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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

USA: No matter who wins only a fightback will stop racism!

by Monica Moorehead

THE US election is on course for the highest turnout in a century. The outcome is on a knife edge with Trump and Biden neck and neck in key swing states. Both sides are claiming victory, but the final result may not be known for days.

There is no doubt that an unprecedented number of those votes were cast by African-Americans, particularly in the South and in urban areas where Black people reside in large, disproportionate numbers. There are political and historical reasons why voting is taken so seriously by Black people.

The main social base for the Democratic Party has been African-Americans, particularly since the Black masses in the South legally won – through mass struggle – the right to vote under the 1965 federally mandated Voting Rights Act. But there has been an ongoing threat to the exercise of this basic democratic right.

Not since the Great Compromise of 1877 – which violently stripped formerly enslaved Black people of any kind of democratic rights achieved under the radical period of Reconstruction after the Civil War – has voter suppression been so blatantly encouraged and instituted as it is now, with the vocal blessing of the Trump administration.

Those who have felony records have either lost their right to vote forever or have to go through many legal manoeuvres to win it back. With Trump’s pro-cop, racist appeal to his base of armed, neo-fascist, right-wing militias working hand-in-hand with the police, Black people and others deemed to be supporters of the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket have been physically threatened or actually attacked for attempting to vote.

Although white supremacy and police brutality have always been relied on to maintain capitalist rule, the police murder of George Floyd has caused the intensity of police brutality to be even more scrutinised.

The current crisis of police and neo-fascist violence, instigated by the White House, once again proves that the fight against the state is a key part of the Black struggle for self-determination.

It has been acknowledged that Black Lives Matter (BLM) constitutes the largest mass movement in the history of the USA, involving millions of people. This was spurred on by the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police on 28th May. Since then, protests against the police have taken place in thousands of cities and in various forms, including spontaneous strikes by professional athletes – despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

Whilst it is understandable that millions of people will breathe a sigh of relief if the Biden/Harris team defeats the Trump/Pence administration, class relations will not fundamentally change. An election cannot rectify class contradictions, even though it serves as a barometer to test the political mood within society. Ultimately, the vote boils down to which representative from one of the two major capitalist parties – Republican and Democrat – will best administer the repressive capitalist state apparatus to keep the billionaire, corporate bosses and bankers in power so they can ruthlessly exploit the workers and oppressed.

In terms of foreign policy, whilst there may be differing strategies and approaches, both Democrats and Republicans are on the same page when it comes to advancing the imperialist agenda of expanding the American empire for profits versus respecting a country’s right to sovereignty and self-determination.

Whilst it isn’t surprising that police unions have endorsed Trump, Biden has made it crystal clear that he is opposed to any BLM call to defund the police. Harris has faced criticism for being the “top cop” in California as state prosecutor before becoming senator.

The police have never been more isolated and unpopular. This has not kept their brutal tactics from being on full display in preparation for the coming struggles, including rebellions on the horizon as the economic crisis looms heavy over the coming months. This crisis will manifest itself with more massive unemployment, evictions and hunger on top of the worsening surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Democratic Party has shown itself to be ineffectual in pushing the Republicans to back a second stimulus package that could bring temporary economic relief to the hurting masses.

A militarised, occupying police presence will only bring about more capitalist instability as the masses of people become more rebellious with want and need. And whoever occupies the White House for the next four years will not be able to contain the angry masses if they are in a fighting and desperate mood.

The masses, with the aid of political left forces, will have no other choice but to confront the ruling class’s racism and white supremacy and unite to fight and organise for immediate human needs – now more than ever during this pandemic. This is why it is important to stay on the streets once the elections have come and gone – to fight for a socialist future.

Workers World (USA) abridged