EXCLUSIVE: US socialists in UK to rally against Trump if he attempts to refuse defeat

“We have to mobilise to defend democracy and a peaceful transition of power."

Activists plan to protest outside the US embassy in London on Wednesday if Donald Trump tries to cling onto power unfairly.

Campaigners from the UK chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America plan to gather in a socially distanced protest at 6pm to ‘defend democracy’ if the President is defeated but attempts to undermine or reject the result.

The UK’s Stop Trump coalition will also hold a virtual rally on Wednesday featuring speakers including journalist Owen Jones, and activists from the UK arm of the Democratic Socialists of America.

The activists plan to show solidarity with US voters if – as some expect – Republicans try to claim mail-in votes were cast fraudulently, without evidence, or stop counting early.

Trump has repeatedly tried to sow doubt about the legitimacy of mail-in voting. Record numbers voted by mail this election, with nearly 100 million ballots cast before polling day.

Jessica Van Meir, a legal analyst and co-chair of the UK chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, told Left Foot Forward she anticipates a large number of areas where legitimately-cast votes will be are contested, while Trump is likely to attempt to declare mail-in ballots invalid.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) are also understood to be organising protests in cities across the US if Trump attempts to cling on to power unfairly. “We have to mobilise to defend democracy and a peaceful transition of power,” Van Meir told LFF.

The DSA have around 70,000 members in the US, rising to national prominence when campaigning for Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries earlier this year.

DSA activists have pledged to ensure social distancing at any in-person rallies being held in the coming weeks. “It’s something we’re taking very seriously: maintaining social distancing, and with everyone wearing a mask,” Van Meir said.

The UK chapter of DSA formed during lockdown, in the aftermath of the UK campaign for Bernie Sanders in the primaries. Members have been phone-banking for progressive candidates in congressional races in recent months.

The political coordinator for the UK branch of the DSA, Jake Atkinson, told LFF that members have mixed views on Biden, though he added that Trump’s presidency has ‘all the hallmarks of fascism’ and socialists should ‘vote to get rid of him’.

There are around 200,000 US citizens living in the UK. US citizens in the UK had the highest rates of support for Bernie Sanders during the primaries compared to those in other countries.

People can sign up to the virtual Stop Trump rally on Wednesday here.

Josiah Mortimer is co-editor of Left Foot Forward.

This piece was updated at 11pm on Tuesday to clarify that the US embassy protest is being organised by the UK branch of the DSA, not the Stop Trump coalition.

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