Friday, October 30, 2020

Bush-Fires in Australia and Climate Change

 Australia’s summer bushfires were fuelled by climate change a royal commission found. The royal commission explained natural disasters were becoming increasingly unpredictable and difficult to manage as a result of global heating and the bushfire disaster of 2019-20 was a glimpse of things to come.

Craig Lapsley, a former Victorian emergency management commissioner, said the $10bn cost of the bushfire disaster laid out in the report was “staggering”.

“Not to mention the loss of life, long-term health costs, and impacts on Australian jobs and communities,” he said. “Australians have paid a heavy price for climate change inaction and we will continue to do so if federal and state governments continue to back new coal and gas instead of renewables.”

Greg Mullins, the former New South Wales Fire and Rescue chief, called on governments to implement all 80 recommendations made by the commission. “The bushfire royal commission has laid out the facts in no uncertain terms: climate change drove the black summer bushfires and climate change is pushing us into a future of unprecedented bushfire severity.” Mullins said, “The federal government absolutely must act on the root cause of worsening bushfires in Australia, and take urgent steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This clearly means no new coal or gas, and a rapid transition to renewable energy.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation said in the face of climate disasters and extreme weather events, governments were falling short. “We have a small window of opportunity to reduce the impact climate change has on future bushfire seasons and the threat it presents to life, property and nature,” the climate change program manager, Gavan McFadzean, said.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/oct/30/morrison-government-urged-to-cut-emissions-to-tackle-root-cause-of-worsening-bushfires

‘Profit over death’

 According to a recent report published by the Rand Corporation, insulin prices in the US remain five to ten times higher than the prices of the same insulin in other countries.

In May 2020, the Trump administration announced changes for some medicare recipients to cap monthly copays for insulin at $35 a month, claiming the new model would provide an average out of pocket savings of $446 a year, with beneficiaries able to enroll into the new program if they aren’t currently for coverage in 2021. Trump signed another executive order aimed at high insulin costs in July 2020, directing federal health care centers to pass along discounts for insulin and epinephrine to certain low-income Americans, and another order aimed at permitting state insurance plans to allow for drug importation of insulin products made in the USA.

Trump claimed the orders will cut the price of insulin to “pennies a day” without acknowledging the limited scope of his orders, as diabetics are still struggling to afford insulin as costs remain high. During the first presidential debate, Trump falsely claimed his orders lowered insulin costs “so cheap, it’s like water”.

“The executive orders are very narrow in scope and don’t do anything for the root of the problem,” said John Tagliareni, leader of the Iowa Insulin for All chapter and a type one diabetic since 1998. He explained the orders provide a small discount for some health clinics and rely on foreign governments, like Canada, that have negotiated affordable drug prices with insulin manufacturers. “Those executive orders are political talking points, it’s not actual legislation,” added Tagliareni. “It does nothing on overall costs. It does nothing to the pharmaceutical companies for price gouging the American consumer because there’s no competition.”

For many of the 26.9 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, including nearly 1.6 million with type one diabetes who require several daily insulin doses, the struggle to afford insulin is a constant problem.

 https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/oct/30/americans-diabetes-insulin-cost

Preventing Pandemics

  The current pandemic might cost the world economy $16 trillion (£12.2 trillion) by next summer but it is much harder to calculate the human cost.

document has been drawn up by an organisation established by the UN, which is known as IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) warns that, without a co-ordinated global plan, more will die from future pandemics more dangerous than Covid-19. The document is tasked with protecting the natural world on behalf of people.  More than five new diseases are emerging every year. 70% of new diseases like ebola and zika, and almost all known pathogens with pandemic potential, such as influenza, HIV, and the novel coronavirus, have their origins in animals.

These diseases “spill over“ - jump from one species to another - during contact between wildlife, livestock, and people. The report says mammals and birds are estimated to harbour more than a million undiscovered viruses. 


The document says: “Pandemics are becoming more frequent. Without preventive strategies, they will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, kill more people, and affect the global economy with more devastating impact.”


Preventive measures - such as cracking down on the wildlife trade - would cost between $22bn and $31bn annually. It's a large sum, but a fraction of the economic cost of coping with a pandemic like Covid-19. The drivers of pandemics, including agricultural expansion and intensification, the wildlife trade, wildlife consumption and global travel. The recommendation to lower the consumption of farmed and wild meat – especially from emerging disease hotspots


It criticises current strategies which rely on responding to diseases with new vaccines after they’ve emerged.

