Sam Goldman chats with fellow RefuseFascism.org co-editors Coco Das and Paul Street about the aftermath of the 2022 midterms, Donald Trump declaring his 2024 candidacy and associated happenings this past week. Follow Coco on Twitter at @Coco_Das and subscribe to Paul on Substack at paulstreet.substack.com. Read Paul’s book This Happened Here: Amerikaners, Neoliberals, and the Trumping of America .
Thursday, Dec. 1 From RiseUp4AbortionRights.org: Manifest in green and protest nationwide at courthouses around the country on Thursday December 1, the one-year anniversary of when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case that overturned abortion rights. Through speeches, dramatic bloody die-ins, and in other ways, the protests should make clear that we cannot rely on the courts and have to rely on ourselves to rise up to win legal abortion on demand and without apology everywhere. Find or host a protest here: https://riseup4abortionrights.org/nov-25-dec-1/
Refuse Fascism is more than a podcast! You can get involved at RefuseFascism.org. We’re still on Twitter and other social platforms including the newest addition: mastodon.world/@refusefascism
It’s getting cold now, and you may be thinking about holiday giving. Refuse Fascism beanies are extra warm and a great way to proudly declare where you stand this winter. Volunteers are standing by to ship one or five or 20 to you, so order here!
Music for this episode: Penny the Snitch by Ikebe Shakedown
Refuse Fascism: The Aftermath of the Midterms
Sun, Nov 20, 2022 1:30PM • 49:37
Paul Street 00:00
Fascism is not just about electoral politics. It’s a broad many-sided movement.
Coco Das 00:05
I don’t think Trump is done. He had an ability to galvanize a fascist movement. He was able to bring all these disparate groups of fascists together in order to seize power and get the White House.
Paul Street 00:19
Trump as a candidate, he has a kind of demented, semi-charismatic, malignant narcissist grip on the mind of millions and millions and millions of people.
Sam Goldman 00:30
Whether it is Trump, the Trumpism is not going away. The movement’s aims that it’s going for have not changed, they have not altered. It is merely a question of who might be most effective in reaching those aims.
Coco Das 00:42
In Refuse Fascism we have the slogan: In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America. This is something that needs to actually spread as a commitment very quickly among millions of people.
Sam Goldman 01:15
Welcome to Episode 135 of the Refuse Fascism podcast, a podcast brought to you by volunteers with Refuse Fascism. I’m Sam Goldman, one of those volunteers and host of the show. Refuse Fascism exposes, analyzes, and stands against the very real danger and threat of fascism coming to power in the United States. It’s another weekend in the fall, and so I apologize that I have a cold again and my voice sounds like this. In today’s episode, we’re sharing a conversation I had with a frequent guest of the show, historian Paul Street, whose latest book is This Happened Here. Amerikaners, Neo Liberals and the Trumping of America, and writer, frequent guest and guest host of this show, Coco Das. Both of these good folks are members of the Refuse Fascism editorial board.
Sam Goldman 02:17
But first, thanks to everyone who goes the extra step and rates and reviews on Apple podcasts, shares and comments on social media or YouTube. It helps us reach more listeners. And of course, we read every one. Here are just a few messages from the last week. CGL CGL CGL reviewed the show on Apple podcasts. They wrote: “Love this podcast. The Refuse Fascism podcast is a must listen every week. It is dedicated to understanding hard truths about the origins and direction of the Christian fascist movement, the ground that is breeding it, and its continuing momentum. A word for its host, Sam Goldman: Where a lot of commentators hurl invective or downplay the danger, Sam is a surgeon, cutting deeply into the problem. Her humor and a great appreciation of her audience and her guests are infectious.”
Wow, CGL CGL CGL, thank you! It is what we strive for. I’ll be honest and say I had to check with my mom to make sure she didn’t write it. She didn’t. Over at the YouTube, Bill Wolf wrote regarding the interview last week with Bradley Onishi: “This guy’s been in the belly of the beast. That’s why he gets it so well. Very good interview, important info.” And Bill Fisk 3225 wrote: “Between Bradley Onishi and Andrew Seidel, if you aren’t angry and scared, you are brain dead.” I agree with the Bills. So after you listen to today’s interview, go and check out last week’s episode and that Andrew Seidel interview, if you haven’t, and then go help us find more people who want to refuse fascism by rating and reviewing our show on Apple podcast and encouraging your friends and family to listen to do the same. Subscribe/follow us so you never miss an episode, and of course continue all that sharing and commenting on social media, on YouTube. It matters.
