‘Re­sist Trump’ fears nor­mal­iz­ing far right

At­ten­dees dis­cuss need for mo­bi­liza­tion

The McGill Daily - - News - Ryan Canon The Mcgill Daily

On Wed­nes­day Fe­bru­ary 1, about one hun­dred peo­ple gath­ered in the Henry F. Hall build­ing at Con­cor­dia Univer­sity to dis­cuss how to re­sist the new Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion. The meet­ing, or­ga­nized in part by the group Re­sist Trump and the Far Right Net­work and hosted by Que­bec Pub­lic In­ter­est Re­search Group (QPIRG) Con­cor­dia, was aimed at in­tro­duc­ing new mem­bers to the anti-trump move­ment that they have been pro­mot­ing.

The meet­ing aimed to “pro­vide folks with an op­por­tu­nity to en­gage them­selves in our var­i­ous sub­groups, in­clud­ing an ac­tion/ demo com­mit­tee, mo­bi­liz­ing to dis­rupt Trump’s even­tual visit to Ot­tawa, a a pop­u­lar ed­u­ca­tion group to or­ga­nize work­shops and events, as well as a net­work build­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion com­mit­tee,” ac­cord­ing to the event’s Face­book page.

“Let’s turn our col­lec­tive anger into ac­tion by work­ing to­gether to build short and long term plans to re­sist the racism, sex­ism and far-right pol­i­tics that Don­ald Trump rep­re­sents,” it con­cluded.

“Re­sist Trump” brands it­self as a grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tion that seeks to or­ga­nize ac­tiv­i­ties to re­sist and dis­rupt the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s agenda, whether by protest­ing in sol­i­dar­ity with Amer­i­cans or dis­rupt­ing a Trump visit to Ot­tawa.

The group is loosely or­ga­nized, with sec­tions ded­i­cated to or­ga­niz­ing ac­tion, on­line ac­tivism, and ed­u­ca­tion. They have or­ga­nized sev­eral anti-trump protests, in­clud­ing one of the larger protests in Mon­treal on in­au­gu­ra­tion day, and were part of the rea­son that Pres­i­dent Trump’s planned trip to Ot­tawa was can­celed due to fear of dis­rup­tive protests.

In an in­ter­view with The Daily, Anas Bous­likhane, who joined Re­sist Trump shortly after the elec­tion, said, “We must view how au­tonomously, col­lec­tively we can re­spond to the struc­tures that have been against us for so long; so that is the po­lit­i­cal par­ties, the big busi­nesses, the big cor­po­ra­tions, the oil in­dus­try that have been at­tack­ing In­dige­nous peo­ple [...], and the le­gal sys­tem. [...] How do we col­lec­tively con­front this enor­mous global far-right that is slowly be­com­ing a re­al­ity?”

“We can tan­gi­bly do th­ese things, we can [...] start con­ver­sa­tion, we can tan­gi­bly get to­gether like we are do­ing to­day [...] and we can [...] go ahead and go to the bor­ders and we can chal­lenge those.” he said.

“You can say no to a wall, you can take down a wall, be­cause no­body gets hurt with that,” Bous­likhane con­tin­ued. “[Walls] block lives and kill be­cause those mean death sen­tences to peo­ple, whether it’s a phys­i­cal wall or it’s a sig­na­ture, so an ab­stract wall [...]. Those are all bor­ders that we can col­lec­tively chal­lenge, re­sist, and hope­fully take down.”

There was a gen­eral sense of ur­gency in the room, as all in at­ten­dance voiced both con­cern and an ea­ger­ness to fight back.

“I am in­cred­i­bly con­cerned about the [...] global rise of the far right. I think that not enough peo­ple talk about far-right ex­trem­ism; it is an in­cred­i­bly sig­nif­i­cant is­sue, in­creas­ingly be­cause of peo­ple of peo­ple like Don­ald Trump get­ting elected to po­si­tions of power,” mem­ber of “Re­sist Trump” and event or­ga­nizer Ni­cole Leblanc told The Daily.

“[Don­ald Trump] is ex­plic­itly racist, misog­y­nist, he ad­vo­cates an­tiLGBT poli­cies, he ad­vo­cates an­ti­im­mi­grant poli­cies, and has ac­tu­ally en­forced many of those, so it is very, very scary.”

Although Trump’s ju­ris­dic­tion ends at the Cana­dian bor­der, Leblanc told The Daily that she be­lieves or­ga­niz­ing against Trump in Mon­treal is still of the ut­most im­por­tance.

“When a far-right ex­trem­ist gets elected into a po­si­tion of power and given a huge na­tional plat­form, and in Trump’s case, a global plat­form [...] this agenda and this rhetoric is be­ing in­creas­ingly nor­mal­ized.”

It has only been a lit­tle more than two weeks since Don­ald Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, but what the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has done dur­ing that time and the re­sult­ing im­pact has been over­whelm­ing to many.

On Fri­day Jan­uary 27, Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der that banned U.S. en­try for cit­i­zens of seven Mus­lim­ma­jor­ity coun­tries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, and Ye­men. The or­der also sus­pended the U.S. refugee pro­gram for four months, as well as in­def­i­nitely sus­pended the ad­mis­sion of Syr­ian refugees.

Since the sign­ing of the ex­ec­u­tive or­der, 60,000 visas have been re­voked ac­cord­ing to The In­de­pen­dent. This move has sparked out­rage, both in the U.S. and abroad.

“We have all been say­ing for a very long time that the far-right is a prob­lem, and now I be­lieve this is an op­por­tu­nity to take that dis­cus­sion into the main­stream. This is not just about Trump, this is about a rhetoric and poli­cies that are in­trin­si­cally vi­o­lent and op­pres­sive, that are be­ing nor­mal­ized and that are be­ing sort of state-sanc­tioned, and even our gov­ern­ment isn’t taken a firm stance [against that],” Leblanc con­tin­ued.

Leblanc noted that the sys­temic racism and rhetoric against marginal­ized peo­ple has ex­isted for a long time, but Trump and other far-right lead­ers’ rhetoric is nor­mal­iz­ing it. “Mem­bers of marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties would say that this stuff has been nor­mal­ized for a long time, but it is be­ing nor­mal­ized to a [...] dif­fer­ent de­gree now.”

When asked what she would like to see hap­pen with re­gards to Re­sist Trump, she said she’d like to see “this be­come a pop­u­lar mo­bi­liza­tion in op­po­si­tion of the far right, and what I prob­a­bly hope even more so is to sort of bring some of the ideas of the net­work in op­po­si­tion to the far right and crit­i­cal of cap­i­tal­ism and stuff like that I hope that we can bring more of those ideas into the main­stream.”

“[Trump] is ex­plic­itly racist, misog­y­nist, he ad­vo­cates anti-LGBT poli­cies, and has ac­tu­ally en­forced many of those.” —Ni­cole Leblanc Re­sist Trump mem­ber

Ryan Canon | The Mcgill Daily

The ‘Re­sist Trump’ meet­ing.

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