On November 3rd, the American working class will go to the polls to decide who will run capitalism in their country over the next four years. The result will not appreciably alter the conditions of the millions who cast their vote. In four years’ time we shall be reviewing the failures of the man the Americans elect as President this November. In four years the American workers will have yet another chance to reflect upon the futility of choosing between one type of capitalism and another.
The Republicans stand for the system as it is; the Democratic Party for the system as it was; the World Socialist Party is for a new system, the socialist republic.
Economic developments are producing conditions that make the case for socialism more strikingly clear than was possible in the past era of rampant individualism, and collectivist ideas of sorts are floating around and being discussed in the most unlikely circles. But in the building up of a sound and powerful party of socialists, a very great amount of work remains to be done. It should be clear to all workers that the working class, if they are to escape from the misery of capitalism, must first understand their class position, and must then build up a socialist political party for the purpose of capturing the powers of government in order to introduce socialism. The Democrats and Republicans want the 99 percent to take yet another spin on the reformist misery-go-round.
The most remarkable thing about the Presidential contest was that neither side addressed the most pressing question of all: How is it that in the richest country in the world so many workers are living below the government’s own poverty line? In cities across America vast numbers are homeless, unemployed, without any health insurance and empty of hope.
Neither Trump nor Biden are prepared to go beyond rhetoric in relation to the problem of poverty. Trump has a lousy record of neglect for those in need. His Administration has operated on the callous basis that the market would sort out those whose needs should be satisfied. Of course, the market responds to profit and not needs not backed up by purchasing power. Trump has presided over a nation where the public provision of health care has been slashed; free education has been discredited; whole inner city areas have become crime-dominated, drug-infested wastelands appears unstoppable.
In the light of such a dire state of affairs the Republican rhetoric of sickening Christian moralizing must have offended a lot of American workers. Biden is afraid to make anything more than indifferent noises about "change" in relation to the poverty issue because he feared that any talk of helping the most disadvantaged workers would lose him the support of the less disadvantaged wage and salary slaves. Biden’s campaign exhibited all the lack of commitment or willingness to offend the rich. Millions of Americans are being sucked in by the emptiness of Biden's grandfatherly fake-smile reformism. They abdicated their power to control their own lives to a man committed to the continuation of their exploitation — a man advised by well-paid media consultants (i.e. propagandists) whose task was to trample all over their political intelligence. The key to the Biden style is the projection of the man-next-door with the aid of millions of dollars campaign funds. Biden is the biggest bluffer Uncle Sam can boast of.
At the time of writing, the presidential campaign of Donald Trump is veering between tragedy and farce. His contempt for women, Mexicans, Muslims and all those outside his own white, male, billionaire peer group is twisting defiantly into an ugly parody, more grotesque than any fiction. Yet he still carries tens of millions of Americans feeling sufficient affinity with his prejudices to continue supporting him. Meanwhile, Biden, whose own hideous record of militarism and single-minded dedication to supporting the parasites of Wall Street in their exploitation of the 99 percent of the population who are excluded from their club might otherwise have been spotlighted, is allowed to pose alongside Trump as the humane alternative.
Biden is being compared to Franklin Roosevelt, who so dominated American politics during the thirties. We may rely on it that, if the interests of American capitalism demand it, Biden’s election platform will be ignored in the same way as that of his famous predecessor. Faced with a situation which must be judged in terms of the interests of American capitalism, Biden will find in many cases that he has no more power to keep his election promises than any one of his predecessors. This will cause him no lost sleep. Presidents have to be even harder and more cynical than car salesmen.
It is depressing that American workers should be impressed by—indeed be part of—slick, high pressure salesmanship and cynical drives for power. For after the shouting and the ballyhoo have died, capitalism, in America and the rest of the world, remains unscathed. Therefore it is apparent that whatever may be the result of the presidential election in the United States the working class will be in the same predicament— wage laborers. The workers of the United States and the rest of the world will not arrive in Easy Street by giving their allegiance to politicians of the caliber of either Trump or Biden.
This social system produces the horrors of war, poverty, insecurity and racial hatred. The Democrats and Republicans, like the other capitalist parties, can offer no end to these. Only the establishment of socialism can give us a world of peace and plenty. And for that we do not need stage-managed ballyhoo. We need knowledge and the social responsibility that goes with it. What the workers must do in every country of the world is to form socialist parties whose only object is the common ownership and democratic control of the means of producing and distributing wealth. The only party in the United States worthy of working class support is the World Socialist Party.