Reprinted from revcom.us
From a correspondent in Los Angeles
A highly motivated, diverse and salty-mouthed group of demonstrators came out to the beach in Santa Monica to declare to the world the announcement of the Out Now Movement that began today in NYC and LA. There were people who drove up from San Diego, and one person who contacted the Refuse Fascism national office and flew down from Seattle to be put to work for the cause. Chantelle Hershberger kicked it off—then others were called to the mic, started by a young woman who has thrown herself into this movement since the first meeting who told everyone there that she’d walk through hell to stop this. Others followed, including an immigration attorney, an impeachment activist, a Handmaid from San Diego, a member of the Revolution Club and others who all spoke to why they felt they could not wait till 2020 and why we had to launch a movement of the people growing every week until Trump and Pence are forced out—which needs to happen NOW.
To begin, 50 people stood on rainbow fabric to spell out Trump/Pence Out Now! as they listened to speeches and got introduced to each other. Atlas Winfrey read a call-and-response poem that galvanized the group and prepared people for the march up onto the historic Santa Monica Pier.
About 10 to 15 fascists were buzzing around the demonstration like flying cockroaches—circling the demonstration with flags on heavy sticks and then weaving in and out of the letters trying to provoke people. As people were lining up to march, the fascists got more aggressive, pushing and shoving and blowing fog horns in people’s ears. People were disciplined and did not take the bait—and took off in a spirited march up onto the pier, where they stopped and held a rally where other people joined them and held signs—and the rally quickly grew to 100 people. As the marchers were linking hands and preparing to do a die-in on the pier, the fascists rushed people and attempted to break into the center of the circle, knocking many people to the ground. Several of them proceeded to pepper spray people in the face—targeting the people leading the demonstration and the UCLA5 as well as an Iraq War veteran whom the fascists really have a vendetta against. At least 10 other people got directly pepper sprayed in the face. As we write, three people have been sent to the emergency room for treatment, and Michelle Xai from Refuse Fascism may have had her arm broken.
Despite the pepper spray attack #TrumpPenceOutNow protesters are even more determined to grow in #.s & momentum to drive out #trump #pence. Where will you be next Sat the 26th? Join us at MacArthur park 2 P.M. Footage @hotchkiss_jon pic.twitter.com/mDpHhpTN9k
— #TrumpPenceOutNow Los Angeles (@RefuseFascismLA) October 20, 2019
People quickly regrouped as medics from Abolish ICE stepped in with milk of magnesia and water to treat people’s burning eyes and faces. The MCs got back on the bullhorns—their faces painted white and their eyes burning with chemicals and anger. People spoke to why we were here—and that the attack was obviously meant to intimidate people and put the fear of coming to demonstrations in the minds of people broadly, but it backfired big time as people linked arms and re-forged their circle—the whole incident underscoring the point that this fascist regime and the mobs of fascist thugs it is spawning has to be stopped! You could feel and see the unity and determination being forged into something fierce and new—something badly needed is now on the scene. The looks on people’s faces said it all—we aren’t scared, we are here and we are not stopping. An older man with a tracheostomy refused to leave for treatment and had his eyes and face washed out on the spot. Students who came with their fathers did not leave and stuck it out to the very end. Old and young people stood their ground. Everyone pledged that this would not stop them and that they would be back next week and the weeks after—that they would spread the news and bring more people back to MacArthur Park next week.
The fascist continued to crash into the center of the march, while the police stood by and did nothing—it was fucking ridiculous—so the march assembled and marched off the pier, chanting “Fuck your borders—humanity first,” with bystanders giving fists and a few fingers. Once at the promenade, people sat down to sum up and absorb the impact of the day and our collective experience with each other—people broke into small groups around students, artists, and social media and got hooked up into networks to work together through the week.
WE’RE GONNA BE BACK NEXT WEEK—with new friends bonded together in a way you do when you’ve been through a test like this together. We’ve got a diverse group of people who are figuring how to come back with more—heading for the next four weeks—to a centrally located immigrant neighborhood, where people from all nationalities and walks of life will be there to say to the immigrant community and the world that this fascist white-supremacist cruelty will not win the day. So Fuck You, Fascists—you only ended up making us stronger. We’re setting out to break the dam of millions who hate this—and wake up all those trying to wait it out—sounding the alarm that this has to be done now—it cannot wait—and it’s on us to do it. Dread fell away just enough for us all to glimpse a fighting chance for hope.