The authors say: “Covid-19 demonstrates this is a slow and uncertain path, as the human costs are mounting in lives lost, sickness endured, economic collapse, and lost livelihoods.”

It recommends:

  • setting up an expert pandemic prevention panel like the world’s climate change panel;
  • an international accord to build preparedness, enhance prevention, and control outbreaks;
  • a common approach on assessing major land-use projects that might expose humans to animal viruses.

Lee Hannah, from the green group Conservation International, told BBC News: "The challenge isn't what to do, we know what to do - reduce deforestation and re-establish healthy relationships between people and forests. The question is whether there is the political will to invest $10bn or more each year globally, and then sustain that investment to avoid trillions of dollars in damages and untold tolls in loss of life and disruption."

The recommendation to lower the consumption of farmed and wild meat – especially from emerging disease hotspots - may face resistance from nations such as Brazil. Ranching and the production of animal feed contribute significantly to the South American country's economy.


https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54721687

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Two-party One-Party State

 


“It is infinitely better to vote for freedom and fail than to vote for slavery and succeed.” - Eugene Debs

 

We seem to be entering into a new period of serious economic and social crisis. While a socialist revolution seems more than doubtful, all working-class activities in defense of their own interests possess a potential revolutionary character because capitalism itself is always dysfunctional and unstable. Everyone faces the actual crises and has to react to them in some way or another but nobody can predict the dimensions or direction. Working people presently appear prepared to accept, within limits, austerity cuts, if only to avoid the miseries of drawn-out confrontations with the employers and the state. Yet all we are being offered is the choice between different cancers.

 

The fact that our class enemies fall out amongst themselves over what they consider the better policy in their overall interest does not mean we support them. The World Socialist Party is vehemently anti-capitalist, so we do not support the Democrats or their left-wing nor do we give support to those neo-fascists claiming to be anti-capitalists and anti-State. The socialist response is straightforward. If you want to get somewhere, aim for that destination directly, rather than going on detours and trusting that you will eventually, by a round-about a route, arrive at where you want to get to. 

 

Working people cannot ignore the history of Democrats and Republicans working together to create institutional impediments that make third-party challenges well nigh impossible. Facilitating the will of the people does not correlate with excluding viable candidates although there exists widespread and historic loathing of the duopoly.

 

There are liberals who promote the belief that another Trump term would be an existential threat and at all costs he must be defeated. Shall we then forget that Bush oversaw the invasion and destruction of the Middle East and withdrew from Kyoto climate agreement, following his father’s example of invading Panama and Kuwait, that Reagan conducted secret corrupt wars paying the murderous Contras with drug money, invading Grenada, that Kennedy authorized the invasion of Cuba, LBJ’s escalation of the Vietnam War, or that the ‘saintly’ Jimmy Carter continued American support of the brutal Indonesian dictatorship and supported the Afghan Mujahideen, that Bill Clinton passed Wall Street-friendly financial rules and imposed draconian sanctions upon Iraq as well as crime legislation that led to mass incarceration of Americans, while Obama bailed out the corporations but failed to curtail the foreclosure of ordinary American’s homes and increased the deportation of illegal migrants and initiated a drone assassination scheme. Just who has been the greater evil? As for being Trump being dumb, wasn’t it Gerald Ford who was accused of not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Nor do not recall Bush being a great intellectual. Some liberals have a selective memory.

 

Although it's a favorite conservative media narrative to link Biden with the left-wing extremists, like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the fact is that the most common criticism of Biden was that he was not progressive enough. Most notably, he is not for
Medicare-For-All nor is he for AOC's version of the "Green New Deal." Conservative media continues the drumbeat that he is a "Trojan Horse" or that he will be led by "The Squad" - but those are all tacit acknowledgements that he (Biden) is not CURRENTLY adopting their policies.


There is an attempt to convince voters that Biden, eventually, will make a hard left turn. But, if elected, it's far more likely that the left of the party will have to move toward Biden - not the other way around.

 

Democrats and the Republicans are mortal enemies just one day – election day. Then we fight tooth and nail. The rest of the time it’s live and let live with them - bipartisanship.

 

 Republicans accuse Democrats of collusion with BLM and Antifa to establish a socialist tyranny. Democrats accuse Republicans of marching with the Proud Boys and militias towards a fascist autocracy. Both sides accuse the other of planning a coup if they are defeated in the election. It is all  a distraction. Portraying the two-party duopoly through the lens of its extremist wings is misleading. It leads people to see the two major parties as more significantly different than they are. Hidden behind the spectacle of rhetoric is underlying class unity on matters of importance to Wall St. and the Pentagon.

