The potential to build a really huge movement against trump is already there. Let’s build upon it

Lindsey German


Demonstrate Tomorrow: 11am @ US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

Donald Trump has achieved a few things in his under two weeks in office. He has become the president with the lowest rating every at this stage of the presidency. And he has created a mass movement against him, both in the US and internationally, which is unprecedented against an incoming president.

There were plenty of reasons to oppose Trump before he came into office but every day since has underlined in the most graphic way the need to drive him from office. The day after his inauguration millions marched worldwide in support of women’s rights. But what has galvanised the most recent protests is the ban on Muslims from seven named countries from travelling to the US.

The ban is racist to the core, adding insult to injury to citizens of those countries who have already suffered bombing and occupation by the US. It has provoked rage in Iraq, where there are still stationed thousands of US troops. But it has provoked a huge wave of protests in the US itself, with huge numbers demonstrating at airports across the country, demanding an end to the ban and the immediate release of those caught in the ban.

The protests in Britain this week have also been very large spontaneous actions. A huge crowd gathered in Downing Street on Monday, and thousands took part in demos from Edinburgh to Bristol. The mood in Britain is not just a reaction to Trump but to our own government.

Theresa May has played a uniquely bad role in supporting Trump. First, she rushed with unseemly haste to be the first European leader to meet Trump. She and her advisers cooked up the idea of offering him a state visit, complete with banquets with the queen and enough gold and splendour to impress even Trump. This is unprecedented so early in any presidency, let alone with a president as unpredictable and disliked with Trump.

She then allowed herself to be pictured holding hands with a man regarded as odious by millions of women. Worse, she was informed about the ban during her visit and obviously agreed with it, to the extent that when she was questioned the following day, she refused three times to condemn or even criticise it. Her craven determination to win a trade deal with Trump, and to appear as though she can maintain the ‘special relationship’ with him, has led her down the path of supporting him uncritically.

This is not a good place for her to be. Outrage at this behaviour is palpable, even from within May’s own Tory party. Jeremy Corbyn was right to say that there should be no state visit while the ban stands.

The potential to build a really huge movement against trump is already there. The proposed state visit can be stopped. Already there is talk of postponing it or scaling it down, and it is possible to get it cancelled altogether. When George Bush had a state visit in 2003, months after the Iraq war, we brought London to a halt with hundreds of thousands demonstrating on a weekday. This time will be even bigger.

The movement must be built as broadly as possible. We must get on the streets. Stop the War is part of organising a protest the ban and the state visit this Saturday. That means involving the Muslim community, a number of whose organisations are co organising the march. It also means we need the trade unions, students, community organisations, faith groups, charities and NGOs, women’s organisations, school students, and everyone who wants to stand up against the kind of racism, bigotry, militarism and Islamophobia that Trump represents.

The rising tide of islamophobia and attacks on migrants is growing across Europe and the US. In Canada, six Muslims were shot in a Montreal mosque, allegedly by a far-right terrorist. In Texas, a mosque was burned down over the weekend. Politicians and media are fanning the flames of hate for cheap electoral advantage. May is interpreting the Brexit vote in a way which can only give succour to UKIP and the far right. In France, the Netherlands and Germany, the right are expected to do well in upcoming elections.

That is why the street movements are so important, and why we need the broadest possible unity across the left in order to combat the right. There are issues we can fight on which unite us all: against Trump’s racist ban and the state visit, against scapegoating of migrants and Muslims, and for those issues which can help lessen scapegoating and racism: defence of public services such as the NHS, and a mass programme for decent council housing.
We also need to break the ‘special relationship’ between the US and Britain. This has always been harmful to Britain, most recently dragging us into the disastrous war in Iraq. It is now, under a Trump presidency, positively toxic. Stop the War is campaigning to end the special relationship now.

There is a huge amount at stake here. Working people are feeling the terrible effects of austerity, and they are fearful and angry about the future. We must unite to ensure that this anger is channelled at the people who caused their misery, not those who are at present being blamed. If events so far are anything to go by, this year looks as though it will be marked by a series of mass protests. Nothing could send a better message to Trump and May that they do not represent us and that we will resist them.

Demonstrate Tomorrow: 11am @ US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

Source: The Morning Star

03 Feb 2017

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