Philly Activists to Welcome GOP Retreat With Protests

All the top Republicans arrived at the Lowes Hotel in Philadelphia last night for a three day retreat to strategize about how to enact their agenda in the early days of the Trump era. According to reports earlier today, Donald Trump will also be on hand. Thanks to a leaked document, the full agenda for the retreat is now known and protests have been nearly constant since early this morning.

A coalition of at least nine activist groups are planning a major action later today to deliver one message: “We stand united in defense of our families, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and community members who will face the most devastating attacks of the Trump administration.”

Nazia Kazi of the Philadelphia South Asian Collective, one of the groups involved in organizing today’s protest, made it clear that Trump and the GOP dominated Congress will not have an easy time enacting their agenda. “We will boycott. We will strike,” she explained. “We will resist deportations and we will create sanctuary spaces. We will resist policies of warfare and militarism that lead refugees to migrate, and we will welcome those who do migrate to the U.S.”

In the days since Trump took office, activists are growing increasingly convinced that people will need to organize independently of the Democratic and Republican parties to resist Trump and his Congressional allies. As many Senate Democrats have joined with Republicans to approve several of Trump’s extreme cabinet appointees, activists are preparing to hold officials of all political parties accountable. According to a press release from the coalition echoed that view, “We know we must look past both political parties for our liberation. Instead of working with Democrats and Republicans, we will work with the people to hold our elected officials – from any side of the aisle – accountable to us. We will resist – we will organize – and we will fight back!”

Kate Goodman, an organizer with Socialist Alternative, underscored the frustration many activists feel in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. “It’s obvious that the neoliberal Democrats and ruling class Republicans have failed to defend people of color, women, LGBTQ communities, the poor and the working class,” she said. “Both Democrats and Republicans don’t or won’t fight for what matters.”

While progressive politicians are maneuvering inside the halls of Congress, today’s protest plans to highlight grassroots, political organizing and mutual aid. “It’s time to get off the sidewalk and into the streets,” as Asa Khalif of Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania put it. “We must stand together united to battle the spirit of hate and people of color must be on the front lines with our allies.” said Asa Khalif of Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania.

Today’s protest will present a different kind of welcome wagon to the GOP. According to organizers, they want to make it clear that “the Republican Party’s racist, sexist, anti-worker, anti-immigrant, and anti-environment agenda is not welcome in our city.”

“While the politics of bigotry and corporate greed are nothing new to the United States,” the group states, “we recognize that the Trump administration presents a unique and urgent threat to the most vulnerable Americans. We refuse to be governed by a cohort of billionaires who show callous disregard for the well-being of the American public.”

Here’s the details of today’s protest:

  • WHEN:  Today (1/26/16) at 4:00 pm
  • WHERE: Rittenhouse Square, march to Loews Hotel security perimeter

The groups involved with organizing today’s 4:00pm protest are: Philadelphia South Asian Collective; Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania; Philadelphia Socialist Alternative; Philly Socialists; Jewish Voice for Peace Philadelphia; Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel; IfNotNow Philly; Restaurant Opportunities Center of Pennsylvania; and The Equality Coalition.


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