More voices of the resistance

The huge turnouts for protests during Inauguration Weekend and since proved that the opposition to Donald Trump hasn't been intimidated or demoralized into silence. But the challenge now is to build the resistance into a bigger and better organized force, represented in every struggle in every corner of society.

In Washington, D.C., and afterward, SocialistWorker.org asked a wide range of people--authors and activists, people coming to their first demonstrations and veterans of many struggles--for their thoughts about the resistance to Trump and its next steps. Below is part two of the roundtable--click here to read the first half.

Opponents of Trump's ban at an airport sit-down

Sumaya Awad

New York City activist and International Socialist Organization member

I knew that no matter who won the presidency, I would be resisting and protesting. But Trump's victory has brought a more direct attack on Muslims. Less than a week into his presidency, he's already signed an executive order to ban refugees and Muslims from entering the U.S.

The emboldening of racists and Islamophobes has led to an increase in hate crimes against Muslims, and an emboldening of the already hardened right-wing Zionist forces who malign, harass and threaten Palestine activists on college campuses.

In fact, Trump's very first call with a foreign leader as president was with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently claimed Trump would bring U.S.-Israel ties to "greater heights." This after the Obama administration gave Israel a staggering $38 billion in military aid, the largest aid package in U.S. history.

Solidarity is a crucial step in fighting and resisting the consequences of Trump's presidency, both locally and abroad.

The imperial wars that the U.S. is waging are directly linked to its actions at home. Protesting low wages, unemployment and lousy health care should go hand in hand with resisting war and occupation abroad. After all, U.S. tax dollars fund the missiles that lead to refugee crises, and the cost of those missiles contributes to higher taxes and less federal spending on education, health care or jobs.

It's a cycle, and to break through it, we must learn to connect the dots--to resist the racist rhetoric meant to divide us and distract us from the real reasons that wages are stagnant, poverty levels are rising, and student debt has reached an all-time high.

There are plenty of other ways to connect Trump's remarks on foreign policy to his policy at home. Take his comments on building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. On multiple occasions, he's used the illegal Israeli apartheid wall as a model for the U.S.-Mexico border.

The hundreds of thousands of people who filled the streets in the days and week after the election, many protesting for the first time, is proof that Trump will be met with resistance on all fronts--except, that is, from the Democratic Party, whose leaders didn't even attend the Women's March on Washington. Not only that, but its senators are voting in Trump's dinosaur cabinet appointees, which is downright shameful.

We need to protest and resist in the street as we have been doing for the past several months, but more than that, we need to organize ourselves and build solidarity between our various movements. We need to focus on building an alternative left, a united socialist left, that fights for the liberation of all those oppressed by the status quo.

Together, we outnumber the two parties and the one class that is responsible for our current state. They are weak, divided and few. We must continuously remind them that the more they try to silence, bribe or manipulate us, the louder and stronger we will become. Solidarity and resistance is the way forward.

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Isaura Amezcua

Student at Georgetown University and Los Angeles native

My sign says, "Respeta mi existencia, o espera mi resistencia," which means, "Respect my existence, or expect my resistance."

We are here to march for women's equality. I'm a Latina, so I'm primarily here to focus on rights for immigrant women. I think we are all here to support this worldwide movement to bring women together.

It's support for equality. A lot of immigrants are domestic workers, and they don't have a voice--they don't have a union or the ability to join this march. So I'm here to be in solidarity with them.

On campus, I'm involved with an immigrant rights group and have done a lot around immigration in D.C. In my community, there's fear, but this march shows that we're stronger together, and that if we organize together, there is potential to grow and take this country to a better place.

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Louis Koutras

Resident of Silver Spring, Maryland

I came today because we need to show the country that the majority is not with Donald Trump and the alt-right and the trolls and white supremacy or the top-down GOP conservatives. We're on the streets today to show them that, and we're going to continue after today to keep sending that message.

Living here in D.C. and Maryland, we are a diverse, welcoming community, and I'm afraid that Trump is going to come after the people who are my friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Trump also wants to defund public services and roll back health care, which will lead to deaths from preventable disease. Quality of life will go down. Labor issues are also very important. People will be making less money--people who are already struggling to get by--and bosses will be making more.

