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Anti-war activists grade foreign policies of Trump, Biden

By Wyatt Miller |
October 24, 2020
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Minneapolis, MN - On October 20, the Minnesota Anti-War Committee (AWC) held an online discussion on the foreign policies of President Donald Trump and his rival in the upcoming election, former Vice President Joe Biden. Members of the longstanding Twin Cities-based street protest group compared the platforms and records of each candidate from an anti-war perspective.

Overall, the group condemned U.S. interventions abroad under Trump’s leadership, and affirmed the need for change. But panelists agreed that the anti-war movement would need to push back against a Biden administration for similar reasons.

“Trump has done a lot of posturing as anti-war, and sadly some people have fallen for it in a big way,” explained Drake Myers. “Most Americans oppose war, so the snake oil salesman says he's anti-war and people want to believe it. Other times, when he wants to appeal to his base, he plays up xenophobia and supports torture.”

Myers continued, “The Biden campaign is putting out ads where he’s saying that he'll support the troops, and how more national security officials and generals support him than Trump. These are not good endorsements. These are a signal of Biden cozying up to the exact wrong people there in Washington.”

Panelists agreed that none of their remarks should be considered endorsements for a particular candidate. Topics ranged from Venezuela to Palestine to Trump’s new Cold War with China.

“Biden believes we should be supporting the Venezuelan people while continuing the sanctions - something that makes zero sense,” Tracy Molm explained. “The sanctions are what are causing hardship in Venezuela.”

Molm was part of a delegation to Venezuela in 2019 where she witnessed the failed April 30 coup led by U.S.-supported political operative Juan Guaido. Despite Biden’s stance, she said, “Biden has some better positions domestically and I think it would create a better atmosphere for us to be able to continue to fight for Venezuela. But we must continue to stand up, no matter who’s in charge.”

Meredith Aby-Keirstead saw grounds for hope in the growing criticisms of U.S. aid to Israel in political discourse. “We need to be ready to continue our protests in the streets for a free Palestine regardless of who is elected in November. The Anti-War Committee is ready to do so and we hope you are too,” she said.

Autumn Lake highlighted Trump’s vilification of China, which continued the Obama-Biden administration’s Pivot to Asia military buildup in the region.

“The Trump administration’s framing of the COVID-19 crisis as the fault of China has directly caused the recent rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans,” Lake said. “With this in mind, it becomes clear that the Trump administration doesn’t have human rights in mind when it escalates conflict with China.”

South High student Zach Moore spoke for the newly formed Climate Justice Committee (CJC). Moore connected impending climate disaster with the U.S. military’s greenhouse gas emissions and record of environmental destruction. “Biden wants to speak of a U.S.-led effort against climate change when he won’t even discuss the military’s leading effort in causing climate change,” he said.

“In the end we know that yes, we must defeat Trump. But we cannot give into illusions about who Biden is or what he will do,” Moore continued. “We cannot just demand small action decades in the future. We must demand climate justice now!”

Both the Anti-War Committee and the Climate Justice Committee plan to join a large demonstration set to take place on November 4, the day after the election. That event is part of a nationwide call by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression for protests to enact a people’s mandate for change in policing, the pandemic response, and the economic system. The Minneapolis event will start at 6 p.m. at May Day Plaza in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.