Was Biden actually the lesser evil? (PART 1 of 2)
The Dialectics of Decaying Capitalism
the “Lesser” Evil
There was a common line in the run up to the 2020 election. “We have to vote for Biden to stop Trump!” “Voting for Biden is harm reduction!” And of course, “Biden is the lesser evil!” and variations on these phrases, all amounting to the same thing — that as awful and harmful and incorrect as Biden is on ever so many issues, Trump is necessarily, categorically worse, and therefore we, the radical left, are obligated to fall-in behind the liberals, hold our noses, and throw our support behind Joe Biden. And this take wasn’t just coming from confused internet goombas making this assertion, even the CPUSA fell into line behind Biden, and some otherwise excellent, respectable Marxists like Angela Davis, also fell into this error. “We Must Vote [for Biden], so Trump is ‘Forever Ousted!’” It turns out that forever means, perhaps, all of four years. If that. And what comes after the wrath of Trump will be the true horror.
Even as Democrats fixed the primaries to block the social-democrat Bernie Sanders (who, himself was woefully inadequate to represent an authentic left position), and despite having only a token handful of supporters at the outset of the election, we were forced to endure the animatronic corporate remote-controlled corpse that is Joe Biden, in his heavily financed political machine, laden with an army of the finest neoliberal stooges, political scientists and campaign managers, with corporate media championing him and a slight (but nowhere near full) majority of the bourgeoisie backing him, become the empty-vessel corporate figurehead mascot to do electoral battle (more of a WWE wrestling match, really) with Donald Trump. And most of the Bernie Bros, the left-liberals, some anarchists, and even the fucking CPUSA all hopped aboard the Biden train as the vehicle to combat Donald Trump’s descent towards genuine American Fascism.
Yet, Biden is now President and we continue to accelerate downwards. We were told that Biden was supposed to be “the lesser evil,” and that things would be even worse with Trump. This is, perhaps, undialectically true, in that Trump was far more vulgar, nakedly cruel, and empowering to the most far-right elements of the West, but upon a deeper examination the situation is more complicated, and things are continuing to worsen under Biden, in every way they were under Trump. Contrary to the claims of current liberal ideology, American fascism was not defeated. It’s not even truly set back, as Biden provides constant avenues to for it to advance and develop and calcify, while worsening the contradictions of late capitalism and the breakdown of liberalism. Even upon seeing their demagogue lose an election the American fascists continue to prove that they are not a passive entity, and that their increasingly overt and open presence is (and remains) simply a part of the American political system. All the while the Biden-sucking liberals take virtually no action to meaningfully curb or stop their activities, and frequently defend them, and present them as having poor understanding rather than actually understanding what it is they want.
The whole Biden era may prove that the eventual full onset of American Fascism was not even significantly delayed, and that Biden is, in fact, functionally preparing a homecoming. Instead of plunging along clumsily and blindly into Trump’s second term, American reactionaries have been granted four years to spend on the sidelines, catching their breath, recuperating, reorganizing, fortifying their strength, honing their message, and allowing less incompetent individuals to fall to the wayside, as more intelligent and capable (and much more dangerous) individuals to rise through the ranks that were previously dominated by the more clueless Trump sycophants (though plenty of new buffoons will emerge as well). It’s clear that the bourgeoisie found Trump to be too careless and a nuisance, though they will keep his card on file in the event that Biden’s time in office does not go as smoothly as they hope. Indeed, Trump’s round two (or whatever reactionary horror-administration is to follow) may have only been made four years the worse by Biden’s hollow victory, and four years of Biden may prove to be just as terrible.
a brief look at Biden’s History
In order to properly understand what we are stuck with, what so many faux-leftists and liberals assured us was the best possible alternative to Trump, we must take a brief examination of the history of Joe Biden. What were some of his most important decisions, actions, contributions, and voting patterns during his time in office before he became President. Liberals will use whatever excuse is convenient to dismiss or apologize for his past, but any way you look at his legacy, it’s terrifying and horrible. Trump’s legacy was one of corruption, cutthroat business-politics, ruthless manipulation, vapid narcissism, and harmful ignorance. Yet Biden’s legacy may be the worse of the two. Trump is vindictive, callous, and cruel, but Biden is an animatronic puppet serving corporate interests and among the most hawkish voices for the Pentagon. His history in office is like a highlight reel of all of the worst moments of the past decades of American imperialism — his handiwork is all over the most damning and destructive military interventions, financial deregulations, and anti-societal actions of the past thirty years, and in that respect, he has far more blood on his hands than Trump.
This essay may be unnecessary and tedious for anti-Biden leftists, who have likely gone over this many times already, but a proper accounting of Biden’s most horrid and awful acts, decisions, votes, and moments gives an adequate display of who and what we are dealing with. In the 1970’s Biden was opposed to a number of de-segregation policies, praised segregationists, expressed concern that his children would “grow up in a racial jungle,” and was worried that court-ordered non-discriminatory busing “would lead to a race war.” Very cool Charlie Manson. President Charlie Manson, I should say. Biden’s Democrat supporters adopted their favourite Republican defense strategy (“states rights”) to veil their racism, but the truth is clear and obvious. Arguments about it being “a long time ago” or “it was different back then” always conveniently ignore that many people (even fucking Bernie Sanders) were vigorously opposing segregationist policies literal decades prior to Biden’s continued upholding of them. Let’s also not forget that time that Biden proudly eulogized Strom fucking Thurmond, as well as the former-KKKlansman Robert Byrd, whom he called “a dear friend.” That was in 2010.
Unfortunately, the racism is but the tip of the shitberg. Domestically, Biden’s legacy is marinated in this racism, but his entire career is built on pro-corporate, pro-business, anti-poor, anti-worker legislation and policies. A quick glance at some of the highlight examples of Biden’s life’s work show us clearly what we are dealing with. The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, drafted by Biden himself, created “‘tough on crime’ policies [which] resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history,” (Justice Policy Institute, 2008) while having little-to-no effect on crime.
