Stand Up to Trump! Use 18-19 March to Build Worldwide Movement against Racism!

Sunday 5th March 2017

The election of Donald Trump marked a sharp shift to the right in ruling-class politics in the advanced capitalist societies. We have an open racist and sexist occupying the White House, proclaiming economic nationalism and ‘America First’ and advised by reactionaries the like of Stephen Bannon, who argues that the West is at war with the Islamic world. Trump’s executive order banning entry to the citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries – even if it has been stayed in the courts – is a signal for a new Islamophobic offensive.

Of course, Trump’s election is not the only sign of a rightward shift. In Britain the Conservatives under Theresa May have sought to put a racist and xenophobic seal on the vote to leave the European Union. And worse threatens. In France Marine Le Pen of the Nazi Front National is heading the polls for the presidential elections on a programme of patriotic opposition to globalization that echoes many of Trump’s themes. In Germany the Alternative für Deutschland is dragging the whole bourgeois political scene rightwards in an Islamophobic direction. Geert Wilders is seeking to achieve the same in the Netherlands.

Years of state racism presided over by governments of the centre-left and centre-right and directed at migrants, refugees, and Muslims have helped to make the new right respectable. Trump’s round-ups of ‘illegal’ immigrants build on Barack Obama’s policy of mass deportations. We see the fruits of the EU’s efforts to construct Fortress Europe over the past 30 years in the deaths of thousands of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean.

So serious is the right-wing threat that many on the left are tempted to form alliances with the discredited neoliberal centre. We see this very clearly in the United States, as the corporate Clinton wing of the Democratic Party seeks to dominate the resistance to Trump. And it is true that the widest possible unity is necessary to combat the right. But if this takes the form of ‘republican’ electoral alliances with parties responsible for the neoliberal economic policies that have been pushing disillusioned voters into the arms of Trump, Le Pen, and their like, then effect can be to strengthen the far right.

The alternative lies in the widespread mass protests since the beginning of the year – the women’s marches in the US and elsewhere that greeted Trump’s inauguration, the protests against his Muslim ban, the huge demonstration in support of refugees in Barcelona on 18 February, the militant response to the brutal police attack on the youth worker Théo in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois. We need a worldwide movement that builds up the power, not merely through demonstrations but also strikes, to roll back the right-wing offensive.

An important step in the development of this movement comes on the weekend of 18-19 March. Saturday 18 March is UN Antiracism Day, which in recent years has become an international day of protest against the growth of the far right and of anti-migrant racism. Many more anti-racist demonstrations are planned around the world for 18-19 March this year. The bigger and more widespread they are, the stronger the basis for future action. We pledge to build these protests on the largest possible scale and appeal to socialists and anti-racists everywhere to join us in these efforts.

The Coordination of the International Socialist Tendency