Trump is unhinged and his whole regime is a danger to humanity. Millions feel this.
The question is posed: will people act—will Refuse Fascism lead?
Now is the time to mobilize to demand:
THIS NIGHTMARE MUST END: THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
Following is an edited version of an informal 15-minute talk that Andy Zee, a co-initiator of Refuse Fascism and spokesperson for Revolution Books, gave to a conference call of 38 organizers of Refuse Fascism this past weekend. What follows is based on preparatory notes which have been edited for publication and then slightly expanded to add context for a broader audience. Andy Zee is reflecting on the call from the leadership of Refuse Fascism for actions to be organized by RefuseFascism.org this week, and why it is critical, from his perspective as a revolutionary and advocate for the new communism developed by Bob Avakian. Refuse Fascism is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in our recognition that the Trump/Pence regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power.
1. There is a moment when once again, but in a way that is truly unprecedented, the question, the reality, that Trump is a danger to humanity presses and imposes on the whole society and when millions of people are agonized and in turmoil.
There has been coincidence and perhaps coordination in the events of the last week, beginning with the McCain funeral and running through Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward’s book; the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nominee hearings; and the New York Times Anonymous Op-ed piece, reportedly from a Trump regime insider who claims to be working to prevent Trump from wreaking havoc. And now, Obama hitting the campaign trail speaking out against the danger of Trump and directing people to vote for the Democrats in the midterms. What all of this should tell us is that the split in the ruling class over the danger of Trump in particular, but in actuality reflecting a larger divide over the direction that the regime as a whole is taking, has burst forth in even sharper ways.
The McCain funeral (which he orchestrated before his death) was a rallying call to all the “wise” rulers—to the patrician class—to return to what has been at the center of the cohering norms and promise of America—which yes, is to give voice to mythology that masks the underlying reality of empire, exploitation and oppression, but which at the same time does reflect a different set of cohering beliefs and a different set of governing norms, principles, and policies that are sharply posed against the values and program of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. There is a real and qualitative difference between fascism and bourgeois democracy, and what we saw with McCain’s funeral was a concerted effort to rally the different factions of that bourgeois-democratic section of the ruling class to stand up against Trump and what he concentrates. George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who have sharp differences between them, nonetheless spoke here to prevent what they see as a dangerous direction that will undermine the values and governing principles which they believe are the best way to preserve and protect the American empire.
2. The Anonymous Op-ed—whoever it was and whatever their motive—whether this was a call to the masses who are concerned to not, worry there are “adults” are in the room; or is a self-justification should Trump go for whatever reason; or to prepare to keep and defend aspects of the Trump/Pence fascist program; or even a call to lay the groundwork for Trump’s removal … I don’t know, and that is not the essential question. That is true even as, if the person who wrote the Op-ed piece is outed and Trump does attempt to go after them or the New York Times legally, we may have the necessity to defend them. But, the salient point for us is that there is an important consequence of this Op-ed, most likely unintended, which is that millions of people are aroused or at least have the question re-posed in their minds of what the fuck is this danger to humanity still doing at the seat of power? However people come at this, it is now in their faces. The very real FEAR of nuclear or environmental devastation, of losing basic rights to abortion, immigration, dissent. DISGUST at the lying, corruption, demeaning culture of hatred and bigotry. OUTRAGE that this narcissistic white supremacist, misogynist, Nazi pig is still in power.
What is the channel for all that to be expressed? Will the only channels be relying on the political processes, in one form or another, that currently exist—processes that have left the regime in power up to now? Will the only avenue be voting for and pressuring the Democrats? Even as some of them may raise a hue and cry of protest, and even as they genuinely express their convictions, at the end of the day they can only and will only leave people with the message and program to support, rely on and vote for us, the Democrats, to resolve this. We need to recognize that because of their disproportionate influence and because their social base is looking—even begging—for them to act, when they step out and do so, this will have the contradictory effect of arousing the people; of sharpening the contradictions with the fascist regime; and at the same time attempt to lead the masses of people who would prefer for the Democrats to resolve matters for them. Nonetheless, what we are emphasizing in making this Call to Act this week, is that the questions are posed: Who will lead the masses to act in their own interests to drive out this regime? Who if not us?
How will Refuse Fascism ever realize its single overriding mission, “massive, sustained nonviolent protests in the streets of cities and towns across the country—protests that continue day after day and don’t stop, creating the kind of political situation in which the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from power is met” if we don’t give all we’ve got to mobilize masses of people in this situation?
