Massive Worldwide Protests Kick Off Resistance to Trump
More than three million people around the world joined protests and rallies January 21 against the reactionary agenda of the Trump administration. The Woman’s March on Washington drew half a million, while 100,000 rallied in San Francisco, 60,000 in Oakland, and 750,000 in Los Angeles. Protests in New York, Chicago and many cities in Europe and worldwide also drew massive crowds.
Many women’s rights, human rights, labor, environmental and social justice organizations were represented, with tens of thousands of newly activated citizens carrying hand made signs and banners protesting Trump’s racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and dangerous statements and proposals. Workers’ Independent News Service noted that, “The women’s march sent a strong message of protest and resistance to the new American government—a non-violent shot across the bow symbolizing the resistance to come.”
Many union members turned out for the rallies around the U.S. The AFL-CIO reported, “millions of women and men took to the streets across the country in support of women and in opposition to a growing tide of anti-women policies coming out of Washington, D.C., and state capitals. Working families, led by working women, played a major role in the marches and rallies.”
AFL-CIO Secretary Liz Shuler wrote that the AFL-CIO was “on the front lines of the #WomensMarch fighting for equal rights! Good jobs & the right to form a union are #WhyWeMarch.” AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka said he was “Proud that thousands of AFL-CIO members are joining #WomensMarch today to stand up for gender justice, equality & opportunity for all.”
Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, called the massive rallies, “a resounding rejection of Donald Trump and a mass outcry with no precedent in American history. Anyone who was on the streets or who watched the events had to be heartened. Love and kindness contrasted with the mean-spiritedness of Friday’s inauguration,” he said. “Protesters in Washington, D.C., vastly outnumbered attendees of the inauguration. And if the national numbers are taken into account, there may well have been 10 times more people demonstrating against Trump than celebrating his assumption of power. For demonstrators, the marches were cathartic and empowering, comforting and energizing — a reassertion of what’s best in America and a refutation of the authoritarianism embodied by Donald Trump.”
The activist group MoveOn called on its members to “mobilize around strategic campaigns to stop Trump and the GOP’s devastating agenda—including protecting health care for tens of millions of Americans by saving the Affordable Care Act from repeal and stopping Trump’s efforts to privatize Medicare, gut Medicaid, and defund Planned Parenthood.” The group mobilized members to make tens of thousands of phone calls to Congress to fight Trump’s corporate cabinet nominees like Representative Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
Speakers at the rallies in Oakland and San Francisco called on people to stand together to resist Trump’s regressive and repugnant program that denigrates women, discriminates against racial, ethnic and religious minorities, and threatens to deport millions of immigrant workers.
In Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf told the tens of thousands of marchers in front of City Hall and crowded around downtown Oakland, “I have a message for Donald Trump: If you think you can bully women back to the 1950s, think again. We will push forward for our generation, for our daughters’ generation, for our granddaughters’ generation, and we will not stop until we have it [women’s equality] written in the United States Constitution. We stand up for justice.”
Labor Speaks Out at Inauguration Day Protest
Demonstrations also took place on Friday, January 20 during and after Trump’s inauguration. Tens of thousands came to Washington DC to “inaugurate the resistance to Trump’s ultra-right wing, pro-Wall Street agenda,” according to organizers with the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, filling the Navy Memorial Plaza along the inaugural parade route. In San Francisco, 6,000 demonstrators marched from UN Plaza to the Castro. The Young Workers Committee of the Theatrical and Stage Employees union, IATSE Local 16, provided a sound stage for the event.
At a Labor rally and speak-out in front of a Carl’s Jr. on Market Street, San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson decried Trump’s anti-worker policies and choices for his cabinet, including Carl’s Jr. CEO Andy Pudzer. He said unions would continue to mobilize to fight Trump, commenting that, “The best organizer is a bad boss.” Teachers and health care workers also spoke out against Trump’s cabinet nominees.
Hotel Workers Local 2 President Anand Singh said his union had experience fighting bad bosses in the hotel and restaurant industry and would take on hotel tycoon Trump and fast food CEO Pudzer. The AFL-CIO and California Labor Federation have organized online petitions and calls to Congress to reject Trump’s anti-labor, pro-corporate cabinet nominees.
Also on Jan. 20, Labor Council Office Manager Susan Charles and Community Services Director Rayna Lehman joined with a group of 20 people gathered at El Camino and 17th Avenue in San Mateo with signs expressing concerns and issues. The action was in response to a call for a Sidewalk Protest on the Peninsula to express concerns about the rhetoric and policies of the incoming administration.
Hundreds of union members including Community Services Director Rayna Lehman and her family joined over 100,000 marchers in San Francisco January 21 where “the solidarity was tangible” and the chant “this is what democracy looks like” reverberated on Market Street.
Activist Groups Tell Congress: No Swamp Cabinet!
Demonstrators dressed as swamp creatures satirized Donald Trump’s corporate cabinet at the rally in San Francisco on Inauguration Day.
Workers Independent News Service reported January 25, “Opposition to the the Trump administration agenda is continuing after the massive protests over the weekend.” People’s Action, MoveOn.org, Working Families Party, and other progressive groups held actions against Trump’s cabinet nominees, noting that candidate Trump promised to “drain the Washington swamp” but his cabinet picks are full of billionaires who do not represent the will of voters or the interests of the broad public.
“Trump’s Cabinet of billionaires, business moguls and entertainment personalities brings a new look to who runs our government,” wrote Public Citizen’s President Robert Weissman in a January 12 Huffington Post article. “We’re facing the prospect of a government literally of the Exxons, by the Goldman Sachses and for the Kochs.
“Nothing more plainly shows Trump’s complete cynicism and dishonesty than his absolute betrayal of the core claim of his campaign—to rid Washington of corruption, cronyism and insider dealing,” Weissman wrote. “The corporate interests who he properly alleged in the campaign buy politicians will now themselves be directly in charge of the government.”
Following is a sampling of Trump’s Coporate Cabinet:
• Rex Tillerson, Trump’s secretary of state pick, spent his entire career at ExxonMobil, which is not just among the world’s largest oil companies, but the corporation most responsible for spreading climate denial and intimidating climate activists.
• Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary nominee and longtime Goldman Sachs executive, through a hedge fund took over the failed IndyMac, turned it into OneWest and went on a foreclosure rampage.
• Andy Puzder, who is to head the US Department of Labor, the longtime mogul in charge of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast-food chains, companies known for being anti-worker and anti-union, and who opposes many or all of the most important, recent pro-worker initiatives of the Obama Labor Department.
• Gen. James Mattis, the pick for secretary of defense, has spun through the revolving door, leaving the military to serve on the board of General Dynamics, a multinational military contractor, and the scandal-ridden Theranos, a startup company that misled investors and consumers about its blood-testing technology.
• Betsy DeVos, named to be education secretary, is a billionaire purveyor of extremist education privatization proposals and has herself invested in for-profit education companies.
• Elaine Chao, up to run the US Department of Transportation, who served on the board of directors of Wells Fargo during the cross-selling scandal, as well as a half-dozen other corporate boards.
• Wilbur Ross, a billionaire whose firm has profited from buying distressed firms and cutting workers’ benefits, named to take the post of secretary of the US Department of Commerce.
“In any prior administration, it would have been a tempest if even one of these individuals had been named to the Cabinet,” wrote Weissman.
For the full article, check http://billmoyers.com/story/trumps-corporate-cabinet.
- Paul Burton