by Ellen Isaacs June 15, 2020
Not evil like Trump — wholly malevolent, unapologetically sexist, racist and without compassion — but evil as a supporter of a system that impoverishes and degrades most of the people of the world. But there will be no candidate running for office in the USA, be they a left wing Democrat or a right wing Republican, who does not support capitalism and its need to preserve profits over human welfare.
What rivals disagree on is what fraction of profits should be returned to workers as social benefits, what degree of regulation should limit corruption or preserve the environment, whether social policy should be openly racist or sexist, or how large a military should exert its influence how far afield. There may be many other differences also, but none are questioning that government’s primary role is to keep the capitalist system afloat. Candidates at either end of this spectrum, like Sanders or Trump, are usually fairly consistent in their ideological pronouncements. But many politicians, those with a malleable ideology in service to mere ambition, waffle continuously in order to try and garner the most votes. Such is Joe Biden.
Of course the present wave of disruptions over racist police killings overlapping the gross inequities laid bare by the pandemic have shocked and worried those in power. They are rushing to institute police reform, which has become the main demand of the massive multiracial uprisings, uprisings which fall short of demanding an end to capitalist rule. What is more feared is that the millions who will find themselves unemployed, underemployed, uninsured, possibly homeless over the next several months will erupt into a more dangerous rebellion and perhaps unite with the flaming youth. Biden, the elderly, poorly spoken, opportunistic politician would not be equal to quelling such a movement.
Not only is he an uninspiring presence, but it is hard to find an issue on which Biden’s views have not changed in order to follow popular trends and garner more votes. Rather than claim that his positions have evolved over time, he usually simply denies that he ever held different views. But what is irrefutable is that Biden represents the consensus of internationally oriented, financier dominant branch of the ruling class who is anxious to end the dangerous and incompetent reign of Trump and return to business as usual. It is time to ready the military to preserve access to resources abroad, time to try and regain the loyalty of a greater part of the working class, time to appear more humane and democratic. But to hope to do so without too much disruption, Bidenesquely. What follows is a summary of some of his positions and turnabouts.
- 1977- part of a Senate investigation of unethical drug testing of LSD during the Cold War which covered up the murder of Dr. Frank Olson after an experiment gone awry.
- 1978 — helped to rewrite the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allowed secret surveillance by the government without a court order.
- 1996 — voted for the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, that required restrictions on government aid for immigrants and indefinite detention of undocumented immigrants convicted of minor crimes and their rapid deportation, as well as the deportation of legal immigrants for a broader range of offenses. This was the framework later used by Obama to deport over three million immigrants.
- Biden was also partly responsible for the surge in immigration from Central and South America as an architect of Clinton’s Plan Colombia, an expansion of the war on drugs which massively increased violence. Under Obama, Biden was in charge of the Alliance for Prosperity, which led to privatization and advantages for foreign investors, causing increased poverty and environmental decay.
Balancing the Budget/ Entitlements
In sum, Biden has no commitment to ending racist disparities in income, living conditions or victimization by police. He has no plan to guarantee health care or health insurance for all. He has no plan to tackle the climate crisis in a real way. He has no plan to limit US imperialist aims to control much of the world’s oil and mineral resources or the wars that will be fought to that end. Of course he has no plan to end exploitation of the working class in the service of capitalism, as no electoral candidate can have. He can only deny that his years of words and actions in support of US capitalism did not really happen or promise to do differently in the future. For us, it is not a commitment to voting that is needed, but a commitment to an anti-capitalist movement, built on unity between workers, students and soldiers. We must not rely on politicians or other leaders anointed by unions or churches who do not fight in our interests. Let the present international uprisings be a foundation to building that movement. Just imagine their power if they become united in questioning capitalism itself.
Originally published at http://multiracialunity.org on June 16, 2020.