The YCL celebrates the defeat of Donald Trump but warns – the struggle is just beginning for working people in the USA and those around the world battling US imperialism.
The US presidential election has finally concluded, Joe Biden, has become the President-Elect of the USA, and Trump’s pre-emptive declaration of victory is null and void. We stand with progressive forces celebrating a victory over Donald Trump and what his presidency represents.
Biden’s election over Trump is a victory, and it is important that this is acknowledged. However, it is clear that, from today, the fight against US capitalism and imperialism continues as it did with Trump, and Obama and Bush before. The election of a Democratic Party president has never represented any meaningful victory for the working class. Nonetheless, getting rid of Trump, and his far right associates in government, sends a message that the overt racism and misogyny associated with his presidency is impermissible.
This election has been characterised by intimidation, racist violence, and organised corruption. Trump’s attempt to call the result into question and sow the seeds for right wing violence have seen the same tactics US imperialism has used for decades around the world, most recently in Venezuela and Bolivia, come home to roost. Ruling class ‘democracy’ under capitalism, bourgeois democracy, is by its very nature fundamentally limited. However the events in the USA, the ‘most advanced’ capitalist democracy, show that even these limited rights are always under threat under capitalism and under increasing threat from the right wing in this period of sharpening crisis.
It should be remembered that the universal right to vote was only won by the collective action and mass struggle of the civil rights movement in 1965, yet we continue to observe racist voter suppression and gerrymandering. It took nearly five days for the election to be called for Biden, despite the fact he won the popular vote by over 4.5 million. We in Britain have long criticised the First Past the Post electoral system used in Westminster elections, but it is clear that the Electoral College is even more undemocratic. Indeed, the origins of the system are borne directly from slavery: it is designed to prioritise the votes of southern white voters, who are dramatically more likely to vote Republican.
Although the Democratic Party pay lip service to social advance, both major parties in the USA are structurally beholden to the long-term interests of monopoly capital. The leadership of the Democratic Party went to extraordinary lengths to prevent Bernie Sanders from running on a Democratic ticket, highlighting that they consider any redistributive economic challenge as an existential threat – perhaps rightfully, when we consider the Party’s base in Silicon Valley and among finance capital.
Indeed, on the night of the election, cyclical stocks in financial firms like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup rallied in parallel to indications of a Democrat victory. Given other results on the night, it looks increasingly likely that the Republicans will control Congress, making it more difficult for Biden to push through any legislation even remotely progressive.
A key battle line in the election, drawn between competing elements of monopoly capital, was the extent of post-coronavirus economic stimulus. Trump found himself stuck between the traditional low tax, low spending Republican base and the manufacturing states like Michigan that put him in power – states that Trump has decisively failed to deliver industrial renewal in. It would, however, be a mistake to assume that the larger economic stimulus promised by the Democrats represents victory for working people. As in Britain, the majority of these interventions are designed to shore up the interests of capital, with working people’s livelihoods maintained only as a proxy for further consumption.
Instead we are likely to see a continuation of the same, dressed up in progressive language and symbolic gestures towards grassroots movements, so long as they continue to fall short of challenging the economic root of America’s woes. The election of Kamala Harris, similarly is seen by some as a victory for feminists worldwide. But, as with Thatcher in Britain, it is clear that policies are where change is really made, and in this sense, Harris’s track record is less than ideal.
The cost of Biden’s economic stimulus will fall on ordinary working people – through cuts to the few public services that remain in the US, increasing monopolisation, the plunder of the Global South and imperialist war. The evidence for this is long-told: Biden supported the Iraq war, and has consistently voted for military intervention across the world. His victory may be seen as a success for working people in New York, but it’s unlikely to be for the people of Tehran or Caracas. Biden is also a keen supporter of Israel, and Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu has already congratulated him, citing their “forty year friendship”.
Communists in the US, have engaged both electorally, and on the streets, campaigning on crucial class issues, and agitating for structural change beyond the position of the Democratic Party. Similar to Britain, over the last four years, Communist organisations in the US have seen a reversal in fortunes, as electoral politics fails to capture the imagination and needs of the youth – amidst the largest street mobilisations and highest level of direct confrontation since the Vietnam War.
We offer our solidarity with comrades in the YCL USA, who are currently at the forefront of the struggle to defend democracy. We also note the successful mobilisations by the Party for Socialism and Liberation, whose independent Presidential campaign raised class issues.
What is abundantly clear is that Britain cannot remain shackled to the USA. Now more than ever, as we seemingly enter into a new Cold War with China, it is clear that the “special relationship” between Britain and the USA must be abolished. We desperately need an independent foreign policy independent of NATO, the EU and Yankee imperialist intervention.
So we say:
Power for all oppressed working people in the imperialist heartland!
Continue the struggle!
Down with the Empire!
Young Communist League
9 November 2020
* Statement from YCL USA – defend the votes!