“Long live international solidarity!” chanted more than 150 people gathered in front of the Federal Building in downtown San Francisco on Nov. 13. The #BanTrump Rally to Stop the U.S. War Machine was a protest against Trump’s imperialist Asia-Pacific tour and a call to action for international solidarity.
Jessica Antonio with BAYAN-USA explained, “Trump represents U.S. imperialism and its tentacles reach far and wide, beyond the U.S. alone. Why is Trump even in the Philippines? He is there to maintain U.S. domination in the world economy through militaristic enforcement and one-sided agreements.” The U.S. War on Terror is an excuse to increase the already-bloated military budget of $700 billion, while budgets are cut for social services here. Antonio said, “We stand in support of the Ban Trump action, not just for the Philippines, but for all countries fighting for their true, genuine independence.”
“It is with our deepened solidarity with each other that we become the change that we want to see. It will not be through the puppet leadership of our homelands that will make the changes necessary for a better world.” She continued: “History has shown that people will rise up against fascism and will not be complacent. We will continue to rise against fascism as we are today until this system crumbles so we can build a society that truly reflects the majority of the people.”
Leslie Tran from VietUnity condemned Trump: “Instead of attending the UN convention on climate change to discuss the Paris Treaty, he went on a tour of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, China, the Philippines and Vietnam. His agenda is to push military bases, and economic policies that prioritize U.S. corporations over human livelihoods.”
The crowd chanted in unison in Filipino: “Imperialismo? Bagsak! Pyudalismo? Bagsak! Buraukrata Kapitalismo? Bagsak! Fascistang estado? Babagsak!” This translates to “Imperialism? Feudalism? Bureaucratic capitalism? Smash them!”
“In Vietnam, Trump stopped at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit to discuss bilateral trade deals on U.S. terms. Meanwhile,” Tran continued, “more than 100 people in Vietnam have died on account of Typhoon Damrey, the deadliest storm to hit the country in almost 20 years. The U.S. government’s greenhouse gas emissions and refusal to take responsibility for human-triggered climate change is directly tied to the intensity of the storm.
“The U.S.’s imperialist greed destroys not only land but human lives. The U.S. government is deporting South Asian refugees back to the countries they initially fled, countries ravaged by U.S. imperialism. We must speak up for immigration policies that have at the foundation an understanding that immigration is natural. We must speak up for health care and housing, because these are human rights.”
People chanted together in the spirit of internationalism: “We gotta rage against the machine, from the Bay to Korea to the Phillippines. We gotta rage until we are free, from New York to LA to our local streets!”
The event was organized by BAYAN-USA along with other groups including Third World Resistance, VietUnity, and many more progressive groups from around the Bay Area. Speakers demanded the removal of U.S. military bases in all of Asia-Pacific, and an end to its military aggression against sovereign nations. Demands were also issued for Duterte to stop the killings of the poor and to end the martial law that has been declared against the people in Mindinao.
Organizers even set up a short play presenting the partnership of Duterte, Trump and Uncle Sam as U.S. Imperialism. “Along with imperialism and warmongering,” they explained, “there’s also a cultural component that imperialism has brought down upon us to become like our masters. We cannot stand for that any longer. We must wash away colonial mentality and develop a people’s culture of our own.”
‘Ban Trump from the Philippines! Stop the U.S. War Machine!’
Amman Ti from South Asians Taking Action talked about the need to stand in solidarity with families in Central America. Almost half a million immigrants have Temporary Protected Status, which is granted to people fleeing their home countries on account of armed conflict, natural disasters and other extraordinary conditions. Trump is already trying to destroy all of this, they explained, and we must defend them: “We cannot ignore the role of the U.S. government in creating the conditions that force people to leave their home countries in the first place.”
Ti explained that that without a people’s movement to stop U.S. imperialism, these policies will continue.
Pierre LaBossiere from the Haiti Action Committee spoke about the commonalities between the people of Haiti, the Philippines, and oppressed peoples of all the world. Haiti, like the Philippines, had been a colony of Spain until the U.S. invasion and occupation, which prompted years of dedicated resistance from the people.
In 1986, the people of Haiti rose up against the U.S.-backed dictator, “Papa Doc” Duvalier, and ousted him from office. That same year, the People Power Revolution in the Philippines removed kleptocrat Ferdinand Marcos from power, after which Marcos, with support of the Reagan and the U.S., fled to Hawaii where he remained until his death.
“This is a demonstration of what the people can do when they stand strong against imperialism and its lackeys,” the speaker explained. “What we now see is a movement by the ruling elite to put those dictators back in power.” They want to keep us separated and unaware of our history, “and the reason is so we cannot connect with each other and realize the common bonds of struggle that unite us, so we can stand in solidarity with each other. The more we exchange information, the more we realize we’re all in the same boat.
“We need to put together our minds and resources to get rid of the imperialist dictators who are oppressing our nations, who have made our homelands a living hell. We want to reverse this, and we need to change this. There is no movement for refugees unless it is a collective movement with the oppressed people in all of those countries.
“We must change the system for all our people. We will win together, and we will celebrate our victories together.”
Long live international solidarity!