Before we get to today’s interview. I want to take a moment to send love to the families of the victims of the Colorado Springs massacre and to the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs, and nationwide being terrorized by fascist mobs and fascist violence. Today is the Trans Day of Remembrance. Yesterday, it was the eve of the Trans Day of Remembrance and at least five people were killed and 18 injured in a shooting at Q Club, a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club during their drag divas night. The news from Colorado Springs is heartbreaking, infuriating, horrifying, and a painfully predictable outcome of the Republi-fascist war on LGBTQ plus folks very existence. It is past time for uncompromising resistance to actively and visibly refuse fascism and fight for a world where people of all sexual orientations and genders thrive fully as their authentic selves.
Also, I feel the need to mention that after nearly two years and no indictments of letting Trump roam free after his fatal yet failed coup attempt for you to hold rallies repeating the lies of a stolen election to announce he’s running for president again, Merrick Garland has now passed the probe on to former Justice Department official Jack Smith to serve as special counsel to oversee the probes investigating Trump’s actions following the 2020 presidential election, leading up to the January 6th insurrection, as well as his handling of classified materials that were seized by federal agents at Mar-a-Lago.
That there is even still a question of whether he broke the law in an effort to overturn Biden’s election win is positively bonkers. Prospects of any accountability look to him, even as once again, many prematurely proclaim that Trump is toast and that the Hague is being brought to him. No matter what the DOJ does to defend the norms or to make this investigation non-political, the fascists in power and the fascist base will not accept any questioning, any indictment, any investigation as legitimate. With that, here’s my conversation with Coco Das and Paul Street.
All right, I am so glad to bring back onto the show my friends and fellow members of the Refuse Fascism Editorial Board, both of whom I get a lot of inspiration from and deepen my understanding of both the fascist threat we face and what to do about it. We have a lot to get into since we last talked, and I am glad to be with them. So welcome back Coco and Paul.
Paul Street 07:37
Hi, Sam. Thanks for having us.
Coco Das 07:39
Sam Goldman 07:40
Let’s start with what a lot of people are still trying to make sense of — the midterms. The midterms are over with the Republi-fascists taking the House and the Democrats, by thread, keeping the Senate. Fascist rising stars like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Boebert are still in power. People came out in force to vote for abortion rights, and in five states, they were able to explicitly expand protections for abortion.
We should note that now the fascists are finding new ways to undo these victories. So many people were told and preparing themselves for a red wave that now they are celebrating the fact that the GOP takeover wasn’t worse, and comforting themselves with the idea that the GOP is split and fighting amongst each other. What do people concerned with stopping American fascism need to understand in relation to the midterms? I was thinking maybe, Coco, you’d want to go first for this one.
Coco Das 08:34
I think it’s mixed. On the one hand, I was really concerned about the way commentators were talking about the midterms and the Democrats not pushing the bread and butter issues. They kept doing interviews with voters, and the Republican voters kept running down the three fascist talking points, which was inflation, the border and parents rights, things like that. Voter after voter would be talking about this, and there were all these fraught conversations on CNN and MSNBC about how the Democrats weren’t using the right strategy, that they were talking too much about abortion, and abortion was not going to be a issue that people cared enough about to vote for. I think that was proven wrong.
Actually people did go out and vote to try to keep the fundamental rights of women on the table, at least. As much as depending on the Democrat — we can talk about later — is a losing strategy for this, the people did actually come out and it was, I guess, you can call it, the way that Biden and leadership of the Democratic Party was talking about, a referendum on democracy, that people are recognizing a certain threat to the democratic norms. They’re not calling it fascism, aside from this semi-fascism that Biden once uttered, but I think it does say something that the Republicans, or the Republi-fascists, underperformed what would be expected in a midterm after a new president is elected.s Normally the opposing party retakes the legislature.
On the other hand, I don’t think that there’s really that much to celebrate. I mean, they have the House and they’re already talking about whether they are going to spend their time on more abortion bans and investigating Hunter Biden. This is all fueled by revenge and a fascist program of misogyny and tearing up what are supposed to be democratic rights and the unbridled dominance of white Christian men. I guess that’s my hot take right now.
Sam Goldman 10:44
Thanks, Coco. Paul,
Paul Street 10:46
There are some things to — I don’t know if you were to celebrate — but there was some relief in connection with this purple haze election. Neither a red wave nor a blue tsunami. Yes, there was no huge red wave as was widely predicted. Yes, a number of Trump MAGA candidates, Trump-backed candidates went down in defeat, which is a color cause a great celebration on MSNBC and other liberal outlets. Yes, it does seem that Trump is now in some trouble with the GOP and with big, rich, revanchist billionaire GOP donors. Rupert Murdoch, the New York Post and Fox News. And this is significant.
A number of the people who are up for key election supervision positions in presidentially contested states like that open fascist Oathkeeper Mark Finchem, who was running for Secretary of State in Arizona, lost in his parallels and other states lost as well. And yes, the Democrats clearly kept the Senate and yes, it appears that a lot of the Republicans actually conceded, so I guess we’re gonna see about that. There’ll be a lot of election challenges now. But on the other hand, all the cartwheels that liberals seem to be doing and the smugness that I’m hearing from them, is really really misplaced and indicative of a drastic lowering of sights of what’s possible for popular struggle in this country.
