On November 7th, a group called Refuse Fascism hosted a rally in Downtown Fullerton, at the corner of Harbor and Chapman. This was part of a series of protests hosted all over the country to encourage people to use non-violent mass mobilization to “drive out the Trump Pence regime.”
Fran Sosa, an organizer of the rally, said that the purpose of the rally was to encourage people to do more than just vote to make their voices heard.
“People have been paralyzed by this idea that all we need to do is go out and vote—all that people need to do is every four years go out and pull a lever, then go home, shut up, and stop protesting,” said Sosa, “The only way that we are actually going to drive out the Trump/Pence regime is if millions of people fight for it. And when I say ‘fight for it’ I mean non-violent mass mobilizations day after day.”
The group Refuse Fascism, which is not Antifa, was formed after the election of President Donald Trump, and they are non-violent.
The protest took place on the day when Trump forced out Attorney general Jeff Sessions, who had previously recused himself from the Mueller investigation.
“The fact that he was forced to quit by Trump for the very reason that he recused himself from the Mueller investigation, basically recused himself from defending Trump, that is a further step, in and of itself toward fascism, toward a dictatorship of a strong man—that anything Trump says is true, that anything he wants has to be done,” said Sosa.
Morgan Mull, a Fullerton College student attending the rally, said that the country needs a change in leadership because Trump is “racist, he’s sexist, he’s harmful to the country in every way he can be.”
Mull said she was happy with the outcome of the midterm election because “it was one of the biggest millennial turnouts…As a millennial, I was rooting for my peers to come through, and we did.”
Connor is a Fullerton College who also helped organize the rally. He agreed with Sosa that people need to do more than just vote to make a change.
“It’s going to be the tens of millions of people in this country who hate what this regime is doing and what it represents,” said Connor, “We need to get millions of people into the streets, like they did in Egypt, like they did in South Korea, like in Armenia, like what they’re doing right now in Romania.”
Dizzie Parker, another organizer of the rally, gave a speech using a bull horn.
“You are all in the right place. You are beautiful people standing on the right side of history, doing the right thing, standing with all the people of the world—not just thinking about ourselves. We gotta stop thinking like Americans, and start thinking about humanity,” said Parker, “If we don’t stand together in this dark hour, the hammer of fascism is going to drop really quick, and it has been dropping really fast. There’s only so much time.”
Parker said that what the Trump administration has been doing, sending Amed troops to the border “to terrorize refugees” is an example of fascism. He pointed out that much of the refugee crisis is a result of US foreign policy in Latin America.
Noah Martinez, a student protester at the rally, said, “I am out here because I want to make sure that America is actually going to be great, and not just have someone say that America is great, even though they’re doing all these horrible things in the White House.”
I asked Parker why he thinks Donald Trump is a fascist, since neither Trump nor his supporters would describe themselves as “fascist.”
Parker said that Trump has demonized and scapegoated entire sets of people, which is a hallmark of fascism.
“First they went after the Muslims with the Muslim ban, and they demonized a whole section of people. And then they went after the immigrants, and they continue to go after the immigrants in a more accelerated and vicious way. And, on top of that, they’re talking about rolling women’s rights back into the dark ages, and shredding up the rule of law, and just completely disregarding the normal channels of American democracy. These are clear indications of fascism,” said Parker, “There’s a reason why Neo-Nazis are being emboldened in the streets. There’s a reason why Charlottesville happened in such an accelerated way. It’s fascism.”
And what, exactly, is fascism?
“It’s a qualitative shift in the way society is governed. It relies on open terror. It relies on demonization and scapegoating of other cultures. It requires and demands complete obedience to the state, and it concentrates more and more power into fewer and fewer hands,” said Parker.
I asked Parker if he thinks people could support fascist policies without even realizing it.
“People can support fascism without knowing it’s actually fascism. I don’t think that, in general, people wake up in the morning and say to themselves, ‘How am I going to be a good fascist today?’” said Parker.
He said that the danger is that fascism provides easy answers to complex questions.
He added that fascism can be voted in, but it’s much harder to vote it out.
“Regardless of whether or not you voted, and regardless of who won in last night’s election, there’s still two more years of the same people in power, and every day they’re just grinding up what we knew as American democracy,” said Parker.
A well-dressed couple on their way to go dancing at the Atomic Ballroom walked past the protest, and decided to join in.
“We walked past, and I said, ‘Wait a second, what are we doing walking past here. We should join in. We were talking about how we want to do something other than just vote. Because you feel powerless sometimes when you vote, and you’re vote doesn’t seem to mean much of anything. And so here was our opportunity to actually try to do something to have our voice be heard,” said Megan Hawks, who went dancing with her partner after the rally.