A letter to the Cambridge News

Dear Sir,

I'd like briefly to defend the sense and the necessity of street protest, including the ongoing demonstrations in Cambridge against the racist politics of the new US president Donald Trump (Cambridge News, 23 and 31 January), which the People's Assembly has joined.

We demonstrate to call on the British government to speak against key actions and directions of Mr Trump's government. We demonstrate to warn those in Britain who admire the neo-Nazi 'alt-Right' at the fringes of Trump's support (though at the centre of his staff). We demonstrate to reinforce our friends in the US, whose own demonstrations have already opened in their country the political space for official resistance to Trump's Muslim travel ban. There is nothing impractical among these purposes, and only the first can also be taken up by our elected representatives.

A demonstration is not a reflex response that betrays the participants' failure of feeling elsewhere (Letters, Cambridge News, 6 February). It's a tool, imprecise but sometimes effective, selected for work towards a political purpose. To demand neat, mechanical, empty demonstrations at every horror and injustice in the world before one contemplates leaving the armchair, is a gesture of bad faith.


Neil Kirkham

Secretary, Cambridge People's Assembly Against Austerity

The letter above was printed in the Cambridge News on 23 February 2017. It is republished here with the kind permission of the newspaper.

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