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Voices from the US—‘I’m cheering, but we need to put pressure on’

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Issue 2730
Building movements such as Black Lives Matter will be key in the months ahead
Building movements such as Black Lives Matter will be key in the months ahead (Pic: Jason Hargrove/Flickr)

In the wake of the Joe Biden’s election win, activists and trade unionists in the US spoke to Socialist Worker about what the election means – and what the tasks are for activists now.

“There was a lot of cheering in my area.

We had a big family barbecue when we were sure the threat of Trump term two had gone.

It was such a terrible prospect that Trump would win again, and when the early results came in I thought it was happening.

My union, the communications CWA union, worked very hard to persuade its members to get behind Biden.

There were phone calls, text messages, spreading the word on social media and through conversations with friends, family members and co-workers.

At one level I’m ok with that. Trump had to go.

But I’m uneasy with putting all our hopes in Biden.

I know he’s not going to deliver what we need to move away from the crisis we are facing.

So while I’m cheering I am also saying we need to start working to put a lot of pressure on—within the Democrats but also outside the mainstream of politics.”

Raymond, Verizon worker, New York

It’s up to us to constantly pressure Biden

I can’t think of anything more important for the health and safety of our country than Trump losing and leaving office.

I have little confidence in Joe Biden or any Democrat pushing for any substantial change.

But I hope that Biden will at least try to lead some sort of strategy against Covid-19, that he will undo the immigration bans and free the kids from cages on the southern border.

Celebrations at Trump’s defeat, but Biden is not the answer
Celebrations at Trump’s defeat, but Biden is not the answer
  Read More

I want him to help push through some sort of economic relief for the massive number of unemployed people and businesses suffering due to Trump’s failure to lead on Covid-19 and re-commit us to the Paris climate agreements.  

The Democrats ran a hands-off campaign that didn’t push any new ideas and didn’t have much substance beyond “Biden isn’t Trump.”  

The left will need to take advantage of the moment and keep people politically engaged if we want to win any of the things we’ve fought for for so long. 

We will need to radicalise people and educate them about our causes and help make the connections for people about Trump, racism, and capitalism. 

It feels like American liberals blame Trump when they should be looking at the underlying ills of this country that allowed him to gain power.  .  

For a while during recent the Black Lives Matter protests it seemed like a lot of liberals and self-proclaimed progressives were starting to begin to recognise systemic racism and its effects.  

Covid-19 and the election cycle seems to have distracted people from that message. 

I hope we can re-capture their attention and continue to educate and activate more people.  

I’m inspired by the grassroots organising in Georgia led by Democrat Stacey Abrams that has hopefully led to an electoral victory in what has always been a Republican state. 

Ultimately Biden will probably try to build alliances with more moderate Republicans and continue to thwart any efforts that would harm capitalists.

It will be up to us to keep constant pressure on him to do the right thing.

Kristine Mayle, teacher and trade unionist

People will want action from new president 

As you can see from the election, this country is divided over Trump. In cities like New York City and Chicago, voters will be delighted, but Trump supporters may take to the streets in rural parts of the country. 

From a New York perspective I was surprised at how close the result was nationally. 

The reason it has been so close is that Biden is a terrible choice. As Democrat members turn towards the left, they have been forced with Biden to back a right-winger for president.

People are organising protestsHundreds appeared the last two nights in Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park. 

Biden has said that nothing will significantly change, and for the centrists, this will be fine.

But for activists that want Medicare for All, Universal Basic Income, Rent Relief, Legalised Marijuana, and no fracking, they will demonstrate as they did against Trump. 

Biden may continue deporting immigrants as Obama did. He will do nothing for the more than 500,000 homeless people in our country. And if Congress does nothing to help the people that lost jobs because of Covid-19, there will be an additional 40,000,000 homeless.

Mike McCabe, Green Party member, New York

‘We need an economy for the people, not the wealthy’

“For me, the DSA has to have a variety of approaches and not be centred solely around electoral work. 

I think we need to continue what we’ve always been doing, which is building a mass movement of millions of working class people.

We need to bring about a government and economy that is for and by the people, not the wealthy few.

I think this doesn’t mean just providing a critique of the Biden administration.

It also means agitating and starting action in all corners of the country for real material change. 

That might look like supporting local and regional unions and worker coalitions.

It could mean fighting for better wages and worker protections. 

We must also put pressure on local leaders to fight for Medicare for All and advocate for a Green New Deal.”

Jason Kobielus, one of the co-chairs of Birmingham Democratic socialists of America (DSA)

How to stop a worse Trump

“We believe that Donald Trump losing solves nothing.

People like Biden made it possible for Trump to win in 2016.

Now we have a few years until the next and potentially worse Trump comes along. 

Our job in the DSA is to try and pull Wichita citizens to the left. 

And while I don’t think that the DSA is a revolutionary organisation by any means, I think we’re in a unique position to bring over more liberal or moderate people to socialist ideas.

A stepping stone if you will.”

Spencer, member of Wichita Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

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