We are both novelists. But the situation in which people now find themselves is one difficult for even writers of fiction like ourselves to fully imagine or comprehend: the biggest crisis the fascist Trump/Pence regime has yet faced is also the one that makes it exponentially more challenging, at least right away, for us to use our greatest power to stop this regime from destroying the world — sustained, non-violent mass protests demanding Trump/Pence Out Now.
The newly revised Statement of Conscience/Call to Act, with a preface speaking to this new crisis, arises from a core principle that we proceed from facts and science; we act on what’s real, not what we wish were real. The COVID-19 pandemic is a reality.
Sign the Statement of Conscience / Call to Act and add your reason for signing
However, while we have suspended actively organizing for traditional mass protests during this crisis to prevent this disease from spreading further, the larger problem and the ultimate goal remain the same. If anything, they take on new urgency. Passivity has an increasing death toll. The consequences for many have already been dire, and continue to be dire, and could get much more dire if we don’t act now.
The Trump/Pence regime is one of the worldwide fascist governments that came to power at a time when the people of the world were already facing deep crisis — more than 65 million refugees looking for some way to survive, whole communities drowning and burning because of climate change, the gap between rich and poor widening. Like many of its crimes, the features that make this a fascist regime — its anti-science and theocratic ideology, its assault on truth, its xenophobia and white supremacy, its hatred of the most vulnerable people in society, its attacks on opponents and “fake news” — have exacerbated and escalated an already dismal situation for humanity. This was a terrible time to have fascists in charge, and fascist authorities, while they will be forced to put some legitimate orders in place out of necessity, will also abuse emergency powers if they have to in order to quell dissent.
Together, we need to figure out what action looks like in the coming period. For example, with this global pandemic already disrupting business as usual, what would it mean for people to come out onto their balconies or driveways, banging pots and pans and demanding Trump/Pence out now in the name of humanity? What would it contribute if we use amplified sound to project the new Statement of Conscience and Call to Act in front of ICE detention centers, or lines of people trying to buy basic supplies? These are questions everyone can and should be wrestling with now.
We still need the fascists out. ASAP — not in November, not in 2025, not in 2035. And we are still working towards that victory every single day. That does not and MUST not change. As we continue to learn more about this virus and maintain best practices to stop the further spread, we must also continually weigh the danger of allowing a fascist regime to remain in power in the face of an existential crisis for humanity against the danger of leaving our own shelters. For those most vulnerable to this epidemic, many of whom are already being asked to put their personal safety aside, it is the fascism of this regime that poses the greatest threat to their survival. If a situation arises in which the masses of people feel an urgent need to stand up in legitimate protest, we must stand with them, while advocating that even mass protests adhere to best public health practices.
It is all the more important now that Refuse Fascism gathers strength in this coming period and becomes a pole that attracts millions of people to the understanding that this regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and cannot be tolerated. For over three years, people in this country stood aside when they had a responsibility to rise up in sustained non-violent protest like others were doing around the world. Although millions hated what Trump and Pence represented and what they were doing to immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, women, and the environment, they did not feel compelled to take responsibility for stopping it as long as they could adjust to it and hold on to some level of stability. In fascist regimes throughout history, we have seen people’s desperation to protect their own personal safety leading them along the very trajectory of complacency that eventually doomed it. For millions, that sand castle has now crumbled. Perhaps some mental space has opened up for people to understand the full danger of this regime, even while new physical constraints have now come into play.
The way forward is to get this essential Statement of Conscience and Call to Act into the hands and hearts of millions of people. While we all do our part to contain and mitigate the devastation of the virus, we must spread the understanding of why this regime (and all fascist regimes) must go now. Let’s unleash the people’s creativity on the internet and come up with other forms of non-violent protest, disruption, and civil disobedience that pry open the crisis this regime is facing, bring their legitimacy even more into question, and force their removal from power. In this period of social distancing, let’s help people shed their isolating American chauvinism and continue to forge a community that is connected to all of humanity.