NY Refuse Fascism Organizing Meeting January 4
Making Plans to Get the NO! Out to Millions and Going to and STAYING in DC
January 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Just as the Refuse Fascism organizing meeting in New York City was about to start, a crew of people came in carrying a huge replica of the ad that had appeared that day in the New York Times: “NO! IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY WE REFUSE TO ACCEPT A FASCIST AMERICA!” They had been getting the word out all day, calling on people to join the fight to “Prevent the Trump/Pence Regime from Taking Power!” It was announced at the meeting that off of the New York Times ad, Fox News had asked Cornel West to be on the O’Reilly Factor show, and that Cornel has requested that Carl Dix come on with him. (See the clip of Cornel and Carl on the O’Reilly Factor here.)
The room was full with about 75 people, including many new people—from many different walks of life and perspectives; quite a few veterans of the ’60s and a lot of young people. Everyone looking for a way to really STOP Trump-Pence from coming to power.
The meeting started with brief overall comments from the leaders of the meeting: The point was made that there are tens of millions of people who already have a real sense of the horror of what the Trump-Pence regime will mean if it comes to power and are in deep anguish over it. Many see that this represents a threat to the people of the world and the planet itself. We can look at Nazi Germany and how that trajectory went—how it came to power through elections on the basis of toxic nationalism, and it didn’t happen all at once. And how way too many people went along with the next horrible thing and then the next—collaborating and accommodating all the way to murder on a mass scale. With Trump, there’s a chill that’s set in with too many people saying “we’ll work with this fascist regime, we’ll find common ground.” But at the same time there are tens of millions who are saying “no fucking way.” And this movement has been called together to stop the fascist regime before it starts—not relying on politicians and looking to powerful people to intervene, but calling people into the streets and building resistance that says “We refuse, we will do everything we can to stop this and there is experience in history that we can look to where mass actions have changed the political terrain.”
The focus of the evening was to make concrete plans. Key points were laid out: an advance team going to DC right away; the MLK weekend to start getting people into the streets of DC and calling on more to come, and actions happening all over the country; getting the NO! message all over; and a whole week of actions with more pouring into DC and STAYING until we stop Trump-Pence before they start.
The bulk of the meeting was breakout groups making CONCRETE PLANS, and there was a lot of lively participation in these teams with all kinds of creative ideas. Here are some of the things that came out from the report back:
A Street Team group focused on making plans to get out to different events in the city, everywhere people are protesting, cultural events, rallies, panel discussion—getting the NO! out and on the spot organizing people to join this campaign. The team will also be getting the NO! out in key areas of the city; mobilizing people like shop owners on major streets and in different neighborhoods in the different boroughs to put up NO! signs everywhere. Teams will also be going out all the time in places like Union Square where thousands of people can be reached and called on to become organizers of even more organizers.
The group that met to organize different Actions was very lively, with lots of people kicking in all kinds of ideas. People especially liked the idea of doing different kinds of street theater to really find ways to STOP people in the street with actions that could not be ignored and where people would feel compelled by the power of the NO! message. One idea was to use gigantic puppets. There was an idea to have a “lie-in,” which in creative ways would expose all the lies Trump has told. Another idea was an interactive “game” in the street where people gathered are challenged to figure out where a quote came from: Is it from Nazi Germany or from Trump USA? One woman in the group is reaching out to her contacts in the graffiti community about doing graffiti to get this message out, as well as reaching out to other artists and getting store owners to let artists do things on the pull-down grates.
The Students group talked about how to reach millions of students—working to tap into different networks that already exist here in New York City and around the country to get the word out about the NO! campaign, and calling on students, teachers and professors to organize large groups to go to DC. There is a big push to have high school walkouts around MLK day on January 12-13. The team also talked about organizing teams to go out to places where youth and students hang out—again, organizing people to organize still more organizers—and also getting performers at cultural events to promote the NO!
The Organization Outreach group discussed plans for reaching out to faith-based institutions as well as other associations. In their report-back they emphasized that this kind of outreach should not be something that just this committee does. Everyone who has contacts in churches, mosques, synagogues, unions, professional associations, etc. should be calling on them to go up to the RefuseFascism.org website, sign up, donate, and organize their membership to go to DC and to make plans to STAY. The group included some members of the Bengali community who contributed good ideas, and there are plans to get the Call translated into Bengali and Arabic and also to get on Bengali TV to get the NO! message out to this community. Someone from the Refuse Fascism National Office made the point that there have been more than 3,000 people who have already signed the Call, and that many have given their phone numbers. So there is a need for volunteers to come in the office and help call those people to get them to donate, become organizers and go to DC.
The Social Media group had a lot of lively and very concrete discussion about how to organize in order to reach many millions of people in a very urgent and on-the-spot, timely way. There was discussion about how to combine both centralized organization of doing social media promotion, where there is thinking and guidance overall, with all kinds of decentralized unleashing of people to reach people via social media in many different spheres. Some people in the group have already developed “campaign tools” to coordinate all of this so people can see very quickly what kinds of stories/news/tweets, etc are coming up and where there is a need to spread the NO! in many different ways—giving people ways to immediately kick into this whole effort to reach millions. The point was made that this all has to be aimed at not just getting the word out, but getting people to join the resistance. Also the point was also made that the message has to go out over social media giving a real vision of what has to happen in DC. One example given was how during Occupy there was a #bringatent hashtag. There is some thinking about developing something like that to orient and prepare people for coming to DC and STAYING until the Trump-Pence fascists are stopped from ruling.
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.