I’m always elated when symbols of the far-Right get broken. The demise of predatory misogynists such as Weinstein, the end of South African Apartheid, the bankruptcy of the British National Party, the defeat of racist Trump – all moments in history offering me renewed faith in humanity and hope for the future.
Actually, they’re not moments at all but events in a continuous process. It took millions of women’s voices to shout out “Me Too” on the streets to have just one serial rapist jailed. The suffering through torture and murder of tens of thousands lead to the scale of global outrage and protest that finally dismantled the Boer’s white supremacist government. The thousands clashing with Police from Cable Street, through Lewisham and Welling to the mass campaign to defeat “Tommy Robinson”, many an Anti-Fa losing their livelihoods and opportunities for life through unjust arrests, altogether ensured that British fascism has never, to date, taken hold.
And Trumpism? There can be no doubt that the tens of millions actively involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement in the USA and beyond, the neighbourhood and community organising to expose and counter his cuts to Welfare and Health services, the teachers strikes for better funding for working class communities, and, not least, the millions on the streets challenging Trump’s Climate Denial, all built the foundation to Trump’s demise.
It is, therefore, simply not true that Biden has won the US Presidential Election, despite all the World’s media shouting the message out this morning. It is a victory, absurdly narrow and momentary, for the people who care so much as to put themselves out enough to build the vote, to campaign tirelessly and to hold their noses in support of another Billionaire figure of the very Establishment they are in constant struggle with. It was only a vote in a ballot, and a moment in time.
All these struggles continue, hopefully unabated, essential to be escalated. The process of seeking social justice for all appears still in it’s infancy given the scale and span of human history, and is certainly far from concluded: organised and institutional racism is still endemic; the scale of abuse against women is pervasive across all societies; and neo-fascism is rebuilding and growing fast on all continents.
This accurately labelled “descent into barbarism” is the product of the crisis of the system capitalism. Capitalism’s reliance upon Debt, corruption and more-than-all-that, exploitation of people and planet, ensures that we are subject to the most amplified and accelerating tensions on all fronts.
Trump’s defeat may offer us momentary pleasure but we can be excused for wondering why we still feel a tension and despondency in our hearts.
It is at this point, all issues, all paths, all fights must be informed by and focussed through the prism of global heating and the urgency of emissions reduction if we are to survive, let alone win the ultimate prize of Peace with social justice, self-determination and agency.
Biden will deliver absolutely nothing of this. My friends, family and co-activists are shouting with joy today that Biden has promised to have the USA sign up to the Paris Accord again, “on the first day of his Presidency”. We’ll see, but in any case the Paris Accord was woefully inadequate to address the threat of climate collapse projected in 2016 let alone in the light of the escalating emissions crisis since that time. It is a weak backstop brought to the fore in aid of Greenwash – the appearance of doing something whilst doing nothing. We should have no illusions.
Biden is a tried and tested protector of the status quo in an era when staying the same is a universal death warrant. For decades he has represented the Washington consensus crossing Party boundaries to protect the interests of Business. He was a backroom architect and ultimately vice-President through a period of the Democrats’ right wing “third way” policies: neoliberal free-trade agreements, huge tax-payers gifts to banks, “tough-on-crime” anti-working class legislation and militarisation of the Police, not to mention cuts to welfare spending and services. His President Obama waged more war with imperialist intentions than has Trump. The Black Lives Matter movement was forced into existence during the reign of a Black President!
His alternative Party of the Ruling Class, boastfully emulating moral and intellectual (as well as financial) superiority, appears to represent the middle class liberals, technocrats and professionals whilst really continuing the project of the financiers and Big Business Capitalists. If that sounds like an allegation from Trump’s populist base its’ because it is. Every Great Lie has to have a kernel of Truth for it to work.
Trump’s speeches this week maintained the Great Lie that his is the true voice of the working class. Biden’s persona of dignity and fair play only fed on the feelings of indignation and anger by a population largely without opportunity, effective healthcare or education. That’s why the vote was larger than ever before, and so many Black and working class people voted for Trump as to make “Biden’s victory” so thin.
Far-right populism isn’t going away, and neither will Trump’s army whether he continues as leader or not. And this climate-denying movement will offer Biden every opportunity to limit and water-down any measures against global heating emissions that could make a real difference. In other words, the two men symbolise the two-sides of the same coin – the continuation of the System that is destroying the world.
Just for this moment, we progressives deserve a well-earned sigh of relief that Trump has lost a second term as President of the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. But, if we remain honest to ourselves we cannot feel joy or satisfaction. We can only gear ourselves up for the inevitable fights against the next President and everything he stands for. The demand has to be System Change, not symbolic change! Our existence depends upon it.