BY TRAVIS STEWART | With activists at the wheel and a diverse assortment of concerned citizens on board, the Refuse Fascism movement’s Nov. 4 march made the case for removing the current administration from office.
Although House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would, the next day, tell CNN’s Jake Tapper that impeachment is “not someplace that I think we should go” at this time, organizers of the Saturday march made their position crystal clear by using “This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” as the event’s rallying cry/slogan.
Held simultaneously in over two dozen cities nationwide, the march launched a Refuse Fascism (refusefascism.org) call to “fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate — Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until the Trump/Pence Regime is Driven from Power.”
Following the Times Square rally, an orderly march proceeded through the streets of Manhattan to Washington Square Park for additional remarks. Attendance estimates vary. Refuse Fascism claimed “a high of 1,200-1,500 in New York at its peak.”
Organizer Jay W. Walker, who is also involved with the groups Rise and Resist and Gays Against Guns (both of whom endorsed the event), said Refuse Fascism is predicated on “non-stop activism. Our ultimate goal is to organize daily actions so that what may start out as a few thousand activists becomes tens of thousands and then millions until we finally bring down this dangerous and corrupt regime.”
“The world is either under fire or under water,” declared multimedia artists and activist Jamel Mims. “This is the beginning of a process that will not end until Trump and Pence are driven from the White House.” Andy Zee of Revolution Books, one of the national organizers of Refuse Fascism, was no less unsparing in his exhortation to the crowd: “The future of humanity hangs in the balance! Trump is playing Russian roulette with nuclear weapons. Denying climate change. The country is saturated with racism and xenophobia… bloodlust, bigotry, and coarseness. These are times when ordinary people must do the extraordinary.”
Others who addressed the Times Square crowd prior to the march Downtown included Father Luis Barrios of Washington Heights’ Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz and John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Imam Souleimane Konaté of the Masjid al-Aqsa mosque in Harlem; and rapper Immortal Technique. Written statements by Gloria Steinem, Eve Ensler, and Arturo O’Farrill were read from the podium. Activists and organizers Jamel Mims and Sunsara Taylor were emcees.
Barrios, who was recently profiled in a New York Times article for making his church a sanctuary for immigrants targeted for deportation, told those in attendance, “Many people are using God the wrong way, ‘Manifest Destiny’ and ‘In God We Trust’ [printed on money]. This is not how God wants it to happen. He wants us to live together and mobilize against oppression.”
The youngest speaker was Sabrina Ring, 17, a senior at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School Of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Ring, who is vice president of the school’s Students Against Social Injustice initiative, said, “I’m scared for the future. My future, everybody’s future. And it’s everybody’s responsibility to do what they can to change it.”
In the days leading up to the march, alt-right outlets such as InfoWars, had labeled Refuse Fascism an “Antifa group” and warned of violence and a pending “civil war” as a result of their activity.
Numerous pro-Trump provocateurs were seen the fringes of the rally, holding signs and shouting insults, but a heavy police presence and a lack of response from the protesters translated into a non-violent, though spirited, event.
Still, compared with many of the protest actions that have taken place in New York and elsewhere over the past year, this could not be described as a “big tent” protest. Most of the presenters appeared to have affiliations with far-left groups such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and the Black Panther Party. Narrowly organized and promoted by Refuse Fascism, no other political groups were in evidence, and no elected officials were present or invited to speak. “We want this to be about the people,” answered Walker in response to a query about the absence of politicians.
And when it comes to extremism, those who attended might point out, none can top the guy they were protesting. A protester named Anna was quite clear about why she was there: “The environment is on the verge of collapse. Trump is threatening nuclear war with North Korea. Everybody’s rights are being trampled on. This man could quite literally end life on this planet.”
Reprinted from Chelsea Now – see the accompanying photo gallery here.