The first year of the Trump presidency has been every bit as hateful as we knew it would be. People of colour and anti-racism campaigners in the US and UK who spent the US election campaign amplifying the voices of frontline communities – black, latino, indigenous and other minority communities – had no doubt that Donald Trump would deliver on the rhetoric of his campaign promised and he has.
The Muslim ban is in place; the criminalisation of migrants is in full swing. Racism, white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia have been normalised as Trump continues to charge ahead with his plans to make America white again. And the reality of Trumpism is that reported hate crimes continue to go up in the US. A record number of Jewish and Muslim centers have been attacked in the first year of the Trump presidency. Across the US white supremacists and neo-Nazi’s feel emboldened to march with their Nazi flags while chanting anti-Semitic anti-Muslim hate in a throw back to the dark days of segregation.
But here in Britain we must not be complacent about the rising levels of open bigotry on display in our own country.
Trump and Brexit have emboldened racism and racists and mainstreamed bigotry and hate in ways we have not seen for decades. Much of our public and political discourse post-Brexit has been used as a tool for stoking hate and fanning the flames of bigotry. Immigrants, refugees, Muslims, Jews, gays, trans and lesbian women continue to be the targets of this hatred. According to Home Office figures, in the past year, reported hate crime has spiked by 29 per cent..
In Europe openly neo-Nazi and racist parties are on the march – not only on the streets but in national parliaments, propelled by a toxic mix of public debate which blames the crisis of neo-liberalism and inequality on the “other”.
It is against this backdrop that the organisers of the national Stop Trump campaign are mobilising thousands of people for what is set to be one of the UK’s largest and most vocal protest when Trump arrives in London to visit the new US embassy in February.
This will be a moment for us to not only protest against Trumpism but show support and solidarity with anti-racist movements, refugee and migrant action groups, women’s rights organisations, intersectional feminists, anti-poverty activists and climate change campaigners. To unite under a common vision of an open, progressive society where we the people will resist, loud and proud against both Trump and own government’s demonising and scapegoating of the marginalised and minority communities.
Trump, our own Prime Minister Theresa May and all those who seek to build walls and fences between us should expect a carnival of resistance on the streets of London and beyond. We will be there to stand against bigotry and the politics of fear and division.
That resistance will be loud, it will be creative, it will look and sound like Trump’s worst nightmare – for it will be diverse, multi-racial and inclusive.
He should expect British chants and banners saying: “Trump is a wasteman”, “balls to your walls”, “we won’t hold hands with fascists” and “love Trumps hate.”
London will wear its heart on its sleeve and come out in force – of that let there be no doubt. Already 1 in 10 people say they are likely to protest Trump and his politics when he visits. And how deliciously satisfying that Trumpism will be rejected in a city which has elected the proud son of Pakistani migrants and a Muslim from South London, Sadiq Khan, as the Mayor of London. You can bet your bottom dollar that this will stick in the throat of Trump as he sees the streets of London heaving with British people from all backgrounds denouncing him and his hate.
The writers are members of the national steering committee of the Stop Trump Campaign. Shaista Aziz is founder of the Everyday Bigotry Project and Asad Rehman is Executive Director of War on Want.