Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Neither Trump nor Biden but World Socialism


In 1904 Eugene Debs wrote that, ‘The Republican and Democratic parties, or, to be more exact, the Republican-Democratic party, represent the capitalist class in the class struggle. They are the political wings of the capitalist system and such differences as arise between them relate to spoils and not to principles’

Fifty years earlier, one former slave wrote:

‘The difference between the white slave, and the black slave, is this: the latter belongs to ONE slave-holder, and the former belongs to ALL the slave-holders, collectively. The white slave has taken from him, by indirection, what the black slave had taken from him, directly, and without ceremony. Both are plundered and by the same plunderers’

(Frederick Douglas, My Bondage and My Freedom, 1855).

Let us make no mistake, when the election is over it will be business as usual for the masters of the wage-slaves.

Trump’s eager white supremacist supporters are keen to have four more years of his rule. Trump has proved himself a blundering buffoon and although the competition may be close, he might just be the most dim-witted president in US history. By all accounts, he is certainly dysfunctional, hailing from a traumatizing and traumatized family. Like his father before him Trump is a bully, a psychologically damaged man.

Judging by the mainstream media, most liberals reckon another Trump presidency to be a worse outcome than a new Joe Biden administration would be. We are not so sure. There is no reason to assume that he represented the lesser of two evils. As vice-president to Obama, Biden was complicit in normalization of extrajudicial killing by drones, deported more immigrants than Clinton and Bush combined, and accepted the destruction of Libya. Biden has expressed similar narcissistic delusions as Trump falsely claiming to have marched with the Civil Rights campaigners and been arrested for trying to meet South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. He has shown himself to be the friend of the bankers by chaperoning corporate-friendly legislation through congress.

Despite the hyperbole of some progressive commentators, America is not the Germany of the 1920s an 1930s and Trump is no Hitler. He is, however, reflective of a global rise of autocrats across the world such as Putin, Duterte, Orbán, and Erdoğan.

Trump is a xenophobic populist, playing to the crowds, offering salvation to the powerless poor who have lost their jobs to foreign free trade pacts along with their white privilege. 

To socialists seeking a world without exploitation, war, nationalism, racism and sexism, it matters little which butcher is currently wielding the cleaver when it comes to austerity cuts in public spending on social welfare. Whether Trump or Biden, both of these politicians speak and act in the interests of the ruling class.  When Trump stood  delivered his State of the Union Address, he said:

Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.


 Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, applauded in approval as Trump expressed this bipartisan consensus shared by most Democrats with the Republicans. 

Nor are we persuaded by Sanders and his Justice Democrat supporters who see socialism as a form of Scandinavian safety-net. The ‘socialism’ of these progressives does not entail the dispossession of the capitalists from their wealth and property and the transfer of their productive assets to common ownership and democratic control. They continue to accept capitalism, with its market as given.

Other than world socialism there is no deliverance of humanity from wars, from hunger, from the destruction of millions and millions of human beings. The World Socialist Party’s task is abolishing capitalism altogether and building socialism. The only way for the socialist revolution to  flourish is on a world scale. Revolution is total or it is nothing. Only two possibilities face the world – socialism or barbarism. We are left with nothing but the cataclysmic vision. Whilst capitalism dominates the world economy as a whole, inter-capitalist rivalry creates contradictions which aid the struggle for socialism. 

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