Left Gets Ready to Pressure the Biden Administration

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Many progressive leaders joined Joe Biden’s coalition because they believed defeating Donald Trump was paramount and the only way to advance their agenda. But now that Trump is almost out of the way, they’ve made it clear that they are expecting a return on their investment.

That starts with publicly pressuring Biden during the transition period.


Some are anticipating a hard fight with him on issues ranging from immigration and racial justice to foreign policy. Others believe he can be more gently nudged to the left, particularly after their movements gained

Activists are now busy identifying windows of opportunity: On Monday, Biden mentioned the House Democrats’ pandemic relief bill, which calls for immediate forgiveness of $10,000 in student loan debt. High-profile progressives quickly used the momentum to call for Biden

This election would have swung in a different direction. Those voters turned out for a very particular reason. It wasn’t simply for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. It was to advance an agenda: investments in our folks and creating policies that close up the racial wealth gap, that end police violence, that ensures Black folks can have dignified work.

Race-neutral policies act against that. We need an administration that is sensitive about tackling racism, closing the racial health gap, and calling for racial justice. We’re going to be looking at appointments and executive orders and, like the Working Families Party, working to flip the Senate. But even if the Democrats lost, that’s no excuse to do everything they can, anything in their power.

The Biden-Harris ticket was elected by this historic mandate for action on climate, Covid-19, systemic racism, the economy, and so on. To fulfill those promises to “build back better,” they’re going to need a team who represents the ambition of their vision, not people who got us into this mess. Now we have something to work with, but we’re ready to do a whole lot more and put the pressure on a Biden administration. To be quite honest with you, [if he doesn’t make climate a priority], I think it’s going to bite him in the ass — for lack of better words. Young people, Black people, Indigenous people, people of color delivered this victory in key states like Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin. The ambition on climate was a huge driving factor to why those turnout rates were what they were. If Biden fails to meet the heat of the moment, he’s going to end up becoming an unpopular figure and will likely not amount to much governing power at all. We want Biden to be a visionary or an executive of our views. We don’t want him to be Mitch McConnell’s vice president.

We’ve actually been able to move Biden on things that weren’t happening under Obama. For example, there has been a pretty firm commitment from the Biden campaign to do a moratorium on deportations in the first 100 days of his presidency. To me, that says it’s not going to be the same as [under Obama.] That says there’s more community power. When Trump came, what happened was that [detentions, deportations, and immigration policy] became that much more extreme, but people knew what ICE was because of what organizers did under Obama.

We know what it’s like to fight under a Democrat, right? And we know what it’s like to not have any possibility for organizing under Trump. I hear a lot of people being either on the side of “Biden is going to be our savior and now everything is going to be fine” or on the side of “We’re ready to attack Biden for all the things he’s not going to do.” It has to be a middle ground in being able to say, “We’ll take the opportunities where we see them, and we’ll push back whenever we need to push back.”

that would regenerate us. How are we actually investing in reversing climate change? How are we investing in housing for folks who don’t have housing? We know the issues, but instead of finding new solutions, we’re just putting more money into the solutions we know aren’t working. One thing we have been doing a lot [as an organization] is community political education. We have to actually implement policies that are not reforms for reform’s sake but are on the pathway toward a new future of safety, a new future of equity.

After decades of a failed U.S. foreign policy approach to Israel/Palestine — from Democrats and Republicans — President-elect Biden has an opportunity to chart a new course that will ensure a future of freedom and safety for all Israelis and Palestinians.

But trans leaders will continue organizing toward decriminalizing sex work, abolishing ICE, and more meaningful structural reforms that center the most marginalized, such as trans people of color, and we expect that to be an uphill battle in a moderate Biden presidency.

Bernie Sanders, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and many others. We also want Biden to ban fracking nationwide, using the principles of climate justice outlined in the Green New Deal to facilitate a just transition for workers and communities to clean energy.

This past spring and summer, we developed a “Getting to the Roots of the Green New Deal” campaign and adapted this educational series to specific swing states, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan. Along with lobbying against fracking, we’re going to be continuing these presentations with a specific emphasis on pushing Biden farther to the left. Though Biden’s election is a step in the right direction for the environmental movement, we still have a long way to go in the fight for climate justice, and we’re definitely not stopping now.

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