Student-led protest unites on message of unity and social change
HUNDREDS of determined and emotional protestors marched through the streets of Edinburgh at the weekend in defiance of Donald Trump’s election as president-elect of the United States.
Leftwing campaigners, trade unionists, and US migrants to Scotland came together to generate a message of hope despite concerns about Trump’s hate rhetoric and far-right connections, which campaigners fear represent a danger to minority groups in America.
The Edinburgh University Amnesty International society, which called the event, led the demonstrators down the city’s royal mile with a sound system belting out “No Trump. No KKK. [Klu Klux Klan] No fascist USA.”
Marchers held signs in opposition to Trump’s attacks on Mexicans, muslims, and women’s rights.
— Michael Gray (@GrayInGlasgow) November 12, 2016
The event mirrored the wave of ongoing protests and school strikes across the United States following Trump’s election win over Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.
Speakers, addressing the crowds outside Edinburgh’s US consulate, cried into the microphone while describing their pain and fears of the result of Trump’s triumph – which has led to an increased focus on hate-crime.
CommonSpace interviewed some of the march participants on their response to the election result, and asked how left wing campaigners – many who also held serious reservations about Clinton – should response.
Natasha Ion, who helped organise the event, said it was important to bring people together and think about how people could become more active in their politics.
“We have to mourn, but we also have to organise,” she said. “It’s really important to open up a deeper dialogue.”
Jessie, a young American in Edinburgh, held aloft a ‘Bern Down Trump’ sign – in a call for the Democrats to challenge right-wing politicians from the left.
“He [Trump] did not win the presidency. The Democratic Party lost the presidency,” he said. “They became a party of corporate and wall-street interests.”
“The only way to ensure Donald Trump doesn’t win a 2nd term is for a left-wing take-over of the Democratic Party championed by Bernie Sanders.”
Ross Walker, marxist and trade unionist in the UCU, told the gathering that hope could be drawn from the 10,000 of people taking action in response to Trump.
“It’s not just about being nice. You’ve got to offer them something. In my opinion capitalism can no longer offer working people what they need,” Walker said.
“Eventually we’re going to have an anti-capitalist programme. A programme that gives a socialist alternative.”
He added that campaigners should learn more about class struggle for political challenges ahead.
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