The Socialist 23 November 2016 |
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USA: mass protests break out to #ResistTrump
Seattle protest against Trump's victory called by Socialist Alternative, photo Socialist Alternative (Click to enlarge)
Calvin Priest and Kailyn Nicholson, Socialist Alternative (US co-thinkers of the Socialist Party)
Donald Trump's shocking victory was met with a mixture of anger, confusion, and very real fear among ordinary people in the US and around the world.
Millions asked, how could Trump win? And further, what will his presidency mean for immigrants, women, Muslims, and all others targeted by his viciously right-wing campaign?
But the election of one of the most right-wing presidents in US history was also met immediately by determined mass protests. Within hours of Trump's election, Socialist Alternative, Socialist Students, and Movement for the 99% organised protests in cities around the country.
The call was met by 5,000 people in Oakland, 6,000 in Boston, 3,000 in Philadelphia, 6,000 in Seattle, and nearly 10,000 in New York City.
At Seattle's Westlake Park, the rally was addressed by a range of speakers representing different groups including young Latino activist and member of Socialist Alternative, Manuel Carrillo.
He responded to Trump's infamous call for a wall along the Mexico border by saying the movement would build its own wall: "Ours will be a wall of resistance, built on solidarity, struggle, and a socialist alternative."
Protests have been marked by frustration and disillusionment in Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party and their failure to defeat Trump.
Many recognised that the calculated undermining of Bernie Sanders' campaign by the Democratic Party establishment - despite polls showing Bernie matching up far better against Trump than Clinton - was a major factor in Trump's improbable victory.
Seattle City councillor and Socialist Alternative member Kshama Sawant addressed the crowd at Seattle's Westlake Park: "We cannot even trust the Wall Street-dominated Democratic Party to beat the most unpopular candidate the Republicans could ever find to run for president.
"Their politics prepared the ground. Look at Nafta and the TPP [job-losing free trade deals]. Look at cuts to social security and welfare...
"To build the resistance against Trump, to stop the growth of his movement, we need to build our own movements, we need our own mobilisations. Working people and youth need an independent party of, for and by the 99%. Are you with me?" She was answered with a deafening cheer.
The question is whether we can turn the initial protests and solidarity into sustained and powerful movements. The burgeoning resistance has crystallised around another date of protest: Trump's inauguration on 20 January.
Already, in Boston, Socialist Alternative members held a public meeting to discuss the way forward for the movement that attracted over 400 people.
Building the kind of resistance necessary to block Trump's attacks will require rejecting the calls of Democratic Party leaders and others to silence our movement. After calling Trump "profoundly dangerous," Clinton is now telling her supporters: "We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead."
But we cannot wish Trump any "success" in his 'Contract with the American Voter' or the rest of his bigoted agenda. This would be a dangerous mistake.
Trump seeks to attack immigrant workers to divert anger from the failure of capitalism to provide decent jobs for millions of working class people.
We need unity of ordinary people to stand up against his call for mass deportations, registration of Muslims, and other vicious attacks on the working class and oppressed people.