San Francisco Bay Area Emergency Organizing Meeting
December 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Just under 70 people came to the December 21 meeting in Berkeley, which began with a reading of the Call. Then meeting organizers showed a section of the video from Monday’s emergency meeting in NYC. In the clip, Jeremy Scahill exposed the vile histories of the prospective members of the Trump-Pence regime; and then Carl Dix spoke with intensity about the extreme urgency our current situation—that fascists are getting set to come to power and it is up to us to join together to stop them—and sketched out a vision of the next 30 days and what we must do to reach out and unite millions to stop this.
People spoke out, some quietly, most passionately. The meeting had been organized in two days, mostly through emails. Those who responded were a diverse group that included women who had lived under the Nazis in Germany, organizers of the Occupy movement, students from Ivy League colleges who ran into this on their holiday breaks, environmental activists, media activists, revolutionaries, and more.
A woman said she was the child of Holocaust survivors. Her mom had seen fascism building under Hitler’s German—the street fights, then the other kids at school “started coming after her, throwing rocks.” Then there were the Nuremberg laws—Jews couldn’t even buy flowers, Jews couldn’t work in non-Jewish homes. And it closed in on them. “They were regular middle class folks who thought it could never happen to us.” They thought they could vote the Nazis out. But it kept building and building. She said her mother had escaped Germany when she was 14, but her grandparents and so many others in her family were killed in Auschwitz. The woman said she grew up with this, always hearing “eternal vigilance, eternal vigilance,” and she asked herself what does that really mean? She ended by saying, “I have seen it turn now. We need to stop it before it happens, because it is not much of a line before it crosses over and it is too late.”
Questions came up: What about the divisions in the left? Will you join with what other groups are doing to oppose Trump? What about the people who are not ready to “put their bodies on the gears of the machine”—how to include a diversity of actions? Who is organizing this?
The Revolution Club member leading the meeting and others spoke to these questions and urged people to visit the refusefascism.org website. They emphasized that the unique, urgent task of this initiative is to unite the broad sections of people who are deeply opposed to Trump—but who are now scattered and dispersed—to take a determined stand, wage a massive fight to prevent Trump-Pence from taking power.
Throughout the meeting there was struggle around the need for everyone in the room to become organizers. To call on and activate their friends. To put their NO! symbol in the windows of their cars and homes, on their clothing. A woman who identified herself as a Bernie supporter pointed out that people in the room were objectively on the front lines, that they are facing what is happening, and are not in denial.
Beginning plans were made. Someone volunteered to coordinate a day of freeway bannering before the New Year. There will be another organizing meeting next Wednesday, this time across the Bay in San Francisco, location TBA. Some people volunteered to start fund-raising, including holding house parties. A group was formed to do social media, and others raised that they would outreach to organizations. There will be a protest and march at 9 pm at Justin Herman Plaza on New Years Eve in San Francisco's Embarcadero where many thousands of people go to celebrate and watch fireworks. Near the end of the meeting someone raised that Trump owns 30% of the second tallest skyscraper in San Francisco, not far from the Embarcadero, and that maybe the New Year's Eve march should begin there. People left with bags of flyers and took silk-screened patches of the “NO!” to wear. A woman who had been a child in Nazi Germany said that the meeting inspired her and that “this is the first time [since the election] I've felt hope.”
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