The US dictatorship of capital provides the people with a non-choice between two vile and racist presidential candidates.
“The Democratic Party is itself an institution completely wedded to what Martin Luther King called the triple evils of materialism (capitalism), racism, and militarism.”
Donald Trump’s contraction of COVID-19 created a perfect storm of political theater in the midst of an election already fraught with uncertainty. Trump immediately politicized the debacle by traveling in his motorcade to visit his loyal supporters outside of Walter Reed Hospital. Corporate media talking heads like Rachel Maddow appealed to civility and prayed for Trump to recover from a disease that his administration allowed to spread uninhibited at the expense of 200,000 lives. The 2020 election will be settled in less than a month. While Trump is certainly trailing in the polls, the only clear conclusion one can draw from the election thus far is that the U.S. is a sick society with two very sickening options for the Oval Office.
Trump demonstrated that personal experience with COVID-19 does not make the U.S. presidency any less cruel to the needs of the growing numbers of impoverished people. His advice to not let the pandemic “dominate” the lives of the people in the U.S. was a callous rejection of the fact that for most, there is no other choice. Tens of millions of workers are unemployed. Tens of millions of workers face homelessness due to the threat of impending eviction. And the most vulnerable in society; Black Americans, older adults, and people with multiple medical conditions, are at risk of losing their lives each and every day that the U.S. fails to contain the pandemic.
“Tens of millions of workers are unemployed.”
Trump only made the pandemic even more difficult for his political prospects by pushing negotiations for a second stimulus package until after the election. The move brought widespread criticism from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Trump tweeted just hours later that he was ready to sign a stimulus bill on his terms. Such political grandstanding represents the true face of the United States’ selfish, racist, and inhumane social order. But it is Trump’s stupidity and lack of cohesion that appears to have taken command of the election with just weeks until votes are cast.
Still, Biden is not a safe bet to beat a flailing Trump. Biden has spent much of the 2020 election in silence or in a defensive posture. That’s because the Democratic Party is itself an institution completely wedded to what Martin Luther King called the triple evils of materialism (capitalism), racism, and militarism. Biden has repeatedly alienated the progressive, younger section of the Democratic Party electorate by boasting about how he “beat the socialist” in the primary. He has promised to increase the federal budget for the Pentagon and local police while offering nothing but “decency” and “unity” to the masses.
A sick society risks collapse when confronted with the foundations of its character. Trump and Biden work within a narrow policy framework for this very reason. Take the case of Julian Assange. The U.S. has spent months attempting to extradite Assange for exposing war crimes and rigged elections as bipartisan projects. Trump and Biden’s firm opposition to ending the relentless pursuit of Assange is a clear message that the preservation of the U.S. imperial order takes precedence over any differences that may stand between them.
“Trump’s stupidity and lack of cohesion that appears to have taken command of the election.”
Assange, of course, is just one example. Trump and Biden have no clear plan for addressing the pathetic failure of the United States to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden champions “testing and tracing” but has wavered on whether he will grant states the right to decide the fate of basic measures such as mask mandates. His commitment to the corporate health industry means that the U.S. will continue to lack a public health system capable of addressing the pandemic or reducing enormous healthcare costs bankrupting the working class. A Trump victory ensures that the danger of the pandemic itself will continue to be questioned no matter how many poor and vulnerable people perish.
The United States is a sick society and the COVID-19 pandemic is but one of its ailments. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are agents of the dictatorship of capital—the disease that has made the U.S. a sick society since its formation. The dictatorship of capital relies upon a feverish spread of the exploitation and destruction of its hosts: the people and the planet. Biden and Trump are ill-equipped to provide an antidote for austerity, endless war, mass incarceration, and the other symptoms of the disease. Each of these symptoms are a prerequisite to the existence and reproduction of the disease itself.
The only political antidote to the dictatorship of capital is socialism, which is broadly defined as the transfer of state power from the agents of disease, the capitalist class, to the oppressed and exploited classes. At this time, no coherent movement for socialism exists in the United States. The Sanders wing of the Democratic Party is no monolith and has yet to shed the hope of reforming an institution that has long been under the complete rule of monopoly capital. Activists marching under the banner “Black Lives Matter” emerged as the U.S. entered the early stages of a protracted economic crisis precipitated by the spread of COVID-19. No clear, organized alternative to the Democratic Party was able to form out of these disease-ridden conditions. The masses are thus left with two racist and vile candidates for the Oval Office occupying most of the political space in the United States.
“Joe Biden and Donald Trump are agents of the dictatorship of capital.”
A large portion of the planet understands that U.S. hegemony and its dictatorship of capital has left the world ill. In fact, entire nations are faced with no other choice but to move eastward for greener and more peaceful pastures. Economic and political relations between Venezuela and Iran, two of over thirty nations suffering from U.S.-imposed sanctions, have strengthened enormously in the last few years alone. Much of the Global South, Iran included, has been compelled to develop closer relations with China as the Asian nation moves to overtake the U.S. as the largest economy in the world in GDP terms over the next decade. Russia-China relations are at their strongest point perhaps in the history of both countries. The U.S. has responded by setting the world ablaze with bombs, sanctions, special forces, coups, and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation. Yet even allies such as Japan, Turkey, and India hesitate to cozy too close to the U.S. out of fear of alienating China and Russia.
Still, no other country or liberation movement worldwide will save the U.S. from the sickness of the dictatorship of capital. Oppressed peoples in the U.S. must learn key lessons from their international counterparts on how to heal themselves from the disease imposed by the likes of Trump and Biden. Black America has more than two centuries of history showing the way. But the Democratic Party’s stronghold over Black politics has produced a landscape untenable for radical political organization and therefore perfect for the rise of Donald Trump. It is therefore necessary to remain vigilant in moving to break the stranglehold of the Democratic Party on Left politics in the U.S. if the trajectory toward barbarism is to be interrupted and reversed.
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 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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