When President Joseph Biden went on television to deliver his first presidential address March 11, it was to tout the Democratic Party-controlled Congress passing his $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan.” He claims it puts “working people in this nation first.” But the bill contains nothing to reverse the massive unemployment that has battered millions of workers for over a year.
Nine million more people are unemployed than a year ago.
Biden says Democrats govern for “all Americans” and everyone should work together for the “common purpose.” But the capitalist ruling families — who own the factories, banks and all the means of production — and working people — who own nothing but our labor power — have no “common purpose.” Our class interests are in sharp conflict.
The rising insecurities and hardships facing millions today are a product of social relations based on class exploitation. The ruling capitalist families are trying to boost profit rates by stepping up assaults on workers’ wages and conditions. And they’re using the mounting competition among workers for jobs — intensified by government lockdowns — to help do that. This setup is loyally defended by all wings of both the Democratic and Republicans parties.
Instead of putting people back to work, Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan will send some workers a “stimulus” check. Those who qualify — it’s means-tested —get a one-time payment that can help meet some bills. But what workers need is jobs, to be at work alongside their co-workers, where they can fight to defend their wages and working conditions.
Gloating that the “era of big government” is back, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman brags that the “stimulus” includes a new tax break for families with children. He defends it, saying that “nobody will be able to live on child support.”
And he has to admit that the dismantling of “welfare as we know it” was driven through by President Bill Clinton and continued under Barack Obama. This deepened the economic crisis for millions of working people. Like Biden, nowhere does he raise the real question — the fight for jobs for all who need them.
“The Socialist Workers Party calls for a government-funded public works program to provide millions of jobs at union-scale wages building schools, hospitals, child care and other things workers need,” Gerardo Sánchez, Socialist Workers Party candidate for City Council in Dallas, told the Militant.
Like the “stimulus” package adopted under former President Donald Trump, Biden’s measures are primarily aimed at covering losses of the bosses. Biden also bails out indebted state governments, especially those where Democrats hold power. The difference in the approach of the two administrations is that Biden and his liberal supporters seek to build up a “big government,” to exert control over workers, who they consider incapable of running their own lives. And who they increasingly fear will rise up against the effects of the capitalist crisis bearing down on us.
Biden is using the bill’s passage to bolster his party’s political support in preparation for elections in 2022 and 2024. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced a publicity tour beginning in Pennsylvania and Georgia, states they narrowly won in November.
As the administration pursues its course to defend capitalist interests, the FBI is widening its probe of the few hundred militia members, conspiracy theorists and some Donald Trump supporters who entered Congress Jan. 6.
About 300 have already been charged. Agents are trying to find ways to pin conspiracy charges on any of them they can, bolstering these thought-control laws. One target is Stewart Rhodes, a founder of the Oath Keepers militia, even though Rhodes urged its members not to bring weapons to Washington Jan. 6.
Former federal prosecutor Peter Skinner advised the FBI how to get conspiracy charges to stick. If there is a problem finding evidence, he says, the best way to convict “is by flipping someone who will testify” — that is, threatening them with hard time unless they finger those the government wants to take down.
Conspiracy laws undermine rights
Sedition and conspiracy charges target people for what they say and think, not what they do. They have been used for decades to frame up militant trade unionists, Black rights fighters, leaders of the Socialist Workers Party and others. Regardless of who such laws are aimed at today, they will be used in the years ahead against those the ruling class really fears — workers and farmers fighting to prevent the bosses and their Democratic and Republican parties from offloading the capitalist crisis on our shoulders.
The hunt for “domestic terrorists” is aimed at justifying the Democrats’ drive, backed by Trump’s opponents in the Republican Party machine, to prevent him from ever running for office again. If possible, they hope to crush him under a barrage of civil suits, tax investigations and every other possible avenue. They aim to prevent the millions who voted for Trump from being able to do so again.
Liberals’ bitter and enduring hatred of Trump is rooted in their contempt for those “deplorables” who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Biden. They view working people as racist and backward.
“The ruling class and both its political parties consider workers and farmers to be ‘trash,’” Sánchez said. “But working people in our millions will prove we are capable of organizing to resist what they do to us.
“As we discover our self-worth in the course of our struggles, working people will build our own party, a labor party, to fight to replace the rule of the capitalist class with a workers and farmers government,” Sánchez said.