PART 3 of
VOTING WILL NOT BE ENOUGH—
WE NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS, AND STAY IN THE STREETS DEMANDING TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!
(Long Version—The Larger Canvas and Fuller Picture)
(See also “Short Version—The Basic Picture and Essential Vision”)
by Bob Avakian
In the Statement By Bob Avakian, August 1, 2020, On The Immediate Critical Situation, The Urgent Need To Drive Out The Fascist Trump/Pence Regime, Voting In This Election, And The Fundamental Need For Revolution, I spoke to this important point:
At this critical hour, every appropriate means of non-violent action must be utilized to remove this regime from power. And if, in spite of mass protest demanding the removal of the Trump/Pence regime, this regime remains in power when it is time for voting, then—without placing fundamental reliance on this—using all appropriate means to work for the removal of this regime must include voting against Trump (assuming the election is actually held). To be clear, this means not a “protest vote” for some candidate who has no chance of winning, but actually voting for the Democratic Party candidate, Biden, in order to effectively vote against Trump.
At the same time, however, I strongly emphasized that
Simply relying on voting to oust this regime will almost certainly lead to very bad, even disastrous results. This is especially true given what this regime is already doing, and what Trump is saying, in relation to the election.
But, if that is true, then how could this regime be removed from power—and, specifically, how could a mass mobilization actually lead to this regime being forced to go?
Among the thousands who have already been reached, and moved, by the work of RefuseFascism.org, raising the demand that this fascist regime must be OUT NOW!, growing numbers become grass roots organizers, reaching out to their families, friends and communities, and involving all kinds of people and groups—through direct contact, social media, and in other ways—drawing into this growing, and increasingly diverse, mass movement thousands more who share their hatred for everything this regime stands for and is moving mercilessly to hammer into place. Many more, in turn, also become organizers.
Imagine that, as has happened with the mass protests against racist oppression and police terror, people mobilize in the streets, day after day, beginning on October 3rd, responding to the call from Refuse Fascism for sustained non-violent but determined demonstrations around the unifying demand that this regime must go, now. These mobilizations grow, expanding and multiplying—joined by increasing numbers of people outraged by continuing police brutality and murder; by the ravaging of the environment; children in cages and tens of thousands of immigrants in concentration camps on the border; Trump’s heartless and reckless neglect and lying about the COVID pandemic, causing tens of thousands of needless deaths, disproportionately among Black and Brown and Native people; the regime’s relentless move to further consolidate a Supreme Court that is another instrument of fascist bigotry and repression—masses of people, from all parts of society, who are sickened by all this, and are coming to see even more clearly that all this is bound up with and driven by this fascist regime, joining with the ongoing daily mobilizations, linking their outrage and resistance with the unifying demand: OUT NOW!
Imagine: Students, teachers, scientists, medical professionals, lawyers, clergy and their congregations, unions, civil rights and justice organizations, artists, athletes and others in the cultural arena—all these, and others, take up the call and mobilize to strengthen the movement. Celebrities, and prominent people in many fields, utilize their platforms to magnify the message and help to mobilize still greater numbers.
As the crimes of this regime escalate day after day—spewing white supremacy, male supremacy, and other bigotry; moving to suppress votes and steal the election; threatening and unleashing violence to remain in power regardless of the outcome of the election; increasingly turning the “Justice Department” into a naked instrument of lawless repression, robbing people of basic rights, while moving to hammer into place a Supreme Court that will declare all this “Constitutional” and “legal”—as all this, and more, becomes increasingly blatant, and accelerates at a dizzying pace with the approach of the scheduled election, growing sectors of society come to the realization that they cannot simply look to the election to deal with this. Casting aside passive reliance on the “normal political process,” and overcoming fear in the face of threats and assaults by fascist thugs, all over the country masses of ordinary people, in growing waves, take to the streets, join the ongoing OUT NOW! mobilizations, or themselves initiate such mobilizations where they are not yet happening. This becomes a massive groundswell, engulfing the country as a whole, dramatically changing the terms of political engagement, forcing every political contender and all the dominant institutions in society to respond to this rising wave of determined mass resistance. This growing mobilization moves from the margins to the center of media attention and coverage, in this country and internationally. People around the world take notice, are inspired and organize demonstrations in solidarity and support.
