“Comhlámh are delighted to host the Trump Baby blimp with Afri, Friends of the Earth, and the Latin American Solidarity Center. It affords an opportunity for collective expressions of discontent about how our societies are organized at local and global levels. Trump is not the only leader with a clear desire to cultivate a particular persona, one that acts as distraction from those affected by actual policies and a rising right across the globe. The Trump Baby blimp celebrates the bursting of that persona and punctures a narrative of business as usual.
As the association of returned development workers and volunteers overseas, Comhlámh members understand the need for continuous engagement and struggle on social justice issues at both local and global levels. Our members recognize that public protest and expressions of discontent around Trumps visit are only part of what is required for lasting progressive social transformation. Symbolism alone drives little change. Civil society and social movements are and need to be a bulwark against a rising and increasingly confident right-wing ideology globally, a political current from which Ireland is not immune
Our members are active in movements, campaigns and projects around rising racism and xenophobia, trade and tax infrastructures central to growing local and global inequality, and the push back against reproductive rights globally, rights that only have been recently won here in Ireland.
The protesting of Trumps visit affords us space to highlight again failing states of protection for people seeking asylum and refuge – both here in Ireland seen in the decades long disgrace of Direct Provision, in western Europe more generally and running alongside Trump’s racist rhetoric and actions against migrants. We cannot authentically protest state and structural racism from Trump and be blind to structural racism in our own society. It is a failure in solidarity with people living in Direct Provision – and with active networks like the Movement of Asylum Seekers In Ireland (MASI) – to be vocal about Trump’s willful caging of children yet remain silent about the damaging impacts of isolation and institutionalization that are central to this states own border regimes. Direct Provision was designed first and foremost a for-profit system of deterrent and punishment and should be dismantled in a manner as presented by MASI.
Trumps visit also lets us restate our solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of Israeli occupation and expansion, and increasing aggression, aggressions cheered on by Trump’s regime.
Protesting Trump in Ireland is also a show of solidarity with those on the frontline of Trumps polices and living with the impacts of the toxic atmosphere those policies is fostering. We express our solidarity and mutual care with activists and communities in the US living with and fighting against racism, xenophobia alongside economic and democratic injustice. These are relationships we seek to foster and deepen. They stand in contrast to exploitative yet supposedly ‘special’ relationships between our states based on tax avoidance, vulture funds and economic inequality.
Our organisations and members see a need for renewed active participation in campaigns and struggles for egalitarian societies founded on international solidarity and we commit to contributing towards these. Protest is only one part of that. Recent experiences in Ireland have illustrated how sustained commitment, the articulation of new visions and another ‘common sense’, an ability to build honest alliances across and within our communities, along with the democratic methods to marshal that power for change, are the things that offer most hope for the ecological, political and democratic challenges we all face today.”