Over 100,000 people – young old, Black, Latino, Asian Middle Eastern, Native, gay, lesbian, bi, trans, queer and straight — poured into the streets of Hollywood on June 11 to raise the banners of resistance and militancy against the reactionary Trump program of bigotry and violence against all workers and oppressed people.
Gone were the trappings of Pride that have emerged over the past years: big corporate floats and big corporate money, directing the movement away from political struggle of what began after the Stonewall uprising in 1969 in Greenwich Village in 1969.
Back are the militancy and determination of what changed the course of the LGBTQ fightback against bigotry and terror and for equality under the law. No floats, no big money, no commercialization, just serious focus on building the unity that the anti-Trump movement needs to overturn his reactionary program of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant hatred, and more.
One of the initiators of the Los Angeles #Resist March, Brian Pendleton, summed it up this way: “The iconic rainbow flag is here for anyone who feels like their rights are under threat and anyone who feels like our strength is our diversity”
Instead of gathering in West Hollywood, the marchers gathered by the tens of thousands at Hollywood and Highland, the center of Hollywood, and then marched for miles through the streets of Los Angeles ending up in West Hollywood.
All the issues of the fightback movement were present. Chants supporting Muslim people, immigrants, women, separation of church and state, all rang through the streets and echoed off the buildings.
The ANSWER Coalition, joined by the Party for Socialism and Liberation and others led a contingent of hundreds chanting, “Immigrants are welcome here!” “Black Lives Matter!” “El Pueblo Unido, jamas sera vencido!” “The people, united, will never be defeated!”” Homophobia must go!” “Stop transphobia!”
The #Resist March represents a new turn in the movement, returning to mass struggle in the streets and militant resistance to the status quo. It is not surprising that such a moment would transpire in Los Angeles, with its long history of militancy and the legacy of class conscious militants such as Harry Hay, Communist and labor activist and founder of the Mattachine Society. Mattachine was the first gay rights organization in the United States, founded in 1950 during the anti-communist and anti-gay witch-hunts. In addition, Los Angeles was the site of the Black Cat Tavern Rebellion of 1965, two years before the historic Stonewall Rebellion, where the LGBTQ community in Silverlake fought back against a violent police raid on the bar.
In 1970, one year after Stonewall in New York City, the LA LGBTQ community called for its first Pride march. The Los Angeles City Council immediately passed a law forbidding the march. But, the people prevailed. Led by early LGBTQ rights pioneer and labor activist Morris Kight, the community defied the city and marched through the streets, marking the first Christopher Street West demonstration in Los Angeles.
The diversity, size and militancy of the the #Resist march demonstration, with its call for a united fight back in the streets, overwhelmed the attempt by the Democratic Party to co-opt what is now an independent movement. California’s liberal Democrats, many of whom only a few years were telling the same-sex marriage movement to “shut up” and “keep quiet,” like Rep. Nancy Pelosi, lined up to speak, even using militant rhetoric in order to appear to the militant gathering that they, the Dems, are the militant center of the resistance. Not true! Only the people united can stop Trump. Only the people can push back the wave of racist reaction.
Si se puede. We shall overcome!