Donald Trump made racism the core of his campaign and encouraged the recent coup attempt at the Capitol in order to negate especially the votes of Black people, who suffer a history of voter disenfranchisement in the U.S.
The electoral victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris was seen by most to be a rejection of Trump and racism. The election has removed Trump and put Biden in the office of president. And it’s understandable that people would feel a sense of relief.
However, Trump’s freedom to continue as president until the end of his term, after a myriad of violations of law and hate speech, helps expose the fact that this is a change of executive, much like when a corporation replaces its CEO. It’s not a change in power — capitalism is still in power.
Workers — especially from the Black, Latinx, Indigenous and Asian communities — gave Biden the votes needed to win. This was also a vote not just against Trump, but for health care, to end the pandemic, and for jobs and housing. That’s what’s expected from the Biden presidency.
The U.S. economy is in a crisis. Some 19.5 million workers are officially unemployed, four times as many as last year at this time. At least another 10 million are unemployed but not included in the official count. Over one-third of the adult population in the U.S. faces eviction or home foreclosure in the next two months.
In some states, food bank lines stretch for miles. An estimated 13.7 million households go hungry every day.
Yet stimulus money has mostly gone to big corporations. Over 160,000 small businesses have permanently closed.
Whatever promises Biden has made regarding stimulus and help to combat the pandemic thus far are not nearly enough to combat the economic devastation and certainly won’t reverse it. For example, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which Biden says will be done slowly, is not a living wage.
The federal minimum wage of $7.25, which hasn’t risen since 2009, does not provide a living wage. At that time, many workers fought for a $15 minimum wage, but this is no longer enough. A living wage right now, according to the Living Wage Calculator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is $30 to $35 an hour.
Inadequate policies by Biden will only lead to resentment and dissatisfaction, and an opening for the possible return of Trumpism.
How did we get here?
In the first place, the road to Trump was paved by the record deportations and endless wars from the previous Obama administration, which included Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. They and their Democratic Party, like all previous administrations before them, continually and increasingly legitimized the racist, anti-immigrant poison that Trump was able to exploit.
The drones that dropped bombs on the continent of Africa under both the Bush and Obama administrations helped legitimize the international terrorism of lethal drone strikes by Trump, who flirted with war against Iran.
It was Biden and Clinton in the Obama administration who supported the fascist-like forces that organized pro-U.S. coups in Honduras and Libya, negating the will and self-determination of the people in those countries.
In fact, the mob of well-connected white supremacists who met no real opposition to their entering the Capitol in Washington, D.C., had aims that mirror those of Joe Biden and the Democratic and Republican parties abroad.
Biden’s support for pretender Juan Guaidó in Venezuela and the earlier-mentioned coups is an attack against the votes and self-determination of working people abroad, especially when they are Black, Brown or Indigenous peoples.
This is why we understand that we cannot rely on those who will tolerate fascist-minded actions and ideas to stop white supremacist groupings and ideology from gaining strength. Those forces in the ruling-class parties are okay with fascism as long as it helps to crush working-class movements, like the movement for Black lives and the struggle for im/migrants — as long as it weakens the power of our class.
History instructs us here. An attempted fascist coup occurred before the Nazis came to power in Germany. In Munich in 1923, Hitler attempted a takeover — but failed. Although Hitler was jailed, he was allowed to continue his ideological poisoning and political organizing and influence over the middle classes and workers, allowing the Nazi Party to eventually take control.
We must unify our progressive organizations, and unify our working class, in order to continue the struggle for what is the only real solution to the crisis of capitalism: that is, socialism.
We must build the working-class movement, independent of the ruling-class parties. Therefore, we must build solidarity between all sectors of our working class with its oppressed nationalities, women, LGBTQ2S members and Indigenous peoples. That can only come through an intolerance of racism and sexism, with the principle of solidarity.
The ruling-class parties have failed and will continue to fail in that regard. But we must not.