Biden’s “Good Fight to Fail Better” Will Not Fare Well

Biden’s “Good Fight to Fail Better” Will Not Fare Well

The midterm elections are supposed to serve as a gauge of how the Biden presidency is doing. It is a presidency that has not served in any way to lessen the intensifying conflicts within the ruling factions. Indeed, when Biden failed to pass his signature Build Back Better Act, the dysfunction of Congress and the presidency were fully revealed. Since then, massive funding has been approved for the Pentagon and war to isolate Russia and instigate conflicts elsewhere. Many have dubbed Biden’s efforts to embroil people in supporting his Build Back Better campaign, the “good fight to fail better.”

U.S. workers are bearing the brunt of government failures, whether it is COVID, or further impoverishment with wages lagging far behind inflation, or the environment, such as contending with the summer heat wave, fires, and then hurricanes. Yet everyone is called on to continue to support Biden and do a better job at failing.

Biden’s failures are not only on the home front. Despite long-standing efforts in the U.S. to separate domestic concerns from foreign policy, this concept too is crumbling. There is a relation between the two, including the relation between civil war and imperialist war, the one giving rise to the other.

The appearance is given that Biden is succeeding on the foreign front, said to be uniting NATO and Europe against Russia using the conflict in Ukraine. Certainly, tens of billions of dollars have been provided in weapons and war materiel. But NATO remains divided. Germany is militarizing at a rapid rate and organizing to go against the norm since WWII that it would have no troops external to the country. The German question, since the end of WWII, and part of the reason for NATO to exist, remains, which is to keep Russia out, Germany down, and the U.S. on top. Instead, Germany is strengthening itself and conflicts like that over the Nord Stream pipeline and oil continue.

Japan is also striving to break its constitutional mandate against troops abroad and participating in the many U.S.-dictated war games, such as the recent one with the U.S., Japan and south Korea targeting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Add in plans by the EU to have its own armed force, and conflicts concerning Brexit and the broadening crisis in Britain, and it is evident that contention among these major powers is high. And all face the peoples’ anger and resistance to the NATO meetings, war games and massive war funding and demands that their rights be met.

This is the context for the midterm elections, yet the issue of war and demands for peace are silenced. It is not among the questions raised in polls or media reports. So too is the fact that in their millions in these past few years, working people across the country have taken their stands against government racism and imperialist war and for equality, justice, peace, and democracy. This includes anti-war demonstrations in October in more than 60 cities.

Health care workers and teachers are also striking and demanding rights. Young warehouse and retail workers, such as at Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and elsewhere are coming forward to organize their own unions and participate in the fights around COVID, for safe working conditions and protective equipment and against the racism evident in lack of care and disproportionate deaths of Black people, for example. This organized resistance through strikes, demonstrations, meetings, and campaigns of various kinds and more continues.

Consciousness is growing that elections and reliance on the state and its elections to bring about required change will not solve the pressing problems humanity is contending with. This too is another failure of the rulers, that despite all their claims about democracy and government for the people, illusions along these lines are being eliminated. Recognition of the need for the people to rely on themselves and devise a democracy of their own making is increasing.

The existing constitutional order has always been a compromise with slavery and monarchy, which is why the presidency has such prerogative powers to “execute the Office of the Presidency,” as the oath states. It is a structure of inequality, which keeps the people out of power and their voice silenced. Elections are part of this structure of inequality. While there may be candidates one could organize to support, what is key is doing so in a manner that favours the people.

The elections are one area where the drive for peoples’ empowerment can be strengthened. But only if that is taken as the starting point. That is, how can elections be used to strengthen the drive of the people for a people’s democracy, where the people are the decision makers? How can the voice of the people be heard, rather than silenced? How can energies be directed to strengthening resistance and building alternatives, not choosing sides? These are the questions to raise in designing organizing. The debate is not so much which candidate is more or less right-wing but strengthening our unity and organizing for alternatives that serve our interests and occupy space for the people to speak in their own name, with their solutions. Discussion groups, webinars and house meetings on these matters and building alternatives to put decision-making in the hands of the people, contribute to this direction now and after the elections.

(Published in TML Daily, November 7, 2022)