TOGETHER AGAINST TRUMP – UK protests against state visit. Why do we bother?

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Donald Trump’s state visit has been met with widespread protests across the country, including an estimated 75,000 in London. See Stand Up To Racism’s Sabby Dhalu’s speech in London, here.

As many local people would struggle to get to London and back, NorSCARF (alongside South Cheshire and North Staffs Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) called for a demonstration in Hanley. We want to say thank you to all those that took time out of their day, or came straight after work, on a wet and miserable Tuesday evening to join us.

Both The Sentinel and BBC Radio Stoke covered our event, including an interview which can be listened to here (from 56:45). Some of the interview, and a lot of the social media response to our protest, asks the question, why are we protesting? Here’s just a few of our reasons;

  • Donald Trump is a racist – he has consistently come out with racist views against migrants and ethnic minorities. He has close connections with far right media mouthpieces and business people, such as Steve Bannon. He has shared racist material from Britain First, whose leaders have since been jailed for religiously aggravated harrassment. He has sympathised with far right protestors following the killing of an anti-racist protestor in Charlottesville, Virginia. His policies have followed anti-Muslim agendas, and his treatment towards Central and South American migrants has led six children to die in the care of USA authorities, since September.
  • Donald Trump is a misogynist – he has frequently used disgusting, vulgar and sexualised language towards women and teenage girls, and fails to oppose legislation that restricts access to abortion for pregnant women. He is the only sitting US president to directly address the notorious ‘pro-life’ March for Life campaign group.
  • Donald Trump is anti-LGBT – he has pursued policies of banning people who identify as transgender from serving in the armed forces, setting a dangerous precedent for further exclusionary policies in other fields of work.
  • Donald Trump is ableist – he mocked a disabled reporter at one of his rallies and has consistently pursued health and welfare policies which restrict access to care and services for people living with disabilities.
  • Donald Trump is a war monger – his international relations agenda has led to increasing tensions across the world, including with Russia, China and Iran. He continues to be aggressive and reckless when dealing with world powers, leading to increased military activity, and misery for ordinary people.  Earlier this year, he officially withdrew the US from the historic Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty with Russia.

When the most powerful man in the world continues to act in these ways with no hesitation or reflection, ordinary people are threatened. His actions adversely affect every day Americans and begin to normalise racist and other reactionary views across society. His policies directly impact already marginalised people, and his decisions affect the economies, and the lives of ordinary people all over the world.

This is why NorSCARF opposes the exuberance of a state visit for Trump. We protest because we disagree with the idea that our own government is spending tax payers’ money to lay out the red carpet for a man who acts with such hostility towards us. We accept that Trump is freely elected under the US voting system, and we accept that diplomatic and business relations will take place between our two countries, but we reject the notion of an all pomp and ceremony visit which brushes aside the despicable behaviour of this man. Our protest in Hanley is a show of solidarity with people from across the world who are affected by Trump, and it is an opportunity to show North Staffordshire that we can join together to send a message that we reject Trump and his attitudes. This is our democratic right to do so, and we would encourage anyone who shares our views to join us.

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Lastly, Donald Trump is an enabler of fascists – the Christchurch mosque shooter praised Trump in his freakish manifesto declaring his repulsive views, and there is significant evidence showing far right activists and groups supporting Trump’s positions. Trump also consistently attacks the media, and has acted to ensure that right wing officials enter the American judiciary.

Significantly, at both of NorSCARF’s anti-Trump demos, in 2018 and this month, local fascists have turned up to counter us. This must beg the question of why? These people have included David Shufflebottom, who is now in prison for racially aggravated harassment, as well as other local fascists who are known to us. These people have approached us and made Nazi salutes. They have waved the American Confederate flag, which is nowadays steeped in pro-slavery and racist symbolism. They referred to the holocaust as the ‘holohoax’. And they said to one our supporters ‘tick tock…you’ll be dead soon’, and threw misogynist insults.

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The fact that these local fascists and Nazi-sympathisers feel the need to show up at our demo shows that they are against our right to peacefully protest. They came out with the intention of intimidating people who are exercising their right to freedom of expression. They want to be free to spout their racist garbage but they know that NorSCARF will always be there to oppose them. This is why we call on all ordinary people to support our campaigns and join our movements. Because if we don’t, these fascist thugs will prance around like they own the place, and ordinary people will suffer as a result.

For the second time running, our anti-Trump demo was a success! Thank you again to our supporters who turned out. And make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates of what we’re up to.

NO TO TRUMP! NO TO RACISTS! NO TO FASCISTS!

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