If you need reasons to join the various anti-Trump actions in Britain, including on Friday 13th July , you don’t have to look hard to find them, writes Sarah Peterson. In Donald Trump we have a man who plays divide and rule for breakfast. Whether it is encouraging racism and xenophobia, violating migrants’ human and civil rights, or saying that there were “fine people on both sides of the protests in Charlottesville” that resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer by a white supremacist; we can guarantee that Donald Trump will do his best to encourage the most reactionary and barbaric behaviour on the part of his supporters.
Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions have played an incredibly ugly role against asylum seekers, refugees and migrants trying to enter the US from Central and Latin America. Their zero tolerance policy led to children of asylum seekers and refugees being removed from their parents. While there is a victory — hard won through demonstrations and rallies across the US — Trump has now moved onto indefinite detention of migrant families in violation of the 1997 Flores Settlement . This is a direct assault on civil and human rights guaranteed to refugee including the right to due process in a court hearing about your status . The lies that we will return your children to you if you agree to deportation are pernicious; there have been cases of parents deported without their children. Adding to the nightmare of children being forced to attend court, they are being forced to recite “the Pledge of Allegiance” to the country that tore them out of the hands of their parents, placed them in cages. 3000 children have yet to be reunited even with Trump’s “abandonment” of the policy.
Trump’s misogyny has gone beyond his view of women as objects for his sexual gratification that was evident in his speech in Montana where he mocked #metoo, called Representative Maxine Walters a person of sub-normal intellect and insisted that Senator Elizabeth take a DNA test while calling her Pocahontas. He now has “acquired” the concern about the lives of foetus adhered to by his fundamentalist Christian supporters (who have also had the present of Jerusalem). This combined with the right-wing Republican control over Congress and has meant that attacks on women’s reproductive rights are constant both at the state and federal level.
A major criterion for the Supreme Court pick was their intention to overturn Roe vs Wade and Doe vs Bolton granting the legality of abortion rights in the US. He has outdone himself here; his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh has never said he would overturn Roe, but his dissent in the case of an undocumented young woman in detention who wanted an abortion creates serious reasons for worry. Another serious concern is Kavanaugh’s perspective granting the executive branch (and hence Trump) far greater power. He believes that the President cannot be prosecuted or investigated while in office (leaving only impeachment to remove them). A statement from Yale Law School graduates is looking for signatures against Kavanaugh’s appointment arguing that there is clear political bias rather than legal interpretation issues in his decisions while on the bench.
Trump has constantly supported the actions of the worst aims of the ruling class in the US and world capitalism. I can’t be the only person relieved that the US has left the UNHRC; their role there has essentially been to make action against human rights as difficult as possible. Trump’s latest salvo on the United Nations front has been to threaten Ecuador with economic sanctions for a proposal asking governments to support breastfeeding. Never one to stop protecting multinational corporations, the White House demanded that the words “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” and the request to “restrict” the promotion of breastmilk substitutes that could impact the health of infants be removed. When Ecuador refused, Trump brought out a favourite weapon, the trade sanction and threatened to remove military aid unless this happened.
Then there are his attacks on the environment, removing essential regulations on pollution and accountability by businesses and the privatisation of parts of national parks, or permission granted to private corporations to use that land for mineral and fossil fuel exploitation. The former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, deliberately undermined its mission before he was forced to step down over corruption issues. Acting head, former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler is expected to continue in the same manner; further weakening regulations to ensure that fossil fuel industries face no competition from sustainable energy resource production. To add insult to injury, Trump does not seem to believe that asbestos is a danger, though nearly 15,000 Americans die each year due to asbestos related diseases. Pruitt’s goodbye gift was to amend Toxic Substances Control Act which since could ban the use of asbestos to remove that provision.
If all this is not enough to demonstrate, then there is the cold comfort of Theresa May’s desperate wooing of Trump to secure a trade deal following Brexit which will most certainly violate product safety and health standards guaranteed by the “evil” EU. If you do not remember President Obama’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), try to imagine what Trump will insist on to get that deal.
If human rights, the environment, misogyny, racism, child snatching and a crappy trade deal are not enough to get you down to demonstrate, how about international solidarity with those in the US and across the world terrified by Trump’s actions? Tell Teresa May loud and clear we do not want anything to do with Donald Trump! How about the fact that the US Embassy in London warned Americans in Britain to keep “a low profile” during the Trump visit as though British people conflate all Americans with Trump? Does the embassy not know that large numbers of Americans participated in the London Women’s March on the day of Trump’s inauguration? Come on out and show them that we know the difference between Donald Trump and the American people!
The rise of the right has an international dimension. Trump is only the most dangerous due to the economic and military power of the US. The Brexit referendum campaign normalised racism and xenophobia. While large parts of UKIP joined the Tory party, we are seeing the rise of far right and fascist groupings who will be demonstrating on Saturday, July 14th. The last demo the Football Lad’s Alliance and the Democratic Football Lad’s Alliance had, we were outnumbered by 15000 to 300. Geert Wilders spoke there and Steve Bannon sent a message. These far-right groups in have moved from electoral politics onto the street; there is no question that the fascists of the English Defence League and the former British National Party are participating in these “Free Tommy Robinson” protests.
We cannot allow these people to threaten our communities, create more divide and rule and spout Islamophobia. We will not allow them to threaten the solidarity that we have fought so hard for so long to build. We need to send a message to them that is loud and clear. You and your politics are not welcome here!
Come on down to the protests!! Show Trump and the “Free Tommy Robinson” brigade that we don’t want their politics of hate and divide and rule here!! See here for different protests across Britain from Thursday onwards, and the variety of blocks in Fridays’ national protest in London.