There wasn’t a blue tsunami either. 210 election deniers won elections. Fascist freaks and even QAnons like Marjorie Taylor Greene and the AR-15 lunatic Boebert and the pedophile Matt Gaetz and the anti-vaccine freak Ron Johnson, not to mention the woman-hating Republi-fascist governors Greg Abbott in Texas and Ron DeSantis in Florida, both of whom are willing to pack people into planes and buses and dump them like human garbage in northern liberal enclaves. They both came back with resounding victories. DeSantis’s star is now rising. He’s being hailed for having picked up Latino votes in Miami Dade, and we can talk a little bit more about him and what DeSantis is about because some of us think that he’s a more dangerous Republi-fascist than Trump. Yeah, Trump’s in some trouble with the GOP and with billionaires. But why? Because he’s now perceived as a barrier, as an obstacle to authoritarian white nationalist, Christo-fascist, authoritarian consolidation of fucking — excuse me, can I say that on your podcast? — fascists.
They still have a ridiculous out of wack five 5-4, 6-3 supermajority on the Supreme Court. And that court right now is hearing or was about to hear Moore v. Harper, a decision that they’re likely to sign off on. It advances the insane independent state legislature theory, which is not about secretaries of state or governors or attorney generals nullifying popular presidential voting status. It’s about state legislatures, and a lot of these contested states still have state legislators. They won the goddamn House. They won the House of Representatives and you can’t just attribute it to gerrymandering though gerrymandering was a factor. They won, the Republi-fascists won the popular vote and then national US House elections by 3 to 4%.
That’s just damning with regard to the Democratic Party. But you know, the fascist state insofar as they did lose or didn’t [?] what they get, they liked that. They love that. It enhances their sense of victimization. It enhances their sense of martyrdom. And remember, fascism is not just about electoral politics; it’s a broad many-sided movement, and sometimes its most violent outbursts take place precisely when Democrats sit in Congress and in governors’ offices. And in the White House, the Oklahoma City bombing, the assaults on the abortion clinics during the 1990s — none of that is going away.
The Republi-fascists I noticed from watching the media coverage got to be just constantly renormalized by media talking heads who habitually referred to their movement and their party during this election as what? Populists and the working class, the working class populists Republicans. So goodbye to that little moment when Joe Biden was willing to call the GOP in thrall to semi-fascism, which of course we know is full-on fascism and, you know, we should probably say things too about Biden.
Speaking of Biden, who now since the GOP has the House, he’ll have another excuse for the Dems not being able to do anything. Well, we don’t have the votes, you know, which they’ll like. Biden will like that. They’ll like being blocked in a House of Representatives, and he’ll like having an excuse to pursue his little hobby of reaching across the aisle and making complicit deals with Republi-fascists, because “we have no choice.” You know, we have no choice at all to do that. But we should at some point in our conversation, say a thing or two about Biden saying we just don’t have the votes to pass the national bill codifying Roe v. Wade. Remember, he promised before the election, consistent with what Coco was saying about exploiting the abortion issue, he promised the first thing he was going to do just a ridiculous promise and a disingenuous promise and a cynical promise. “The first thing I’m going to do after the midterms is sign a bill codifying Roe v. Wade as a national law.” He said that, like two days after…, give me a break, Sleepy Joe.
Sam Goldman 15:52
I want to bring Coco back in because she’s been nodding her head and looks like she had something on the tip of her tongue.
Coco Das 15:58
Well, just one thing I forgot to mention, I think one big lesson that has been borne out since the 2020 elections and since 2016, is how polarized and how divided this country is. And there was, and I can’t remember who wrote it, but someone immediately after the evening, or the next day, in the New York Times said it’s almost like the polarization of the country has become its own check and balance. You don’t actually have these other checks and balances anymore, and she didn’t say all this on expanding, the Supreme Court is gone.
But there are these very sharply divided poles. And where that goes, is likely to be actually a very dangerous place. And also is the polarization actually in the interests of the people of the country and the world? In Refuse Fascism we have the slogan “In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.” This is something that needs to actually spread as a commitment very quickly among millions of people. The other thing I want to say is the Democrats, if they really cared about the right to legal abortion nationwide, there were so many things they could have done before the fall of Roe. We had a fucking leak that told us what the Supreme Court was gonna do.
Did the Democrats say all hands on deck, people getting in the streets, use your right to nonviolent protest and joined Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and stop this from happening, compel the Supreme Court to not overturn Roe because it would threaten the stability of the country? No, they didn’t do that. They said there’s nothing you can do. It’s already done, this fatalism, and all you can do is vote for Democrats. Why? You know, there’s this thing that they dangle over people’s heads. I voted, I’m not telling people to vote or not vote. But if you’re relying on the Democrats to give back millions of women and girls the right to abortion, dream on. It’s not going to happen.