Biden’s legacy with domestic policy is entirely one-sided, always siding with moneyed-interests against the poor and the indebted. The Marxist summation of his voting record can be stated simply as voting for anything that benefits the bourgeoisie, and against anything benefiting the proletariat. Despite playing both sides of the argument verbally, Biden voted in favour of NAFTA in 1993, to the great detriment of the working class. Joe Biden was one of the leading Democrats in pushing for the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, which, as we know, had absolutely no problematic consequences whatsoever (worth noting that this did not cause the financial crisis, but it did worsen it). Similarly, Biden was one of the loudest and most important backers of the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which made many forms of debt, including student loans, effectively inescapable and binding-for-life. He spent his entire career fighting against social security benefits, fighting against Medicare expansion, upholding the nonsense and anti-poor War on Drugs (in which Drugs have long since declared victory over America), and a lifetime of corporate subservience. And to those poor, indebted Millennials, Biden has made it explicitly clear that he does not give a shit about you.
Biden’s history with women is, as well, a major problem. As a singular example of being misogynistic and out-of-touch, there was the whole Anita Hill fiasco, which is just painful to endure. This is just one instance of many, not forgetting all of those creepy incidents with the touching and the sniffing and the smelling of young girls. It doesn’t get any better for women in policy format either. He previously, had stated that he would allow ‘states rights’ to overturn Roe v. Wade (that is to say, oppose access to abortion), and has a history of supporting anti-abortion legislation. His career record and statements regarding women are about as bad as you’d expect: in a 1981 article, Biden believed that women outside the home would lead to the “deterioration’ of family,” and that those same women outside the home were “avoiding ‘responsibility.’” He was forced to crawl back from this position during the 2020 election, but much like his segregationist past, it is yet another argument where Biden was on the wrong side of history. Biden’s voting record is essentially Republican, but he wears blue.
Tara Reade’s story should be a harrowing lesson on how truly awful Joe Biden can be. The fact that the media proceeded to shame her and make her a victim all over again for speaking out is utterly horrid, especially from the same people that had been promoting #MeToo only weeks prior. And she is not alone, as some eight women have all come forward with horror stories of Biden’s unwanted advances. Amazing how ‘believe women’ was conveniently dropped by the liberals as soon as it became inconvenient, instead turning to “our rapist is better than your rapist!” Indeed, liberals even attempted to turn the argument into a quantitative one — that Biden was less of a rapist that Trump, having fewer incidents/accusations, and therefore the best candidate to be President. Did America forget that several other, non-rapist candidates were also running for President? Who am I kidding, of course they did.
Yes, it keeps getting worse. As we zoom out to the international stage, we can see Joe Biden, one of the most hawkish (that means pro-war, you liberal shits, you fucking don’t even know how to do a peace movement properly anymore!) Democrats in their history — the man has never met a war he didn’t like. In the 1990’s, Joe Biden helped arrange the needless, calculated bombing of Yugoslavia (78 days straight with no UN approval, including the deliberate bombing of the Chinese embassy) in which thousands were killed so that the country could be carved up and sold off to Western business interests. Ongoing support for America’s favourite torture-camp, Guantanamo Bay, is par for the course, as he’s a neoliberal imperialist, and proud of it, having a long history of authorizing military action and playing world police (in the Derek Chauvin sense of the word). While Biden has always been more eloquent and civil than Trump, he still manages to utter equally terrible opinions on the Global South. Joe Biden does not appear, in actuality, to be less-racist than Trump, internally or in policy, he just seems to be better at hiding it, and directing it moreso at those outside of America’s borders rather than to those within (though he’s complicit on this as well).
Perhaps his crowning hawk-achievement is in being among the principle architects of the Iraq War, bringing many uncertain Democrats on board, and reaching across the aisle to the (now reformed and beloved by liberals; despite being considered a fascist in his own right during the 00’s) hand of George W. Bush and the good old fashion, small government (not really) and big war (really) Republicans. The Iraq War remains, unquestionably the largest crime of the twenty-first century, with over a million dead, and it has Biden’s fingerprints all over it. For all of Trump’s crimes and vileness, nothing he did in office compares to the crime of the Iraq War. Yet liberals have come to simply accept the occupation of Iraq as something that had to be done, for reasons that are never (and will never be) adequately explained, as those WMDs still don’t exist (nor the human-shredding-machine), no actual democracy appeared, while Iraq was turned to, and remains in ruins. The only visible winners from all this carnage are weapons manufacturers, military contractors, and oil companies.
“Lawmakers knew from the beginning the shakiness of the Bush administration’s case for going to war with Iraq, and Biden not only went along with it, he championed it.”
-Tara Golshan and Alex Ward, Joe Biden’s Iraq Problem
In addition, Biden was responsible for numerous surveillance and spying bills, including being a major proponent and supporter of the fucking PATRIOT Act, and all of this shit is from before he became Vice President under Obama.
There’s not much that needs to be said about the Obama administration (though liberals will bleat on about it endlessly —most often describing the form over the essence, the style over the substance), as Biden’s tenure as the Vice-President can be described as similarly as terrible as his career in the Senate. During his time with Obama, the number of wars the US was participating in increased from two to seven, expanding the invasions, raids, drone strikes, and intervention across the Middle East (for which Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize!). This included bombing campaigns in Syria (which quickly became an American tradition), ongoing support for genocide in Yemen, orchestrated a far-right wing coup in Honduras, as well as the transformation (or mutilation, rather) of Libya from being the most successful and prosperous state in Africa into a bombed, obliterated, despotic hellhole with literal open-air slave markets. Thanks, Obama! We also mustn’t forget how the Obama-Biden administration sided with, funded, backed, and upheld literal swastika wearing Nazis in Ukraine in their brown revolution against the democratically elected pro-Russian government. Then, as the cherry-on-top, there was the usual suspects of American policies, including unflinching support for Israel, coups and regime changes in Latin America, rising tensions with Asian countries (specifically those that resist American hegemony), expansion of imperialism in Africa through AFRICOM, and never-ending perpetual war.
