The Biden-Harris administration is good news for corporations, cops, war profiteers and banks too big to fail, but offers nothing to save the people and planet from multiple rises.
Biden managed to defeat Donald Trump by a razor thin margin in yet another quadrennial contest over which section of the ruling class will exploit the people and the planet. But the results burst asunder the two most popular assumptions among Democrats about the 2020 election. Polls predicted that Biden would defeat Trump by a large margin in the electoral college. The opposite was true. Biden’s near defeat proved that no set of conditions exist where the Democratic Party can mount a resounding defeat of their duopoly counterpart.
More importantly, a Biden victory was always assumed by Democrats to be a victory for humanity. Think again. Biden and the Democrats did nothing to shake the halls of Congress in their favor. Nor did the Democratic Party offer anything to the masses to secure what should have been an easy victory over Donald Trump. With over 200,000 people dead from COVID-19 and tens of millions more left unemployed, Biden’s lackluster performance is more of an indictment of the Democratic Party’s legitimacy than it is a victory for humanity.
Humanity will suffer many losses under a Biden administration. Black America will likely suffer the worst. While Trump and his GOP allies waged open war with Black Lives Matter activists, Biden has promised to provide more than $300 million in federal funding for police departments to put down Black uprisings in a manner more palatable to the Black misleadership class and its white corporate masters. Black wealth plummeted rapidly under Obama and Biden’s administration. The current economic crisis, compounded with Biden’s lack of any plan to relieve the prolonged suffering of the working class, has already worsened the living standards of millions of Black American workers who never recovered from the 2007-2008 crisis.
There are many on the leftish wing of the Democratic Party that have argued Trump’s ouster will alleviate the suffering of humanity in several key areas. Some cite Biden’s willingness to enter back into the Paris Climate Accords, the JPCOA agreement with Iran, and the World Health Organization (WHO). This makes Biden more progressive than Trump. The argument has one fatal flaw. Biden is much more likely to use his institutional backing to change the form, not the scale of the suffering that the U.S. imposes worldwide.
Biden’s possible re-entrance into the Paris Climate Accords will be canceled out by his commitment to fracking. The possibility of eased sanctions with Iran, while extremely important, is not guaranteed and will be offset by Biden’s own commitment to imperialist plunder in the region. One cannot forget that Biden helped the Obama administration increase U.S. wars from two to seven. In eight years, Biden assisted in the coup of Honduras, the overthrow of Libya, and the ongoing proxy war in Syria. Biden’s commitment to the WHO should not negate his firm opposition to any single-payer model of healthcare and the large sums of money he receives from the very healthcare industry which has ensured the U.S. is without a public health system all together.
Biden and the Democratic Party are joint partners with the GOP in the facilitation of the ongoing Race to the Bottom for the working class. Wall Street donated heavily to Biden with full knowledge that his administration will continue to support the right of corporations to drive down wages, increase productivity (exploitation), and concentrate capital in fewer and fewer hands. Boeing’s CEO stated clearly clear that his business prospects would be served regardless of who won the election. Prison stocks rose after Biden announced Kamala Harris as his vice president. On November 4th, Reuters announced that the lords of capital were quite pleased that no major policy changes were likely under the new political regime elected to Congress and the Oval Office.
Biden will inevitably rule as a rightwing neoconservative in all areas of policy. His big tent of Republicans and national security state apparatchiks is at least as large as Hillary Clinton’s in 2016. Over 100 former GOP war hawks of the national security state endorsed Biden in the closing weeks of the election. Larry Summers, a chief architect of the 2007-2008 economic crisis, advised his campaign. Susan Rice and Michele Flournoy are likely to join Biden’s foreign policy team—a key indication that trillions will continue to be spent on murderous wars abroad.
The question remains whether Biden can effectively govern like prior Democratic Party administrations. American exceptionalism is the Democratic Party’s ideological base, but this ideology is entangled in the general crisis of legitimacy afflicting the U.S. state. Biden’s ability to forward a project of “decency” that restores the “soul of the nation” is hampered by his attitude that “nothing will fundamentally change” for the rich. Biden also lacks charisma and talent. While millions were ready to vote for anyone and anything not named Donald Trump, four years of austerity and war under a president with obvious signs of cognitive decline is guaranteed to sharpen the contradictions of the rule of the rich and open the potential for further unrest on both the left and the right of the political spectrum.
To maintain social peace, Biden will use the Oval Office to consolidate its corporate forces to suffocate left wing forces inside and outside of the Democratic Party. The graveyard of social movements will expand to occupy the largest plot of political territory as possible. A “moderate” revolution will be declared for the forces of progress in the ruling class. Perhaps the best that can be summoned from a Biden administration is the advancement of consciousness that the Democratic Party is just as opposed to social democracy and the interests of the working classes as Republicans. Plenty of opportunities exist to challenge the intransigence of the Democrats but just as many obstacles will be thrown in the way of any true exercise of people’s power.
The 2020 election is yet another reminder that social movements must become the focus of politics, not the electoral process. This is where an internationalist vision of politics is especially important. Social movements in Bolivia returned their socialist party to power after a year living under a U.S.-backed coup. Massive grassroots mobilizations in Cuba, Vietnam, and China contained the COVID-19 pandemic in a matter of months. Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to forge peace rather than wage war. The winds of progress have been blowing toward the Global South for more than a century. The most progressive changes that have ever occurred in the U.S. have been a combined product of the mass organization of the U.S.’ so-called internal colonies such as Black America and the external pressures placed on the U.S. empire by movements for self-determination abroad.
The 2020 election has come and gone. What we know is that Biden is a repudiation of revolutionary change. Humanity will suffer many losses even if more of the oppressed and working masses become aware of Biden and the DNC’s hostile class interests. Trump was rejected by a corporate-owned electoral process just as Clinton was rejected in 2016. Politics in the U.S. remain confined to the narrow ideological possibilities offered by neoliberalism and imperial decay. Oppressed people must create and embrace a politics that take aim at the forces of reaction currently pushing humanity to the brink of total destruction. The only way this can happen is if Biden and the rest of the Democratic Party become the primary target of the people’s fight for a new world.