Women outside wearing pink winter hats holding signs and a big banner that says OHIO


Fascist regimes rely on the oppressive and authoritarian power of the state. The pre-eminent modern fascist was Benito Mussolini, Italy’s World War II dictator. Not only did Mussolini define fascism as “corporatism” and “illiberalism,” he argued that at the crux of fascism is a rejection of logical thinking and democracy.

Democracy, in Mussolini’s perspective requires too much of people. He asserted that people wanted three things: to believe a myth about something greater than themselves, to obey the government no matter how irrational – or precisely because it’s irrational, and they want an enemy to fight.

Hence, the fascist slogan – Believe, Obey, Fight! Hitler was perhaps the most successful in implementing that slogan in pursuit of his “thousand year Reich.”

In order for Trump to be triumphant, despite his outrageous and massively inappropriate behavior, we would have to capitulate and believe in him, obey him, and fight who he says are the enemies.

But in 2017 people in central Ohio and throughout this nation have consistently resisted Trump’s every move and have given new meaning to the 60s slogan that “democracy is in the streets!”

If there’s any question that Trump inspires fascism, remember that paramilitary men appeared at the Ohio capitol building openly carrying AR-15s under the guise of protecting Trump supporters. Still, there were people unafraid to confront and resist them. Just like at Charlottesville when neo Nazis and white supremacists emboldened by Trump’s words and deeds marched for hate – but were met by brave social justice resisters.

Our heroes this issue are all the people – longtime activists, older hippies, and new activists who never took part in a protest before – that took to the streets in record numbers all year in resistance!
The new year was immediately rung with resistance as women rallied in Washington DC in unprecedented numbers. Even in Columbus, drone footage followed the Ohio Sister March as thousands snaked around downtown buildings to the Statehouse. It was a beautiful sight!

One of the most courageous examples was the resistance to Trump’s immigration policies. Trump issued an executive order banning people of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan from traveling to the U.S. These are nations targeted, attacked or invaded by the U.S. that have never posed any serious threat to our nation or threatened us in any way. The next day mass protest shut down airports throughout the country, including here at Port Columbus. Demonstrating the independence of the U.S. judiciary, federal judges blocked parts of the order, termed a “Muslim ban,” since it targeted a religious and ethnic population. The Free Press salutes Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, fired by Trump after she refused to defend the travel ban.

What the people understood is that Trump’s discriminatory ban violated U.S. core values and would ultimately aid terrorist groups that would now have ammunition to recruit based on Trump’s bigotry. Trump wanted a new anti-Muslim crusade and the people said no.

The Free Press also salutes law enforcement and public officials that refused to go along with Trump’s xenophobic deportations. The Sanctuary City movement is a testament to people’s compassion and defiance. Even in Columbus, we have Edith Espinal in a sanctuary – a great example of our community’s solidarity and resistance.

Police brutality and racism associated with the Columbus Police was initially tolerated by the entrenched local Democratic Party machine. But following numerous demonstrations, including many at police headquarters and a second shut down of a Columbus City Hall, the Mayor has begun to backpedal on allowing the police to brutalize Columbus’ Black community with his year-round “Safety Initiative.”
Activists continue to stand in solidarity with the BlackPride4 and demand that all charges be dropped after the police spied on, targeted, and arrested four members of the LGBTQ community.

Other laudable resistance efforts include disabled, and some wheelchair-bound, healthcare activists who sat in Senator Rob Portman’s office to resist cuts in the Medicaid. Predictably they were attacked by the Columbus Police as well. Police repression is an unfortunate consequence of building a greater resistance. We support and are grateful for all of those who’ve put their bodies on the line, and for those working behind the scenes to provide protest security, street medic training and legal services in the movement.
This year has proven that the Columbus population is organized and willing to fight against injustice – whether it is to Keep Wayne Wild; protect women’s reproductive rights; boycott Wendy’s in support of the Immokalee workers’ Fair Food campaign; pass a Community Bill of Rights; March for Science to stop climate change; and fight against hate.

Encouraging work continues, particularly with Jonathan Beard’s Everyday People for Positive Change, and their ongoing battle to alter the Columbus City Charter. This is essential to break the power locally that exceedingly wealthy corporate developers, like Les Wexner, who have a stranglehold over our city’s politics.
The fusion of local activist forces – socialists, Greens, labor, environmentalists, students, new LGBTQ activists, the Black Lives Matter – bodes well not only for resistance but for a burgeoning movement that will help create a society based on cooperation instead exploitation. 

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