Socialist Worker

Don’t despair—we can resist the racist right

Issue No. 2530

Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Pic: Noopy420/Wikimedia Commons)

After the disastrous election of Donald Trump in the US, black people, migrants, LGBT+ people and Muslims fear an increase in racism and attacks. Women’s rights could be weakened.

The rich will get tax cuts and bosses will be given more power.

Many on the left feel under siege. It seems further evidence that the right is on the rise.

Trump’s success follows the vote to leave the European Union (EU) in Britain earlier this year, after disgustingly racist official Leave and Remain campaigns.

Some conclude that winning radical change is now impossible and that ordinary people have been won fully to right wing ideas. But the picture is more complicated.

For instance, many people in Britain believe that immigration is a “problem”. But 50,000 people joined a protest in London last year to demand refugees be let in.

The Labour Party has soared to its highest ever membership under left wing leader Jeremy Corbyn.

We were told that Corbyn could never be elected leader because people are too right wing. In reality people want an alternative to mainstream politicians who have failed them.

The Leave vote was a huge rejection of the establishment, which had demanded people vote Remain, and of the bosses’ EU.

The election of Trump, who lied he was an outsider and against the elite, was another sign of disillusion with the system.

The clash between ideology and experience means people can hold contradictory ideas. The job of socialists is not to dismiss people because of this.

Our rulers paint working class people as more reactionary than other sections of society. But racism, sexism and homophobia are fostered by those at the top who want workers divided.

Blaming workers covers up our rulers’ role. For instance, politicians claim they must listen to people’s “concerns” over immigration—having spent decades encouraging such ideas.

The worst reaction to Trump’s election is to peddle more of the myths that blame migrants for problems in society. Yet this is what some in Labour and the unions want to do.

The revolutionary Karl Marx explained how ruling class ideas are the dominant ones.

But he also described how experience pushes workers to unite and overcome them.

The clash between ideology and experience means people can hold contradictory ideas. The job of socialists is not to dismiss people because of this.

It is to fight to win them to an anti-racist position—and to push for the struggles that can break down divisions.

Building Stand Up To Racism is even more crucial now.

We need an implacable fight against racism alongside class politics that can offer hope and an alternative to capitalist crisis—and a fight for socialism.

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