While many have questioned if President Donald Trump’s actions, from pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio to his controversial travel ban and long-denied ties to Russia, are impeachable, a group of activists hopes to see he and Vice President Mike Pence gone long before any official proceedings.
“This regime poses an existential threat to the future of people all over the world and the planet itself,” said Sunsara Taylor, co-initiator and spokesperson for Refuse Fascism. “Trump's pardon of Arpaio is the most full-throated endorsement of racist profiling, humiliation, and torture of immigrants — and the most blatant signal to law enforcement, ICE and fascists of all kinds that the president will support law-breaking as long as it’s in the service of terrorizing and ethnically cleansing black and brown people. “
Refuse Fascism began in December and has since taken part in many protests around the country. It is now mobilizing a nationwide protest on Nov. 4, nearly a year to the day that Trump and Pence were elected, with a rally cry of, “This nightmare must end: The Trump/Pence regime must go!”
Metro spoke with Taylor soon after Refuse Fascism held organizational meetings for the event in five cities, including New York, on Aug. 19.
… on why Refuse Fascism opposes Trump/Pence
Sunsara Taylor: “Trump has openly promoted white supremacy, encouraged police brutality and brought back mandatory sentencing. He has demonized and unleashed terror against immigrants and torn thousands from their families. His Muslim ban is largely in effect. Trump has threatened the courts and the press. The Trump/Pence regime has muzzled scientists, accelerated the destruction of the environment and threatened the world with nuclear annihilation. Pence opposes abortion in all circumstances and would completely deny the rights of LGBTQ people.”
… on how Trump is presidential
“Leaders of the Democratic Party and cable talking heads keep insisting that ‘Trump is failing’ and not acting ‘presidential.’ This is wrong. Trump is succeeding — at imposing fascism. He is acting presidential, like a fascist president who fully intends things, like what he said after Charlottesville about white supremacists and Nazis being ‘fine people.’ Trump is ripping up the norms of how this country has been governed and implementing fascism. He is not normal, and that is precisely the point.”
… on why it’s not politics as usual
“The ‘normal ways’ we are told to seek political redress — the elections, calling our senators, waiting for investigations, etc. —will not cut it. We have to mobilize people to step outside the confines of politics-as-usual, including protest-as-usual and launch the kind of sustained, determined and truly massive political outpouring and resistance that can drive this fascist regime from power.”
… on Nazi Germany's lessons
“What is crucial to understand is that once in power, fascism essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights. … The lesson of Nazi Germany is that you can't let one group after another get picked off, you have to take on the whole program, and you have to stop fascism before it is too late.”
… on why Pence is not an option
“We can't get stuck with Pence, a man so extreme in his Dark Ages biblical literalist interpretation of the Bible that allies of the Pope recently compared him to Islamic extremists. Among other things, Pence shares with Trump a very dark misogyny. It is different in appearance — Trump reduces women to sex objects, and Pence reduces them to breeders of children — but both view women as less than fully human.”
… on Heather Heyer’s legacy
“As Susan Bro emphasized, this is a time when all of us need to do like her daughter, Heather Heyer, and ‘poke that finger at yourself’ and do the right thing, even if it is uncomfortable, makes waves or entails risk. Every action that people take will be amplified and have greater meaning and impact because it will take place together with others around the country at the same time demanding, together: “This nightmare must end: The Trump/Pence regime must go!’”
… on Nov. 4 being just the beginning
“We are not stopping until the regime is driven from power. We will be calling out to everyone throughout society letting them know there is a place for everyone who wants to stand against a fascist America in the streets with us, but there is no neutral. Everyone needs to decide: ‘Which side are you on?’ Our message on Nov. 4 is "join us, stand with humanity, be part of changing history." This is our chance, and the future of people not just in this country, but all over the world, and of the planet itself, hang in the balance.”
Visit refusefascism.org for more information.