Depending on who you listen to, November 4, 2017 could be the beginning of a big anti-Trump protest that spans for weeks or absolutely nothing might happen. It’s hard to pin down exactly what’s planned for November 4, since there are so many rumors flying around from all sides. However, a deeper look into the November 4 plans reveal a group that wants prolonged protests but isn’t focusing on violence. (See the locations of the protests in Heavy’s story here.)
Watch live streams of the protests today here.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. News About November 4 Began to Spread After Protestors Blocked Highway 101 in California
It all began when a protest on September 26 in California blocked Highway 101. The protestors were carrying signs warning about November 4.
Here’s one video, shared by the Refuse Fascism Facebook page, that shows the protestors carrying the November 4 signs:
The Facebook page wrote under the video:
In Los Angeles — Protesters Block Highway 101. Carrying signs that say November 4th it Begins… This nightmare must end. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! November 4 It Begins.”
2. Refuse Fascism Is Organizing the Nov. 4 Event and Wants the Protest to Be Reminiscent of the January Women’s March
An article in LA Weekly points out that USC film professor Perry Hoberman was among the people protesting on September 26 on Highway 101. He’s a member of the national steering committee for Refuse Fascism. He and seven other people decided to block traffic on 101 during rush hour to draw attention to their cause. Prior to this, his group ran full-page ads in The New York Times and Washington Post calling for people to protest the inauguration.
Hoberman said that the November 4 demonstration is modeled after the January Women’s March. They’re hoping the protest will take place in a public location or entail a series of prolonged protests that take place over several days. Planning meetings for the event are taking place in different parts of the country in early October.
Their protest certainly did get the word out about November 4, when they stopped traffic for 20 minutes. The protesters were arrested on misdemeanor charges and kept in custody for 12 hours.
Buzzfeed described Refuse Fascism this way:
A ubiquitous presence at protests, this organization is best known for its bold black-and-white signs reading “NO! We refuse to accept a fascist America!” and for accidentally doxxing people who signed its own petitions. Its goal is the wholesale impeachment of Donald Trump and the ousting of everyone involved with his administration. Bob Avakian, chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, called the ad hoc group together after the 2016 election. They’re planning a nationwide Occupy-esque protest on Nov. 4.
Sunsara Taylor, a cofounder of the group, said they have not partnered with other anti-fascist groups, nor are they actively communicating with them. Taylor said that Refuse Fascism has been at protests with other antifa groups, but that there is “no formal alliance.” Their national office is in New York, though Taylor said it was difficult to estimate the number of members.
Refuse Fascism organizes nonviolent protests in hope of attracting the greatest numbers, though Taylor said she doesn’t condemn any tactics people use to protest because of what she sees as the extraordinarily fascist nature of the Trump administration.”
In other words, the group only organizes nonviolent protests. However, they also don’t always actively condemn people who are violent, if those actions are in self defense.
(Note: Mark Tinkelman contacted Heavy to dispute the “accidentally doxxing people” part of Buzzfeed’s description of Refuse Fascim above. He wrote: “Refuse Fascism did not ‘accidentally doxx’ anyone. We asked people to sign a statement which we told everyone we planned to publish and asked if they wanted their name on that statement. About 6k people signed up to have their names published with the statement. When we ran it as an ad we could not fit all the names on there so we published them online. Fascist trolls took that list of names and framed his as though we doxxed people. That buzzfeed article actually let those fascists set the terms as opposed to saying that people should be allowed to sign their names to things that they believe in.”)
In early September, Refuse Fascism released a statement denouncing attacks on Antifa. They stated that Antifa helped defend counter protestors in Charlottesville and there is no moral equivalence between those seeking to impose fascism and those fighting against it. The attacks against Antifa, they stated, “are designed to intimidate, suppress, and divide all opposition to fascism.”
Given the horrific assault on Muslims, women, immigrants, LGBTQ, Black people, science, the environment, civil liberties, and people around the world by this regime, it is more important than ever that people have the right to stand up to fascism, to protest and to resist. Differences over tactics, where they exist, must not divide the people’s resistance.”
Later in the statement, they reiterated that they do not support initiating violence.
3. They Hope the Protest Might Last for Several Days or Until Trump and Pence Are No Longer in Office
A donation site for the November 4 event reads:
November 4th needs to be the start of sustained, prolonged protest in the streets. Day after day, night after night, people need to continue to come out and demand the ouster of this fascist regime.
We will gather in the streets and public squares of cities and towns across this country, at first many thousands declaring that this whole regime is illegitimate and that we will not stop until our single demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”
If you visit the call to action page, you’ll read:
ON NOVEMBER 4, 2017 Take To The Streets And Public Squares in cities and towns across the country continuing day after day and night after night—not stopping—until our DEMAND is met.”
Their demands are for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to be removed from office.
They continue on the website, sharing that they hope the protest will grow from thousands to include millions of people:
Our protest must grow day after day and night after night—thousands becoming hundreds of thousands, and then millions—determined to act to put a stop to the grave danger that the Trump/Pence Regime poses to the world by demanding that this whole regime be removed from power.