Imagine that, all of a sudden, Democratic Party politicians and operatives are forced to realize that they cannot simply funnel all the outrage and discontent into an election that is being daily stolen and violently corrupted by the fascist regime. These politicians now declare that they identify with the sentiments of the masses of demonstrators demanding OUT NOW!—and they seek to have speakers at rallies and work to control and direct the mobilizations into “acceptable channels” that will not lead to further “disorder.” But, given the growing understanding and determination of the demonstrators, these politicians’ efforts only draw even more attention, and still greater numbers, to these mobilizations—and, even in the face of growing threats and acts of repression and violence by the regime and its fascist supporters, in and out of uniform, these mobilizations continue to grow and even more powerfully thunder the demand: OUT NOW!
Faced with this intensifying situation, the leaders of the Democratic Party calculate that the only way they can hope to gain control over the situation and re-establish some semblance of “orderly process” is to themselves take up the demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go—now—even before a scheduled election that this regime has thoroughly perverted and prevented from proceeding as a “free and fair” process. This move by the Democrats is joined (or supported, behind the scenes) by others in powerful positions in the government, including even some Republican politicians who have finally decided that their political goals and personal ambitions are better served by breaking with this regime and regrouping around other “leaders.” Trump (and Pence) are presented with the ultimatum from these ruling class forces that either they resign or they will be impeached—and, this time, convicted—and those making this demand also make clear that they have the institutional power behind them to enforce this, if Trump (and Pence) refuse to leave.
Of course, it is impossible to say exactly where things will end up, and there is no “guarantee” of success. But it is possible. And two things should be emphasized in relation to this.
First, if masses of people do not take to the streets, now, around the demand that this regime must go; if this regime is allowed to suppress votes and use the threat and force of violence to remain in power; if it is able to further consolidate its fascist rule and to be further unleashed to bludgeon into place its fascist program and aims—then the consequences will truly be catastrophic.
Second, we—all of us, from many different walks of life and many different political perspectives, who can recognize this fascist regime for what it is and refuse to live in a fascist America—we, by acting together, in the thousands and millions, can give expression to the strongly held sentiments of tens and tens of millions, who righteously hate everything this regime represents and aspire to a much better world than this. We can give life to massive, non-violent but sustained, and rapidly growing, mass mobilizations demanding that this regime must go—now—with the possibility that this can become a reality. We can powerfully give expression to the crucial understanding that—because of its very fascist nature, and with its escalating attempts to corrupt an election and remain in power regardless of the actual outcome of that election—this regime is illegitimate and must be removed. And if, even with this mass mobilization, this regime is still in power on November 3rd, the fact that we have carried out this mass mobilization and powerfully raised this OUT NOW! demand, will mean that there will be much more favorable conditions for continuing, and further amplifying and strengthening, this mass mobilization if Trump and his regime attempt to stay in power, regardless of the actual outcome of the election.
Whether there will be a real possibility of a society, a world and a future for humanity—one worth living in—will depend, to no small degree, on what we who aspire to such a world decide to do, and strive with the determination necessary to make this a reality.
With this basic outline in mind of what is necessary, and what is possible—the determined fight and massive mobilization that could actually defeat the moves of the Trump/Pence regime to further hammer into place its fascist rule, with the truly catastrophic consequences that would lead to—let’s look at this further, and more fully, in the context of the larger situation and crucial recent developments.
The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Fanatical Woman-Hating Fascists
The announcement of the death of longtime liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been the occasion for Trump and his fellow fascists, not to pause to honor Ginsburg, but to immediately declare their intention to ram through the appointment of yet another extreme right-wing judge onto the court—to give further “legal backing,” by “the highest court in the land,” to the fanatically oppressive and repressive agenda and aims of the fascist Trump/Pence regime, which include: using “executive power” to trample on the rule of law and turn the “law” into merely an instrument of the fascist regime; giving the police even more unlimited powers to brutalize and murder in the name of “law and order”; ruthlessly persecuting immigrants, LGBT people, Muslims and other “undesirables”; further removing restrictions on the plundering of the environment; forcing patriotism and religious fundamentalism (that is, Christian fascism) down the throats of everyone in society—and, not least, outlawing abortion and in general slamming women more forcefully into a subordinate position in relation to men and in society overall.
