Standing Up to the Fascist Mob in DC



On November 14, thousands of supporters of Donald Trump, spearheaded by a number of openly fascist forces and greeted by Trump himself, took over the streets in Washington, DC, demanding that the election be overturned.

In reporting on that march, the Washington Post wrote that these marchers were met with a group of counter-protestors from Refuse Fascism. Here’s what the Post described:

Then the appearance of counterprotesters sparked bursts of conflict, though they could have become far more violent had police not worked to keep the feuding sides separate. When a small group holding bright orange “Refuse Fascism” posters arrived at the edge of Freedom Plaza, they were almost immediately surrounded by Trump fans shouting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” into their faces....

The women leading the tiny march fought their way up 14th Street, repeatedly breaking out of the crowd, only to be engulfed again.

“Trump, pack your s[hit]! You’re illegitimate!” they yelled into their megaphone.

One pro-Trump man attempted to gouge the opposition with a flag bearing the president’s name. Another grabbed a woman’s neon orange poster and hit her with it.

Sunsara Taylor, a member of Refuse Fascism’s editorial board and a writer for this website, was on the scene. Yesterday Lucha Bright, who was also there, interviewed Sunsara for a firsthand account.

LB: Hi, I’m Lucha Bright with the Revolution Club and I’m here with Sunsara Taylor, who’s on the national editorial board of and she’s a co-host for the Revolution Nothing Less Show on YouTube. Hi Sunsara!

ST: Hey Lucha, great to be here. Hello everybody.

LB: So, Sunsara and I have been running together in the streets of DC and this past Saturday, yesterday. nationally called for protests across the country and here in DC going right up against the Million MAGA March. Do you want to tell us a little bit about why Refuse Fascism called for these protests?

ST: So first of all, Donald Trump lost the election. I know we all know that, but he’s refusing to admit that, he’s lying about it and he’s working to overturn that and actually we were just in very close quarters with thousands of MAGA assholes who either refuse to admit or are so deluded by conspiracy and lie-mongering that they actually believe Trump won. So, Trump lost, which was a great victory for the people, and people overcame a lot of obstacles to deliver that electoral defeat. People, especially Black people, overcame misleading robocalls, voter intimidation, long-ass lines in the South—some of them waited 10, 12 hours to vote due to racist voter suppression. There was a lot people had to go up against and did go up against, including in a pandemic, to deliver an electoral defeat to Donald Trump, which was a great victory, and for good reason people poured into the streets and danced in the streets and celebrated about that and felt that a weight was lifted from them.

Yet here we are a week later and Trump is still lying about this. He’s actively obstructing the transition, which is costing lives right now, in COVID deaths and in other ways, and he is riling up a base to actually try to overturn this election. So for all those reasons, we felt it very important that we bring our side into the public square to stand on this victory to say: The election is over. Trump lost. Biden won. Trump’s gotta go. But let’s keep in the public square until that victory is cemented, until he’s actually out of the White House.

Frankly, all his attempts to undermine the election are themselves grounds for removal. Those are fascist moves. And we shouldn’t be normalized just because it’s Trump and we’ve lived through it for four years. Here is a sitting president who is refusing to concede when he lost and is doing great damage and now whips up thousands or tens of thousands of his most violent white supremacist, thuggish supporters to maraud in the nation’s seat of power and to work to overturn that election. That has to be answered. So we felt it was very important that we go and we counter-protest and stand up against that and rally our side to see this defeat of this fascist regime all the way through until they’re removed from power.

LB: Can you just describe what the scene was like here in DC? Who were the fascists that were out? And what did Refuse Fascism do?

ST: The streets of DC were filled with every variety of white supremacist, militia-type, conspiracy-minded, QAnon, deranged Christian fascist; I mean we saw hatred organized writ large against Black people, against immigrants, against women.

