On Jan. 21, close to 1,000 people came out onto the streets of Chicago on the one year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration to voice their anger and disgust at his administration’s actions over the past year and to call for an independent political movement as the way forward.
The protest, originally called by ANSWER Chicago, Black Lives Matter – Women of Faith and People United Against Oppression, was co-sponsored by 31 progressive organizations representing a wide diversity of struggles and causes, but each united by their recognition of the need for an independent pole of the resistance to the Trump regime outside of the major political establishment parties.
Sam, of Albany Park, attended the march wielding a sign denouncing the U.S’s war drive against North Korea. “I don’t want to see nuclear war in my lifetime,” he said, especially in light of the United States being the only nation to have used such weapons in the past, he continued, “It’s scary to see that politicians can be so so flippant with the threat of nuclear war.”
Immigration policy was on many people’s minds, especially in light of Trump’s recent rescinding of TPS protection for immigrants from El Salvador and the perilous status of DACA recipients. It was a major issue of concern for Aurora’s Sabrina, also attending the march Sunday. She voiced her opposition to Trump’s targeting of immigrants, saying that it’s an issue for people all across the world. Silva added, “They should be welcomed here.”
“Immigrants here are unstoppable,” she continued. “They run America. Amping up against immigrants hurts families and it will eventually hurt the U.S.”
The action began with a rally in front of Trump tower at 1pm, where speakers called for continuing and deepening the resistance to Trump and his racist, sexist and warmongering ways.
Maya from Anakbayan Chicago called attention to ongoing U.S. support for the Duterte regime in the Philippines, connecting the people’s movement in the Philippines with the anti-imperialist struggle here in the United States. Saying that, “Trump and Duterte want to smash the mass movement, but they will not succeed,” she also demanded an immediate end to U.S. military aid; weapons which are used against the people fighting against extrajudicial killings and neoliberal policies.
Carolyn Ruff of Black Lives Matter – Women of Faith, spoke on the ongoing campaign to achieve justice for Laquan McDonald who was murdered by Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014, serving as a stark reminder that the struggle did not begin with Trump and nor can it end with him, but must target the existing apparatus of white supremacy and racist police terror, which find support across the mainstream political spectrum.
Stefanie Fisher from the Party for Socialism and Liberation spoke to the political instability of the current moment, saying that, “a big battle over the future is brewing, and we must be prepared to fight.” She also stressed the need for independent organizing, and that “The Democrats, a party of the establishment; a party of the capitalist class, offer no solutions to the problems we face… What we need is socialism, what we need is a revolution!”
Around 2PM, the march stepped off from Wacker and Wabash, winding down Michigan Avenue and heading west on Jackson toward the Chicago Board of Trade. Led by banners demanding an end to the war on immigrants and calling for the ouster of both Trump and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, protesters chanted “No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA!” and “Brick by brick, wall by wall, we will make this system fall!”
Demonstrators then rallied in the heart of Chicago’s financial district and reaffirmed their commitment to continue the struggle not only against Trump, but the system that produces Trumps and allows them to prosper.
Sunday showed that one year into the Trump regime, the movement against racism, sexism, capitalism and imperialism will continue to grow and adapt, and by relying on the power of the people, and not politicians, can become a force capable of shaking the world.
Additional cosponsors of Jan. 21 were: Chicago Students Union; Freedom First International; Gay Liberation Network; Illinois Green Party; Centro Autónomo de Albany Park, Chicago; Anakbayan Chicago: International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines – Midwest; Free from Harm; Chicago Chapter of Veterans for Peace; La Voz de los de Abajo; Chicago Campaign to Expose Crisis Pregnancy Centers; Kofi Ademola, an activist in the Movement for Black Lives; International Socialist Organization; Refuse Fascism Chicago; Chicago Workers World Party; The Party for Socialism and Liberation Chicago; Chicagoland Teamsters Against chump; Albany Park, North Park, Mayfair Neighbors for Peace and Justice; Chicago Socialist Alternative; Chicago Stop Moving Backwards; No War on North Korea; Party for Socialism and Liberation – Milwaukee; Wisconsin Bail Out The People Movement; Southwest Suburban Activists; March 19th Anti-War Coalition; No Amazon HQ in Chicago; Justicia en Ayotzinapa Comité Chicago