Protests over new US president Donald Trump’s racist policies continue into their third week.
This movement is spreading rather than petering out, and activists are debating what to do next. There are moves to shift the movement on the streets into the workplace.
Moves already made by workers to strike against Trump have been met with large amounts of support.
And these militant actions, such as the strike by taxi drivers at JFK airport, are quickly inspiring other workers.
Some 1,000 mostly Yemeni shopkeepers shut down their “bodegas” for eight hours in New York on Saturday of last week.
Yemen is one of seven countries singled out by Trump’s “Muslim Ban”. Some 2,000 workers at Google walked out internationally last Monday.
Over 1,000 workers walked out of technology firm Comcast’s Philadelphia offices on Thursday of last week, holding a rally outside before marching through the town.
Comcast’s Chief Technical Officer addressed the rally and workers were given paid time off work to join the protest. The protests and walkouts at Comcast and Google were driven by workers’ anger at Trump but were also supported by employers.
Activists are organising a nationwide “strike” on Friday 17 February. More than 20,000 people are going on a Facebook group for the event.
Todd Wolfson, one of the organisers, spoke to Socialist Worker. “There is growing support for the strike and hundreds of possible actions of all sizes,” he said.
“Trade unions have said it is too soon for the most part, at least in my conversations with them. I have had motion from the American Federation of Teachers and Unite here, but not much motion from the Service Employees International Union yet.”
These unions have millions of members and could have a transformative effect on the movement if they entered the fray. Many individual members already have.
“Some local branches may engage,” said Todd. “My hope is that the real work is done after 17 February that can help us to win broader labour movement support. The possible date for the next strikes is May Day.”
If trade unions enter the fight against Trump on a national scale it could be a decisive shift in the fight against his racism and bigotry. But their strategy of “wait and see” needs to change.
In the weeks since his inauguration, some union leaderships have thrown their weight behind Trump.
The United Steelworkers supported his protectionist economic policies.
Trump is offering kickbacks to bosses and attacking workers. Unions need to be part of the political movement against him and militant strikes by workers are essential.
Protests against Trump and his administration swept across the US last weekend for the third week in a row.
This week it was against the Muslim Ban, next week it will be about Trump’s latest outrage.
Some 10,000 people marched in Philadelphia. Thousands came out in hundreds of small towns.
In Sacramento, California, over 1,000 people marched on the Republican senator Tom McClintock’s town hall meeting. “We wanted to ask him about immigration,” said Holly Hisel. “About the wall, about LGBT, about what his purpose is and what he’s planning on doing and how he supports the current administration.”
Over 1,500 people protested in Los Angeles, California, against the Delta Access (DAPL) and Keystone Pipelines, which another Trump executive order restarted last week.
Police have deployed a sound cannon at one of the Standing Rock campsites where protesters led by Sioux Native Americans are fighting to stop DAPL.
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