I wanted to start by welcoming everyone to the webinar, whether you’ve been around since the early days of Refuse Fascism or if you’re brand-new and just finding out about this, you’re right to be here. I’m really happy to be here with you. We’re at a crucial juncture so it’s very important that everyone is here.
I want to start by saying that from whatever background or perspective you’re coming from, if you know that the Trump/Pence regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, and that they must go at the soonest possible time, and that you need to act to make that happen, then you belong here. If you’ve been around for a while — if you were in the November 4th 2017 actions — you were right then and your actions mattered. Imagine what the landscape would be like today if we’d never come on the scene to challenge the legitimacy of this regime and set people’s sights on driving them out at the soonest possible time, when everything on the landscape was saying that we have to accept this because this is a regime that was elected into power.
Imagine if there had not been a force out on the scene recognizing that this was fascism, which lot of people have caught up with now. Refuse Fascism had this analysis from before the inauguration and it was necessary. Since then of course things have changed. The world has changed. We have continued to look at reality and confront reality in order to stay on this mission, because the entire future of humanity and the planet depends on millions of people who do not want a fascist America actually standing up and taking unprecedented action.
Our founding analysis was that the election of Trump and Pence was a leap in fascism and it had to be driven out at the soonest possible time through a different kind of protest. Sustained nonviolent mass protests starting with thousands, leading to millions of people in the streets saying “no,” refusing to accept a fascist America. This has not happened yet but the need for it and the basis for it is still there. Only this movement from below can dislodge a regime that is at the head of the most powerful country in the world.
We need a force that is an equal or greater force against the millions of people who are part of this fascist movement. We said back in 2017 or 2016 that the normal channels nor the Democratic Party could be relied on to stop this, and all of that has been borne out to be true. We said this fascism would advance in stages with periods of normalization, and that has been borne out to be true. If we think about what could have been prevented if more people had come out and come around to the understanding that this was fascism and it was up to us to drive it out: concentration camps at the border where tens of thousands of immigrants are being tortured and it’s going to get worse; millions of Muslims banned from traveling to and from this country; the courts being stocked with fascists including the Supreme Court.
Now the reasons the millions didn’t come out is not mainly due to our shortcomings. Other forces came onto the scene with a message of driving out elements of this fascist program, calling for mass protest – but the fact is that no one was able to solve this problem. People as a whole were not as outraged or motivated to act over the last two years as they were at the first Women’s March where 3 million people came out. But that doesn’t mean that our founding mission was wrong. It is even more correct today than it was then.
So now more than ever, we really need to bring people back to the core principle that was the beginning of our founding call which is the slogan, “In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America.” I’m going to talk through that a little bit so that we really can pick this apart and understand why it’s so important.
Why “in the name of humanity?” Because the consequences of this are for all of humanity. It’s not just a threat to America or American democracy. It is a threat to all the world’s people, the 7 billion and even other life on this planet. The very existence of life on this planet.
No other force can actually be relied on to fight for the interests of humanity. We’ve just witnessed an impeachment where people at the top were fighting something out that was important. But those are forces up there and their job is to fight for the interest of Americans and the interest of America and American power, for the interests of the system. That’s their job. All of us, the millions of us who hate this, who do not want this future, we are the ones who actually can and must fight for the interests of all humanity. The whole world is counting on us to do this.
Fascism disguises itself as the will of the people and it narrowly defines who is human. We have to reject that completely by saying what we’re doing and going forward opposing this with everything we’ve got in the name of humanity … because our interests are the interests of humanity. A world where our girls don’t have to grow up to be the property of the state and of the church. A world where the planet can actually sustain life and we can thrive. That is in our interest. So that is why it’s important that we expand and we really push and challenge people to expand their sights that this is not for us alone, this is for all of humanity.
Then I think it’s worth defining who is the “we”? In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America. Look, there’s no savior coming from up high. This has been shown to be true over the last 3 years. People have waited for Mueller, for Nancy Pelosi. Things develop and change but in the end that savior from up high is not what is going to resolve this crisis. It’s going to take the millions of us, the mass movement from below standing up for our own interests which are the interests of humanity. People around the world have been rising up in the streets driving out hated regimes, and even the most entrenched dictatorial regimes cannot withstand the political crisis of people in the streets day in day out. So that is the way. It’s the millions of us down here who have the interests of humanity at heart.
The next part of the statement, “we refuse to accept.” Now think about what was said right after the election that has been drummed into people’s heads over and over really over decades now but certainly over the last three years, that we have to accept the fascist regime because it was elected. And if you don’t like it then all you can do is vote them out.
The logic of this is actually putting the future of our children and grandchildren at risk, taking away any guarantee that there even will be future generations. It is at a time when the planet is burning. We’re at a critical time in human history. To accept this – to accept a science-denying, climate-denying genocidal regime is actually accepting that the world can end and we have nothing that we can do about it. This is absurd.
To “refuse to accept it” — there’s a lot packed into that. The very first thing we have to do is refuse to accept that we will hand over the future to fascists. “No election fair or foul can legitimize the fascist regime.” This was also in the founding call. If illions of people vote for immigrants to be thrown into concentration camps, that only means that millions of us who do not want that, who have a conscience, who still have some of their humanity, have to act in opposition to that. First by refusing to accept it and then by acting. Otherwise we’re complicit. That’s what’s meant when people say “don’t be a ‘good German’.” The majority of German people did not agree with Hitler, certainly not on everything. Certainly they did not probably want people slaughtered in their name. But they accepted it by not opposing it in the way that it should have been opposed. So refusing to accept it is a very positive thing to say.
And the last part is “fascist America.” We should start here with the America part because people don’t really understand the stakes of this. Right now there’s one superpower in the world who has the most powerful military in the world, and that has a disproportionate influence on everything that happens globally. You know what happens here affects somebody in Nigeria, affects somebody in India. It affects somebody on a little island in the Pacific. So what happens here actually can determine what happens to the future of humanity and the planet. And we have to confront that.
We have to confront that power. We have a fascist regime with its finger on the nuclear trigger. It is not unimportant that this is the only country in the world that has actually dropped nuclear weapons. But a fascist America is not just a pendulum swing, as awful as that can be, but a radical remaking of government and society for generations to come. This is what they have stated that they want. A hateful heinous regime controlling the military, controlling the executive branch, and now essentially controlling the judiciary and the legislative. Why did Trump say “I have the police, the military, and bikers for Trump on my side?” Because that’s true. This is a regime that now has its hands on the levers of power and also has a base. It has a base of people where the worst in society is coming out.
There’s a whole change in the way that this system is being governed. Fascism rules by organized repression and terror by the government. Civil liberties are stripped away. Laws are re-written, dissent criminalized, the courts packed with fascists and the separation of powers and church and state ultimately eviscerated. This is what is happening now as part of radically remaking society. The Trump/Pence regime sharply attacks those in positions of power. This is what is happening now. Fascism mobilizes mobs of vicious thugs with Nazis marching and murdering in Charlottesville and recently in Richmond, in a different form which was much more normalized and legitimized.
So a fascist America is a nightmare for Americans. It’s a nightmare for people here who are living within this border. It’s a nightmare for immigrants who are trying to cross over because their countries have been destroyed. It is a nightmare the whole world is feeling now.
So I’m going to say the statement again. “In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America.” This is the spirit and understanding that we need to take on the biggest challenge of our lives right now. This regime is the most dangerous regime in the world. The future … you know really it is not an exaggeration to say that the future of humanity depends on what we do. For everything positive that we want for the future, this is a message that needs to get out.