This was all on top of a domestic policy of stagnation, repression, and neoliberal privatization schemes. During the 2008 financial crisis the Obama administration chose to bail out the banks instead of the homeowners, resulting in foreclosures and the most dramatic drop in home ownership rates in American history (this decision discussed in more detail later in this essay). No bankers or Wall Street executives were prosecuted, or even meaningfully punished, despite being architects of the catastrophe. The whole Affordable Care Act turned out to be little more than a handout to the insurance industry (another form of financial capital), and still left tens of millions of Americans without medical coverage, and the bourgeoisie have left themselves a switch in place to shut it down immediately if it proves to be an impediment to profit. Of course, there was also the brutal and violent crackdown against the Standing Rock protestors — the rightful owners of the land. The Obama administration even had their own series of George Floyd incidents, culminating in the Ferguson Riots. Very telling how silent and absent the centrists and liberals are on siding with the protesters during these events. The deportations, border brutality, and kids in cages that Donald Trump was so chastised and reviled for (quite rightly), were, yes, worsened by Trump, but it was Obama and Biden who began the putting of kids in cages in the first place. The final result of the Obama era was a population so disgusted and repulsed by the status quo and business as usual represented by the Democrats that the utterly deranged notion of “President Donald Trump” started to seem like a reasonable idea to the American public, and still continues to be seen as the preferable alternative by nearly half of the voting populace of the country.
the 2020 Election and Aftermath
We should be thankful that the pandemic prevented this election from being as long or as large or as tedious or as insufferable as the never-ending nightmare that was the 2016 US Presidential Election campaign, but nonetheless, 2020 still managed to be among the largest and longest elections in all of human existence, as well as the most expensive, ever. Money is not spent on an election for no reason, and the idea that money does not have a direct and immediate effect on the outcome of an election is nonsense. The bourgeoisie offer two (slightly) different servants that are both acceptable (or at least palatable) to their interests, and the public is allowed to (partially) share their input upon which they prefer. The money-spending serves as a barrier-to-entry (and messaging) for all kinds of third parties, whose platforms and positions (and candidacy) remains so marginalized by the electoral process, as well as so lacking in financial lubricant, that most voters know next-to-nothing about them and their platforms, and can’t be bothered to learn, while providing hegemonic repetition and brand awareness for the bourgeoisie’s preferred candidate (as evidenced by their money behind said candidate).
If there was one thing that became startlingly clear as the election date drew closer, it was that the largest and most powerful bourgeois elements in the United States wanted Biden to win, and much of the financial sector, the media, and the technocratic imperialist intelligencia threw their support behind Biden rather than Trump. Now, it’s always a bad thing when the most powerful of the bourgeoisie get their way, as Biden is very much their damage control system since Trump was beginning to run off the rails. Between his fumbling of imperialist global strategy, his disastrous “do we drink the bleach?” COVID-19 response (which managed to maximize public harm while also failing to minimize business losses), his alienation of NATO allies, and his general lack of tact, it was clear that the bourgeoisie would need a janitor administration to clean up the mess that Trump had been making of their Empire.
It’s worth remembering that the bourgeoisie are not a fully united class; they have their own interests, divisions, factions, and rivalries, and will frequently step on one another, betray one another, and swallow one another in their accumulation. There are many times when they are unified in their desires and outlooks; Trump had proved to be a wonderful opportunity for them, offering opportunities for fantastic gains (tax breaks, handouts, etc), rollbacks on regulations and progressive legislation, a kleptocratic free-for-all, and the repression of leftist voices. However, Trump proved to be less competent at maintaining empire and hegemony, and the decision to replace him with the more obedient Biden (who would surround himself with neoliberal stooges and neoconservative warhawks) was made. Again, the bourgeoisie were not fully united in this decision, as there seem to be emerging factions with not-fully-aligned interests to those of the dominant bourgeoisie.
The main neoliberal opposition to Trump’s reactionaries (and thus, Biden’s core constituents) are the financial bourgeoisie; largely dominating the banks, the media, technology sectors, telecoms, etc. Those whose wealth interests are so large and vast as to not be limited to a single domain or enterprise, but rather those with colossal stock holdings in numerous mega-conglomerates across multiple continents around the globe. Their goal, as per the goals of monopoly capitalism, is to further expand their global networks through domination of markets, labour, resources, and means of production, along with the entrenchment of their positions. The logical endpoint of their capitalist ventures is more and more rent-seeking, mostly through financial mechanisms, in order to generate the highest profits for the financier shareholders/owners. However, the reactionary elements of American society — lesser bourgeois owners and wealthier whites — are now among those being sidelined, marginalized, squeezed, or even crushed completely by these massive conglomerates, who are exporting capital (and thus jobs) out of the country, consolidating property holdings domestically (buying up/dispossessing smaller land owners), and increasingly abandoning production for rentier incomes. The medium fish in the big global pond have now gone from predators of smaller proletariat-fish to themselves becoming the prey of the much larger financial-fishies.
Trump’s reactionary base of support comes much moreso from these middle classes: the labour aristocrats (overpaid American workers, benefiting from imperialism, but becoming vestigial and obsolete as the corporations become more efficient and automated, and beginning to see their high salaries decline, layoffs, and reduction in stature, while the cost of living increases), the petty bourgeoisie (smaller owners, who may have local or regional capitalist power, but are miniscule bordering on meaningless compared to the major international financialized-corporations), and the lumpenproletariat (disorganized, socially-ignorant workers, unemployed individualists, and social-parasites with no interest in class struggle or revolution; “the refuse of all classes”). These groups want a return to their romanticized notions of ‘local’ and ‘national’ bourgeois power, and see their newfound opposition to these late-stage capitalist mega-conglomerates as opposition to “globalism” and “socialism,” (when in reality, they are just, finally, experiencing a small slice of the same capitalist hell that all of the rest of us have had to suffer, and which the Global South is forced a quadruple-dose). They have constructed their own detached worldview in which Trump actually won the election, but was wrongly cheated by these same mega-corporations, political insiders, and elites (who have had to suppress this emerging ideological counter-hegemony). This is not purely ideological, as we all see this media re-alignment happening; and the reactionaries views are being blocked from the public (which is a deep hypocrisy and contradiction when done by the “freedom-of-speech” loving liberals who voted for Biden). These reactionaries now, too, are feeling the material pinch from the financial classes (business debt, being out-competed by economies of scale, personal debts, their small plots of private land or means of production subsumed by larger monopolies, etc) as the economy polarizes; only while Marxists can pinpoint the precise issue of the financial capitalism and the exact mechanisms contained within how the banks operate, the reactionaries instead choose to blame (((bankers))), as if the problems are the result of some scheming bad individuals rather than a systemic problem of capitalism, and construct a worldview of George Soros conspiracy narratives to glue the pieces of their worldview together.
