Though half a world away, the plight of a coastal community 10 miles north of Aberdeen is resonating with many Americans. Their peaceful existence and the sanctity of their environment was literally and metaphorically bulldozed when Donald Trump decided to build a world class championship golf course and resort on the world class pristine dunes of the Menie Estate in Scotland.
The area was of such environmental and scientific significance that it was deemed worthy of a hard to come by Site of Special Scientific Interest designation that was supposed to protect if for generations to come. However, Trump’s power, money – and false promises of investment and jobs – persuaded the Scottish government, in an unprecedented move, to break their own laws and allow construction on the site.
“When I saw this piece of land I was overwhelmed by the imposing dunes and rugged Aberdeenshire coastline. I knew that this was the perfect site for Trump International – Scotland,” writes Trump in an open letter posted on the homepage of the website for the golf course. He continues, “I have never seen such an unspoiled and dramatic sea side landscape and the location makes it perfect for our development.”
Sadly, thanks to Trump’s development, the landscape, which was so dramatic it was immortalized in the 1983 film Local Hero, is unspoiled no longer. But it wasn’t just the fact that the scientific and aesthetically significant landscape had been desecrated for such a frivolous reason – golf for the wealthy – that didn’t sit well with the locals; Trump’s modus operandi was also spectacularly obnoxious, though also par for the course in many ways.
When Trump couldn’t buy what he wanted, he employed a range of underhand tactics to ensure he got it anyway. The community had their rights trampled on, their property damaged and stolen, and their character and integrity slandered, while those who were supposed to protect their interests – the politicians, the police, and the press ¬ served those of the 1% above the 99.
Though the landscape and the Donald are unique (for sublime and ridiculous reasons respectively), the tale of greed before the collective good is in many ways archetypical of our time, and as such serves as the perfect parable for the Occupy movement. So when a film, You’ve Been Trumped, which chronicles Trump’s exploits in Scotland opened in New York, Occupy Wall Street decided to help spread the word.
Using the Illuminator “Bat Signal for the 99%” generator – which projected Occupy’s message to great effect on the Verizon building in New York on November 17th, 2011 – a group of occupiers projected the trailer for You’ve Been Trumped on Trump’s Manhattan tower – and recorded the results for posterity (see YouTube video above).
“Solidarity means to stand with oppressed people everywhere because their struggle is our struggle,” explained educator and activist Justin Wedes, who was involved in Occupy’s illuminating Trump vs. The 99% project. “There are few clearer cases than this one of the 1% bulldozing the rights, land, and dignity of the 99% for pure profit. Donald Trump does not represent us, and Occupy Wall Street stands with the brave people of Aberdeen and the Menie Estate – and their allies everywhere – fighting for sustainable development and the rights of hard-working people to their own land and communities.”
In a letter sent to the occupiers involved the morning after the action, You’ve Been Trumped director Anthony Baxter expressed his gratitude to Occupy Wall Street. “This action is going to mean a lot to the residents in Scotland who’ve been fighting to safeguard their environment and battling against Trump,” wrote Baxter. “It’s an important illustration that will resonate far and wide. The people of Scotland know Trump isn’t a typical American, and ordinary Americans – just like ordinary Scots – are sick and tired of money and power riding roughshod over the lives of the 99% and our planet. They’ll be deeply moved and heartened by what you all carried off so successfully last night.”
You’ve Been Trumped is currently playing in Southern California at Laemmle’s Town Centre 5 in Encino. It can also be seen at the Art Theatre of Long Beach on Sunday, August 26 (not far from Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, where Trump employed similar strong arm tactics in order to develop his luxury golf resort). For more information visit: youvebeentrumped.com
SG Interview: Anthony Baxter – You’ve Been Trumped