Socialist Worker

Women’s March protests show the battle against Trump and sexism will go on

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2588

On the Womens March in London

On the Women's March in London (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Thousands of protesters gathered outside Downing Street on Sunday, a year to the day after women’s marches took place in London and across the US.

Demonstrators declared “Time’s up” for oppression and sexual harassment. There was anger at the deep sexism at the heart of the system.

Lily was on her first protest. “It feels like the attacks on women are constant,” she told Socialist Worker. “There was the election of Donald Trump, then all the stuff about Harvey Weinstein, then reports about pay disparity between men and women.

“This protest feels very timely. It’s time to stand up. I think everyone is fired up for a better world.”

Abortion

Harriet came from the London Irish Abortion Campaign. “It’s ridiculous that women in Northern Ireland don’t have access to abortion,” she told Socialist Worker. “It’s a human right.

“Thirteen women travel to England from Northern Ireland for an abortion every day. It costs hundreds in travel and accommodation.”

There was a mix of people on the protestyoung and old, black and white. Homemade placards reflected a variety of political views. Some, such as “March to the ballot in 2018”, put the focus on elections to get Trump out of office.

Others focused on individual women getting ahead, such as “My favourite position is CEO.” But lots were more general, declaring that women’s rights are human rights.

Harriet: “It’s ridiculous that women in Northern Ireland don’t have access to abortion”

Harriet: “It’s ridiculous that women in Northern Ireland don’t have access to abortion” (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Sophie from Chicago said the protest was about “intersectional feminism”. “Traditional feminism hasn’t paid attention to some groups of women,” she said. “But this is about rights for trans women and women of colour.”

She added that Trump is a “symptom” of an oppressive society and that getting him out is key. “Do I agree with Hillary Clinton about everything? Probably not. But she was the most qualified candidate in the election, while Trump was the least qualified.”

Joanna was one of many protesters from the Women’s Equality Party. She said she was there “to show solidarity with women across the UK”.

“It’s important to show that the current political situation needs to change and now’s the time,” she added. “We’re hoping for changes in legislation to make women more equal.”

Anti-racism was an important aspect of the protest. A Muslim woman speaker thanked people for protesting against Trump’s racist travel ban.

Other speakers denounced the government’s treatment of refugees and migrants, and drew attention to deaths in police custody.

One homemade placard read, “Migrants – we get the job done,” while another read simply, “Black lives matter”.

Student Fadumo wanted to stress that Trump should not visit Britain. “The government here needs to understand that he can’t come here,” she told Socialist Worker. “If he came, it would just increase the bigotry.”


Women’s March round two in the US

Saturday marked one year since racist, sexist US president Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Hundreds of thousands came on to the streets across the US on Saturday to make clear the fight against him and what he represents has not gone away. Dozens of protests took place across the country.

Some estimates put the number marching in Los Angeles at 600,000. 300,000 marched in Chicago,  and over 100,000 in New York.

The first Women’s March a year ago was sparked by anger at Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women in a recording that was made public.

Seemingly oblivious, yesterday he tweeted, “Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”

Crisis

People are furious that Trump has lasted a year of crisis.

The day before the Women’s March he spoke to the anti-abortion March for Life.

"I’m fed up with this entire administration, and I think it’s important for us to press on for changes,” said Suelita Maki on the New York march.

Where the anger goes is crucial. The Democratic Party want it to benefit them at elections.

“We march. We run. We vote. We win,” said Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democrats in the house of representatives, at the Washington march.

Author Amanda Litman said, “It is not enough just to march… if you really care about solving a problem, running for office is the best way to do it.”

Despite the Democrats’ shameless opportunism, not everyone attending the protests sees them as the answer. People attended the protest for many reasons, not just to wait and vote in the mid term elections in November this year.

And doubtless even more would have attended if there had been a more inspirational message than just voting for change.


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