We can already say that Biden has succeeded, although it has yet to end and will be challenged in federal court. Trump continues to say that he is the winner, and does not accept defeat “because there was fraud, and Biden is far from having won.” One more lie like those we are used to from authoritarianism, and one more blow to the eroded bourgeois democratic regime. What is concrete is that the Pennsylvania results defined the election. And the American people, by a difference in votes of four million, especially in the big urban centers on the coast, are celebrating. That delay, Trump’s attitudes and the complexity of the U.S. electoral method led the daughter of a friend to say that “the U.S. changes presidents of other countries faster than it changes its own.”
The analysis of these elections, which had the whole world on edge, and which the Latin American vanguard has followed day by day, has raised for the socialists and anti-imperialists a series of problems (old updated and new) that force us to have to reflect on them. Marxist politics must always be updated to understand the new facts of reality and to carry out a policy and the tasks that arise from it.
As we have been repeating for some time, the United States has become the political center where the trends of this world in crisis and growing polarization are best expressed. They also make Latin America the continent where the class struggle and new political processes have advanced the most in recent years. Surely the new facts will force us to update the theory, which this text does not intend to do. Here are some reflections in brief notes to contribute for the militants of the Fourth International and the social and political vanguard of struggle on the continent.
1/ A very important democratic triumph.
As we placed in previous texts and letters to the comrades of the DSA, this is a very important democratic triumph. Putting a brake (not defeating definitively but making it recede) on the neo-fascist right was fundamental for continuing the struggle of the workers and peoples. And in this election the greatest exponent of racism, of machismo, of the “cavernous” patriotic and fascist denialism that affirms its policy in the slogan of “Great America” on the basis of lies, (fake news); of a neo-fascism that represses and agitates the people with the danger of socialism or communism, is being defeated. Trump polarizes society, he encourages and defends the armament and the militias of the far right and under that discourse he defends and encourages the armament of the population that supports him. He is the father of Bolsonaro, Erdogan, Orban and all the proto-fascist or neo-fascist movements that have emerged in the world. All of them suffered a blow. And the whole movement is infected with enthusiasm now that the result is known.
The Black Lives Matter-led rebellion, supported by a significant portion of the white population, was a central factor in Trump’s defeat. The number of voters and the 4 million difference in the popular vote are a consequence of that mobilization. The fact that the vice president is the first black woman elected, (and possible successor), is a reflection of that triumph.
However, Trump’s electoral defeat has not put an end to the new fascism, it has not put a nock out, although it leaves them weaker for their politics. The mass movement is left with the taste of victory in knowing that it can stop the authoritarian right, and it is more forewarned and enlightened if it is repeated. Whether Biden ends up winning is very important for the workers in that country as it is for the entire world mass movement. It is for the Black and anti-racist movements, for women, for the LGBT people, that a mobilization that began symbolically in Stonweld Square yesterday in Manhattan, is important. The crowds in the streets of the northern country celebrating the defeat infects the anti-racist, feminist and workers’ movements in general.
2/ Why is it relative or partial?
This triumph must be defined essentially by the enemy that is defeated and not by who wins. Biden is an important piece of the establishment; and when we say establishment we mean the U.S. imperialist high bourgeoisie and its apparatus of support. Biden is intrinsically an important piece of the regime, a negotiator for the Senate and the Democratic Party apparatus. Curbing neo-fascism is important, but because Biden and the Democratic Party leadership were delegated that electoral task, it is not a crushing defeat; it is relative.
We celebrated this triumph with our flags up, but we did not lower them, we took a stone out of our own path. We did not and will not follow behind Biden; that is why it was a critical vote we took, we did not support Biden politically. It was about throwing Trump. (It should also be noted that the voting system that has obsolete features is extremely federalist and that allowed for plebiscites in several states. In seven of them, they voted to free marijuana and in Florida to increase the minimum wage).
Enthusiasm, expectation and triumph bring better conditions to continue fighting. But they have not been resolved, we will have them throughout this period and we will have to continue facing them. Yesterday it was Trump, today it is Biden. Voting for Biden and getting the votes respected now is fundamental to stop the advance of the new fascism.
It should also be noted that as it is relative, it is not a democratic triumph as was the defeat of fascism in the Second World War, as the dictatorships of the Southern Cone or in Nicaragua fell.
There are comrades of the Latin American anti-imperialist vanguard (and also within the U.S.) who think that because they are Trump and Biden, both imperialist bourgeois are the same. It is a serious mistake not to see the differences. Both are bourgeois and both are imperialist. They are together in confronting the advance of the neo-power in China and imperialist domination. But they differ in that one is neo-fascist and the other wants to operate the policy of anti-worker domination within the bourgeois-democratic regime.
