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Posted on 19 January 2017 at 17:38 GMT

The Socialist frontpage issue 932

The Socialist frontpage issue 932   (Click to enlarge)

Build a wall of resistance against Trumpism

Claire Laker-Mansfield

Donald Trump's first two days in office will go down in history. They will mark the moment at which a bigoted billionaire assumes the status of the most powerful individual on the planet. But they will not only be remembered for the pomp and pageantry in the Oval Office. History will also record the 20th and 21st of January as two days marked by mass protest and revolt.

There will be no 'honeymoon' for this president of the 1%. His appointment of a billionaires' cabinet has already exposed the cynical claims he made to anti-establishment credentials. This is despite the obvious discomfort felt by sections of the American elite about his 'maverick' character.

Already, he is preparing a series of reactionary, pro-big business attacks. Among the most prominent are plans to deport millions of people, cancel funding for Planned Parenthood and end state funded healthcare coverage for low-income families.

Also in the pipeline are new limitations to workers' and trade union rights, escalating attacks on the environment and a bonanza of tax-cuts for corporate America.

But if Trump thinks he will be plain sailing he is wrong. As his inauguration gets underway, thousands of school students will walk out of classes to march through the streets. They will be joined, especially the following day, by millions of workers, trade unionists, anti-racist campaigners and women's rights activists. These are the gathering forces that have the potential to stop Trump in his tracks.

And it will not just be in the US that ordinary people are out on the streets. His presidency not only poses a threat to working class and oppressed communities in the States, but to people all over the world. That is why resistance to Trump must not be confined to America. An injury to one is an injury to all.

Seattle protest against Trump's victory called by Socialist Alternative, photo Socialist Alternative

Seattle protest against Trump's victory called by Socialist Alternative, photo Socialist Alternative   (Click to enlarge)

Socialists in the US were among the first to call action to oppose Trump's presidency. Within 24 hours of his election win, Socialist Alternative, co-thinkers of the Socialist Party in England and Wales, made a call which brought over 40,000 people onto the streets.

For the 20th of January, Socialist Students in the US, Socialist Students in the UK, Sindicato de Estudiantes in Spain and Sindicato de Estudiantes in Mexico have joined together to call for a global day of action against Trump.

It is in the tradition of the socialist movement that working class people stand together across borders. The US election showed that we cannot rely on capitalist politicians to hold back the rise of reactionary and bigoted figures and parties.

Even before his election, polls showed Trump to be the most hated presidential candidate in the whole of US electoral history. Only 26% of the eligible voting population endorsed him at the ballot box. It was not enthusiasm for Trump, but profound disillusionment with the political establishment, that allowed him to pull off this unlikely victory. Hillary Clinton - the candidate of Wall Street - decisively failed to offer voters a break from the rotten status quo.

The huge enthusiasm generated by Bernie Sanders - a self-proclaimed 'democratic socialist' - shows the enormous thirst that exists in America for an alternative to big business politicians. That's why Socialist Alternative called for Bernie to continue his run for president despite failing to win the Democratic nomination.

Kshama Sawant, photo Josh Kelety

Kshama Sawant, photo Josh Kelety   (Click to enlarge)

Kshama Sawant - a Socialist Alternative city councillor in Seattle who led a successful struggle for the $15 minimum wage - was among the most prominent figures to call on Sanders to resist the pressure to fall in line behind Clinton.

Had Bernie done so, it could have transformed the landscape of American politics, completely undercutting Trump's support. What's more, it could have helped lay the foundations for the creation of a mass party of the 99%.

But despite this missed opportunity, there remains huge potential for new forces to be built. It is only by building a political alternative that the basis for Trumpism can be well and truly undermined.

The task of building a mass party for the 99% is not unique to America. Here in Britain, the election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of Labour showed a deep desire for a break with the pro-capitalist politics that has dominated the mainstream parties for more than two decades.

But while Corbyn has been twice elected as leader, the majority of the party's MPs, councillors and bureaucratic machinery remain wedded to the pro-austerity politics of the past. Unless there is a concerted fight to defeat the Blairites, this opportunity to transform Labour into a party that stands up for working class people risks being lost.

The Socialist Party is organising in Britain to fight to prevent this. We are part of the Committee for a Workers' International, which links us together with socialist organisations all over the world. We say: take the wealth off the billionaires. Fight for a society that works in the interests of the 99%. Join us and get involved in the fightback today.

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