Lenin Wouldn’t Be Ridin’ With Biden
The ridiculous justifications of voting for Joe Biden from Liberals disguising as Left-wing keep coming. Don’t cave to them.
A new phenomenon among the online Left is a certain elementary misreading of the Left’s role in participating within corporate-swayed, bourgeois elections. In doing so, misguided liberals revealed their deep confusion around the legacy of Bolshevik revolutionary and inspiration to anti-imperialist struggles worldwide, Vladimir Ilych Lenin.
Typically, it is easy to ignore liberal voteshaming such as this, as the aims of conjuring up enough guilt inside socialists to vote for democrats is usually attempted by some unabashedly bourgeois yuppie. However, in this instance, people who are earnestly socialist are taking the bait. It must be confronted and neutralized among American socialist discourse, and this will attempt to do just that.
The misinterpretation is two-fold. First, let us address the first lie. In recent weeks, a pattern has arisen in attempting to label Joseph Biden, the newly anointed Democratic Nominee, the antifascist candidate. Now, one does not have to venture far into the depths of some Marxist online database to determine this is utterly false.
Joe Biden: “Antifa Candidate”
Joe Biden’s past as a public figure has been well-documented. As his own running mate Kamala Harris has pointed out, he was integral in opposing desegregation busing in the 1970s. The 1994 Criminal Justice Reform Law that he as a US Senator authored has created a reality for Black and Brown Americans that can be described as nothing other than fascism. With his racist and openly segregationist friends, Biden, as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, crafted draconian and medieval punishments that, of course, never actually enacted a solution to the issue of drug-related violence within our country’s impoverished communities. Because that never was the aim. What was enacted rather was a law enforcement regime that continues to plague and decimate communities of color across the United States. Here is what this regime consists of, in Biden’s own words.
Let me define the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is now for 60 new death penalties. That is what is in this bill. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party has 70 enhanced penalties…. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is for 100,000 cops. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is for 125,000 new state prison cells.
By these measures, a fascist regime claiming to be in the interest of combatting drug use led to the forced removal, incarceration, and mass state-sponsored killings of black and brown defendants. In the immediate years following the passage of the 1994 law, nearly three out of four defendants facing a death penalty recommendation were people of color, owing Biden’s bill the appropriate descriptor as “the direct descendant of lynching”.
Entire segments of the population are missing from these communities. The incarceration of millions of young men of color is palpable through their absence from their neighborhood streets, leaving families separated and household incomes halved. It cannot be understated how devastating Joe Biden’s role in modernizing and perfecting white supremacy in America truly is, and if Joe’s career is not exemplary of reactionary fascist racism that troubles American society to this day, it is uncertain what is.
However, it is not just the citizens and residents of the United States in which Joseph Biden’s promotion of policy has been a voice of terror and fascism. Look abroad and you will find countless examples of imperialist brutality that he, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, supported and rallied.
In the 1990s, while terrorizing black and brown communities domestically, Joe Biden was also concerned with the alleged human rights abuses against Bosnian Muslims, also referred to as Bosniaks. As Committee Chairman, Biden called for the “Lift and Strike” policy to be enacted, arming, and training Bosniak Jihadist groups led by individuals such as Alija Izetbegović. Izetbegović, a former member of the Nazi SA Paramilitary wing, was frequently and proudly sent severed heads of Bosnian Serbs to Izetbegović, celebrating another death of a Serb.
Now, if this sounds similar to a certain Islamic State that was also beheading those they captured in the Levant and Iraq, you would be correct. Izetbegović and the Bosniaks which the United States was funding had the aims to establish a Muslim theocracy similar to that of post-1979 Iran. But why would Joe Biden and other leading US politicians, Democrat and Republican alike, be in support of establishing an Islamic fundamentalist state in Southeastern Europe?
It does not matter to US imperialism what a nation is or will be, but rather how divided and destabilized it can get in order to continue exploiting its workers and resources. Michael Parenti, a well regarded anti-imperialist voice of the Left in the United States, illustrated the aims of US and NATO involvement in formerly Socialist Yugoslavia:
They wanted Yugoslavia’s rich natural resources to be at the disposal of multinational corporations. They wanted its population to be hungry and able and willing to work at subsistence wages. They wanted an economy that offered no competition with existing capitalist producers, only new investment opportunities to western capitalists. Why would they want to abolish Yugoslavia’s social programs? Well why do they want to abolish our social programs?