Sam Goldman 17:56
And I want to definitely go back to that, Coco, later. But there’s a few other things I want to get to that are part of the complete context that we’re in right now. I do want to echo Coco’s concern, rightly so, about what a spirit of vengeance and power, the danger that poses. And it doesn’t just pose a danger to Hunter Biden. It poses a danger that’s much deeper and much broader. If you look at what they’ve done in state houses across the country in terms of abortion already, and you don’t think there’s going to be more vengeance out for women? If you look at what they’ve done with such viciousness around trans youth, if you don’t think that that’s going to be doubled down on, wake up. There’s a lot of vengeance voting. If you don’t think that there were restrictions and, you know, that were targeting explicitly, targeting Black and brown people. You don’t think that’s going to be gone after even harder? Wake up. You know, they are investigating with a vengeance anyone and anything, and going after anyone that poses any obstacle to fascist domination.
We now have Trump formally announcing his official candidacy for president for 2024. Not that he hasn’t been campaigning for it since before the last election, talking about breaking the rules and staying in power for three terms or for life. While it comes as no surprise, I think there is much to be said about his prospects, the threat it represents, the delusions people have expressed on our side about it. This relates to Paul, your point about the smugness that Trumpism is done, that fascism has done. What do you think, if any, are the important takeaways of his announcement?
Paul Street 19:41
Let me start off by saying that I really want to echo something you just said. All the cartwheels and smugness about this election feels to me like a bit of a raised middle finger to the millions and millions of women and girls who are stuck in red states with governors like Abbott and DeSantis and Kim Reynolds here in Iowa, this vengeance. The last Refuse Fascism podcast you had, the author Brad Onishi was absolutely right. These Christian white fascists, they don’t look at an electoral outcome like this and go, “Oh, gee, maybe we’re not as pervasively influential and dominant as we thought we are. We better moderate our sentiments.”
No, they take this to mean evil doers are corrupting and destroying the white Christian purity of this nation, and we have to double down and be even worse and come with the vengeance. You’re absolutely right. Losing the House is not just about, “Oh, they’ll be able to block all the supposedly progressive message bills that will be coming out of the House.” It’s also about cranking up investigations to go after anybody and everybody who dares to question the fascist agenda on anything. Trump declaring. Oh, my God, I mean, this guy is just the shit that never stops oozing out of the dominant mainstream US media, politics, culture.
A lot of the MSNBC cartwheels over his alleged demise are problematic in two ways. The first way it’s problematic is what will replace it? It could arguably even be more dangerous, and I need to say Ruth Ben-Ghiat is very good about this on Substack She’s been tracking DeSantis in Florida, and it’s absolutely horrific. We don’t have time to go into everything DeSantis has done, but it’s really, really, really bad. And he might have more capacity to win in 2024 for them, who knows. But the other thing about it is, I think that they’re jumping the gun a little bit in writing off Trump as a candidate. He has a kind of demented, semi-charismatic, malignant narcissist grip on the mind of millions and millions and millions of people. I don’t know, what? 30% of the country are in his base, and it’s not at all clear that can be completely dislodged. And those folks are disproportionately empowered in the presidential primaries as they turn out.
So it’s not clear that he won’t, and I’m not sure the Democrats don’t want to run against him again in 2024, too. That’s more back to the cynicism of the Democratic Party. Trump said something very chilling and interesting in his announcement, and I’ll wrap up on this, which was he said repeatedly, it’s not just about me, which is funny to hear from a level one malignant narcissist. He said, it’s also a movement. Well, you know, insofar as that’s true, and there is some truth to that the name of that movement is called fascism. I wrote a whole book about it. It’s called “This Happened Here.”
Coco Das 22:11
I don’t think Trump is done. He has an ability to galvanize a fascist movement, straight up violent fascists, the white supremacists. He was able to bring all these disparate groups of fascists together in order to seize power and get the White House in 2016. Maybe that coalition has frayed and is falling apart. But what he has done to transform the Republican Party, what he’s done to transform this country and millions of people. You know, fascism is transformative of society as well, because it gets normalized.
These things that were unthinkable maybe five or six years ago are now part of the discourse, including women being prevented from leaving the state they live in or having to present negative pregnancy tests in order to travel. This is discussed as if it’s a normal thing. There is that whole transformation. But even as a leader, I’m not sure that actually DeSantis has that kind of charisma to be able to pull together. Actually, what Trump did that was said in the last podcast, and you quoted somebody I just said, this Christian nationalism is not an electoral movement — it’s a crusade.
Sam Goldman 23:24
That was me quoting me.
