Socialist Worker

‘We’re learning that our power is stronger together‘ —Activists in the US speak out

As millions of people submit their votes in the US election today Socialist Worker spoke to activists about their thoughts before the results are announced

Issue No. 2729

Anti-Trump placards decorated the fence in front of the White House ahead of Tuesdays presidential election

Anti-Trump placards decorated the fence in front of the White House ahead of Tuesday's presidential election (Pic: PA)


Megan Romer 

Member of the Democratic Socialists of America in Louisiana

you see Americans on social media saying, “Why didn't we protest like this when we found out about family separation at the border?” Well, it’s because we weren't organised but we’re getting there!

I’m a socialist and Joe Biden was not my preferred candidateif anything, he was pretty close to the bottom of my list. That being said, I have already cast my vote for him because I believe in voting for harm reduction and I believe that Trump is uniquely dangerous.

I think there's a widespread desire for a return to normalcy and steadiness.

Trump’s presidency has been chaotic and people want the steadiness that came with, well, pretty much every president in any living person’s memory.

Megan Romer

Megan Romer


Biden is seen as an inoffensive moderate, which appeals to a broad spectrum of the voting population.

I think it’s really hard to criticise his campaign because campaigning during a pandemic is very much a build-the-plane-while-you-fly-it situationthere’s no formula here.

Coronavirus has been an absolute, barely mitigated disaster in the United States. We’ve had weak guidance at a federal level and instead see a cobbled-together set of state and local responses.

There are claims that the economy is booming but my anecdotal evidence has everyone I know in pretty tough shape financially.

We don’t have a national healthcare plan and a pandemic really exposes how amoral that is.

Protests

Really, all Trump has going for him is racism, plus the financial support of the ruling class.

But honestly, I think racism pretty well does the trick on its own. He spends a good deal of his time at rallies going after Kamala Harris. This is not accidental.

As I’ve been doing a lot of phone banking for various candidates and I’ve come across the Kamala-is-a-violent-BLM-socialist trope several times. I mean I wish she was a socialist!

I don't know that a Biden election will cause an immediate change in anyone’s life or livelihood, but I do think he will likely give much more to a strong coronavirus task force. This could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

He claims that he’ll raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour, which would be good for the working class, and if he can get a childcare plan in place, that would also be a big help.

We desperately need major Covid-19 stimulus, a Green New Deal, and Medicare for All, and we also need to abolish ICE and abolish and rebuild our entire criminal justice system.

But we can’t wait for the federal government to come around, we absolutely have to organise and build power and use that power not only to change the narrative but to actually change things.

Union density in the US is incredibly low overall and very few Americans are involved in any level of organising.

But when you see massive protests in other places, like the ones in Poland this week, you see Americans on social media saying, “Why didn't we protest like this when we found out about family separation at the border?”

Well, it’s because we weren't organised but we’re getting there!

I’m a DSA member and I’m very enthusiastic about growing the organisation. We’re at something like 80,000 now with a goal of 100,000 by 2021.

We’re also seeing a newfound interest in unions and issue-based organising groups such as Moms Demand Action. But also smaller regional groups are seeing an uptick, from political reading clubs to groups formed around local campaign issues.

I think we’re learning that our power is stronger together. But we still have this strain of individualism that was forced on us. It’s something that we need to shake off.

We gain liberty by organising, not the other way around.


Toby, left wing writer and journalist who writes about US electoral politics

The Settle for Biden hashtag on social media has been a popular one - Toby told Socialist Worker why they believe that it has become so.

I do think that Biden and Harris aren't good politicians. I don’t think they will be able to pacify the movements with empty platitudes like Obama did.

The Settle for Biden campaign is an admission that Biden is an establishment Democrat with no vision that meets the urgency of the current moment.

However, there is an element of harm reduction under a Biden administration. Particularly when it comes to the pandemic ravaging the US disproportionately.

There is also the importance of a left movement choosing the person they want to go up against.

This echoes the sentiments displayed in France back in their election; where the communists and socialist called to "Vote for the Crook and not the fascist".

With Biden left wing politicians in Congress will have more influence and power. Which is very much needed in the current American political landscape.

Should the Democrats also take the senate, Bernie Sanders would be the chair of the budget committee and the chair of the Senate subcommittee on health.

This would bring some progressive change as he would be in a greater position to put pressure on the administration and move them to the left.

There would also be more progressive and socialist representatives in Congress

There is also an urgent need to expand the supreme Court and only a democratic administration, senate and house would be able to do so.

But despite all this, I do think that Biden and Harris aren't good politicians. I don’t think they will be able to pacify the movements with empty platitudes like Obama did.

The situation in the US is terrible. I mean even the idea of putting these crises on a neoliberal administration is a great opportunity to radicalise the well meaning Liberal electorate to the left.


Mike McCabe

Member of The Green Party in New York

My biggest fear is that if Biden wins, everybody will stay home and be quiet for the next four years.

In my opinion, Biden is arrogant to the point of nausea. What politician tells voters to vote for the other guy or says to black people that if they don't vote for him, they are not black?

This is an especially shocking statement when Biden's crime bill is partially responsible for our prisons being filled with black and brown people.

If Trump does lose, there is no doubt it would be because of mishandling the virus.

Capitalists can't help but balance the dollar against the lives of the people. Many in this country, including Trump and many Republican governors, refused to close down their states.

Mike McCabe

Mike McCabe


Trump's delivery from the start has had people shocked; it is offensive to people. I think that is part of the dislike for him. A Trump loss would be a good thing for the country, not because I think Biden is better, but the Democrats would not be destroying our democracy trying to unseat Trump.

My biggest fear is that if Biden wins, everybody will stay home and be quiet for the next four years.

Many people in the US do not see themselves as working class. People working in offices with pleasant surroundings don't understand that they too are working class.

Most of our manufacturing has been sent to other countries diluting unions of the power they once had.

The union leaders ignore the rank and file and side with the corporate elites. I see that your teachers are calling for strikes, ours too, but leaders oppose it.

I only see things getting harder to change, and revolution is the answer. Reforms do not and will not work for the people.

What should we do after the election? I've told many to go to Washington and demonstrate, no matter which candidate wins.


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