New York: Courageous Protest Confronts Emergence of Fascist Goon Squad

May 29, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


By a member of the New York City chapter of Refuse Fascism

On May 25, the face of fascism came to New York. Almost two hundred fascist thugs rallied in a two hour rain in front of the City University of New York (CUNY) administrative offices. As part of a reactionary campaign they have launched on the airwaves and online, they demanded that the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy rescind its invitation to Linda Sarsour to give the school’s commencement speech on June 1. Linda describes herself as a Palestinian-American-Muslim civil rights activist. She has played a role in challenging the NYPD’s systematic spying on mosques in New York City. She is National Co-Chair of the Women’s March. The fascists have been spreading lies that Linda Sarsour is anti-Semitic and supports Islamic terrorism against Israel. They have spread lies and distortions to confuse people, attempting to equate criticism of Zionism and Israel with anti-Semitism. In opposition to this reactionary campaign, a half dozen Hassidic Jews came with a banner that said “Linda Sarsour Is A Friend To Jews”.

A Campaign of Death Threats and Harassment

Fascist forces have orchestrated a campaign of harassment and death threats against Sarsour. The New York Times reports that, “She has hired two private bodyguards to accompany her to public events.” Why? Because, as the Times reports, “Linda Sarsour ... says the messages have been arriving by the hour recently. ‘Your time is coming.’ ‘A good Arab is a dead Arab.’ ‘You’re getting two bullets in your head.’” These are the same fascist forces who cry and whine about the right of free speech of their intellectual hit men and women like Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and David Horowitz being denied by people righteously driving them off college campuses, to prevent the Nazification of the universities and the real shutting down of free speech and crushing of dissent. Online, these fascist shock troops have been calling for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and anti-terror squads to disappear Sarsour—demonstrating that they either overtly overlap with the state and its fascist institutions, or at least consciously recognize it is their biggest ally.

The rally on May 25 may have been the largest gathering of rabid anti-Muslim Trump/Pence fascists in New York City since the election of Trump. Even if it wasn’t, it was the most threatening and bloodthirsty. The crowd was a toxic brew of white supremacists, orthodox Zionists, Jews for Trump, The Modern Patriots, The Proud Boys, a few motorcycle bikers, Milo Yiannopoulos fans, and others. Their rally was in a pen in the street along the sidewalk, while counter-protesters were in another pen along the side of the building, with a sidewalk between the two pens. Throughout the rally, about 20 of the fascists, overwhelmingly young people, walked back and forth on the sidewalk jeering and at times threatening people.

Of note, this group of 20 included a significant number of Black and Latino youths. The openly anti-Black racism of Trump’s supporters seemed to be toned down for the day—to focus on attacking Muslims and Linda Sarsour in particular. Throughout the rally the crowd chanted “USA, USA” and screamed their hatred for Muslims. From the moment that Refuse Fascism arrived, these fascists were belligerent, getting up in the face of a much smaller crowd of counter-protesters, including people from Refuse Fascism and Workers World Party. These thugs were shoving people and tearing up their signs. The two hours we were there to politically confront their open threats of violence against anyone that opposes the crimes of the fascist Trump/Pence regime were extremely tense.

Infamous misogynist, racist and Muslim basher Milo Yiannopoulos was the featured speaker. Pamela Geller, who has made a career out of demonizing Muslims, was the MC at times. A whole host of other fascists spoke. Democratic New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, currently a Democratic New York Assemblyman and former member of the “Jewish Defense League,” terrorist thugs who threatened and murdered opponents of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians, was a featured speaker.

The New York Daily News reported that “a small group of demonstrators chanting ‘Make America Great Again’ surrounded and roughed up 19-year-old counter-protester Heather Morris. ‘They tried hitting me with their fists, their sticks, whatever they found,’ Morris said after the fracas on E. 42nd St. at Second Ave.”

In Their Face, Calling Out the Fascists

Refuse Fascism arrived with a huge banner, held high in the air, that read, “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime!”, and our signs that say the same. We set up across the sidewalk from their stage. We led people in chants of “No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA,” “No Ban, No Wall, The Trump Regime Has Got To Fall,” and “No Pussy Grabbing, No Patriarchy, No Fascist USA” and others. To be heard over the noise of the fascists’ sound system, we did mic checks, calling out these fascists for mobilizing to threaten, silence and suppress those that oppose the crimes of the Trump/Pence regime. We called on people to get prepared very soon to pour into the streets in our millions day after day, night after night, not leaving until the fascist Trump/Pence regime is driven from power. When speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos or Pam Geller hypocritically talked about the Muslim oppression of women or the terrorism by Islamists, we would mic check, calling out the sexual assaults on women by Trump and the global gag order on abortion that will mean the deaths of tens of thousands of women around the world.

