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World against Trump

May 1, 2017

The Trump presidency has inaugurated mass resistance across the US and around the world: minimum wage workers protested on November 29, millions joined Women’s Marches on January 21, and on April 4 the Fight for $15 and Movement for Black Lives marched for economic and racial justice. On Earth Day, April 22, science marches took place in 500 cities around the world. Then on Trumps’ 100th day in office on April 29 people marched for jobs, justice and the climate—from Kyoto to Kampala, from Vancouver to Washington.

On April 29 there were over 200,000 in Washington in record high temperatures, which spoke to the changing climate. There were people from all walks of life and the crowd was quite diverse. They were there to push back against the Trump administrations attacks on environmental protection and the Clean Power Plan.

To stop Trump, stop Trudeau

Trump came to office a year into Trudeau’s term, and has exposed his real agenda: supporting pipelines, austerity and war while closing the border to refugees. But Trump and Trudeau’s borders can’t contain resistance. People across Canada took part in the Women’s Marches, science marches and climate marches, as well as ongoing campaigns to raise the minimum wage and fight racism.

On April 29 approximately 100 people gathered in front of Ottawa City Hall today to rally and march in solidarity with the People's Climate March taking place in Washington DC. The spirited crowd of mostly young people heard from impassioned speakers before marching north on Elgin Street, over the Rideau Canal, and concluded by sitting down by the U.S. embassy. Speakers at the rally addressed the science of climate change and its accelerating impacts, the importance of looking to indigenous leadership in the fight for climate justice, and the need to restore the organic connection between people and the planet. Organizers led chants of "No more coal, no more oil, keep your carbon in the soil!" and "Hear our cries, waters rise, no more lies, it's action time!"

In Edmonton 200 marched on the Legislature to demand action from Notley’s NDP government that has so far chosen tar sands over Indigenous rights and green jobs.

In Vancouver, 500 people endured rain and cold to rally and march through the downtown core.  The diversity of the crowd was incredibly inspiring.  As it progressed it grew with people joining with every block.  Chants of "Hey Trump, Trudeau, Kinder Morgan's got to go" and "No more pipelines! No more tankers! Power to the People, Not the Bankers!" echoed through the city and many left feeling committed to building this global movement.

Nour Enayeh, Syrian and Muslim community activist described the devastating drought that has impacted the Middle East in the last two decades.  "It was the worst drought in 900 years. Water became a luxury.  We could only get two hours of running water a day and that doesn't even mention what the poorest had to endure. 1.5 million farmers and people living in rural areas were forced to move into the cities. People fell into poverty and they couldn't find work. We know this wasn't the direct cause of the war but it was one of the main contributing factors and that if we want a more peaceful planet then we need to take care of it.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and his partner Joan described what an honour it was to be part of a global movement fighting for the planet: "We know that climate change is a reality driven by big oil and transnational corporations. We know that when we can no longer rely on the integrity of governments, when we can no longer rely on the courts to protect the interests and the rights of all people, then we have to come together in solidarity regardless of ideology or religion or race and march together as people of the world and push back against this corporate agenda once and for all."

In Toronto, several thousand people took to the streets on April 29th, joining many thousands across the globe. They were led by Indigenous peoples from Aamjiwnaang, Chippewas of the Thames and other First Nations. The unity amongst those fighting against climate change is critical at this time and the march showed this concretely. Indigenous people are taking the lead in this struggle because everything is at stake for them, their communities, their futures and their very lives.

Beze Gray from Aamjiwnaang First Nation spoke of the devastation that the oil economy has imposed on her community, while Myeengun Henry spoke about the COTTFN Supreme Court challenge to Line 9 and the need to continue the fight regardless of the legal decision. John Cartwright, president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council called for a just transition for workers and good green jobs for all—to address the triple threat of economic crisis, environmental crisis and inequality.

At every intersection the drummers stopped and gained the attention of passer bys making it clear that they were marching in defense of their lands and their water. They were calling out for others to join them recognizing that the broader community has to stand with them in their fight. Similar demonstrations were taking place In Vancouver and other Canadian cities.

It was a young crowd but at the same time there were trade unionists from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Elementary Teachers Federation, the Ontario Catholic Teachers, and the United Steelworkers. They carried signs calling for a just transition for workers.

The fact that unions were present shows that the old divide between jobs and the environment is fading. A passerby asked one of the Indigenous people leading the march why unions were there. The response was, we are defenders of the land and we want you all to join us, but also because we are socialists. 

Protesters in Washington, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver made it very clear that this fight was continuing and that they were not going away.

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