|Volume 49 Number 12, June 8, 2019||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
The state visit of US President Donald Trump to Britain from June 3-5 was marked by opposition from start to finish.
Not only was the US President pointedly not invited to address the Houses of Parliament, but people from all parts of the country took a stand to say that the state visit was not in their name. The point had been made in July last year that Trump was not welcome here, when 250,000 took part in a mass demonstration in the centre of London. That spirit was a given in 2019. So whether it was the large carnival of resistance in Trafalgar Square which attracted as many as 75,000 who then closely packed Whitehall, or the demonstrations taking place in so many towns and cities, or the stand taken by concerned people in Portsmouth when Trump joined the representatives of the British state in the D-Day commemorations, it was evident that people were speaking in their own name, not proving to some sideline commentator that Donald Trump was opposed and despised.
The demonstration on June 4 assembling in Trafalgar Square was a main focus of events, and was called by Together Against Trump, which is a united front of the Stop Trump Coalition and Stand Up To Trump, bringing together a host of campaign groups and trade unions, such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Stop the War Coalition, Unite the Union and Unison. In high spirits, the tens of thousands then marched down Whitehall as far as the stage erected as near Downing Street as the authorities would allow. So dense was the crowd that it was almost impossible to move, and as the rally progressed a steady stream of people also joined.
In fact, the subjects of any talks between Trump and the British government, and more, were firmly dealt with in the many varieties of placards and slogans displayed on the demonstration, and in the sectors of Trafalgar Square, the blocs, which dealt with affirming the various rights of the people, showing that the people are indeed capable of setting their own agenda.
The urgent call for an anti-war government itself, carried by activists from the contingent of RCPB(ML) and other anti-war activists, concentrated the theme of being together against Trump into a task for the present in order to safeguard the future, for it embodies what the people, in opposing Trump, are aspiring for. Both the British government and the Trump administration can be said to be pro-war governments. Not only that, but the theme of D-Day, June 6, embodies the heroism and striving of the people for peace against darkest reaction for which war and aggression is the first response. It is clear that the people must build their own national and international institutions to this end.
One of the central demands was that Trump and the US multinationals keep their hands off the NHS. Trump declared in his press conference with Theresa May that in any trade deals between the US and Britain, the NHS would be "on the table", along with everything else, before back-tracking on a subsequent occasion. But the cat was out of the bag. Even before this, the TUC and others were hammering over the point, "Our NHS is not for sale!"
In her speech to the rally in Whitehall, TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady fiercely declared: "Big pharma corporations can't wait to get their greedy hands on our NHS. And Trump will back these corporate vultures all the way. We must never accept a US-style system where ordinary people are cheated out of healthcare so that super-rich executives can rake in the billions. So let's send a clear message to President Trump and to whoever ends up in Downing Street in a few weeks' time. Our NHS is not for sale."
Frances O'Grady went on to say: "We shouldn't roll out the red carpet for a man who deliberately spreads fear and prejudice. Who takes the side of white supremacists, neo-fascists and women-haters. Who tears families apart and locks children in cages."
There were many other speakers, including the youth speaking on their future and the necessity to oppose the irresponsibility of the likes of Trump and May on climate change. Mark Serwotka of the PCS made an impassioned defence of the NHS and the staff who hail from so many parts of the world and to whom the NHS owes so much. The speakers represented the passion and commitment of so many sections of the people to oppose what Donald Trump stands for.
As the highlight of the rally, Jeremy Corbyn spoke, setting the tone for the sentiment of all present. His theme was not to dwell on the outrageously negative and backward characteristics of Donald Trump - his racism, misogyny, warmongering, and so on, though Corbyn did not mince his words on the agenda that the Trump regime is following.
"Because racism divides, exploitation of minorities divides, brings about hatred, dislike, disdain and a horrible place for individuals to live in," Jeremy Corbyn said. "When you've created that sense of hatred, destroyed people's self-esteem by that form of racism, you haven't built a house, a school, trained a nurse, defended our natural world, [you have] just created a greater sense of hate and hatred that goes with it."
But what brought the cheers of the mass of humanity who there to oppose this agenda was thecall for the people themselves to affirm their rights, to work together for a better world. "Think on, please, about a world that is aiming for peace and disarmament, that defeats racism and misogyny," he said, before ending his speech with the exhortation for all to join in to create that world.
The demonstration was determined to fulfil the plan to march to Parliament Square, despite the authorities blocking the road from Downing Street to the Square, so it set off to walk to Parliament via the Embankment. Here another militant rally took place, despite the frequent downpours, and the more open space provided the opportunity for many discussions, including with young people from the US who were adamant that Trump was not their representative. It was clear that this manifestation of people from all walks of life, with a multitude of creative banners and placards, had made the point that Trump was not welcome, and that the people must set their own agenda and build the movement for their empowerment. It was a feature that the many hundreds of the statement of RCPB(ML) that were distributed were very well received and seriously read.
On the following day, June 5, a significant gathering took place in Portsmouth to oppose Trump and his presence at the D-Day commemorations and stating, "Not in our name". People from around the region took part, including from Southampton, Brighton and the Isle of Wight. The authorities had gone as far as to erect a large security fence around Southsea to lock out the ordinary people of Portsmouth from participating in the 75th anniversary activities. On the people's banners were issues raised condemning Trump and stating, "For an anti-war government", and the gathering took up the shouting of slogans.
At a rally, speakers condemned Trump's misogyny, racism, and the anti-gay and anti-NHS stands he has made, as well as raising warnings about US trade deals, warmongering and plans to commit aggression against Iran.
At one point, oppositional forces marched past to try and disrupt. Some protesters confronted them while others went amongst them and tried to discuss with them and point out that people should not be split because of what is currently going on. The protest then continued peacefully with musicians singing songs about the issues.
As well as protesting against Trump and raising the issue of the necessity for an anti-war government, many people paid respects also at the cenotaph, with a minute's silence dedicated to the veterans of D-Day.
Hundreds of people from all backgrounds marched and rallied against Trump in Newcastle on the evening of June 3. The event was organised by Together Against Trump Newcastle, and the rally included a range of speakers from the fighting movements of the people, including Newcastle Stop the War Coalition.
Mass Opposition to Trump in Whitehall, whilst crowds gather to watch the motorcade!