On Biden’s Opening Days in Office

Statement from Chicago Antiwar Coalition, February 15, 2021

Biden has been very active in his opening days in office. To assess this and his general political stand, the Chicago Anti-War Coalition has published a Statement on his nominations and appointments to Cabinet and other positions. And CAWC has published its analysis of Biden’s Inauguration Day speech.

The Executive Orders and Proclamations and Memorandums have legal status, though they are not as strong as legislation passed by Congress. We find that some of Biden’s Orders are positive for the people. Other parts are not so positive, or are more appearance of positive change than really positive change.

Our overall conclusion is, as we have said previously:  Be on guard against Biden.

Biden is a pragmatic politician and representative of the U.S. ruling class who has shown he is ready to take imperialist actions on other countries. Biden is interested in the people at home from the standpoint of what they can do for the economy and the profits of the big banks and corporations, and strengthening the home base for attacks on countries abroad.

Part 2a. The First Day in Office

Now we will assess one Executive Order or Proclamation at a time, starting with ones passed on Inauguration Day, January 20.

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Biden issued orders on dealing with global warming/climate change on his first day as President, signaling this as a priority. Let us look at the orders, and the content behind them. The Biden approach has serious limitations in addressing this existential crisis. This means we need to keep informed and be vigilant and active on this issue. We cannot sit back and depend on the Biden Administration.

The January 20 Executive Order “On Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” opens with a false statement: “Our Nation has an abiding commitment to empower our workers and communities; promote and protect our public health and the environment…

This is followed by a pledge to “be guided by the best science…,” reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to hold polluters accountable, “including those who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities.”

But the action plan is not very fast in dealing with this existential crisis.

The plan is to review actions taken by the Trump Administration since 2017 and make proposals for reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector, establishing job-creating fuel economy standards, having job-creating appliance and building efficiency standards, and protecting the air from harmful pollution.

The review is to “capture the full costs” of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon, nitrous oxide for a cost-benefit analysis of regulatory and other actions.

Yet we know that installation of solar panels or other forms of renewable energy can be started on the White House and other federal buildings immediately. But actions such as this are not being taken.

Not in the Executive Order, but issued on January 20 as an “Acceptance,” Biden is returning the U.S. to the Paris Climate Agreement after Trump took the U.S. out of it. As many know, the Paris Climate Agreement has been widely criticized as being too little, too late. Its aims for pollution abatement are too small and there is no enforcement provision to carry out the goals for reducing pollution.

Biden acted to revoke the March 2019 permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, as well as a number of other Trump Administration orders to weaken environmental protections. Whether these revocations are enough is something to look into since, according to a report by the New York Times, the Trump Administration rolled back more than 100 Environmental Rules (1/20/21).

And, Biden, while stopping the Keystone pipeline construction, has not acted to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through the Standing Rock Native American area, nor to stop the super-large Enbridge replacement Line 3 pipeline from Canada into Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Biden’s order to halt distribution of leases for any new drilling for natural gas or oil on federal lands does not stop the large amount of drilling already taking place or future use of leases already made.

In assessing Biden it is important to note that he has chosen some people for his Cabinet who have a questionable stand on the issue of dealing with global warming/climate change. For example, Biden’s appointee for Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry is a big believer in using so-called market-led solutions, even though they have failed already. This is a “cap and trade” system that pays corporations which limit emissions. But it has not cut overall emissions.

Kerry also mentions approvingly some ideas from the “investment community,” specifically a report by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and the Nature Conservancy that propose turning nature into an asset class to fund conservation efforts. He points to a World Bank report that says carbon, water, air need to be priced as evidence that we need to create “a new asset class that can act as a hedge against portfolio vulnerability in the face of climate change.” So, changes geared to corporate profits, not primarily the needs of the people.

Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, strongly supports ethanol as a renewable biofuel. Many environmentalists say the pollution through chemical use and soil degradation from additional corn growing outweighs any benefits of replacing oil with ethanol. As well, there is the issue that ethanol creates more smog and particles in the air than regular gasoline. (We might add that this drives up prices of corn and corn products such as corn syrup.)

Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Commerce, Gina Raimondo, who was governor of Rhode Island, promotes the idea that Rhode Island was a producer of clean energy.

