England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

US: Biden debate disaster shows we can’t wait to build new party

By Keely Mullen, Socialist Alternative US
Republished from socialistalternative.org

The June 27 Presidential debate ended, and an excruciatingly pregnant pause swallowed the country. What did we just watch? And what the hell is about to happen?

After Joe Biden puttered off the debate stage and the national debrief began on every major network, the chorus of Democratic operatives and media pundits concluded in harmony: Biden is cooked.

Obama-era White House staffer Van Jones held back tears as he eulogized Biden on CNN. “He’s a good man. He loves his country. He’s doing the best that he can, but he had a test to meet tonight to restore the confidence of the country… And he failed to do that.”

For millions of Americans, this debate — and the state of the world that served as its backdrop — took them to the doorstep of a devastating conclusion: the Democrats do not, have not, and will never care about us.

After the debate, a DNC member told The Intercept: “The Democratic Party is more invested in trying to maintain control than it is in trying to win an election.” This is no more true today than it has been for years. They have made this same choice over and over… and over. So much so that we can quote from an article we wrote in 2020 and, without changing a word, it still applies:

“If Trump wins, it will not be the fault of working people who didn’t feel represented by either candidate and chose not to vote. It will also not be the fault of people who registered a protest vote against both candidates. It will be the fault of the Democratic Party for putting up a corporate, sometimes catatonic, candidate to fight Trump.”

At every point in its history, on every essential issue whenever the class interests of the corporate elite were at stake, the Democratic Party has taken the side of that class against the interests of working people.

Compare the sympathetic pouting of party operatives today to the mafia-style collusion they used against Bernie in 2016 and 2020, and the true nature of the party becomes impossible to ignore. They are whimpering at Biden’s feet, asking him to “do the right thing” and drop out because he can barely remain upright — something that’s been obvious to most of society for years. Meanwhile Bernie Sanders was one of the most popular politicians in modern history, organizing young and working people to fight back against decades of attacks, and they acted nearly overnight to turn him to dust. Twice.

What’s notable is that not a single one of these pundits is taking issue with Biden because he’s soaked in the blood of Palestinian children, or because he has built more of Trump’s border wall than Trump himself, or because he shrugged as abortion rights were stripped away. They’re panicked because he can’t competently gaslight voters into thinking another four years with him in office would make their lives any better.

Trump 2.0 represents a terrifying danger to working and young people around the world, and the Democrats are handing him the keys to the White House.

The Democrats made their bed, but we don’t have to lie in it

We do not have to accept a political system where these are our only choices. The two-party system is one of the most powerful tools of the super rich, because ultimately they can guarantee that no matter who is in office, their coffers are safe.

Over the last 150 years there have been countless examples of working people around the world breaking from established political options and forming working-class parties that represent our actual interests. The US is the only advanced capitalist country that has never had a labor party. As this week’s events have brought into sharp focus, this is a project we need to get serious about.

A genuinely working-class political organization would have an active internal life, democratic structures, and an inspiring political program. Elected officials could be subject to recall by party members, their inflated politicians salaries could be capped at the average wage of a worker. Such a party wouldn’t only run in elections but build mass movements in the streets, workplaces, schools and colleges and working class communities of all nationalities and demographics. This is the type of party we need to build as a real weapon against Trump and the right.

In this election, there are immediate steps we can take toward this end.

We say:

  • We call for a protest vote for Jill Stein or Cornel West, the most viable left-wing independent candidates.
  • If there is another debate, all the candidates, including RFK Jr, Stein and West should be on the stage.
  • Major unions that have endorsed Biden should immediately rescind their endorsements and endorse a pro-worker candidate like Stein or West.
  • Build for mass protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago against the Democrats and their genocidal war on Gaza!
  • Unions, social movement and anti-war organizations, progressive faith groups, and youth groups should link up to organize a mass assembly to found a new party for the working class.
  • Mass rallies across the country on January 20th, inauguration day, to make it immediately clear the working class is united against the pro-corporate, pro-war policies of whoever sits in the White House.
  • Enough with capitalism’s two party political system and all the exploitation and oppression it breeds. Join Socialist Alternative and build the socialist movement!
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