Observations from Boston... and Looking Ahead to November 4th

August 19, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Overall this was a very good day and an important and positive development that can and should set a bar for the rest of the country, including what people do in response to the fascists getting a permit for their “Patriot Prayer” mobilization in San Francisco on August 26 and the "No to Marxism in America" rally in Berkeley on August 27, as well as other places. Here are some notes from the Boston march.

An academic said this felt to him like after Kent State (on May 4, 1970, National Guardsmen opened fire on students protesting the Vietnam War on this Ohio campus, killing four and wounding nine others). It is not an exact comparison, but it does speak to something of a sea change in the mood of people. There was no confusion about “free speech” among the tens of thousands of people—that does not wash and most people felt these fascists should not be given any platform to spew white supremacy. Also, I noted a shift in people’s views of antifa (an anti-fascist movement) after Charlottesville; people are not buying this “bad people on both sides” bullshit.

There were homemade signs that said things like fascism is not up for debate. There was more clarity than at the Women’s March, or Science March, in DC a few months ago, on the nature of the regime. People who are doing congressional work are increasingly up against the reality that to keep doing what they have been is dreaming—it is not going to stop this. There were lots of unaffiliated young people, mostly white, on the march. More Black people joined in at the Boston Commons. Overall, there was a very celebratory mood downtown with the basic youth out in force saying we kicked the Klan’s asses. In some cases they got in the face of the police after the main march was over.

Estimates of the size are in the tens of thousands. There was a march from Roxbury called by Black Lives Matter. There was another at the State House and thousands who just showed up at the Commons. The mayor showed up to speak at the rally in Roxbury. He was there to show solidarity, but also to go on radio and tell the public not to go to the Commons. Among tens of thousands this advice was swept aside—and everyone there expected to march on the Commons. The Black Lives Matter rally began on bullhorns. Eventually there was sound and no interference from police. But the police did manage to slow the march down enough so that the fascist rally (very puny) was over before the big march entered the Commons.

The Black Lives Matter people were very embracing of the multinational unity and a new generation that does not accept white supremacy. There was widespread condemnation of white supremacy, and going after symbols of this—a sentiment that we need to drive it out of Boston and out of the country.

There were lots of older people on the march (medics had to deal with lots of dehydration), but they were not in the majority. There were lots of young white people—not all students, but there were students there from the region (Northampton, MA. Providence, Rhode Island)—and also young white working class people (Uber and truck drivers, workers from GE, medical students, etc.). There were people from the public employees union and the teachers union. There was a big showing of people who were medics and legal aid workers, some of whom I had a chance to talk and network with. Nurses came from small towns on the Canadian border to be medics on short notice. They went through a day of training and then were there for us on the march.

Among older people there was more of a sense that we won’t go back and “I can’t believe it would come to this, but it has.” There was a sense of emergency among them. There were lots of clergy and Jewish people in this crowd, people saying never in their lives had they heard the anti-Semitism said out loud the way it was in Charlottesville. This was very alarming and jolting to people. They get that it’s connected and encouraged by Trump, but don’t understand the whole remaking of everything going on by the Trump/Pence regime.

There was a good sense among many I talked with that this unleashing of a fascist social base is just beginning and about to get much worse if we do not act to stop it (including a recognition that Bannon will now be leading and whipping this up from Breitbart, something that Robert Kuttner from the American Prospect, who recently interviewed Bannon, emphasized on CNN last night). There was also a sense in the crowd and from the stage that this day was a win.

There were very broad anti-Trump sentiments, but there was no calling out the regime, the system, or any sense of driving them from office coming from speakers on the stage. Individuals were gracious and friendly in getting materials from Refuse Fascism. Of the many people I talked to, there was ready agreement that this was fascism, that there is no way to stop it but us—“the process” is not going to work. The biggest question was: Could you, and how would you, do the mobilization for November 4 that has been called by Refuse Fascism, November 4 It Begins: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! It was good to see that the Refuse Fascism “NO!” banner made the NBC evening news. We got out all the material we had for November 4, but Refuse Fascism really needs to raise a huge amount of money to be able to really have the materials we need to impact crowds of this size.




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