But, what she includes as clean energy is the use of natural gas! It is well known that burning natural gas is highly polluting and a dangerous contributor to global warming/climate change. And the fracking from which the natural gas comes is itself a big polluter from methane as well as the natural gas.

So, as we have said, we need to keep informed and be vigilant and active on this issue. We cannot sit back and depend on the Biden Administration.

As we know, Biden campaigned on not being against fracking (which produces a lot of polluting methane into the atmosphere, as well as polluting oil and natural gas).

We should mention this Executive Order also mandates a positive move

–a review of Trump Administration reduction of the boundaries of some important National Monuments.

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Another Executive Order is entitled “On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government.

This is a very interesting Order in that it recognizes some points that have been raised by the social justice movement for a long time: “entrenched disparities in our laws and public policies…inequities…systemic racism…communities that have been historically underserved.” It admits that “a historic movement for justice has highlighted the unbearable human costs of systemic racism.” It is obviously responding to the more than 20 million people who have participated in that movement. And it is admitting to systemic racism.

The Order then goes on to an action component: The Domestic Policy Council will coordinate formulation and implementation, identify communities, develop policies. The Director of Office of Management and Budget will study methods for assessing agency policies and study strategies and deliver a report within six months. Other agencies will review the situation in underserved communities and report within 200 days. A plan will be developed within one year. Agencies are to consult with members of underserved communities. Necessary data is to be gathered. This will be pursued subject to the availability of appropriations.

So, we guess we will have to wait to see if anything concrete and significant develops out of the noble sounding words.

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The Executive Order on “Revision of Civil Immigration Policies and Priorities” seems mainly to try to appeal to those who opposed President Trump’s anti-immigrant stance and its reflection in a January 2017 Executive Order. Biden’s Order revokes Trump’s Order.

Trump’s order made “sanctuary jurisdictions” including sanctuary cities such as Chicago not eligible to receive Federal grants. It also prioritized removal of undocumented immigrants (called “aliens”) who have been charged with offenses, including traffic offenses. And it called for publicizing immigrant crime, in an obvious attempt to make people hostile to immigrants as a whole.

The Biden revocation comes even though Trump’s Order had been blocked in April of 2017 by a court decision on the basis that the Federal government could not order local jurisdictions to do what Trump wanted cities to do. So this is a form of “cleaning up the books” and encouraging support for the policy he stands for.

In Biden’s Order he praises immigrants for “infusing the U.S. with creativity, energy, and ingenuity.” But he makes clear “the policy of my Administration is to protect national and border security…” He does promise to “reset the policies and practices for enforcing civil immigration laws.” This is not elaborated.

So, we will need to see what may develop from this.

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Another Executive Order Biden issued on his first day in office, January 20, was “On Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel.”

The very fact that there has to be a lengthy and detailed spelling out of banning gifts from lobbyists, not participating in matters related to former employment or lobbying, or using government employment to help employers after leaving office, shows how serious and pervasive such practices are. It is interesting to note that an important part of the Order is a section on granting waivers to the guidelines.

Although there is a lot of talk of a “revolving door ban,” the Biden Administration so far has appointed or nominated a number of people who come right out of the military-industrial complex or who have received big money from the corporations they are now to make policy for, or who have kowtowed to the interests of the rich. Here are some examples:

— Alejandro Mayorkis, confirmed Secretary of Homeland Security, gave favors to wealthy businessmen when he worked in California and when he was at the Department of Homeland Security.

–Linda Thomas Greenfield, nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to the UN was an officer in a commercial “diplomacy” firm, the Albright (as in Madeleine Albright) Stonebridge Group.

— Lloyd Austin, confirmed Secretary of Defense, was so recently a part of the military as a General that he had to be granted a special waiver to serve in his new post. He was recently a partner at Pine Island Capital Partner, which owns a weapons system manufacturer, and was one of the biggest donors to Biden’s election campaigns.

–Xavier Becerra, nominee to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, was involved in a “pardon gate” scandal in California involving a rich businessman.

–Tom Vilsack, nominated to be Secretary of Agriculture, made nearly $1 million a year for a few years recently working for Dairy Management and moving milk production to a handful of industrial farms.

–Michael Regan, nominated to be Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, has given breaks to Duke Energy and Dominion Energy to build a natural gas pipeline through North Carolina.

