January 20th, 2021 marked the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden. After the past four years of vicious attacks on organized labor, immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and women, and 10 months of unending capitalist crisis in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people will breathe a sigh of relief at Donald Trump leaving the White House. Unfortunately, Joe Biden will not present a way forward for the working class, instead continuing the neoliberal and imperialist politics of the Obama administration.
Rather than a defeat of Trump and all he stands for, this inauguration represents a return to the policies which made the Trump candidacy viable in the U.S. election system. Biden regularly stood against workers throughout his Senate career, authoring the 1994 Crime Bill which helped to create the modern prison-industrial complex and expanded the disastrous and racist War on Drugs. He voted in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993, deregulating the banks by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, going to war with Iraq in 2003, and removing bankruptcy protections for student loan debts in 2005. The combined effect of these policies pushed by Biden helped lead to the devastating economic crisis in 2008, a crisis the Obama/Biden administration failed to solve. The bailout of the banks, not working people, played a large role in paving the way for Trump to come to power as an “anti-establishment” candidate in 2016. The need for a political alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties is clear. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will offer solutions to the growing far-right, or worsening unemployment, evictions due to months of unpaid rents, more police brutality, attacks on democratic rights, and devastating medical debt due to the lack of free and universal healthcare.
The Independent Socialist Group will continue to fight for every victory we can under capitalism and help to organize an independent workers’ party no matter which corporate-funded party holds power in the U.S. Rather than waiting to see how the Biden administration will hurt working people, we call on workers to deny the new administration a honeymoon period with no working class opposition to pro-capitalist policies and corporate politics. We need to mobilize mass protests against the far-right, but we also need to organize mass protests to fight for demands like free health care for all, government funding and public control over COVID vaccine manufacturing and distribution, a $20 an hour national minimum wage, jobs programs, cancellation of student debt, and many other necessary changes that the Democratic and Republican parties will ignore, block, or starve of funding. While Biden and Congress prepare to clamp down on democratic rights, and cities dominated by the Democratic Party persecute anti-racist protestors, the Independent Socialist Group will continue its work with the Drop the Charges campaign and similar actions to ensure the right to protest and to fight against police brutality and intimidation. The 2020’s are shaping up to be an explosive and uncertain decade, and the time has never been better to organize for a socialist world.
Image credit: Miki Jourdan via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0