By Gabe Falsetto
While most government workers, school employees, and students enjoyed a day off due to the federal holiday, “Not My President’s Day” events took place in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and as many as two dozen other communities around the country. Here in New York, some 13,000 people gathered near Columbus Circle at the southwest tip of Central Park to show their opposition to the Trump administration.
The many creative homemade signs once again shows that people are taking time from their busy lives to stand against all the anti-democratic edicts being put forward by the racist, anti-worker, and misogynist administration of the 1 percent.
Anastasia Somoza, a disability rights advocate, commented, “I’m a disabled woman who believes in a women’s right to choose, and I’m fighting to make sure this administration does not overturn those rights.”
The rally grew silent during a Muslim call to prayer in a show of defiance to the Trump ban brought down on that community. The administration was forced to revise the ban after it was met with protests and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals striking it down unanimously based on constitutional rules. However, the revised document still lists the original seven majority-Muslim countries, including the secular and pluralist country of Syria which has been under attack by U.S. backed right-wing terrorists.
Daniel Kebede, from the Stand up to Trump Coalition UK, said, “We support your resistance every step of the way. Sir Donald, my message to you is this: we support the American people of all colors, and all religions are welcomed in the UK, and you Donald are NOT!”
The protesters marched to the Trump International Hotel located at Columbus Circle where the anti-Trump chants could be heard for several blocks. Monica Lim, 26, of Brooklyn, said Trump’s attitude toward Muslims reminded her of the Asian exclusion legislation of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States. “It was ‘The Yellow Peril’ then, and it is ‘The Hijab Peril’ now,” she said, referring to the scarf worn by many Muslim women.
While Trump has vowed to cut hundreds if not thousands of federal jobs that will negatively impact working class families, especially those in racially and nationally oppressed communities, he has proposed hiring thousands more in law enforcement. The FBI, National Security Agency and CIA are also likely to gain expanded surveillance powers under President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress as the popular resistance grows. He has already proposed increasing the military budget by $500 billion.
According to The Hill, proposed spending cuts to social services align closely with the 2017 budget blueprint adopted by the Republican Study Committee and would potentially reduce federal spending by up to $8.6 trillion over the next 10 years.
But conditions in local neighborhoods are already getting worse. It is unfair to expect working people to be punished for the problem of under-resourced schools, unemployment and low-paying jobs without benefits, poor access to healthcare and a lack of affordable housing. It is also unfair to expect working people to make up for these problems by working as law enforcement in someone else’s neighborhood.
Putting money into schools and free higher education, infrastructure, and social services would create much safer and more enjoyable jobs than policing and jailing the poor or dying in wars for more oil pipelines. The only people who benefit from these false solutions are the landlords, real estate developers, and oil and weapons corporations that Trump represents.
The President wants to take us back to the bad old days, but we’re not going back. On March 4, Angela Davis and other leading fighters for the 99% will be speaking at Henry Winston Unity Hall on how we can develop a higher level of united mass struggle against racism, sexism, religious intolerance, and all forms of bigotry. A high level of unity in the fight against Trump can make the protest “Not my president!” into a reality.