Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Supping with the devil

In presidential election, stopping Trump appears to many liberal and progressive activists to be the most pressing point: a new right-wing is on the ascendancy and are stronger now than they have been in a generation. The new conservative coalition is one of the most serious prospects American citizens confront today. Economic and social crises always have a falling-out-among-thieves as different sectors of capitalists seek to gain long-term advantage for themselves in the working out of capitalism’s common problems. Today a number of mainstream movements such as the Lincoln Project are trying to rally against Trump. And in doing so they are providing Biden with the fig-leaf of respectability. In short, voting for Biden because one is appalled by Trump’s policies is far from reasonable given that Biden largely shares many of them.  

The American electoral system works by an array of tricks to keep working-class voters, mainly African Americans and other minorities, from voting. America’s electoral farce often affirms the Marxist understanding that capitalist democracy masks the dictatorship of the capitalists over the workers. With various forms of voter suppression the corrupt nature of the U.S. electoral system has been exposed before the eyes of the working class here and internationally. Corporate lobbyist give politicians donations but they are not really contributions. They are investments or bribes with an expectation of the favors being returned with business-friendly policies.  

The ritualized media circus between Democrats and Republicans reflect differences within the ruling class, but always the two parties are united in defending the interests of the masters at the expense of the wage-slaves. As socialists, we support no side in this November 3rd election. Biden, like Trump, is a loyal servant of the capitalist class. But the Democrats, unlike the Republicans, rest on a base of minority voters and organized labor. The unquestioning support of the Democrats by the labor union leadership as well as African-American and Latino leaders is exactly the reason Clinton/Obama got away with all of their attacks on workers and the oppressed. That is why Biden couches his speeches in conciliatory language, mobilizing his constituencies upon identity politics but never encouraging struggles that will threaten the capitalist system. Tragically, many workers, all colors, are being misled into supporting Biden despite the fact that he represents the enemy class as his and the Democratic Party’s record demonstrates. Capitalism offers no future for workers of any color. There was no choice for workers in this election. It is the responsibility of the World Socialist Party of the United States (WSPUS) to teach that workers have the  power and should not rely on either benevolent saviors or so-called lesser evils. The WSPUS appeals to fellow-workers who already sneer at the capitalist parties and disdain the voting booth that real answer to their powerlessness and desperation lies in forming a socialist party to combat the rule of the capitalist parties in class warfare. Our strength is in collective struggle to bring down this wretched system of exploitation and oppression. Such a party as our own is dedicated to overthrowing both the capitalist economic system and the coercive state that defends it. Those of you who see the need to get rid of capitalism must join us today if we are to win greater numbers of workers to our banner tomorrow. 

People are taught not to vote FOR what they believe but AGAINST a personality. But we should recall the advice of Eugene Debs, "It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it."

Socialists from the Impossiblists tradition do not advocate running electoral candidates for the sake of winning elections, or harbor illusions about how much having members in elected positions can reform and alter the status quo. We support participation in elections because running candidates who represent working class views and interests augments fellow-workers consciousness. Election campaigns result in substantially more media and public attention, and thus have more movement building potential.

 Chomsky and others portray support by activists for Biden as a necessary but harmless tactic that can be undertaken without illusions and without affecting their commitment to building future strong social movements. They declare principled political stands as “sectarian” and “dogma.” Yet the WSPUS claim –that Democrats’ and Republicans’ disagreements are largely over secondary questions, whereas on primary ones they largely agree is a valid one. Rather than being a benign practical pragmatic policy it detracts from building a viable socialist movement undermining working class power.The “lesser evil” bandwagon contributes to the disempowerment of the working class. When activists unconditionally guarantee their votes to Democrats they are beholden to the Democratic Party.  Voting “lesser evil” is a slippery slope down which even the best intentioned “lesser evil” supporters slide. To justify their support, many of them exaggerate the differences and minimize the similarities with Republicans, avoiding any protest against Democratic politicians’ policies. There is no such thing as voting “without illusions,” because this act entails the illusion that we are better off getting a “lesser evil” elected than in creating independent working class resistance, including an effective socialist party. The WSPUS cannot afford to let our fellow-workers wander down a mistaken path without challenge. 

When Marx urged workers of the world to unite, he meant with one another not with the politicians of our masters.

No comments: