British anti-Trump demonstrators speak out

Protesters at the anti-Trump rally in Leeds, England

From the World socialist Web Site in Britain:

Participants in the anti-Trump rallies in the UK speak out

By our reporters

16 July 2018

Demonstrations continued in Europe over the weekend against the presence of US president Donald Trump, a widely hated figure.

On Sunday, several thousand people protested against Trump in the Finnish capital of Helsinki, ahead of his arrival for a meeting in the city with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Reuters reported that 16 demonstrations were expected to be held in Helsinki on Sunday and Monday.

Protests against Trump’s visit to Britain continued Saturday with thousands demonstrating in Edinburgh and outside the Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire in south-western Scotland. Turnberry is one of two golf courses Trump owns in Scotland. Police mounted a massive show of force, involving 5,000 officers and costing £5 million [US$6.6 million].

On Friday, protests against Trump’s visit were held in London and various towns and cities across the UK.

Socialist Equality Party members and supporters intervened at protests in Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield, and distributed copies of the SEP statement, “What does it really mean to ‘Stop Trump?’ The working class must be mobilised against capitalism and for socialism”.

In Leeds, a rally in Dortmund Square was attended by 600 protesters, who after listening to speeches marched through the city centre.

Veteran Trotskyist Barbara Slaughter addressed the rally. She said, “Tens of thousands of people are marching today to express their disgust and opposition to the policies of Donald Trump and the American government. Trump is not an aberration, but a living expression of the rotten, degenerate condition of the world capitalist system.

“The big question that faces workers and youth all over the world is how the fight against everything Trump represents should be conducted and on what perspective.”

Referencing a previous speaker’s support for both Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party and the Labour Party in Britain, Slaughter argued, “Hillary Clinton does not represent the working people of America in any way. She was the favoured candidate of Wall Street. She was secretary of state for many years under President Obama and advocated every war waged by the US since Iraq.

“Rather than protecting the rights of refugees fleeing from the war-torn countries of Central and South America, she boasted that on numerous occasions she had voted to make money available to build a barrier to stop them from entering the US.” …

“There is only one way to oppose Trump and the capitalist system he defends. The working class must unite across national boundaries in a common struggle against this system to end austerity and war. …”

Slaughter received a round of applause and cheers from a portion of the crowd.

Bethany, a PhD student, told WSWS reporters, “I came down here today in opposition to the rise of neo-fascist politics, be that through Trump or what is happening in Britain—it is permeating the political landscape. It would be easy to criticise Trump in isolation, but we need to stand up to Trump in the context of what is happening in our country, in terms of immigration, racism and the rise of fascism in Europe.

“Trump is a symptom of something much wider going on historically and politically. Trump’s policies and image can’t be considered in isolation from previous presidents and once Trump is out, we can’t return to a previous complacency.”

Rosie, Stan and Jenny

Stan attended with Rosie and Jenny, who are all sixth form pupils at Archbishop Holegate School in nearby York.

Stan explained he had aspirations to work in the film industry, especially in documentaries, to “highlight the problems in the world.”

“There are so many problems in America, problems with the economy, social issues, poverty, lack of jobs.” He said. “There is great fear for the future and Trump and his supporters have harnessed that fear and blamed all the problems on immigration.

“I believe that most Trump voters are good people. They have been conditioned to believe that the problems they face have been caused by immigrants and not by the right-wing government, which is whipping up resentment between groups to carry out policies that benefit a very small minority.”

Barbara Slaughter (left), with Sally

Sally, a support worker from Leeds, was holding a placard highlighting the scandal of contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan:

“I am carrying this to highlight the situation in the city of Flint in the US where the people are being poisoned by the water supply. It is unbelievable that people don’t have access to clean water in an advanced country like the United States of America. It should be a basic human right to have clean water.

“Trump’s policies are utterly divisive. The government is trying to sow divisions, making neighbour blame neighbour, instead of understanding the truth that it is all about the power of big business.”