In The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!, I examined the “unholy alliance” between Trump and the Christian fundamentalists, who are the hard core and driving force of this fascism.1
Speaking to the same phenomenon (and referring to the Christian fundamentalists as “evangelicals,” and having in mind particularly white evangelicals), Kristin Kobes Du Mez has made clear:
evangelical support for Trump was no aberration, nor was it merely a pragmatic choice. It was, rather, the culmination of evangelicals’ embrace of militant masculinity, an ideology that enshrines patriarchal authority and condones the callous display of power, at home and abroad.2
The Christian fascist zealotry in opposition to abortion is not really about the fraudulent notion that abortion amounts to “killing babies”—something which is demonstrated by (among other things) the fact that these opponents of the right to abortion also strongly oppose birth control which prevents pregnancy in the first place. The truth is this:
What is really involved is that abortion, and birth control, help to provide women with a certain independence, a freedom to decide whether and when to have children—and, yes, a certain freedom to engage in sexual relations of their own choosing, on the basis of their own desire and volition, without having to be worried about whether they are going to become pregnant when they have neither wanted nor decided to do so. It is this relative independence and freedom that causes a frenzy among Christian fascists, because it runs counter to reducing the role of women to “helpmates” to husbands and breeders of children for those husbands in patriarchal, male-dominated families, and to the subordinate and oppressed position of women in society as a whole.3
In previous writings and speeches—including the previous article (Part 2) in this series—I emphasized that there is a direct connection and powerful link between the patriarchal misogyny (hatred and degradation of women) of this fascism and its aggressive white supremacy, and that:
there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that!4
It is urgently necessary for everyone who refuses to accept (to be “reconciled” with) all this, to understand what the terrible consequences will be if the Trump/Pence regime is able to make a further leap in consolidating its fascist rule and implementing its fascist program. This fascism “is not just a matter of horrific policies but of a qualitatively different form of rule, based on brutal repression and violation of what are supposed to be the most basic rights.”5
The African-American theologian, Hubert Locke—whom I quoted in the previous article (Part 2) in this series—underlines this crucial point:
Were all this only a battle for the hearts and minds of the American people, we could wade into the conflict with a great deal less concern, confident that good sense and human decency would ultimately triumph over ignorance and bigotry. But this is a battle for power—it’s about seizing the reins of government, manipulating the courts and judicial decisions, controlling the media, and making incursions into every possible corner of our private lives and relationships, so that what the religious right perceives as the will of God will reign in America.6
A Rallying Cry and a Call to Action
All those who can recognize that this nightmare is rapidly becoming a brute reality—who refuse to live in a fascist America where every aspiration for a just world is viciously slandered and mercilessly deprived of air to breathe—we, in our millions and tens of millions, must act together to create a situation where there can be, and there will be, no “normal,” no grinding along of the machinery that is leading to disaster, so long as this fascist regime is in power.
We need to fight with the full recognition of the profound stakes that are involved and the ultimate threat to humanity itself that is posed by this regime. What is called for now is struggle that is non-violent, but is daring and bold, fired with the determination not to back down, until this regime has been removed. We must, in a very urgent way, bring into being a situation in which every force—among all the different sectors of the ruling powers and institutions, and in the society at large—has to respond to and weigh heavily the political situation that we are creating through increasingly massive and powerful mobilizations, insisting that this regime must go, now!
Anything less will mean tying ourselves to forces and procedures, and passively awaiting an outcome, that will very likely lead to capitulating to this fascism, with what will be (without the slightest exaggeration) truly catastrophic consequences.
As my August 1 Statement emphasizes: “At this critical hour, every appropriate means of non-violent action must be utilized to remove this regime from power.”7 And, if it comes to it, that means voting for Biden in order to effectively vote against Trump.
