The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The Mask of Democracy through Election

Aug 24, 2020

Joe Biden, Democratic presidential candidate, spoke on the four crises engulfing us: “The worst pandemic in over 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The most compelling call for racial justice since the 60s. And the undeniable realities and accelerating threats of climate change.”

The four-day televised Democratic Convention, which featured speeches from Democratic leaders along with stories by ordinary people whose lives are being torn apart, struck an emotional response from a population devastated by multiple crises.

The strategy of the Democratic Party is to put the responsibility for all of this pain and suffering squarely in the lap of the current President, Trump. And of course, it is a call to vote Democratic, to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

No doubt, Donald Trump has been horrific and has made and continues to make policy decisions that cost lives and jobs. But it is simply not true that replacing one President with another, no matter how experienced, no matter how empathetic, no matter how kind, will lead us out of the crises we are in today.

These crises are not the making of one man, nor of one political party. They are the making of a system designed for the purpose of making profits; a system designed by generations of a wealthy upper class and run by two parties, both Democratic and Republican. They are the making of capitalism at its highest stages of destruction and decay.

On an hourly, daily basis, the capitalist class is making the decisions that force the majority of the population to pay the cost of the economic crisis, the health care crisis and the environmental crisis. They impose divisions on the working class which relegate some workers to lower incomes and worse conditions than others. In this, they are backed up by the violence of the police.

Does anyone believe that the horrific pandemic that we face is the product of mismanagement by one man? The huge health care infrastructure, the huge for-profit insurance empire, the huge drug monopolies were here well before this aberration they call Trump. Practically alone among developed nations, the U.S. ruling class has refused to enact public health care, universal health care, health care for all. And why? Because the drug companies, the insurers and the hospital corporations are among the most profitable.

When the virus pandemic hit, there was not only mismanagement of masking, testing, tracking and isolation. There were inadequate supplies and a shortage of hospital rooms, ventilators, medical personnel.

Who died and at the highest rates? Essential workers, health care workers, black workers, Latino workers, the working class and poor populations. Those who have received inadequate health care for decades. Those who had no fabulous, hi-tech hospitals to go to.

Institutional racism and infrastructure disrepair have made a deadly combination, and millions are paying the price for it. Over 150 years of allowing discrimination in hiring, firing, education, health care, housing! Surely, no one can assign the blame for all this hateful social activity, backed up by brutal violence, to one man in 2020.

The economic crisis we are suffering through is not the result of the pandemic. It is, first and foremost, the result of decades of a policy to decrease total numbers of jobs while reducing wages and benefits. It has resulted in a downward spiral of devastation of cities and rural areas alike by poverty and neglect.

Finally, the environmental crisis, unleashed by decades of capitalist exploitation of natural resources in an irresponsible way has put the world population at risk. We would have to be simpletons to think that we are in a situation of raging heat, catastrophic fires and hurricanes and flooding because of one man’s actions.

If the examination of these crises by Biden doesn’t go beyond a condemnation of Trump, there is a reason. And the reason is that both political parties have presided over this rotten system for decades, profiting from the misery of the population.

Election? We need a revolution. We need to replace this rotten, murderous system with a system run by and for the working population.

Leaders of the Democratic Party won’t do that. So it is up to us. Workers are perfectly capable of building a party that will organize and fight to replace the capitalist system with a system run by and for working people.