We must be united in our opposition to Trump and everything he represents
As Trump arrives, the anti-Trump protests are getting ready. All over Britain, people will take to the streets to show their opposition to demagoguery and ‘divide and rule’ politics.
Tons of protests have been organised: on Thursday there will be demonstrations at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, and in Regent’s Park, London. On Friday morning, protests will occur near Chequers, and the main demonstration in London outside the BBC’s headquarters at 2pm, which finishes at 5pm in Trafalgar Square. Finally, there will be demonstrations in Scotland: Glasgow on Friday evening, and Edinburgh on Saturday.
Unity is key. Together Against Trump has organised the main protests. Its members include the TUC, The People’s Assembly Stop the War, CND, Friends of the Earth and Momentum. The main objective of these protests is to show that Britain will not continue to be pawns of America.
Certain right-wing politicians and political commentators want to pull out the red carpet for Trump to secure a UK-USA trade deal post-Brexit. But as Sir Peter Westmacott, an ex-British ambassador to the United States, says, this is an illusion. For us to obtain a trade deal, we would have to drop food standards. Even Trump's threats to impose tariffs on steel, aluminium and European car imports would lead to a transatlantic trade war with the European Union. With the Brexit vote being partly about democracy, we must not allow ourselves to receive dictation from America instead.
Do we remember the last time Britain did this? It led to the Bush-Blair alliance starting an illegal war, which led to the deaths of 179 British service personnel and destroyed Iraq, a country populated with 26 million people. Some might ridicule the prospect of the Trump administration taking us into war. But their withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal (the JCPOA) is worrying. The president ignored James Mattis, his defence secretary, Jospeh Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and John Hyten, head of U.S. Strategic Command. All of whom supported the Iran deal. Their withdrawal will tarnish future US nuclear non-proliferation deals, especially with North Korea, and will escalate tensions between these countries.
His policies surrounding climate change are detrimental, not just to Britain, but to the entire planet. Since withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017, the former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said it was "politically shortsighted and scientifically based on wrong advice."
No doubt the agreement had its flaws but it laid the foundation for countries to reduce CO2 emissions and use renewable energy. From 1991 to 2011, there were 11,944 climate abstracts that focused on climate change. 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. But Trump's administration prioritises profit and market competition over environmental protection.
Trump's dangerous demagoguery has affected European countries, including Britain. He has demonised Mexicans, Muslims, disabled people, women and many other groups. He retweeted videos by the fascist group Britain First, thereby legitimising their bigoted actions. Frankly, that's not surprising considering Trump’s past. His name appeared on the front page of The New York Times in October 1973: "Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City.” Opposing Trump this week is also about anti-racism, and in particular right now, solidarity with this country’s Windrush generation, who are having their rights curtailed.
Britain cannot afford to become a tool for Trump. His lack of knowledge about us is telling; after the EU referendum result, he proclaimed online that Scotland "is going wild over the vote. They took their country back." The majority of England and Wales voted to leave but the Scottish public voted 62% to remain with the EU.
Complacency feeds into exploitation. We need to show solidarity with our fellow human beings: whether they're refugees, migrants, Mexicans, Muslims, women or the LGBT+ community, we all need each other. We should find inspiration from the February 2003 demonstration in Hyde Park, London, where around a million people protested against the Iraq Invasion.
Progressive politics that empowers people is the way forward. Let's take inspiration from the fact that Labour received 40 per cent of the vote in 2017, whilst Bernie Sanders brought more people into the political process during the presidential run. Let's be excited at thousands of British citizens marching in support of our NHS, whilst rejoicing in the fact that self-described socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won in New York's 14thcongressional district.
Trump's popularity ratings are low; a recent Gallup poll from 2nd to 8th July shows he has a 41 per cent approval rating.
This protest will send a message to the Trump administration. That we are united in supporting social and economic justice. We will oppose bigotry. We will support unity, not division.
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