I have also pointed to this important reality:
It is true that, at this point, the vote in a few states essentially determines the outcome of presidential elections—so that, as was the case with Trump in the previous presidential election, someone can lose the popular vote and still become president. But, even given this reality, an electoral strategy that could work much better for the Democrats would be to take on Trump’s whole racist approach, directly and forcefully, and appeal to Black people and other people of color, and the large number of white people (especially, though not only, younger generations) who have shown that they are motivated by a definite desire for an end to social injustice, blatant inequality, and rampant police violence. That is a great “reservoir” that, theoretically, the Democrats could focus on appealing to.8
It is also true that “the Democrats themselves will not—cannot—really do this.”8 But, creating the kind of political situation where Biden and the Democrats are forced to recognize, and reckon with, the powerfully expressed determination of massive numbers demanding an end to the Trump/Pence regime and the fascism it embodies—that could exert a compulsion on the Democrats to voice opposition to Trump on a basis that at least comes close to the heart of the essential fascist nature and program of the Trump/Pence regime…Which, in turn, could impel more people to take to the streets demanding this…Which, in turn, could create still more favorable circumstances and conditions for waging the fight to remove this regime.
Think about what has happened as a result of the beautiful rising that has taken place against institutional racism and police terror. In very significant ways, “the conversation about race” has been dramatically changed. All of a sudden, the Democrats, and other “mainstream” institutions, feel compelled to talk not only about the need for “police reform,” but about “systemic racism”—and there is widespread discussion and debate about the whole history of this country, with its roots in slavery, and genocide against the indigenous peoples! There is no way that all this would have taken place—and the political landscape would have been so dramatically changed, in such a short period of time—in the absence of this beautiful mass rising! And the same can happen, in the same immediate (“telescoped”) way, if there is not only a continuation of the righteous outpouring against racist oppression and police terror, and other outrageous injustice, but if all this is linked together with, and given powerful expression as, masses of people, in continually growing numbers, in the streets powerfully demanding that the fascist Trump/Pence regime must go!
If this fascist regime is still in power when it is time for voting—then that will require not just people carrying out the single act of voting themselves, but working to mobilize people in massive numbers to deliver a decisive electoral defeat to this fascist regime. But, at the same time, as I have emphasized repeatedly—and this cannot be emphasized too many times—for all the reasons discussed here (as well as elsewhere in this series and in my August 1 Statement) relying on voting, without the mass mobilization demanding the removal of this regime, is likely to lead to disaster.
Masses of people must act, now, to create the most favorable conditions for forcing the removal of this regime, whose continuation, and further consolidation, in power will, without any exaggeration, have truly monstrous consequences.
Rising to the Historic Challenge and Overcoming All Obstacles (Including in Ourselves)
As I have also emphasized, it “would be a very grave mistake to fail to take seriously what is being openly proclaimed by Trump and his fascist supporters,” including their threats of even greater violence to ensure that the Trump/Pence regime remains in power. But, an even more important truth is this: “as truly dangerous as these fascist threats and acts of violence, and preparations to carry out even more violence, are—being cowed by and capitulating to this would lead to a far greater horror.”9 In confronting this, every decent person can take inspiration and find courage in the actions of the masses of people who have defiantly braved repeated attacks, by police and government storm troopers under the command of the Trump/Pence regime, as well as assaults by armed pro-Trump fascist thugs, and have poured into the streets, to express their outrage over racist brutality and murder and their determination that this must end.
But it is not just fear, however well-founded, that must be overcome. It is also the individualism that has become so widespread, and often expressed in such extreme terms, in this society, especially in recent times. In the situation today, faced with the escalating and accelerating fascist juggernaut, this individualism is often expressed in these terms now: “While I hate everything Trump is about and everything he is doing, I have to look out for myself and those who are close to me; and putting myself on the line to step out and actively oppose this by getting into the streets and demonstrating around the demand that this regime must be removed now—when there are not that many people already doing this—well, that is a risk I am not willing to take, especially when there is an election coming up and there is a chance that this might deal with the problem.”
