Millions and millions know in their gut that Trump and Pence are terrible news. But on Monday night, December 19th, a powerful line up of speakers brought the truth to many tens of thousands that it is far worse than most can yet imagine. But that was not all, the evening was the launch of an audacious new movement, www.RefuseFascism.org, which aims to rapidly transform the deep anguish and outrage, the something and outright terror that is felt by millions and millions in this country, into resistance and defiance and acts of political rebellion and radical art and No! Powerful enough to STOP Trump and Pence BEFORE they start.
Yes, you read that right. The way to deal with fascism is to stop it before it starts.
The evening kicked off with a dramatic reading of the opening section of the Call to Action which includes the following, “The Presidency of Donald Trump is illegitimate. Donald Trump did not win the popular vote. Not even close, he lost by 2.5 million votes. He won the Electoral College – an institution set up in 1787 to protect slavery. This legacy of the most brutal oppression of Black people has become the means that enabled the election of Trump and Pence.”
PZ Myers, an evolutionary developmental scientist and professor who has recently found himself on the right wing professor Watchlist, followed this with a scathing exposure of Trump's utter contempt for the truth. He exposed the dangerous implications of this to medicine and the environment and the cruel inhumanity and immorality Trump infuses this with. For example, at the height of the Ebola epidemic, Trump actually tweeted, “The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back, People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences!”
Fran Luck, Executive Director of Joy of Resistance Multicultural Feminist Radio on WBAI, outlined what she called the “Three Horsemen of the Trumpocolypse.” Trump himself, as the Groper-In-Chief. Mike Pence who is a theocratic religious bigot who aims to criminalize and punish abortion and birth control for women. And Paul Ryan who is working to even further gut social services which will hit women the hardest.
Chase Iron Eyes of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation sent a solidarity message from the front lines of the fight against the North Dakota Access Pipeline and called on everyone to redouble their efforts and join together against Trump.
Jeremy Scahill, a cofounder of The Intercept, exposed the role played by Obama and the Clintons in not only carrying out war crimes of their own but setting the stage for fascists like Trump and Pence to take these crimes to even greater and more heinous levels. After making clear that white supremacy is not new in this country, he asked, “Who would have thought that we would be talking about the Ku Klux Klan in the way that we are today?” He also laid bare the Christian fascist theocratic viewpoints and plans of Mike Pence and of Betsy Devos, the woman appointed to head the Department of Education under Trump who has actively destroyed Detroit public schools already and has deep family ties to other powerful theocrats and military mercenaries.
Carl Dix, a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party who spent two years in military prison for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War and has been on the frontlines against police murder from Ferguson to Baton Rouge and far beyond, explained, “Fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as 'enemies,' 'undesirables,' or 'dangers to society.'” Dix challenged those who claim that “Black people have been through worse before,” asking why the horrors that Black people have lived through should ever have to be repeated, and asking how anyone could justify sitting back in the face of the enormous danger facing all of humanity.
Gloria Steinem, the long time feminist leader and icon, sent a message that states, in part, “Our Constitution does not begin, 'I, the President.' It begins, 'We, the People.' The single positive result of the so-called election of Donald Trump, an unqualified, unstable and authoritarian man who does not deserve to to be invited into the White House, much less be its occupant, is that we know now the responsibility lies with us.”
Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books, gave a vision of the power of the word “NO!” and how we can move from the hundreds who were gathered in Cooper Union that night and the tens of thousands watching on livestream around the country, to act together and build our resistance in a telescoped period of days and weeks. New Year's Eve, in particular, must be marked by outdoor protests and candlelight vigils, gatherings of defiance. “No Fascist New Year! We Say NO to Trump and Pence!” From there, waves of decentralized protests must spread across the country, different organizations and communities acting in their own ways but with the unified theme of “No!” The word must appear on walls, on shirts, on social media, on television, in artistic ways and ways that inspire others to act.
Starting Martin Luther King weekend, people must begin pouring into Washington, DC and refusing to leave. Thousands. Tens of thousands. Millions. And tens of millions. Numbers so large and so defiant that a political situation is created where Trump and Pence are prevented from taking power.
Isabella Cardenas, a Salvadorian immigrants rights activist in Los Angeles, sent a video message imploring people to take Trump at his word and not underestimate his intentions. Clearly she stated, “In the Name of Humanity – We Refuse to Accept a Fascist Government!”
Immortal Technique, the lyrically and politically ferocious rapper, exposed of the long chain of atrocities the U.S. has carried out against Native Americans as well as immigrants and other oppressed peoples, while also warning that what we are facing now is the potential for the complete ruin of the planet and wiping out of whole peoples. He ended with a powerful poem, rousing people's courage and determination.
Pastor Doris Johnson of Queens and Imam Abdul-Baki, Chairman of the Justice Committee of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York, stepped to the stage together to give voice to religious communities who are living in fear at the dangers of Trump but also determined to fight.
Together, the breadth of voices and perspectives, the depth of understanding, and the unity of determination to STOP Trump and Pence, that was forged is a powerful beginning. Now, there is much work to do – and fast. We have 30 days before they are scheduled to take power. We are millions, we must make our will felt. To watch the evening and to get involved, go to to www.refusefascism.org.