Much of this is blowback from the overextension and decline of the American Empire, now creeping towards a point of violent contraction, as so many seeds of destruction they have sewn may finally be coming home to roost, and it may be even more painful than that mixed-metaphor. A less common, but still valid and consistent, method for describing fascism comes from the Marxist Frantz Fanon who explains it as such: “What is Fascism but Colonialism at the very heart of traditionally colonialist countries?” In other words, the violent methods used to uphold imperialism in the colonies, and abroad, now being brought home to be used to uphold decaying capitalism domestically. The neoliberals (Biden’s base) think that they can maintain capitalist order with Ideological State Apparatuses (called “ISAs” — such as the news media, the school system, sports, social media platforms, etc), and dislike the idea of using violent methodology (the Repressive State Apparatuses, or “RSAs,” like the police or military) excessively on their home turf (as they were forced to during the George Floyd Protests last year). They much prefer the actual, bloody violence required to maintain capitalism to be far away. For the bourgeoisie, it’s uneasy and unpredictable, it makes them less safe, it fosters resentment and makes ideological forms of coercion more difficult and expensive, it provides increasing justification and opportunity for revolutionary communist movements to develop, but most of all violent repression at home threatens to hurt their bottom line, which has never been better. This group — the neoliberals, and their financial bourgeoisie masters— will have no alternative but to embrace domestic violence at some point, but prefer to maintain and uphold the status quo and current accumulation for as long as possible.
Conversely, the reactionaries (Trump’s base) see this financial elite and their ISAs (somewhat correctly) as messing up and ruining the economy (especially as state intervention becomes increasingly necessary to maintain the stability of the system), but as they are ideologically incapable of blaming capitalism, they will instead conjure conspiracy or rely on garbage explanations like “race science” to explain the problems occurring with American capitalism. They, too, have their own Ideological State Apparatuses promoting their version of reality (smaller media outlets, alternative social media, many churches, etc), and already have a strong base of support within the RSAs. To them, capitalism is necessarily good and just and must be upheld, and the problems occurring now under it are merely a result of some bad people at the levers of power making bad decisions, or other sinister outside actors (foreigners, immigrants, communists, Jews, etc) and can be resolved (likely with violence) by replacing them with good people making good decisions (not dissimilar from social democrats, in that respect — they have no intent to transform or topple the economic base, merely shuffle the superstructure). So do not make the mistake of thinking Trump and his reactionary base (the ‘alt-right’) is some new third position —it is not — it is a fully anti-proletarian, bourgeois movement, but represents the (growing) runners-up, displaced, dispossessed, and losers in this bourgeois order, who are loathe to accept a participation trophy (especially since they are, again, somewhat correctly, learning that the game is rigged, except they blame the players not the rules, and hope to find themselves moved to the winning side, rather than correct the unfairness). They do not wish to dismantle the unjust system, they merely wish to maintain and restore their positions near the top of the global hierarchy.
It’s rather telling how well Trump did in the election even despite most of the financial bourgeois controlled Ideological State Apparatuses being turned against him, as it shows a dangerous rupture in ideological hegemony — one that the ISAs hope to patch over with social media bans and blockings — a strategy that will not last. The added benefit, of course, is that this new heavy handed censorship can be used against the radical left (as it always has been, but to an even greater extent, now, with fewer questions). It has also given these ideological state apparatuses a dangerous and fully undeserved power as being arbiters of truth in our society — a truth that necessarily has to coincide with the interests of the bourgeoisie owners of said media. The fact that there are now “official narratives” within the media, and that social media platforms were bold and brazen enough to completely ban Donald Trump is an indicator that liberalism as an ideology is losing control, and twisting into increasingly unignorable contortions, potentially its death throes, now struggling to maintain hegemonic order. Worse still, without a strong and coherent Marxist-left in the United States, the still-under-construction ideological hegemony of the Trump supporters will have the largest and most appealing competing narrative for liberals whose ideological bubble is finally burst. “Capitalism didn’t break down because it’s a flawed, doomed system, it broke down because some bad, ‘other’ group of people ruined it.”
why and how is Liberal Ideological Hegemony breaking down?
This question is intimately connected to where fascists are coming from, and why you are seeing more and more of them in the United States, despite Biden’s win. Ideological Hegemony is the array of ideas in peoples heads about the world, how it works and why the world is the way that it is. Liberalism, having emerged victorious from the Cold War, with its main rival, Marxism, seemingly defeated, has become the dominant ideological framework of the world (hegemony), and especially so in the West. It was certain that it would dominate forever, and proudly declared the end of history. All ideas would become liberal ideas, to be appropriated, injected with freedom™, individualized, appropriated, and bought and sold as commodities. Notions of freedom, liberties, and the individual would be the basis for political discourse, and that the entirety of the world could be understood using the liberal lens. But this is proving not to be the case.
The problems have been increasingly confronting all of the followers of liberal ideology, in that all of the pieces of their grand narratives, and even their smaller ones, don’t actually seem to fit together or make sense when examined deeply and scrutinized. Liberalism has always had these sorts of ruptures, and any number of political science professors, media hacks, and Ideological State Apparatus agents are paid good money to patch over these ruptures with their own (often scientific-sounding) ideas and explanations (many of which look asinine only a few years after publication), or simply allow them to be ignored entirely. But as the material contradictions of capitalism become more and more pronounced (for example, the vast polarization and disparity between the wealthy and the poor) and worsen, these ruptures where things stop making sense ideologically in liberalism, and if you start to pay enough attention, the entire world outlook starts to break down.
