From Trump to Biden, two different styles, same pro-capitalist policy

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
November 16, 2020

So it turns out US voters have sent Trump back to his golf course and casinos. For four years he embodied capitalist politics in its most greedy and brutal form. With his xenophobia, racism and filthy demagogy he also deepened divisions among workers, opposing whites to blacks, Americans to migrants. When the Covid-19 epidemic broke out, his main concern was to preserve employers’ profits. He therefore refused to impose any sort of lockdown or even basic measures like mask-wearing and physical distancing. This meant favoring the spread of the virus and the ensuing hecatomb which is striking US citizens—especially the poorest. The economic crisis has further deteriorated the living conditions of working people, despite Trump’s claims that he would defend them. Tens of millions of people now find themselves unemployed and dependent on food aid. Conversely, the capitalists have seen their taxes fall and their profits rise.

Biden's election was a welcome relief for those who could no longer stand Trump. But this feeling won’t last. First, Trump received 71 million votes, eight million more than in 2016. The armed militias and far-right groups he encouraged are still around. In a situation of deepening social and economic crisis, they represent a major threat for blacks, migrants and ultimately for all workers.

On this particular subject, as on any other matter, workers have nothing to expect from the Democrats and Biden. The French and European media did their best to cast Biden as the savior of mankind. But Biden entered politics in 1972, which means that he’s had plenty of time to show which class he serves: the bourgeoisie of the leading world power. As a senator for 36 years, as Obama’s vice-president for eight years, he was always loyal to the business world. Many big bosses supported him financially during the campaign. And on Monday, Wall Street and the world stock exchanges celebrated his victory. Some even say that Biden might include Republicans in his administration. They tell us that Biden will be less rude and less stupid than Trump—which shouldn’t be too difficult. But behind the veneer, the policy conducted by the US administration is bound to be the same, completely dedicated to the interests of US multinational conglomerates like Exxon, Amazon or Tesla, to name but a few.

The United States is the greatest world power and its rule is imposed on many peoples. It has supported dictatorships that served its interests (oil magnates in the Middle East, colonels and generals in Latin America). It has always supported Israel against the Palestinians. As for the regimes which refuse the US iron heel, they often end up paying a high price for their refusal to submit (like Cuba, under embargo since 1962). And many countries are purely and simply plundered by US multinationals, as are most Asian and Latin American countries.

This combined role of first robber and world policeman has been assumed by the United States regardless of which party is in power. It was a Democratic administration that engaged the country in the terrible Vietnam War. And more recently, Biden approved the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

No, things are not going to change with a new president. Elections can't change things. That’s something we know about here. Of course, every country has its distinctive characteristics. But we are familiar with alternating governments between pro-capitalist parties. Promise-makers and illusion-peddlers, xenophobic and racist demagogy as a diversion from social issues: all these ingredients of American politics, we, too, know them well! In fact, we even have our own Biden at the Élysée Palace (Macron) and Trump in the opposition (Le Pen) …

The American people also have a history of class struggle. In the 1930s, the working class mobilized massively. In the 1960s, the country was shaken by the Black Revolt, which inspired struggles around the world. More recently, after the murder of George Floyd, tens of millions of people demonstrated against racism and police brutality.

What will count in the future are the mobilizations, the struggles of the world of labor, of young people, of the oppressed. Over there and here as well, what will be essential is the capacity of the workers to lead the struggle against this capitalist class that can never get enough, and that is ready to do anything to maintain its profits.