Reports and Campaigns
Reports and campaigns:
31 January 2017
Tide of opposition to Trump surges
At a maximum of 48 hours' notice, rivers of people poured onto streets around Britain on 30 January to reject Trump's racism. This followed the 'women's marches' on 21 January when 100,000 demonstrated in London alone and thousands more elsewhere.
With the momentum building and increasing numbers angered by prime minister Theresa May cosying up to the bigoted president, more big protests are expected in coming days.
The 30 January demos were particularly against Trump's ban on people from seven Muslim countries entering the US and his planned wall on the border with Mexico.
These attempts to whip up division among working class people appear to be backfiring. Not only are they uniting millions internationally in opposition, but also - under pressure from the spontaneous movement - many establishment politicians have been forced to state that they disagree with Trump on his policies.
Live-streaming from the London protest, Socialist Students national organiser Claire Laker-Mansfield said: "There's a parallel being drawn with the policies Trump is implementing. Of course he's a more extreme, maverick representative of the 1% - a racist, a sexist, etc. But back home we have some of our own 'Trumps' as well. And May herself has been adopting nasty, divisive rhetoric around immigration, for example."
In the midst of the London crowd, Socialist Party member James Ivens reported: "Tens of thousands, mostly young women, demonstrating against Trump and May. Hundreds more streaming from Westminster station every minute, showing no sign of letting up. Clearly a deep-felt anger and understanding of the need to fight. Mood is soaring. It's like a festival. Occasional spontaneous outbursts of mass cheering in crowds so large they have no hope of hearing the platform."
Similar anecdotes could be repeated from dozens of other protests - of thousands in Liverpool, over 1,000 in Birmingham, 1,000 in Cardiff, 1,000 in York, 400 in Leicester, 100 in Coventry, 300 in Gloucestershire.
Socialist Party Scotland reports: "At least 15,000 in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen fighting back against racism and the billionaire bigot. Socialist Party Scotland took part in all these protests, distributing 3,000 of our leaflets and selling 125 copies of the Socialist [Scotland] newspaper."
There was enthusiasm on all the protests for the idea of organising the important layers who have been mobilised into a sustained movement against Trumpism and austerity.
There was also interest in the idea of a socialist alternative. Socialist Party members across England and Wales sold a total of 700 copies of the Socialist and met 100 people who want to join the Socialist Party or receive information about meetings.
Around 3,000 people joined the demonstration in Leeds called after people saw thousands of Americans descend on airports across the US in opposition to Trump’s ‘#MuslimBan’ executive order which bans people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days and refugees from those countries for longer periods.
Predominantly young people joined the march, many with their own placards and attending a demonstration for the first time. After rallying in Dortmund Square, we marched through town, filling Briggate as we passed through and ending in Victoria Gardens outside the art gallery and library. Many others passing by stopped to sign petitions, take leaflets and join the demonstration.
Chants of “Hey, Ho, Trump has got to go”, “No ban, No wall, Trump must Fall” and others echoed through the demonstration.
Socialist Party member Iain Dalton was among the speakers and raised the need to put forward an alternative to Trump’s attempt to divide working people. He called for taking the wealth off the 1%, including nationalising the banks and other sectors, and investing in jobs, homes and public services for all rather than diet of austerity we have been offered. He spoke of the need for a break from the two parties of big business in the US, and for a new party of the 99%.
Socialist Party members met many people interested in attending our events, with over 50 buying the Socialist. We ran out of our new ‘Dump Trump’ badges.
A further demonstration is planned on Saturday which we will be mobilising for, and helping to build a movement in defence of the rights of workers, women, the LGBT community, migrants and others, that can help bring down Trump, and his allies in the UK.
Leeds Socialist Party members
Over 1,000 mainly young people flooded into Victoria Square at just 24 hours notice. Leaflets putting forward a socialist strategy to beat Trump were snatched out of the hands of Socialist Party members and many copies of the Socialist were sold.
Well over 100 ant-Trump protesters rallied at Queen Victoria Square in Hull on Monday night. Called at a day’s notice via social media, a significant number of protesters had never been on a protest before. Typically, their response was: “We couldn’t just sit there and do nothing”.
Some of them were initially doubtful about the protest being “political”, seeing Trump as just an odious individual. Socialist Party member Mick Whale, speaking from the platform, explained that Trump had come to power in the US precisely because traditional politicians had completely lost touch with ordinary working class people and that the key task was to learn from that.
In practice that means that if Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party doesn’t put forward a clear socialist programme, then British Trumps – like Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall of Ukip, will find an echo for their bigotry here.
Paul Spooner, Hull Socialist Party
300 people demonstrated in Cheltenham from 7pm to 9pm. Former Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood spoke to the crowd, as well as a Lib Dem councillor. However, we - the Socialist Party - were the only political party there with placards, papers or leaflets. The Lib Dems have a habit of parading their 'high morals' on occasions like this, so we are always quick to point out the role they played in the Con-Dem government.
Holding a Socialist Party placard I spoke shortly after Horwood. Among other things, I pointed out that people were protesting about the agenda of May, Ukip and attacks on the working class internationally as well as the racist immigration controls in the US. British governments have also forced through policies not dissimilar to Trump's. The US working class has seen living standards decline over four decades. We need to organise a fightback and this is happening in cities across the US and needs to happen here and be linked to movements across the world.
Around 3,000 people poured onto College Green in Bristol on Monday night to protest Donald Trump's racist immigration policies. Organised at just two days notice the protest was a resounding 'no' to his border wall and Muslim ban and to Theresa May's 'hand in hand' relationship with him.
Rivers of people quickly turned the green to mud. Speakers included Labour mayor Marvin Rees - before he returned to the Council House to put forward £100 million of cuts.
Socialist Party members were swamped by the sheer number of people arriving and wanting to find out more about how to defeat Trump and everything he stands for; all the leaflets we had were taken.
The anti-Trump protest in Oxford was held at Cornmarket Street. I arrived at the event and saw fellow Socialist Party member Isaac being interviewed by ITV.
As the demonstration was about to march through the city square over 2,000 people had arrived to join, this was the biggest march in Oxford since the 2003 protest against the disastrous Iraq war.
This demonstration shows the strength of the opposition. We all know Trump's agenda so we should organise more protests, marches and demonstrations against his further actions.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 31 January 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.