Tahmineh, a post-graduate student in bio-medical science at Leeds University, commented, “We live in a dangerous world because governments, especially in America, are spreading hate in an attempt to separate people.

“I am an Iranian and I can see that Trump’s policies are directed against the people of Iran, and other countries, of course. The US government claims it is fighting terrorism, but it is a lie. It is all about the interests of big business. For example, take his support for Saudi Arabia. The children of Yemen are in a terrible condition. They are starving. Normal people do not support what Trump and his government are doing. But they have the power and they do what they want.

“It is not just Trump as an individual, of course. It could not be the work of just one person. He represents a whole layer. He represents capitalism.”

In Manchester, around 2,000 people demonstrated against Trump in the city’s main Albert Square.

Beth from the Abortion Rights Campaign told the WSWS, “I am here today because I believe that Trump is a threat against pro-choice, and what he is doing affects women not just in the US, but here as well. Trump will roll back the gains that have been made, legitimise and give life to the so-called pro-life movement here.

“I believe that Trump is flippant and reckless in the way he behaves, and he does not represent working class people. He has exploited these people, who are downtrodden. He is anti-democratic and has made attacks on civil liberties.”

Zoran, an unemployed worker, attended the protest “because I am sick of the right-wing Brexit and the fascist Trump. He is out of control in what he is doing.

“With his being elected, the risk of war is greater, and with all the economic problems and tariffs being imposed, what’s going to happen next? I think he is a fascist the way he has treated the Mexican children. It’s disgusting, locking kids up in cages, separating them from their parents.”

Roger, a regular reader of the WSWS, told us, “What has brought me here is my abhorrence of imperialism, war, neo-liberalism and fake democracy.”

In Sheffield, around 2,000 attended a protest outside the City Hall.

Helen, a 26-year-old former student from Sheffield, who is unemployed after losing her job through ill health, said, “Trump is a powerful man with the world literally at his fingertips. He is the most powerful person on earth and it scares me to even say that.

“I’ve noticed the large number of placards and banners and most of the slogans are directed at Trump’s treatment of women. It should be an issue we have to oppose, but the fear of war is far more important to me.

“It’s disgusting the way refugees are treated across the world, and the Mexican families being abused by Trump and his aides should stand out more.

“I consider myself a socialist, not a member of any party but becoming more aware of the class differences. All the wealth people like Trump have and the poverty of the homeless have made me more politically aware. I support Jeremy Corbyn, but can’t bring myself to join the Labour Party.”

TRUMP CLAIMS U.K. PROTESTERS WERE PRO-TRUMP More than 250,000 people demonstrated across the U.K. Friday in protest of Trump and his policies. Yet the president told a baffled Piers Morgan that “many, many” of the demonstrations were actually pro-Trump. [HuffPost]

The U.S. government reportedly forked over more than $77,000 to Trump’s Turnberry golf course in Scotland ahead of the president’s recent stay there.

Canadian Rabbis Call On Trudeau To Rescind Refugee Agreement With U.S.: here.


Finnish protests before Trump-Putin summit

This video from Finland is called Helsinki Protests Ahead Of Trump-Putin Summit.

15 Juy 2018 Helsinki demonstrators, photo REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Trump vs. the Democrats: Two reactionary factions fight over foreign policy. 16 July 2018. Monday’s scheduled meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been preceded by a massive barrage of propaganda from the Democrats, their allied media outlets and the US intelligence agencies, demanding that Trump intensify military pressure on Russia: here.

US PRESIDENT Trump and Russian President Putin held a historic meeting in Finland yesterday in which they talked about joint cooperation with Israel in dealing with Syria: here.

Who’s Thrilled With The Helsinki Summit, Besides Russia? Israel. Read more here.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA, 17 July 2018:

No sooner had the US and Russian presidents finished their joint press conference than CNN’s anchor in Helsinki, Anderson Cooper, an heir to the Vanderbilt fortune who interned with the CIA before going into television news, announced to his viewers that they had been “watching the most disgraceful conduct by an American president…that I have ever seen.”

