independence – self-determination – autonomy

Scotland Against Trump

image1-2On Friday Donald Trump is making a visit to Scotland to attend, amongst other things, the grand re-opening of his Turnberry resort on Ayr. He will arrive with a plane load of American media. And he will be greeted by demonstrators opposing everything he stands for.

If the visit of the Republican presidential nominee is not a good reason to get placards and banners out then I don’t know what is. Just take a look at the mass demonstrations at his rallies in the US, opposing racism and his far-right rhetoric. Why shouldn’t we stand with them, and show that opposition to the rise of radical right-wing populism is international? Of course we should.

Some argue that by protesting we will give him more attention. That doesn’t seem to be a serious proposition now – he could scarcely get more attention. He’s got a serious chance of becoming the US president now that Hilary Clinton is the Democratic nominee.

Then you have the liberals who want to “educate” him while he is over here, as Scottish Lib Dems leader Willie Rennie has outlined. Trump, born into the US elite, doesn’t lack education. Political calculation, not ignorance, motivates his speeches. He knows very well what forces he is mobilising, and what language he is deploying to provoke what is now an insurgent movement of the radical right that began with the Tea Party protests after Obama’s election in 2009.

Trump is a product of the crisis and decline of American capitalism. Let’s take a step back and put his shocking rise into context.

The last year has brought to a head a polarisation that finds its roots in a failing system. Millions of Americans feel utterly disenfranchised. The American Dream really has come to an end. Everyone knows the economy works for the 1%, and hard work doesn’t pay. The political system is widely seen as a stitch up, and hardwired into the corporate lobby groups and big money. The media, from Fox News to CNN, is seen as a sham, and disconnected from reality. Jobs are less secure than ever. Despite having a black President, the last few years have seen a vicious spike in police brutality and racial tension. As such liberal anti-racism has been rendered impotent, leading to the rise of nothing less than a new civil rights movement in the form of Black Lives Matter.

A lot of this sounds familiar. Similar processes are taking place all over the planet. The crisis of the economy, the political system, the financial institutions and the establishment media is not taking place in a vacuum. Society is relating to it in different ways powered by questions of class, race, gender and ideology. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the United States right now.

It is in this context and via these reference points that a new generation of Americans are working out what kind of country and society they want to build. The progressive movement is located in the Occupy protests, Black Lives Matter, the fast food workers strikes and the Sanders phenomenon. Within these and other similar movements the response to the crisis is to unite against a system designed to entrench the power and wealth of the mega-rich.

Tapping into the very same crisis, Trump articulates another America. This also comes from grassroots anger at a corrupt and self-indulgent elite, but one which seeks to resolve class and racial politics with the dominance of the rich and the brutalisation of the poor. Trump and his supporters rationalise American decline by blaming it on immigrants, Muslims and nostalgia for 1950’s America, before Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. In a very real sense Trump has the rhetoric and the action – including violence – of a neo-fascist movement.

It is worth reiterating what Trump is actually proposing as a solution to the crisis. He wants to build a wall across a continent; he wants to bring back illegal torture; he wants to ban Muslims and murder the families of ‘terrorists’; he wants out of even the most tepid climate change treaties. It’s little wonder that Noam Chomsky said the “human species is in very deep trouble” should he win.

The whole world has an interest in the direction of America. Despite it undergoing a long decline, it is the overwhelming economic, military and cultural hegemon in the world. With Clinton as the Democratic nominee the American people have terrible options: more of the failed establishment or Donald Trump.

That brings me to our protest at Turnberry. We in Scotland have a special duty in a few weeks time. Trump has significant business interests here. He has flaunted his Scots heritage to promote himself in Anglo-American culture. That is why he is coming to Turnberry as part of his campaign for President – to prove he is a world statesman, and to show that he wasn’t beaten here. It’s true that Trump courts controversy. But he wants his Scottish trip to be protest free. He wants to say ‘the Scots’ are big fans.

We used to say during the anti-Iraq war protests in 2003 that world popular opinion was the second super power. We need that super power to start showing its teeth in the face of a world in danger of spiralling towards bigotry when it needs solidarity, and individualism when it needs collective solutions. Trump is the symbol of a future we need to fight against. It would be a dereliction not to challenge him when he lands on our turf. And just as we challenge him, we will be standing with every American who is fighting back against a rigged system and the division and intolerance it breeds.

