Is waiting for the 2020 election too late?
That’s what a local group of peaceful, non-violent resistors, who gathered together in a small Philadelphia diner believe wholeheartedly.
Calling themselves Refuse Fascism, the collective of individuals have one major goal. The end of the Trump/Pence “Regime.”
Around 30-40 people talked to one another, shared art, and shared opinions for about three hours in the sweltering summer heat. Their meeting was open to the public, and anyone from the street was welcomed to listen, or contribute.
Leaders of the RF movement coordinated a small program of speeches and performance art. Those who attended were encouraged to meet their neighbors, speak openly, and ultimately become more active in civil resistance.
RF makes no qualms about comparing current government policies to Nazism, “civil liberties are stripped away, law rewritten, dissent criminalized, courts packed with fascists, with the separation of church and state ultimately eviscerated…also mobilizing mobs of vicious thugs as we’ve seen Nazis marching and murdering in Charlottesville, VA.”
Sarah, an RF organizer spoke passionately, “We’ve seen mass murder, terror, torture, demonization of our immigrant siblings.” and comparing Trump rallies to Nuremberg rallies.
Regardless of advances in the overall world population’s well-being, as argued by Steven Pinker, the RF movement believes the Trump Presidency pledge of ‘America First’ is “21st Century Fascism wrapped in a flag and Mike Pence’s Bible, with a program of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia.”
There is a case to be made for humanity’s progress, but, it may not emanate from any government agency or representative. Average American citizens utilizing their constitutional rights have arguably made larger societal impacts. #MeToo has lifted the rock on sexual abuse, sending the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Dr. Larry Nassar, Jeffery Epstein and others into infamous oblivion, or worse.
The Stoneman Douglas shooting survivors did organize some of the largest protests in the country in the last decade, and have pushed the debate on weapons further in the last years. But, this is one area where government inaction still persists. Whatever action the debate results in will need to respect all sides if it has any hope of staying power.
Individuals, and an active, vibrant Press have shed light on all these horrors. They too have shone the spotlight on the border crisis itself, and the current debate on Fascist politics around the globe. The American Press is still free enough to display texts from the Proud Boys about how they planned to instigate violence, and then shift blame. Reporters like Andy Ngo have also been critical of Antifa tactics.
According to Thomas Jefferson, given a choice between, “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”
RF‘s solution to ending the Trump Presidency is not predicated on the belief the election cycle will act as a natural defense mechanism. They are trying to create a culture of sustainable mass protests across the country.
Speaking with a gentleman, Frank, who came into Philadelphia from the suburbs, he said he found the current level of street activism disheartening. He also expressed his worry about ‘Hypernormalisation.’
During a recent venture to confront Senator Pat Toomey on his gun control record, near Toomey’s Old City office, Frank recounted incidents where a group of Boy Scouts and tourists shouted at him, “Make America Great Again.”
In addition he stated some passing cars gave a small, yet meaningful jerk of their steering wheel, a momentary scare of vehicular violence now too well understood.
As far as the RF‘s relationship to Antifa, they claim none. Mark, a lead organizer stated, “We need mass, sustained, non violent protest…I think there’s lots of needless division.”
When asked about border control, he continued on to say, “RF is about uniting people from many perspectives on that question…What is happening now is unacceptable. You can’t just shut down borders.”
When asked if the history of the United States has been fascist, Mark stated, “This is a country built on white supremacy, genocide, and slavery… Trump is a lot of the same, what its always been…he’s also a departure, taking it to a whole new level.”
During her rally speech, Sarah, conveyed her belief that “Ending the Trump/Pence ‘Regime’ is the number 1 moral obligation of our time.”
A fellow RF coordinator, Miriam stated she felt “There is a backlash encouraged by Trump & Pence against Obama, his successes, and his popularity.”
RF does not hold back in their comparisons of migrant detention centers, and ICE facilities, to the concentration camps run by Nazi Germany.
When asked if the comparison was fair or hyperbole. Mark answered, “The original camps were for political prisoners, they weren’t detaining children…we are talking about the beginning or middle stages of a process that led to death camps.”
Statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center: “It’s an insult to the victims of the Shoah to make blatant false comparisons,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Holocaust research organization, told Jewish Insider. “Stop casting Trump as a latter-day Nazi scheming to build concentration camps…Congressmen from both parties have a moral obligation to fix the humanitarian disaster at the border.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., seems to defend the comparison. In a tweet, he said that one of the lessons of the Holocaust is “Never again.” “We fail to learn that lesson when we don’t call out such inhumanity right in front of us.”
RF’s Mark, “People don’t have a monopoly on the truth, no matter their identity, it doesn’t give them the ability to say something is true…if you’re looking at the historical record, this is what it is.”
Trump’s latest comment about Jewish Americans and Loyalty has stirred memories, New York Times writer Max Fisher noted, “accusing Jews of mass national disloyalty for supporting the wrong political party” hasn’t worked out well historically.
