Some people on the left have been confused about what to do in November. So much so, that former members of Students for a Democratic Society felt compelled to write an open letter urging a vote for Biden against Trump. We agree.
A Trump victory would further exacerbate inequality, sexism and the environmental crisis while bringing about more structural racism and the threat of war. A Trump defeat, by contrast, could open up space to build a genuine left-wing movement that is capable of long term political, economic and social transformation.
Four more years or more of Trump will not afford us that space and would yield a horrendous outcome that could bring us back to the dark age of Europe in the 1930s.
Trump is supported by armed vigilante groups, neo-Nazis and far-right, white supremacists, some of whom he referred to after the 2017 Charlottesville riots as “very fine people.” Trump’s political strategy is to stoke racial hatred, scapegoat minorities, and advance his own war agenda. He has promoted gargantuan military budgets, expanded the U.S. military footprint and promoted aggressive covert regime-change strategies.
Trump’s personality significantly is that of a bully who made his reputation partly by starring in a reality TV show where he got to fire and humiliate guests.
Adding danger to the mix is Trump’s ability to arouse a cult of nationalism and violence while enjoying support from the most reactionary and aggressive elements of Wall Street and finance capital.
Confusion regarding who to vote for in the November elections is both due to the Democratic Party’s machinations in undermining the progressive Bernie Sanders during the last two primaries, and because Biden was a central figure in (1) securing congressional support for the Iraq War, and (2) reinforcing mass incarceration and the War on Drugs, among other crimes. Biden bragged about authoring the PATRIOT ACT and has long championed NATO. Given his past positions, he would likely exacerbate the threat of more war in the Middle East and aggravate conflicts with Russia and China, to name a few.
His running mate, Harris, is also a harsh prosecutor from California who used red-baiting tactics during the Democratic Party primaries and contributed to the mass incarceration scourge.
There can be no illusions about the Democratic Party and its Wall Street backers. At a time like this, we are reminded, though, of those in the 1930s who urged for a popular front strategy to fight impending fascism. Bulgarian Communist Georgi Dimitrov, who became Prime Minister after the war, is a case in point.
In his concluding speech before the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International in August 1935, he argued that the Communist International should ally with the Social Democrats, even though they had supported German Nazi Freikorps attacks that resulted in the killing of many leftists, including Communist Party leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in January 1919.
Dimitrov’s insights are relevant today as people decide what to do in November. He and others in his time understood fascism as the open terrorist dictatorship of the most chauvinistic, ruthless, and imperialist elements of finance capital. The fascist goal of world conquest, and destruction of organized labor, promised unprecedented profits for big business, which were among its most fervent backers.
Fascists gain strength during times of economic crisis and capitalize on the weakness and destruction of the political left, which is what has occurred in the United States.
Decades of neoliberal policies have decimated America’s middle and working class and contributed to downward mobility at a time when labor unions and the political left have been unable to effectively fight back.
This is all part of a more virulent and destructive phase of capitalism that bears ominous parallels with Europe in the 1930s. A great many lives and the fate of humanity are at stake in this election and it is imperative that we ally with the lesser evil. This represents a commitment to the anti-fascist struggle in defense of American workers and people around the world.
 Georgi Dimitrov, Selected Works, volume 2 (Sofia Press, 1972), 86-119, https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/dimitrov/works/1935/unity.htm.
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