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Killing Democracy

The Democrats say they’re running against the most “dangerous president in modern American history,” but Joe Biden has no prescription for resolving any of the crises facing Black and working class people.

The 2020 election has no bearing on the crisis of U.S. capitalism. None. Neither Trump nor Biden have any plan to stop the bleeding that this crisis has produced. The corporate media has made the 2020 election into a referendum on Trump’s disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the real story behind the 2020 election is that of the precipitous and permanent decline in the legitimacy of US politics as a whole. 

Politics in the United States are almost entirely discussed from the vantage point of personalities and choices. For Republicans, Trump is the preferred personality because of his willingness to serve the rich with an intense amount of racist scapegoating and open contention with the so-called “left”-leaning values of the Democratic Party. Democrats have embraced Joe Biden because of his willingness to serve the rich with an emphasis on scapegoating Donald Trump for the countless ills of U.S. capitalism. Neither conclusion is correct. Trump is the symptom of the U.S.’ racist and imperialist system and Biden is no threat to the dictators of capital. In fact, Biden and the Democrats are so wedded to the capitalist class that the 2020 election has quickly morphed into little more than a contest between which kind of political poison the masses can tolerate best.

As the election inches closer, the pressure to support Joe Biden over Donald Trump intensifies for much of the so-called “left”-leaning sections of the United States. Hardliners in the Democratic Party are using fear of Trump as the principle argument for why Biden should be the next president. Susan Sarandon and other Sanders surrogates have proclaimed that a vote for Biden is a vote against fascism . Bernie Sanders has allegedly voiced concerns in private  about Biden’s obsession with courting Republican Party mainstays into the Democratic Party’s crowded tent of corporate donors and intelligence operatives. Still, Sanders and the rest of the Democratic Party have upheld the slogan that Trump is the most “dangerous president in modern American history” without any clarity as to how a Biden administration would resolve the numerous crises facing working class people, especially Black Americans.

Trump is the symptom of the U.S.’ racist and imperialist system and Biden is no threat to the dictators of capital.

Workers are currently struggling with a mass eviction and joblessness crisis on top of the health crisis posed by COVID-19. Over 80 percent of people at risk of eviction from the economic crisis reside in Black or Latino neighborhoods . Official unemployment remains close to nine percent and Black unemployment a full two percentage points higher than white unemployment  despite Black Americans making up a disproportionate number of workers employed in jobs deemed too “essential” to shut down during a pandemic. Black wealth was already heading toward zero prior to the pandemic, with the average Black family possessing just $1700 in total assets.  The trend toward zero wealth is likely to accelerate as the myriad of debts incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic siphon what is left of Black assets into the coffers of the finance capitalist class.

Biden has opposed any kind of significant relief for working people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has thoroughly exposed the limitations of the U.S. for-profit healthcare system yet Biden has remained firm in his opposition to Medicare for All.  He has also rejected or outright ignored the possibility of a federal jobs program or a universal basic income to ensure that the basic needs of a vast majority of the population are met. Instead, Biden and the Democrats say they want to restore “the soul of the nation.” The 2020 election is thus more of a religious crusade to politically purify Washington D.C. of its Trumpian elements in a bid to make America “great” again.

American exceptionalism, once a durable ideology with significant traction worldwide, has become a crutch employed by the ruling class to mask the shortcomings of its system and project hegemony in a period of imperial decline. The United States is in a concession-free state of crisis. Biden and the Democrats are principally concerned with salvaging social peace while extending the empire’s reach abroad. Any alleviation to the suffering of the masses is considered by all sections of the ruling class to be a fetter on the maximum accumulation of private profit. This is why Biden has promised to increase the $740 billion military budget  while offering nothing of substance to the starving masses.

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For Democratic Party operatives in the liberal class, Biden represents a return to neoliberal “normalcy.” Biden’s promise to expand the U.S. military is a non-story in the United States’ corporate media but has significant consequences for the future of humanity. The pursuit of full spectrum dominance and a bloated military budget exposes “normalcy” as nothing more than an extension of the crisis of American empire by other means. A bigger military budget means more opportunities to wage endless war on the planet and starve the U.S. state of any capacity to reverse the course of austerity. 

Joe Biden has already signaled in his critiques of Trump that a Democratic Party victory in November will change little about the U.S.’ expansionist foreign policy. Biden has condemned Trump for being “weak” on Venezuela, Russia, the DPRK, and China. National security officials such as John Negroponte, George W. Bush’s bully at the U.N. during the push to invade Iraq, have flocked in droves to support the Biden campaign . Military contractors such as Boeing have already expressed their confidence that military spending will increase regardless of who is (s)elected president .

Elections in the U.S. produce insidious lies that overshadow the bipartisan consensus on militarism. Trump has repeatedly lied to the masses by calling the Democratic Party a far-left agent of the Communist Party of China. Democrats have lied just as passionately about Trump by labeling him an agent of the Kremlin. Such political theater usefully creates an atmosphere of war abroad while creating a diversion for billionaires to use their money to control both the Biden  and Trump  campaigns. For Wall Street and the war machine, the 2020 election is a guaranteed victory. 

The exact opposite is true for people struggling to survive amid a global pandemic and a great depression. There are many within progressive circles who believe that Biden will roll back the excesses of the Trump administration such as its hostile policy toward China. This is pure subjective speculation that has no basis in fact. While influential elements of the U.S. capitalist class have already rejected Trump’s attempt to economically isolate China at their expense, Biden’s promise to increase the military budget ensures that the Pentagon will likely maintain its mission  to contain China and use whatever aggressive means are feasible to carry it out.

A Biden victory in November will bring the Obama legacy back into the driver’s seat of politics. This is its own kind of nightmare. Obama’s legacy was principally characterized by the inheritance of a massive military and austerity machine that was expanded to new heights under the auspices of a Democratic Party administration. Drone strikesbank bailoutspublic school closureswitch hunts of whistleblowersdeportations of undocumented immigrants, and overseas wars all grew under the rule of the Obama-Biden presidency. So did the militarization of U.S. police departments and the wealth gap between white and Black America . The Democratic Party and Joe Biden have more than proven their commitment to worsening, not alleviating, the pain of the masses.

More of the same can be expected from a Biden administration. The only bright side to the 2020 election is that both Biden and Trump are far less effective than prior administrations in mobilizing the masses to support the ruling consensus of endless war and austerity. After six-plus months of a pandemic that has yet to be contained, an economic crisis that never ends, and a growth in mass awareness of the repressive and racist character of U.S. policing, it should be clear by now that only the power of the people can chart a path out of the deep rot of the U.S. capitalist and imperialist system. 

Organizers in the Black Alliance for Peace  and No Cold War  are attempting to build such power on an international scale in their upcoming activities. Join Black Alliance for Peace on September 24th for a symposium opposing the doctrine of Full Spectrum Dominance and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s military build-up in the Asia Pacific.

China

On September 26th, Black Alliance for Peace will join a number of peace organizations from around the globe in an International Peace Forum to reject the U.S.’ New Cold War against China. Information for how to attend both events is provided below.

Danny Haiphong

Black Agenda Report