Could this situation turn out to be another moment that ends up piling more evidence on top of evidence of actions of outrage that soon peter out? Yes, that is possible … but that is not all that is possible. Do we see the depth of the crisis that this moment reveals in the sharpening contradiction at the top of the ruling class and what that should tell us about the potential to bring forward the masses of people whose interests will not be served by those in power who seek to return to what was, which is to say which limits the people’s struggle and things on terms that maintain the conditions that have spawned this fascism in the system we live under? The Democrats will not fundamentally challenge or unleash the fury of the people because they are committed to maintaining the system of capitalism and the coherence of America that has two and a half centuries of white supremacy woven into its fabric—the genocide and theft of Native people’s land, on slavery and continued oppression of people of color; a country that then expanded the wealth extracted from literal human bondage with vicious exploitation and demonization of immigrants that continues with new groups subjected to this oppression in new horrific forms as we speak on this phone call, with hundreds of children separated from their parents; and the projection and enforcement of an empire of exploitation and oppression around the world. Again, McCain and Bush and Obama, with all their sharp differences with each other, see projecting America to the world in the name of democracy (while sometimes acknowledging some of its “imperfections and faults”) while seeing multilateral global institutions and alliances as the best way to advance U.S. imperialist interests, and at the same time are sounding the alarm and rallying their class against the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist program which they regard as a great danger to their whole setup. They have a deep belief that their program is the only and best way to advance those interests, that those interests must be advanced through the established channels and not getting to the root of the problem. And that would mean that not only all of the oppressive fabric of this society would be left intact with all that means for people’s lives, but the whole political structure that enforces this empire (from the ICE to the injustice system of mass incarceration) will also be intact to enforce those relations. And, note this well, leaving this just to elections and the Democrats will also leave the hard social base of Donald Trump—that now is determined to have their White Supremacist, Patriarchal Christian Fascist world delivered to them—enraged and even more vengeful, while the progressive strata will have no initiative, having left the Democrats to conciliate, collaborate and perhaps very partially ameliorate the damage already done.
This is why Cory Booker will risk being “Spartacus” in breaking Senate protocol and even pay some price for that and set some example… But he did not call out all those—hundreds of thousands and millions—who oppose Kavanaugh to, for example, blockade D.C. or surround the Capital … and instead will lead people to see the only remedy lies in the midterm elections. BUT, WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE and LEAD PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND AND ACT at a moment like this, when there is a sharpening clash in the ruling class, when TV news not only plays Booker’s statement but shows the scene from the movie Spartacus where slave after slave stands up in the face of the slave masters to say “I am Spartacus,” that an idea is planted (and promoted). Again, we ask, will we call all of those Spartacuses forward to act now… people of diverse political persuasions who are now aroused, many of whom are looking for and all are needing leadership and a way to act?
3. Do we see the real potential in what is unfolding right now and as things may well continue to sharpen? Protests that begin this week could continue—perhaps every week. Depending on what we do and what others see their necessity is and what they do—including masses of people and other social forces and groups—as the week unfolds with perhaps more revelations, attacks and possibly or likely the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Wednesday evening’s protests and speak-outs, or next Saturday, could see a flood of forces pouring into the streets. We could even possibly be faced soon, or in the future, with candidates for elected office wanting to join and even speak at Refuse Fascism protests. Yes, different groups and forces who objectively and/or even consciously will try to take things into the ways they see for resolving the crisis… but we have to understand that this is the complex mix we want and will necessarily be a part of the process of getting to the millions. We do have to put forth and struggle and organize for what must the solid core of our protests and if such forces succeed in cooling things out by taking the actions of masses of people back into the midterms full stop, that will undermine the masses ability to drive out the regime. But we have to understand that to get to where millions are in the streets, that contention over programs will be a part of the process—with many coming into the streets, from points of view which will correspond to what people have been trained in—which is relying on forms of protest that are bound up with a process of protesting as a way to mobilize for the ballot box and/or pressuring those in power. Yet, when people do stand up, it is in large part because they feel the urgency to act, and that is something we can work with and lead.
Refuse Fascism has a clear program: that only millions of people in the streets and staying in the streets day after day in sustained nonviolent protest can create the situation where the regime is removed from power, which is the only way that the interests of humanity will be served. All the way through until the regime is driven from power, we will be struggling for bringing forward the people, the organization, and the unity to achieve that, to developing increasing understanding and momentum towards that goal which will necessarily take place in the course of struggling over what program will resolve this.