It was an attempt, and I think they gained ground in this, by these fascist forces who actually were put on the defensive, who did suffer a bit of a defeat, they did have the puff taken off their chest when Trump lost that election and when they saw people pour into the streets with all the exuberance and all that joy and all that weight was lifted. This took the puff out of their chest, and they were trying to come back together and reassert their dominance in the public square. And I think they actually made ground in that, including that Trump came through and gave it his backing. So we went in the middle of this. And just so people know, some of these people were chanting “Break out Kyle” talking about Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who murdered two protesters for Black Lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who shot them dead in the street. This is the hero of these people. There were Christian fanatic fascists walking thru with signs saying “Women belong in the kitchen.” Just straight up enslavement.

There are people that you would say, “What about the children in cages?” and they’d be like, “They belong there. Their parents did something illegal.” I mean these people are... they have no [touches heart]... they’ve got nothing inside of them for humanity. But they were out there and they were filled with a lust for revenge. And so we went right in the middle of the Freedom Plaza area where they were first amassing, and we went early in the day. And we raised the banner Trump/Pence Out Now. We raised signs that said the same. It was a small group of us. We never got our whole group in one place cuz it actually was, it was very... because Trump gave his backing, this mushroomed in size on the side of the fascists so we didn’t all meet up till later.

And from the second we did this we were set upon. I mean, these people were incensed. They first started verbally harassing us, and then they were, kind of forcefully, purposefully bumping into us and then within a couple minutes there were hundreds of them surrounding us, grabbing at us, at times you’d have five different big, meathead men with their hands on you, pulling you in different directions, grabbing your sign, hitting you; they ripped up our sound system, they were a mob and they were very threatening. One of the people with us, was a Black woman who, by the time we got through this... and I will say for our crew, our crew was so beautiful, they had such heart. I think the Washington Post described it, at different points the women who led the march would break out of the mob and start chanting, “Trump pack your shit! You’re illegitimate.” Or, “Trump/Pence Out Now.” Then we’d be swallowed again, and then we’d break out again and chant again. But the whole time we kept regrouping and keeping our message together and keeping our people together and our spirit intact.

This lasted for two blocks... we were dogged like this, assaulted like this as we marched along, and when we finally got clear and ended up on the other side of a police line through some struggle we had with the police as well, for them to do the semblance of their job and stop a mob assault or at least let us get out of reach of it. When we got through this, this one Black woman who was with us, she was just sobbing, she was inconsolable, she kept saying, “I’m wrong for being Black. I’m wrong for being a woman. My life is in danger every single day. And there was so much hate, that was so much hate they threw at us.” And her eyes were just pouring.

Bob Avakian has said there is a direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today. They really are the inheritors of the Confederacy. People who have never reconciled themselves to the end of the Civil War. These are the people who would have gathered with their children to watch Black people be lynched and then fought each other to get a souvenir, a piece of the mutilated body or a postcard of that experience. These are people filled with bloodlust and out for revenge and you saw it all day long. At the end of the night, they were marauding. They came thru BLM Plaza, tore up the murals. Tore up the pictures. And like maniacs, lunatic, animal-like shouting and assaulting pieces of wood that say Black Lives Matter on them, wishing they could be doing it to people. So, it was a very heavy experience, to go right up against this like that. But it mattered because this has to be opposed. They can’t be allowed to dominate the public square and the public discourse.

And it is shameful that there weren’t more people out there. Everybody who was out celebrating, rightfully so, a week before when Trump lost should’ve been out there standing up there against this. It would have been a world of difference. That amount of hatred needs to stay on the defensive.

After we protested in the middle of the mob and then made it in the morning, we went to BLM Plaza near the White House and one of the people we ran into said that when they got off the train at Union Station—they are young and gay and visibly you might guess that—and they were set upon by five of these MAGA fascists with flak vests on surrounded this person, jeering, “Oh you’re gay? You’re a faggot!” They were hurling all these slurs at them and physically domineering and intimidating them. They said, “I just thought to myself, ‘I got to get down to the White House, maybe if I get there I’ll find my people.’ And, yeah, I found my people here.” And the Black woman who was with us, and the others who were with us who were really shook coming through the mob of fascists, when we got down to BLM Plaza and rallied and came back together, people saw it all the way through. They took all that emotion that they felt about what was hurled at them and what the history of that and the threat of that writ large for the future, and they poured it out in their chants and their dance and their song and their sense of standing together. And it actually felt really good to stand up.