”The most disgraceful conduct by an American president”? That’s really saying something!

More disgraceful than George W. Bush’s launching of a war of aggression against Iraq based on lies, which claimed more than a million lives? More disgraceful than Barack Obama’s drone assassination campaign that murdered thousands? More disgraceful than Trump’s own savage war on immigrants, in which the deliberate torture of children has become a weapon?

Massive anti-Trump demonstrations in Britain

This 13 July 2018 video from England is called Anti Trump March London July 13 2018.

This video says about itself:

Anti-Trump protests take over London

Thousands of women marched in a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the U.K. on July 13. The march paraded down Regent Street, through Piccadilly, onto Trafalgar Square finishing up at Parliament Square.

This Canadian TV video says about itself:

Anti-Trump protests put Theresa May in awkward spot

12 July 2018

Anti-Trump protests greeted the U.S. president in London, putting Prime Minister Theresa May in a tough spot. Much of Britain has
voiced their opposition to Trump’s visit.

This video from London, England says about itself:

Trump UK visit met with mass protests

13 July 2018

RT’s Anastasia Churkina reports from Westminster where the Donald J. Trump baby balloon has been flown ahead of mass protests expected in London today.

By Chris Marsden in Britain:

Mass protests against Trump’s UK visit

14 July 2018

The huge protests in London and elsewhere in the UK yesterday were an outpouring of anger and revulsion against US President Donald Trump.

Organisers estimated a quarter of a million flooded into Trafalgar Square and surrounding streets. Police admit over 100,000. Tens of thousands also protested in major cities such as Manchester, Sheffield and Glasgow.

This was the first opportunity for workers in Europe to express their own views on the US president, after a week he spent threatening the European powers with trade war and demanding they speed up their own ongoing rearmament.

And whereas Europe’s rulers bemoaned their wounded pride at Trump’s pointed insults while seeking to maintain working relations, the UK protests prove that millions upon millions of workers despise Trump and everything he stands for—the enrichment of the billionaires, gutting of welfare provision, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim racism and naked warmongering.

There is no doubt that Trump’s trip to Europe played its part in galvanising yesterday’s protests, including his xenophobic outburst in the Sun against immigrants and immigration destroying British and European culture.

Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump to visit, despite more than a million people signing a petition in opposition. She hoped to secure his support for a US trade deal post-Brexit, promising the president at Blenheim Palace “an opportunity to tear down the bureaucratic barriers that frustrate business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Instead, in the pages of the Sun Trump treated her with naked scorn for daring to seek a continued relationship with the European Union, publicly savaging her just as he had German Chancellor Angela Merkel. All while his fascist attack dog, Steve Bannon, organised meetings with far-right figures at his Mayfair hotel …

But the nationwide protests gave only a very partial expression to the opposition that exists to Trump. He complained that he had been made to feel “unwelcome” in London. But had anyone called for strikes and boycotts of his visit, then Trump would have been sent packing.

No one made such a call—neither the trade unions, nor Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn spoke at Trafalgar Square, gave press interviews and made a video castigating Trump for his abuses of immigrants and attacks on human rights. But he made sure to declare, “We are committed to dialogue, including of course with those we strongly disagree with and in government we would find a way to work with his administration while also standing up for our values.”

What does such a statement signify? That in office Labour would seek to work with Trump because he represents US imperialism. …

The character of the political establishment’s nominal opposition to Trump was spelt out in the Guardian’s editorial. Supporting the protests, it contrasted Trump’s trip with the very first visit by a US president to Europe, Woodrow Wilson, in the aftermath of World War I, “to make peace in war-ravaged Europe and to lead the construction of a liberal international order based on laws and rights.” But it did so without offering any explanation for Trump’s rise to the presidency and to insist that the European powers continue to represent a shining beacon for these same values.

