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Resistance marks Trump’s first 100 days

Editorial by Fight Back! Editors |
May 18, 2017
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Hundreds march in Milwaukee against attacks launched by Trump administration.
Hundreds march in Milwaukee against attacks launched by Trump administration. This is one of the thousands of demonstrations that have taken place since Trump assumed power on Jan. 20. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Jacksonville, FL - Millions of people flocked to Washington D.C. for billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump's inauguration – but not in support of the new president. Instead, working people from across the U.S. marched against Trump's anti-worker, racist and misogynistic agenda. Crowd analysts believe more than three times as many people converged on the U.S. capitol to protest Trump than to support him. A day later, on Jan. 21, an estimated 5 million women and men took part in a Women's March nationwide, making it the largest single day of protest in U.S. history by some counts.

Trump's narrow victory in the 2016 presidential election took almost everyone by surprise. But in the days that followed Nov. 8, something even more breathtaking happened. Millions of people took to the streets to march against Trump. Young people, inspired by the promise of the Bernie Sanders campaign and angered by its betrayal by corporate Democrats like Clinton, vowed to fight for a better world.

Trump's attacks are brutal, vicious and in some ways, unprecedented in modern times. But the people of the U.S. are in motion, and the earthquake of millions of working people rising to resist has the power to shake the rule of Wall Street to its core.

Shutting down Trump's Muslim travel ban

The people delivered a thunderous loss to Trump and his 1% agenda right off the bat. Backed by white supremacist adviser Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, Trump immediately moved to fulfill his campaign promise to ban the entrance of refugees and immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries. By executive order, Trump attempted to block all refugees from Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Iran – all countries under attack by the U.S., whether by drone strikes (Yemen, Somalia), military threats (Iran, Sudan, Libya) or outright war (Iraq, Syria).

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country flocked to airports to oppose the ban. In Chicago and New York City, a crowd of thousands shut down airports and forced U.S. federal judges to rule Trump's executive order unconstitutional. Since that time, Trump issued another order almost identical to the first, which was also deemed unconstitutional and was halted following massive nationwide protests.

Immigration and deportation

Trump's campaign began with a vicious racist attack on Chicanos, Latinos and Mexicanos, who he called “rapists,” “drug dealers” and “criminals” in his first campaign speech. Since taking office, Trump has effectively declared war on immigrants, continuing and expanding the brutal deportation practices of former President Barack Obama. From California to Washington to Vermont, police and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have targeted immigrant rights leaders and migrant workers with workplace raids mass deportations. These criminals sent by the Trump administration are literally ripping apart, often with brutal force, families who are guilty of no crimes.

Undocumented students covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy enacted under the Obama administration have also become the targets of ICE raids. In cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix, activists have mobilized mass movements to defend undocumented families and resist Trump's attacks.

Apocalypse now: Trump's foreign policy

More than 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the U.S. “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world,” and Trump has lived up to this horrific title. Even before becoming president, Trump appointed as Secretary of Defense retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who was removed by former president Obama from Central Command for his overly aggressive actions towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mattis was responsible for the deaths of 1500 Iraqis and 95 U.S. soldiers in the 2004 siege of Fallujah in Iraq. He infamously cleared the criminals responsible for the 2007 Haditha massacre, in which U.S. soldiers slaughtered 24 unarmed Iraqi women, men and children.

If Trump's intentions to carry on the U.S. policy of war and occupation weren't clear enough, he removed all doubt on April 6. Using the same old “weapons of mass destruction” lies from the George W. Bush era as justification, Trump fired tomahawk missiles on the Syrian Arab Republic, leaving dozens of civilians dead and raising the likelihood of world war. As the U.S. enters its 16th year of war and occupation in Afghanistan, Trump unleashed even more brutality on April 14, dropping the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal on the central Asian country, with civilian death toll estimates in the hundreds.

The long-term policy of the U.S. continues to be preparations for war with the People's Republic of China. While there's nothing new about U.S. aggression in Asia, Trump has ramped up economic and military threats against socialist countries like China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The threat of war with the DPRK has reached a fever pitch, with Trump ordering the largest joint military exercises with south Korean and Japanese forces since the 1950s and directly threatening all-out war in the Korean peninsula.

