It’s All Over Now, Biden Blue: It’s the Whole Damn System

Image by Janelle Hiroshige.

Want people to vote for Genocide Joe? Then get in the streets to stop it. Otherwise you are complicit in genocide and Trump fascism.

-Arun Gupta, February 26, 2024

Voting for Genocide Joe is not an effective strategy to stop the Wannabe Dictator.

-Ashley Smith, February 27, 2024

Joe Biden is a blood-soaked mass murderer who can never be redeemed. Trump is a fascist pig. We need an actual revolution.

-Radical musician Ted Sirota, February 27, 2024

A smart New York City lefty posted this on social media the other day: “Want people to vote for Genocide Joe? Then get in the streets to stop it. Otherwise you are complicit in genocide and Trump fascism.”

It’s an interesting bit of advice. For what it’s worth, the blood-soaked imperialist and self-declared “Zionist” Biden’s embrace of Judeo-fascist Israel’s genocidal war of ethnic cleansing in Gaza (made even more grotesque by transparently disingenuous and manipulative public relations efforts to make him sound concerned for ordinary Palestinians) was the quashing of the last glimmer of a flicker of a scent of a wisp of a chance that I could again recommend “tactical “ and “lesser evil” Dem voting in 2024. To paraphrase, Bob Dylan, it’s all over now, Biden (baby) blue.

But What About Trumpism-Fascism?

“But what about Trump?,” a liberal or progressive Democrats might well ask me, adding this:

Come on, man! You have been exposing and denouncing Trump, his movement, and his party as ‘fascist’ for at least six years, Mr. Street. You don’t call the Democrats fascist, as well you shouldn’t. You say that ‘the dismal, demobilizing, dollar-drenched Dems remain committed to bourgeois democracy and rule of law, such as they are.’ Surely you don’t expect us not to take that to be a recommendation for what you call ‘lesser evil voting.’ And certainly you of all people must know that the racist and sadist Trump, his party, and base support Isael’s genocidal slaughter of Palestinians with no pretense of concern for Arab and Muslim lives. I think I saw you post a picture you took of ‘Christian fascists’ wearing and waving Israel flags at a Trump rally in Iowa. Come on, Street, you’ve got some ‘splain’n to do. I mean it!”

Let me try to explain.

It’s true that I consider the Republicans and do not consider the Democrats to be a fascist party now. While the Dems are complicit enablers and conciliators of the Republifascists and the broader fascsization of US politics and society, it is Trumpenleftish nonsense to call the two parties “the same,” both equally fascistic. That’s a dumb thing to say in the age of Donald “Take Down the Metal Detectors Cuz the Guys with the AR-15s Want to Kill Nancy But Like Me” Trump, Greg “Come and Take It” Abbott, Ron “DeFascist,” House Speaker Mike “Re-Unite Church and State” Johnson, mainstreamed Great Replacement Theory, Marjorie “Q Curious” Taylor-Greene, the forced motherhood Dobbs decision, Moms for Liberty, red state book bans, Congresspersons who reasonably fear that voting to impeach a putschist would place their lives and loved ones at risk, and civil trial juries that are told to stay anonymous unless they want Trumpists to kill them and their families. No serious observer can honestly think the Dems would try to overthrow the 2024 election with a many-sided coup campaign including a mass physical assault on the US Capitol and waged on multiply disproven false claims of a stolen election if Trump wins. (Recall Al Gore’s pathetic Weimar-like surrender when a presidential election was actually stolen from him in 2000-01.)

Look at any of my recent reports on Donald “Retribution” Trump’s open embrace of Hitlerian rhetoric and tell me that you could see Biden, Chuck Schumer or any other leading Dem employing such flatly fascist language (seriously?) Examine the giant Project 2025 blueprint for the Christian white nationalist takeover of the US government and society that the fascised Republican policy establishment has worked up in anticipation of Herr Trump’s return to power.

Look at my review of The Atlantic’s recent special December-January issued dedicated to the lethal menace posed by a second Trump term. Review The Paul Street Report since its beginning in mid-2022. I have been breaking down and warning about the dangerous creep of Amerikaner Republi-fascism in one essay after another. It’s not for nothing that I’ve been identifying the Republican Party as the “Republi-fascist party” and that I now call it “the Reichmost,” not merely the “rightmost” of the United States’ two reigning political organizations.

