“America” Doesn’t Need Healing. It Needs Socialism
Biden’s promise to return the United States to “normalcy” comforts corporate executives in the “gig economy,” Wall Street, and the military industrial complex.
“Racial cleavages will be written off as the product of a Russian-backed racist billionaire whose presidency is now a thing of the past.”
Much of the corporate media has asked whether Joe Biden will “heal America” of the so-called divisiveness spawned by Donald Trump’s presidential reign. In the eyes of the U.S. ruling class, the only political struggle of importance is the one that exists amongst themselves. Trump’s “America First” orientation to power projection deeply troubled a large section of a ruling class which thrives upon the sanctity of “free” trade and the image of the United States as a wholesome actor on the world stage. Trump’s racist demagogy and his general lack of care for the public relations image of the United States meant that no level of service to the interests of imperialism would satisfy a broad majority of Washington’s corporate overseers. Massive profits from media clicks and tax cuts have been unable to make up for the desperate need for the U.S. ruling class to shield the empire from the chaos of Trump’s rule.
Wall Street and the bulk of the capitalist class has bet on Joe Biden to “heal America.” The U.S. is currently overrun by a number of domestic and global crises. COVID-19 has spread uncontrollably in the U.S. to the point where experts warn that current averages of 100,000 cases and 1,000 deaths per day will rise exponentially in the winter season. Healthcare systems across the country have reached their limit. Tens of millions of people remain unemployed and more than half of U.S. workers woefully underemployed. Black Americans continue to be murdered in the streets by local police departments. Trump and the Democrats have offered nothing in the form of relief to the struggling masses; not even a second stimulus check of $1200.
“Healthcare systems across the country have reached their limit.”
Internationally, the U.S. ruling class has suffered many blows to its legitimacy under Trump. Since day one of Trump’s administration, U.S. military policy has been plagued by inconsistency. Trump laid the basis for a New Cold War on China but made dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (a key ally of China) an important foreign policy objective. He has clamored for troop reductions in Syria and Afghanistan yet dropped more drones on civilians in the region than Barack Obama. Trump has tarnished the image of NATO, pulled out of the JPCOA (Iran deal), and touched many nerves within the intelligence apparatus by speaking positively of Russian leadership. While the ruling class applauded Trump for his aggressive sanctions regime on Iran and Venezuela, the applause was ultimately muted by the generalized view that his leadership represented more of a liability to imperialism than an asset.
In Biden, military strategists and political operatives in the halls of power hope to reinvigorate U.S. prestige and “exceptionalism” by putting the U.S. public to sleep. “Healing America” essentially means repackaging the Bush-Obama political order for a period of unprecedented crisis. Racial cleavages will be written off as the product of a Russian-backed racist billionaire whose presidency is now a thing of the past. Economic woes will be dismissed as the residual effect of Trump’s failures. Joe Biden has already boasted that he will bring the United States “back in the game” of global leadership once he assumes the Oval Office.
“’Healing America’ essentially means repackaging the Bush-Obama political order.”
“Healing America” is a platitude of American exceptionalism. It assumes that the United States is a nation of laudable values which can resume course on the path toward a more “perfect union” under the correct leadership. American exceptionalism conflates the interests of the ruling class with those of the masses of people. Social problems are treated as stains on a perfect civilizational design rather than endemic to the system from which they arose. Biden’s promise to return the United States to “normalcy” comforts corporate executives in the “gig economy,” Wall Street, and the military industrial complex. This is why Biden’s incoming presidency is being advised by a big tent of militarist war hawks and capitalist tycoons at the total exclusion of the Bernie Sanders-wing of the Democratic Party.
Biden is the quintessential company man who can be counted on to hire a team of imperialists fully committed to the project of protecting the U.S.’ public relations image from the social unrest produced by endless war and austerity. Trump’s problem was not that he wasn’t profitable. Rather, he proved himself to be an international embarrassment time and time again. It should come as no surprise that Biden has spent much of his time mulling over a range of female war hawks and race experts to diversify the faces at the helm of imperialism. This will be praised as a key step toward “healing” a divided society which simultaneously ensures that nothing will fundamentally change for the rich.
“American exceptionalism conflates the interests of the ruling class with those of the masses of people.”
The U.S. doesn’t need to heal. The U.S. needs socialism. And not Bernie Sanders-style “socialism” but the real thing. A social democratic movement may be necessary to get there, but it certainly won’t be led by the likes of Bernie Sanders or “the Squad.” These forces have demonstrated an inability to stand up to the likes of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi during one of the most crisis-ridden periods in U.S. history. The Democratic Party is a fully-owned political subsidiary of the ruling class, and only socialism can address the crises facing the majority of people.
Socialism and American exceptionalism do not mix. Reverting back to a “color-blind” liberal attitude toward racial cleavages only distorts the true impact of the so-called “color-line,’ better termed as white supremacy. Inclusion is not liberation. Neither the presence of “the Squad” nor the Black misleadership class alters the fundamental power relations of the U.S. empire. Socialism is about turning the power relationships inherent to imperialism on their head, and thus far the project to institute a 21st century New Deal by seeking political seats in Washington has been an abject failure.
“The Democratic Party is a fully-owned political subsidiary of the ruling class.”
Biden is fundamentally opposed to socialist-lite policies such as Medicare for All, which means his administration will do everything it can to suppress socialist politics from emerging under his rule. Russiagate has already strengthened the repressive apparatus of the state to censor left journalism and political activity within online forums. It should not be forgotten that Barack Obama laid the basis for Trump’s so-called attacks on the corporate media by waging an unprecedented war on whistleblowers. Joe Biden has already nominated Richard Stengel, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy during Obama’s reign and self-proclaimed “chief propagandist” of the U.S. government, to head his transition team for the U.S. Agency for Global Media. U.S. imperialism is in a state of crisis, and the Biden administration is ready to deflect blame onto the left for whatever failures and blunders that will inevitably emerge under its neoconservative leadership.
Joe Biden’s principle role is to heal the ailments of the ruling system at the expense of the poor and the oppressed. American exceptionalism is the ideological antidote that the elite has prescribed for the masses. The intended side effect is the normalization of endless war, corporate theft, and institutional white supremacy. Socialism, on the other hand, is a movement-driven system organized around an ideology that opposes war, extends a hand of friendship to oppressed nations abroad, and approaches white supremacy as a struggle for power rather than merely a hateful ideology. Socialism raises the demand to free political prisoners such as Julian Assangeand Russell Maroon Shoatz alongside Medicare for All and other “bread and butter” issues. Not a day needs to pass under a Biden administration to demonstrate further that the Democratic Party plantation is not in the business of meeting the needs of the people. The question is not whether Biden can “heal America,” but how hard we can move the masses in the direction of a revolutionary socialist future.
Danny Haiphong is co-coordinator of the Black Alliance for Peace Supporter Network and organizer with No Cold War. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News--From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). His articles are re-published widely as well as on Patreon at patreon.com/dannyhaiphong. He is also the co-host with BAR Editor Margaret Kimberley of the Youtube show BAR Presents: The Left Lens and can be reached on Twitter @spiritofho, and email at [email protected].
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