 

 While the many problems of Americans are systemic weaknesses of the capitalist system, the public political debates is on the likeability of Biden’s or Trump’s personalities - a character contest.

 

 Sanctions against Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Iran, Syria, etc. – costing hundreds of thousands of lives – will continue whoever occupies the White House. The multi-trillion-dollar modernization of the US nuclear arsenal will continue. Private healthcare and health insurance profits remain guaranteed to be protected. Deportations of migrants will carry on. The wealth gap will keep on widening.


With unity on the major issues, the two parties of capital try to distinguish each other over their posture on gesture politics - tokenism. But what the two parties really offer is the choice between the good cop and the bad cop. For sure, Trump’s reign in the White House has been reprehensible but so was Obama’s deportations and drone assassinations, Clinton’s crime and welfare bills and both president’s sanctions policies. Let us not forget that it was the Democratic Party, not the Republicans, that defeated the Bernie Sanders soft-left program, first by Hillary and then by Joe. It is not the Republicans who have gone after the Green Party to exclude them from being on many of the state’ ballot. Biden/Pelosi/Schumer control the Democrats not Sanders/AOC. And the Biden alliance have birds of the feather on both sides of the aisle. There is little daylight between Mitt Romney and Biden.

 

Biden is now the preferred choice of Wall St who are lavishing funds upon the Democratic campaign, which is outspending Trump 2:1. The ruling class are well aware that they are the guaranteed winners whoever prevails right now the Democrats are perceived as better representing their interests.

 

The revolution, which will surely come, will be peaceful. Not a drop of blood will be shed provided the socialists are allowed to control the situation. We will win by the ballot. We realize that we can do nothing until we have complete control of the government. We must have the Presidency and Congress before we can accomplish anything, and we will attempt nothing until we control these offices. Then we will simply take, in the name of the people, the means of production and distribution. They have been paid for, over and over again, by the people, and are ours by every moral right - Eugene Debs

 

Socialist Sonnet No. 5

  The Evil of Two Lessers…

 

Dumb Donald and Sleepy Joe taking aim,

Each with the other in his sights,

Champions both of constitutional rights

Who mark their differences by being the same.

Dumb Donald isn’t lacking in confidence,

Knows his support’s semi-automatic,

Sleepy Joe’s liberally patriotic,

Claims capitalism is common sense.

 

When votes are in and have been counted,

Whoever gets most may very well lose

Being in the gift of a college to choose,

A great deception having been mounted.

 

This result comes at considerable cost,

The president wins, while everyone’s lost.


D. A.

Rethinking the politics of the ‘lesser evil’

 Principle or context?

The World Socialist Movement has traditionally refused to back one capitalist party or politician against another as a supposed ‘lesser evil.’ It has recommended that in the absence of a socialist candidate socialists should ‘abstain from voting for either evil’ and instead write SOCIALISM across their ballot papers. This stance is reiterated in the context of the forthcoming US presidential election in the October 2020 issue of The Socialist Standard (journal of the SPGB, our British companion party)—specifically, in the editorial and in Aljo’s article.

 Recently I have been rethinking this matter and want to share my thoughts. As I currently occupy the post of general secretary of the WSPUS, I must emphasize that I am expressing personal opinions, not presenting an agreed view of the WSPUS. 

The traditional stance of the WSM is based on two arguments. 

First, it is asserted that the differences between capitalist politicians are of minor importance – as meaningful as ‘the choice between cholera and typhoid,’ as Aljo puts it. Rival candidates are likened to the identical twins of an English nursery rhyme – Tweedledum and Tweedledee. 

Second, it is argued that the practice of supporting ‘lesser evils’ is a trap. It keeps the working class permanently in thrall to capitalism, blocking the growth of an anti-capitalist alternative or any movement independent of capital.

In World Socialist Review 22 (pp. 75-80) I identify a recurrent pattern. The disillusionment that follows the election of a ‘lesser evil’ prepares fertile soil for the rise of the next populist demagogue. A vote for a ‘lesser evil’ is therefore – indirectly – also a vote for a ‘greater evil.’ The second of the two arguments is a strong one. However, the first seems to me an overgeneralization. 

Tweedledum and Tweedledee? 

True, very often there does appear to be no great difference between rival candidates. However, I see no reason why this must always be so. Capitalist imperatives place limits on the policies that governments can pursue, but within these limits there is considerable scope for differences. In the United States, for example, the Republican Party has closer ties with fossil fuel interests, the Democratic Party with Wall Street. Recent years have seen a divergence in foreign policy orientation, with the Democrats focused on Russia as the main adversary and the Republicans on China. It may be said that differences of this sort are of no concern to the working class and in most cases that is so. 

