100,000 people protest against Donald Trump. Yet this isn’t America. This is London, England and that’s not to even cover the protests in other parts of the country including places such as Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff and more.
100’s marched in Cape Town whilst 5000 marched in Dublin along with thousands more in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Budapest. They even protested in Antarctica and let’s not forget the half a million that marched in Washington itself and the multiple marches across the U.S.
You would think that the USA had just declared war against a non aggressive country. What could be so bad that would galvanise people around the world to come out in the 100’s of thousands if not literally millions?
This was a protest essentially for women’s rights thanks to sexist and misogynistic remarks made by Donald Trump during his presidency campaign and wether you agree or not that his comments were sexist or misogynistic it is to miss the point being made here.
Everyone should have the right to protest what they like and people have done so emphatically in this case but what it masks, that not many have spoken of, is the disproportionate response compared to other causes and the irrelevance of protesting against Donald Trump when you don’t even live in the USA. What about protesting the leaders of other countries of countries where there is little to no tolerance towards women, there are plenty of them. Maybe the US is an easy target? So often we hear the media describe the US president as “the leader of the free world” that we have a rose tinted view of how progressive the US is when in reality the US has many societal and fiscal and military issues that would make the noses bleed of many people from Europe. The US is not the finished article in terms of progress so to put it on some kind of pedestal where we can not fathom how a misogynist rose to power is perhaps naive.
Whichever way you look at it, Trump has not been in Power for even a week and we don’t yet know how he will deal with his new found power. Protest when you have something to really protest about and that brings me to my final point.. disproportionate protest.
Here in the UK several hundred (read: less than 1 thousand) turned up at the Royal Liverpool Hospital this past Saturday to protest the funding crisis in the NHS. Less than 1,000 also turned up at Brighton. In Worcestershire a few days ago a protest organised by the well known group ’38 degrees’ attracted a whopping 25 protesters!
The same issues can be found with multiple issues including the likes of Saudi Arabia committing war crimes in Yemen, Income inequality, Benefit cuts, social services being slashed, the mess around the VIP child abuse scandal… take your pick… these are issues close to home that affect people daily or at least our actions affecting others abroad. We have an opportunity to affect change on our own doorstep and we can barely muster a ripple of discontent.
Maybe the fact we know that no good will come from a protest about a US president thousands of miles away whilst simultaneously back slapping each other that we stood up for women’s rights was just an effort to feel good in all this gloom.
The protest was shameful not because it happened but because those same people can’t be inspired to stand up for things that truly are important.
I don’t know how those people organised so well, but perhaps the likes of The Peoples Assembly, UK Uncut and others should take a leaf out of their book.