Ideology-shattering events like Brexit and President Trump were unexpected and inexplicable phenomena for liberalism, as it could only provide weak, broken explanations, if any at all, for why these things happened. Time and again, the problems, inconsistencies, and contradictions (as the not-as-ideologically-dead-as-lead-to-believe Marxists will point out) of capitalism, and it’s component ideology, liberalism, continue to bubble to the surface, with increasing severity, and erupt in ways that are too significant to be ignored (and for which liberal ideas fail to offer satisfactory explanation). As a blunt example, the United States of America is often portrayed as the ‘defender of freedom and democracy’ around the world, but it, in fact, upholds and supports three-fourths of the world’s dictatorships. It becomes clear that the United States is fine with dictatorships, and the problem is just those dictatorships that are not obedient to US interests, but this contradicts their whole notion about humanitarian interventions, and exposes their global operations as having more sinister motives. So you get excuses of “good dictatorships and bad dictatorships,” and nonsense science-looking graphs based on subjective opinions, which separate the obedient from the disobedient, portrayed as the good (obedient to US Empire) and bad (disobedient). This is how liberal ideology begins to twist and contort, doing the mental gymnastics to attempt to explain away these contradictions, and rewrite the narrative (frequently) for why the world looks the way that it does.
Increasingly, all sorts of things about it appear broken and non-functional; and the patchwork explanations to dismiss the problems are both inconsistent/incoherent themselves, and too small to successfully cover-up the ruptures. Disturbingly, the Trump supporting reactionaries are breaking themselves free of liberal ideological hegemony more successfully than those many of those on the American “left,” (who continue down dead end paths of reformism, social-chauvinism, and radical liberalism — embracing some ‘left’-looking ideas but failing to escape ideological hegemony and overcome liberal thinking, as their Biden-support indicates). The reactionary road requires less historical study, less theory, less reading, less understanding, less empathy, and merely the recognition of the shortcomings and failings of liberal ideology — disposing of all the needless contradictions of liberalism, and running it on fast forward to it’s logical conclusion: fascism.
The difference between these escapes from hegemony, however, is here: that Marxists break free of hegemony by seeking and finding truth, and correct ideas, analysis, and understanding-of-systems about the world, whereas the reactionaries are, for the moment, merely recognizing the inherent hypocrisy and contradiction and fiction and nonsense required in the existing liberal worldview, and making mockery of it. Rather than trying to maintain and uphold all the increasing twists and contortions required to explain the world, they can construct a much cleaner, simpler, and more coherent (if still severely lacking) narrative with a mixture of scraps from distorted (and problematic) 1950’s “golden-era” American ideology combined with the scapegoating of an imagined enemy (foreigners, (((Keebler Elves))), Cultural-Marxists, etc). They, too, have embraced identity politics, only theirs in the identity of the middle class straight white male — still the most resource rich and powerful of the individual identities on a per capita basis — and they wish for a restoration of their partially-imagined, and partially real and oppressive past. They can proudly embrace the parts of American history that liberalism has since had to correct and apologize for (or at least downplay); so rather than playing the excuse-and-apologia-game of liberalism, engaging with these ever increasingly twisted, complicated denials and historical manipulation, they can instead plunge into the most base and vulgar form of the ideology headfirst. ‘If you get offended, that’s your problem.’
As an example of this, let us take the imagined mythos of the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers. Traditionally, the founding fathers have portrayed as exceptional wise men, bringing into being the greatest and free-est and bestest of all nations, the United States of America. The reactionaries love this mythos, as it is glorifying and gratifying, and they can see themselves cut from the same cloth of these great men — a special group of people in history who made their own rules and carved their own path. “American Exceptionalism.” This view, of course, omits that many of the founding fathers were slavers (and rapists), that their revolution was done largely to uphold and maintain slavery, as well as to further annex and occupy Indigenous territory and exterminate and replace the inhabitants. The reality of American history proves to be far more awful and repugnant than the previous (but totally false) imagining of it of noble founding fathers, endowed with limitless virtues, elegantly crafting the world’s “greatest” nation and democracy.
The Marxist position to this is rather simple — embrace the truth. America was founded for horrible reasons, it’s imperialist, colonial, slaver history is repugnant and unforgivable, and the solution should be to dismantle America and its capitalist system, and undo/repair the damage it has done to the fullest extent possible. While this solution is terribly uncomfortable to a great many (white) Americans, and their national pride, it is perfectly consistent with the truth. Conversely, the reactionary solution is elegant in its simplicity. Rather than develop this more complicated, historically accurate narrative about their history, they will instead reject these notions, and even more fully embrace the mythos. This way, the founding fathers get to be eternally enshrined and glorious and free from these criticisms, and America exists consistently (in their mental narratives, not at all with historical evidence) as the greatest nation ever to exist, of which they make up the ‘real’ fabric. However, in between these, is the convoluted mess of the collapsing liberal worldview. The current neoliberal solution is to make up fictional retellings of history, in which Alexander Hamilton is black; or a Netflix miniseries about how the founding fathers are fictionalized and diverse superheroes in an imagined, fantasy past, in which some the leading cast are Black and Indigenous, and the villain is supernatural. While creative, it is a deliberate attempt to ignore and obfuscate actual history while re-writing the mythos to be more inclusive with the expanded and diverse additions to the neoliberal global market. Liberals do not have a problem with this, as they see it as being supportive and inclusive and improved, therefore good and not-racist, but ignore that it has nothing to do with the truth of history. In this liberal understanding, historical opinions end up just as another commodity to be sold on the market, and their validity can be measured in sales, and no deeper or more complete understanding is required or even possible for the liberal, as whether George Washington was a heroic inspirational figure or a brutal slaver becomes a purely subjective notion, not one to be engaged and wrestled with, but silently left to the discretion of the audience, if not outright ignored. It becomes more twisted and convoluted the more you think about it, and the more you engage with it.
