Many revolutionaries want to ignore the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. The elections are sickening, corrupt — they suck up all the air closer to November. They are almost meaningless.
But ignore we cannot.
Every political development must be studied. Revolutionaries are in a war against the capitalist class. And in a war, the enemy must always be studied.
The announcement of the candidacy of Joe Biden is one of those developments that should be quickly examined.
In a period where there is mass discontent with Donald Trump, the liberal ruling class will likely aim to divert all that discontent into the Democratic Party. From here until the election, the only song they will be playing will be (drum roll please) “Anybody Who Can Beat Trump.”
Is the Democratic Party changing?
A Slate article recently asserted: “The Democratic Party … has moved to the left.” (tinyurl.com/yxu74drw)
And yes, there are rumblings of change. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez. Ilhan Omar. Some talk about reparations, increased taxes on the ultra-rich, eliminating the electoral college. These and other issues ignored for decades by the Democrats are all suddenly being raised.
But these whispers of change are an attempt to stay relevant and to keep a wide swath of the masses confined to Democratic Party ideology.
The election of Trump has ushered in a real shift to the left. Talk about socialism is increasing. Younger people have more progressive, revolutionary ideas. There is fear about the rise of the alt-right and open white supremacy. There is genuine concern for migrants. Issues such as job insecurity, climate change, inadequate wages and access to affordable health care are contributing to dissatisfaction with capitalism.
It is the people — not the Democratic Party — who have moved to the left.
If the Democratic establishment goes with Joe, it will be a “f— you” to those progressives fighting for change. It will especially be a “f— you” to the #MeToo movement.
Joe Biden is a sexist and a racist
Many people must have hoped that Biden’s sexual conduct — exposed earlier this year — would have put him out of the running.
It did not.
One of the brave women who came out to expose Biden was Lucy Flores, a former state assemblyperson from Nevada.
Flores wrote in an April 29 New York Times op-ed: “The #MeToo movement wasn’t just a flash in the pan. It marked a profound tectonic shift toward continued female empowerment … and the ongoing rumbling continues to cause all kinds of discomfort.
“After centuries of oppression … and dehumanization, women finally began finding their individual voices. … The worst of the worst were forced out of their systemic fortresses. Rapists, sexual assaulters, sexual harassers — villains who refused to acknowledge their actions, much less atone. Powerful, rich and famous men who acted with impunity … were finally brought to some version of justice.
“And then there was Joe Biden.
“Not a villain. Not an unlikable person. Not a sexual harasser or assaulter. But also, as Anita Hill recently found out, not exactly sorry, either.”
Biden has been accused of touching women inappropriately and without their permission — placing his hands on their shoulders, rubbing against their faces, hugging women he just met or hardly knew. He has yet to acknowledge that he has done anything wrong.
Criticism of Biden is not just about his sexism. Early in the 1970s, Biden opposed school integration. Like the Clintons, he was a big “law and order advocate” — a stance that led to the mass incarceration of Black and Brown folk, as he helped to pass the draconian Clinton crime bill. He voted to invade Iraq.
But, above all, Biden had a major, insidious role in attacking a people’s hero, Anita Hill — a role he has yet to apologize for.
Biden’s betrayal of Anita Hill continues
When Hill bravely accused Clarence Thomas of egregious sexual harassment when he served as her supervisor at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Biden led the degradation that ensued.
Biden chaired the 1991 Senate hearings to confirm Thomas as Supreme Court Justice.
The hearings turned into a shocking display of “blame the victim” as Hill’s character, credibility and impressive qualifications were challenged. She was accused of being a liar, a fraud and worse — “an erotomaniac.”
Other women who had been harassed by Thomas were never called to testify, leaving Hill alone in opposing Thomas’ sexual harassment.
Thomas had the weight of the Republicans behind him, particularly the George H.W. Bush White House, while Hill supposedly had the Democrats on her side — in the person of Biden. Yet all the men who ran these hearings set out to destroy her.
Twenty-eight years after those hearings, just before Biden announced his candidacy on April 25, he called Hill and, according to a statement from his campaign, conveyed “his regret for what she endured.” (New York Times, April 26)
Hill declined to characterize his words in that call as an apology: “I cannot be satisfied [by him] simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you.’ I will be satisfied when I know that there is real change and real accountability and real purpose to correct the issues that are still there. (Jezebel, April 27)
Whoopi Goldberg, hosting the daytime talk show “The View,” interviewed Biden on April 26. She asked several times if he would give Hill a real apology. Instead, Biden continued to show his white male privilege and arrogance, saying, “I did everything in my power to do what I thought was within the rules.”
In a 1994 national best-seller, “Strange Justice,” several Democrats are quoted as saying that Biden was “outmaneuvered by the Republicans” as “he bent over backwards to be fair to all sides.”
But recently a congressional adviser exposed Biden’s role, saying, “Biden agreed to the terms of the people who were out to disembowel Hill.” (New Yorker, April 27)
In that interview, Hill drew “a connection between her experience and that of Christine Blasey Ford, whose credibility was similarly assailed … during the Senate confirmation hearings of … Brett Kavanaugh.”
In the Times, Hill stated that Biden helped “set the stage” for the Kavanaugh hearings: “There are women and men now who have just really lost confidence in our government to respond to the problem of gender violence.”
The outrage of Black women
The Anita Hill hearings had nuanced components on both the woman question and the national question.
Katherine Tate, an African-American professor at Brown University, said in “Invisible Woman” in 1992: “When Clarence Thomas called the Senate hearings a ‘high-tech lynching,’ he turned his confirmation into a race-loyalty test for Blacks. Once again, the concerns of Black women were obscured.”
In “The Proclamation,” an important statement at the time of the hearings by African-American Women in Defense of Ourselves, the women wrote: “As women of African descent, we are deeply troubled by the recent nomination, confirmation and seating of Clarence Thomas. … The seating is an affront not only to African-American women and men, but to all people concerned with social justice.
“We are particularly outraged by the racist and sexist treatment of Professor Anita Hill … who was maligned and castigated for daring to speak publicly. … The malicious defamation … sent a dangerous message to any woman who might contemplate a sexual harassment complaint. … We pledge ourselves to continue to speak out … in defense of the African-American community and against those … hostile to social justice, no matter what color they are. No one will speak for us but ourselves.” (tinyurl.com/y3nm2aj2)
After Biden’s campaign announcement on April 25, many media publications noted that elected officials do not want to speak “negatively” about Biden, in the belief this would undermine the candidate who they think is the best to beat Trump.
These are the best? Not Trump! Not Biden! Not Bernie!
To humbly paraphrase “The Proclamation,” the theme for the 2020 election should be: “No one can speak for the workers and the oppressed but ourselves.”