News | “Resist Trump” fears normalizing far right

Attendees discuss need for mobilization

On Wednesday February 1, about a hundred people gathered in the Henry F. Hall building at Concordia University to discuss how to resist the new Trump administration. The meeting, organized in part by the group Resist Trump and the Far Right Network and hosted by Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) Concordia, was aimed at introducing new members to the anti-Trump movement that they have been promoting.

The meeting aimed to “provide folks with an opportunity to engage themselves in our various subgroups, including an action/demo committee, mobilizing to disrupt Trump’s eventual visit to Ottawa, a a popular education group to organize workshops and events, as well as a network building and communication committee,” according to the event’s Facebook page.

“Let’s turn our collective anger into action by working together to build short and long term plans to resist the racism, sexism and far-right politics that Donald Trump represents,” it concluded.

“Resist Trump” brands itself as a grassroots organization that seeks to organize activities to resist and disrupt the Trump administration’s agenda, whether by protesting in solidarity with Americans or disrupting a Trump visit to Ottawa.

“Let’s turn our collective anger into action by working together to build short and long term plans to resist the racism, sexism and far-right politics that Donald Trump represents.”

The group is loosely organized, with sections dedicated to organizing action, online activism, and education. They have organized several anti-Trump protests, including one of the larger protests in Montreal on inauguration day, and were part of the reason that President Trump’s planned trip to Ottawa was canceled due to fear of disruptive protests.

In an interview with The Daily, Anas Bouslikhane, who joined Resist Trump shortly after the election, said, “We must view how autonomously, collectively we can respond to the structures that have been against us for so long; so that is the political parties, the big businesses, the big corporations, the oil industry that have been attacking Indigenous people […], and the legal system. […] How do we collectively confront this enormous global far-right that is slowly becoming a reality?”

“We can tangibly do these things, we can […] start conversation, we can tangibly get together like we are doing today […] and we can […] go ahead and go to the borders and we can challenge those.” he said.

“You can say no to a wall, you can take down a wall, because nobody gets hurt with that,” Bouslikhane continued. “[Walls] block lives and kill because those mean death sentences to people, whether it’s a physical wall or it’s a signature, so an abstract wall […]. Those are all borders that we can collectively challenge, resist, and hopefully take down.”

“We must view how autonomously, collectively we can respond to the structures that have been against us for so long; so that is the political parties, the big businesses, the big corporations, the oil industry that have been attacking Indigenous people […], and the legal system. […] How do we collectively confront this enormous global far-right that is slowly becoming a reality?”

There was a general sense of urgency in the room, as all in attendance voiced both concern and an eagerness to fight back.

“I am incredibly concerned about the […] global rise of the far right. I think that not enough people talk about far-right extremism; it is an incredibly significant issue, increasingly because of people of people like Donald Trump getting elected to positions of power,” member of “Resist Trump” and event organizer Nicole LeBlanc told The Daily.

“[Donald Trump] is explicitly racist, misogynist, he advocates anti-LGBT policies, he advocates anti-immigrant policies, and has actually enforced many of those, so it is very, very scary.”

Although Trump’s jurisdiction ends at the Canadian border, LeBlanc told The Daily that she believes organizing against Trump in Montreal is still of the utmost importance.

“When a far-right extremist gets elected into a position of power and given a huge national platform, and in Trump’s case, a global platform […] this agenda and this rhetoric is being increasingly normalized.”

It has only been a little more than two weeks since Donald Trump’s inauguration, but what the Trump administration has done during that time and the resulting impact has been overwhelming to many.

On Friday January 27, Trump signed an executive order that banned U.S. entry for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The order also suspended the U.S. refugee program for four months, as well as indefinitely suspended the admission of Syrian refugees.

“You can say no to a wall, you can take down a wall, because nobody gets hurt with that. [Walls] block lives and kill because those mean death sentences to people, whether it’s a physical wall or it’s a signature, so an abstract wall […]. Those are all borders that we can collectively challenge, resist, and hopefully take down.”

Since the signing of the executive order, 60,000 visas have been revoked according to The Independent. This move has sparked outrage, both in the U.S. and abroad.

“We have all been saying for a very long time that the far-right is a problem, and now I believe this is an opportunity to take that discussion into the mainstream. This is not just about Trump, this is about a rhetoric and policies that are intrinsically violent and oppressive, that are being normalized and that are being sort of state-sanctioned, and even our government isn’t taken a firm stance [against that],” LeBlanc continued.

LeBlanc noted that the systemic racism and rhetoric against marginalized people has existed for a long time, but Trump and other far-right leaders’ rhetoric is normalizing it. “Members of marginalized communities would say that this stuff has been normalized for a long time, but it is being normalized to a […] different degree now.”

When asked what she would like to see happen with regards to Resist Trump, she said she’d like to see “this become a popular mobilization in opposition of the far right, and what I probably hope even more so is to sort of bring some of the ideas of the network in opposition to the far right and critical of capitalism and stuff like that I hope that we can bring more of those ideas into the mainstream.”


Comments posted on The McGill Daily's website must abide by our comments policy.
A change in our comments policy was enacted on January 23, 2017, closing the comments section of non-editorial posts. Find out more about this change here.