For the reactionaries and fascists, by simply embracing the racism and genocide, and abandoning these performances, it’s like a burden of lies and excuses has been removed from their shoulders, so they feel all the better for not having to waste time on these convoluted liberal masquerades and half-hearted apologia for it. There is an appealing freedom in this — no longer having to tacitly pretend that it, the racist elephant in the room of American history and society is not actually a problematic presence; instead they get to go for a ride on it! This is why the Ideological State Apparatuses are attempting to ‘close this ideological escape hatch’ the reactionaries have opened, by censoring and removing them from social media — but this can only serve as a short term delaying tactic, as these institutions will either, eventually, be co-opted by the reactionaries, or challenged and supplanted by emerging overtly reactionary parallel institutions. This is liberalism in decay and we see the convulsions and rot everywhere. This also explains what is so appealing about the emerging reactionary ‘conservative’ (“alt-right”) ideology in relation to modern liberalism:
Given the socialist left and traditional conservatives are identical vis-a-vis neoliberalism and liberal ideology is hegemonic, right wing thought exists as a kind of acceleration of liberalism’s own logic and exposé of its hypocrisy. Liberalism claims that the world is better than it’s ever been but it’s actually worse? It’s the fault of muslims or gays or whatever. Liberalism tells you that it’s a universal ideology but functions through racism and imperialism? Dump the ideology and embrace the racism. If we’re going to bomb people, it’s just a distraction to keep saying afterwards “we’re not racist, I promise.” Liberalism elevates identity as an abstract, ontological category? Throw in white men, still the most consequential identity. That is, today’s right wing ideology is not only a parasite on the premises of liberalism, it is the true liberalism that pushes it to its logical extreme without hypocrisy or self-censorship.
So of course if you see the flaws and contradictions of liberalism but are still fundamentally liberal, conservativism will appeal to you. It’s liberalism with a fallback: everything wrong with it is the fault of the Other. Self-identifying liberals are either like “we want some immigration but not too much, don’t think about it” or “we agree that China made the Coronavirus in a lab but Trump was too rude about it,” of course such an ideology is repulsive to most people. It really only appeals to the technocratic elite who see all of this in a “meta” way where such contradictions are themselves the point, since the real point is to pacify the stupid masses for their own good. That’s not to say communists have more in common with the “anti-idpol” right, again this is simply a variant of liberalism which is equally repulsive to the majority of people. Communists have nothing in common with liberalism in general, that was already a tenuous connection in the age of imperialism and is gone in the age of neoliberalism.
“Fascism is liberalism in contradiction.”
Perhaps the most noteworthy recent spasm of the dying liberal order is the bizarre pretend-coup of January 6, 2021, an event that liberalism is still struggling to comprehend, though it is mundane, easily understood, and fairly insignificant to the truth-seeking Marxist.
that time the reactionaries invited themselves inside the Capitol Complex
“Fascists are storming the Capitol?!” “Is it a coup attempt or isn’t it?” “When will the perpetrators be arrested and detained?!” The answer to all these questions and more is, plainly, ‘no.’ This was all spectacle. A farce. A micro-scale soccer riot, except that Americans don’t care about soccer. American liberalism has trouble grappling with this moment because it represents another noticeable crack in the ideology — but it was all style and no substance. Liberals, of course, couldn’t imagine their prestigious, sacred, hallowed Capitol building, symbolic for freedom and democracy and whatever bullshit you feel like assigning it, being ‘overrun’ by conspiracy theorists, reactionaries, and cosplayers. These are the sorts of things that are only supposed to happen to Global South countries that America bombs, invades, and coups (it’s perfectly ‘normal’ when that happens there, and America sponsors it) but never here!
Of course, much like the event itself, most of the outrage is fictional — for spectacle purposes only. This was not a terrorist coup attempt — it lacked the competence required. Liberals only continue to talk about this looking for some sort of moral outrage, which the might transform into votes come midterms. They do not seem to be seeking any sort of material repression against the perpetrators, nor radical anti-fascist measures against the nation’s far-right. The few people that, for whatever inane or confused reason, actually do care, are bogged down watching paperwork collect dust, once again seeking some sort of never-to-come legal resolution which might make all the problems magically go away (like the great many lawsuits and impeachments filed against Trump, which ultimately did nothing to stop him). Anarchists who pointed fingers at the violent reactionaries are getting longer and harsher prison sentences than the actual people who committed the crime. Moreover, the reactionaries did not ‘storm the Capitol,’ violently toppling America’s Repressive State Apparatus to ‘break in,’ — they were freely let inside with minimal effort required (indeed, the Repressive State Apparatus is mostly comprised of their friends, fascists and fascist-sympathizers, in the first place).
The reason that this was so unremarkable is because it was a fairly insignificant event — it didn’t serve any purpose nor achieve any result. Some angry Trump supporters hustled their way inside, took some social media photos, smashed a few windows, and then, having no wiser ideas about what to do next, smeared their feces on the walls, and called it a day. Granted, some five people died (only one directly from violence) which, again, puts it on par with a small soccer riot. Similarly is the story of the arrests — a few of the most belligerent and drunk were detained and questioned, but most of them were unfettered by any sort of state-legal response. Was it newsworthy? Sure. Should more people be arrested? Certainly, though few will be. But liberals and don’t seem to recognize why no one actually cares and why almost nothing will get done or come of this.
The reason the reactionaries were allowed in, at all, in the first place is because they were let inside. There represented no challenge to the system (indeed, some of them are the folks the system exists to benefit, albeit to lesser degrees than the bourgeoisie-proper), so the system did not need to challenge them back. The Repressive State Apparatus was present, watching passively, and did next-to-nothing to stop them (a radically different response than you see with Black Lives Matter protests). This isn’t because the Trump supporters are too powerful or too organized to stop, it’s because they pose no threat to the state and capitalism. A comrade from (the communist part of) Reddit observed:
As hilariously embarrassing of a spectacle this was for the US government none of this has represented even a hint of a threat to capital, and all it did was scare more of the American ““““left”””” to stay further entrenched in bourgeoisie politics. Think of the millions of liberals, including some budding anarchists and socdems (but I repeat myself), who just a few months ago were in the street genuinely joyfully celebrating a Joe Biden presidency. Joe fucking Biden.
