The truth and reality about U.S. politics is that neither ruling-class party speaks for the working class. When we exclude the fancy language Trump's election campaign is based upon “Greed is good and regulations bad.” Contrary to the rightwing Biden is not a “socialist” nor is he the FDR New Deal liberal his own supporters like to portray him as. His economic program is mainstream capitalist. Trump is no threat to the Washington "establishment" just as Wall St has nothing to fear from Biden. Far-right leaders historically always tap that type of genuine anger to serve their reactionary goals. It is not an exaggeration to say that Biden will be the best Republican president in modern times. His nomination as the Democratic Party candidate to stand against Trump has perhaps effectively demobilized the liberal left, to an extent that no Republican president could ever do. Who speaks for the working class and poor? No capitalist political party does. There is no electoral solution to class warfare. It requires a new types of organization and parties and a willingness to take whatever steps are necessary to bring fundamental change.
On November 3, progressives will not vote for an ally . They will vote for a preferred enemy.
We know how the story goes - hope and promises of change but which lead to policies that reinforce rather than reverse trends towards greater inequality and state violence. Nevertheless, Sanders, Chomsky, Angela Davis all line up to extol Americans to vote for the lesser evil, even if Biden is still an evil to be opposed when or if he is elected. Progressives have painted Trump as a mortal threat to democracy and even to the future of humankind. Being told you have the chance to choose between two radically different enemies to fight for your survival makes the choice and the motivation to vote far clearer even if the dichotomy is a false one.
Whatever Biden's faults and they concede he has many, we are told we must still vote for him regardless. Despite the last two Democratic presidencies, Clinton and Obama, entrenched the very forces that have enabled the disasters of the Bush and now Trump presidencies rather than act in any way as transformative. America was a country beset by multiple interlocked crises that seem beyond the possibility of a solution by ordinary mainstream politics - a sentiment which helped get Trump elected into the White House in the first place. Many disaffected voters are no lining up behind the liberal dog-whistles. They are becoming to understand that the system is simply too rotten to reform, that Clinton-Bush-Obama-Trump-Biden are merely the see-saw political-economic system of the United States. The lofty political rhetoric from right and left is something they have heard just too many times before. While Trump offers bread and circus media shows to his base of adoring followers, the Democratic Party is too timid to even embrace policies that the vast majority of its voters support such as Medicare 4 All and free college education.
This election is not about voting for the president who will lead us out of the darkness towards the light, as Biden kept suggesting but for the Left it is about choosing which enemy they would rather spend the next four years fighting.
The tragedy for the U.S. working class is that there is so little pressure from below on the powers-that-be for the moment. People who are facing massive insecurity in their employment and their families’ survival right now are generally paralyzed by fear, or waiting for some kind of salvation from Trump or Biden and as always the current debates over salvation take place within strictly capitalist bounds. The role of socialists is not to assume position as supplicant begging palliatives but to build movements to change society. This will not be quick or easy, but it is most urgent for America and the world. There can be no easy victories but it is now time that the workers' voices are heard and take center stage of politics. It is the harsh truth that those of us who would prioritize human needs and democracy over capitalist profit and corporate power do not have a political party capable of mounting a serious challenge to austerity in the electoral arena. Our own, the World Socialist Party is presently ill-equipped to take on such a role other than an agitational Marxist study group.
The central issue facing our society is how to respond to the deepest crisis of global capitalism since the 1930s. Unfortunately, we won’t be hearing a substantive debate about this. The Democratic and Republican parties both favor making working-class people pay to bail out the corporations and get capitalism back on its feet, in order to preserve the wealth and the rights of banks, large corporations, and those few families who live off profits and interest.
In there different approaches both Trump and Biden asks us to lower our hopes and expectations of a decent life for our families and communities. And it seeks to transform political and economic institutions in order to be sure that workers and governments will remain “disciplined” into the future.
OUR SOCIALIST VISION for changing society begins from the notion that “the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself.” That argument, advanced by Marx and Engels long ago in the Communist Manifesto, resonates with us. In our view, the job facing socialists today is to build a social movement that can challenge the profit system.
The World Socialist Party seeks to secure a future that neither the two candidates for president, nor the parties they represent, has the interest to create.
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