A Failed Inauguration for Trump
The inauguration of Trump has seen mobilizations without past precedent in the United States: for the first time in history, spontaneous and organized protests erupted in the country on January 20th. Presidential inaugurations are usually the moment to celebrate “the greatness of American democracy”. But this time, tens of thousands of high school students, and many workers and university students protested. Most significantly, two unions took labor action: ILWU Local 10- by shutting down the Bay Area ports- and UAW 2865, the academic workers union of the University of California, which organized dozens of teach-outs and walkouts of hundreds of members with students.
By La Voz / Workers’ Voice
FEBRUARY 10TH, 2017
Beyond the “battle of the numbers” initiated between CNN and President Trump regarding the number of people attending Trump’s inauguration, and the attempt to depoliticize the current situation, there is something beyond doubt: Trump is the less popular and most hated President the U.S. has ever inaugurated.
Opinion polls show that since day 1, Trump is the least popular President to be inaugurated in the U.S.: “the CNN/ORC poll shows 53 percent of Americans view Trump unfavorably, while only 44 percent have a favorable opinion of the incoming president,” “even George W. Bush — who lost the popular vote and was designated the next president only after a protracted recount in Florida — had a 62 percent favorable rating on the eve of his inauguration”. In fact, according to The Washington Post, he is the least popular candidate to be inaugurated in the past 40 years.
Some of the inauguration protests and actions showed the seeds of a sustained and base-building form of mobilization that is taking shape in this country. But what also remained clear in J20 is that the government is ready to use the most brutal methods of repression. In Washington D.C. 230 activists were arrested on Inauguration day and they are being charged with felony charges for rioting, facing up to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. The arrests were conducted without any proper warning and discrimination, as expected, so many medics, journalists and legal observers ended up arrested.
J21 Women’s March: A Historic and Unexpected Milestone of Mass Mobilization
On Saturday J21 more than 3 million U.S. residents took it to the streets to participate in the Women’s March. This made it the largest national demonstration in U.S. history! These demonstration were beyond doubt extremely popular and very spontaneous: the expectation of the organizers (tied to the Democratic Party and liberal organizations) were exceeded by millions, so were then too the restrictions and rules they attempted to impose to the demonstrations. They had announced in many cities that no chants against Trump were pertinent in the march, that the march was supposed to be about “unity”, with the popular liberal slogan “Love Trumps Hate”, and with many pink “pussy” hats as a sign of defiance of the many “nasty women” against Trump’s misogyny.
Yet the massive participation luckily exceeded the capacities of the liberal groups to lead the march. Millions flooded the streets with hand-made signs which expressed a wide range of political views: from the expected pro-Hillary “I’m with her”, to “”Black Lives Matter”, “We won’t go away! Welcome to your first day!,” “Hey-Hey, Ho-Ho, Donald Trump’s Has Got to Go!” and many others.
It is important to note that the largest demonstration was not the one in D.C. planned by small enterprises, the DP, labor leaderships and multiple non-profits, but the one in Los Angeles with more than 750,000 participants, mostly Latin@ working class families. Denver, Chicago, New York, and Boston had more than 200,000, and Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Philadelphia around 100,000. A total of 408 women’s marches were planned in the U.S., even in the smallest towns!
The Contradictions of the Women’s March and the Tasks Ahead for Socialists
One of the majors contradictions of the women’s march was that between its pro-liberal leadership and the confusion and diversity of political views expressed in the crowd. Even though many of the speakers in Washington, like Michael Moore, proposed to “take over” or “renew” the Democratic Party, not all participants were there just to demand a return the Democratic Party. This is why it is very important for us in the Left who believe in independent politics, who want to build a third party for working people, immigrant families and all the oppressed communities in the U.S. to organize separate contingents in the future mass demonstrations. We want to join in action against the Trump administration with everybody, liberals, abstentionism, undocumented who did not vote, even with those who voted for Trump and are now shocked that he is attacking their very rights, but we want to join in action to build a political alternative of our own, that is not a return to the corrupt establishment of the 1%, that will not be easily co-opted and that is based on mass action and mobilization of working class folks.
Further we need to pursue, in our multi-faceted movement to respond to the many attacks launched by Trump, an independent, “intersectional” and base-building strategy for the working class. With great mobilizations also come great responsibilities for us in the Left and the socialist movement. Mass days of actions will not be enough, we need to build the tools that will allow the struggle to continue, to be independent and democratically controlled by those who do the groundwork of organizing. We need to be better organized. Many union members massively protested on J21, but their union leaderships were absent as such, so labor rights, and union rights, and the articulation of class politics with immigrant, race and gender issues was mostly absent.
This is why we need to build strong democratic student coalitions in all schools and universities, build rank and file caucuses in the unions or cross-union collectives, like the Labor Rising Against Trump new formation in the Bay Area, and neighborhood committees to fight against deportations and police brutality. We need to build the base groups of class resistance now, and also, our socialist revolutionary organizations, like Worker’s Voice, which puts itself to the service of a collective, democratic and independent working class fight back!