The Women’s Marches last Saturday were a brilliant boost to everyone struggling for a better world.
These are challenging and often frightening times.
Billionaire bigot Donald Trump is in the White House and racists are on the rise in many parts of the world.
Austerity is tearing up working class people’s lives—and our rulers threaten even more terrible wars.
But Saturday gave a glimpse of the power that can derail the bigots, bosses and the warmongers.
Everywhere there were huge numbers of first-time marchers, everywhere were homemade placards, everywhere was the deep sense of fury at inequality, bigotry and Trump.
But it was also combined with the joy of discovering just how many people across the world felt the same.
The marches exceeded expectations, and flow from the bitterness that has been brewing since well before Trump’s election.
Even such large marches will not change Trump’s views. He and his toxic fraternity will seek to deny their existence or to denigrate their message.
Theresa May will not become a fighter against racism or women’s oppression because 100,000 marched in London.
But demonstrations matter because they reveal that there is a force beyond the deadened world of official politics.
The mood we saw on the streets must be taken into every workplace to encourage more resistance
When 600,000 march in Washington—or 1,500 in Shipley, West Yorkshire—it’s obvious that we don’t have to just accept the world as it is.
Inevitably, such mobilisations have many political ideas in them. It was wrong, for instance, for the organisers of the London march to send out a tweet soliciting support from the Tories and Ukip.
But it was removed after protest—a sign of the character of the wider support.
Great marches such as those on Saturday can change people.
People can go to a march thinking that former president Barack Obama is the best we can hope for against Trump.
Then they suddenly feel the power and the energy of hundreds of thousands of other protesters around them—and much more seems possible.
The Women’s Marches must be the start of a heightened period of struggle.
An unaccountable corporate elite, slashing public services, attacks on disabled people, racism, sexism, homophobia and climate change are the reality for people across the globe.
They must be resisted now with the same determination that we saw on Saturday.
In the US, all of Trump’s actual attacks must be contested with the same numbers his potential ones were last weekend.
Here the sizeable Stand Up To Racism protests last Friday, which flowed into the Women’s Marches, must be the foundation for massive demonstrations on 18 March in London, Glasgow and Cardiff.
They must be part of building a much stronger social movement against all forms of racism.
The demonstration in defence of the NHS on 4 March can now be even bigger.
We now know that it should be possible to mobilise hundreds of thousands if Trump comes to visit in Britain this year.
The mood we saw on the streets must be taken into every workplace to encourage more resistance.
We need to push for it to strengthen working class organisation.
It shames the union leaders and the Labour Party that they were almost wholly absent from Saturday’s great events.
At the heart of all these mobilisations we need to show the power and the relevance of socialist, revolutionary politics. As many marchers recognised, we are up against the whole capitalist system, not just one man.
Saturday was an inspiration—let’s build on it.