A Socialist call to vote Biden: Are they for real?
The run up to the US election saw Dan La Botz, one of a small group of socialists in the States seen as aligning with the majority in the Fourth International, call for a vote for Joe Biden.
He was not alone. He co-signed a letter with many intellectuals and writers to the same effect. The Democatic Socialists of America, backers of the Sanders candidacy, have launched a mobilisation for a Democratic victory without mentioning Biden's name or a conference resolution disbarring
campaigning for anyone but Bernie Sanders. Jacobin magazine has gone into top gear with articles advocating for Biden.
The argument is based on the idea of Trump exceptionalism. He represents a unique threat to democracy. If not a fascist, his movement is heading towards fascism.
Trump is about to stage a coup. He will mobilise the militia, state forces and use the Supreme Court and the Congress to declare himself victor. The only way to prevent this catastrophe is to mobilise for Biden and ensure a landslide vote.
Its true that the Democratic party is a.party of capitalism and imperialism. However a Biden victory will buy time. We can organise to elect Joe then mobilise against him.
Trump is not a fascist. His exceptionalism is overstated. He is not alone. The Republican party has been involved in a decades long assault on democracy through voter suppression, gerrymandering and packing the courts. Time magazine, early in the current presidency, displayed a portrait of Trump wearing a crown. The King metaphor was meant to be ironic, but it turns out that the president really is king and there us a long history of US presidents using supreme power and committing crimes. The case against Trump appears to be his lack of sophistication and using power to advance himself rather than the interests of the ruling class.
In any case the Democratic party is not a bulwark against Trump. The radicalisation on workers and the oppressed around Black Lives Matter is ignored or suppressed in favour of appeals to Republicans to change direction.
In any case it is just two years from the "Blue Wave" congressional elections. The only outcome was the most narrow of formal impeachment possesses focused again on winning over Republicans, followed by everyday cooperation with the administration.
Biden's nomination was an internal coup by the party establishment to avoid a universal healthcare pledge. His platforms is: "I'm not Trump."
Voting for Biden now to oppose him later is not a viable strategy and can only confuse and demoralise activists. The central struggles of BLM, of defunding the cops are not electoral struggles. The DSA had a large presence in the Bernie Sanders campaign but was largely absent from
the streets in any organised way.
Overall the vote Biden argument is that we are where we are. The vote Joe supporters take a snapshot of the Trump threat and ignore the context. But Trumpism is part of a movie. The racism and lack of democracy are long standing elements of US society. There has only been one party, a party of capital. Political disintegration stretches back into history. The idea that Joe Biden, one if the major pillars of that corruption, will buy time or reverse this decay is ridiculous.
Why the call? Dan la Botz tells all. The dominant narrative is that the defeat of the working class is so extensive that revolution is off the table. Socialists should look to progressive movements. Dan voted Green. He voted Labour ( "though unfortunately it never found the courage to run candidates against the Democrats "). He voted for consumer activist Ralph Nader and for Bernie Sanders, the sheepdog who led his supporters to endorse Hilery Clinton. The vote for Biden is simply the logical consequence of broad party politics and voting for the lesser evil. Just how damaging this position can be can be seen in relation to the growing opposition on the streets around police killings and Black Lives Matter.
Electoralism will produce a government of the Dems and their first act will be to placate and Accommodate the Trumpists, their strategy throughout the four years of this presidency. The Democratic party is a dead end, the graveyard of countless social movements and working class
The battlefield for the working class lies with mobilising a mass struggle against the threat of a Trump coup, protecting the right to vote, defunding the police and breaking the extrajudicial power and legal impunity of the cops and the other breeding grounds of fascism in ICE, Border Security and in Homeland Security. Our own comrade Jeff Mackler, standing for the presidency as a candidate for the Marxist party Socialist Action, is doing more to build class consciousness than decades of organising in the Democatic Party.
Another four years of Trump would be dreadful. However a Biden victory would be followed immediately by calls for normality and for concessions to bring peace with the Trumpists. It would be the workers and the left who would be being told to be quiet. The new mass layer of activists have
much to learn, but it is with them that the future rests. Socialists should not be helping to smother that growing understanding of the reality of class struggle.