Here—along with calling attention once again to the ways in which Trump is already perverting and stealing the election, and is using violence and threatening even more violence to remain in power, regardless of what actually happens with this election—it needs to be pointed out strongly: If everyone who has expressed (or felt) these sentiments were actually to take to the streets, there would be a force of literally millions, and even tens of millions, powerfully demonstrating their insistence that the Trump/Pence regime must be OUT NOW!—as is being called for, and organized by, RefuseFascism.org.
It also needs to be bluntly said: This rampant individualism—everyone just thinking about themselves and failing or refusing to act on the larger interests of humanity—this is a big part of why we are faced with the terrible situation we are faced with now. And continuing in this way will only contribute to things becoming far, far worse, with truly catastrophic consequences for all of humanity—which few, if any, will ultimately be able to escape. (Besides the ever-present danger of nuclear annihilation, especially with the demented bully Trump having his finger on the nuclear button, think about the environmental crisis and the intensified and accelerated damage the Trump/Pence regime has already done to the environment—and will do on a far more terrible scale, if it remains in power.)
It may not be “easy,” but it is in the fundamental interests of everyone (everyone who cares at all about social injustice and inequality, and having an environment, both natural and social, in which human beings can breathe and hope to flourish) that we all be willing to be “among the first” to boldly step forward and become part of a truly massive mobilization demanding that this regime must be removed, now—and, in doing so, discovering that we are not after all “alone” or “only a few brave souls,” but are together, not just in sentiment but as an active force, with thousands and ultimately millions.
Yes, it is true that there is no “guarantee” that even such a massive mobilization will succeed in forcing the removal of this regime—and this regime, along with the crazed fascist fanatics who make up its “base,” will rabidly resist this—but it can be guaranteed that, if this regime succeeds in remaining in power, by corrupting and stealing the election and then refusing to leave, once more the consequences will truly be catastrophic.
And, while there is no “guarantee,” there is a definite possibility of a positive outcome. Once again, think of the tremendous impact that the beautiful rising against racist oppression and police terror has had, almost literally “overnight.”
At the same time, it is important to understand that, even if and as a mass mobilization demanding the removal of this regime could have a powerful impact on the political terrain, and on all the institutions of power and sectors of society, things would not likely go forward as a simple direct line extension of this mass mobilization. Rather, it would more likely take place as the interplay between that mass mobilization and the contradictions and conflicts among the powers-that-be, which will be heightened by this mass mobilization—possibly leading to a political crisis of such powerful dimensions and depth that forces who normally strongly resist doing things outside of the “traditional institutional means and procedures” of this system, ruling class powers who do not normally involve themselves directly in the politics of the system, and even some of those who have up to now stubbornly stuck with this fascist regime, will conclude that it is necessary to remove the regime—to at least force Trump (and Pence) to resign—in order to avoid an even more profound crisis for their whole system.
Again, no one can say, with absolute certainty, what the outcome of all this will be. But a truly massive popular upsurge, aimed at driving out the Trump/Pence regime, even ahead of the election, could play a very powerful role in creating favorable conditions for dealing with the demented determination of this regime to remain in power and wreak even further havoc and horror.
It is crucial to recognize that
The mass mobilization that is needed cannot be built “overnight,” in the aftermath of the election—and it cannot be built by confining things within the framework and limits insisted upon by the Democrats.10
And, through the work of Refuse Fascism, and some others joining this effort, this mass mobilization has already begun.
It is a fact that, since the early days of the Trump/Pence regime, Refuse Fascism has been calling for mass mobilization around the demand that this regime must go; and, while it has rallied thousands so far to take to the streets to voice this demand, as yet this mobilization has not resulted in the exponential (by leaps and bounds) growth that it needs to, now very quickly, achieve. But, because those thousands really do give expression to strongly held sentiments of tens of millions, they actually represent a potentially powerful force, and it is crucial to build on every advance that is made in reaching and mobilizing people, including by enabling those who have stepped forward to themselves become organizers of many more…to, in turn, become the organizers of still greater numbers. Further, it is very important to recognize, and act on the understanding, that the times, right now, are very different than they have been over the past few years, even with all the outrages that this regime has committed over those years.