I've been to marches and protests before around specific issues, but I'm not really involved in an ongoing way. But since the election, I have hooked up with a local progressive group and reached out to the office of Rep. Jamie Raskin, who is the congressman in my district.

I can't be uninvolved anymore. We all have to be a part of this if we're going to shift things. We're the majority and in the right, and so all we have to do is get out there and work for it, and we'll have the country that we want and deserve.

I thought Clinton was going to win, but I was afraid that Trump might win, especially in the week before the election when the poll numbers took a turn. Just a few days out, the numbers in the key states took a dive.

This has been characterized as a white working-class revolt. But Trump didn't flip the white working-class voters who went for Obama. Those people just stayed home because Clinton couldn't get them out to vote.

The working class isn't in the pocket of the GOP. Trump at least directly addressed that constituency, saying you don't have jobs, and you have bad health care. He's right--they don't have jobs or good health care, and it's because of people like Trump! But he was able to harness that, because all the Democrats offered was "We're not Trump."

The Democrats used to be the party of the common person and of labor, but they abandoned their base. And it's a similar story with the struggle for freedom for African Americans, for women, for the LGBT community. When groups like the LBGT community won equal marriage and had already won the culture war around the issue without any help from the Democrats, that's when the Democratic Party started trying to latch on.

I think that the Democrats abandoned their base, which is the majority of the country--people who work for a living instead of rich people who profit off capital. The Democrats didn't speak to workers at all, and that's why they lost.

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Charlotte Heltai

Member of the International Socialist Organization from Chicago

I came to Washington, D.C., for the protest on Inauguration Day and for the Women's March the following day.

One of the most important things to do now as socialists is to build a left alternative to the Democrats. Right now, there's a real opening because a lot of people who voted for Hillary Clinton had their illusions shattered when the best-funded campaign and ground game in the history of the wealthiest ruling class in the world lost an election.

A lot of people are waking up to the arrogance and the corruption of the Democratic Party and starting to see the two-party system as a crucial source of political support for American capitalism.

I think it's imperative to be in places that have people with all kinds of politics, so we can make the socialist case that the solution to the nightmare of Trump's presidency is not to campaign even harder in two years to switch over the House and Senate.

Instead, it's to build an intersectional left-wing movement that understands that capitalism is at the center of all of our oppressions. Even though the various forms that oppression takes are distinct in their particulars and have their own histories, the only way we will beat that system is by uniting and fighting together, and understanding that class struggle has to be at the center of it.

We should be a visible, vocal and unapologetic left-wing pole of attraction. It's important to say that, yes, women's rights are human rights and that feminism must also be Black feminism and working-class feminism and queer feminism. And if we're going to fight for women's rights, we need to fight for women's rights not only in the U.S., but also in Gaza.

We have to be engaged in the project of human liberation if we want women's liberation.

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Robbie Ponce

Student in the D.C. area and California native

I'm here because of my mom. I'm here because of my dad. I'm here because of my sisters.

There are so many people in my life who've been harmed by what happened in this election. I'm here on behalf of all marginalized people. I'm here for the trans community. I'm here for the Latino community, and the immigrant community, and the refugee community.

There are a lot of people who don't have voices, and I think now more than ever, we have to be part of events like this to push for a more progressive future. My sign says, "Yo también, soy América." It's a play on my favorite poem, "I, Too, Sing America" by Langston Hughes.

I wanted to bring this sign because the ideas in this poem are so relevant today. My people have been dehumanized during this election cycle. I've never felt so embarrassed after Election Day, and I think it's important that Mexicans feel proud about fulfilling what America used to represent.

I hope to one day bring this quest for justice to my community. God knows we need a Latino leader who represents civil rights and who cares about the people. I'm here for all the people back home who couldn't be here.

On campus, I was working with other students around refugee issues, but after the election, people were shell-shocked and not sure how to respond. So things have been taking a little big longer.

I needed help to escape my very poor community and attend my dream school, and I want to be able to give back. So I feel like I'm carrying a lot of kids, who matter so much to me, with me today.

I took part in the 2006 immigration mega-march in downtown Los Angeles. It was one of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life. So I wanted to be out here to be a part of another historic march.

Danny Katch, Alan Maass and Eric Ruder contributed to this article.