On a cold rainy evening on November 30, hundreds of Harvard students, union activists, revolutionary socialists, anti-racist and anti-fascist activists from Greater Boston and New Hampshire rallied at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge in response to the Kennedy School hosting “Campaign for President: The Managers Look at 2016,” a two-day conference on the 2016 Presidential Election, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Within a day after the counter-protest action was called, Harvard announced that Stephen Bannon would not be coming. Building on this success, the organizers of the demonstration still decided to hold a speak-out and rally. The organizers of the action put out a statement saying, “While Bannon has reportedly backed out of attending the conference, Harvard has publicly defended their invitation.” This is not out of step with Harvard’s history. It is an institution that is a breeding ground for the ruling class elite and is historically tied to racist and fascist ideologues.
In Massachusetts, we have had our own “Trumps” to contend with.
Over 400 calls reporting hate crimes throughout the state have come into the Attorney General’s office in a single week.
We have Democrats at the State House who have refused to pass bills that would greatly benefit the immigrant community – from the Trust Act that would severely limit local police cooperation with immigration authorities to the Safe Driving Bill that would allow undocumented immigrants a driver’s
license, to increasing access to higher education through in-state tuition for undocumented students.
We have local and state officials who continually slash our education budgets and are pushing for the closure of more and more schools.
We have slumlords and real estate developers who are neglecting and gentrifying our communities, pushing out long-time residents through evictions and rent increases.
We have local police departments throughout the state who harass and brutalize Black and Brown communities on a daily basis, and so-called police “unions” which enthusiastically endorsed the Trump campaign. From the most recent murder by Boston Police of Terrence Coleman to dozens more
across the state who have been killed by the local police, not a single cop guilty cop has been prosecuted and convicted.
This moment is about building a movement and building power in our communities to defend those who have been targeted and shifting resources to serve the needs of poor and working people. Our communities deserve full rights for all immigrants, an end to police brutality, quality housing for
all, free education, universal healthcare, full equality for the LGBTQ community and an end to the ableism that harms and marginalizes the disabled.
Dozens of organizations throughout the state have been working on these issues prior to the election and there is a great need to support these efforts. Thousands across the state and across the country have already come out into the streets in protest. And tens of thousands will attend the massive protest at the Presidential Inauguration on January 20th in Washington D.C.
History has shown that none of this will be handed to us – we need to fight for it as an organized force. Organizers are meeting to discuss how we can continue building local unity, solidarity and resistance in the lead up to the inauguration in D.C. and beyond. Together, we can win.
Demands put forth by speakers and protesters at the rally and march:
1) No normalization of bigotry, no platform for hate!
Harvard, the media, and the political establishment have all begun to normalize Donald Trump and his team of advisors. Donald Trump and many of these advisors have engaged in racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic tendencies. This should not be normal. We expect more from our leaders – we expect them to work for all people.
2) Fire Bannon!
Steve Bannon is one of the main champions for the growing support of white nationalism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and homophobia. Journalist Shaun King said it best: “When you build, fund, and promote the online home for the modern-day Neo-Nazi movement, and openly brag that you have done so, that makes you a supporter and enabler of Neo-Nazis.” We draw the line at Bannon – we will not tolerate Bannon as Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist.
3) No the the Donald Trump Agenda!
Walls, deportations, Muslim registries, “law and order” policing, racial profiling “Stop & Frisk” police harassment, legalizing anti-LGBTQ discrimination, slashing Planned Parenthood funding and restricting the press’s use of the First Amendment are all policies that divide and limit people. We stand against this agenda.
4) Make Harvard a Sanctuary school!
Harvard must immediately declare itself a sanctuary campus, which would include, among other things, refusing to provide the status of undocumented students to federal immigration authorities.
5) Build our movement by standing together against hate!
Our movement must rely on unity, love, listening, peace and respect. This is the beginning of a larger movement which will serve as a counter weight to the Trump administration and a political pole of attraction for many who have become rightly disgusted with our current political system.
Some of the co-sponsors of the protest:
Boston NAACP; Boston NOW (Nat’l Organization for Women); Student Immigrant Movement; Massachusetts Peace Action; Massachusetts Student Peace Action; ANSWER Coalition; Boston School Bus Drivers USW Local 8751; UNITE HERE Local 26 activists; 1199SEIU activists; Workers World Party; Socialist Alternative; International Socialist Organization; If Not Now; Jewish Voice for Peace; Political Research Associates; Students for Justice in Palestine – Northeastern University Chapter; Democratic Socialists of America; Party for Socialism and Liberation; Chelsea & East Boston Anti-Fascist Coalition; Boston Feminists for Liberation; Massachusetts Against HP; Boston Mobilization; Democracy Center; Cambridge Support for Syrian Refugees; New Hampshire Against Police Brutality ;Muslim Justice League; MassArt Students Against Trump