Things now are much more intense, and are developing in a much more accelerating pace, particularly as Trump is ramping up his fascist offensive, with the approach of the scheduled election. This is having contradictory effects. On the one hand, the violent repression and attacks on people protesting injustice—and the threats of even much worse repression and violence—on the part of this regime, and its fascist supporters, together with the fact that the scheduled election is rapidly approaching: this has led more than a few, among those who hate this regime, to fall into a passive position of just waiting for the election and hoping that it will somehow resolve the crisis that is intensifying now on mainly very bad terms. But, the other side of the story is that the relentless drive by this regime and its supporters, even as the election approaches, to go full steam ahead with their fascist juggernaut, to corrupt and steal the election, to refuse to accept a defeat in the election, and to remain in power regardless of the outcome of the election—this is forcing, more and more to the forefront, the reality of what is represented by this regime, the great objective danger of simply waiting for the election, and the great need to take to the streets, now, to demand that this regime must be removed.
This speaks, once again, to the importance of the mobilization that is already taking place around the demand Trump/Pence OUT NOW! And it speaks to the great importance of this mobilization, with whatever numbers it organizes at any given time, becoming sustained, taking place day after day, and to build on every significant advance it does achieve. As this is done in ways, both determined and creative, that “capture the imagination” of people—together with the continuing intensification of the crisis that is largely being driven, now, by Trump’s fascist actions and declarations—“things can come together,” and “the dam can break,” with growing numbers of people pouring into the streets, raising ever more loudly the demand that this regime must go, now, and calling forth still greater numbers to join in this courageous and urgently needed mobilization.
With the full awareness of what is represented by this fascist regime, and what it means that Trump is not only seeking to suppress the votes of people who will vote against him but is also preparing to utilize forceful, violent repression to remain in office if he is not declared the winner in the election, it is of critical and urgent importance to build now truly massive and sustained mobilization around the unifying demand that this regime must be OUT NOW!—with an orientation of being prepared to continue this even past the election, if the situation requires it.11
The crazed fanaticism of the fascists insisting that Trump must remain in power, no matter what, must be met, and overwhelmed, by the conscious passionate intensity of masses of people who hate everything that this fascist regime represents, who recognize the very real existential threat that this regime represents for humanity and are fired with righteous determination that this regime must go!12
1. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Video of this speech is available at TheBobAvakianInstitute.org and revcom.us. [back]
2. Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, Liveright Publishing. The part quoted here is from the “Introduction.” [back]
3. Fascists Today And The Confederacy: A Direct Line, A Direct Connection Between All The Oppression. This article of mine is also available at revcom.us. [back]
4. Trump Is Already Stealing The Election And Threatening Even More Violence To Stay in Power, Part 2 of Voting Will Not Be Enough—We Need To Take To The Streets, And Stay In The Streets Demanding Trump/Pence Out Now! This article is available at TheBobAvakianInstitute.org and revcom.us. [back]
5. Statement By Bob Avakian, August 1, 2020, On The Immediate Critical Situation, The Urgent Need To Drive Out The Fascist Trump/Pence Regime, Voting In This Election, And The Fundamental Need For Revolution (also available at TheBobAvakianInstitute.org and revcom.us). [back]
6. “Reflections on Pacific School of Religion’s Response to the Religious Right,” by Dr. Hubert Locke, also available at revcom.us—emphasis added. [back]
7. Statement By Bob Avakian, August 1, 2020, On The Immediate Critical Situation, The Urgent Need To Drive Out The Fascist Trump/Pence Regime, Voting In This Election, And The Fundamental Need For Revolution. [back]
9. Trump Is Already Stealing The Election And Threatening Even More Violence To Stay in Power, emphasis in the original. [back]
11. Statement By Bob Avakian, August 1, 2020, On The Immediate Critical Situation, The Urgent Need To Drive Out The Fascist Trump/Pence Regime, Voting In This Election, And The Fundamental Need For Revolution (also available at TheBobAvakianInstitute.org and revcom.us), emphasis in the original. [back]
12. Trump Is Already Stealing The Election And Threatening Even More Violence To Stay In Power, emphasis in the original. [back]