The pillaging and division of former Yugoslavian states in the Balkans were, as most US intervention, never in the interest human rights, but extending the reach of imperialism and globalized capital. Again in Kosovo, Joe Biden joined the cause during the 1999 NATO bombing of Kosovo, and directly expressed his support of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
What was the Kosovo Liberation Army, you may wonder? While western media describes them as simply another run of the mill post-socialist bloc insurgency group supported by the United States, they held a record of heavy war crimes, including child soldiers, organ theft, six recorded massacres of civilians, and weaponized rape. In analyzing foreign relations, Joe Biden does not care about what the effects of US intervention may have on a population, but rather how they can be utilized to line the pockets of western financiers and capitalists ready to exploit these newly privatized industries.
This indifference to actual human rights abuses on Joseph Biden’s part may be unparalleled when it comes to what was referred to as the “War on Terror”, comprising the illegal invasions and subsequent destabilization of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Again as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joseph Biden was key in the drumming up support to invade Iraq, cherrypicking witnesses to lie to the Senate about the claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. With regard to the invasion of Afghanistan, Biden was unwavering in his support, claiming “whatever it takes, we should support it”, even criticizing candidate Obama’s criticism of US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq as naive.
It is difficult to encapsulate the destruction that US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan has wrought on the people they claim to be saving from themselves. A study on post-9/11 US aggression in the Middle East and South Asia had confirmed about 500,000 people have been killed as a direct result of these aggressions while recognizing the number was without a doubt an undercount. More than half of those killed were civilians. Of course, this only makes sense, when in fact 90% of the drone strikes under the Obama administration did not hit their intended targets.
These numbers however do not even include the US bombings in Yemen, Libya, Somalia, or Syria. Or how the actions of the Obama administration reintroduced slavery to the African continent after overthrowing Moammar Qaddafi in Libya, as well as fostering an ongoing famine in Yemen that averages 130 dead children a day.
By all means, ask the children of Fallujah, still experiencing infant mortality and birth defects at rates unheard of to mankind, if they see Joseph Biden as the antifascist candidate, the harm reduction choice, or whatever liberals attach to Joe. Ask the families in Black and Brown communities who have lost sons to incarceration or the death penalty if they think they’re better off with the implementation of the 1994 Biden Crime Laws. Nearly anywhere there has been carnage in the global landscape on behalf of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has been they’re fanning the flames of destruction.
“Lenin would’ve voted for Biden”
Whether or not reading this statement in itself does not sound ridiculous to you at face value, let’s consider why it truly is. Skimming revolutionary texts of the aforementioned and managing to scrape a mediocre and misleading argument as to why Joe Biden, the same we have established as a racist and imperialist monster, could have been supported by the foundational thinkers of anti-imperialism and communism, is lunacy.
The assertion that Biden is “significantly more likely” to support social justice causes that the Left champions over Donald Trump. Now, when presented with just a fraction of his electoral history in the previous segment, (feel free to also look into Joe Biden’s history with MBNA and the predatory credit industry at your own leisure) what actual basis is this claim founded on?
It would be fair to suggest that a Biden administration could be comparable to the Obama cabinet. Considering this, it is merely utopian to believe that the Joe Biden we know well in positions of authority will suddenly make a surge to the Left. If one relitigates Obama’s record on responding to popular actions, they will find utter disappointment at each corner. Regarding Occupy, Obama suspended Habeus Corpus to detain protestors without counsel. Regarding Flint, he misleadingly assured residents the water was drinkable and sided with a criminal governor. On Ferguson, it is clear that Obama has unable to address the societal ailments of police brutality, simply passing the buck and requiring citizens to continue demonstrating on the subject in the present day. On Standing Rock, he also kicked the can down the road, eventually stopping the pipeline’s construction, but only after knowing his successor Trump would restart its development and only after hundreds of protestors were brutalized by law enforcement.
