A human tide swept central London on 13 July in a historic mobilisation against the racist, sexist billionaire president of the US, Donald Trump, who was visiting the UK.
It is estimated that more than 250,000 people took to the streets – an enormous figure, especially considering that this took place on a normal working weekday.
Homemade banners, huge Trump marionettes, whistles, vuvuzelas, drums and megaphones – as well as the incredibly large turn-out – all made for one of the most lively and energetic demonstrations in years, in spite of the marches’ snail’s pace due to over-packed streets.
The day started with a protest led by Socialist Students and Young Socialists. Students at a number of London schools responded to the call we had put out to walk out of classes and join protests against Trump.
Similar school student actions also took place around the country.
Gathering in Trafalgar square at 10 am, school students who had taken the brave step of striking, in spite of intimidation that included police intervention, marched down Whitehall, around the giant Trump baby balloon, and up to Portland place to join the main demonstration.
Chants led by the students including “Trump, May, hear us say, how many kids have you caged today?” and “Trump out, Tories out” were taken up by other demonstrators as well as passers-by.
As well as being a protest against Trump, for the vast majority of those taking part, this was also a mobilisation against Theresa May and her ailing Tory government.
It is an indication of the depth of the crisis faced by the Conservatives that Trump’s visit, along with the mass protests it has provoked, has opened up a fresh nightmare for May.
Trump’s attacks on the prime minister over Brexit, which came at a time when her party’s civil war has been brought out into the open, have served to heighten the crisis she faces.
The massive mobilisation which took place on 13 July gives a glimpse of the potential that exists – to build a mass movement to kick out the Tories.
Among those taking part in the protest, there was a strong understanding that it was necessary to protest not just Trump, but Trumpism.
That means challenging divide-and-rule politics on behalf of the super-rich 1% wherever it is found, including in Britain.
It is essential that this mass protest is not a ‘one off’. The leadership of the trade unions has a responsibility to act now to mobilise working class people to see off this Tory government once and for all.
This demonstration with all its determination and energy can act as an important launchpad for building such a movement.
Along with the Socialist Party, Socialists Students and Young Socialists will continue to organise over the summer, building the fight against racism and sexism, for a £10 an hour minimum wage, for free education and for the socialist alternative to capitalist society for the billionaires. Join us and get involved.