Protests Persist in the San Francisco Bay Area

Jeremy Truesdell, Contributor

In the wake of the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and most recently Jacob Blake at the hands of the police, protesters and civil rights proponents nationwide have taken to the streets in demonstrations and rallies. With some notable exceptions, the vast majority of these events have been peaceful. The San Francisco Bay area has been no exception.
Several primarily peaceful demonstrations have threaded their ways through city streets, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and before houses of government.
One group, called Refuse Fascism, held a small, peaceful rally and march in San Francisco, which The Pioneer attended. “At our core is the understanding that this Trump/Pence regime really IS a fascist regime, that this is manifested in many many ways including Trump’s brutal support for the police including the police who shot Jacob Blake and his support for the 17-year-old [Kyle Rittenhouse, whose lawyers and supporters claim was acting in self-defense when he shot three men who were caught on video attacking him, killing two] who shot and killed protesters in Kenosha,” Barry Thornton, spokesman for Refuse Fascism told the Pioneer.
When asked what measures they were calling for, Thornton replied, ”Our view is that what is needed now is a mass, non-violent protest to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power, like the powerful mass movements that have emerged in many countries over the last several years. We feel that it is important that everyone possible be rallied to this cause.”
Thornton continued to describe detractors’ narratives of the Black Lives Matter movement as being violent pointing to Trump’s own violent rhetoric and unethical policies asking, “this call originated from Trump and from the mainstream press and covers over the grave danger of a fascist America – the same person who glories in his followers attacking protesters and who has put babies in cages at the border now claims to be a big upholder of non-violence?”
He also addressed detractors who dismiss them as communists acknowledging, “It is true that there are communists who work in Refuse Fascism and that people associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party played a role in initiating Refuse Fascism. We think this is a good thing and is part of the broad unity that Refuse Fascism is about.”
At the demonstration, The Pioneer spoke to Quanah Brightman, Executive Director of United Native Americans, a dual citizen of the United States and of the Lakota-Sioux nation, and speaker at the rally.
Below is the transcribed interview with Quanah Brightman.
The Pioneer: “In what ways do you feel that these protests are making a difference?”
Quanah Brightman: “Well, you are seeing more people coming out, even with this pandemic, you’re seeing a lot of mobilization. You’re seeing over twenty cities actually mobilize our community and fighting against this fascist regime. We kicked off today our first National Day of Action, and we’re asking for more people to come out in solidarity. All of the groups in the Civil Rights Movement who feel the same way that we do as far as this fascist regime, and Donald Trump, and wanting to get rid of him, we’re asking for all of the groups in the Civil Rights Movement who are real to step up and fight this fascist regime, and step up and help us fight this evil dictator known as Donald Trump.”
Pioneer: “Do you expect there to be change if the Democrats win in November?”
QB: “Well, we hope so, but we can’t count on these people who are occupying the White House. We as the human race, and of course American Citizens, and some of us with dual citizenship like myself, we’re demanding that the system starts protecting our rights, protecting our water, protecting our clean air, protecting our environment, start making sure that housing is for all Americans. We’re tired of seeing people living on the streets and [in] tent cities, we’re tired of seeing people living in inhumane ways, and we’re calling on all of our elected leaders to step up and be champions for us, and to drive out the fascist Republican regime.
Pioneer: “How does it feel to be out here week after week with all that is happening to communities of color?”
QB: “It feels great! I mean to be honest with you, yes, we need people out in the streets to do this work. It’s never-ending, but at the same time, our crusade for justice will only come to fruition if we continue to fight as our ancestors and our forefathers in the Civil Rights Movement have done. They’ve laid down the groundwork and shown us the way, and we can do this together, we can beat them [the fascists] if we have solidarity.”
Pioneer: “Do you have any hope for change through the electoral process?
QB: “Well again, if Donald Trump is allowed to tell people that it’s right to cast two votes, it shows that the fascist regime is [doing] it’s worst to try to suppress our vote, and that’s something that our elected officials, especially here in the city of San Francisco where they do have the election process over here, they have a branch of our government, and that’s why we’re here today, that’s why we’re mobilized here to demand that the elected officials here, and all over the country stand up to this fascism and make sure that our voice is counted, and make sure our vote is recognized.”
Two days after The Pioneer attended, Refuse Fascism held another peaceful march across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Refuse Fascism leadership stated that they intend to continue holding planned peaceful rallies and marches until at least the election, and that they intend to continue to do so until President Trump leaves office.