Refuse Fascism spoke with Christian, one of the activists who was part of both the Times Square #OUTNOW protest on March 30 and the Trump International Hotel body bag protest on April 18 in New York City about why he has felt compelled to be in the streets demanding Trump/Pence #OUTNOW.
Q: These are scary and dangerous times, what compelled you to be part of the Refuse Fascism actions at Times Square and in front of the Trump International Hotel?
A: So much is scary, not just because of the health and economic issues that we are all worried about, but with the Trump/Pence Fascist regime and their enablers. They’re opportunists, they’re going to use the crisis to extend their power. And they have no limits. They don’t believe in democracy. They want to replace democracy with a permanent, cult-like rule under Trump. And Trump wouldn’t be nearly as powerful as he is if the Republicans in the Senate weren’t anti-democracy, they don’t believe in a two-party system, they believe in a one-party system.
Q: How do you see the relationship between this coronavirus crisis and the trajectory the regime is on?
A: Trump has used this crisis as an opportunity. Rather than taking impeachment as a sign he needed to back off his manipulation of law and order, flying in the face of our democratic system, it is now essentially all rules are off. Anyone who was against him is fired. He is pardoning all his friends on no legal basis except “I’m president and nobody dares say no.” And then coronavirus hit, and Trump denied and denied. Trump is not this great and powerful leader, he’s a stooge of corporations and Putin. The idea was to downplay the danger, or the stock market would get hurt, so he denied it was a problem. He didn’t do social distancing when he could have, which failed to reduce the amount of deaths. If Trump had taken COVID seriously from the beginning, the reduction in illness, death and economic damange would have been significant. They were incredibly slow and for the most part failed to roll out testing.
And Trump is using this as an opportunity to remove oversight, to isolate states that don’t vote for him, and even threatened free and fair elections, interfering with elections in Wisconsin. I’m not even convinced that he won’t claim emergency powers and shut down elections in November. People aren’t cognizant of that, people don’t realize how much Trump has done, and he’s not going to get better. He’s going to use this to enhance his fascist agenda.
Q: And so people need to be in the streets?
A: We can be safe about protesting, but we have to sound the alarm. People need to be made aware of how dangerous it is to have an outright fascist in an election year, using the Senate, the judiciary, to manipulate things to his will. And we have this virus that is preventing people from having their voices heard.
So, I felt the need to get out there. Some people want to stay inside, and doing protests online has a place, but there’s no substitute for getting out there in person, doing it safely, but in large numbers. When the fascists are using this crisis to enhance their power, we have to find a way to dig down deep and find ways to resist. We have to find a way to maximize. And if it means me doing a body bag drop at Trump International, or protesting in Times Square, that’s what it takes.
I’m very apprehensive about what will happen if people like myself and others in Refuse Fascism, and other like-minded organizations doing similar stuff don’t dig deep and draw attention to an authoritarian regime that is on the cusp of taking over democracy and destroying the democratic experiment. That’s why I have to be part of acting and any kind of public education and protest strategy that will push back against a fascist regime, invalidating the voices of the majority of citizens and people of the world who don’t want to be ruled by incompetent kings and dictators.
Q: The sole, unifying demand of the #OUTNOW movement is Trump/Pence Must Go, now, and the way for that to happen is mass, nonviolent but sustained protest. How do you see that?
I joined Refuse Fascism in October last year. I got a flyer outside of work. I didn’t grow up with a protesting background, but I’ve also joined with other groups protesting since Trump got elected. I respect the hell out of people who work with these other groups. But when they tell people at the end of protests, “make sure to vote in November,” I don’t think we can wait. Refuse Fascism has people from a lot of different backgrounds including the revcoms, which I’m not. Any protest group drawing attention to what Trump and Pence are doing, fascist power grabs, I’m behind 100%, but the idea that everything will be solved in November? I’m not convinced we’ll have a November, or that elections will be free and fair, given Trump was on trial for manipulating free and fair elections, and he got off.