Back Hawkins, not Biden

Submitted by AWL on 27 October, 2020 - 2:41
Howie Hawkins

Workers’ Liberty’s National Committee on 24 October debated the 3 November US election. This is the motion it passed.

The political crisis that will probably happen in the aftermath of the US Presidential election will be caused by Trump refusing to accept defeat. That crisis may, if it takes an extreme form, push Trump to begin co-ordinate a violent right-wing street response.

Our role is to back US socialists, the labour movement and the oppressed, to rally in defence of democratic rights.

Trump is not a fascist. His aim is to stay President. Being a vile, sexist, narcissistic, right-wing populist is not enough to label him a fascist.

A movement around Trump, in the aftermath of the election, could develop in a clearly fascist direction but that does not justify designating him a fascist now. It is a misunderstanding of what he represents now.

Trump has no street movement under his control, although his Presidency has created conditions for the growth of the racist right and far right and various types of militia groups.

There is no pressing, desperate reason for us to advocate a Biden vote. The pressing matter is supporting a mobilisation to defend democracy from the election loser’s power-grab.

We will not advocate a Biden vote. Biden is a wretched representative of a mainstream bourgeois party, the Democrats, which has traditionally been a net that has enmeshed US radicals.

A Biden vote would confuse our message for the need for independent working class political organisation and voice in the US. Biden will almost certainly introduce anti-working class and anti-migrant legislation. Biden may well pave the way for a new Trump, or someone worse than Trump.

Voting for Biden may well open up a small audience to us by removing a barrier. But given our tiny weight the main reaction will be, amongst small numbers who might listen to us, “We’re glad to have you onboard”. Chiming in with the “Vote Biden” clamour makes it less likely, overall, that our key message about the need for independent working-class politics is heard.

We oppose US socialists having an activist orientation to the Democrats. The Democratic Party is not “reformable” via an intervention from US labour or the socialist left. It is not a US Labour Party. It is an electoral machine, primarily. There is little space for activists. There are no mechanisms to hold elected Democrats accountable.

On balance we favour a vote for the Green candidate, the socialist and trade unionist, Howie Hawkins. It is unfortunate that the Hawkins campaign is not bigger, broader, better and more likely to organise and educate a new layer of American socialists. That is a measure of the state of the US left. But at least Hawkins’ propaganda and policies are good. That means something.

• The other motion, and an amendment, is here

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