There were two inaugurations on Friday, one in Washington that started a new era under President Trump, and another in San Francisco which signaled that resistance to his policies are ramping up.
On wet streets under light and sporadic rain about a thousand people gathered in UN Plaza at 5 p.m. to rally and then march against the new president.
They marched up Market Street to Castro Street, then down to 18th Street, then east to Mission Street and turned north up to 16th Street. From there they turned west and marched up to Valencia Street while a small drum corps kept the beat, then they turned west and marched back down to Market St., where they turned and went back down to UN Plaza for a final rally, which ended about 8:30 p.m.
Gloria La Riva, 62, of San Francisco, who ran for US president twice, in 2008 and 2016, as the candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, told the crowd:
“There is resistance and the resistance was inaugurated today. … I used to wonder in the ‘90s and the ‘80s when was the movement going to rise. Well it’s happening now. It’s fueled by the people. … We want the right to our health care, the right to abortion, the right to education, the right to child care, the right to equal rights and equal pay.”
Former San Francisco District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, who was termed out this year, was asked why he came out in the rain to march against President Trump:
“With Donald Trump’s inauguration and ascendancy to power the whole economic system has been laid completely bare. … He’s put people in charge who are only there to enrich themselves and their cronies, the rich. The only way to respond is to take the streets and make our voices heard and organize. That’s the first step.”
Avalos was asked if Americans shouldn’t give President Trump a chance first, as he only came into office that same day, and unite behind him:
“He’s the president of the United States. … He’s got his chance. He’s already showing, by putting his alligators in his own swamp, that he’s totally taking the country in the wrong direction.”
As they marched, many chanted slogans like “Trump says get back, we say fight back” and “when Muslims are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” along with “no Trump! No KKK! No racist, U.S.A.!”
Ron Chornow, 56, of San Francisco, said one of the issues he was concerned with was the “privatization” of the prison system:
“It’s been privatized and needs to be changed to be non-profit. … It makes money. Instead of rehabilitation we just build more prisons. He’s going to continue the policies. Longer sentencing, more punitive sentencing, he’ll bring more prisons. It’s a perpetuation of slavery. … It’s the new slavery. It’s the new Jim Crow.”
When it was pointed out to him that slavery is generally defined as an individual legally owning another individual, he expanded that definition:
“That’s what happens when one goes to prison. … They are completely owned. They are completely controlled. People in prison become institutionalized. They become abused. They perpetuate the trauma in the prisons…. Less than ten percent of the money goes to rehabilitation. Instead of rehabilitation we just build more prisons.”
Leading the march for much of the demonstration was Frank Lara of the organization the ANSWER coalition.
Lara told the crowd over a microphone and loudspeakers:
“It’s nice to have this big idea as to how we’re going to change the system. … But as soon as you set foot in trying to resist it, you see what’s against you. You know the Bernie Sanders movement — which was a great movement that started questioning, he said ‘democratic socialist,’ finally the word ‘socialist’ — is coming out in the heart of the empire. People have seemed so afraid of what it is. But why is it that we demand health care for all? Why is it that we demand housing for all? They got their their own system. They benefit.”
“When the bank bailout happened — almost ten trillion dollars, that’s the bank bailout — when the three-page statement was handed over to banks, that was the collective wealth of people. That could have gone back to your pockets, all people, to benefit their housing, their healthcare. But it went to the rich and made them richer. … And people now like Trump — who are also a part of the establishment, who are also wealthy — now he’s handing out even more, saying this is going to benefit the American worker. Why? Because it’s built on racism; it’s built on sexism; it’s built on homophobia. And that, somehow, is supposed to win us over.”