By Felicity Collier in London, England:
Nationwide protests push May on Trump
Monday 6th February 2017
City centres left at a standstill as public rallies
MORE than 40,000 protesters demonstrating against US President Donald Trump brought central London to a standstill on Saturday.
The demo “Stop Trump’s Muslim Ban — Stop May Supporting It” marched from the US embassy in Mayfair, through the shopping district of Piccadilly and on to Downing Street.
Labour MPs, Muslim community groups, Jewish organisations, trade unions, and campaign groups such as Stop the War Coalition and Stand Up to Racism all addressed the crowds.
Speaking to the throng outside Downing Street, Muslim Association of Britain president Dr Omer El-Hamdoon said: “One thing Trump has done which is good is to expose people for what they are — he has exposed who are the racists, who are the fascists.”
Muslim Safety Forum head Azad Ali received overwhelming cheers when he told the crowd that if Prime Minister Theresa May did not act to stop Mr Trump’s state visit, then protesters would bring the whole of London to a standstill.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, speaking via video screen, said Ms May and the Conservatives were “on the wrong side of history.”
Mr Corbyn reiterated his stand that Mr Trump should not be invited here on a state visit “while he continues to propagate his anti-women, his anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican policies.”
He pledged to defeat the “nasty policy created to sow division and hatred.”
National Union of Teachers general secretary Kevin Courtney told the crowds that “fear and division” was evident in schools. He said: “I’m here to say that every teacher should be involved in the campaign against Trump.”
More than 500 people also marched through the streets of Leeds in protest against Mr Trump’s attack on refugees and Muslims.
Many carried home-made placards declaring: “This isn’t politics, it’s morality,” “No ban — no wall — no Trump,” “Dump Trump — fight bigotry,” and “Refugees and immigrants welcome.”
The march ended with a rally outside the city’s art gallery.
Mr Trump’s request to reinstate a travel ban, after lawyers for the states of Washington and Minnesota argued that the ban was unconstitutional, was rejected by the US federal appeals court yesterday.
In the US, there have been protests at several US airports where travellers were being held, including at least 2,000 protesters at New York’s JFK Airport.
See also here.
BRITISH LAWMAKER MOVES TO BLOCK TRUMP FROM SPEAKING BEFORE PARLIAMENT Speaker John Bercow spoke out in the House of Commons against allowing the U.S. president to address Parliament. Bercow’s remarks come following controversy over Prime Minister Teresa May’s invitation to the president, which sparked protests and a petition that drew over 1.8 million signatures. [HuffPost]
Opposition to Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban mounts on eve of court deadline: here.
The Women’s March organizers are planning a “day without women.”
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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
New York taxi drivers strike against Trump travel ban – Uber strikebreaking attempt backfires
THE Uber CEO retreated from the White House Business Advisory Group after organised immigrant drivers protested at the ‘Muslim ban’ and #DeleteUber went viral.
New York City taxi drivers are celebrating a resounding victory after the shame-faced Thursday resignation of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick from President Donald Trump’s business advisory group.
The departure comes after the company faced a massive boycott in the form of the #DeleteUber social media campaign urging users to boycott the ride-sharing app. The boycott was the backlash from an Uber attempt to break a one-hour taxi strike by the New York Taxi Workers Association, or NYTWA, in response to Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
The strike, called by NYTWA on January 28, asked the city’s yellow cabs, green cars, black limousines and app-hailed Uber and Lyft drivers to refrain from dispatches to JFK International Airport in protest of what the association considered a discriminatory anti-Muslim travel ban.
The strike received overwhelmingly positive coverage amid outrage versus the ban. Uber then made a move to suspend ‘surge pricing’ – higher fares imposed during times of maximum demand – in a miscalculation seen as an opportunistic scabbing attempt rooted in Kalanick’s collaboration with the White House.
Facing a cascade of deletions, the company went on the defensive, declaring that ‘experience has taught us that change comes from having a seat at the table and speaking up for what is right.’ The statement added that the Uber CEO’s advisory role ‘should not be taken as an endorsement of the new administration’s policy positions.’
Invigorated by the outpouring of solidarity, the NYTWA organised a demonstration on Thursday at Uber’s Long Island City headquarters alongside allied groups and unions to demand that Kalanick pull out of Trump’s business advisory group. On a Facebook event page, the union stated: ‘Now is the time for all those who value justice and equality to join together in holding Uber accountable, not only for its complicity with Trump’s hateful policies but also for impoverishing workers.’
‘I used to work for Uber but I quit. They treated you like an animal. They treat you bad,’ Mohammad Salim, a 20-year cab driver and immigrant from Pakistan who attended the protest, said to news site Vocativ. Trump’s policies are really bad and wrong. We will stand against him and stand united so they can hear our voices.’
Shortly after the protest, the libertarian Kalanick announced his departure from the White House advisory group. However, the damage was already done: the brutal consumer response had already led to 200,000 deleted accounts. Disney CEO Bob Iger pulled out of the group shortly afterwards.
In a statement celebrating the Uber mogul’s retreat, NYTWA organisers noted the coinciding interests of the Trump administration and tech entrepreneurs such as Kalanick.
‘Trump hurts immigrant and Muslim families with his executive orders. Uber, Lyft, and their cohorts hurt immigrant and Muslim workers with their business practices. Neither believe in minimum wage laws or other basic worker protections. That’s the real connection between the titans of the so-called gig economy and Trump,’ the statement said. The statement ended with a call to continue supporting the workers as they fight ‘against both the Muslim ban and Uber’s policies of poverty.’
Uber has faced pressure from taxi workers’ associations and legislators across the globe for its treatment of drivers, who have complained of poor treatment by the company along with unstable scheduling, deteriorating work conditions and diminished cab fares.
Last November, UK Labour MP Frank Field released a blistering report characterising Uber conditions as resembling ‘Victorian-style sweated labour.’ The report noted that the company’s profits are due to the sacrifices of a ‘sizeable group of people who bear the largely unseen human scars of the “gig economy”. ’
The report also expressed a growing fear that without curbing Uber’s practices, growing numbers of workers would find themselves ‘toiling through anxiety and insecurity, for unsafe lengths of time across seven days a week, in return for poverty pay.’
In an interview on Monday with Democracy Now!, NYTWA executive director and co-founder Bhairavi Desai said that the largely Muslim and Sikh immigrant workforce her union represents is ‘deeply fragmented and impoverished’ by Uber’s ‘absolutely atrocious policy in its treatment of the workers,’ making it ‘harder for people to rise up and take collective action.’
Despite the adverse conditions experienced by Uber’s drivers, however, Desai expressed pride New York cabbies’ coordinated job action: ‘This was a real act of courage, you know, particularly to have a workforce that’s predominantly black and brown stand up in this time.’
• AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement in response to a leaked executive order from President Donald Trump’s administration: ‘Credible news outlets now are reporting a potential far-reaching attack on working people everywhere under the guise of religious freedom.
‘The leaked executive order draft constitutes nothing less than a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, women and workers of minority faiths. From hiring and firing to health benefits to safety and accommodations, this executive order would make life substantially more difficult for millions of workers and their families.
‘We were pleased to learn this week that President Barack Obama’s ban on discrimination by federal contractors would be left in place. But the language being reported threatens to wipe out that measure and more. We strongly oppose this unconstitutional action, and should it ever see the light of day, we will do everything in our power to overturn it.
‘In these difficult times, we also invite those who are being targeted to join the ranks of our unions and secure the single best protection from discrimination available – a collective bargaining agreement.’
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