“Mr Trump’s America can no longer be regarded with certainty as a reliable ally for European nations committed to the defence of liberal democracy”, it declared, while columnist Jonathan Freedland insisted that Britons “need to decide where we stand on what is emerging as the defining global divide.” With the EU or “with the world of Putin, Viktor Orbán and Trump… in which you either screw or get screwed…”

Dear Mr Freedland: Hungarian Viktor Orbán, the most racist head of government in Europe, stands ‘with the European Union’. His far-right party is a ‘respected’ member of the ‘Christian Democrat’ European People’s Party, the most influential political party in the European Union. During the Brexit referendum in Britain, Viktor Orbán paid for ‘open letter’ advertisements in the Daily Express and other British media, urging British voters to vote Yes to the European Union.

There is a political gulf between such apologists for the British and European imperialist powers and the great mass of working people and youth. They have been subject to savage austerity by Europe’s governments and have seen them eviscerate democratic freedoms and collectively preside over the treatment of refugees every bit as brutal as Trump, while boasting of their own rearmament programmes and turn to militarism.

The stench of fascism hovering over Trump and his Mafia-like shakedown of May and other European leaders is not an issue of an aberrant personality. Rather, his boorishness and brutality is the embodiment of all the violent characteristics of American imperialism in the period of its decline.

Whether led by Trump and the Republicans, or Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, the US will stop at nothing to preserve global political, economic and military domination. Indeed, Trump’s ascent to power confirm the prescience of Leon Trotsky’s insistence that “In the period of crisis the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom.”

One hundred years ago, in 1918, President Woodrow Wilson came to Europe, holding aloft his “Fourteen Points” presenting himself and America as the savior of “democracy, universal brotherhood and peace.” There was no small element of deceit and hypocrisy in the pretensions of Wilson, but the ascent of American imperialism endowed the president’s proclamations with a certain credibility. Wilson, a former university president, was even able to articulate the ambitions of US imperialism with considerable eloquence.

But a century later, the grotesque figure of Trump lumbers across Europe, threatening one and all with “offers that can’t be refused”. The differences in appearance, culture, demeanor and language reflect different stages in the historical trajectory of American imperialism. Wilson represented the ascent of the United States. Trump personifies its descent and putrefaction.

The same processes—the deepening economic crisis of world capitalism, the ferocious struggle to control the world’s markets and resources—also drives the European powers to respond in kind to the US challenge. Above all Trump, May, Merkel, Macron and the rest share the same basic hostility to the working class, who must be made to pay for the trade and military war through the destruction of their jobs and living standards.

A genuine movement against the societal promotion of inequality, nationalism, xenophobia, militarism and war that has become associated with the name Donald J. Trump demands the unification of the British, European, American and international working class against the imperialist world order and all its governments. It means the building of a new leadership to take forward the fight for a socialist alternative based on equality, internationalism and peace.

Facing up to Trump and his policies. Matt Willgress reports on an upcoming major Labour left festival of ideas which will look at how we can better campaign for a better world for the many. Thousands of people will protest today and over this week against Theresa May rolling out the red carpet for Donald Trump. Even though over 1.8 million people signed a petition against Trump being given a state visit to Britain only last year, the increasingly isolated Prime Minister has put on a visit for Trump which is a state visit in all but name, with a meeting with the Queen included in the itinerary: here.

This video says about itself:

Massive Protests in the UK Against Donald Trump’s Visit

13 July 2018

Massive protests against US President Donald Trump visit to the UK have been organized in 25 cities across the country. Tens of thousands of people are taking part in the demonstrations. We were joined on the phone, live from the protest in London by Mohammed Ateek, from the Stop Trump Coalition.

Prime Minister May assures Trump over trade deal with US: here.

This 13 July 2018 video is called Meet the Activist Who Called Piers Morgan an “Idiot” for Criticizing Anti-Trump Protests in Britain.

This 13 July 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Piers Morgan got owned on his own show. Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian, Brooke Thomas, and Ben Mankiewicz, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“President Donald Trump said Friday that immigrants fleeing violence and seeking asylum in Europe are changing “the fabric of Europe. … And I don’t mean that in a positive way.” Trump’s xenophobic comments came during a shocking interview with the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid The Sun. Massive protests have greeted President Trump during his two-day trip to Britain—including a 20-foot-long giant baby Trump blimp outside Parliament. We go to the streets of London to speak with Ash Sarkar, the anti-Trump coalition organizer who confronted Piers Morgan during a “Good Morning Britain” interview Thursday that went viral.”