So no, the two dominant US capitalist-imperialist parties – one rooted in the nation’s more culturally, intellectually and racially diverse metropolitan areas and two coasts and the other one rooted in the nation’s most rural, revanchist, “Christian” and white “heartland” (fatherland) regions (where a Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Corey Bush, or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could never be elected but an MTG or a Mike Johnson, etc. can be) – are not “the same.”

And – this is a key point – anyone who cites Biden’s embrace of Israel as supposed “proof” of a shared fascism between the two parties is missing a key distinction between foreign policy and domestic politics. Support for repressive right-wing, arch-authoritarian and fascist forces and states abroad is longstanding and bipartisan US policy. Ending previously normative bourgeois electoral, parliamentary, and rule of law democracy, such as it is, in the imperial homeland itself is NOT.

Yes, I do think a second Trump term would be a disaster on numerous levels. And yes, the Republi-fascists are imperialist and war-mongering (don’t take seriously low-brow Trumpenleft claims to the contrary!) and in fact more extreme than the Dems in their ugly embrace of Israel’s Zio-fascist crimes. People wear Israel flags at Trump rallies, which are attended by droves of fundamentalist Christians who take delight in the US-Israel Crucifixion of Gaza,

Yes, But Voting Won’t Fix the Problem

Still, I’m staying off the Lesser Evil Voting (LEV) bandwagon for four overlapping reasons. First, even if I’m wrong about this – unlikely! – the bandwagon doesn’t need me. Most of what passes for a “left” in the US will engage in its usual “sheepdog” and Judas Goat conduct (ala Michael Moore and Bernie Sanders), working to herd progressives and radicals up the Democratic Party gangplanks to the killing floors of the US electoral slaughterhouse.

Second, at the risk of sounding didactic, there have to be moral limits to the support supposedly decent people are willing to grant the Democrats. There must be ethical red lines the dollar-drenched capitalist-imperialist Dems can’t cross, no? How about funding, equipping genocide, and politically/diplomatically protecting genocide, as Biden and his party are doing in Gaza? Does that pass red line muster? If it doesn’t then what on Earth does? It’s a slippery slope when “the left” helps Dems tell voters in essence to “shut up and vote blue not matter who”— and NO MATTER WHAT — since “we and our presidential candidate aren’t as awful as the only other viable major party and presidential candidate.”

Third, Backing the Dems won’t stop the Amerikaner Trumpist menace. The Democrats are beholden to and part of a capitalist-imperialist system that opens the door to fascism by demoralizing the masses.(This is a critical lesson of the Obama years, something I warned about in my early book on the dangers of the Obama phenomenon and an Obama presidency.) That system has no real answers to the pleas and demands of the oppressed US working- and lower-class majority – affordable housing, economic security, good jobs, decent schools, affordable health care, etc. Thanks to its cringing allegiance and captivity to capital, the Democratic Party demobilizes and depresses millions while creating space for the Republi-fascists’ “reactionary political answers to real issues…Even worse,” Ashley Smith points out, “the capitalist establishment in the form of Genocide Joe is throwing migrants – the main target of the far right – under the bus, promising massive crackdowns on the border. Thus, not only does the establishment not stop the far right, it actually adopts the far right’s policies. Just look at Macron in France,”

Fourth, no matter how we understand and characterize the Democrats, the Amerikaner fascism problem will NOT be overcome through the US electoral system, a plutocratic, Minority Rule set-up that lethally overrepresents the most revanchist sections and people of the nation. Neither will the US imperialism problem, which has pushed the world closer to nuclear war than any time in recent memory as it stubbornly funds, equips, justifies, and protects genocide Gaza over. Neither will the capitalogenic ecocide problem, arguably the biggest issue of our or any time, absurdly begging for proper attention with ever more ominous outbreaks of extreme and weird weather. And neither will the problem of capitalism, which generates authoritarianism and fascism like white on rice by (among other ways) rendering the democratic pledges of politicians transparently inauthentic even as it creates multiple crises that require big government “solutions.”