Coco Das 23:26
Oh, that was you. Sam, you’re correct, that it is a crusade. And I think one other thing: I’m not sure DeSantis has what Trump has, an ability to unleash the violence of this base. Maybe I’m wrong on that. But I think Trump is uniquely willing to go to places that many other people are not quite willing to go that far. I think he’s still probably the Republican front runner. We have to step up our resistance to this, whether he’s as powerful as he was before, whether his coalition is fraying, or whether people are going to throw him under the bus, the resistance to him, what he represents to the whole fascist movement, whether it’s led by DeSantis or Abbott. We have to step up. We’re coming from behind. And part of that is because we’re relying on Biden on the Democrats.
Sam Goldman 24:17
I think that’s really essential, Coco. The last parts of what you were saying about we have to be asking it because they’re not hesitating at all. They’re continuing to advance. In fact, as Paul was saying, sometimes they advance even more when they feel cornered. And I think that whether it is Trump, the Trumpism is not going away. The movement aims that it’s going for have not changed. They have not altered. It is merely a question of who might be most effective in reaching those aims, as Paul was getting at.
For those concerned about humanity, and what American fascism poses to humanity and the planet, I think we have to stop, get off this constant writing of the political obituaries of Trump and Trumpism in the fascist movement, and remember what the last five years have been. People have consistently been saying “he’s done. It’s over. Oh, yeah, get stronger and stronger until like a hulking out of this horror. I don’t know if I said it on the last episode, but part of our power comes from confronting what is real and what is happening. Because if we don’t, we are totally incapable of solving it.
Even if that means that it’s scary, it’s uncomfortable, it’s painful to think about that you live in a country that’s filled with fascists. That is step number one in terms of doing anything about it. I would argue that step number two is akin to what Coco was saying about realizing where power lies, and it is not in giving it over to the Democratic Party. That’s my personal opinion. We have to touch on Biden saying at this press conference in Bali that the Dems can’t actually codify Roe. Wow, earth-shaking news. They haven’t for the past 50 years. But seriously, what the fuck is the response from the focus on the election crowd right now? Have you seen calls for protests? Now they’re shaking their heads no.
Coco Das 26:19
It is sort of mind boggling that there was actually a movement. There were the beginnings of 10s of 1000s of people in the streets after the leak, and then Roe was overturned. That is what was needed. This green wave that swept through Latin America and won abortion rights there. Here, everything got channeled back into the midterms. Part of doing that, I think, was this attack on Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and Sunsara Taylor and Bob Avakian, this very unprincipled attack that did a lot of damage. Even people who were in the streets, then thinking all they can do is vote for Democrats.
Yes, it’s better to not have Christian fascists in power who are trying to enslave women. But we’ve said this a lot: nothing in this country has ever been won by voting alone. And the Democrats used this as an issue. They used the fall of Roe to perform better than expected in the midterms. And that is highly cynical and highly, like Paul said, it’s like a big middle finger to all the women in these red states, including Texas and Florida, who now are being denied miscarriage care. They are all the abortion funds that people thought maybe, not all, but in Texas, everything in this area that people thought was going to be the answer, they are not funding abortion.
Okay, so all this money that people poured into that and then were being chained to these normal channels that are being eviscerated. It’s making life hell for women and girls all over this country. I have to say that I’m pretty pissed off at the Democrats and the women’s movement aligned with the Democrats for taking that strategy, not to mention that they’ve actually funded some of these fascist candidates thinking it’ll give their candidates a better chance to win. This is highly irresponsible and risky, but I don’t see any reaction. I don’t actually know what the plan is. It doesn’t seem like there is a plan. And once again, people are being led to make peace with the fascism that is driving these attacks on abortion.
Paul Street 28:32
You know, Sam and Coco, I’m not sure the single most disgusting thing that I heard someone after the election was Biden getting up and saying, Oh, it turns out, we don’t have the votes in the House to pass the bill that we promised that would codify Roe v. Wade as national. But the Democrats had numerous opportunities to do that over the last half century, and never did that. But furthermore, does Joe who is a product for most of his career in US Senate really think we don’t know how the Senate works?
What if the Democrats had kept the House? There’s a 60 vote rule in the Senate. They didn’t have the votes in the Senate to codify Roe v. Wade, unless they were going to get rid of the filibuster, which they’ve showed entirely no willingness to do because they’re scared to do that. So really, what’s he talking about that they would have codified Roe v. Wade if they had had the House and made right to an abortion national? I don’t think they would have. They wouldn’t have done that. And this is just part of the cynical game that the Democratic Party has been playing. Does he think we don’t know how the Senate works? I guess many of us in the country don’t. Does he think we don’t know that the Supreme Court is 6-3, 5-4 right-wing and so the national abortion rights law wouldn’t be potentially challenged and overthrown in the Supreme Court?