–Peter Buttegieg, confirmed Secretary of Transportation, worked for three years at the notorious McKinsey consulting firm, whose clients included government, military contractors, the Defense Department. When he ran for President, he raked in huge contributions from the super-rich.

–Gina Raimondo, nominee for Secretary of Commerce, was a venture capitalist who, when she ran for Governor of Rhode Island, was backed by hedge fund owners. She rewarded them and insurance companies with big contracts during her governorship.

–Mike Morell, nominee to be head of the CIA, worked for Beacon Global Strategies, which advises corporations on global developments, and he did consulting work friendly to Saudi Arabia.

–Neena Tanden, nominee to head of the Office of Management and Budget, was head of an organization named Center for American Progress that was funded by J.P. Morgan, the Walton family, Microsoft, Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

–Janet Yellen, confirmed Secretary of the Treasury, earned around $7.26 million from dozens of speaking engagements in 2019 and 2020. The former Federal Reserve chair’s clients included Citi (which paid for at least nine speeches in 2019 and 2020), Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Salesforce and several other Wall Street banks and large corporations.

–Joe Biden himself has received gifts in the form of campaign or inauguration donations from at least two major health insurers, Anthem and Centene, which both offer plans on state marketplace exchanges. Centene’s CEO bundled donations for Biden’s presidential campaign, and Biden’s first major campaign fundraiser was headlined by Independence Blue Cross’s CEO.

The biggest industries represented among Biden donors are finance, securities & investment, and education.

The following were the top donors to the Biden 2020 campaign:

  • –Donald Sussman, founder and chief investment officer of hedge fund Paloma Partners,
  • Jim Simons, co-founder of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies,
  • — George Marcus of Marcus & Millichap Co., a billionaire real estate magnate,
  • –Michael Moritz, Sequoia Capital, a venture capital firm,
  • –Seth Klarman, The Baupost Group, who has given to the Republican Party in the past,
  • –Reid Hoffman, Greylock, a venture capital firm,
  • — Stephen Mandel, founder of the hedge fund Lone Pine.

Big Pharma, and health insurers, and the health products industry donated more than $5.9 million to Biden’s presidential campaign.

The military industry gave Joe Biden $49,540.

So we need to keep an eye on the Biden Administration for speaking in high sounding principles while they may well be practicing favoritism in deciding policy and awarding contracts.

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The Executive Order “On Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing” comes in the wake of a non-serious, unscientific response to the covid-19 pandemic by the Trump Administration, and a lack of serious preparation for the known possibility of a pandemic before that Administration.

It positively states that it is important “to halt the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by relying on the best available data and science-based public health measures.  Such measures include wearing masks when around others, physical distancing, and other related precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Put simply, masks and other public health measures reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when communities make widespread use of such measures, and thus save lives.

There then follows mandates for mask-wearing, maintaining social distance, and other CDC guidelines for Federal employees, contractors, buildings and lands. This is important.

But there are important weaknesses and omissions in this Order.

Although there is a statement about encouraging masking across America, this is not elaborated and does not have the stated aim to try to persuade and convince all people in the U.S. to follow the scientific guidelines for safety. The U.S. government, with its huge financial resources, could do a lot to try to win over people to take up mask wearing with consciousness and voluntarily.

Further the Order does not state a plan for taking steps to halt the virus among the hugely hard hit Black and Latinx communities, when it could do so.

So this is an example of some fine words, and important definite steps for federal employees, and those using federal buildings and lands. But an opportunity is missed in this Order to provide steps needed in the country as a whole to try to stem this pandemic crisis. The opening day of the Biden Administration offered the possibility to show very positive leadership for the serious health problem facing the people.

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The Executive Order on who to count in the Census is interesting because of its emphasis on counting all of the people residing in the U.S., including those immigrants who are not documented. This goes against the anti-immigrant stand of Trump, and revokes a Trump Executive Order and a Presidential Memorandum of July 21, 2020 calling on the census takers not to count the undocumented.

The Census is used to decide how many seats in the House of Representatives each state gets out of the total of 435, and how many seats in the Electoral College.

The Biden Executive Order includes history in the U.S. of not always counting each person in residence: “Before the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the Constitution did not give equal weight to every person counted under the census.” Slaves were counted as only 3/5 of a person. After the Civil War, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution mandated counting each person resident in the U.S.

