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Ultra-leftists of ANSWER rally against Trump, capitalism, America, in Chicago

Michael Volpe author image /

A few of tomorrow’s radical revolutionaries may have gotten their start in Chicago on the weekend.

The Chicago branch of the ultra-radical leftist group Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) commemorated one month of Donald Trump’s presidency with a protest outside the Trump Tower in Chicago, where they chanted old stand-by mantras like “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go”.

While the language was standard fare for anti-Trump protests, the age of some who led the cheers might raise some eyebrows.

A young girl and boy led the chanting.

“No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” shouted an African-American boy of 13 or 14.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, white supremacy’s got to go,” an African-American girl about the same age said repeatedly, leading the crowd in another chant.

This is the latest iteration of a group that has been at the forefront of the so-called Trump resistance.

ANSWER began resisting Trump’s presidency more or less as soon as it was clear he had prevailed over Democrat Hillary Clinton. The supposedly spontaneous protests in numerous cities the evening after the election were largely organized by ANSWER.

It was the first group to announce it would be protesting the approaching inauguration, declaring its intentions within a week and a half of Election Day.

This protest had a familiar feel. It was like the rally ANSWER held in Chicago on Nov. 19, 2016, to protest Trump.

In November, the rally started at the Federal Plaza. After about an hour of speeches the protesters marched, closing the streets where they went, to the Trump Tower, a distance of a little more than a mile.

Then there was another hour of speeches in front of Trump Tower.

On the way to Federal Plaza, the same African-American  girl who’d previously led the chant  took the megaphone again: “Sixteen shots and a cover-up,” she yelled repeatedly.

Sixteen shots and a cover-up is a reference to the shooting of Laquan MacDonald in 2014 by the Chicago Police Department. McDonald was fired up 16 times and the incident sparked a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of Chicago Police that wrapped up last month.

The speeches and even speakers were largely the same. The crowd of about 5,000 was largely the same people.

The usual radical allies of ANSWER showed up.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation was passing out fliers for its April 1 conference on socialism: “Trump is the Symptom, Capitalism is the disease, and Socialism is the cure,” the flier reads.

The Workers Party U.S.A. was passing out free copies of its newspaper “The Worker.”

US Imperialism Hopes to Establish a Neo-Colonial Regime in Afghanistan by Providing It a Military with Offensive Capability” read the title of its feature story.

The Revolutionary Communist Party was there too, passing out fliers titled “What is Fascism?”:

“Fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as ‘enemies’, ‘undesirables’, or ‘dangers to society.’” An oft-repeated theme was that Trump was supposedly a fascist.

“Steve Bannon, a fascist: Let’s be straight about this; the man is a fascist,” said Jon Beacham, an organizer who has become the face of ANSWER since the post-election anti-Trump protests began.

Now that’s ironic. ANSWER has heaped nothing but praise on Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, two brutal totalitarians far closer to fascism than even the worst caricature of President Trump.

Among the groups that helped sponsor the event was the Mexico Solidarity Network which offers a study abroad program in Cuba through its Autonomous University for Social Movements (AUSM).

After Fidel Castro died in November, ANSWER put out a statement which read in part: “A giant of a man, great revolutionary leader of Cuba and the world, Fidel Castro has died. His long life was testament to his determination to struggle, surviving hundreds of U.S. assassination attempts because they so feared his example.”

At a meeting shortly after Trump’s election, ANSWER invited Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza, Venezuela’s Consul General in Chicago, to explain that things were not so bad in his home country which has triple-digit inflation, nearly 20 percent unemployment and an economy that is contracting at a rate of nearly 10 percent annually.

But ANSWER never talks about the failures of socialism, as exhaustively documented as they are, at its rallies.


The Author

Michael Volpe

After spending a decade in finance, Michael Volpe has been a freelance investigative journalist since 2009. His work has been published locally in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Crusader, Chicago Heights…