Socialist Worker

Protests take fight to Trump

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2716

Donald Trump hopes to win re-election by presenting himself as a law and order president

Donald Trump hopes to win re-election by presenting himself as a law and order president (Pic: Gage Skidmore)


Donald Trump is ­stepping up his right wing threats as he tries to secure his presidency.

He suggested last week that he could try to postpone November’s presidential election.

He tweeted, “With Universal Mail-in Voting, 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history.”

With polls suggesting he will lose, Trump may be tempted to create a political crisis that could enable him to hold on longer.

But he is not all‑­powerful. After weeks of battling ­federal forces, protesters in Portland, Oregon, remain defiant.

Their resilience shows the power to defeat Trump.

More than 1,000 people protested outside the ­justice centre in Portland last Saturday night.

This was despite a claimed deal for federal troops to leave the area.

Workers in unions ­organised a “solidarity wall”. Teachers were asked to wear red to the protest and health workers wore their scrubs.

“I’d rather be teaching, but as a movement right now this is showcasing what teachers stand for,” said Bryan Vazquez, a teacher from Washington State.

Atmosphere 

Movements will mean trouble for Trump
Movements will mean trouble for Trump
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Albert Lee, a member of the Socialists of Colour group in the city told Socialist Worker, “Portland protests were ­relatively peaceful and had a festival-like atmosphere.

“This changed when ­federal troops came to the city. People reacted to the violence from them and now we won’t back down.”

Whole Food workers walked off the job in the city after management told them they were not allowed to wear Black Lives Matter badges. And last Saturday firefighters organised a ­solidarity action.

The protests in Portland have won gains. Authorities have approved budgets that cut millions of dollars from the police.

But Albert said that these aren’t the only gains. “When I and other socialists talked about police abolition or prison abolition, we were treated like those ideas were too radical,” he said.

“But now that isn’t the case, these ideas are seen as common sense.”

He added, “Because of the coronavirus, people are struggling immensely. George Floyd’s murder was a spark that highlighted the racism of the police.

“A whole range of ­inequalities are being tied together in these protests. People are seeing just how rigged the system is.”


Black Lives Matter movement has ‘laid bare’ systemic racism say protesters

Protesters continue to turn out in Seattle, Washington State, with a new sense of urgency after Trump sent federal forces to the city.

“It does feel different because of the tension in Portland,” said Tilmo who has been on the protests since they began.

Protests in the city have won significant reforms.

The police are out of schools and the majority of city council members have generally pledged to slash police funding by half. The police force is also losing some of its duties. King County, which includes Seattle, has pledged to repurpose its jail for young people and close an old adult jail.

And the state’s governor says he wants to ban police choke holds.

Inequalities

Frankie, a protester, told Socialist Worker that the protests are showing up some of the inequalities in the city.

“Seattle has a massive homelessness problem that’s only been furthered by gentrification and wealth inequality,” he said.

Black Lives strike hits 160 cities across US
Black Lives strike hits 160 cities across US
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“I think that coupled with the coronavirus and economic crisis. Once the Black Lives Matter protests began, it gave people a cause to stand for.

“But in the process, it has really laid bare the systematic issues we need to face in order to continue moving forward.”

Meanwhile, protests in solidarity with Portland continue in other cities.

Andy is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America branch in Wichita, Kansas.

He told Socialist Worker that the protests in the city have been strong with “rallies for three nights in a row in solidarity with Portland”.


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