Biden uses the occasion of this Executive Order to promote illusions about democracy in the U.S. He states that Representatives have “a responsibility to represent the interests of all people residing in the U.S.” and that the tradition of counting all residents “respects the dignity and humanity of every person.” We all know that U.S. democracy has not worked in this way.

In fact, the Census has always been used as a political tool to decide which states get the most votes in the House of Representatives. The counting of slaves as 3/5, as decided in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, was a way of reducing the political power of the slave states. This was an element in the struggle between developing “free” labor in the North for the growing industries, versus slave labor being allowed to grow in the U.S. (wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-fifths_Compromise)

Even though there is, nominally, a long tradition of counting everyone, even the Census Bureau admits there is undercounting of “children, rural residents, individuals of color, immigrants, homeless, and others.” Men 18 to 49 were undercounted in the 2010 Census. It is said renters are undercounted.

No matter the count, the political “democracy” hasn’t been sufficient to assure that the interests of most working people are represented. This has to do with how elections are run and who can get on the ballot and the influence of corporate money in determining the rules about that.

Also, having all states regardless of population have two Senators throws things way out of balance.

The Electoral College votes for each state is the number of U.S. Representatives (which is based on the Census) plus 2. So, when a state like Montana has 3 electoral votes and a population of a little over 1 million, each electoral vote represents 333,000 people. Illinois has 12.7 million people and 20 electoral votes, so each electoral vote is, comparatively, diluted to one electoral vote per each group of about 635,000 people.

This Executive Order is another example of how Biden’s Executive Orders are used to promote various illusions about the ruling class in the U.S. and its representatives in Congress.

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The Executive Order preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation is important. While it focuses on prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation in government agencies as well as enforcement of anti-discrimination laws already on the book, there are also some general statements against discrimination.

This takes a stand against Trump’s actions of bias and discrimination against many groups of people.

What Trump did after posing with a rainbow flag when he campaigned for president and stated he was “determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community” was the opposite.

Trump’s administration acted to dismantle dozens of federal protections and resources for the more than 11 million LGBTQ Americans, especially pushing for religious exemptions to civil rights laws.

The Trump Administration reversed the Justice Department’s position to have the Civil Rights Act protect transgender people from workplace discrimination. It exempted contractors from compliance with federal nondiscrimination rules if they conflict with a contractor’s religious beliefs. The directive specifically cited sexual orientation and gender identity.  President Trump rescinded guidance for public schools to treat students according to their gender identity, including using students’ preferred names and pronouns and allowing access to bathrooms and other gender-separated facilities that match their gender identity.

The Trump Administration dropped proposed requirements for hospitals to establish policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in order to participate in Medicare and Medicaid.

It  issued a new “conscience rule” aimed at significantly expanding protections for federally funded health care providers who refuse to provide some medical services because of religious or moral objections.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a plan to gut protections that gave transgender people equal access to homeless shelters by instead giving federally funded shelters broad permission to use their own religious, privacy and safety concerns to “consider an individual’s sex” when making a determination about how and whether to accommodate someone seeking shelter.

The Trump Administration announced a new proposed rule that would allow adoption and foster care agencies funded by the department to turn away would-be care providers who are LGBTQ.

The Trump administration opposed the passage of the Equality Act, which aimed to provide civil rights protections to LGBTQ people and prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Biden’s stand comes in the wake of this discriminatory stand by the Trump Administration, and it comes in the wake of powerful people’s movements over many decades to beat back discrimination of people on the basis of “race,” color, sex, ethnic origin, national origin, age or disabilities. This includes a mass struggle for gay rights, for the rights to be lesbiangaybisexualtransgender or queer or questioning (LGBTQ). This sprang up publicly in the 1950s, and especially after the 1969 Stone Wall Riots in New York City against a police raid on a gay bar.

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Biden is obviously making anti-discrimination a big focus by issuing this Order on his first day in office. We need to pay attention to make sure this happens.

Biden also signed several other authorizations on his first day in office.

