“Dump Trump” Groups Disrupts Black Friday

“Dump Trump on his ass, for his crimes and his class!” protestors repeated at the Country Club Plaza on Black Friday. Kansas City’s Progressive Youth Organization coordinated the event, drawing a sizeable crowd of around 50 activists. U-News sat down with a student activist who helped organize the protest to learn more about the demonstration.

Corey Fisher is a UMKC student and Progressive Youth Organization member. Fisher has been involved in the planning and execution of protests since the shooting of Michael Brown over two years ago.

“The plan was in fact to disrupt foot traffic and by default, sales at certain establishments,” said Fisher. “We chose the Plaza because it represents the financial pocketbook of the alt-right, neo-fascist movement in the U.S. Donald Trump and his cohorts have quite an extensive relationship to the Country Club Plaza, be it direct investments or campaign contributions.”

According to the group, companies at the Plaza that are “infected by Trump” include the insurance agency MCG Group, Bank of America, Apple, American Apparel, Cinemark, Marriott, Embassy Suites, Gap Inc., Panera Bread, Starbucks, Tesla, UPS and Urban Outfitters.

In addition to the long list of businesses with ties to Trump, the group criticized the management companies that own and operate the Plaza, Taubman Centers Inc. and Macerich Company, for their financial contributions to the Trump campaign and Republican Party.

“Given the vitriol, rhetoric and violence that the fascist Trump has justified in regards to non-cis and non-man individuals, immigrants, Muslims, and Black people, it goes without saying that these companies also represent a threat to the sovereignty and safety of these communities, and should be combated,” said Fisher. “[The Plaza] was the ideal location to try and disrupt as much commerce as possible.”

Protesters used signs and banners such as these to display their message.

Protesters used signs and banners such as these to display their message.

The group felt that holding the protest on Black Friday would increase their visibility. Fisher also noted that because Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days in the year, “we saw it as the ideal day to ‘grab him by the wallet.’”

The protest itself consisted of the entire group moving from store to store throughout the shopping center, stopping in front of specific businesses to block foot traffic, hold signs and publicly condemn the company’s affiliation with Trump.

“We chanted until we felt content with our period of disruption, then we moved on to the next business,” said Fisher. He continued, noting that anyone who wished to exit a store was allowed to leave. “But our goal was unabashedly to halt as much traffic entering each business as possible.”

The police presence during the demonstration on the Plaza last Friday was heavy. A member of Kansas City’s Progressive Youth Organization who works at the Plaza confirmed that stores were aware there was a protest planned and prepared by increasing security.

Although nobody was arrested, the tension between activists and police was high. “On several occasions, they sought to enclose and separate the group, and an officer in front of me readied his canister of pepper spray,” said Fisher. “They used the horses to corral and block us off regardless of our more than legal travel on the sidewalk, as well as goads and enticements to escalate the situation so that there would be a justification for arrests made.”

Despite these tensions with law enforcement, Friday’s demonstration was a success in the eyes of the demonstrators.

“Ultimately, I think our action was vastly effective. We know fully that our action did not topple Trump’s economic regime, or the Plaza for that matter,” said Fisher. “And we are aware that majority of the ears on the Plaza were closed to our message, for they too are complicit in the new wave of fascism in this country.”

“But we won some people over, and we put a dent in sales, if only minuscule,” said Fisher. “We made it evident that we will not stand for fascism, white-nationalism, racism, anti-queer and transphobic violence, islamophobia or anti-immigrant lines. We made it clear that we will combat capitalism in all its violent and parasitic manifestations. And we made it evident that we are more than willing to combat these things directly.”

samdanley@unews.com

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