You know, the idea that you hide from this shit, and you go in your home and you avoid the confrontation. That is a morally compromised place to be and it does damage and because of that, it doesn’t feel nearly as good as standing and being in the face of this and coming through that. And I was so proud of the people who stood up and I know we gave voice to what millions and millions feel, but those millions have to join this because there is actually a fight for the future that is still ongoing. And Trump is still in power and these MAGA fascists are marauding and they must not be allowed to dominate the public space and the public discourse.

LB: I was going to ask you what you would say to those who told everybody going into this, there was a whole outcry going into this of, “Don’t go into the streets.” It was all over the internet. “Stay home, you’re gonna provoke these people, you’re gonna provoke Trump.” I think you’ve spoken to that some already, but if there is more you want to say about that.

ST: Look, the fascist Trump/Pence regime, a genocidal, racist regime, is still in power. They are unleashing their mobs in the streets. Hiding from that will not make them go away, it will make them stronger. And I’m sorry, if you want to spend more energy—which way too many “woke” people and “progressive” people did—condemning those who stand up against fascists and white supremacists than you want to put into actually standing up against those fascists and white supremacists, you are no different than the people who told the Freedom Riders, “Don’t go to the South. Don’t provoke them.” Who, when they were set upon by mobs said, “Why did you rile them up?” You’re no different than the people who told Frederick Douglass, “Don’t publish your memoir and don’t go on your speaking tour because you might push things too far... we’re getting towards abolition, we just want to go a little slower.” Larry Kramer, everybody loves Larry Kramer today, there’s movies made about him for good reason, he led ACT UP, who led a lot of struggle to wake people up to the AIDS epidemic and get help for people who were dying, gay men especially in massive numbers. But at the time, Larry Kramer was very unpopular and I’m sorry, the verdict is in history and it applies today.

There’s always those who say, “Oh, you’re protesting in the wrong way. Oh, you’re protesting at the wrong time.” I actually had someone tell me today that they could come up with 100 examples of how “poorly planned protests” led to less freedom. No, oppression leads to less freedom. Standing up against it leads to more freedom. That’s the way the fucking world works. And even protests that are maybe, poorly planned or not the most strategically thought through, you still put your arms around people who are on the right side. One side is right and one side is wrong. And those who stand up, even when they do it sometimes without the fullest strategic sense, they’re not the cause of oppression! And all the people who blame the victims and blame those who stand up, I’m sorry you are on the wrong fucking side of history on this. And you gotta get over to the right side, cuz a lot of those people, I think they actually do... they are of two minds. They do actually want to see the Trump horrors ended. But for a long time they have been very resistant to doing the hard work and the struggle that is actually required to stop this. And you see that playing out now, too, where they say now we’ve got a victory, let’s lay low. And you know what? With fascists, you don’t lay low. When you get a victory, you take that and you run the table with it. Let’s stay in the public square. Let’s stay on the offensive. Let’s stay saying Black lives matter. Let’s stay saying women are full human beings. Let’s stay saying get the children out of the cages cuz they’re still in fucking cages. Why would you lay low when all that is still going on and they are threatening to overturn your victory? You stand on that victory and you keep going forward and you give space and oxygen to those who have been suffering under it to come join you and stand up and actually fight for and win a different future.

That’s what we were fighting for yesterday. That’s what I think people should take from it who were part of it. It was very heroic. It was very important. And that’s what other people need to join with. We need to see it all the way through, get Trump and Pence all the way out of office and then we can have... and many of us will continue to fight for going deeper and getting to the roots of this fascism and all the oppression and injustice that is rooted in this system and the need for a whole revolution and other people will split off and go different ways and we’ll have the freedom and space to have that debate and wage that struggle.

LB: OK, well thank you so much, this is a really important discussion and I am so glad we were able to have it.

ST: Me too. Thanks, Lucha.



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