His Executive Order on combating covid-19 creates a Coordinator who, it is important to note, is to “reduce disparities in the response, care, and treatment of COVID19, including racial and ethnic disparities.” It is envisions using the Defense Production Act to produce supplies to respond to covid-19. It includes “the use of testing as an effective public health response.” There is promotion of the “safe reopening and operation of schools,” though this is not defined. There is also to be concern with “global health security” and “engaging with and strengthening” the World Health Organization, and preparing for possible future pandemics. We will have to see how this is implemented, as it is certainly needed.

Biden made a “Proclamation” about ending discriminatory bans on entry to the U.S. which revoked a Trump Executive Order and related Proclamations that banned travel to the U.S. by people from many predominantly Muslim countries, several African countries, and Iran, Venezuela, Syria, and North Korea. This was done under the guise of protecting against terrorism. It was upheld by the Supreme Court 5-4. Biden says the ban “jeopardized our global network of alliances and partnerships,” hardly the “moral blight” that Biden claims for the ban. And he emphasizes that there will be “rigorous” vetting of individuals seeking visas to come to the U.S. This is consistent with Biden’s public statements about being rough on countries that the U.S. finds problematic to the profit making interests of the big banks and corporations.

Biden also issued a Proclamation stopping construction of the wall along the border with Mexico and terminating Trump’s declaration of National Emergency on the Southern Border. He says the wall is not “a serious policy solution” to the “genuine threats to our homeland security” and “is a waste of money.

Biden issued a “Presidential Memorandum” that continues the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He reiterates the Obama Administration’s ‘deferral” of deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, as long as they “obey the law,” and stay in school or join the military or are accepted for “temporary work permits.” This will enable them “to contribute to our economy.” This is certainly not a whole hearted embrace of these 826,000 people. The Trump Administration expressed interested in ending the DACA program but was blocked by some law suits and court decisions.

Another Presidential Memorandum reinstates safe haven in the U.S. for Liberians who came to the U.S. in flight from armed conflict in that country. The Trump Administration has ended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for many people as a part of his attacks on immigrants. Biden says there are “compelling foreign policy reasons’ for his action. He leaves it at that, but we know that Liberia is rich in iron ore, rubber, diamonds, gold, palm oil and cocoa. A U.S. corporate owned ship registry, second largest in the world with 4400 vessels, is highly profitable.

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January 22-26
The Chicago Anti-War Coalition (CAWC) has been assessing President Biden’s actions as President. We have so far published Statements about  his choices for Cabinet and other positions, about his Inaugural Day speech, and about the large number of Executive Orders he issued on Day One and then on the next day. Here is another installment assessing President Biden’s Executive Orders and Memorandums January 22-26. This continues to show that everyone interested in peace and justice should watch out for Biden, be on guard.

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The January 22 Executive Order “on protecting the Federal Workforce” is another example of great words that do not translate into great action. The Order says it is the policy to “protect, empower, and rebuild the career Federal workforce…to encourage union organizing and collective bargaining.” Under the heading of “Ensuring the Right to Engage in Collective Bargaining” there is reference to 5 U.S.C. 7106 (b) (1) without elaboration. If you look up that code number, you will see it is loaded with management rights: “nothing in this chapter shall affect the authority of any management official of any agency to determine the mission, budget, organization, number of employees, and internal security practices of the agency; and to hire, assign, direct, layoff, and retain employees in the agency, or to suspend, remove, reduce in grade or pay, or take other disciplinary action against such employees;” etc. Some aspects are open to negotiation.

One positive provision is to receive “recommendations to promote a $15/hour minimum wage for Federal employees.” However, no deadline is stated.

An Executive Order on “economic relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic” outlines the economic crisis, and the food and housing insecurity, particularly “in communities of color.” Agencies are directed to identify actions they can take, prioritizing individuals, families, and small businesses. As with other Orders, there is not a sense of big rush needed.

Biden issued an Executive Order January 25 “on enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform.” This specifically refers to transgender people, and says that including them “strengthens our national security.” The San Diego Pride organization, reflecting the views of many other organizations, said,

“Today, our country took an important humanizing step for our trans siblings in showing people across the U.S. and the world that all those who are willing and able to protect and serve our country should be afforded dignity and respect.”

In the view of CAWC there is one big problem with this—and that is that the U.S. military is an aggressive arm of the U.S. imperialist government, illegally and unjustly interfering in countries all around the world with threats, bases, and military actions. We urge no one to promote or join the military.