Of course, he also thinks we don’t know, and I suppose most Americans don’t know, that Biden has full executive branch power to declare the war on abortion a National Public Health Emergency and to order free safe and legal abortions on federal lands and military bases across the whole goddamn country. And, Sam, you and I were in Washington, DC on the day the decision came down June 24, 2022 and heard Sunsara Taylor say exactly that, immediately after the decision. While other people were crying in the corner and the Christian Fascists were jumping and celebrating, Rise Up and Sunsara was saying “legal abortion across the land right now?” Joe Biden has the power to do that. It isn’t just fatalism on the part of the Democrats. Coco’s absolutely right. It’s cynicism.
I had discussions with Iowa Democrats well before the decision came down, in which they said flat out to me, we’re looking forward to the decision. Why, because it’s going to be our ace in the hole to avoid the usual fate of the party and presidential power in the midterm elections. We’re going to have a Roe-vember. We will ride this female enslavement decision to power in November. Actually, to some extent, I do think they did contain their damage in the polls with a Roe decision, which just makes it even seem sicker. I’ll say it, again, a raised middle finger to millions and millions and billions of women and girls and transgendered people dealing with this horrific assault on reproductive rights.
Sam Goldman 31:01
Thank you both. I really appreciate both of your takes on this. I think there’s a tremendous amount to learn in terms of what it means that fighting for legal abortion nationwide now. I think there’s a need for people to confront reality about the full scope of this situation, and including what this post-Roe hellscape really looks like now that we know that 10s of 1000s will be forced to bear children against their will. We know this drives people further into poverty, we know it risks their lives, in particular Black women and Native American women. We know that it traps women in domestic violence. And we know that this whole culture of declaring by the state that women are nothing more than incubators, debases women here and all across the world.
People need to look at what that means without any rose-colored glasses on, which isn’t to say that there’s nothing that we can do, but it is to look at the world as it is. There’s now a group of anti-abortion activists suing the FCA over mifipristone, which is the drug that is used in the two-part medication protocol for abortion, medical abortion, at least account for over half. I don’t have the full statistic right now of abortions in this country. It’s safer than penicillin. It’s safer than aspirin. This is horrifying. It feels like each day we have a story of another woman who almost died from anti-abortion laws.
There was this past week the story I read about Amanda who had a much-wanted pregnancy. She went through fertility treatments. Her water broke at 18 weeks, too early for a baby to survive. But the fetus had a heartbeat and the doctors could not terminate the pregnancy unless Amanda’s life was a direct and immediate risk. She waited. She went septic. She nearly died. She had to be put in the ICU and the trauma she endured left her with a scarred uterus. It is very likely that she will be unable to have children in the future. None of that was necessary, unless the goal, unless the aim was to punish her, was to punish women.
Jo Filopovich has a whole piece on it on her substack in a similar story in Ohio. A woman traveled to Ohio to celebrate her brother’s wedding. She had a miscarriage, and in Ohio, they refused her treatment. They discharged her from the hospital. She went into her bathtub. It filled with blood. She passed clots the size of golf balls. Miscarriages can be incredibly painful for those who have not experienced them. It’s not an easy experience. She lost so much blood that she passed out and it was only when she was passed out in the bathroom that she was able to get the medical care that she needed from doctors. I’m saying all this because December 1 will mark the one year anniversary since the Dobbs case was heard, a case that should have never been heard by the Supreme Court, a case that ended up in the fascist stacked Supreme Court in which they took that as an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade, legal protection for abortion in this country.
Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights has called for December 1 to be a day of manifesting green protests nationwide at courthouses across the country. On Thursday, December 1, again, the one year anniversary of when the Supreme Court heard our oral arguments in the case that overturned abortion rights. They’re calling for people to take action at courthouses near them, bloody die-ins, speeches, protests, all making clear that we cannot rely on the courts and have to rely on ourselves to rise up to win legal abortion on demand and without apology everywhere. I’m sure that both of you if there are actions happening near you, you’ll be joining. I know I’m going to be a little late to mine, because I have the opportunity to interview Phillip Ornsby the same day. But I will be there. I will be at the courthouse. If you could share, why do you think it’s important that we’re raising this demand right now in the streets.
Coco Das 35:08
Here in Austin where actually the courthouse is covered, there’s all this construction near there, we’re going to the UT drag area and go make some good trouble there, nonviolent protests. One thing is people have already forgotten things that were being argued in court about the interests of the fetus versus the interests of women. How can you weigh those two things equally? Fetuses are not people, so they don’t have interests?. You know, they are a part of the woman’s body, Amy Coney Barrett saying, “Well, what’s the big deal? You can just drop your baby off at a firehouse.” I think people didn’t take seriously that threat.