The Refuse Fascism’s Los Angeles Facebook page seems to also be protesting certain sects of Christianity. A post from September 28 reads:
On November 4th-WE WILL FLOOD INTO THE PUBLIC SQUARE. In our millions we will force the entire world to take note of our uncompromising actions. This is the only reasonable way to end this nightmare. Waiting till 2018 or 2020 represents a misunderstanding that this is fascism and that the Trump/Pence regime are fighting furiously to consolidate their rule (eliminate opposition and resistance) and impose a white supremacist, misogynistic, bible-taken-literally America-first vision on all of humanity. Are you ready to fight furiously for the future of humanity and the planet? Join with others from a diversity of perspectives. Take up this call to action.
4. Refuse Fascism Is Not Calling for Violence on Nov. 4
The group only organizes nonviolent protests, according to Buzzfeed. Their webpage describing November 4 reads:
Our actions will reflect the values of respect for all of humanity and the world we want—in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime.
This appears to be a call to protest without stopping until Trump and Pence are removed from office. The webpage doesn’t specifically call for peaceful protests or non-violence, but it does say their actions will reflect the world they want and be in contrast to “the hate and bigotry” of the current administration. They have, however, advocated for nonviolence on other parts of their website.
In addition, Hoberman said they hoped the protest would be like the January women’s marches, which were completely peaceful.
At this point, reports with headlines that read “Antifa is calling for violent riots on November 4” or “Antifa planning terror attacks on November 4” are not accurate, according to the group’s stated plans. As stated earlier, the group does not organize violent protests, but at least one of the organizers also doesn’t actively denounce protesters from other groups who are violent.
In a statement on September 9, Refuse Fascism wrote on its website:
Refuse Fascism does not initiate violence. We oppose violence against the people and among the people, but we uphold people’s fundamental and legal right to self-defense. We welcome and actively seek to involve people who come from a great diversity of views on many big questions, including when and whether any form of violence is ever legitimate. This is a great strength as it will take millions of people working and struggling together to stop a fascist America by driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime. The efforts we undertake together consist of nonviolent political protest.
This doesn’t mean that rogue groups of people might not try to take advantage of the protests and initiate violent acts themselves. Those types of actions can’t be predicted and have happened before in anti-Trump protests and in pro-Trump protests. However, this group is not advocating for initiating violence during their Nov. 4 protests.
5. ‘The World Can’t Wait’ Organization Is Associated with Refuse Fascism and Protested Bush in 2005/2006
The group Refuse Fascism shares a mailing address (305 West Broadway #185, New York, NY, 10013) with The World Can’t Wait, a national movement to halt and reverse “the terrible program of war, repression, and theocracy that was initiated by the Bush/Cheney regime and the ongoing crimes that continue to this day.” The World Can’t Wait organized protests calling for the end of the Bush regime and ran a full-page ad in The New York Times, USA Today, and other papers in 2005 and 2006.
However, this group isn’t just Republican-focused. They also mobilized resistance to “the war OF terror with all its associated outrages of political repression, brutal torture, and more which continue under the Obama administration,” according to their website. In 2010 they published a statement: “Crimes are Crimes — No Matter Who Does Them.” In 2013 they published a statement calling for the closure of Guantanamo.
The director of The World Can’t Wait is Debra Sweet. When she received an award in the 1970s from then President Richard Nixon, she said to him: “I can’t believe you’re sincere in giving this award for service, when you’re killing millions of people in Vietnam.” He just said that they were doing the best they could, and moved on.
In August, she posted thanks on Facebook to people who donated to Refuse Fascism, supporting the Nov. 4 event.
Meanwhile, Trump supporters are taking notice and some are worried about November 4. In The_Donald subreddit, one Redditor posted a thread titled “So what is the plan for November 4?” and wrote: “In my opinion I say we should all be arming ourselves and taking to the rooftops and streets to defend our cities. If they want a war I say let’s give it to them. Let them fire the first shot and then let those pathetic commie bastards know we mean business. What is the consensus of the rest of you? I love my country, and even though I am not a military serviceman I would still gladly lay down my life for my country. Should we be preparing ourselves for war? Or do we stand by? Because again in my opinion if these commies follow through with this plan it will only cement a Trump victory in 2020.”
Others responded that they thought the event was just propaganda and most definitely not a war. “Don’t go looking for a throw down,” one advised the poster. “You’d be doing exactly what they want, just go about your normal lives and refuse to even acknowledge their special little occasion.”
In another Reddit post, shared in the Conspiracy subreddit, a Redditor suggested stocking up on food, water, gold, silver, and medicine, along with guns and ammo, before November 4. Others responded that the protests likely wouldn’t last past Sunday night and they weren’t concerned.
Refuse Fascism has stated on its website that it is opposed to initiating violence. In an interview with Politico, they also stated that they did not want Trump ousted by unconstitutional means. They suggested possibly having advisers declaring him unfit to serve under the 25th Amendment if Congress would not move forward on impeachment. Or perhaps pressure to resign might come from his inner circle.
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