The US Country Chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle decries President Biden’s “State of the Union” 2023 address as a hollow statement far removed from the everyday experiences of the common working person.
Biden’s address began by declaring, “We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it.” Not only is this statement a condescending mockery towards the crisis-driven countries the US ruling class plunders through its control of foreign investments or strangles through sanctions, it also ignores the fact that for the majority of people within the US itself, the crisis never went away. Biden declared, “Today, Covid no longer controls our lives,” and “gas prices are down $1.50 a gallon since their peak,” despite the fact that Covid is still one of the leading causes of US deaths (over one million in 2022) and gas prices hit workers’ pocketbooks hard rising over $1 a gallon more than when Biden took office in 2021.
Biden laid a series of pipe dreams for the US public regarding the economy, saying, “We’re making sure the supply chain for America begins in America.” This rhetoric of touting “Made in America” economic populism could have come straight from former President Trump. Biden celebrated the CHIPS Act that would supposedly bring semiconductor production to the US, but without a hold on critical mineral reserves from abroad, this act is a hollow promise. Biden said nothing of his Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) that would send even more manufacturing and agricultural jobs away to utilize a more highly exploitable overseas labor force, or of the US’s intention to host the elitist Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) 2023 meetings in order to push the agenda for further neoliberal globalization. Despite Biden’s promise to revitalize the US economy for the working and lower middle classes, IPEF and APEC will implement an economic framework to stabilize and expand capitalism through decreased public spending, characterized by monopoly privatization, deregulation of protections for workers and the environment, and free trade liberalization.
Next was the Democrats’ much-celebrated Infrastructure Bill: “This law will help further unite all of America.” In reality, it only unites the fossil fuel industry in stripping all climate protections (a move from Biden’s own party) in the pursuit of superprofits while placing the entire planet further on the brink of disaster and doing nothing to address working class communities, especially Black, Brown, Indigenous and migrant communities facing a crisis of deindustrialization with crumbling roads, contaminated water, dilapidated housing and other structures.
Regarding climate change disaster relief, Biden shockingly claimed, “from Puerto Rico to Florida to Idaho, we are rebuilding for the long term.” Whatever hurricane rebuilding there was last year was through hyper financialization that put more public infrastructure in the hands of the richest private firms through corporate capture. Puerto Rico itself has been left devastated and deprived of its sovereignty with foreign bankers who control its self-determination via controlling its sovereign debt.
Biden also claimed that his Child Tax Credit helped cut child poverty in half, but didn’t mention that Congress failed to renew federal waivers for free and reduced lunch, skyrocketing the cost of food for elementary and secondary schools by 254.1% last year in a move that will affect over 10 million working class families and houseless youth. He also celebrated his reduction of student debt that nonetheless left in power the lending monopolies that exist as the only option for most youth to enter higher education today, chaining them to a lifetime of debt and rising interest rates looming ahead of them.
Similarly, the former Big Pharma lobbyist Biden stated “More Americans have health insurance now than ever in history,” though he failed to clarify that nearly all of it is privately provided and not actually guaranteed by the government, nor did he mention the ending of the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration which will impact healthcare access for tens of millions.
Throughout, Biden talked up the unions of workers involved in government projects and even touted the widely worker-supported PRO Act that would make it easier to unionize. This is absolutely hypocritical as his administration has shown itself to be incredibly anti-union when it preemptively shutdown the railroad workers strike for better workplace protections and painted the workers as “holding America hostage.” It comes as no surprise since he took sizable campaign contributions from infamous union buster and multi-billionaire Amazon-owner Jeff Bezos.
Biden had the gall to mention Tyre Nichols, the Black man murdered by Memphis police officers, while he himself championed bills skyrocketing police and prison spending as a Senator in the 1990s. In 2021 total US spending on police and prisons reached $277 billion – that’s $759 million per day. Despite name dropping the George Floyd Act as a supposed solution for racist police terror, Biden also produced his Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism two years ago that only further funds police agencies and supplies them with Federal resources for increased “counter-terrorism” operations of state repression which targets activists protesting police brutality and other injustices and puts them on the same plane as the white nationalists who stormed the US Capitol in 2020 blanketly calling all of them terrorists.
After serving as Vice President for so-called “Deporter in Chief” Obama and following the openly fascist border militarization and concentration camps of Trump, Biden is proudly walking in both of their footsteps as more and more migrants flee US-backed violence in their homes and risk losing their lives in the deserts of northern Mexico and Southern US, and at the hands of Border Patrol and ICE. Referring to Republicans’ efforts to thwart him on immigration policy reform, he pleaded in his address, “at least pass my plan to provide the equipment and officers to secure the border.”
Referencing the Supreme Court’s dismantling of Roe V. Wade legal protections, Biden feigned support for women’s rights saying “Make no mistake; if Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it.” Biden’s economic policies, however, have done little to help working women who continue to suffer discrimination in the workplace and rising costs of family-rearing at home. The Democrats have been no champions for working women, but need to appear as if they are to save their voter base. This sentiment is therefore a political bargaining chip for Biden and the Democrats to win over voters dissatisfied with the Republicans led now by Speaker of the House and January 6th sympathizer Kevin McCarthy at a time when political tensions between both parties are at the highest boiling point since just before the Civil War.
Yet, where both parties agree is on the US’s continued military wardrumming. Biden decried Russia’s actions in Ukraine as, “A murderous assault, evoking images of the death and destruction Europe suffered in World War II,” hoping that the world has forgotten the horrors of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Yemen and many other countries the US has devastated for global political dominance since 1945. Biden declared, “We will stand with you [Ukraine] as long as it takes,” but this means continuing to arm Ukraine, preventing the conditions for peace and lining the pockets of the richest arms manufacturers like Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, whose combined earnings totaled around $50 billion between July and September 2022 alone. He then made an ominous and provocative statement towards China: “Those who bet against America are learning just how wrong they are.” As the US continues to position its armed forces and military alliances within the Indo Pacific region, this comment should raise alarm to all those who aspire for peace against the US’s path towards full global domination .
Biden’s closing rang hollow when he claimed, “the State of the Union is strong.” He made his class stand clear saying , “I’m a capitalist,” while admitting the reality of corporate tax fraud in the US with a weak response, “But just pay your fair share.” Capitalists have never paid their fair share – everything about their “share” of wealth comes from the labor of those who have no say in the political direction of the country – the working class. The “union” of the US is nothing less than an antagonistic class struggle. The facts underlie the true reality – the majority of the people within the US, working and oppressed, are struggling more than ever to get by, and the ruling imperialist union is dying and desperate.
How should we, the working and oppressed people of the US and our mass organizations, respond accordingly to this union of the exploiters shoring up their failing strength from the sweat and blood of our backs? The ILPS-US carries the call from our recently held 2nd National Assembly to Fight for our Rights, Lives and Planet and Unite Against the Dying, Desperate US Empire!
To read our full National Assembly Declaration, our position on the true state of the people and our united opposition to the Biden regime’s false State of the Nation, read it here: https://ilpsusinfo.wordpress.com/declaration-of-the-ilps-us-2nd-national-assembly/