The Executive Order on ensuring maximum federal government purchases  of products made in America by American workers is an interesting echo of the America First and buy American policy of the Trump Administration.  The Biden Administration says it will enforce this more strictly than Trump did, including granting fewer waivers.

There is obviously a conflict between those corporations who make great profits by using cheaper labor abroad versus Biden’s stated aim of strengthening the home base in preparation for further conflict with main economic rivals China and Russia. There is also a contradiction between this aim and the aim of building up stronger collaboration with allies.  Many of these allies, such as Canada, export a lot to the U.S.

The Order has prominent mention of helping to make America’s workers thrive, though the corporate government is really more concerned about helping “American businesses compete in strategic industries.” But there is the political factor of Biden aiming for support from the big labor unions and individual workers.

However, domestic manufacture tends to be expensive and to cut the competitiveness of U.S. products abroad. Imports account for hundreds of thousands of jobs for workers in the U.S. according to a study by the Heritage Foundation.

We’ll see if Biden is serious about enforcing a Buy American plan, using the federal government’s huge purchases of goods and services. And we’ll see how this may affect workers in the U.S. One way or the other, the workers will be exploited.

The working class needs to get organized as strongly as possible to oppose the exploitation of the capitalists and create a system that will be of, for, and by the working class and the masses of other people in the U.S.

Biden issued a Memorandum on January 26 on “redressing our nation’s and the federal government’s history of discriminatory housing practices and policies.” This is a startling Memorandum of admission of the responsibility of government at all levels in the U.S. having “systematically implemented racially discriminatory housing policies that contributed to segregated neighborhoods and inhibited equal opportunity…Federal policies contributed to mortgage redlining and lending discrimination against persons of color.” It points out how the Interstate Highway System was “deliberately built to pass through Black neighborhoods.” It points out that people of color disproportionately are affected by all forms of pollution.

As with so many of Biden’s Presidential statements, the actions recommended are limited, to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) examining recent regulatory actions of the Trump Administration and to “take any necessary steps” to “further fair housing.”

Perhaps the most significant aspect of this Memorandum is that it is addressed to the HUD Secretary. Biden’s nominee for this position is Marcia Fudge, who has a long history of legislative efforts as a Congresswoman to, in her words, “serve the most vulnerable people in America.”

The problem is that the capitalist economic and political system in the U.S. requires a large pool of unemployed as a pressure to keep wages down and to ensure maximum profits to the big banks and corporations. It has been based on racist scapegoating and division. But perhaps the ruling class will be happy to see some profits come from creating manufactured housing, loans, and other services for poor people.

We will see how well the Biden Administration does on this front of living up its words. We will need to be organized and active, as we know we need to be on guard against Biden.

Another Memorandum on January 26 is to strengthen Nation-to-Nation relationship with American and Alaskan indigenous Nations. Biden says it is a priority of his Administration to respect tribal sovereignty and have consultations with Tribal Nations. He calls for plans and reports on how federal agencies are carrying this out.

There is an important Memorandum statement condemning and combating racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. The Trump Administration is blamed for furthering xenophobia through referring to conid-19 as a Chinese virus (though this is said in softer language). This has led to increasing rates of bullying, harassment, and hate crimes. Agency heads are to consider issuing guidelines for sensitivity and better treatment of Asian-Americans, and the Attorney General “shall explore opportunities to…prevent discrimination, bullying, harassment, and hate crimes…and expand collection of data and public reporting regarding hate incidents.”

An Executive Order on reforming the incarceration system and eliminating the use of privately operated detention facilities brings out many important facts:

“More than two million people are currently incarcerated in the U.S., including a disproportionate number of people of color…To decrease incarceration levels, we must reduce profit-based incentives… privately  operated detention facilities consistently underperform Federal facilities…” As well, “We must ensure that our Nation’s incarceration systems are prioritizing rehabilitation and redemption.”

The Attorney General shall not renew contacts with privately operated facilities. That’s it in terms of action. Characteristic for Biden’s Presidential legal Orders and pronouncements.  So those are some of the political actions President Biden took on day one in office, after his Inaugural Speech. We would be interested in your comments on our assessments.


Chicago Anti-War Coalition (CAWC)

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