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The Biden Cabinet picks and why our movements can’t let up now

December 6, 2020

It’s been just over a month now since the November 3rd election. While Donald Trump has been resistant to conceding the election results, it is pretty clear that his time in the White House is coming to an end.

Since the November election, President Elect Biden and his transition team have been busy with selecting people to be part of his cabinet. Many of the selections have been people who are entrenched in the party and part of the establishment, particularly in the private sector.

For those of us working on the ground and in the streets as part of social movements have been very disappointed in some of the selections, we are not surprised at all. It is the belief amongst many working within social movements, that the election was a referendum against Donald Trump and not a resounding pro-Biden vote.

Like most reasonable people, those of us in movement politics are glad that Trump now has his walking papers, but we also recognize that the incoming Biden administration will continue the kinds of policies that normalizes Neo-Liberal capitalism, US imperialism, White Supremacy and a mild reformist approach to one of the most urgent crisis humanity faces, the climate crisis.

Many of us on the group fighting for radical social change and collective liberation in our communities are fully aware of the fact that we will have to push just as hard to make the changes we want to see with a Biden administration as we have during the Trump years. We also recognize that, like in previous years, when a Democrat was elected president, that too many people became relaxed and didn’t mobilize and push for more substantive change. During the Obama/Biden eight years, the wealth gap continued to grow in the US, which led to the Occupy Wall Street movement, and police murder of Black people increased, which led to the Black Lives Matter movement, just to name two main issues of oppression that affected millions in the US. Having said that, we cannot afford to relax with the incoming Biden administration. As the late historian Howard Zinn taught us, real change happens because of what we do in the streets, not so much what we do in the in the voting booth.

The graphic we put together here, includes some of the more prominent Biden cabinet picks. Of course, these are just nominations and the Senate, if controlled  by the GOP, could block even these establishment picks. If that happens, it is possible that the next choices might be even more conservative and entrenched in systems of power and oppression.

However, for right now, it is important that we come to terms with the reality of who will likely be in the Biden administration, we need to keep fighting on multiple fronts and in the movements that have the capacity to make substantive an structural change – Black Lives Matter, Immigration Justice movement, Climate Justice movement, Housing Justice movement, Defunding the Police and so many more. 

Lastly, I want to quote something that historian and activist Barbara Ransby said recently on Democracy Now! 

“And so, we have to fight for people in these positions of power that are going to respond to our demands, but we also have to organize to make those demands as loudly, as persistently as possible. So, you know, the group The Frontline, which was a coalition to defeat Trump, has called for actions on Inauguration Day in Washington to do exactly that, to push for a progressive agenda. And so, we need to be supporting movements like that, as well. I mean, we can get a less bad appointment out of Joe Biden in some of these Cabinet positions, and that is important. I am all about, you know, increasing the margin of possibility in that arena, but also really about the importance of building a movement in this period and not forgetting the neoliberal politics of a Joe Biden — Joe Biden who took us into the war in Iraq and supported the crime bill and all of these things that helped to put us in the position we’re in now. So there’s a lot of work for movement organizers to do. Being attentive to these Cabinet posts is one of them, but certainly not the only.”

Below are a list of links, which provide more details and analysis of the Biden cabinet choices that are included in the graphic.

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