The Trump clown car traveling circus act has been absolutely fantastic for the bourgeoisie, because it doesn’t matter how awful the democrats are and how much they are a carbon copy of the republican party in policy, they can point to Trump’s cartoon spectacles and say “vote for me or get more of that,” and millions accept that as a choice.
For the record, there is nothing good about this, and those self-proclaimed “Marxists” cheering on the reactionaries are making a most terrible misjudgment. This event is sad and awful, but really nothing to be shocked about, and not even the worst thing to happen that week. American fascism is not going to go away. And just as similarly, the so-called “leftists” who are mindlessly repeating media hysteria about “storming the Capitol” and “an attempted coup,” frantically falling in behind Biden and the Democrats as the only hope to save us from Trump and his ilk are making just as much of a mistake.
And this is what American elections are now, where many of the people who should be comprising and building the “American Left” are instead neutralized by participating in this charade. Once every four years, all the liberals and centrists and moderates and progressives come together in a desperate, frantic, indulgent, unhinged panic demanding votes and support from the left, for their far-right wing candidate with a (D) after his name, so that, perhaps, maybe oh maybe, we may belay and stall the reactionary takeover for a few more years, while allowing all the conditions and problems and crises, which gave rise to fascism in the first place, to worsen. All of American ‘left’ politics is now is a blind obedience to a far-right wing Democrat Party (with empty nods to progressive causes), a lopping down of sodden sandbags in the dying hope that somehow this batch of sandbags will slow the rising tide of fascism, before we are all drowned in it. Platforms and policies and programs aren’t even being brought into the discussion anymore (and whatever little there is are just unhinged lies) — it’s just a contest between a vulgar descent into fascism and the same decent into fascism, masquerading as civility and business-as-usual.
There are, without a doubt, bourgeois elements who disliked this display, too, of Jan. 6, as it made America look foolish, exposed their hypocrisy, and undermined the legitimacy of their whole political system. But at the same time, that has been the story of the entire past four years of President Donald Trump in a nutshell — the Emperor’s lack of clothes undermining the appearance of the Empire — and these are the same reasons why the bourgeoisie finally opted to replace Trump with President Joe Biden — someone who can dress appropriately for the part. Someone who can, and will, carry out most of the same policies, but do so in a less distracting, less foolish, less obnoxious fashion. As Biden himself declared, “Nothing will fundamentally change.” As the liberals fail and flail in their pitiful defence of Biden, they will (almost always) ultimately resort to some form of “at least it’s not Trump.” This, of course, merely means that Biden is more diplomatic-in-appearance and more civil than Trump. Biden knows not to say the quiet part loud in the same unpalatable manner that Trump often did. However, in the more important question of substance, not style; in essence, not form, it appears that Joe Biden actually very much is the same as Trump in the vast majority of his administration’s policies.
the Trump era policies continue unabated
Indeed, one of the most direct criticisms that can be easily levelled at any Biden supporter is how many (in fact, nearly all) of the Trump-era policies — decried only four years ago as racist, fascist, dystopian, etc. — have continued into the Biden era totally unabated. In fact, many of them have increased, expanded, and worsened. It’s also inaccurate to pin many of these policies as having their origin with Trump, for he is not the sole instigator, as many of them were carryovers from Biden’s time as Veep beside Obama, and even more of these policies are carryovers from W. Bush, Clinton, H.W. Bush, Reagan, and so on, and so on — the new boss is the same as the old boss. Trump was not a radical departure from the tradition of American Presidents that so many liberal decried, but an exact continuation of their reactionary legacies, and so too, Biden is the continuation of Trump. They are both the products of the same system, and they are both functionaries in that system’s interest. Biden is mostly just a change of drapery, with a less incompetent staff.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said that the United States is the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” Biden proved this statement to still be correct within his first forty-eight hours in office.
Biden began a fresh bombing offensive against Syria, for its defiance to American interests, all within his first couple days, after proudly boasting that “diplomacy is back!,” no less. I can only assume that “Diplomacy” is the pet name of his favourite stealth bomber, because Biden has shown as little interest in peace as Trump, as he obliterates multiple countries of the Middle East and surrounding area into ruins. Continuing American tradition, Biden, like Trump before him, upholds the Saudi Arabian monarchy, while continuing to support the ongoing genocide in Yemen (again, in spite of campaign promises to the contrary), complete with bombing campaigns and arms and supplies for the Saudis doing the killing. Amazingly Biden explains this decision saying that he “will continue to help defend the Saudis against Houthi attacks,” which is as backwards and deliberately false. Indeed, if the championship belt for ‘greater evil’ is measured by volume of bombs dropped, then Biden already on pace to surpass Trump for the title.
Not to settle for the small stuff, Biden has arranged for a one hundred billion dollar expansion to the United States’ nuclear arsenal, including over 600 additional nukes. When Trump had such a proposal, the Democrats called it “unnecessary, wasteful, and indefensible,” but suddenly these same criticisms fall of deaf ears when Biden does the same. Do not forget that Northrop Grumman had donated close to a half of a million dollars to Biden’s campaign (and almost as much to Trump’s as well). If you needed an example as to why a vote for Biden makes little difference, you need only look to the arms industry to see that they win either way.
During their latest attempt to further colonize Palestinian homes and land, and exterminate Palestinians, Biden maintained his support for the genocidal Israeli regime and their apartheid state, showering them in riches for fresh weapon supplies. Biden neither condemned the Israeli settlers for their illegal occupation, nor even make meaningful effort to call for a ceasefire, instead arguing that “Israel has a right to defend itself!” American foreign policy will constantly use terms like “defence” and “shield,” but it’s explicitly clear to anyone paying attention that the United States and its allies are almost always the aggressor on the world stage. With his unflinching support for Israel, Biden is proving that he is among the most right-wing Democrats, and even further right than some Republicans, on this at least.
