Meeting the LA Resistance Fighters of July 15

by Michael Slate

July 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


It took courage to be among the hundreds who gathered at Hollywood and Highland, the site of the Trump Hollywood star, to rally and march against the fascist Trump/Pence regime on July 15 in Los Angeles. Trumpite fascists had threatened the marchers in advance—and they did come out to try to intimidate and silence the protesters, and physically assaulted at least two people.

Michelle Xai of Refuse Fascism Los Angeles, the young woman emceeing the rally, called out the fascists in a strong and spirited rap that got right to what was so important and urgent about the protest, and rallied the people forward:

We’re here on a mission to drive out this fascist regime. These people, what are they representing, what are they opposing? When Donald Trump says make America great again, what is he saying? He’s saying make America white again. He wants to go back to the days when there was a separation, when Black people had to use different bathrooms than white people, when they were treated as less than human. We say NO to that, and we are determined to drive out this fascist regime from power. And we are not going to sit back and wait and see. This fascist in the White House has already shown us what they’re gonna do. They’ve told us what they’re gonna do. And we are not gonna be those good Germans who just sat back when there was bodies all around them and just covered their eyes and pretended like it wasn’t happening. No! We are not gonna go back to those days!... We refuse these fucking ignorant fools trying to intimidate us. They came out here to protect a piece of concrete [the Trump star]. If it wasn’t so dangerous, it would be laughable. But these people are serious—this is how fascism consolidates, through these modern-day brown shirts going around and shutting up all opposition while the people in power continue to carry out these genocidal programs against the masses of people. We should not get distracted. We are on a mission to drive out this fascist regime from power, and we’re not gonna back down from that!

There was a moment where the fascists were chanting “USA, USA, USA,” and the crowd responded with “HUMANITY FIRST, HUMANITY FIRST!” The fascists turned strikingly silent, and the moment had a profound effect on everyone involved.

Who were the 400 resistance fighters doing the right thing, marching against the Trump/Pence regime? They represented a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds, and shared a sense of responsibility to humanity to drive out this fascist regime. Revolution correspondent Michael Slate caught up with a number of them, and shared notes on the scene, who was there, and why. We begin those notes here, and will add more in days to come, so stay tuned.

* * * * * * * *

Walking up Highland Avenue you could hear a faint rumble in the distance. When you turned on to Hollywood Boulevard it all got much louder and hectic. It was only 2:15 pm, still 45 minutes before the official beginning of the July 15 protest to demand that the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

People had begun to set up and decorate the flatbed truck that was to be the stage for the rally. Some other people had already set up information tables along the sidewalk in front of the truck and within spitting distance of Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A group of fascists stood guard around Trump’s star, clearly feeling a religious calling to serve and protect.

Within 20 minutes a section of Hollywood Boulevard was transformed into a rally site as the flatbed truck took up a position in the middle of the street and the first of hundreds of protesters to arrive began to gather in front of the makeshift stage.

I walked through the crowd, talking to people here and there, keeping an eye on the fascists and trying to get an overall sense of what was happening. One thing that I found really refreshing was that while the crowd was people of all ages and nationalities, there were a very significant number of younger people, some at their first demonstration along with others more experienced. Each conversation opened another door on what is shaping up in terms of resistance to the Trump/Pence regime and why. Standing at the very back of the growing crowd were two women, each wearing a Muslim hijab. They were listening intently to the speakers while nervously scanning the crowd in front of them and the line of police behind them. Their family has roots in Egypt but they were born here. They are Muslims, and they were a combination of scared, concerned, and angry.

The younger sister, Z, spoke first. “Honestly, me and my family, we just came here for a day on Hollywood Boulevard and then we saw this and we were like, what’s happening here? So we blended in and I honestly agree with the No Trump thing. It’s completely outrageous, with everything he’s been doing and what he wants to do. I’m blown away. What I’m concerned about is how he basically just wants to remove 50 percent of the population of America, just get rid of all of the illegal immigrants. It’s not their fault, they just need some place to stay and they need a job and he is just trying to remove everybody. And he is so racist to everybody, including me and my religion, and that’s not okay with me or anyone who’s with me.”

Z’s older sister, L, had finished a conversation she was having with someone and turned to listen to us just as Z got a quiet, shy smile on her face, and said that while she wasn’t able to conceive of a way to bring down the Trump/Pence regime herself, “There is nothing else that you could lose.”

L jumped into the conversation at that point. She was very thoughtful and upset. “What brought me here today is that Donald Trump, from the beginning of his campaign, has made us feel like we don’t belong in America, despite me and my family being born and raised here. We are American citizens and he has this rhetoric that makes it seem like that doesn’t matter, like being on American soil doesn’t mean that we belong here. And even then, my parents are immigrants and they came here for the American dream. They started from nothing and became successful. And we all belong here. This is what America is about, building something from nothing.”

Trump’s Muslim ban made her scared for a bit, deeply perplexed, and then just straight-out angry. “When the Muslim ban happened, that was very, very disturbing. Honestly, I have no words. I don’t know how you could ban an entire people. There was no reason to ban—I don’t remember how many countries there were but—just for the slightest chance that there would be terrorism. Terrorism is not rooted in Islam. Terrorism happens because of the way that America treats our countries. They send their soldiers and they kill our people and they destroy our homes and expect people not to retaliate. We don’t hate America, I go overseas and nobody hates America, but when American soldiers come in and kill them, how do you want them to react? So, the ban has no purpose, it’s not going to achieve anything at all.”

