Whoever wins the presidential election, conditions for the working class and oppressed will continue to be dismal. The pandemic further exposes the two-party duopoly as beholden to capital and completely unconcerned with the needs and well-being of the most vulnerable – the working class and poor, small farmers, the incarcerated and the undocumented – and in particular Black, Indigenous and people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The refusal of either party to embrace national healthcare in the midst of this health crisis is unforgivable and quite revealing.
This country was founded on the genocide of the Indigenous population and the African slave trade, so white supremacy is embedded in its DNA. The current administration has ramped up its fascist rhetoric and repression. However, racist policing, violence against workers, repression of protesters, militarized borders and imperialist wars on behalf of capital are nothing new. In fact, the Democrats provided Trump with more money for “defense” than he asked for. And both parties have participated in constructing and maintaining the violent state institutions that are designed to protect private property and uphold white supremacy.
Lessons from the 2000 stolen elections are a reminder that the Democrats are more interested in capitalist stability than justice. We cannot count on them to stand up and fight should the upcoming elections be manipulated, which is already happening. The 2016 and 2020 sabotage of Sanders’ campaign is further proof the Democrats will never stand on the side of the working class.
It is clear that these elections are a distraction from the revolutionary momentum that has gripped the streets since George Floyd’s murder and escalated in the face of the increasingly severe economic crisis. The racist police shooting of Jacob Blake followed by the murder of two protesters by a white supremacist vigilante, shows the necessity of the ongoing uprising and the urgency of the demand to abolish the police. The uprising will continue to grow as millions are thrown into the streets in an eviction tsunami and experience food insecurity as hunger increases.
People’s Strike emerged on May 1st 2020, May Day, to demand that the government provide the necessary resources to survive the pandemic, including access to health care, food, housing, social services and a universal basic income. More broadly, we called for a general strike as well as other forms of collective action and organizing, including mutual aid and cooperatives. The ultimate aims are to truly democratize institutions of governance, create sustainable modes of living and upend the power of the banks and multinational corporations to address the needs of the working class here and throughout the world. The plan was to protest monthly until our demands were met. By June 1, we naturally joined the uprising against the police, after the racist assassination of George Floyd. Sadly, “I can’t breathe” speaks to victims of COVID-19 as well as police brutality, both of which disproportionately impact Black people.
Our struggle to defeat capitalism and white supremacy is global. The US military and economic sanctions kill and cause incalculable suffering to working class people of color around the world. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, we can’t talk about domestic policy without addressing foreign policy. Until we stop spending more than half of all federal discretionary spending on the military, we will be unable to successfully fight the pandemic and the broader social, economic and ecological crisis.
While the People’s Strike is a united front coalition whose members hold a variety of views on the upcoming elections and will not be endorsing a candidate, it has become clear that voters see the 2020 elections as a referendum on Trump. While we sympathize with people’s instincts to get rid of a proto-fascist, openly white supremacist, sexist and and anti-immigrant president, we also warn that the selection of Joe Biden, one of the chief authors of the era of mass incarceration and Kamala Harris, one of its chief enforcers, is indicative that the Democrats do not represent a genuine alternative to Trump’s authoritarianism but rather a return to the neoliberal status quo which Hillary Clinton would have ushered in had she not been outmaneuvered by Trump’s nativist populism in 2016.
The Democratic convention echoed Obama’s hollow promise of hope and change, which they never intended to deliver on. The Republican convention, which looked like a fascist rally, openly declared its agenda to defend white supremacy. Whom you vote for and whether you vote is a political choice. Ultimately, we know that radical change cannot be achieved in the absence of a mass movement. People’s Strike will continue to agitate, educate, organize and mobilize for revolutionary change, regardless of who sits in the White House.
- On September 6, 2020