However, some differences between one politician and another do affect the working class. I came across one example recently reading Victoria Johnson’s book on the Seattle and San Francisco general strikes (How Many Machine Guns Does It Take to Cook One Meal, University of Washington Press 2008). In 1934 San Francisco employers appealed to the federal government to send troops to suppress strikers in the city. Previous experience led them to expect a helpful response, but the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt refused to oblige. A bloodbath was averted. 

The difference between FDR and his predecessors in policy regarding strikes and trade unions was surely ‘meaningful’ in this instance. Returning to the present, it may be argued that at least some of the differences between Trump and Biden do matter a great deal. 

MP Shah, author of another articleon the US election in the October Socialist Standard, evidently thinks so: ‘If Trump manages to secure another victory, the consequences for the environment will be disastrous.’ I am not sure. The difference between Biden and Trump in environmental policy is that between highly inadequate regulation of business activity and no regulation at all. Consequences for the environment will probably be disastrous even if Trump is defeated, although even an outside chance of human survival is preferable to the certainty of extinction. 

A threat to democracy? 

Of special concern to many people is the unprecedented threat that Trump poses to the democratic elements in the US political system. There is ample basis for such concern. Besides interviews with Noam Chomsky (e.g., truthout. org, August 11), I refer the reader to the series of seven editorials published by The Washington Post, starting September 22, under the heading ‘Our Democracy in Peril’ and to Barton Gellman’s article in the November 2020 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.

Trump has illegally appointed officials without congressional approval. He has sent federal troops to cities, against the will of their mayors, to confront peaceful protestors. He is systematically purging federal employees and military officers considered insufficiently subservient to himself. His new appointee as postmaster general is slowing down the delivery of mail in order to block mail-in ballots. He has refused to promise to leave office if he loses the election. 

Most alarming of all is Trump’s reliance on the support of extreme right-wing and white-supremacist militias like the Proud Boys and the Boogaloos, whose acts of violence and intimidation he refuses to acknowledge or condemn – despite the evidence presented in a recently leaked FBI report. The claim that Trump represents an American variety of fascism no longer seems farfetched.

As socialists we cannot be indifferent to such a prospect. Even if we remain at liberty, which is by no means guaranteed, we could hardly be effective in our work of spreading socialist ideas in an atmosphere of pervasive ‘patriotic’ terror. 

So what?

 Even if Biden is clearly the ‘lesser evil’ in this election, it does not necessarily follow that socialists should give him their wholehearted support. The long-term interest of the working class and of human survival dictates that such support be withheld from any capitalist politician. Support for an establishment politician, however justified its motivation, is a slippery slope that easily leads to the loss of any radical perspective. 

Just consider how Bernie Sanders has changed his tune. At the time of the Democratic Party primaries he dared expose the dirty secret of Biden and his other establishment rivals – their financial dependence on – and consequent subservience to – big business. This truth-telling was crucial to his popular appeal. 

Now, as Bernie begs his reluctant supporters to vote for Biden, the truth-telling has disappeared. Bernie encourages us to take Biden’s promises at face value, despite the man’s sorry record, and no longer even mentions his ties to capitalist interests. As socialists we face a real tension between the short-term and  long-term interests of humanity and the working class.

 We cannot sacrifice the short term to the long term: after all, we have to pass through the short term in order to reach the long term. Nor can we sacrifice the long-term to short-term considerations. 

A compromise of some sort is required. Our first duty is to be as clear and frank as possible in presenting the situation as we see it. As for the choice between not voting, casting an invalid ballot, and tactical voting for Biden in order to oust Trump, let our fellow workers think things through and decide for themselves. They can manage without our advice. 

STEPHEN SHENFIELD

http://www.wspus.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/World-Socialist-Fall-2020.pdf

The Arrival of the 'World Socialist'

 


The World Socialist Party of the United States is excited to announce the first issue of our new quarterly journal, World Socialist. It contains articles on the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, the US–China confrontation, the presidential election, ‘human nature,’ the Wall Street bombing of 1920, revolution in ancient Anatolia,  ‘How I became a socialist,’ and Marx’s idea of socialism — plus book reviews and comics.

For the online version just follow the following link:

World Socialist No. 1 (Fall 2020)


The plan is also to produce a hardcopy version for sale at $2.00, as soon as an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is obtained.