My main point here—a key “take away” in this third point in this presentation—is that rather than see—and worse—be bound by what could be the limitations of the current situation … the Refuse Fascism plan for this week of mass expressions is based on and is aiming for the potential of this situation to continue to sharpen, and to give expression to and provide a vehicle for the mass struggle to drive out the regime to grow, with Refuse Fascism not only putting its program in front of society and directly into the hands of thousands, but also building the organization as well as the unity with other organized groupings—from religious to more political and cultural forces—to build the momentum towards our objective. And we’ll work for and see whether or not that comes out of this round of struggle—and we most definitely should not rule that out.
Let me just elaborate on one more point so we have more clarity on the actual political situation that is unfolding. The Republican Party having increasingly developed in a fascist direction and now having thrown their lot in with Trump/Pence regime—including the unleashing of the hard core white supremacist social base being called into battle with campaign rallies and through daily tweets and more explicit calls on fascist media and social media—will not back down. In response, the Democrats will not be calling their base out to act in a way such that they could really be unleashed to struggle against fascism as if the future depended on it—which it does. Just imagine if the Democrats walked out of Congress and stayed out till the regime was gone, or even until the nomination of Kavanaugh was scuttled, and they called on the people to occupy the streets of D.C. and cities around the country. Unimaginable now … Yes, why? Because they want to and have a need to keep things within the bounds of the system. And, when they do call protests, they do so strictly to rope people into the arena of the elections—including on terms that the Democratic Party leadership wants to compete with Trump—on the economy, and being even more pro-military. The Democrats also allow some space for reformers. Obama put his arm around that last week pulling these people in, saying: “… with each new candidate that surprises you with a victory that you supported, a spark of hope happens.” But the reality will be that the system will change the reformers and not the other way around.
What if, instead, the people act in their own interests? Then, the equation changes and real things that are in contention in their inter–ruling class divisions (that impact lives of millions and which people are deeply concerned about) could come into play in ways that are favorable for the masses in motion to fight even more for our own interests and continue to fight as that struggle sharpens.
An important tool for people broadly to understand the roots of how we got to this point in history, the dynamics of the situation, and what to do about it, is the film of a talk by Bob Avakian, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America; A Better World IS Possible! This film is featured on the Refuse Fascism website, and members of Refuse Fascism would benefit from repeated viewings of it, as well as sharing it with others.
One last point on the potential of this situation, again without a crystal ball or guarantees: the underlying contradictions of the capitalist system we live under and the way that has taken shape in the history of this country have given rise to the current moment, and the dynamics of this are now taking shape in the political reality of fascism as a particular form of rule of that system—concentrated in the Trump/Pence fascist regime. This is in contention with what has been the mainstream of ruling circles—and in sharp antagonism with the interests of the majority of humanity. What is unfolding right now has real elements of a constitutional crisis, which could give rise to even sharper constitutional crisis on a whole more profound level. And as this unfolds in a sharply contended political situation, it could possibly give rise to legitimacy crises and vice versa in what could be a contended back-and-forth mix. From a revolutionary analysis and perspective, all of this holds the potential for a radically different future—to overthrow the system that has given rise to this fascism and all the horrors of this system. While this is not the unity or program of Refuse Fascism, I think it crucial that this analysis and how an actual revolution could be made be engaged by thousands and millions. In this regard I want to commend to your attention the announcement on revcom.us that very soon there will be a film of a talk by Bob Avakian—Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.
4. In conclusion, this a moment when the NIGHTMARE is urgently palpable to millions yet again. This is a moment when, if there is a force that gives people a way to act that really does have the potential to create the political situation where the regime IS driven from power—they could be moved. Refuse Fascism is that force … but we are that only if we act now. That is the thinking behind working hard this week to call forth everyone to a mass meeting—everyone we have known, all those groups and organizations that are working to oppose the regime, and getting the word out far and wide. Calling students and others to protest and speak out on Wednesday after work—in the public squares. This should happen everywhere across the country. We should recognize that this week will likely bring the confirmation (or not) of Kavanaugh and all that this could call forth from the people. This then is creating momentum for masses to come out on the weekend. Refuse Fascism will be providing a vehicle for all who feel a renewed moment to act—an outrage at Trump and all that he has brought forth—which is a regime bringing a fascist America—to stand up, to join the great struggle and cause to end the nightmare and drive the Trump/Pence regime out. We will declare and infuse this with the understanding and stand that In the Name of a Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.