Socialist Worker

Beware of Biden’s empty promises

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2738

Joe Biden is set to take office on 20 January.

Joe Biden is set to take office on 20 January. (Pic: Eric Haynes)


Joe Biden was set to become US president on Wednesday this week, but don’t think that means ­justice for black people or an end to attacks on workers.

The inauguration will see gushing tributes to Biden for setting the US on a path back to “business as usual” after four dark years of Donald Trump.

For the bosses that means defending their interests and creating stability for profit-making.

United Airlines, Amazon and Uber were among the multinationals that have contributed towards the costs of Biden’s ceremony and celebrations this week.

At least at the level of ­rhetoric, Biden will have to sound different to Trump.

Sweeping

He takes office with Covid-19 sweeping through the country. The US death toll has hit 400,000.

Biden is set to sign a number of executive orders on his arrival in the White House.

He plans to re-enter ­negotiations with Iran, return to the Paris climate ­agreements and to overturn Trump’s travel ban on people from Muslim majority countries.

But the substance will be much thinner than the claims. Biden won’t demand that schools close or that non‑essential workplaces shut to contain the virus.

And he won’t defend ­people’s living standards.

Biden has unveiled a £1.4 trillion coronavirus relief package. And he can pass whatever legislation he wants now that the Democrats control the presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

But the obstacle to even limited change is how far the bosses are ­prepared to go.

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Previously Biden had promised a £1,475 stimulus cheque to workers who have been hit by the virus. But now that figure has been lowered to £1,033. The other £442 was what has already been paid out last month.

This purported £1,475 cheque was instrumental in winning two major Senate seats in Georgia at the start of the month. Biden has also promised to dial back on some of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

But already it seems that the incoming president will continue to take a hard line on those who try to enter the US.

In an interview with NBC news a Biden administration official said that migrants “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately”.

Instead of Trump’s ­standalone “America First” approach, Biden is for rebuilding ties with the Nato nuclear alliance and ­traditional allies.

The aim is to reassemble a broader force to repulse rivals globally, and China in particular.

A Biden presidency means austerity, lack of real action over climate chaos and backing for war.

Unless there is opposition, he can strengthen the conditions for a continuing racist right, with or without Trump.

The movements that fought against Trump need to be mobilised more powerfully. There must be no honeymoon for Biden.


Far right thugs consider their next move ahead of presidential ceremony

As Donald Trump leaves office, the far right remains a threat.

And Joe Biden’s administration won’t push it back.

The Democrat leadership won’t even criticise the Republicans who tried to overturn Biden’s election.

Speaking to CNN news, Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain said that Republican Senators such as Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz would be welcome at the inauguration.

The FBI had warned that armed Trump supporters would protest in all of the 50 state capitals in the days before Biden’s inauguration.

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Much of Washington DC has been locked down. The National Mall, which is usually thronged with thousands of people for inaugurations, was shut at the request of the secret service.

Last Sunday there were small far right protests in states including Texas, Oregon, Michigan and Ohio. In Ohio and Oregon there were anti-fascist counter-protests.

And the leader of the fascist Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, told the USA Today newspaper that his group wouldn’t be mobilising and that he felt like “this part of the battle is over”.

Even if there aren’t major protests this week, far right activists are preparing for their next moves.

And they have allies in the US state.

So far 33 current police officers from 17 states have been identified as participating in the pro‑Trump rally that launched the invasion of the Capitol.

And in Washington DC police arrested people on weapons charges after they tried to enter the inauguration security zone this week.

Fighting the far right can’t be left to Biden or the state.

It requires mass movements from below.


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