On November 7, the French POID had intended to organize a mass rally. The rally was not authorized by the authorities. The POID then said they wished to demonstrate. The demonstration was banned. A video rally was organised with the participation of thousands of workers. Comrade Alan Benjamin editor of Socialist Organizer (Etats-Unis) spoke at the rally. We are publishing his speech.
As I speak to you today, Joe Biden has not yet been declared the winner in the presidential election, though his victory is all but assured. He is just hours away from being declared the new president of the United States.
Biden’s victory – with roughly 75 million votes – represents a massive repudiation of Trump and his policies.
This vote against Trump was the expression in the electoral arena of the massive strikes of teachers, often illegal, against Trump’s drive to destroy public education.
It was an expression of the 24 million people who took to the streets earlier this year to protest the police killing of George Floyd.
It was an expression of the anger over the deaths of 240,000 people in the United States from COVID-19.
It was an expression of the millions opposed to the caging of immigrant children and the separation of their parents, of the massive destruction of the environment — and so much more.
Biden’s main campaign message was that he’s a “unifier.” He is someone who can bring Democrats and Republicans together again. He is someone who can bring workers and bosses together to “rebuild the economy in the interests of all Americans.” He is someone who can restore the United States’ “prestige” worldwide.
Many analysts point to the fact that the Black vote for Biden was double the number obtained by Hillary Clinton in 2016. This is true. But in no sector of the Black working class was there any enthusiasm for Biden, who is viewed widely as the architect of policies that criminalize Black people. “Biden is no friend of Black people,” stated an elderly woman in Maryland interviewed on PBS who had never voted in an election. “But this time around I had to vote for Biden; it was a question of survival for me and my family.”
Socialist Organizer did not call for a vote for Biden or for Trump
Having said this, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the Democrats were hoping for a landslide victory against Trump — and that landslide never materialized. The Democrats failed to take back the Senate or increase their majority in the House of Representatives, as they had predicted. This stunned the Democrats. It is producing a major crisis inside the Democratic Party, with the “moderate” wing blaming the “progressive” wing for being too “socialist,” and with the “progressives” blaming the moderates for failing to articulate a coherent program.
Neither wing of the Democratic Party, of course, is capable of drawing the only conclusion to be drawn: You cannot defeat the Republicans with Democratic candidates and policies that do no differ fundamentally from those of the Republicans. And the reason these policies do not differ — and cannot differ — is because both parties are funded and controlled by the same financial and corporate interests.
That is why it’s essential for working people to break with these two parties of capitalism.
That is why Socialist Organizer, the organization on whose leadership body I serve, did not call for a vote for Biden or for Trump – both candidates of the capitalist class. We raised the need for a Labor Party and for a Black Workers Party linked to the struggle for a Labor Party. In September, we organized a labor and community conference with over 200 unionists and community activists in attendance from across the country to chart the way forward by running independent labor candidates at a local level.
We called for the labor movement to heed and implement the 2017 resolutions adopted by the AFL-CIO that raise the need to break with “lesser-evil” politics.
We have also put forward a fighting platform that calls for:
– Single-payer healthcare;
– No cuts in social services; no layoffs or concessions to pay back the capitalist debt — Bail Out Main Street, Not Wall Street!
– Massive public-works funding to put the 30 million jobless back to work at union scale;
– Massive funding for hospitals, Proper Protective Equipment, and research to address the scourge of COVID-19, which has taken four times the number of lives of US soldiers who died in Vietnam;
– Defund the police and redirect the funding to vitally needed social programs;
– Stop the deportations of undocumented immigrants, shut down the detention centers and repeal the NAFTA 2.0 “free trade” agreement!
These are policies that neither of the twin parties of the bosses is able or willing to embrace and act upon.
Wall Street needs to restore stability of the institutions in crisis
While Biden is certain to be declared the winner some time today, this does not mean that the issue of the transfer of powers has been settled. Far from it.
Donald Trump issued a very ominous declaration the day after the November 3 election — a declaration he has reiterated repeatedly: « If you count the legal votes, I easily win the election! If you count the illegal and late votes, they can steal the election from us. » He insisted that he would not stand by and let this happen.
Donald Trump Jr. took it a step further, proclaiming that, “We must fight to the death” and “This is total war.”
We cannot underestimate the seriousness of these threats, however frivolous the allegations of « illegal votes » may be. Trump has vowed not to concede the election; he is filing hundreds of lawsuits and hoping that the Supreme Court will save him.
It is far from clear that Trump will get anywhere with these allegations of « illegal votes. » The consensus among the political establishment is that Trump does not have a legal leg to stand on. Leading Republican figures, including past Republican presidential candidates, are peeling off from Trump. Some are offering to meet with Biden to propose cabinet members, including the Secretary of State, who could be supported by both Democrats and Republicans.
The dominant wing of the capitalist class — including the Army and national security apparatus — has sent clear signals that it would prefer to see Trump pack his bags and exit the scene peacefully. The stability of the political institutions of capitalism — which Trump is disrupting — is at stake.
Besides, a Biden administration, hemmed in by a Republican Senate and framed by Biden’s announced quest to « heal the divide » with the Republicans, may just be what Wall Street needs to ensure passage of the Draconian budget cuts necessary to pay back the mounting debt and open the way to yet another « jobless recovery » that lines the pockets of Big Business and the bankers.
But Trump and his minions, emboldened by the roughly 71 million votes received in this election, appear to have other ideas — and we cannot exclude a very chaotic next couple of weeks, even months.
It is up to the American workers’ movement to defend democratic conquests
A significant wing of the U.S. labor movement, together with labor’s allies in the Black and Latino movements, have come forward to fight any attempt by Trump to steal the election.
Hundreds of labor resolutions and statements have been adopted to stop a planned coup, many calling for rolling strikes and even a nationwide general strike.
Later today, rallies and marches led by the labor movement and its community allies will be held nationwide to defend the democratic right to vote — to insist that counting every vote is not « promoting a coup, » as Trump has declared; quite the opposite.
In the San Francisco Bay Area a rally and march will be held in downtown San Francisco as all five Bay Area labor councils come together to defend the democratic right to vote against the Trump coup-plotters.
We will keep you informed of our ongoing activities.
San Francisco , November 7, 7 am