By Nélida Tello
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced self proclaimed ‘top cop’ Kamala Harris as his running mate for the 2020 elections, in an attempt to garner support relying on Harris’s identity as a Black woman. The duo further expose the electoral farce as identity politics are placed at the forefront of the race while Harris’s record as a state prosecutor is glossed over in favor of being the first Black woman vice presidential candidate. The struggle for Black liberation is not one that demands more Black politicians but one that must mobilize and organize towards the complete overthrow of US imperialism.
Before running together on the presidential ballot, Harris and Biden faced off in the Democratic primaries. Engaged in heated debates, both candidates feigned attacks to each others’ criminal justice record. The jabs witnessed on stage were a smokescreen for their shared class interest. The spectacle only fooled those who can only imagine voting in change for a system that cannot be reformed and in fact must be destroyed.
As California’s Attorney General (AG), Harris fulfilled her function as prosecutor against the working masses of California. She enforced the sentences of wrongfully convicted prisoners while also refusing to release nonviolent offenders. Her advocacy for incarceration of the working class was accompanied with slaps on the wrists for officer misconduct. She refused to take action against police officer killings in Los Angeles and San Francisco, against prosecutors who forced false confessions, and against a technician who stole evidence in the form of cocaine from crime labs. She also extended protection to Alameda police officers after it had come to light that an officer had sexually abused a young girl.
Her crimes against the people of California do not end there. She used her power as AG to increase ICE sting operations. During her time as district attorney (DA) in San Francisco she backed former mayor Gavin Newsom’s policy allowing police officers to cooperate with ICE concerning the arrests of undocumented youth. As DA she implemented an anti-truancy policy, prosecuting and arresting working class mothers, particularly Black mothers.
Despite being a Black woman, Harris’s criminal justice record is testament to her role as an enemy of the working class and her servitude to the ruling class of the US. The call to participate in the elections should be fervently rejected. Both Republicans and Democrats serve the same imperialist class and hold the same interests.
As more people grow disillusioned by elections, abstention must be politicized by revolutionaries to actively boycott the elections and fight for revolution, casting aside the illusion of voting for social change. The struggle for Black liberation will not come from voting. The fight for Black lives is an integral part of the fight against US imperialism.
In the words of renowned Black writer and activist W.E.B. Du Bois, “I shall not go to the polls. I have not registered. I believe that democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no ‘two evils’ exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say.” Truer today than when he declared this in 1956.
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