It is no secret that there are disagreements amongst supporters of Solidarity and Workers Liberty about the US Presidential election and a Biden vote. It’s no secret because we’ve had the debate out in the open, in this paper and on the Workers’ Liberty website.
All the signs are that something similar has been going on at the Morning Star (and presumably, also within the Communist Party of Britain). With one big difference: it’s all behind closed doors, signified only by the dramatically differing tone and content of various articles and editorials in the Morning Star (all dates are from the print edition):
• Morning Star editorial, 24-25 October: “On abortion, green jobs, healthcare and racism, Biden edges past Trump.”
• Zoltan Zigedy, 28 October: lengthy article that doesn’t advocate any vote or even mention Biden but denounces liberals with “their loyalty to globalism and elite rule ... Witness their Black Lives Matter signs in their nearly all-white, segregated neighbourhoods. They are for symbols and gestures, but not at the cost of redistribution of their incomes ... for them Trump is the scourge blocking the return to Obama-like civil management of national affairs. They are the dominant force in Democratic Party politics.”
• Peter “Frosty” Frost, 30 October: “I am sure like me you have everything crossed for a hopeful result ... Biden is of course, though a million miles better than Trump, no socialist candidate.”
• Morning Star editorial, 3 November: “For anti-imperialists, it should be clear that Trump must be defeated ... A Biden presidency would, like a Keir Starmer premiership, seek to shore up a broken liberal capitalist model. Given the experience of bids to do that under Barack Obama or Emmanuel Macron, it seems unlikely they can succeed.”
• Interview (3 November) with C J Atkins of the Communist Party of the USA on their “Vote Against Fascism” campaign, which they describe as part of the “anti-Trump coalition”. Nowhere did Atkins actually state that the CPUSA advocated a Biden vote — though in fact it did, and almost uncritically.
• Morning Star editorial, 6 November (first comment after the early results): “How much evidence is needed before the collapse of centrism is evident to the centrists? ... There are echoes here of the well-funded but futile bids to rebuild the ‘centre ground’ in Britain between 2016 and 19 ... the People’s Vote and associated pro-EU campaigns ... For the rise in ‘populism’, as the liberal centre tends to define both the rhetorically anti-system hard right and the actual anti-system radical left, was not solved by Macron’s narrow win and would not be by Biden’s”.
• Morning Star editorial November 7-8: “But the celebrations [at Biden’s victory] should end there. In the US, as in Britain and much of Europe, the left is faced with serious questions about how we take on and defeat the race-baiting populist right ... No recent election provides any grounds to suppose that the liberal centre is regaining mastery. Indeed, in Britain, France and the US, its response to an aggressive right is to triangulate with it... Nor is there any suggestion that a better deal is on the cards under a Biden or a Starmer.”
• Article by Kevin Ovenden (of Counterfire), Morning Star 7-8 November (taking no position on the vote): “Right-wing populism is not fading way on account of exposure through holding office. Nor are capsized political systems of the neoliberal era automatically righting themselves. The centrist forces in alliance with the right have had success in throwing back the radical left electorally. See what happened to Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. But even against Trump and with unprecedented bipartisan backing the Democrats have managed only narrowly to avoid losing.”
Now, there’s no harm in a left paper carrying a variety of views, and not everything I’ve quoted above is rubbish. The point is, the Morning Star has not acknowledged that there are clear differences between its contributors, or carried explicit debate. Many of its readers must wonder what the hell is going on.