It’s the whole damn capitalist-imperialist system – the whole stinking base-to-superstructure mess that gives us the “democratic” choice between a decrepit imperialist warmonger (Genocide Joe) and a deranged, Hitler-channeling wannabe fascist strongman for life (Donald “Take Down the Metal Detectors” Trump) – that’s got to go, and soon. The mutually reinforcing doomsday clocks of military, environmental, epidemiological, and political catastrophe that this system has set ticking are leaving ever less time for viable postponement of the revolutionary reckoning required for human survival. A Biden re-election that takes places in the absence of a new revolutionary movement in the United States will do nothing really to slay the four apocalyptic, overlapping, and mutually amplifying horsemen that capitalism-imperialism has let loose upon the world: ecocide, potentially nuclear war, pandemicide, and fascism (perhaps I need to add Artificial Intelligence to the apocalyptic stable). We are out of time for postponement. Radical resolutions are already baked into the historical-material cake. The only question is this: radically liberating and revolutionary socialist or radically terrible and fascist, eco-cidal capitalism-imperialism with a boot on our necks?

I expect liberal and progressive folks (especially those living in the six or seven “swing” states that absurdly determine US presidential election outcomes under the archaic and preposterous US Electoral College) to take my differentiation between the two parties – one neoliberal late bourgeois-democratic and the other neoliberal neofascist – to mean that they should vote Dem in November. And I begrudge nobody’s obvious right to “lesser evil” vote. Knock yourself out, I say with irony since it takes a grand total of two minutes once every four years to make marks next to the names of presidential candidates in the general election.

But if you feel compelled to LEV, don’t pretend to jump on the “Genociden with Biden” train. Don’t think you have to roll around in the muck of what Avakian righty calls “the BEB- the bourgeois electoral bullshit.” Don’t fantasize for one second that the people of America and the world are going to get anything of what they really need from the Weimar Democrats and the American System that party upholds – a system big capital will continue to comfortably profit from after if its US political superstructure makes a qualitative shift from bourgeois electoral and rule of law democracy to neofascist rule. Vote with open contempt for the blood-drenched capitalist warmonger Biden and with the explicit understanding that it is just a “tactical move of harm reduction” (or whatever you want to call it) that took two minutes before you returned to the 365-day a year task of working for revolution and nothing less.”

I’m not an electoralist but I’m also not a vote-shamer: Give me somebody who takes the two minutes to “lesser evil vote” and then gets back to the business of building a revolutionary movement beneath and beyond the quadrennial electoral spectacle every day over the ridiculous ballot-fetishizing electoralist lefty who thinks politics is all about whether or not you voted for their third-, fourth-, or fifth-party candidate.

In his March 2008 essay on and against “Election Madness,” penned at the peak of Obamania, Howard Zinn wrote this:

Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes—the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth…But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice.”

The good part of that passage is Zinn’s challenge to understand voting as merely a brief and small part of a much bigger movement politics focused not on candidate qualities but on deeper systemic change. The shitty part is the stated milquetoast goal of “shaking” the powers that be in the direction of peace and justice – essentially scaring the powerful into being more progressive. Sorry, but that’s a stupid goal. Big marches and rallies don’t really bother the ruling class that much. We need to set our sights much, much higher. We don’t need to rattle them; we need to replace them and above all their system. We need to take state power away from them and their bourgeois-imperial order, which is destroying life on Earth.

I’m not here to tell people how or (for that matter) not to vote in the quadrennial electoral extravaganzas. I’m here instead:

* to recommend, no insist, that people build a revolutionary movement beneath and beyond the frankly failing institutions, practices, and ideology of late bourgeois electoral, parliamentary, and rule of law “democracy.”

* to tell folks to dig seriously into and confront the underlying social and political conditions that give rise to fascism in the first place.

* to call for the formation of a mass social and political movement that takes on the whole damn system and calls and plans for what Karl Marx and Frederick Engels rightly called the only alternative to the “common ruin”  of all – the “revolutionary reconstitution of society itself.”

Yes, we should all be in the streets alright: to stop Israel’s genocide in Gaza but beyond that and above all the system behind Joe “Nothing Will Fundamentally Change” Biden and the US-American ruling class’s funding, equipping and political and diplomatic protection of that genocide and behind many other and interrelated horrors at home and abroad: capitalism-imperialism.

Paul Street’s latest book is This Happened Here: Amerikaners, Neoliberals, and the Trumping of America (London: Routledge, 2022).