December 10, 2020
As we approach the end of 2020, it is clear that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump for the US presidency, having won both the popular vote and the Electoral College by significant majorities. Nonetheless, Trump still has not conceded, despite losing numerous vote recounts and more than 50 lawsuits claiming fraud, as well as failing to persuade Republican lawmakers and election officials to overturn the results.
At this point, it would be very difficult for Trump to win a second term through any legal method. That does not preclude illegal methods. Additionally, it is doubtful that attempts to overthrow the US government by direct violence would succeed without support from the military — and that military support does not appear to be forthcoming at this time.
Before and immediately after the election, Donald Trump’s threats to organize a coup inspired great concern. Now that the election is over and Joe Biden is the apparent President-elect, fear of a Trump coup is declining. However, the possibility remains that Trump could instigate a new emergency and, with the consent of recent appointees to Homeland Security and a conservative majority in the Supreme Court, could declare martial law, mobilize his armed supporters, and convince others to postpone Biden’s transition to the White House.
Meanwhile, Trump is using his remaining days as POTUS to continue undermining government agencies that provide social services and environmental protections. In addition, Trump is doing what he can to ensure that neither of the contested senatorial seats in Georgia will go to the Democrats in the upcoming runoff election, which — if the Democratic candidates win the runoff elections in January 2021 — would place the Democratic Party in control of both houses of Congress.
Labor & Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) supports and applauds efforts to protect the recent US election results. We condemn Donald Trump’s failure to take necessary action to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. We condemn his overt racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, his denial of the threats related to climate change, blatant corruption, appeals to violence, and his efforts to prevent government agencies from carrying out their mission in ways that could potentially benefit the US working class. In particular, we applaud and defend those forces, especially in the labor movement, that have called for mass actions, strikes and general strikes in the face of a potential coup. Indeed, supporters of LCIP helped to lead several of these initiatives.
However, LCIP’s support of protecting the recent US election results is not support for the incoming Biden-Harris administration; we have no confidence whatsoever that the Biden-Harris administration will advocate for or benefit the US working class majority. If the Democrats fail to win the two Georgia Senate seats necessary to have a majority in both houses of Congress, Biden will have the perfect excuse to not raise bold, needed policies and to claim that Republicans will only block them.
But even if the Democrats win both Senate seats in the Georgia runoff elections, expect to hear pleas for activists to back off from demanding the progressive agenda supported by the majority of voters, an agenda not in the interests of capital but in the interest of working people and those living in poverty in the US.
After all, Barack Obama enjoyed a Democratic congressional majority in Congress his first two years as POTUS, and the US working class did not achieve its goals then, even those he directly promised — such as passing the Employee Free Choice Act, a law that would have made it far easier to organize unions. Obama demobilized his base, and then served eight years with policies no different from those of a moderate Republican, which he claimed publicly.
Given Biden’s record and his choices thus far for his cabinet and transition team, we can expect a return to multilateral imperialism backed by wars, “free trade” agreements, tech industry dominance, few or no health care reforms, labor sellouts, increased surveillance of US citizens, and only token support for environmentalism. At this time, the Biden-Harris team promises to prioritize COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change; however, once they take office, we can expect a lot of backtracking on campaign promises, with the possible exception of taking stronger measures to end the pandemic.
We already are hearing the compliant mainstream media and Democratic Party mouthpieces attempt to rein in expectations as they advocate the need for austerity, and wax ecstatic over Biden’s diverse cabinet with personal stories that ignore Biden’s cabinet members’ shady ties to big tech, finance, and the war industry.
Liberals dutifully applaud the diversity of Joe Biden’s transition team – 40% are people of color and over half are women. Though such increased representation is generally desirable, we cannot ignore that the individuals selected have been chosen for their loyalty to the corporate “neoliberal” agenda and their concerted effort to attack the left wing of the Democratic Party. A pro-corporate, anti-working class agenda is not better because its promoters better represent the diversity of the US population.
LCIP’s purpose is to build a movement to create our own party, grounded in and committed to the struggles of labor and oppressed communities. The Democratic Party claims the support of organized labor and communities of color, but it has never delivered the goods to merit that support, as it is beholden to its corporate masters.
During a devastating pandemic such as we have experienced in 2020, a pro-labor, antiracist party would fight to protect the working-class majority. Below are just a few of the policies that LCIP believes such a party should advocate for in the US:
● Redirect the $740 billion Pentagon budget to fund hospitals and to do the necessary work required to vaccinate everyone against COVID-19, as well as to meet other social needs, along with enacting the Defense Production Act to produce masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, and vaccines.
● Enact a single-payer, improved Medicare for All program to ensure that no one goes without health care due to lack of money.
● Provide housing for all who need it, no evictions and a moratorium on all rental charges.
● Create a massive jobs program, end layoffs and job cuts, continue unemployment insurance providing a living wage for all unemployed workers, including independent contractors, and full wages for all workers isolated at home.
● Repeal all anti-union laws.
● Tax the rich and end all loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid taxes.
The list above includes the immediate demands that LCIP would advocate for so that the US working class could survive the pandemic. Such a party would also demand, among many other things:
● Community control of police and the transfer of funds budgeted for police into social services.
● End mass incarceration, release all political prisoners with amnesty, especially those of the various Black, Brown, Indigenous, environmental justice and anti-war movements. Many of these political prisoners, such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, have been in prison for over 40 years.
● Full rights for immigrants and refugees, an end to ICE and release all immigrants in ICE detention centers, as well as reconnect all families torn apart by ICE detentions.
● Fully fund the public education system from preschool to college.
● Equal pay for equal work.
● Defend reproductive rights, stop forced sterilization, provide economic support to parents, and repeal state anti-abortion laws.
● End all discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
● Take climate change seriously, do what is necessary to achieve and enforce the elimination of fossil fuels, end environmental racism, and create jobs dedicated to protecting the environment and mitigating the harm caused by climate disasters.
● Rescind the Citizens United decision that allows unlimited corporate funding for candidates, restore the vote to those who have had it taken away, and ensure that all voters have safe, easy access to voting, both by mail and in person.
● Expand mass transit and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
● Bring all US troops home now.
What we know for sure is that the Democratic Party has no intention of carrying out any of these demands, even if it does gain control of both houses of Congress. The Democratic Party is a corporate party filled with those who offer tepid, if any, policies to meet the needs of the US working-class and oppressed communities. It offers empty rhetoric to appease the masses while working to ensure that the lives of the ruling class continue without adversity. This is why workers and all of the oppressed need to create our own party.
For that to happen, unions and organizations based in oppressed communities must stop supporting either the Democratic or the Republican parties. This will require internal education and caucus building within US labor unions and in our organizations to promote political independence, and a fight against the complicity of co-opted or corrupt leaderships.
For example, when many union locals, labor councils, and even a state federation called for a general strike to resist Trump’s plans for a coup, the AFL-CIO leadership should have praised, supported, and promoted this resistance. Instead, when the Vermont Federation of Labor passed such a resolution, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka sent a letter threatening to put it into receivership and deny funding. Why? Trumka and other misleaders don’t want to disrupt their cozy relationships with Democratic Party politicians, no matter how little these politicians might do to advance a pro-working class agenda.
If you agree with this statement:
● Please endorse LCIP. Go to: https://lcipcampaign.org/
● Help build local labor-community coalitions to lay the groundwork for a new party.
● Organize within your union or community organization to win support for an independent party.
● Continue militant resistance actions demanding positive change from the new administration.
No “honeymoon” for Biden and Harris!