A report from the Anti-Trump Protest Meeting held on the 14th of February 2018 in Glasgow.
The new Leader of Scottish Labour, Richard Leonard MSP, has a long history of campaigning against inequalities. It therefore came as little surprise, to those who know him that he would seek to facilitate a meeting to ‘commence organising for a united response by those who believe Mr Trump should not receive the “red carpet treatment” of a state visit’. Held on Valentine’s Day the meeting was a positive show of love over hate.
I represented the Socialist Educational Association Scotland at this meeting, convened in Unite the Union’s offices in Glasgow, hosted by Regional Secretary Pat Rafferty. There were many organisations representing Civic Scotland present, alongside MSP Patrick Harvie and others active in politics and the Labour movement. Many others had sent apologies but were keen to be involved.
Following introductions the room quickly got down to business with agreement that we would need to organise a series of events leading up to any visit, State or otherwise. It was noted that Stand Up to Racism were hosting a Scotland March and Rally on UN Anti – Racism Day in Glasgow on Saturday 17th March 2018. This seemed a good starting point to build momentum against any visit.
After a lot of discussion from those present we came up with a name for the new organisation- Scotland against Trump. There was also discussion about how we could coordinate this. The suggestion was that the STUC could be requested to lead on this campaign. A Facebook page would be set up and groups would contribute material and share content. It was also important to reach out to US Citizens already domiciled in Scotland to ensure their support. We need to build a grassroots campaign with geographic spread, in readiness for whenever he visits.
In discussing how we celebrate Scotland’s diversity, there was a strong feeling from representatives of the Muslim community present that Islamophobia must be spoken about in any anti Trump movement – as one member stated, ‘he is welcome to come with a message of love but not one of hate’. A sentiment shared by those in the room.
The next meeting will focus on Communications, fundraising, engaging existing networks and building momentum with local activists identified to manage logistics and organising. We would also need to look at materials and agree roles and responsibilities of each member of the organisation. A mobilisation plan will be key to all of this.
It felt good to be part of such a positive meeting and growing movement against hate.