 

Australia's Rich List


Australia’s rich have gotten richer during the coronavirus pandemic.

The total wealth of the 200 richest people in Australia increased 24% over the past year, to $424bn, even as the country was plunged into recession and unemployment soared due to the pandemic.

 Iron ore prices that rose from about US$80 a tonne late last year to a peak of more than US$125 last month have dramatically increased the wealth of what the AFR has dubbed “ore-ligarchs” including Gina Rinehart and Fortescue Metals founder Andrew Forrest.

Rinehart’s net worth has more than doubled, from $13.81bn to $28.89bn, moving her from second to first on the rich list while Forrest’s almost tripled, rising from $7.99bn to $23bn and rocketing him from eighth spot to second. The vast increases in the wealth of the two iron ore magnates pushed last year’s No 1 – packaging king Anthony Pratt, into third position even though his fortune also swelled – from $15.57bn to $19.75bn. Hui Wing Mau, the chair of Hong Kong listed Shimao Property Holdings, a property developer in mainland China, was fourth at $18.06bn, up from $10.39bn last year. Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes was fifth on $16.93bn, up from $9.63bn last year.

Nick Molnar, the co-founder of controversial buy-now-pay-later outfit Afterpay, vaulting from 194th on the list last year to 50th this year. His wealth exploded by 283%, from $487m to $1.86bn.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/29/gina-rinehart-rockets-back-to-top-of-afr-rich-list-as-pandemic-proves-kind-to-ore-ligarchs

Profiting from Environmental Damage

 


Led by Wall Street giants Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, 50 top investment banks provided financial services to sectors driving mass extinctions and biodiversity loss worth more than the GDP of Canada in 2019, the analysis found. The world’s largest investment banks provided more than $2.6tn (£1.9tn) of financing linked to the destruction of ecosystems and wildlife last year, according to a new report.

“Bank by bank, the report authors found a cavalier ignorance of – or indifference to – the implications, with the vast majority unaware of their biodiversity impacts, or associated balance sheet risks,” Sir Robert Watson, former chair of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the UN’s scientific body on nature, said. “In short, this report is a frightening statement of the status quo.”

The report says that banks do not have systems in place to monitor environmental harm.

Prof Kai Chan of the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia and leading author of the IPBES report, said: “A global sustainable economy sits at the centre of humanity’s much-needed transformation to meet the climate and ecological crises. And at the centre of that sit the banks and the finance institutions whose investments power development around the globe."

 Last month, the UN reported that the world had failed to meet fully any of the 2020 Aichi bioiversity targets that countries agreed with fanfare in 2010, even as it found that biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, and the pressures driving this decline are intensifying.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/28/banks-lent-1-9tn-linked-to-ecosystem-and-wildlife-destruction-in-2019-report-aoe

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Canadians Welcome Newcomers


 Canadians are increasingly open to welcoming immigrants and refugees.

new study from the polling firm Environics Institute found that attitudes among Canadians have become increasingly positive, even as millions remain out of work and the country faces grim economic projections.

“These views are not a blip. They’re not chance. They seem to be deeply rooted and widely spread,” said Andrew Parkin, executive director at Environics. “At first, we thought maybe Donald Trump would knock these positive trends. Maybe Canadians would catch the vibe of what’s going on in the States and start pulling back. That didn’t happen,” he said. "If these views are not going to get knocked back by politics in the United States or a major health or an economic crisis, they’re probably not going to get knocked back.”

 Instead of political unrest and xenophobia in America and Trump’s xenophobic views spilling over the border, Parkin suspects they have had the opposite effect in Canada. “It actually seems to have reinforced our sense of distinctiveness.”

The latest results show for the first time ever that Canadians are more likely than not to reject the idea that immigrants are not adopting Canadian values. At the same time, a large majority of Canadians continue to see immigrants as critical to the Canadian economy and don’t feel they take jobs away from other Canadians.  The pandemic, which has so far millions of jobs and left Canadians in precarious financial situations, has not turned residents negative towards newcomers. Nor has the emergence in 2019 of the anti-immigration People’s Party of Canada which has also failed to shift opinions.

Close to one-third of Canadians say that too many refugee claimants are not “real” refugees – sharply down from 79% in 1987.

The shifting attitudes are not found just in heavily populated and diverse cities like Toronto but the research also recorded increasing openness among older residents aligned with conservative political parties and in regions that have faced economic devastation.

Atlantic Canada is often compared to the US rust belt or northern England – rural areas where industry has left, the population is poorer and residents are older.

