Dan Arel's Blog

We’re Not Going to Move Joe Biden to the Left

By Dan Arel

The writing is now on the wall for President Trump. He’s going to lose the US election and he’s going to lose by a wider margin than it seemed from the start. We’re beginning to see the celebration from liberals who got their candidate past 270 electoral votes and we’re even seeing celebration from the left, but for different reasons.

The election of former Vice President Joe Biden is a good thing, not because he’s a good presidential candidate or because he’s a good leader. It’s a good thing only in the fact that Trump has now lost, his movement has taken a huge blow, and now leftists know what our fight ahead is.

President-elect is not going to be moved left, not by us, not by more progressive Democrats in congress. Biden is a lifelong neo-conservative pushing neo-liberal policies. Biden’s election did not end fascism, because it is Biden’s ideology, shared greatly with those such as former President’s Obama and Clinton that paved the way for Trump’s fascist populism. Biden may be a wrench in the works for right’s march into complete American fascism, but he’s not the end of the road.

The idea he could be moved left was a Democratic Party talking point to get leftists to show up and vote, and in the end did nothing more but give the right its own talking point that Biden is nothing more than a trojan horse for the far left. In reality, he’s useless to the left.

In an article on Crimethinc, it was argued that a vote for Biden could be used at best to “influence who will lead that army against us.” That is because Biden isn’t offering us policies radically different from President Trump.

Biden is not going to act on his own to shut down ICE detention camps, he’s made it clear he will not defund the police, and in fact wants to open up more funding for them, and he’s not about to end the murderous US support for Israel against Palestinians or end US imperialism around the world, especially in the Middle East. Lastly, he’s said he would veto any Medicare-for-all bill that reached his desk.

On those issues alone, and countless others, he will not move left. He has no reason to either, while mandates don’t exist in the larger context of US politics, they do exist inside the parties themselves and Biden has already claimed he is the Democratic Party, and when it comes to vote totals (population increased ignored) he received more votes than any other president in history. He will use that to claim that he was elected on his platform alone, ignoring that countless votes for him were merely votes against Trump. Many from those who believed he could be moved to the left once elected.

For activists on the left, working to move Biden on these issues would be a great waste of valuable energy and resources that would be much better spent in organizing those who oppose all forms of imperialism and fascism, whether in its outright form as we saw in President Trump, or in the shadows as we see from neo-liberalism.

Rather than focus on Biden, strategies should be focused locally. We’ve seen great accomplishments when City Councils are overwhelmed by anti-police protests, in the streets and in their chambers. We’ve seen mutual aid rise in communities who needs are not being met by local governments and or non-profits who are focused more on wealth creation for their executives than delivering for those in need.

It’s in these strong communities, through mutual aid and direct action that politicians are rendered obsolete and even in their seats of authority realize they have no power.

Biden’s victory removes only a few obstacles in the way of achieving such goals, however, it presents an opportunity to dismantle and shatter the systems of white supremacy, and to squander white nationalist organizations emboldened by a Trump presidency. Through this work, and not that of trying to make an anti-revolutionary party act otherwise, we can build such a movement to ensure that in 2024 we aren’t facing the second rise of fascism, this time with more teeth and better organized, and instead, allow us to continue working on the dismantling of the entire system so that fascism has no road to power.

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Dan Arel is a Southern California based activist, award-winning columnist, and author. His work has appeared in such publications as Truthout, The New Arab, Time, Huffington Post, AlterNet, and Salon. He has authored such books as Parenting without God, and The Secular Activist. Since 2017 he has worked in communications in the labor movement, fighting for higher wages, benefits, and the social justice of some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens. Twitter: @danarel

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