We talked about the terrorism by the Trump/Pence regime that is tearing immigrant families apart and deporting their loved ones, the terrorism against the Afghan people when the U.S. dropped the Mother of All Bombs, and the terrorism of 59 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles tearing into the Syrian people. The fascists did not like this and immediately assaulted one of our speakers, pushing him and grabbing his sign. But our speaker—and we―did not stop. When Milo Yiannopoulos spewed his anti-Muslim hate, members of the Revolution Club began blowing their whistles. If you watch the speeches of the fascists on Breitbart, pretty consistently you can hear the anti-fascist protest chanting loudly, sometimes you can even distinguish the chants.

Very significantly, as this reactionary attack on Linda Sarsour developed, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy issued a statement that they were not going to disinvite Linda to speak at their commencement. This is very good and people should have their back and recognize that fascist campaigns like this will no doubt have a chilling effect on what radical and progressive voices are invited to speak on college campuses. A lot of groups and progressive people tweeted with the hashtag, #IStandWithLinda, which has been important in rallying people to stand against this reactionary campaign.

A Menacing Development, the Need for Massive Opposition

The rally by these fascists in New York City is an ominous new development in demonizing and criminalizing Muslims, silencing those who speak out against the crimes of the Trump/Pence regime, and violently attacking those who protest against it. It advances the organization and coherence of a fascist people, willing to mindlessly go out and violently suppress those seen as an obstacle to the fascist Trump/Pence regime. In his campaign, Trump encouraged his supporters to punch anti-Trump protesters in the face, offered to pay their bail, and longed for the day when protesters would be carried out on stretchers. This rally is part of a dangerous wave of mobilization of the Trump/Pence base, including a KKK-style torchlight rally in Virginia against the removal of a Confederate statue, hundreds of fascist thugs massing in Berkeley to assault anti-Trump protesters, and the online attack against Refuse Fascism by networks of “alt-right” fascists (See Calls for Mass Defiance of Fascist Trolls). These campaigns directly serve the Trump/Pence fascist regime. They are aimed at intimidating, silencing, and even unleashing harm against those who have the courage to stand up and say NO!

Milo Yiannopoulos and other speakers tried to portray themselves as the great upholders of freedom of speech, and claimed they are the victims of having their free speech denied. This totally turns reality upside down. In excerpts of Milo’s speech, posted on Breitbart News, he says, “In America you don’t have an open marketplace of ideas, because the massed ranks of the establishment media, academia, and the entertainment industry are set up to condemn conservative and libertarian points of view as hateful, bigoted, and oppressive. They are none of those things. And so one of the real enemies here isn’t just ordinary Muslims. It isn’t Linda Sarsour. The bigger enemy, and the enemy to American freedom has always been from within. The enemy here are the progressive elites who run the entertainment industry, academia, and the media in this country.”

Note that he says the enemy “isn’t just ordinary Muslims”. Despite the denials of many of their speakers, he is saying the enemy IS all ordinary Muslims, as well as the “elites” he goes on to describe. And his crowd went crazy for it. This reveals the bloodlust that really drives them... and their claim of “free speech” is just a quasi-intellectual dressing they put on it, to make it more palatable to the broad world. But they are not only the biggest enemies of real freedom of expression, they are the proponents of the most vile and genocidal program which their thug now in power is moving each day to make real.

Refuse Fascism wrote about this very development in its Call to Action: “Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of traditional values. In Trump’s election campaign, he encouraged and fed on the threat and use of violence to build a movement and come to power.... What is crucial to understand is fascism once in power essentially moves to eliminate traditional democratic rights.”

Again, this was an ominous new development. And to be blunt, way too few people came out to oppose this fascist mob. Hundreds, if not thousands of people should have been there to say, “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime!” The Trump/Pence regime is rapidly moving every day to impose and consolidate fascism. The organization and coherence of a fascist people as the shock troops who violently attack, suppress and silence all they see as obstacles is a vital part of this regime consolidating fascism. This cannot be allowed to happen again without an outpouring of people to politically shut down these fascist mobs.




Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.