“In other countries, this all correlates with less openness to immigration. But in Atlantic Canada, they’ve realized that the more immigrants they have, the more businesses that are going to get started there.” 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/28/canadians-immigrants-refugees-study-environics-institute

America - the frightened country


The Democratic Party (or as we like to describe them, the Damnocrats) is a party that embraces capitalism. It calls for the increased regulation but not the abolition of capitalism.


The hold of patriotic sentiment on the working people in America has created havoc on the development of class consciousness and played into the hands of the capitalists. The “revolutionary tradition” of American history can also be put to use for the advantage of working people not as the romantic idea that Americans are crusaders prepared to shed their blood for noble ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but that the capitalist class did not hesitate to fight for its own class interests. This involves pointing out that George Washington with his 30,000 acres of land; that Hancock and Adams with their mercantile business threatened with destruction by laws passed by a British parliament in the interest of British merchants, acted in line with their class interests. And after the war was over they conveniently forgot their revolutionary principles, ensuring the new constitution which protected their property interests against the artisans and small farmers who had done all the fighting.


It is true that the average American worker does not usually feel a member of a poor, oppressed class but there is a growing impoverishment and insecurity under capitalism  Americans have convinced themselves (or perhaps more accurately, permitted themselves to be convinced) that electing a new president will change things. “It's gonna be different this time.” But it won’t be. Even when Biden becomes President, it would hardly matter, for his freedom of action is too restricting and he would have very little option but to accommodate the capitalist class and their agenda.  When he is elected there would be a number of cosmetic changes but the fundamental problem, capitalist property relations, would remain essentially unchanged. One of the tasks of Biden is to transform bothersome protesters back into a relative placid population again. Biden makes no secret during his campaign of his “moderate” political outlook. A central theme of his campaign, in fact, is the need for bipartisanism and many on the Democratic Party left view him as just another spineless Democrat. Biden  has never claimed to be anything but a “pragmatist”, which is a nicer way of saying “opportunist”. People have gone from the na├»ve view that Trump is the root of all evil to the equally simplistic idea that Biden could uproot that evil.


 Once more there is the recognizable political cycle. For the sake of argument, let us suppose that Biden was a significantly lesser evil. For instance, it is argued, isn’t it worthwhile just to re-join the Paris climate agreement (just for the sake of debate, remember) to get him into office does ward off a greater evil. Some capitalist politicians are totally 100% subservient to the fossil fuel corporations and oblivious to the danger of climate change. In their hands we are doomed. Other capitalist politicians are a little less subservient, show a limited awareness of the situation, and try to do something to mitigate it. Something, although much less than what’s absolutely essential and necessary. Biden may take a less confrontational approach, but he still has to bat for US capitalist industry, arguing for the continued use of fracking, for instance. Once in office, Biden comes under irresistible pressure from his capitalist masters to break his “populist” promises, to disappoint, disillusion and betray the working people who placed their trust and hope in him. Some supporters sink back into apathy and despair, while others fall prey to the right-wing backlash. These reactions give the Republicans their chance to return to political power. Those who support the lesser evil play an essential role in constantly reproducing the cycle. They share the responsibility for its persistence. Support for the lesser evil also entails support – indirect and delayed, but support nonetheless – for the greater evil.


America badly needs a vigorous socialist party. America is a plutocracy, which means a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. Everything supports that fact. The American working class have been fooled into accepting the concept of common interests wherein the problems of the capitalist class and the state machine are theirs also. The suggestion is that people in the US all belong to one of the world's mightiest military and industrial powers, sharing equally in the glory; so let's all work still harder to increase the arms and wealth of the rulers. The belief that there exists a community of interests from which we all derive common benefits is a mistaken one but nevertheless held strongly. Two crucial political fallacies permeate American workers thinking.


First, that the present system can be so organized that it will operate in the interests of the majority, through a process of applied reformism, and second, that ‘proper leadership’ is an essential requirement. However, neither of the foregoing will ever remove any of the major social evils and the socialist mission is to demonstrate that fact.


 Without vibrant grass-roots movements changing reality, the richest people in power will keep on trampling upon the working class. We need BOTH activism on the streets demonstrating against specific grievances AND we need effective electoral action for social change. A powerful socialist party should be the conduit for change. Protests have often been aimed at the wrong target. Occupy Wall Street was a step in the right direction. We now need to go further. A socialist party is an organization which can connect the dots between issues and movements -- from winning justice for workers to fighting for immigrant rights to interacting with global social justice movements. We cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which we must battle.