Organizers met at Monroe Park at 6:30, and for the next hour and a half trickled in until we numbered around 60. We headed out, chanting “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” “Fuck Trump,” and “Black Lives Matter.” A pathetic contingent of bike cops kept a continual chorus of “Get to the sidewalk” and “Stop blocking the street.” They were completely ignored by all present. After this pitiful effort, the police completely folded, surrendering the streets to us. We marched down Broad, then turned down Marshall. The police had given up on trying to contain us at this point, and bystanders flocked to join us on the way. We arrived outside the coliseum around 8:30, joining around 40 other protesters already present, and we all continued chanting.
The first confrontation came when a Trump supporter—a slimy looking white yuppie—decided to antagonize us, confident that the police would support him. He was immediately surrounded, screamed at, and denounced, but nobody touched him. Some liberals tried to hand out flowers and tried to preach “love,” but were immediately shouted down by all else present. The police were the first to initiate violence, attempting to crush the crowd back. The first of us to fall was an elderly man, and the pigs continued to push people back on top of him. The crowd would not tolerate this, and pushed the police line back, chanting “Fuck the Police.” Once again, liberals that took issue with this were shouted down. After a brief scuffle, the cops were pushed back against the barricades, once again humiliated. This would be their last attempt to assert their authority against us.
The crowd refused to be containted in the ‘free speech zone’ and continued to march through downtown Richmond aggressively confronting multiple small groups of Trump supporters before ending in Abner Clay Park. We held the streets in defiance of police authority for over two hours which sets a good precedent for future action in this city.
Trump represents a coalition of the most reactionary elements of the white working and middle class in favor of defending the eroding material benefits of white supremacy through the escalation of genocide and imperialist aggression at home and abroad. His campaign has enabled an unprecedented mainstreaming of openly fascist discourse in US politics and emboldened the grassroots base of white nationalism throughout the country. This white nationalist resurgence is a existential threat to oppressed black and brown people in this country and to white women with its blatant and open endorsement of racist and misogynist violence.
Keeping Trump out of office is not enough. Focusing on electing the “right” candidate completely misses the point. Real political change comes from mass movements. Even if Trump loses, the fascist movement will not simply go away. It will still be stronger than ever, and it will be angry.
Militant opposition is the only way to deal with fascists. Liberals complain about us denying fascists their “right to free speech” as if we do not already know where that sort of “free speech” always leads. They expect us to give fascists the benefit of the doubt, and to wait until we re all in concentration camps before we start resisting. We refuse. The radicals in San Jose, across the country, and tonight in Richmond understand that white nationalists must be shut down wherever they appear. They must know that they are not welcome in Richmond or anywhere else. No matter what liberals say we have no obligation to respect the “rights” of those who deny our humanity. It is of paramount importance that we get organized and remain vigilant, ready to smash white supremacy wherever it appears. They have promised us violence, and we must promise them the same.
Tonight marks a significant shift in the intensity of protests in Richmond. The march was emboldened by every person who left the sidewalks to join the protesters, and at no point did the energy of the crowd waiver. The cops, the white supremacist Trump supporters, the lecherous reporters, and the frightened, sage-burning liberals were all taken aback by this action, which surpassed our expectations.
Actions like this must be built into a continuity of struggle towards the construction of autonomous working class organizations in workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and prisons with the strategic objective of destroying the system which perpetuates whiteness and breeds fascism.