Abandon Biden Movement: What’s next?

Upsurge among youth grows to confront US-Israel genocide
Upsurge among youth grows to confront US/Israel genocide.

By Chris Fry and David Sole

Before the Wisconsin Democratic Primary on April 2, pro-Palestinian activists campaigned to persuade voters to check the “Uninstructed” box on the ballot rather than vote for “Bomber” Biden. They said that they would consider their efforts to be a success if more than 20,000 voters did so.

That is because the margin of the 2020 vote between Trump and Biden was a mere 20,682 votes out of more than 3.2 million cast in that state. The Palestinian supporters wanted to demonstrate that Biden’s sending vast numbers of bombs and other weapons to Israel’s genocidal revenge war in Gaza threatens his reelection campaign and may very well put fascist Trump back in the White House.

The primary results showed that 47,846 people did indeed check off the “Uninstructed” box on the Wisconsin primary ballot, more than doubling the 2020 margin. You can almost feel the tremors of fear running up the backs of the Biden campaign staff.

An April 4 article in the Guardian analyzed this crisis for the Democratic Party:

The party’s strategy seems to be that if it is “just moderate enough or timid enough, that somehow, magically, these largely nonexistent Republican [swing] voters will cross over the aisle and vote with them”, [Wisconsin State Representative] Clancy told [the reporter] a day before the primary.

While insurgent campaigns against the Democratic “establishment” are getting less attention this election season, a tectonic shift appears to be happening whether the party wants to acknowledge it or not. The anti-war vote, and an inadequate response to that movement at multiple levels of government beyond the White House, could permanently drive away some of the party’s base: progressive and younger voters. Many progressive voters have no interest in showing up purely to vote against Trump; unless they have a Democrat they really believe in, they’ll simply stay home.

Other state primaries showed similar results, particularly in so-called “battleground” states like Michigan, Minnesota, and Nevada. Pennsylvania, which holds its primary on April 23 and which Biden won by a narrow margin in 2020, has a very active campaign urging voters to write in “Uncommitted” on their ballots.

Of course, this struggle within the bourgeois-controlled electoral arena is only part of the picture, as thousands of youth hold “camp-ins” on numerous college campuses and march in the streets in cities across the country, often blocking streets, bridges and freeways.

This heroic effort has been met with harsh repression by college administrators, city mayors and, of course, the police. Nevertheless, these youth have not let up, demanding an end to the U.S.-supported Israeli genocidal war in Gaza.

One element that is new is the upsurge in the class struggle in this country, as strikes and union organizing campaigns have reached a level not seen in decades.

This comes at the same time as Trump’s announcement that he intends to impose a fascist dictatorship “on day one” when he assumes office, whether by election or by coup. He has indicated his plan to send troops not just to the border to attack migrants, but also into the streets of major cities.

Imperialism’s “dead end”.

The Democratic Party leadership and their media minions often accuse the Republicans of wanting to “turn the clock back to the 1950s”. That is certainly true as far as Jim Crow, the oppression of women and LGBTQ+ people and so on.

But this is also a distortion. The Democratic Party leadership yearns for that same era of labor ejecting its Communist leadership of the mammoth class struggles of the 1930s and confining itself to increased wages and benefits that imperialism was able to provide because of its dominance in the post WWII period.

This allowed both parties to wage wars against Korea, against Vietnam, to overturn progressive regimes all through the “Global South”, to occupy oil-rich countries in the Middle East and to pursue the so-called “Cold War” against the socialist countries.

The settler state of Israel became a key component of that U.S. imperialist strategy as it became a powerful military base in the Middle East, and also a major weapons developer for the U.S. war machine.

But as the U.S. military adventures faltered in Korea and then Vietnam with numerous soldier mutinies, first the Pentagon turned to a more reliable “volunteer army” and most recently, proxy wars, trying to head off internal opposition to these wars.

But Ukraine’s forces face imminent collapse and Netanyahu’s genocidal “revenge war” against Hamas has slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians, mostly women and children, in Gaza, but has failed to defeat the Palestinian resistance forces. And Biden is facing worldwide condemnation for not only supporting Israel’s war, but also for blocking international efforts to effect a cease fire and peace talks.

What next?

On April 23. USA Today posted an article with the title: “Young voters aren’t warming to Biden; They know it means Trump could win again.”

The article contains an interview with Viviana Ramos, who lives and works in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and whose views are shared by many young people today who are confronting the 2024 election choices:

Ramos, 24, voted for him [Biden] in 2020 but is now unsure whether she can bring herself to support him again, even if it means a second presidency for Donald Trump, whom she dislikes even more.

“That fuels the rage. It’s really disheartening. I have a moral battle with myself: Do I even vote this time around? I don’t want to have to choose between them. One is slightly worse than the other. It’s horrible,” said Ramos, who works at a coffee shop inside downtown Chattanooga’s historic train station.

Ramos is one of many young voters stewing with grievances over the country’s future, from the existential crisis of climate change to the frustration over inflation, reproductive rights, high interest rates, Israel’s war in Gaza, immigration reform and the power corporations have over their working conditions.

This “moral battle with myself” is both genuine and legitimate. The ruling class has presented to the young, to workers and students of all ages, and to the oppressed communities a choice between a warmonger and a fascist (of course Trump would continue to support the brutal war against the Palestinian people as well).

Of course, the billionaires prefer both bourgeois party programs. They support Trump’s using the state and his fascist supporters as a “battering ram” to eliminate all the hard-won social gains from the New Deal to today. And they support Biden’s strategy of U.S. imperialist alliances and war to maintain their global domination.

With the growth of anger at the Democrats among a large number of the population who are also alert to the dangers of the Trump/MAGA movement, the question must be asked – What is to be done? Rejection of both of the big capitalist parties, Democrats and Republicans, is entirely justified. This could, and ought, to lead to a movement for a mass, third, radical and independent party. Unfortunately, so far such a movement has not materialized. But conditions inside the U.S. are ripening for that development, though this may take a while to mature.

Another question is – What are progressive people doing right now in case Trump & Co. move toward a fascist dictatorship. This could be a “cold coup” if he wins the election in November or it could occur if Trump loses the election and unleashes his forces as he did on January 6, 2021. It would be foolish to depend on the courts, the police or the military to preserve our so-called “democratic rights.”

In January of this year a call was issued to all progressives to form an Anti-Fascist Organizing Committee (AFOC). Its statement in part reads:

We believe that it is imperative to begin now to organize a powerful, independent movement of workers in unions and unorganized, along with the broadest range of progressive organizations, that can protect the rights of the working class and oppressed peoples. Local, statewide, regional and national committees cannot wait for a possible Trump electoral victory, or another coup, to challenge his announced undemocratic goals.

Among our tasks is to discuss the idea of a General Strike if it becomes necessary. We also should spread literature among the members of the United States military on the looming danger and urge them to be prepared to disobey illegal or immoral orders. Every locality should begin forming joint defense committees that can immediately protect union and community meetings, progressive rallies, demonstrations, and leaders.

The fight against Biden’s and Netanyahu’s vicious war against the Palestinian people and the fight against the impending Trumpist dictatorial program is in fact one struggle. War and fascism both stem from the same rotting system of capitalist and imperialist exploitation and oppression. It is the growing mobilization of millions of progressive  people on the campuses, at workplaces and in the streets that will be the decisive factor for victory.

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