I know you were there in front of the Supreme Court, but not the 10s of 1000s that should have been there. We have to wake people up. People are slumbering through this. They’ve let their sights be lowered. They’ve let the enslavement of women and girls, plus the whole fascist movement that is going after trans rights and LGBTQ rights and voting rights and all this. They let all of this be normalized and strengthened and advanced, and December 1, we can’t let it go unmarked. We have to actually remind people of how you won.
This is not something you can make peace with just because of those stories that you just told, and so many more 1000s of more stories, and including all of the people who are forced into motherhood now, are forced into childbirth now. This is a nightmare and we have to wake people up to the nightmare, and we have to make a stand in the streets and actually make that become a public question that no one can endure in society. Is this something you’re really willing to make peace with? What is it doing now? And where does it lead?
Paul Street 36:53
When you have an absurdly right wing Christian fascist 6-3, 5-4 Supreme Court, which is itself the product of a profoundly authoritarian setup that includes the Electoral College and an absurd Senate apportionment regime, which drastically overrepresents the most reactionary revanchist parts of the country. But in any event, when you have that kind of court, the date that they decide to hear horrible revanchist cases is really critical, because it’s the fact that they even decided the hear oral arguments on it is an indication of what’s happening. That was certainly true with Dodd v Jackson. That they even decided to hear Moore v. Harper on December 7 is critical.
It’s an insane case. Like what the fuck are you even hearing it for? The “independent state legislature theory,” really? So the state legislatures can nullify popular votes and state elections? Jesus Christ, excuse me. So the date of oral argument is a really, really big deal. Yes, Chicago Rise Up will be meeting — I wish I had the exact time — Federal Plaza, right in the middle. That’s our main protest site, right in downtown Chicago. It’s the whole federal complex. And by the way, the federal court system down there is where Amy Coney Barrett was located prior to her handmaid elevation to the Christian fascist Supreme Court.
Now in Chicago, unlike in Texas, we’re sort of right in the middle of a blue bubble. And we’re up against the whole kind of smug, lakefront liberal democratic sense that oh, we’re okay, because we’re a blue state and our governor is Pritzker and the Dems have the legislature. And we have this heroic mythology about ourselves in Illinois in Chicago. We’re a great sanctuary state and somehow we’re going to heroically take care of all the women and girls and transgender people seeking abortions, coming in from Iowa, from Wisconsin, from Kentucky, from Indiana, from Tennessee, from Missouri, even though we don’t have the capacity to do that.
Even though poor women and particularly women of color, don’t have the resources to just magically travel all the way to blue states. There’s this kind of liberal, playing along with and into the divide and conquer game of states’ rights. “We’re okay, and we’re gonna heroically take care of the rest of the country.” No, we’re not okay and in fact, we’re getting backed up in our own abortion clinics in Chicago. So we’re up against that. And we have to challenge people in the blue bubbles to think nationally, and to not play along with the whole states rights divide and conquer game the Republi-fascists are so good at playing. So yes, please, Federal Plaza, Chicago chapter of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. On December 1, take it to the streets.
Sam Goldman 39:22
I just want to underscore something that you both talked about is that old Refuse Fascism slogan. That was right after the election of 2016. We were first starting. We were actually trying to stop the inauguration, and the slogan was “Don’t accommodate, Don’t collaborate, Don’t conciliate”. I think that it relates 100% to what we see happening in regard to the overturning of abortion rights. The needs to not accept a new normal, to not accept a situation where it’s over 22 million women don’t have access to abortion in the state where they live, to not accommodate to something that cannot be accommodated to you, to normalize something that cannot be normalized.
But if you want to put the moral bankruptcy aside of saying, “You know what? We’re okay here in this blue bubble,” to put that moral bankruptcy aside, to think that you will be safe, that somehow your skin will be saved, is just ahistorical and is just wrong. It does not comport to the reality of a nationwide abortion ban being something the Republi-fascists are going for, with birth control directly in their sights, with overturning the rights of gay marriage and intimacy is just wrong.
So I appreciate what both of you are saying and I encourage everyone listening to join actions organized by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. On Thursday, December 1, I should note thatRise Up 4 Abortion Rights is also calling on people to take up the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is November 25. Here in the US November 25 is also Black Friday. Rise Up is calling on organizers to pay creative action together to turn it into green Friday by taking out the green bandana of abortion rights in crowded shopping hubs and staging disruptive nonviolent actions. Find more on all of it by actions near you at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org.
I want to thank you both for coming on and sharing your insight, your perspective, your expertise and, of course, your time with us. I want to give you an opportunity to say anything that we didn’t cover. If there’s anything in addition to being in the streets December 1 for legal abortion on demand and without apology nationwide. If there’s anything else that you encourage people to do. This might include things that you’ve read recently, that you want people to check out, things that you’ve listened to or watched that you recommend people check out. I wanted to give you an opportunity to do so. Let’s start with Coco.
