A volunteer with the national office staff briefly talked to Carl Dix–one of the co-initiators of Refuse Fascism, about what went on in the streets of D.C. Sunday night.
Talk about what happened tonight…
We assembled at McPherson Square. We gathered forces, and we marched to the Trump hotel.
We blocked the main entrances. DC police reinforced the security of the hotel and put up barricades. Someone who was inside, and gave us a report, said they put the hotel on lockdown. Look, our aim is to do a lot more than shut down entrances to the Trump International hotel. In fact, we’re going to the Trump hotel as part of serving notice that we refuse to accept a fascist America.
We refuse the whole fascist package – for example, the muzzling of the press that we saw this week, the horrors this fascist regime means for humanity and the planet. And people feel in their guts and their hearts everything that Donald Trump represents. How he bullies people. His hotel is a disgusting symbol of all that. Like we said: Donald Trump, go back to peddling your phony luxury shit.
And we’re going to be going back, tomorrow, which I’ll get to. But this is all aimed at building up forces to bring to a halt business as usual in DC. And for that to be part of creating a situation where this fascist Trump-Pence regime cannot rule.
To do that, we have to call into the streets many of the millions of people who feel the impending horror of the Trump/Pence regime taking the reins of power. Something they don’t want to see happen, but have not yet stepped out. We have to reach out, challenge them, get them off the couch, from behind the computer, and into the streets.
We began from our stepping off point. We marched into Chinatown and other neighborhoods, and gathered people and spirit and enthusiasm as we went. Then, after we shut down the 2 main entrances to Trump International Hotel, we marched along Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House.
Talk about who came out, and who joined in…
We started, I didn’t count the crowd but we started with less than a hundred at the start, dozens, mainly volunteers from Refuse Fascism who had come into town, and Food Not Bombs was feeding people, and some local DC people were there. But as we went through the streets, we called out to people to join with this. We talked about where we were going. We talked about why we were doing this. We were figuring we would pick up people in Chinatown – it’s actually a major shopping area now where chain stores do put Chinese lettering on their stores but they don’t cater to Chinese people. But it’s an area where people hang out. Even before we got there, people were chiming and joining in. The chants were rhythmic. People were dancing with us. We had a lot of extra signs – stop the before it starts. NO – In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America. And people responded.
All along the way, an array of people were getting in. Mostly younger people, some really young. We picked up half a dozen Black teenagers on bikes who became the lead contingent. We picked up some white skateboarders. But before that we’d pass hotels, restaurants, cafes – people would come out to see what was going on, and we’d bring some of them in. This was people of different nationalities.
We did a speakout on the way to the White House, and got a picture of what was motivating people who joined in. People talked about – one of the first people who spoke was someone who had been on the caravan from LA. He talked about how as a queer man I can’t sit back and let Trump take the reins of power. I’ve seen what that would mean, and I can’t let that go down. There were young Black women talking about the message they’re getting from Trump that their lives don’t count, and that was something they were not willing to sit back and take. A couple of Washington Capitals hockey fans with their jerseys joined in and were vehement about how much they hated Trump – one said “I can’t even call his name, I have to call him president-elect asshole.”
An older Black guy talked about what Trump would mean, not just for Back people, but for everyone. And we had to come together to stop this. And that was a theme of a lot of people, and they saw what we were doing was building that unity. We at least tripled our numbers.
We were calling on people to come into the streets. What happened was very important, and spirited. And yet it was only a beginning. Something started that has to grow in the next few days.
Talk about going forward …
We are aiming, on Tuesday, to really bring D.C. to a halt! We need thousands to do that. We started today, we grew by hundreds. But this is just a beginning. Through the next days, we see the hundreds grow to thousands, the thousands to much, much more … to actually prevent this regime from coming to power.
As we’ve laid out, we’re gonna be gathering every day in D.C. through Thursday, working to bring out more and more people every day, to build on the numbers. We’re going to be going into the neighborhoods. When schools open back up on Tuesday, we’re going out to the high schools.
Tomorrow we are going back to Trump Hotel, to SHUT IT DOWN. We’re gonna step out from McPherson Square at 4 o’clock, and swing through neighborhoods and back to the Hotel. And we’re working to have the numbers to surround the block the hotel is situated on. This is a powerful message to Trump and the world – and an advance in doing what is needed to actually prevent the regime from coming to power.
Then, on Tuesday, January 17th, 3 days before Inauguration, we aim to BRING DC TO A HALT! Again, we’re gonna step out from McPherson Square at 4 o’clock. This will take a lot of people. One of the things that a number of speakers said today, including me, is that the numbers of people who hate everything Donald Trump represents are out there, and it’s the mission of those of us who are here to bring them out with us.
Because of what this regime represents, how hated it is, hundreds can grow to thousands and more very quickly. Today, we saw real evidence of this, in all of those – from different backgrounds – who joined us as we marched through neighborhoods, who joined us at the Trump hotel, wanting to express their anger, their disgust, and having a chance to act! This will take people getting off the stands and getting into the game, acting on their anguish and for humanity, getting into the streets, everywhere and especially in DC!
Look, we really need to prevent this regime from coming to power, to bring out the tens of thousands BEFORE the Inauguration, causing the kind of political crisis that we describe in the Refuse Fascism Call to Action. We need all those people who understand the dangerous threat the Trump-Pence regime represent and all those who hate what Trump stands for. We need you’ll out in the streets – this week, this Monday and Tuesday. Both days, McPherson Square, I and 15th NW, 4 pm, be there!