Indeed, the racist nonsense that is “lab leak” theory that had originally been promoted by Donald Trump, received ridicule and mockery from liberals and communists alike, has now been revived by Joe Biden, and because liberals are incapable of thought, it is now taken by them as a credible and plausible explanation. This is especially dubious, today, as scientific reports now have COVID-19 emerging in the United States, and France, as well as Italy, even before it appeared in Wuhan, chronologically. This revived accusation by Biden is not in any way medical or scientific, it is political, with hostile intent aimed towards China. Coupled with the ongoing false claims of genocide against the Uyghurs, Biden’s intent is to contain China’s growth and success by instigating a New Cold War, and undermining its trade and diplomatic initiatives.
As US continues New Cold War, Russia and China forge new ties | The Grayzone
As the Biden administration ramps up confrontation, Lyle Goldstein of Naval War College discusses how China and Russia…
We also see Biden trying to restore hegemony and influence in Latin America, where the U.S. had been fumbling in the latter years under Trump. Biden continues to promote the failed pretender Guaidó, now on his sixth failed coup attempt, as his imperialist supervisors try to recoup the loss from Trump’s unfortunate (and destructive to imperialist interests) tweet where he called Guaidó the ‘Beto O’Rouke of Venezuela’ and said (correctly) “he doesn’t have what it takes.” His administration has begun spraying toxic gas on the coca fields of Colombia, another futile effort in ‘the war on drugs’ (and realistically tied into harming the growing far-left groups working against the current administration there). Biden is doing nothing to reverse Trump’s crippling sanctions on Cuba, even despite Obama’s thawing of US-Cuban relations. There’s no help coming for Puerto Rico, either, from Biden, while his administration continued backing the brutal Moise dictatorship in Haiti, and is now looking for invasion opportunity in the wake of his fall. Similarly, Kamala Harris, Biden’s “girlboss” partner in crime, has radically changed her tune on immigration, tacitly threatening the Guatemalans fleeing from the American-backed repression in their homeland (Biden’s friends in Israel also had a bloody role in Guatemalan history). Biden will do nothing to help Latin America, and will almost certainly be involved in multiple regime change attempts over the next few years. We can only hope they all fail.
However, Latin America is beginning to show that it can, and will, help itself, by shaking free of the chains America has clasped them in, and overthrowing the right-wing dictators and fake-democracies the Americans have installed, peacefully or otherwise. With uprisings and far-left protests occurring now in Chile, Colombia, Brazil, combined with a revival and second wave of the Pink Tide, restoring democracy to Bolivia, a potentially left-leaning victory in Peru, and a plethora of elections-to-come (with emerging far-left candidates becoming more prevalent), Latin American may be the breakout point for genuine anti-imperialist action in opposition to the American Empire in the region. In Brazil, Lula has returned, and is poised to defeat the American-backed reactionary Bolsonaro. The second wind of this anti-imperialist (‘democratic-’) socialism (and, really, mostly just social-democracy, but even that small degree of progressive leftism is intolerable for America) is going to prove itself an obstacle for Biden’s foreign policy, which will continue to uphold the Monroe Doctrine, approaching it’s 200th anniversary. This may become the primary hotspot of political tension and main political arena of conflict in the years to come, and we shouldn’t be surprised to see Biden to have as much blood on his hands here as past Presidents.
There is no corner of the world that is safe from American imperialism, save the few parts of Asia that were forced to violently defeat it. But other continents have not been so fortunate. Biden’s administration started off early, fanning the flames of war and conflict at the Horn of Africa, and now beginning sanctions on Ethiopia and Eritrea, as if thrusting even more poverty upon Africa could somehow improve the situation of Africans. Rather, these actions are to repress emerging nationalist and anti-imperialist movements, threatening to undermine the American order (or at least domination) in the region. Biden supports yet another blatant dictator in the Congo, because, after all, electric cars are all the rage in America right now, and they could not be produced as cheaply without Biden-supported Congolese child labour. In yet another one of America’s forever-wars, Biden keeps Somalia occupied, repressed, and under the resource-extracting thumb of NATO interests. Africa’s future is being choked out by AFRICOM, which continues terrorist acts on behalf of the American Empire across the continent.
The United States African Command (AFRICOM) was established October 1, 2008. The purpose of AFRICOM is to use U.S. military power to impose U.S. control of African land, resources and labor to service the needs of U.S. multi-national corporations and the wealthy in the United States.
The 800+ Military Bases around the world belonging to the United States are not there for altruistic, or even benign reasons. These are not the watchtowers of Gondor, keeping the Orcs of Mordor at bay. These are not guardian fortresses, from where America keeps an eye on those sinister terrorists — or whatever — and keeps the rest of us safe with carpet bombings and drone strikes. These bases are imperial presence; they are the very real, very literal guns pointed at the heads of hundreds of different nations around the world, cocked and ready to fire at the any sign of defiance away from the American order, and the resource extraction and siphoning that takes labour, resources, and material away from the Global South and redistributes them overwhelmingly to the Global North, and the United States above all others. Those drone strikes and carpet bombings are not killing plotting terrorists, they are killing those that resist and defy this American Imperial order and oppose it. Many of those resistors are simply re-branded as terrorists after the fact, for the news reports that play in America. The few nations that exist do so only under extreme duress, requiring massive military investment to resist American intervention, and then those massive militaries those resisting states require is used as evidence of their ‘authoritarianism’ and hostile intent.
“But Biden will be better for people in America!” was the rallying cry from the privileged liberal shits existing within the Imperial core. The real difference between Trump and Biden, they assured us, was that Biden would be better for those within America’s borders, even if Biden and Trump were indistinguishable on foreign policy. But Biden’s domestic policy, too, reeks of Trump’s shit all the same, and all of the wonderful domestic progress that was supposed to be made under Biden instead has proven to be as illusory and false as his entire campaign. In part 2, we will take a closer look at what Biden has been doing: his domestic policy, economic policies, his accomplishments (ha!), what his administration is actually doing, the inevitable return of Donald Trump (or someone worse), as well as the proper Marxist response to all this nonsense. TO BE CONTINUED…