By Wyatt Miller
Minneapolis, MN – Thousands of people poured into the streets on October 10 to resist the reactionary rally held by President Donald Trump in the heart of Minneapolis. Long targeted by the president’s racist incitement against the city’s immigrant, Muslim and Black communities, Minneapolis rose to the occasion with a massive display of righteous militancy.
The evening began with several marches converging from multiple directions onto the Target Center stadium where Trump was set to appear. One march, organized by over a dozen union locals and labor organizations, shut down traffic for miles as well as a major bridge over the Mississippi River.
At the intersection of 6th Street and 1st Avenue outside the Target Center, Trump supporters were forced to run a gauntlet of thousands of protesters in order to reach the venue entrance. Surrounded by the crowd, they were met with jeers and taunts at point-blank range, the MAGA hats ripped from their heads. Everyone from Somali women, to working-class retirees, to queer youth, jostled for a chance to express their rage at the supporters of a president who has brought uncertainty and worsening oppression onto their communities.
Even armed brownshirt militias, like the Oath Keepers, who had confidently proclaimed their intention to “protect” the Trump rally, were helpless against the overwhelming demonstration of people power. Multiple attempts by police to enter the crowd were repulsed throughout the night.
The jam-packed crowd sprawled down the block to the next intersection, in front of the First Avenue nightclub, where protesters erected a makeshift stage. Thousands filled the adjacent streets, chanting slogans like “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” “When the working class is under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” and “No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA!”
Although the spectacle of impeachment proceedings in Washington dominated cable news headlines, protest organizers emphasized the concrete threats Trump represents to communities in Minneapolis. The city has been disproportionately affected by racist policies like the Muslim travel ban, as well as Trump’s support for Minneapolis police federation head and the infamous killer-cop apologist Bob Kroll, who appeared with Trump onstage. Trade unionists emphasized the attacks on union organizing rights by Trump-appointed judges. All present condemned Trump’s history of sexual violence against women, and his attacks on LGBTQ rights.
Other chants included “No ban on stolen land!” and “From Standing Rock to Palestine, occupation is a crime!” reflecting the mass movement’s growing awareness of imperialism both inside and outside U.S. borders, and its ongoing consequences. Veterans of the Minneapolis-based American Indian Movement, famous for its 1973 armed standoff with federal officials at the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, joined protesters onstage.
“Bound up in all the various progressive people’s movements is the struggle against war, the struggle against colonialism, the struggle against imperialism, the struggle to resist the occupation of indigenous lands,” said Autumn Lake of the Anti-War Committee, to the cheers of thousands.
“There’s a story they don’t tell you about why Somalis came here,” said Jaylani Hussein of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN). “And that is that this country played with our country, and used it as a proxy in the Cold War. That’s why we are here.”
CAIR-MN was part of the ad hoc organizing committee for the event, which also included Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, Anti-War Committee, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Minnesota Workers United, No Cages Minnesota, Queer Revolutionary Workers Syndicate, Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America, General Defense Committee Local 14, Immigrant Worker Solidarity, and others. Still more groups organized independently. Fight Back! spoke with many protesters who said they had been unaware that a demonstration was being organized at all, but simply knew they had to protest as soon as they learned that Trump was coming to town.
The scale of the protest reflected the steady growth of the mass movement in the Twin Cities. Though challenges remain for the movement, its powerful display on the night of October 10 points to new revolutionary possibilities in the fights ahead.