The imperialist world class is divided. One side is moving towards neo-fascism, the other wants to maintain its domination within bourgeois democracy. Therefore, the unity of action expressed in the vote was the correct policy.
3/ Rupture in the regime, division in the country
The United States is in a sense broken. Trumpism has made the main imperialist power totally polarized and its regime fractured. The U.S. elections show that the country is increasingly divided into two parts. One sector is the big cities on the coast and some in the interior that are defending democratic and progressive causes. The modern middle class is concentrated there, along with service and new technology workers and their derivatives who are growing. On the other side is the rural, politically backward country and the middle class of small or medium cities as well as sectors of the old extractive and old industry.
And again we insist that Trump lost, but 70 million voted for him (more votes in history after Biden), showing a tight electoral victory that means that neo-fascist authoritarianism retains a strong social base. For this reason, the regime of bourgeois democracy continues to be stoned by Trump denying the numbers of the vote and will continue to do so in the coming months and perhaps years. Trump meant a qualitative change in the process of erosion that he had been suffering from for years.
4/ Was Biden able to close this gap and weld the bourgeois regime of domination?
It seems to us that this is an impossible task. It can only keep the crack from getting bigger; put patches or props on a building with many breaks. It is a regime that has become decadent as a result of the crisis of capitalism and the decline of American imperialism which still wants to be the gendarme of the world. Now it has it more difficult; it has a rival that has nothing progressive about it: the new power “made in China”.
With Trump’s defeat, a new fascism, the worst enemy of workers in the U.S. and the world, is being held back. The slogan of the revolution “freedom and equality”-they are very current as Roberto Robaina correctly places in his texts. The U.S. with its independence was a few years ahead of its time, but then it was consolidated by the French Revolution. Those slogans are impossible to reach today by the bourgeoisie. It is in the hands of the workers, of popular power and the workers to bring it to the world in a real democracy and equality.
5/ Our opinion of what will be the new situation
It seems to us that a weaker government is emerging and that it will not solve the structural problems despite the pressure of the BLM mobilization. The weight of Sanders’ movement made the electoral program quite progressive. But it will be unlikely to meet expectations. We risk some characterizations.
= The crisis and the social and political polarization that has clear expressions in the USA (Trump-Sanders) makes it very difficult for the old consensual regime to recover. This polarization, which will not be resolved, will lead to further erosion of the two parties that support the regime.
= The honeymoon with Biden will not be very long if he is not able to carry out some of the most felt measures (new green deal, medicare for all, the jobs recovery). He is more likely to move forward on some reforms of the police system, but which are not the ones that required mobilization. That is why expectations will vanish and the figures of the left inside and outside the DP will grow again, and with it the crisis of the DP.
|Bernie Sanders has already left to make appointments. He said that “today we celebrate the apparent victory.” He thanked the progressive movement for voting for Biden. And to continue because it all just started. Nothing is resolved and he is going to release a document for Biden’s first 100 days that will focus on unemployment to get the economy back on track and help small businesses. AOC has just tweeted that she and Rashida have never stopped beating the door-to-door despite the decision of the campaign managers and they are the ones who helped Biden win. It is worth noting that the progressive wing (independent of the establishment) named all four deputies and added two more to the bench. For its part, the DSA elected 28 legislators from among the state deputies and senators. A militant of the DSA has just sent a WhatsApp where it says “Today we defeat fascism and tomorrow we begin a new phase of the struggle against neoliberalism. Without historic advances by progressive forces, four years of Biden will only mean an interregnum before Trump’s return.”
= On the other hand, the crisis and erosion of the regime touches the Republicans very much. Trump managed to capture the RP because he won over the Tea Party supporters and much of the central party structure. Neo-fascist politics caused him to lose a sector of the old party leaders and senators. In short, the classic bipartisanship that assured years of domination is dead as such, which makes “governability” more difficult. It is not yet clear who achieved the majority in the Senate. If the Republicans have it, they will stop the progressive measures that the government can take, and if the Democrats have it, they will have to explain to the masses why they are not taking fundamental measures like those proposed by progressivism.
Therefore, although it will be an important democratic victory, it will not mean that the United States recovers the imperialist bourgeois democratic regime that allowed, at home, more democratic freedoms for the workers and social movements, and outwardly it will raise the flag of defense of democracy to play the “falsely democratic” gendarme of domination. Trump has given strong blows of the pickaxe and semi-destroyed it, putting it on the edge of the abyss. And he will continue to be a danger to the fascists, since he has a large section of the masses. Biden won because he was the alternative to Trump, not because the masses are enthusiastic about Biden.
