Refuse Fascism (RF) was established shortly after the November 2016 U.S. presidential election in which Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. The creators of RF were Revolutionary Communist Party members Carl Dix, Sunsara Taylor (an advisory board member with World Can’t Wait), and Andy Zee (a spokesman for the Manhattan-based Revolution Books shop managed by the Maoist activist C. Clark Kissinger). One of RF’s founding “initiators” was Cornel West.
RF laid out its political and ideological platform in a December 2016 manifesto titled In the Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America! This document depicted President Trump as an illegitimately elected “fascist” and declared: “In the name of humanity we REFUSE to accept a fascist America!” Emphasizing the fact that Trump had lost the nationwide popular vote to Mrs. Clinton by some 2.5 million votes, RF characterized the Electoral College—which of course was where Trump had won the presidency—as an outdated and useless “product and legacy of slavery.” The illegitimacy of the Electoral College was compounded, said RF, by the fact that “Republican Party representatives and operatives have over the years … systematically suppressed the votes of Black, Latino and poor people” by means of such measures as Voter ID requirements. Moreover, RF tried to draw a connection between nonwhite voter suppression and “the overturning of the Voting Rights Act [VRA] in 2013 by the Supreme Court”—a gross mischaracterization of the Court’s decision to strike down an anachronistic VRA provision that required certain states to obtain federal pre-clearance for any proposed changes to their election laws.
“More fundamental,” said RF in its manifesto, “is the illegitimacy of such a fascist regime” as Trump’s. Noting that “Hitler himself came to power through the process of elections and established legal procedures,” RF charged that Trump: (a) “has made clear … that he intends to radically attack the rights of immigrants, Muslims, Black people, women, gay and trans people, the disabled, and many others who have been historically oppressed in this society”; (b) “will pursue a geopolitical policy that will be very short on facts and long on aggression, threats of aggression, insane nuclear proliferation, torture and threats of torture, and continually going to the brink of war and no doubt beyond, and all while stoking the fires of xenophobia and scapegoating”; (c) has “no respect for the freedom of the press and expression”; (d) “has already begun to seed the government with Christian fundamentalist theocrats and breathed new life into anti-Semitism”; (e) “has created an atmosphere around women that has further empowered rape culture and already damaged the lives and chances of every woman and girl in this country”; (f) “will seriously and qualitatively exacerbate a situation [vis-a-vis the environment] that is already heading to disaster”; (g) has “super-charged the notion that this is a ‘white man’s country’ in which the rights and existence of Black people and other people of color count for nothing”; (h) “has put proven white supremacists … in positions of power”; and (i) has “given impetus to every fascist, neo-Nazi and bigot to directly express themselves by violently going after people who are not white, male, Christian or straight.” As a result of Trump’s ascendance to power, RF warned, “the days of white vigilantism and … lynch mobs … will now be back with a vengeance.”
In an effort to prevent a Trump presidency from even getting off the ground, the RF manifesto exhorted leftist agitators nationwide to pour into the streets by “the tens of millions,” so as to “create … a profound political crisis” that would stop “the fascist regime” from being “able to take the reins of government.”
But when Trump’s January 2017 inauguration ultimately proceeded on schedule, RF shifted its objective to “driving from office” Trump and his “Legion of Doom” cabinet of “white supremacists, woman haters, science deniers, religious fundamentalist zealots, and war mongers.”
Toward that end, RF drafted a petition titled Refuse Fascism Call to Action, which charged that the Trump “regime,” in its quest “to establish a fascist order under the signboard of ‘America First,’” had already “begun subverting the separation of powers [and] the separation of Church and State, called for a new nuclear arms race, demonized the press, [and] dismissed the very concept of truth [by] substituting their own fabricated ‘alternative facts.’” Asserting, further, that “there is method to Trump’s madness” that “echoes Hitler” and is “more dangerous to the world than even Hitler,” the RF petition claims that President Trump’s brand of fascism promotes “xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive ‘traditional values.’”
In February 2017, RF played a major role in staging a loud, violent riot that forced the popular gay conservative Milo Yiannopoulos to cancel a speech which he was scheduled to deliver at UC Berkeley. All told, more than 1,500 protesters gathered at Sproul Plaza on the Berkeley campus, chanting and holding placards that read: “No safe space for racists” and “This is war.” Some of the demonstrators hurled commercial-grade fireworks and rocks at police; threw Molotov cocktails that ignited fires; smashed windows of the student union center where Yiannopoulos had been slated to speak; tore down metal barriers; set fires near the campus bookstore; and damaged the construction site where a new dorm was being built. “As police dispersed the crowd from campus,” said one news report, “a remaining group of protesters moved into downtown Berkeley and smashed windows at several local banks.” By the time the mayhem was over, the rioters had caused at least $100,000 worth of property damage on the grounds of UC Berkeley, plus another $400,000 to $500,000 in damage off campus.
On July 9, 2018, RF announced that it was planning to hold demonstrations in at least twelve U.S. cities on July 11th to protest President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, whose identity had not yet been revealed. The protests would go on regardless of whom Trump selected, said RF.
In September 2018, RF staged a resistance protest against President Trump while he addressed the United Nations General Assembly. In a mass email promoting the rally, RF said that Trump’s “speech to the U.N. is certain to be the speech of an absolute fascist, moving to consolidate power.”
Further Reading: “Coming To Grips with the New Situation” (RefuseFascism.org, 1-25-2017); In the Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America! (RefuseFascism.org, December 2016); Refuse Fascism Call to Action (RefuseFascism.org); “UC Berkeley Blames “150 Masked Agitators” for Violent, Destructive Protest on Campus” (KFOR.com, 2-2-2017); “Protests Already Planned for Trump’s SCOTUS Nominee” (Daily Caller, 7-9-2018); “Refuse Fascism Protesters to Demonstrate Against Trump at U.N. General Assembly” (Daily Caller, 9-16-2017).