Read more here.

This 13 July 2018 video is called In U.K., Trump Insults Theresa May, Praises Far-Right Boris Johnson, Attacks London’s Muslim Mayor.

Trump has desperately turned on his allies to try to force them to accept the full impact of the developing crisis of capitalism, so as to avoid a socialist revolution at home. The ‘bully’ is terrified of the US working class! He has a truly desperate policy for the truly desperate state of world capitalism: here.

Demonstration outside the US Embassy in London demanding that Guantanamo Bay is shut down

ON WEDNESDAY, July 11, lawyers representing eight long-term detainees at Guantánamo Bay argued in federal court that the US government cannot continue to detain the prisoners there forever, immune to judicial review. The mass habeas corpus motion, filed on the men’s behalf by Reprieve, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and other counsel, argues that their indefinite detention, based on President Donald Trump’s proclamation that he will not release anyone from Guantánamo, is arbitrary and unlawful: here.

This 13 July 2018 video from the USA is called White House: We Can Keep You At Gitmo [Guantánamo Bay] “For 100 Years” With No Trial.

Emirates-USA torture in Yemen, Amnesty says

This video says about itself:

🇾🇪 Yemeni prisoners say UAE officers sexually torture them: AP | Al Jazeera English

20 June 2018

Seven former detainees of prisons run by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Yemen have described what they call ”systematic sexual torture”.

They told the Associated Press they were raped and abused by Yemeni guards working under UAE officers. …

Al Jazeera’s Dayana Karim reports.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

UAE and US guilty of war crimes in Yemen torture centers, Amnesty charges

13 July 2018

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and mercenary forces operating under its command have carried out widespread forced disappearances, torture and murder of Yemenis suspected of opposing the more than three-year-old intervention by the oil-rich Gulf state in alliance with Saudi Arabia and Washington.

This is the conclusion drawn by the human rights group Amnesty International after interviewing at least 75 people, including families of the disappeared and detained, survivors of the UAE torture centers, lawyers, journalists and local officials in Yemen.

Amnesty concentrated its investigation on 51 cases, typical of the untold hundreds if not thousands who have been swept up into the UAE detention and torture apparatus. Nineteen of these individuals remain missing, their whereabouts unknown to their families amid fears that some of them may have died in captivity.

The report outlines the stark political contradictions underlying the UAE’s repressive operations in Yemen. While intervening in the country as part of a Saudi-led coalition whose ostensible aim is the restoration to power of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the Saudi puppet who was overthrown by Houthi rebels in January 2015, the UAE is clearly pursuing its own interests in the region.

“The UAE had been bypassing Hadi government officials in dealing with security issues, at times prompting President Hadi and his supporters to criticize the UAE for behaving like an occupier”, the Amnesty report states.

This statement was substantiated on Monday when the “interior minister” designated by President Hadi, who remains in self-imposed exile

Or: Saudi autocracy-imposed house arrest exile?

in Riyadh, held a meeting in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden with a top UAE official, calling on Abu Dhabi to shut down or hand over the prisons it runs in southern Yemen.

The UAE has been working in collaboration with southern secessionists, who oppose the re-imposition of Hadi’s rule over the region, as well as with a network of militias and mercenaries that it is arming and financing.

Its aim is to assert control over a series of bases bordering the strategic waterways linking the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean, most importantly the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, through which much of the Middle East’s oil bound for Asia is shipped.

To assert its control, the UAE has instituted a reign of terror in the areas of Yemen it has conquered. According to Amnesty: “Witnesses described how detainees were dragged from places of work and on the street, in some cases they were beaten—at times to the point of bleeding or losing consciousness—and companions threatened when they attempted to question the arrest. When a 37-year-old man was being arrested by the Security Belt while hanging out with friends near his house in Aden he was beaten up when he asked why he was being taken, his family said; a friend who stepped in to stop the beating was detained too.

