By Greg Butterfield, Feb. 19, 2021
You’ve probably heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
This isn’t really true, of course. The environment, people and society are constantly changing, even down to the subatomic level. And when enough small changes accumulate, they can lead to sudden, dramatic change — even a revolution.
But one month into the Biden administration, you could be forgiven for thinking of that old platitude. Because the new Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration is laying a course to continue many of Republican Donald Trump’s anti-people policies, only with some cosmetic changes.
Politicians and mainstream media often speak of the change of presidents as a “transfer of power.” That was especially true in the case of the transition between Trump and Biden, coming after months of The Donald and his allies trying to suppress the votes of Black people and the Jan. 6 coup attempt at the Capitol.
But it’s not really a transfer of power. Only the office holders change. The capitalist system, and the super-wealthy bosses who profit from it, continue to hold real power whether a Republican or a Democrat sits in the White House or which faction has a majority in Congress.
All the way back in 1848, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels hit the nail on the head when they wrote in the Communist Manifesto, “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie” — that is, the capitalists.
Those capitalist politicians elected to high office, whether a Trump or a Biden, do so with the expectation that they will carry out the interests of the capitalist system. And while a large part of the ruling class tired of Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic and the economic crisis, they still love many of the policies he put in place, like deregulation of industry, tax cuts for the rich, and strengthening police powers.
So Biden, the new “administrator,” is expected to carry on. As he told a Wall Street fundraising event during his campaign, “Nothing would fundamentally change.”
That’s good news for Big Capital. For the rest of us, not so much….
Since the Great Depression, U.S. capitalism has relied on war to pull it out of crisis. It doesn’t matter which party is in the White House. Biden’s foreign policy moves have been especially ugly:
- Support U.S.-backed Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s illegal plan to stay in power for an additional year, until Feb. 7, 2022.
- Continue Trump’s propaganda war and military threats against China.
- Tell Iran that the U.S. will honor the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action “nuclear deal” only if Tehran goes back to observing it first — even though it was Trump that torpedoed the agreement. U.S. piracy continues against Iran-connected ships.
- Keep the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, where Trump unilaterally moved it despite international protests. Continue unfettered funding, arming and political support for the apartheid regime’s suppression of Palestinians.
- Continue to recognize self-appointed “president” Juan Guaido while refusing to open discussions with the legitimate Venezuelan government led by President Nicolas Maduro.
- Appoint many veterans of the Obama administration State Department responsible for far-right coups in Honduras, Libya and Ukraine.
Even Biden’s heralded decision to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen is deceptive at best. The U.S. will continue to arm and aid the House of Saud for so-called “defensive” purposes and build up the anti-Iran, anti-Yemen alliance in the region.
On Feb. 5, while millions of people were desperately waiting for the promised stimulus check (and are still waiting today), the Pentagon announced its first big arms sale of the Biden era — a combined $150 million in spy tools for the NATO military alliance and missiles for the right-wing regime in Chile….