No one has a monopoly on truth, but, truth is the body of real things, events, and facts. Truth is the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality.
American history is full of freedom, but also full of fascism. America has been, and always will be a work in progress. But, the country responsible for the ‘Constitution‘ and the ‘The Voting Rights Act‘, must also take credit for ‘Jim Crow‘ and ‘Operation Paperclip.’
Speaking further with another co-organizer, Miriam, who was raised in a family of activism, I was able to ask more questions.
Miriam responded, “I feel like borders are artificial, people are people…we should help people everywhere, here and in their own countries…for the amount of money we spend on the wall and defense…we should funnel more into humanitarian aid.”
When asked about her thoughts on Antifa, “MLK needed Malcom X…we need to look reasonable.”
RF, from what I gather in written documents, and from the words spoken here at this gathering focus on a narrow humanist agenda. Ending fascism. Having Trump/Pence out of power. And a closure of migrant detention centers. Beyond that I see no written aims, or goals. Maybe that is inconsequential when viewed against their mission.
Political Realist’s would have qualms with this approach. What kind of structure should people govern themselves under? Fascism should never be the answer, but no answer as to what happens next may be viewed as short sighted. Victor David Hansen argues against drastic Socialism and Communism, and claims he can make the case ‘For’ Trump.
Victor David Hansen Makes the Case for Trump:
Commendably, RF sticks to their printed goal of non-violence. They make no plans of direct action or confrontation other than mass sustained protest. Much in the vein of the current demonstrations in Hong Kong, Paris and elsewhere across the globe. They hope large, peaceful protest will enact change.
Miriam stated the “Puerto Rico solution can work here… Make the President resign, and his second in command step down in embarrassment.”
I asked Mark, can he sympathize with Trump voters, why did people vote for Trump? The President did not hide his attitude, he led with his attitude quite clearly.
He answered, “Yes I can sympathize with Trump voters…We are trying to bring about unity…it’s important we bring people together.”
Hillary Clinton was not discussed. At all. In fact no upcoming Democratic candidate was discussed. One of the first speakers, Sarah, held little faith in the Democrats, “They have facilitated fascism, and have chosen order over justice.” The group’s goal sounds simple, and of course laudable. End fascism in any form it takes.
The group did vocalize a palpable fear. What if Trump wins, legitimately or otherwise? What happens if he loses and will not leave office, regardless of what events transpire?
The theories they offered as to possible future outcomes are as such,
1.) Trump wins, in any fashion.
2.) He may use Executive Order to delay an election based on a specific National security, or election security concern.
3.) He may simply refuse to leave.
4.) He may use a incident of terror, or war abroad to declare and maintain a National emergency, and again delay or cancel the election.
When asked about the future of governance, Miriam talked about her children, and hope, “Kids these days know about stuff we never knew about. Hopefully these smart kids will be more kind and sensitive…the youth need to find a more equitable solution.” also saying, “I hope we turn into Norway with more equality and equity.”
However, when using the word equity, I must again mention the counter. Dr. Jordan Peterson, believes more in equality of opportunity as opposed to equity. His fuller argument is laid out in the previous link.
That being the case, Miriam clearly has good intentions, and she was the only person to state a goal related to a fairly admirable system of government.
When I asked her opinion more broadly about the future, she continued, “The future is Norway, more people need to know about ‘Viking Economics‘…because of their equality they are among the happiest nations on Earth.”
RF plans a rally and march Wednesday the 21st in Philadelphia, the location unknown. Their hopes are to spur larger, peaceful, civil protests. They will continue their work to raise awareness, and public consciousness as to how they view the current administration.
The group had a specific idea about the number of citizens needed to be effective. They hope that 3.5 percent, at minimum, would join them in the streets nationwide. Meaning they are looking for about 11.5 million people in the United States to get on their feet, and make their voices heard.
What is America? What is America’s future? What will the government look like? The road of history here on the continent is long, rocky, bloody, and repressed, but it is also free, innovative, and a place of liberty. The United States of America’s “history must not be transformed into nature,” the nation needs to continue positive progress, and confront its long standing duality.
Four current sources on the border, Trump, the US
Real Hitch Made a Prediction
“There is a feeble insurgent pulse that beats at the heart of the bucolic fascist movement . . . As Richard Hofstadter, in The Paranoid Style in American Politics, and Theodor Adorno, in The Authoritarian Personality, have both taught us, this kind of American ‘populism’ has always been tainted by its kinship with racism and superstition, and by its servility to the very power it ostensibly rails against.” Christopher Hitchens. Video
If you’ve made it this far, I must also mention I meet a lovely French woman, and I believe her equally lovely husband, or partner, and they recommended an excellent new French Language novel. Transparence by Mark Dugain… so read that if you want a taste of Corporatocracy, otherwise Choose your Dystopia..
Brave New World
A Handmaid’s Tale
“I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.”
― Simone de Beauvoir