So, if Obama is any indication, Biden will not present himself as more receptive to any revolutionary political demonstration. In fact, one only starts to sound like a reactionary nut by manufacturing the notion that Joe is secretly more left-wing than he is leading the masses to believe. The liberal ilk is welcome to posit anything that can be perceived as a hint to this alleged progressivism coming from Joe Biden. While they’re busy searching, we should recognize that he has directly assured wealthy donors that “nothing will fundamentally change” for them if he is elected. We should also recognize that he has not adapted his platform at all to reflect the demands or even the character of the ongoing uprisings across the country. Instead, he has chosen a prosecutor who has called herself “top cop” as his running mate. Lara Bazelon from The Appeal has described Harris’ record on criminal Justice as the following:
She championed a law that went after the parents of chronically truant children, laughed when asked if marijuana should be legal, and supported a system that locks up people who are too poor to post exorbitant money bail. These policies were part and parcel of a system of mass incarceration that has deeply harmed poor people and communities of color.
Regardless, to simply assert flatly that Joseph Biden will be the most progressive president in history is simply baseless, let alone impossible to predict. One is fully entitled to base their political support on the past history of a politician, or even their platform and campaign promises. No one should ever base their political support on the projections and desires they place on leaders.
The crusade goes on but paired with the complete mistake of claiming that Marxist-Leninists are refusing to vote for Biden out of a vague concept of “principles”, or through a stubborn refusal of elections outright. The fundamental problem here is they are simply mischaracterizing the overwhelming position of the people they seek to voteshame. Not a single person who identifies as a Marxist-Leninist and has read and comprehended Lenin’s “Left-Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder is averse to voting for Joe Biden out of a sheer refusal to engage with liberal democracy. The refusal is based on what has already been settled: Joseph Biden is nowhere near the parameters of deserving critical support from socialists.
Let us take up the instance of Lenin advising to Sylvia Pankhurst that the British Communist Party must form a tactical alliance with the Labour Party. Sylvia Pankhurst, a notable Left Communist, agrees with this herself. I myself agree with this! It is not a contradiction in the slightest to believe that coalition between the turn-of-the-century Labour Party and the British Communist Party would be useful, considering shared aims, and the fact that at the time, many more dedicated socialists occupied the benches of the Labour Party. Now, could the same be said of the contemporary Labour Party? Of course not! Parties have the ability to change their class characteristics. The Republican Party of Lincoln is certainly not the Republican Party of Reagan.
This is all to say simply that Lenin was not so dense to attach ideological sensibilities to absolute conceptions of political organizations. What may necessitate a coalition or popular front one year may necessitate a total boycott or split the next. As Marxists, dogmatism, and absolutes are useless. Rather, we must let materialist analysis of political conditions guide our path to building socialism.
Lenin, like Engels and Marx, understood the utility of parliamentarianism. Here is Lenin’s position towards the Left Communist belief that electoral means are obsolete:
How can one say that “parliamentarianism is politically obsolete”, when “millions” and “legions” of proletarians are not only still in favour of parliamentarianism in general, but are downright “counter-revolutionary”!? It is obvious that parliamentarianism in Germany is not yet politically obsolete. It is obvious that the “Lefts” in Germany have mistaken their desire, their politico-ideological attitude, for objective reality. That is a most dangerous mistake for revolutionaries to make.
Take heed. This does not mean that socialists must abandon their revolutionary party or program to offer their political work and dedication to a liberal, corporatist party. Similarly, it does not mean that socialists in 2020 should abandon their beliefs to vote for a war criminal segregationist because a gamer on Youtube baselessly declares him the antifascist choice.
Socialists in the United States have a role in electoralism, without a doubt. Our responsibility lies not in perpetuating a corporate bipartisan system but offering ourselves to existing or new revolutionary programs and parties. At the point of writing this, the Party for Socialism and Liberation is currently on the ballot in more than a dozen states, and for many other states, the protocol for writing in their candidate, Gloria La Riva, will be available. Socialism is on the ballot in 2020, but anyone telling you that Joseph Biden is selling it is, consciously or not, lying to us.
Ultimately, we will all agree that no outcome of an election should substitute actual organizing and the building of dual power structures. But we must understand how sinister it is to claim that one of the two parties, funded by the same corporate interests and bank accounts, is somehow more inclined to cede their power to the people. Obama promised us to change and he did not deliver. Biden is now admitting nothing will change, and we should believe him.