Sunday, May 19, 2019
Stand Up to Trump‘s DENIS FERNANDO explains why we should all mobilise for June 4’s protest against the US president’s state visit
Donald Trump’s state visit this June will give him unjustifiable prestige and recognition. Trump’s policies seriously threaten humanity, only serving the interests of the ultra-rich billionaires he represents. Together Against Trump, a broad coalition of campaigners, activists, trade unions, faith and community groups including Stand Up to Racism, Stop the War and others is calling a national protest on June 4 in London.
Last year in London, a quarter of a million protested against his visit. To avoid these protests he barely visited London.
Whilst details of the current visit remain unclear, we anticipate red carpet treatment from the government and royalty, including hand-holding from Theresa May regardless of his insults and threats.
A new poll shows only 24 per cent of Londoners support the state visit and huge numbers support protests against it. It is clear to see why.
In less than three years his presidency has moved the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight; ratcheting up threats of war against Iran and Venezuela and supporting the increasing aggression against the Palestinians.
His administration is putting the corporate elite first, undermining unions and workers’ rights, slashing public services and health care provision.
In addition women’s rights are under attack, from his comments about sexual assault through to the recent Republican-backed abortion ban in Alabama. The campaign group GLAAD reports 106 attacks on LGBTQ rights in the workplace, schools, public services and beyond, averaging almost one per week. His opposition to tackling climate change seriously threatens the entire planet and humanity’s future.
Trump’s visit coincides with the anniversary of the D-Day landings. All democrats will wish to commemorate and respect the liberation of Europe from the nazis. When the horrors of the nazi concentration camps were revealed, including the mass murder of six million Jewish people and many others, the world said “Never Again.” Today, the rise of fascism globally, including explicit nazi sympathisers, is an insult to all those who laid down their lives to stop the nazis.
There should not be a warm welcome for a president who has equivocated between the KKK in Charlottesville and those brutally attacked for protesting against them, which resulted in the death of a Jewish anti-racist activist. Trump has also retweeted the violent far right organisation Britain First, a move which was roundly condemned by MPs across parties. Thomas Mair shouted “Britain First” when he killed Labour MP Jo Cox. It is the duty of all democrats, from elected leaders holding office, to ordinary people protesting bigotry, to oppose the hateful politics of fascism and challenge those in power when their actions embolden the far right.
Protesting against Trump matters because the words, actions and governmental policies of the most powerful leader in the world have consequences.
Trump’s election saw a spate of racist incidents targeting African-American, Muslim, Jewish and migrant communities, many citing his name or election slogans.
These included graffiti using the swastika and children were filmed in a school chanting “build the wall.”
His Muslim ban, caging of migrant children and his support for the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, whose rise to power was accompanied by an anti-semitic campaign against George Soros, are chilling.
These actions embolden racists the world over, from the KKK in America to fascists across Europe. We are witnessing a 593 per cent rise in hate crimes in Britain and a resurgent far right advancing electorally in Europe which emboldens fascist street movements.
We must do everything to stop this. The murderous attacks on mosques, synagogues and other places of worship from Christchurch to California were all fuelled by far right racial hatred.
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon has been intervening in European politics, which included addressing the Front National‘s Convention. There are concerted efforts to rebrand the violent far right.
Bannon describes Tommy Robinson as a “solid guy” and called for his release from prison. Robinson is now standing as an MEP. Trump also shares many common positions with Nigel Farage, from hostile policies on immigration to regressive views on climate change and gun laws.
Yet our Prime Minister is an uncritical ally of Donald Trump, signalling an even more subordinate relationship with the US. This is why we must demonstrate and draw on the history of protest movements against grave injustices that have sparked meaningful change.
Let’s ensure the streets are once again full with the vibrant diversity of society that Trump threatens. His politics of hatred have no place in the 21st century.
Join the Together Against Trump National Demonstration: Assemble Trafalgar Square London 11am Tuesday June 4 and march to where Trump is being received on the state visit. For more information visit www.togetheragainsttrump.org.uk.