Yesterday, Joe Biden was sworn in as US president surrounded by armed troops, in the middle of a pandemic, weeks after a far-right mob stormed the Capitol building. These are unprecedented times. The capitalists are pinning their hopes on the new administration to pull US capitalism out of this period of chaos and decline, but the writing is on the wall.

2021 has kicked off with a bang. If anyone had any remaining doubts, yesterday's events exposed the depth of the crisis of US capitalism—and it is only the beginning. Even in the turbulent years before and after the US Civil War, we have never seen the US Capitol building breached by protesters—and encouraged by the sitting president! Anti-terrorist attack emergency protocols were activated as tear gas wafted through the corridors, and at least one person was shot and killed. As former president GW Bush put it, these are the scenes one would expect in a “banana republic"—i.e. in a country ravaged by US imperialist intervention, not in the belly of the beast itself.