After only four days of frenzied meetings, constant emails, interviews, networking and incessant messaging the Facebook event titled STOP DONALD TRUMP 2016 garnered more than 3,000 people to protest the presence of a racist, sexist, xenophobic, homo/transphobic bigot speaking at UIC Pavilion.
The event was organized by a diverse group of mainly UIC student organizations including the Black Student Union, Muslim Students Association and Fearless Undocumented Alliance and our very own Young People’s Socialist League as well as several local organizations such as the ANSWER Coalition, Black Youth Project and of course, the Chicago Socialist Party.
There were attempts at sabotage, however, surprisingly coming from people one would think would support our event. Students for Bernie Sanders openly admitted to hosting an event two hours before our protest in order to directly interfere with and draw protesters from our event. This was most likely because they felt like our event didn’t focus on their sole goal: electing their chosen candidate, and that our event focused more on militant, openly confrontational and “disrespectful” methods that went against their definition of respectability politics and safety behind the police. Very fitting of Social Democrats to turn on anyone who advocates anything outside the “safe”option in order to maintain a sense of moral high-ground to win an election. They decided to organize their own event rather than help out their fellow students express their deep resentment at a fascist speaking on our campus. Also, since the protest, Moveon.org has been claiming responsibility for the protest as if they organized it, in order to capitalize and raise money for their organization, just like a capitalist group would. The hard work that UIC students put into this protest has been overshadowed by organizations seeking profit instead of solidarity.
Nonetheless, despite troubles from the Bernie crowd, there was unity abound. Old, young; Students, Professors; Black, Latin American, Asian and White, all together to show their opposition to someone who could best be described as a Modern day Mussolini with an orange spray tan and questionable hair. A demagogue whose despicable words have brought to the forefront fascism and an atmosphere of hate that continues to grow each day. This hate, however, did not show it’s ugly face in our city of hardworking immigrants, and he cancelled the event, showing himself as the coward that he truly is. The fear of the people of Chicago was too much for this paper tiger.
The power of the masses is something that must never be underestimated, and we shut down a figure that some saw as untouchable. In the words of many demonstrators that came before us, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people, ’cause the power of the people don’t stop!”. If Chicago can bring down such a force for hate, even for just a day, then it can be done everywhere. All Power to the People!
If you are interested in joining the Young People’s Socialist League please contact us at Socialistpartychicago@gmail.com to speak to a YPSL member.