Four years ago Boston saw massive protests against the incoming Trump administration. Tens of thousands of people joined together in the streets to defend immigrant rights, women’s rights, Muslims, and the credibility of science. Today we are counting down the days until we don’t have to see Trump in the daily news cycle anymore. But the mood in the streets is starkly uncelebratory.
Underneath Biden’s rhetoric of national unity, he has promised little more than band-aids for gaping wounds like the climate crisis, health care crisis, and housing crisis. Biden’s plan to send a one time stimulus check of $1,400 will be small consolation to those who are out of work, sick, unable to pay rent, and drowning in debt. Add to this an armed hard right movement that took the capitol building on January 6th with no resistance from protesters and little resistance from Capitol Police. The electoral victory of the Democrats in 2020 feels a whole lot like another defeat.
We should not forget that Joe Biden was resurrected from obscurity less than a year ago to defeat an insurgent Bernie Sanders who was cruising toward a primary victory. Barack Obama made a few phone calls, Biden’s competitors dropped out, and the corporate media circled the wagons to defeat Sanders. The mantra that being more centrist made Biden more electable was never confirmed by polls or election results, but it was enough to defeat Democratic Party reformers. While we defend the election results from conspiracy theories and their armed right-wing adherents, we must also assert our right to demand more from Biden.
Trump has set expectations for Biden incredibly low. A demobilized left has given Biden a free hand to stuff his cabinet with war hawks and austerity advocates left over from the Obama administration and other allies from his past. Even the Democratic Party’s progressive wing has been mum on their banner issues like Medicare for All, abolishing ICE, and a Green New Deal, while falling in line to re-elect Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker.
On Inauguration Day a coalition of organizations are coming together to re-take the initiative for a progressive agenda with a rally on the Boston Common at 4 pm. Security will be a priority as everyone will be asked to wear masks and practice physical distancing. A top priority will be to demand economic security for working people without wasting billions on corporate welfare. A real Green New Deal is necessary to create millions of good new jobs, recover the economy, and set us on a path for climate stability by 2030. The suffering and death caused by the coronavirus must translate into the political will to replace the current patchwork of private health insurance with universal health care. We also need real solutions to the other pandemic of police brutality with impunity that has burdened communities of color for generations.
John Andrews, Secretary of the Green-Rainbow Party, said, “We are relieved to see President Trump leave office, since he is one of the most incompetent and corrupt presidents in our history. However, we must now join with many other progressive organizations and individuals to say that there must be no honeymoon for Biden.”
Current coalition partners include: The Boston May Day Coalition, Mass Peace Action, Green-Rainbow Party, The New Democracy Coalition, Extinction Rebellion, Socialist Alternative, North American Indian Center of Boston, United American Indians of New England, Refuse Fascism, The Boston Labor Solidarity Committee, and the Boston Independent Socialist Group.
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Matthew Andrews is a home energy rater and member of the Green-Rainbow Party in Newton.