Dem Volke Dienen: On the Speech of Joe Biden

The following is the official English translation of the article, “Über die Rede von Joe Biden” from revolutionary German news source Dem Volke Dienen.

The United States has culminated the process of renewing the head of its executive branch of government with the inauguration of the new president Biden. As is tradition he did the ceremonious oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”, with his hand resting on the bible, the oath to serve the interest of US-imperialism. This was followed by a speech laying the foundation for the politics of the new executive of the USA:

“Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded. We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

He says that the “fragile democracy” won and that it was not a question of ideology or party, but of the continuation of parliamentary democracy in the USA. It is clear here from the start that Biden tries to frame himself as the savior of democracy, that he defeated some urgent danger of a possible coup:

“And here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground.” The bourgeois politicians know very well that these riots were no danger to their rule, and this simply was a show of force from the departing president Trump.

The defense of the constitution, which was always proclaimed by the rulers of the USA, is being overshadowed by the talk of defense of democracy itself, the constitution is only mentioned three times, while democracy is mentioned 13 times. The focus is on painting black any alternatives as “political extremism” and so the defense of democracy means upholding of the status quo, since any alternative would lead to chaos. This is reminiscent of the infamous quote from Churchill, the former prime minister of Great Britain, in the period when Great Britain was faced with the reality of losing its status of being the dominant superpower in 1947: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”1. But there is a difference, while Great Britain in the last years of the strategic defensive of the World Proletarian Revolution saw the transfer of the role as the dominant superpower to the USA, the USA today in the period of the strategic offensive of the World Proletarian Revolution, is ultimately faced not with the rivalry of an other imperialist superpower, but of the imperialism being swept away altogether. This is expressed in the crisis of parliamentarism, which is so deep, that the imperialists themselves say nearly nothing positive about it, because the masses already know it is a lie, so they only focus on how the alternatives are worse. Together with the picture of the danger of “domestic terrorism” and that “We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation. One nation.”, he tries to instill fear in the masses and tries to fool them that the continuation of “democracy” is a question of survival, which is contingent on the survival of US-imperialism.

He continues: “I’ve just taken the sacred oath each of those patriots have taken. The oath, first sworn by George Washington.” The main focus of the speech is putting his forthcoming term (or terms) as President, in the context of the history of the USA as a turning point. This is done by revising the historical facts and replacing them with subjective ideas about the ‘Battle for the soul of the nation’, as he framed the election. He then continues: “A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.”

But how can “racial justice” come from a state which is built on the very foundation of slavery of Black people? The following paragraph from the article “The US elections and the role of Avakian” from Communist International makes this clear: “Today, 155 years after the abolition of slavery, although modified as a consequence of the struggle of the Black people, the economic, social and superstructural conditions that Lenin talked about in his work of 1915 still exist, and the struggle of more than 40 million of the Black people for their rights continues.”2 So it is an illusion to think that US-imperialism will sweep away the very foundation it is standing on, what we can expect is symbolic measures, such as the appointment of fellow reactionary politician Kamala Harris as vice-president, changes which will change absolutely nothing about the injustices against Black people in the USA. But this is thoroughly denied:

“We are good people. And over the centuries, through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we’ve come so far. But we still have far to go. We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities, much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain. (…) Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial and victory is never assured.”

Instead it is emphasized that “We are good people” and that the so-called “soul of the nation”, is different from the actual politics of the USA. Because in fact it is claimed, that this is simply a deviation from the “American ideal”, in the struggle to achieve the materialization of this “soul” and that he will be the one to do this. But how? The answer he poses is simple: “It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: Unity. Unity.” So unity of who? Unity of the imperialists in the USA, as he pledges to preserve the bourgeois dictatorship for the ruling imperialists, to be the one to utilize parliamentary cretinism and false progressivism to prevent attacks directly at the imperialists, by presenting the USA as the solution to the very problems it creates and maintains. This is clever, because it legitimizes the foundation of US-imperialism, while posing that part of this foundation is the ability of “healing” the problems that stems from it, by adhering to the essential “soul of the nation”, to fulfill the historical task of fulfilling the ideals of the founding fathers (most of whom owned slaves themselves).

Legitimizing the bourgeois dictatorship based on the exploitation of the proletariat in the USA and legitimizing its role as the sole hegemonic superpower, standing on the backs of the peoples of the world, is paramount for the bourgeoisie to try to resist the ever deepening crisis of parliamentarism, which is a symptom of the crisis of imperialism, in an attempt to deny the “epoch of 50 to 100 years” where imperialism will be swept from the face of the earth.

1Winston S. Churchill, 11 November 1947

2 “The US elections and the role of Avakian”, Communist International – Marxist-Leninist-Maoist internet review

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