Sunday, July 07, 2024

Biden says he runs the world!


The Socialist Party of Great Britain, part of the World Socialist Movement, has, since its inception in 1904 never had ‘leaders’. After all, the majority working class run capitalism on behalf of its ruling class so why shouldn’t we be capable of organising society to run for the benefit of all? So why do we continue to put people into a position of power over us where the only benefit is one where they ‘exist, for one purpose only: to line their own pockets and empty yours?

US President Joe Biden says he has been “running the world” and therefore does not actually need any cognitive tests to prove his fitness for office.

The president made the remarks in an interview with ABC News when the 81-year-old was repeatedly pressed by George Stephanopoulos about the growing concerns surrounding his mental and physical condition.

Asked whether he has “had a full neurological and cognitive evaluation,” Biden provided a rather incoherent response. 

I’ve had - I get a full neurological test everyday with me. And I’ve had a full physical. I had, you know, I mean, I - I’ve been at Walter Reed [national military medical center] for my physicals. I mean - uhm yes, the answer,” he stated.

The president dodged the question on whether he would willingly pass such a test and release its results to the public, insisting his work alone proves he is fit enough for office.

Look. I have a cognitive test every single day. Every day I have that test. Everything I do. You know, not only am I campaigning, but I’m running the world. Not - and that’s not hi -sounds like hyperbole, but we are the essential nation of the world,” he asserted.’

The below is extracted from the Socialist Standard March 1967
‘This, as the newspapers never tire of telling us, is the age of progress and enlightenment; which means, among other things, that every little girl and every little boy in the schools is taught that to worship idols is evil. Of course, this applies to only one sort of idol. Those same little girls and boys are also taught, in those same schools, that to worship leaders is virtuous.

The leadership principle is one of the pillars of property society. The vast majority of people are convinced that the world is so full of complex and dangerous problems that only a few can be expected to have the knowledge, the ability and the courage to deal with them.

This select few are the leaders. There is even something called a “born” leader, although when we consider the properties leaders are supposed to have it is reasonable to wonder whether they can be said to be born like the rest of us.

For the most part, the working class accept it all. The nearest they come to criticising is to complain about the quality of the leadership they suffer, and to pine for stronger or weaker, or abler, or some other type of leadership. Just see how enthusiastically they react whenever a great man drives through the streets. Study their smiles, a mixture of joy and amazement, when he proves that he is human by getting out of his car and coming across to clasp hands with them.

No shadow of doubt can be seen on those happy faces. None of them is asking what a leader is supposed to be, to do, to be worth. So let us, the minority who do not accept the leadership principle, ask the questions.

A leader, first of all, is supposed to be someone who does things which are good for us. His intentions are supposed to be of the best and under his wise and humane guidance we should flourish into prosperity and happiness. But it is at once obvious that, to put it at its mildest, this is not always so. To take the plainest of recent examples, whatever intentions lay behind Hitler’s rages, or Stalin’s level eyes, they were not inspired by the greatest good of the greatest number.

Of course when it was convenient for them, the allied leaders made great play on the evil results of the Hitler and Stalin tyrannies. This propaganda was acceptable to those workers who console themselves with the notion that all evil leaders are foreign. It ignores the fact that, at the same time as the British leaders were condemning the Nazis’ savagery, they were themselves indulging in delicate operations like arguing about which of them had correctly calculated the number of houses the RAF could destroy in their attacks on German cities.

Now the whole point is that if it is possible for a leader to be a murderous tyrant, if a leader can act against human interests, the case for having a leader is severely damaged. If leadership is a sort of lucky dip, with a good chance of coming out with a Hitler, then there is a strong argument for not sticking our hand into the bran tub.

Whether a leader is “good” or “bad”, one quality he should have is to know more than his followers. Some leaders, of course, assert that this is all done by intuition. There is no argument in favour of leaders unless they know better than anyone else. How do our leaders match up to this?

... In other words, that no matter what sort of a leader we have capitalism is unpredictable, that it can blow up sudden storms or settle into unexpected calms. Leaders can amass all the facts possible, they can adopt what pretence they like. When it comes down to it they have to admit that events are beyond their control.

This is what provokes what are sometimes called leaders’ “mistakes” but which might have other descriptions. Indeed, history is littered with examples of politicians’ broken promises, misguided calculations, discredited forecasts.

...The case against leadership in principle, then, is formidable. Leaders can be ruthless and inhumane; they can be as ignorant as anyone else; they can make massive mistakes; and they can betray what their followers have always thought of as their principles.

So why keep them? The simple answer (although this may seem presumptuous) is that the existence of leaders reflects the ignorance, the apathy, or the delusions, of the people who follow them.

One aspect of this, ignorance is the confusion over the meaning of leadership. Many people think that anyone who has a special knowledge and who applies it to the rest of us— like a doctor—is in that fact a leader. We don't know enough to treat ourselves, runs the argument, so we have to rely on the doctor to do it for us. That makes the doctor a leader which proves that we cannot exist without leaders.

Yet there are limits beyond which a doctor's special knowledge cannot be applied, because our knowledge makes us question him. If, for example, we went to our doctor with a poison toe and he started preparations to lance our finger we would probably get in touch with a couple of his colleagues to have him certified. (Perhaps it is no coincidence that Harold Wilson once said his favourite image of himself was as the people's family doctor.)

For some reason, the working class do not apply these same standards of judgement to politicians. A doctor who sometimes murdered his patients, who confessed to a lack of medical knowledge, who kept performing the wrong operation and who ended up working for the undertaker would soon get what he deserved. Yet political leaders who carry on in the same way remain on their pedestals, in their offices.

All that is needed to end this is some basic knowledge. Not very much; only the equivalent of knowing that the doctor is treating us for the wrong complaint; only enough to tell us that the society we live in now does not work in our interests and that to get rid of its evils we must fundamentally change it.

With that knowledge, workers are impervious to the promises, the deceptions, the mistakes and the treachery of leaders. They have no need of leaders to tell them what to do; they have the essential equipment to build the new society where people count.


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