Coco Das 41:45
I would highly recommend that people check out the 3-part interview with Avakian on the Revolution, Nothing Less show. He touches on all of these existential questions that humanity faces. It’s especially in the wake of the attack on him and Sunsara and Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, it’s really important to find out for yourself, Who is this leader? Why did he come under such attack? What is he about? And also to really engage with these existential questions.
One thing I was thinking about, Sam, while you were talking is I keep hearing these people saying, Oh, well, it took them 50 years to overturn Roe, this is going to be a long fight. If you think we’ve got 50 years. First of all, to win any of these fights, you’re really delusional. But how can you even say okay, it’s okay for millions of people to be dealing with this to lose their fundamental right to their own reproductive system for 50 years. So I really think that it’s important for people to just think about these questions. Think about what is it that not only the society, which is highly divided and polarized, is facing but the future of humanity? What is at stake? And what are in this time of just supremely lowered sights, that this system actually thrives on you lowering your sights? What would it mean to lift your sights? And why is the world like this? And what would it take to get out of it? So that’s all the interviews have aired. But you can go back and watch them all and invite your friends, discuss them with you and get it out there. It lifts the level of debate and discussion, among many other things.
Paul Street 43:22
Some other problems with the midterms, real briefly. World War 3 seem to be really not an issue as we stand on the edge of the precipice of that regarding Ukraine, insofar as anyone seemed to bring it up, sickeningly enough, it seemed to be for right wing, the neo-fascist, not out of good reasons. But out of their kind of sick attachment to the fascist regime in Russia. Climate seemed to be almost completely missing. We continue to discuss the immigration issue without ever saying anything about the role of the American empire in making life miserable in Central and Latin America and creating the desire to get out of there and come up north in the first place.
There’s this routine description of our system as a democracy in the election coverage when it is no such thing at all. As Bob Avakian would point out, it is in reality bourgeois democracy providing a cloak for an underlying capitalist class dictatorship. I did watch the Avakian interviews. They’re really, really first rate, and among many things people can extract from them are the historical context for the rise of Christo white nationalist fascism in the country. I don’t know anybody that has spoken and written more persuasively and brilliantly about how and why we have a fascist movement in this country, the historical context for that as a response to the victories of the social movements of the 1960s in the 1970s.
As a response to the advances of secularism, the advances of feminism, the advances of Black civil rights, and Black Power, and all of that. November 25, people I hope they come out for the Rise Up events, in part to promote December 1. I think that’s one of the key functions of November 2025. That’s how it’s understood in Chicago to raise consciousness about December 1 and the need for a green wave beneath and beyond these quadrennial and by and your candidates centered major party, big money corporate manage narrow spectrum, electoral extravaganzas that are sold to us as that’s politics.
Sam Goldman 45:13
Refuse Fascism unites with people from diverse perspectives to sound the alarm and prevent the consolidation of this American fascism. The opinions shared by Coco and Paul, like my own are my own thoughts, and are not official endorsements or statements of RefuseFascism.org. The impending loss of Twitter, a functioning platform for sharing information and even organizing resistance is so sad. It’s clearly not the end of the world, but it’s going to make it harder for people to communicate. And it’s worth considering the impact it will have on the larger political soup that we’re all being cooked in. We hope to be covering the story and its relation to the fascist danger in future episodes.
So if you have suggestions for guests, please send it our way. After running a Twitter poll for something like 24 hours, Elon Musk, the now sole owner of Twitter, decided to reinstate fascist Donald Trump’s account late Saturday night claiming the people have spoken. As many have pointed out, Twitter played a key role in fomenting and organizing the whole Trump coup attempt down to January 6, when he directed mobs to go after his own VP Mike Pence. The obvious sham of using a Twitter poll to override the judgment of the now-fired staff of the company, who decided to disallow the platform from being used for a violent fascist takeover, does not bode well for either the platform or of course the future of humanity, given the importance of this digital public square in communications for people all over the world.
Apparently Trump is for the moment refusing to post on Twitter, as it would conflict with his business interest in promoting his own social platform Truth Social, but all his old content is back up and of course his fascist followers couldn’t be happier, relishing everyone else’s anger and grief.
For now we’re not deleting our account or anything like that. But with the expectation the site may completely crash soon since no one is left to work at the company and maintain the infrastructure, we’ve created fediverse account and you can find us there at Mastodon.world/@refusefascism. A link is in the show notes.
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Thanks to Rich Marini, Lina Thorne, and Mark Tinkleman for helping produce this episode. Thanks to incredible volunteers. We have transcripts available for each week, so be sure to visit RefuseFascism.org and sign up to get them in your inbox each week. We’ll be off next Sunday, but we’ll be back December 3. Until then, in the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America.