Why We Blocked Lake Shore Drive and Disrupted Business as Usual in the Loop

by a member of the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

| revcom.us


On Thursday, August 8, 2019, in response to the white supremacist murders in El Paso and mass ICE raids and detentions in Mississippi, dozens of protesters, led by the Revolution Club Chicago and the National Revolution Tour, took to the streets in a defiant march through the Loop (in downtown Chicago), which culminated in shutting down Lake Shore Drive, a major thoroughfare, during evening rush-hour traffic.

In the face of an atmosphere of fear and repression, with the Trump/Pence regime unleashing violent thugs and white supremacists to carry out atrocities, including massacres, targeting whole sections of people, those taking part in this protest carried out an important act of resistance, and changed themselves in the process. The demonstrators raised the slogans: “WE STAND WITH IMMIGRANTS; We Refuse to Kill Each Other; We Need Revolution—Nothing Less!; and WE REFUSE TO ACCEPT A FASCIST AMERICA—The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

A young woman who came into the city from three hours away from a place where she regularly sees Trump 2020 signs and Confederate flags held back tears as she expressed on the microphone what millions of Latinos are currently feeling: “Iʼm tired of living in fear.”

The bold action began at the intersection of State and Jackson and snaked through the crowded streets and walkways of downtown, chanting, “Silence is complicity/with white supremacy/Which side are you on?” and “BASTA YA! NO MORE! Trump and Pence Must Go!” accumulating forces along the way. Our diversity of forces, which included people from around the country on the National Tour, members of the Chicago Revolution Club, broader forces with Refuse Fascism, and people who were not organized but met us on the spot (mainly Black and Latino youth), represent, in embryonic form, the breadth and diversity of the people who need to be a part of this movement for revolution. People got connected to the revolution on the spot and were recruited to become organizers, taking up basic tasks like passing out fliers to the crowds.

The protest was infused with a radical, internationalist spirit, as march leaders posed to bystanders the question: “What are *you* going to fight for? We are fighting for a world WITHOUT borders!” They challenged everyone to pick a side and posed the reality that it will take a revolution and nothing less to end this madness and bring about a world fit for humanity.

After marching through Millennium Park, the march leaders broke into a sprint.

People at the back of the march had no idea why they had started to run, but they took their lead, overcome with the joy of resistance, and ran toward Lake Shore Drive. Chicago pigs scrambled as a group of revolutionaries blocked the roadway with a massive banner that read: “El Paso: WE STAND WITH IMMIGRANTS—TRUMP IS A FASCIST—REVOLUTION NOTHING LESS!” Members of Refuse Fascism also blocked, with signs calling for the driving out of the fascist regime. It was the height of rush hour, and while some motorists were frustrated or even angered, there were also strong shows of support from the masses. One man got out of his car and said simply to a revolutionary, “Iʼm with the People”. A crowd of people gathered from the park and cheered on the protesters. Many—especially the youths who had joined up—surprised themselves and gave strength to everyone by surging into the street to join those blocking traffic and holding the banner. The air was filled with a mix of defiance and sheer joy.

After making their message heard, demonstrators were led safely off the street into a rally headed by Noche Diaz, who congratulated those who took part, but stressed that this needs to go further—we canʼt just go home thinking we did something good and leave it at that—that those masses who stepped forward to be a part of this need to be actively organized into the revolution. There IS a strategy, leadership, and organization to get with NOW to get ready for the time when we could really make revolution. Bob Avakian has charted the pathway to human emancipation with the New Communism—a thoroughly scientific method and approach to understanding and changing the world which can and should be taken up by everyone who wants to work toward a radically different and far better future for all humanity, and Noche called on people to get into BA. Because of all this, he said, because of BA and the movement he is leading, humanity does have hope. But there are not nearly enough people taking up this leadership and working to make this hope a reality—and this is what everyone who was inspired by the day’s action needs to become part of changing.

This was something the streets of Chicago had not seen before—a force of people, a small critical mass, impacting society with REAL revolution, led by a core of agitators on fire for BAʼs New Communism and determined to not only strengthen the resistance against the crimes of this system, but build a movement to bring this whole capitalist-imperialist system down at the soonest possible time.

Imagine if there were thousands of such revolutionaries in different cities around the country, united around a revolutionary line, and ready to seize on the “jolts” in society and the world to advance the revolution humanity needs to get free. This is the mission and cause of the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour, which is now in Chicago and plans to cross the whole country this year to build such a movement.

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