Following the inspiring and semi-spontaneous protests last Monday, around 50,000 demonstrators descended onto the streets of London again on Saturday 4th February to say: No to Trump! No to the Muslim Ban! Solidarity with migrants and refugees! The task now is to build a mass political movement against Trump and the Tories.
Following on from the inspiring and semi-spontaneous wave of protests across the country last Monday, around 50,000 demonstrators descended onto the streets of London again on Saturday 4th February to say: No to Trump! No to the Muslim Ban! Solidarity with migrants and refugees!
The national demonstration, called at short notice, was again notable for the large numbers of young people present, along with an array of sharp slogans and punchy placards.
Importantly, it was clear from the chants and the speeches that the anger is not only directed against the racist, misogynist US President, but also against Theresa May and her Tory government, which has cosied up to Trump and refused to condemn his reactionary rhetoric. Yet again, the real nature of the “special relationship” between Britain and the USA is exposed in plain view for all to see.
Trump’s bigoted bull-in-a-china-shop braggadocio has clearly poured a barrel of gasoline onto an already raging fire of fury, inciting passionate protest and mass opposition across the world. With the new Commander in Chief showing no signs of letting up with his xenophobic, sexist, anti-working class policies, we can only expect this movement to grow and spread.
The next step is to build for the national day of action against Trump on 20th February. Student and worker activists should use the run-up to this date to call meetings in every school, college, university, trade union branch, and Labour Party ward. The political, social and economic factors behind the rise of Trump – that is, the failed capitalist status quo – should be stressed, and the links drawn between the President’s reactionary programme and the parroting policies of the Tory Prime Minister.
Above all, these meetings should be used to organise and forge links between the labour movement, the youth, and all those oppressed layers fighting against Trump and the Tories. The movement must have a clear class character and recognise that the political programme of Trump and the Tories are fundamentally the same: to represent the billionaire class and the interests of the capitalists.
This means that Tory speakers should not be invited to spout hypocrisy and cry crocodile tears – as was seen last week, when the protest outside Downing Street, called by Owen Jones, included leading Tories such as Baroness Warsi on the platform; or again, today, when the Guardian journalist praised John Bercow, the Tory Commons Speaker. We must have no faith or illusions in any such figures, who are cut from the same capitalist cloth as Trump and his reactionary ilk. Instead, our movement’s slogans and demands should stress the need to abolish the decrepit capitalist system whose senile symptoms and sores now blight society – including wars, terrorism, austerity, racism, and Trump.
The huge influx of new, fresh layers of activists into the movement highlights the turning point that these events represent. Not since the anti-war protests in 2003 have such enormous protests erupted across the country.
At the same time, we must draw the lessons of these past movements. In 2003, two million people across the UK turned out to protest against the Iraq War and the lies of the New Labour government. Yet Blair and Bush still took the British and American people into an illegal war.
The task, therefore, is to turn these militant mass demonstrations into an organised mass political movement: a movement with roots in the labour movement; a movement with an explicitly anti-war, anti-racist, and anti-austerity programme; a movement capable of kicking out Trump and the Tories and putting an end to the rotten capitalist system that they defend.