The Los Angeles City Attorney has just criminally charged eleven members of Refuse Fascism, including numerous members of the Revolution Club in LA, an Iraq War vet, as well as a noted artist and USC professor. This is a serious attack on the movement against fascism.
Courthouse ~ 1945 S. Hill St. (Washington & Hill, near the Metro Blue Line) Dept. 60
The multiple misdemeanor charges stem from two actions on the 101 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles and from arrests originating from a public challenge to the fascist Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at UCLA. All these actions were sounding the alarm about a fascist regime, and aimed to build a movement to drive out the regime.
Michelle Xai and Perry Hoberman from the Los Angeles chapter of Refuse Fascism on the Michael Slate show on Pacifica Radio KPFK, talking about what’s behind these criminal charges, and the stakes of defending the people facing criminal charges in the context of building a movement to drive out the Trump/Pence Regime.The following are excerpts of that interview.
Michelle Xai: The Challenge Posed by These Charges
You know we are facing fascism and you know and we’re very quickly approaching the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and so these are very urgent times.
And in the face of that, eleven Refuse Fascism and Revolution Club members are being criminally charged for basically sounding the alarm of fascism and calling on people to get out of their comfort zones and get out in the streets in our millions to put forward this demand that This Nightmare Must End! and that The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
These charges are stemming from three different protests, two of them from the two actions on the 101 freeway last year (see Refuse Fascism Blocks LA Freeway… and Trump/Pence Must Go protesters engage in non violent civil disobedience on LA 101…) and then another one from UCLA [in February of this year] where Steve Mnuchin was the first cabinet member to be hosted by UCLA. People challenged this fascist agenda and called on people to not be silent in the face of the these fascist policies that are being implemented to further maintain the terrible conditions of people not just in this country but all over the world.
People were arrested in all those incidents and now people are being charged. Also people that were not arrested at the time in these incidents are also being charged. But when you think about the consolidation of fascism – you think about how quickly these people move to silence dissent and change the laws and even get rid of the democratic rights as we know it – you can see how they go after some of these people that are really putting something on the line and are calling on people to get out of their comfort zones and to call this out for what it is, and to mobilize millions of people to get out into the streets.
So this is a really big fight that we have to wage, a political fight that we have to wage in the courts and in the streets in society and make this a really big question: that this is fascism, this is how fascism consolidates, this is how it moves. And actually use this as an opportunity to have people look at, you know, you’re going to put people in jail for speaking out — UCLA students for speaking out and challenging these fascist policies and for getting out there and really calling on people to stop this nightmare? So this is the big fight that is ahead of us.
Perry Hoberman: There’s No Middle Ground
I was involved in one of the freeway actions and there’s multiple messages that we were trying to get out at the time. We were trying to wake people up and publicize upcoming actions that were coming, but it was to also to basically show people that protest as usual, just staying home and signing positions or getting out and voting or even just showing up for the women’s march is not enough.
What we’re facing, we haven’t faced before. We’ve faced all kinds of stuff but this is, you know, you just have to read the papers every day. You don’t even have to anymore because you know what’s going on. They’re just ratcheting this up and up and up and every time they get away with something they can ratchet it up more and we have to put our foot down and say no this can’t happen and we were trying to get that message out.
These were actions of conscience and they had a year to file charges and clearly at some point they looked at it and decided to go ahead and do it even though they know this was nonviolent protest. We need people to show up at the courtroom for our arraignments. We need donations. We have legal expenses now. People should really get involved. You’re on one side of this or the other there is no middle ground any more. You’re either opposing this you know and doing everything you can to stop it or you are acquiescing, you’re a part of it.
Michelle Xai: From All Walks of Life, From All Perspectives: Get Involved in the Fight to Drive Out the Regime
Part of this is, people need to get involved in this fight to drive out the regime. All this is actually part of the movement that we need to really forge. I was thinking about this on the national level, I was just reading this morning some of the reports from people that went to D.C. to stand up against the white supremacists, and the people that they met. I read that one of the organizers in D.C. made a point about how this organization is able to mobilize people from around the country, and when you think about putting your life on hold and going to D.C. to stand up against these white supremacists like that means some form of sacrifice.
Think about building this movement on a national level and think about people that really are putting something on the line to really mobilize people to stand up and to not allow this, and think about the kinds of people involved here. There’s people in the Revolution Clubs, an Iraq War vet, students and a professor from USC and then there’s revolutionary communists. And people from different walks of life, different perspectives that really see the urgency to put something on the line. And then all the comments that came after some of these videos actually went viral on social media, there was a lot of people that were showing a lot of appreciation that really were rooting for us. And all those people, and with all all those sentiments, that really see that this has to be done. And think about what is it going to take to stop Kavanaugh when it’s not up in the ballot in November, we don’t have an option there to stop him.
We actually have to put something on the line and so what we’re calling for is for people that really stand with this message to call the city attorney’s office and really demand that all of the charges against all the defendants be dropped. And if you have an organization, if you’re a part of a church, open up your church open up your organization, have one of the defendants come and speak about this. And we really need lots of funds. You know there’s eleven of us and we have to hire attorneys.
This Wednesday September 5, 8:30 a.m. at the Metropolitan Court House 1945 S. Hill St. near the Metro blue line, Department 60. Be there! Contact Refuse Fascism in Los Angeles: 323-946-1742.
Listen to the entire interview on Soundcloud ->