This can be the start of a new wave of dissent, argues Lindsey German
The women's marches today are a great phenomenon. They are very big, take place on an international scale and are a sign of deep opposition to Trump and all he stands for. They must be the biggest international demos since the anti-war movement in 2003, and while they are not as big (those were estimated at 30 million worldwide) they have huge potential given that this is day one of Trump's presidency.
In London we had very successful banner drops yesterday, then last night's very good anti-racist demo, and now this. So this is something to build on and strengthen the movement against everything Trump stands for. It's very important that the left throws itself into campaigning around a range of issues rather than just sit on the sidelines and do nothing. We have the ongoing fight against racism, the battle for the NHS and support for the growing number of strikes.
The worst thing now is fear or despair, which means we need some courage and determination but also a concrete analysis of a concrete situation. That situation is very serious but it is not catastrophic and there is widespread opposition from the left if we care to organise it.
We are not facing fascism at the moment. We have a polarisation to left and right and there is a battle on. Trump's victory is one for the populist right but based on fairly traditional Republican votes. The poorest in the US tended still to vote Democrat or not vote. That is different from the Brexit vote where many of the poorest, including an estimated third of Asians, voted leave. This was not, as the government now claims, all about immigration but about a range of issues to do with lack of control, alienation from central government etc.
The Austrian and Italian votes were different again. The left has much to say in this crisis and we really have to be saying it to the widest possible audience. I am as keen as anyone on a Corbyn-led Labour government but subsuming everything into electoral politics does the left no favours. Our organisation has to be on the streets and workplaces and organising around struggle. That's how we roll back the right.
As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.
Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.
More articles from this author
- Tories in a double bind over triple locks and taxes – Election briefing #05
- Right, left and centre: how the battle will shape up – Election briefing #04
- When the lying has to stop - Election briefing #03
- The vilification of a peacemonger - Election briefing #02
- Corbyn attacked for not wanting to start a nuclear war - Election briefing #01
- Article 50: how we can shape a People's Brexit
- The vicious cycle of war, terrorism and Islamophobia