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Trump forced to cancel RNC acceptance speech, Jacksonville wins showdown

Commentary by staff |
July 23, 2020
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Jacksonville, FL – Community members and activists are celebrating after Donald Trump’s July 23 announcement that he is canceling the Jacksonville portion of the Republican National Convention, including the acceptance speech he intended to deliver. It is a great victory for all those who oppose Donald Trump and the Republican party, including the Coalition to March on the RNC.

The Coalition to March on the RNC is a national group that has experience organizing large marches against previous RNCs in Saint Paul (2008), Tampa (2012) and Cleveland (2016). The Coalition promised to march on the convention on August 27, with or without permits, but is glad that Trump has backed down and canceled his speaking event in Jacksonville. In his explanation, Trump mentioned two reasons for his decision, stating: “I said there's nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe, whether it's from the China virus or the radical left mob."

Trump’s words say a lot about his thinking. The comment describing the virus is openly racist and aimed to fuel anti-China feelings. Trump also indirectly admits the power that our growing movements are gaining this year in many areas of struggle. The Coalition to March on the RNC was organizing a march to be held on August 27 under the main slogan “We Can’t Breathe!” The slogan alluded to the popular uprising seen after the racist police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this summer. It is a good thing that Trump will no longer be speaking in Jacksonville.

Of note was the danger such an event would pose to people’s health and safety. Florida in general and Jacksonville in particular continue to see some of the highest rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country. The RNC posed a serious health risk that working families and their communities did not want to take – not for a gathering of racist and right-wing bigots.

Activists all over the country should be proud that Trump has backed down after so many people began speaking out against holding the RNC in Jacksonville. After the recent repression seen in Portland at the hands of federal law enforcement officials, who unjustly arrested scores of people and whisked them away to unknown locations, it is a good thing to know that people are not intimidated and are fighting back and winning.

The time is right to continue organizing our movements, marching in the streets and fighting all forms of oppression. As the end of summer nears and the fall approaches, it will be important to continue struggling to defeat Donald Trump during the 2020 election. An important part of this struggle will play out in Milwaukee this August when the Coalition to March at the DNC marches to oppose Trump and hold the Democrats accountable to a progressive agenda. Everyone should continue to resist Trump’s backward, racist and reactionary policies as we fight for a better world.

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