The action was called the day after the November election by people who had expected they would be celebrating the ascendancy of the first woman president.
Far from signaling the rise of a new women’s movement, the rally weakened the fight for women’s rights. It wasn’t organized around any concrete demands. It wasn’t aimed at spurring state-by-state battles to defend a woman’s right to choose abortion against continuing attacks. It drew few unionists or African-Americans.
The action did mobilize large numbers of middle-class marchers caught up by hysteria depicting Donald Trump and the “deplorables” who backed him as some kind of latter-day Nazis.
Hillary Clinton angered millions of workers last September when she described Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables” who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it” and “irredeemable.”
Billionaire capitalist Trump is rebuilding the Republican Party by appealing to workers angry about the effects on their lives from the world capitalist crisis. With nationalist demagogy he promises to “Make America Great Again” and create jobs and prosperity.
‘Join the Socialist Workers Party’Socialist Workers Party members went to the Women’s March on Washington and other actions looking to debate and discuss political perspectives with those who participated, seeking to meet those who want a serious discussion about how working people can fight back effectively. While many disagreed with our working-class outlook, or complained about one of the books we offered — The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People — we found quite a few interested in the SWP and how we can fight for unions, for women’s equality, against police brutality and to end the colonial oppression of Puerto Rico. We discussed and debated why neither Democrats nor Republicans serve the interests of the working class. And we pointed to the examples for working people of the Cuban and Russian revolutions.
SWP member Glova Scott met Lauren Adams, 30, a sports videographer from Pasadena, California, who has taken part in protests against racism and police brutality since 2012. “I’ve been in the streets. But we’re lacking perspective. I think that’s true here as well,” she told Scott.
“I’m in the Socialist Workers Party,” Scott told her. “The fight against police brutality is important, but to end cop violence we must uproot its source — the capitalist system. The SWP runs its own candidates, like Dennis Richter for mayor of Los Angeles where you’re from, to win workers to a perspective of fighting to end the dictatorship of capital with its dog-eat-dog values and replace it with a society run by working people and built on human solidarity.”
“That sounds pretty good,” Adams said, adding she would like to meet Richter when she gets home.
At the Chicago rally Raven Reed overheard SWP member Dan Fein telling another marcher, “This rally would never have been organized if Clinton had won the election. The Democrats say they’re for women’s rights, but they have demobilized the fight. We are building the Socialist Workers Party to lead the working class in making a socialist revolution.”
“I think you’re right,” Reed told Fein, joining the conversation.
Alex Bergstrom, a writer for a training company, talked to Samir Qaisar at the SWP table, saying he was looking for “an alternative vision.”
“We have one — revolutionary Cuba,” Qaisar replied. Bergstrom bought a copy of The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record. SWP members in Chicago got the names of nine people who wanted to get together to discuss further, sold 26 books, seven subscriptions and 66 single copies of the Militant.
‘Looking for socialists’“I was looking for the socialist and union movement, so I signed up to campaign for Bernie Sanders with the Democratic Socialists of America,” said Madhu Tikkisetty, a 32-year-old Indian-born information technology worker from Baltimore, when she ran into SWP members and subscribed to the Militant in Washington. “When we talked with Black and immigrant workers at Metro stops last year, a lot of them said they were for Trump because he talks about jobs.” Tikkisetty spent the rest of the afternoon with us as we talked with people at the march. She left with six books on working-class history and communist politics under her arm.
Some Bikers for Trump who had stayed in Washington after the inauguration were playing country music near the Women’s March. “I tried to talk with people from the march,” Debbie Clay, a union lab worker from Barboursville, West Virginia, told me and Tikkisetty. “But most of them yelled, ‘How can you support Trump? He’s a racist and a fascist.’ I argued it wasn’t true, told them Clinton was part of globalization and that we need jobs where I come from.”
Her friend Teresa Jones, a special education teacher’s aide from Bethalto, Illinois, said she liked Bernie Sanders as well, “but he got a raw deal” from Democratic Party tops.
I told them I had supported Alyson Kennedy, the Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate, and am part of building a party that fights for unions and unity of the working class and has confidence in the capacity of ordinary workers to take power. They got copies of the Militant to learn more.