Protest details: Assemble 9:30am, Friday 24th, Maidens Road Opposite Trump Turnberry.

Coaches: Leave Glasgow 8am, George Square, £5 return. E-Mail: ProtestTrumpScotland@gmail.com

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12 Comments

  • Antony Berretti 6 months ago

    Hillary is not yet the official democratic candidate , that can only be decided in July by the convention. So Bernie still has a (very) slim chance of being nominated. Apart from that yes protesting against "The Donald" certainly a worthwhile activity and if anyone is shot by secret service, then we shall remember......

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  • DialMforMurdo 6 months ago

    Crowdfunder needed for a mariachi band to serenade his arrival, stay and hasty departure...

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  • john mellon 6 months ago

    I have a felling that this Trump Protest email is not too honest as I have tried several times to no avail to book a few seats and they keep moving the ''goalposts''

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  • Drew Campbell 6 months ago

    If we're going to protest it has to be mocking. Shouting slogans and chanting 'Trump Out' will just allow him to dismiss us as "losers" or whatever. Get something that tickles the media and they'll talk to us.

    DialM's idea of a marachi band is superb. I hear folk living around his Aberdeenshire course are flying Mexican flags - maybe we could all wave those. Perhaps polystyrene bricks spelling out "Wall to wall, Trump's heading for a fall" (or something pithier / wittier).

    Whatever, just standing outside a perimeter ring and shouting isn't going to cut it. So give us a heads up, Jonathan - what do you suggest and how do we get it out there?

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  • R. Eric Swanepoel 6 months ago

    Good article, but why did you not name the enemy you describe? Neoliberalism. We should never miss an opportunity to name this cancerous ideology with its five key elements of the rule of the market, cutting public expenditure for social services, deregulation, privatisation and eliminating the concept of ‘public good’ or ‘community’.

    I agree with the comments above. The protest must be humorous or it could be useless or even counterproductive. Trump thrives on opposition. I love the idea of a mariachi band. Another suggestion would be posters saying 'We are all Mexicans' or 'Todos somos mexicanos'.

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  • Darren Cook 6 months ago

    Yep, lets protest against free speech!Good enough for Comrade Stalin it's good enough for us!

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    • Drew Campbell 6 months ago

      What a silly comment. Protesting someone's utterances is not suppressing free speech. Quite the opposite.

      Have a deeper think about free expression. It's not just opening your mouth and letting your belly rumble.

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  • john 6 months ago

    Get a grip. .

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  • Cathy Gunn 6 months ago

    Protest on all fronts and criticise none!

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  • tartanfever 6 months ago

    No fan of Trump, but let's get real about Obama and Clinton. Clinton is a Wall Street lackey and warmonger. She cares about Corporate dollars and her own personal wealth. Obama is currently bombing more countries than any US president since WW2 and has utterly failed to stop the wars. They have escalated under his leadership. More money is spent on arms and he is a war criminal as much as Blair and Bush can be accused of with illegal drone terror deaths. Every single one of his reforms on Corporate America has failed.

    The one thing you can say about Trump is that at least he goes public with his idiotic racist claptrap- like a Murdoch newspaper, you know what to expect when you buy it.

    Obama and Clinton lie, deny, are deceitful and at the heart of the American establishment. The author should also note that Noam Chomsky also regards Obama and Clinton with exactly the same charges as Trump. In fact he makes a good case that Obama should be tried as a war criminal for his use of drone attacks.

    If the whole world has an interest in who America elects then it should be able to rely on authors to give a full examination of all the players, not just the one.

    I don't remember Mr Shafi's article calling for Obama to be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize when he visited the UK a few month's ago.

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  • Scott 6 months ago

    Someone please fly a drone over this windbag and drop a balloon filled with jam on his napper. Or else if the drone could have a static charged balloon to lift his comedy hairdo. Or if a couple of folk could take a couple of rechargeable PA speakers playing mariachi music very loudly throughout. Or 1000 people book stays in his hotel and cancel last minute. Peaceful stuff but annoy the bam.

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  • James Dow 5 months ago

    If Donald Trump was to be judged by the upbringing of his children and their consequent stature as adults, then he certainly would be highly placed to be the father of his nation.

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