Trump’s inauguration will be marked by worldwide protest, Shabbir Lakha explains why we should be organised and united against the new US President
Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America and the protests have already begun. Thousands gathered outside Trump Tower in New York City yesterday evening and were addressed by a number of celebrities, popular figures and activists. Actor Mark Ruffalo told the crowd with a raised fist:
“So today, we move forward – not in protesting Trump but in protecting our people, protecting our values and recreating the Democratic Party as a party that’s responsive to the people, to the needs of the people and not to the whims of Wall Street. Neoliberalism is dead. Progressivism is alive and well and we’re it.”
The billionaire President-elect established his campaign platform around rhetoric of racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, misogyny and homophobia. There is no sense in the calls made by some to “give Trump a chance”. We should never be providing any room for the politics of hate and division to have a chance.
When Trump wants to build his wall with Mexico, don’t give him a chance. When Trump wants to deport 3 million people, set up Muslim registers, reverse equal marriage laws and push through anti-abortion laws, and all the other draconian things he envisions - don’t give him a chance, rise up and say no.
Not my President
There is no doubt that more than the success of organised racism, the conditions for Trump’s victory boil down to a broken political system and the failure of a Democratic Party wedded to neoliberalism and unable to offer real change.
The fact remains that 75% of the American electorate did not vote for Trump. Decades of neoliberalism has left people unrepresented, but not being elected by three quarters of the country has to be the nadir of any supposedly functioning democracy. The fight against Trump is a fight for radical democracy and for genuine participation by people in deciding how their country is run.
In the UK
Global demonstrations have been called opposing Trump and there is plenty of action lined up in the UK. This morning there were banner drops on bridges in London and around the UK setting out a clear message of building bridges not walls. There will be a protest outside the US Embassy in London and numerous protests around the country. Tomorrow’s Women’s March on Washington will be accompanied by sister marches in over 270 cities around the world.
But why are we protesting here? The answer is threefold:
1As the saying goes: “When America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold”. Trump’s presidency is going to have very real and very dangerous consequences for everyone. His disastrous foreign policy positions point to new fronts of war in the Middle East and Asia, an increase in militarisation and potentially a new nuclear arms race. From post-Brexit TTIP-style trade deals to trade wars with China, Trump’s reactionary decisions will affect us all. We must ensure that our government is not aligned to Trump and we need to amplify the pressure on our government to end the “special relationship” with the US.
2His victory has been received with jubilation by the far right and fascists everywhere who feel legitimised in their world view. Hate crimes have been on the rise in the US and across Europe. The only way to show them how wrong they are is to make our anti-racist, pro-migrant and pro-refugee voices heard loud and clearly.
From Cable Street to the Civil Rights Movement to the recent victory at Standing Rock, history has repeatedly shown us that victory against racist oppression comes to a people united, led by those affected.
3We have to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the US dealing with the domestic consequences of Trump’s presidency and who are getting organised and building a movement for real change. The power of solidarity and unified protest should not be underestimated.
Trump was not the establishment candidate in the election and his victory has caused a crisis for the establishment. But it’s not difficult to predict who is going to benefit from the policies of Trump and the merry band of billionaires he’s appointed to government.
The mainstream narrative around him is already starting to accommodate and normalise him – we have to resist. Trump cannot be the new normal. We have to ensure that his inauguration will never be remembered without mentioning the worldwide protests it provoked.
On both sides of the Atlantic and all over the world, our fight is ultimately the same – and we have everything to fight for. So today and tomorrow and for as long as it takes, we will march in unity and in solidarity against racism, against war, against inequality.
Shabbir Lakha is a Stop the War officer, a People's Assembly activist and a member of Counterfire.
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