By a Refuse Fascism activist who took the message of Refuse Fascism into a protest against the U.S.-backed massacre of Palestinian people during the Land Day protests in Gaza |
Meeting the Palestinian demonstrators yesterday was one of the most educational and heartening experiences I’ve had since becoming a volunteer for Refuse Fascism. The protest was in a Palestinian neighborhood but also people from different countries in the Middle East.
They greeted me and other members of Refuse Fascism with warmth and accepted our pamphlets with interest and enthusiasm. Putting aside the characteristic hospitality of Middle Eastern peoples, I believe these demonstrators were more receptive to our mission to take Trump, Pence, and the other fascists out of office than most middle class, white Americans because they are much more closely acquainted with tyranny, such as the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and outrages, such as the Israeli shooting down of youths, children, and women participating in a peaceful demonstration.
I learned a lot from watching deeply engaged people demand that their homeland be free and learned even more from an organizer who showed me how to encourage the Palestinians to struggle harder and more effectively for independence by joining Refuse Fascism.
The most striking example of this was when I interacted with a middle aged woman. As the march started, she held me around the waist and walked in step with me. All the while, she lamented the deaths of the young Palestinians that were taking part in a peaceful demonstration against the Israelis as well as the U.S. government’s prohibition against her return home where she has an uncle that’s 95 years old.
I was trying to comfort her when she turned to me and asked if she could help distribute the pamphlets I was flyering. Instead of seeing this request as an opportunity to recruit the woman as an organizer for RF, I gave her some pamphlets and let her go. Luckily one of the organizers stepped in and talked with her about our overall mission, in organizing all kinds of people in a networks to drive out the Trump/Pence regime, did she know of the ways that she could get this out to people in her community.
She said she was having a BBQ in her building and she could get these flyers out there. Then the organizer asked, could we come and help answer any question that people might have? It is important to do this WITH people so we can learn together, help them and train them to be organizers.
We had a sign that said in big letters “Stop the Massacre of Palestinians! Trump and Pence Must Go!” The we approached some spectators of the march, a few men that were watching from across the street.These were cordial and expressed curiosity about our role in the demonstration. When we showed them the first paragraph on page 3 of the pamphlet, their interest increased.
One man seemed especially enthusiastic about the launching of “massive, sustained nonviolent protests in the streets of cities and towns.” When we talked with him about how we are building networks now for driving out the regime, are there people in the neighborhood or places that we could go to get out this message. He said the mosque and also there were a lot of local businesses owners who would be open to what we are doing. We asked if he would introduce us to his mosque leaders and he said he would take us. We made plans to do this and got a phone number for him so that we can confirm.
We will attend services at a mosque and the BBQ—wonderful opportunities to meet more people and invite them to join Refuse Fascism. Even as we were leaving the protest, there were a lot of people who were coming up to us & asking about the sign. It was very hard to leave the neighborhood when the time came.