“In cases where arrests happened at home, witnesses said security forces showed up in large numbers, barged in oftentimes late at night or around dawn, pointing guns at family members, using excessive force amid the screams of women and children. They dragged out individuals without showing warrants, explaining the reason of the arrest, or saying where they are taking those being arrested.”

Among those seized in this fashion have been suspected supporters of the Houthis as well as those of groups that fought against them, along with members of the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, journalists, civic leaders and those believed to be critical of UAE rule.

Those detained have been taken to a network of 18 secret prisons where, according to Amnesty, detainees report, “being subjected to or witnessing torture and other ill-treatment, including sexual abuse, and the use of prolonged solitary confinement. Witnesses said, at times, detainees were filmed as they were being tortured, including while being tied, stripped naked, given electric shocks and beaten with canes and wires.”

The report quoted one detainee, held at a detention camp located at the UAE base in Bureiqa, Aden, who said he had been subjected to “all sorts of torture” by UAE troops there “including by repeatedly inserting an object into his anus until he bled. He said he was kept in a hole in the ground with only his head above the surface for up to three days during which he was only given a small amount of water twice a day and left to defecate and urinate on himself in that position.”

The report also cited the exposure last month by the Associated Press of widespread sexual torture inside the UAE’s secret prisons. Detainees have been systematically raped by Yemeni guards acting under the orders of Emirati officers as other guards filmed these assaults for the purpose of blackmail.

Other regular practices have included electrocuting prisoners’ genitals, hanging rocks from their testicles and sodomizing them with wooden and steel poles.

“They strip you naked, then tie your hands to a steel pole from the right and the left so you are spread open in front of them. Then the sodomizing starts”, a father of four told the AP.

An earlier AP report published last year quoted Pentagon officials as acknowledging that US military personnel “participate in interrogations of detainees at locations in Yemen, provide questions for others to ask, and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies.”

The Pentagon has claimed that it has received no reports of torture or abuse, but prisoners have reported the presence of uniformed US military personnel at the torture centers. While they had not seen them participate directly in the abuse, they insisted that they had to have been aware of the torture, given the constant screaming and the condition of the detainees.

The UAE forces, moreover, consist in large measure of mercenaries, including former American military officers who have assumed senior command positions. A key role has been played in the organization of the UAE military by an Abu Dhabi-based firm called Reflex Responses Company, also known as R2, founded in 2010 by the politically connected military contractor Erik Prince, who formerly headed Blackwater, infamous for its massacres in Iraq.

Prince, whose sister Betsy Devos is Trump’s education secretary, has overseen the hiring and training of mercenaries from Sudan, Colombia, South Africa and elsewhere, who have been deployed to Yemen.

The Amnesty report makes clear that the UAE’s arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances and wholesale torture, as well as the US complicity in these acts, constitute war crimes.

As horrific as they are, these crimes are only the tip of the iceberg of the atrocities unleashed against the people of Yemen in a war that has assumed near genocidal proportions. The war has left 600,000 civilians either dead or wounded, according to a statement issued by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights in March. It has left another 22.2 million Yemenis in need of food aid, and 8.4 million on the brink of famine.

Last month, the UAE, with Washington’s backing and military collaboration, launched a military siege of the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, despite warnings from the UN that it could cost the lives of 250,000 civilians in the city itself, as well as millions more if the port—the lifeline for food and medicine for some 70 percent of the population—were shut down.

Washington has backed the war, providing Saudi-led forces with the bombs and missiles that are killing Yemenis, supporting the blockade of the country with US warships, providing midair refueling for Saudi warplanes and operating a joint logistic center in Riyadh where targets are chosen.

Begun under the Obama administration, Washington’s support for massive war crimes is directed at countering Iranian influence in the region and furthering US hegemony, strategic aims for which US imperialism is prepared to sacrifice the lives of millions.