L thinks the Trump/Pence government is fascist and that it’s important for people to understand that. “I feel that what most people get in their head is that they are Republicans and they have to vote Republican, they have to vote for these conservative values and they don’t see where they are going wrong, where there is a line that has been crossed into this fascist regime. Once you start telling people they don’t belong. Like the gay and lesbian community, the LGBT community, immigrants from all over the world, whatever their values are, whatever their political beliefs are, basically he is dividing America in half and saying these people are wrong and that these people are mental and they don’t know what they are talking about and that ‘we’ are the right ones. That’s what he’s saying and that’s incorrect. We’re all human beings and we all have different opinions and no one is going to be the same. And we all have to accept that.”

I reminded L that I had also asked her if she thought it was important for other people to understand that this is a fascist regime and what that meant in terms of getting rid of it. She said that this was a hard question and she took a few minutes to think, then she said, “Well, I do think that when people understand that Trump is a fascist and when people start coming together like this protest, when people start binding together in solidarity, we will show the government. We will start investigations into his intentions and what he’s actually doing in the government rather than overlooking what he’s been doing.”

L had a troubled look on her face as she said that, and I reminded her of what had happened in Egypt back in 2011 when the Egyptian people rose up and occupied Tahrir Square for almost three weeks in a push to overthrow the Mubarak regime and were defeated when the military came in to put it down. I asked her what she thought of that in relation to what is called for here. “In Egypt things are much, much different. They don’t have the right to protest over there, so when people go out there they get gassed and the police arrest everyone. We’re not safe over there. Here we are safe and we should be able to use our voices. Technically we have the right to protest. Over there, in Egypt, we do not have that right. Here we have to catch him. I know he is corrupt, so he is definitely doing something corrupt in office. We just have to catch him in the act. We can’t have people in the government turning a blind eye and just ignoring what he’s doing. We need to find out, and we need to expose him and get him impeached.”

* * * * * * * *

Hollywood Boulevard is famous for all kinds of reasons. And it really is true that you can find just about anything you want—and a whole lot that you would never even consider wanting—just walking down the street. On one side of the rally there was a junk-filled souvenir store stuffed with miniature Oscar statues, photos of movie stars and lots of Hollywood T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats.

A group of young women just out of high school were carrying bags stuffed with trinkets to bring back home. They were a group of students from the Midwest here to get an early orientation for a college they’re going to attend in the fall. They came to Hollywood Boulevard just to kick it for a while, and Ellen, one of the young women, said, “We just saw this and we had to join because we had to protest with you all, we can’t walk past it.” Another student, Beth, chimed in, “When I was at Pride in Chicago the same thing happened and I really felt the need to join and the same thing here, I saw it and had to join.”

I asked them what it was that made them feel they had to join this demonstration and stand up against the Trump/Pence regime in general. Ellen jumped up with her response: “His blatant disregard for our livelihood, his superiority to immigrants, to women, to anybody else who he doesn’t think is worth it. It’s just aggravating to see that.”

Beth wanted to say more. “I do believe that everyone deserves to have equal opportunities here, no matter what—you know, race shouldn’t matter, background shouldn’t matter, things like that. We’re all humans and we should all just practice love. We should all really be here for each other and he’s not doing that. And it really sucks because he finds ways to nestle into small crevices like children, and he is breaking everybody apart and it sucks.”

I asked if they thought this was a fascist regime and why. Ellen spoke first: “Yes, this is definitely a fascist regime. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just how he treats people. It’s obviously like any other experience that we’ve had with fascist regimes. It’s the same scenario.” Beth thought for a moment and then said, “He literally bullies people. He just speaks down to everyone. And what kind of character is that? Honestly, just to start with that. We need to stick together. We need to protest like this that’s happening now. We need to get the word out more than anything because too many people are so ignorant of what’s happening, they just hear what he says on the news and that he’s a good speaker but they don’t know what’s actually happening.” Ellen added, “And even then, sometimes them knowing doesn’t really make a difference because sometimes they agree with it. So honestly, it’s just everybody needs to stick together.”

I asked both of them what they thought it would take to get the Trump/Pence regime out of power. Beth jumped up this time and her friend said that Beth wanted to talk because she had been thinking about that for a while. Beth jumped into it, “Ok, like, if you drive him out of power then Pence is up there. And if you drive Pence out then it’s the other guy. You gotta... honestly, I don’t even know. If you drive him out of power then it’s Pence and he’s worse. I understand that people want to just drive him out completely but at the same time it’s like okay, I get it, I do, but let’s sit back for a second and think logically because you get him out and you think your problem is solved but Pence is even worse.”

Ellen added, “It’s hard because we have two people in line that are both horrible and after that it keeps going and they’re not any better. So I think we need to make more of an impact and make sure that he knows that he needs to change what he is doing because if we don’t kick them out, we at least need to affect their decision-making. We agree that it’s going to take millions of people in the streets to do any of this.”



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