6/ the defense of democracy became a transitional slogan
It became the main flag of a minimum character, one can say that it became transitional since it is closely linked to the struggle for the defense of the conquests of wages, health, employment, for the defense of the environment against the climate crisis and ultimately the defense of life. The crisis of the planet and the workers can only be reversed, a real democracy, a real democratic regime can only be conquered by attacking the pillars of capitalism; by expropriating the expropriators. Sanders’ program, in a reformist manner in the media, approaches this transitional character. That is why, as the DSA militant says, neoliberalism continues.
7/ Neofascism does not disappear. According to them it will only be a tactical defeat and they may be right
As we said, it has emerged in a world experiencing a structural crisis. And the crisis of bourgeois democracy is associated with this already chronic crisis. Because of the crisis it has come to stay.
While we have used various terms to define this phenomenon which is organic it is a new type of fascism. It has many differences from that of the 1930s, which is why we call it neo, but in essence it is a regime against the workers and the democratic freedoms that exist in the demobuguese regime. One could object that it does not use civil war methods like Hitler or Mussolini, but in other conditions that occurred in Germany, Italy or Spain to end revolutionary situations.
While the Black mobilization or rebellion was the most important movement against Trump and helped much to defeat him in the U.S., there was no democratic revolution as in Chile and Ecuador. It was an electoral triumph.
8/ The future: more conditions for an independent workers’ party and the growth of the DSA
= Bernie Sanders withdrew from the primary under the pretext of covid. He had achieved until then a great space in the mass movement for his progressive program. During Biden’s campaign he did not act as a politician of the Democratic establishment and did not lower the flags of political revolution that Kamala Harris was never affected by. It is very important that he now come out to collect on the first 100 days.
The progressive left of the Democrats gained strength in this election. Not only because they added new deputies but also because of the expressive number of votes they obtained in their states. AOC had 68.8% of the vote, Ayanna Presley of Masachussets 87.3% of the vote, Ilhan Omar Minnesota 64.5%, Jamaal Bowman of New York 83%, Rashida Tlaib Michigan 77.9% of the vote. The progressives of the Democratic Party are not tied to the establishment, they are independents. Now they have a challenge; to demand that the needs placed on their platforms be met. Since this will be very difficult, they will be at a crossroads. If they do not lower their flags they will be attacked by the establishment in government and the crossroads is either to adapt to the establishment or to split up to build an independent party.
We socialists have to have a policy of demands and support these demands of allies and sympathizers or militants of the DSA. We will not be able to say “Biden is bourgeois and will not comply.” On the contrary, we must demand that he respond to the aspirations of the 74 million who voted for him, to the demands of progressivism, and mobilize the youth, Blacks and workers for those goals.
In this way – and not otherwise – the conditions for a new workers’ party and social movement, autonomous and broad will emerge. The crisis and the fissures open up possibilities for this. And we risk saying that the axis of its formation will not be the old industrial proletariat, but the most modern working class in the services and the workers derived from the new technologies. As well as the struggle of women, youth, afro and indigenous peoples and others against nationalism, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, patriarchalism In addition, of the struggle for the right of self-determination of the peoples, inside and outside the USA.
The DSA lost the opportunity to stand with progressives and do so by uniting action through voting. It should have gone door to door with progressives explaining the nature of their support. That way it would have opened more doors and gained the trust of workers. In any case, the DSA will continue and is already growing. According to the report by its leadership, it reached 29 state legislators and senators. And the conditions for further growth are in place.
9/ For the grouping of the socialist left in the continent
America, with the countries of Chile and Bolivia in the South and the workers and socialists in the North (the USA), have taken good steps showing the dynamism of the class struggle. We believe that relations with the socialists and the black movement in the north will be strengthened from the south. There are structural causes for this. We said that the U.S. was becoming “Latin Americanized, due to the increase in social inequality and deficiencies, due to the fact that Latinos and Blacks are going to become the sector that most demands their rights.”
We Latin Americans have stopped seeing the United States as our enemy as a whole. We are beginning to see that we have allies in the workers in the black movement and the socialists, the latter being strategic.
And on the other hand the American left can start to take us as a reference. The experience of Iglesias, Corbyn or Tsipras has already been exhausted. They are going to begin to see that the sector of more struggle, the most experienced vanguard in this last period is in the South.
In this context it is an obligation of the PSOL to call for a pre-meeting to organize a continental seminar of the socialists to start working together establishing bonds of solidarity, of mutual aid, practicing internationalism and working to build a continental network. The problems are similar. And more together we can face them.
We socialists grouped in the Fourth International have to get our act together, acting without sectarianism so that this is possible.
Pedro Fuentes is a internationalist leader of PSOL/Brazil.