages of the Trump/Pence regime. We can imagine the protest site alive with serious discussions and debates over the big issues of the day, strategizing about the road forward in our struggle to drive out the regime, and getting into and debating what kind of world people want beyond driving out this fascist regime.
This will be a huge, difficult and historic struggle— a political battle and not without cost. Donald Trump has been a racist, misogynist, xenophobic fascist his whole life. Mike Pence is a theocratic Christian fascist and has implemented some of the most anti-women; anti-LGBQT laws of any state governor. We must drive home for people Mike Pence’s truly horrific history and that he has dutifully stood by and supported every Trump policy since they made their unholy, “holy” alliance to bring Christian Fascism fully into the heart of the regime. This is an alliance made to create hell on earth for humanity in the name of a lunatic literalist/fundamentalist “heaven.”
THE POINT: These people and the whole fascist movement have been built up over decades. They have a coherent fascist world view and program and they are in a fight to the finish. Trump is leading the charge, but Mike Pence is a dangerous figure and they have assembled a whole fascist cabal. Our demand that the whole REGIME must go is a tremendous strength of Refuse Fascism.
When earlier this week Trump gave a huge green light to the Nazi thugs and para-military type groups who marauded in Charlottesville, this was not without purpose. Already one person has been murdered by these fascists. We saw and take note of how the police largely stood aside in Charlottesville while these fascist thugs attacked counter protesters. The November 4 Movement will need to stand strong. We will need firm principles of not initiating violence and opposing violence against the people and among the people, while recognizing the right of the people to defend themselves. This will need to guide the security we organize, safeguarding the protest and the people in a way that shows to the world that the people have right on their side.
A KEY in whether or not a momentous struggle such as we are beginning on November 4th succeeds, resides in good measure in whether we are able to come back after being attacked— either by fascist thugs or by the police— and coming back by rallying even more people to our side: masses of many different kinds of people who come out to support and to demand The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go with even greater determination. We should know this now, and plan and organize with this process in mind—thinking through going to work on developing the ties with people and the ability to communicate with millions, to rally the religious and legal communities, the campuses, and all the diversity of people we represent.
This fascist regime will remain in power through 2020 and perhaps beyond if what we, as well as other forces of resistance, just keep doing what we are doing now. If we don’t plan, organize and bring forward the people needed to begin on November 4 then all the suffering that fascism means will be imposed on humanity. Trump and Pence are already directing the fascists in Congress to further re-write voting laws—to throw Black, Latinos, and more off the voting roles to insure that the regime is re-elected. Or, they could impose a “state of emergency” in response to an actual or a manufactured crisis, in order to cement their power and fascist program.
We also need to be awake to the possibility that events could accelerate in such a way that the struggle against Trump takes off sooner than November 4th. In that case, we should push an upsurge as far as it can go, and if we need to move our start date sooner because millions are already staying in the streets day after day, then we will bring all that we have brought forward up to that point, to bear on a new situation.
Change only comes if we—in our thousands, then hundreds of thousands and then millions—disrupt business as usual and force the whole country, the whole world, and all factions of those in power to respond to our demand. If those in power are faced with this determination—including that every time they take steps to attack or undermine and diminish this movement, they are met with even more people coming into the streets (as happened, for example, in South Korea last year), then their ability to govern, to conduct business as usual will be disrupted; they will lose respect and legitimacy in the eyes of people here and internationally—and this—international legitimacy—is a very critical calculation for the rulers of this country. Facing this kind of serious political crisis, sections of those in power could be compelled to see it in their interest to find the ways to resolve an extraordinary and unprecedented political crisis and remove this regime from power. Recall that President Nixon and his Vice President were both forced from office.
We have to be firm in our core understanding—and we have to spread this understanding—that this is a fascist regime which poses an existential danger to humanity. People got a sense of this last week with the threats against North Korea and then with Trump’s open backing of murdering Nazi/KKK thugs. THIS IS NOT NORMAL and WE ARE GOING TO LAUNCH A STRUGGLE ON NOVEMBER 4TH THAT IS ALSO NOT NORMAL: thousands and eventually millions in the streets demanding the regime must go! It will and must be extraordinary. With courage and conviction… and with a serious plan and organizing campaign, We Will End this Nightmare.
Read Presentation 2 from the regional conferences:
Why the Fascist Character of This Regime Makes It Possible – and Necessary – to Mobilize Millions to Drive It From Power