Kamala Harris: What does a Tamil descendant Vice President mean for the Tamil working class?

Article by Akhalya

Joe Biden has been elected to be the 46th President of the United States of America. Much to the disappointment of the Capitalist Class and the Capitalist media, it was not the expected landslide victory, in fact it was a very close electoral race. Biden managed to squeeze through with approximately 78 million votes in comparison to the 72 million votes Donald Trump, the current President of the US managed to gain. This in the grand scheme of a 240 million potential voting population is in fact a minor gain. However, the Capitalist media will not refrain from reminding us that this is the most votes a President has received in over 100 years. Due to the sharp polarisation that exists within the American people in the US, this led to a historic record of turnout for voting – the largest turnout since 1900.

Biden winning the election meant that Kamala Harris has won the Vice Presidency and has not only become the first person from the BAME taking the Vice President post but also the first female to do so. We may see many of us from the BAME community celebrating Harris’ Indian Tamil origin from her mother’s side and Jamaican origins from her father’s side. However, the Harris’ ethnicity does not determine the improvement of the conditions of the ethnic minorities in USA. We only have to go as far back as 2009 when parts of the working class celebrated the election of Barack Obama where many black people in America believed that the election of a black president will improve the lives of the black people. However instead we saw the development of the BLM movement as there was a further decline of the living conditions of the black working-class people under the Obama administration.

Similarly, if we take a look at the policies Harris has stood for while she has been a junior senator of California we can see that her policies are on the contrary to fighting for the rights of the black or other ethnic minority working class. Whilst Attorney General in California, Harris has failed to investigate police led shootings of black people and disproportionately prosecuted petty crimes such as panhandling or graffiti which disproportionately affected black people. Her stand on universal healthcare is somewhat dependent on the direction of wind it seems as she initially supported the idea but then failed to campaign for free healthcare for all.

After all, Harris is part of the system that prevented Bernie Sanders from being the democratic candidate in this Presidential election who in fact with his progressive policies could have won a landslide victory. Instead the Democrats, including Kamala Harris, prioritised the interest of the Capitalist class and put all their efforts into preventing a left-wing candidate, even if that meant a second term for Trump. Kamala Harris is also not even part of the progressive left such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez but in fact a safe net for the Capitalist class.

When we look at the domestic polices of the Vice President, we must also take a look at how these affect the foreign policies. Will this Indian Tamil descendent be supporting us, the Tamil speaking people to fight for the right to self-determine in Sri Lanka? Will she be opposing the oppression from the Sri Lankan state against the working class? Or will she condemn the oppression of the Tamil speaking hill country people in Sri Lanka?

When acting in the interests of the of the Capitalist class, providing them with concessions to their profit-making interests, we as the Tamil speaking people cannot expect Harris, a simple puppet for the capitalist establishment, to act in the interests of the working class. A person of colour in a position of power means nothing if their policies are not going to better the conditions of the working class.

As time will tell the interests of the Biden – Harris government, we can expect mass uprisings in the US. For the next 4 years, we are going to see the Biden – Harris administration lay the foundation for another Donald Trump unless we collectively organise and fight for the betterment of the conditions of the working class. We must pressure the governments to giving us the concessions that we need and fight for the oppressed in Sri Lanka. Tamil Solidarity supports the right of any oppressed people to fight for the betterment of their living conditions.