The cabinet from hell

Before taking office, Trump made his anti-worker, racist and misogynistic agenda known through his cabinet appointments. To head the Justice Department, Trump selected former Senator Jeff Sessions, who infamously spoke favorably of the Ku Klux Klan and promises free reign to police to commit violence, including murder, against Black people. Black organizations and activists, including Reverend William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP, staged sit-ins in Sessions' office and disrupted his hearing in the senate.

Trump's cabinet contains a host of corporate 1% villains that make Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter, and Freddy Kruger look like angels. Scott Pruitt, Trump's head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), repeatedly sued the EPA on behalf of major energy corporations and denies the reality of climate change. Dr. Ben Carson, the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, outspokenly opposes public housing for poor people, particularly working-class African Americans.

Most disgraceful of all, Trump chose fellow anti-union billionaire Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education. DeVos, whose family made their fortune ripping off poor and working people through Amway pyramid schemes, supports destroying the public education system to make way for private charter schools. Teachers unions, parent groups and students across the country mobilized by the millions to stop DeVos' approval in the Senate, forcing Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote for the first time in U.S. history.

While the Senate narrowly approved DeVos, labor unions and women's groups mobilized and defeated Trump's pick for Labor Secretary, Andy Pudzer, former CEO of CKE Restaurants and outspoken opponent of workers’ rights. Like Trump and Bannon, Pudzer's documented history of violence against women and wage theft forced him to withdraw his nomination.

Trump-led employer offensive against labor

From repealing regulations protecting workers from wage theft and safety hazards on March 27 to his vocal support for national ‘right-to-work’ legislation, Trump has signaled to Wall Street and corporate America his intention to bust unions and roll back workers’ rights. Trump's policies in office reveal how hollow his appeals to some workers during the election really were. The campaign is over - and so is Trump's rhetoric of “taking on big banks,” evidenced by his appointment of Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary. Trump's recently approved Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, built his career ruling against workers and labor unions like the Teamsters, making him the most anti-union justice on the court today.

When Republicans in Congress tried to strip tens of millions of working people of their health insurance, mass resistance from coal miners in eastern Kentucky to low-wage fast food workers stopped them dead in their tracks. Trump's so-called American Health Care Act failed miserably in Congress, and there are the beginnings of a movement demanding a Medicare-For-All, single-payer health care system.

Unions should mobilize a broad working class movement and revive the strike weapon to stop this new Trump-led employer offensive against labor.

The 'Alt-Right', fascists and government repression

Trump's victory in November 2016 emboldened far-right, white supremacist and fascist forces around the country. Some of these scum have re-branded themselves the 'Alternative Right', or 'Alt-Right' for short, dressing in suits and ties while raising Nazi salutes and chants. Vigilantes and armed right-wing militias have targeted Black, Muslim and Latino people with racist violence. They regularly burn Muslim mosques and Jewish synagogues across the country and physically attack progressive activists – often with the support of the police.

In Jacksonville, Florida on April 7, racist Trump supporters and police from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office attacked anti-war and labor activists. They beat and arrested five activists, including Connell Crooms, a deaf African American Teamster, who was beaten unconscious by police. Similar right-wing and police violence happened in New York against activists protesting Trump's attack on Syria.

Building the resistance

The people's struggle in the U.S. entered a new era on Jan. 20. Trump's presidency is a threat to the working class at home and abroad, in no uncertain terms, and we must defeat it. Workers in the U.S. have their health care, their unions, their wages, their rights and their lives under attack by the same 1% class of billionaires that wage war on Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. That class – the monopoly capitalists – has their political representatives: Donald Trump and his administration.

Workers of all nationalities – white, Black, Chicano, and all others – have nothing in common with Trump or the class he represents. When Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton claim to lead the 'resistance' to Trump and tell us to vote them into office to solve our problems, we know the truth: They represent that same 1% billionaire class as Trump. We don't need to look any further than the 'bipartisan unity' between corporate Democrats and Republicans on bombing Syria to see that.

Instead of relying on 1% politicians and their parties, working class and oppressed people need to build and lead a mass movement to stop Trump and his agenda in all its forms. And we need to fight for a better world free of war, poverty, racist discrimination, and oppression.

As we build that resistance to Trump, we must remember the words of the Black Panther Party: “Seize the time.”

The fire rises.

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