By KD Tait
DONALD TRUMP’S long anticipated UK visit will take place on 13 July, immediately after a consultation with his alienated Nato allies at a summit in Brussels.
Campaigners are preparing to stage the biggest demonstration since the Iraq war, to give a suitable welcome to a President who threatens to “totally destroy” states that refuse to do kowtow to the United States.
The world’s labour movements, some of whom are already feeling the pressure of policies based on the idea that “trade wars are good and easy to win”, need to wake up to the fact that Trump’s actions aren’t simply the ravings of a reactionary billionaire, but an expression of a new era of rivalry for world dominance between the great powers.
And Trump is not the only right wing demagogue we have to contend with. Russia has Vladimir Putin, content to let the World Cup whitewash his bloody crimes in Syria, while Xi Jinping openly declares his intention to make China the ‘world leader’ by 2049 – with the political and military conflict that entails.
Closer to home, our lame duck prime minister has played host to Turkish semi-dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Benjamin Netanyahu, the butcher of Gaza. There are plenty more little strongmen in Europe, although they are not so foolish as to let their anti-migrant demagogy get in way of a seat on the EU gravytrain.
Victor Orban in Hungary set the pace by erecting the first physical borders within Europe for years in order to bar passage to Syrian refugees, on behalf of the north European states they were heading to, it should be noted. In a macabre kind of racist arms race, Italy’s Matteo Salvini intends to round up half a million migrants and refugees, herd them into concentration camps – and then deport them.
Europe’s turmoil is underpinned by the imposition of grinding austerity by Germany and the EU authorities on the southern fringe, the disruption caused by Brexit, and the actions of the international far right axis stretching from Moscow to Washington, all contributing to the growth of an extreme xenophobic nationalism.
The interaction of these racist and reactionary forces, all playing with populism, pretending to be anti-establishment in order to attract the disaffected and disoriented, threatens worse developments. In Britain we see this with the rise of the Football Lads Alliance, a profileration of small but violent fascist and far right organisations, aided and abetted by the deep pockets of the US alt-right.
As we go to press a Sikh temple and a Mosque have been firebombed in Leeds, just days after hundreds of fascists march unopposed through the centre in support of jailed leader Tommy Robinson. This shows what happens when the far right get confidence, and physical attacks and murder won’t be far behind, unless we organise community self defence, and drive them from the streets.
In this period of capitalist breakdown and its attendant inter-imperialist competition, it is alarming that the left is lagging behind the right in its internationalist spirit.
With the mobilisation of powerful chauvinist and racist forces from below and above, it is imperative that the left regain the spirit of the anticapitalist summit sieges, the social forums, the square occupations, and the revolutionary waves of 2010-11, to bring hundreds of thousands into the streets against Trump and all he represents on 13 July.