Another election, another war-mongering imperialist elected to the highest office of the so-called united states. The dictatorship of the bourgeoisie remains in power, prolonging its parasitic existence. Biden and Harris will maintain the colonies (both internal and external) of this country. The military will continue dropping bombs and terrorizing the world abroad, while funding other States which support such campaigns of terror and destruction and contribute as well to the US military’s dominance over the world. Police will continue arresting New Afrikan peoples and bringing them to the labor camps known as prisons. ICE will continue kidnapping Chicano & Latinx peoples and transporting them to concentration camps. Pipelines will continue to be built through sacred lands of Indigenous peoples to satisfy the greed and consumption of oil barons. For the most downtrodden of our society, nothing changes because all of the State’s apparatuses and mechanisms remain intact regardless of who is commander in chief.
There is no messianic figure who will usher in the lukewarm social democracy so much of the reformist left continues to hope and campaign for. How long must we wait for “the right one?” And was there ever a “right one” in the entire history of this country? The answer is flatly: No. In fact, it is objectively true that electoralist and reformist strategies are what got us here in the first place, and it has been the failure of revolutionaries to correct this opportunistic trend in the broad left. There is an additional error in this thinking and in this orientation: that left unity is desirable and achievable. It is the broad masses we must reach, not the reformist left who have made their stake in petty bourgeois aspirations.
And the masses will not be reached by getting out the vote, by attempting to redirect their revolutionary energy towards more reformism and electoralism. The masses understand well that such elections and theatrics are not going to save them, and voter apathy reflects that. A democrat is not the “lesser of two evils” in this country, a democrat represents the same imperialist interests as their republican counterpart, just with a different coat of paint, maybe a rainbow flag and a Black Lives Matter lawn sign.
If you were to point out how futile and disconnected getting out the vote would be, or even just voting in general, you would be called privileged, that your ability to “choose” not to vote is because you’re shielded by either or both whiteness and money. Yet, according to the same Pew survey, over half of nonvoters are colonized people, and over half of nonvoters make less than $30,000/year! (Nonvoters Are Not Privileged) In this same survey, it’s evident that “[…] the most common cause for not registering to vote is that they do not want to vote, and the most common reasons have nothing to do with voter suppression and everything to do with beliefs about the worthlessness of the elections.”
And so, why would such a lie be propagated? Why would reformist leftists and liberals say that not voting is a reflection of racial and economic privilege? Because liberalism rejects ideological struggle for unprincipled peace. It stems from petty bourgeois selfishness and individualism, and it objectively helps the enemy. In our case, it assists the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie retain control of the State through compromising and redirecting (whether through guilting the masses or otherwise) revolutionary potential towards voting and peaceful marches and rallies.
The contradictions in the lives of the masses go far beyond a single politician, and the scope of resolving such contradictions goes far beyond simply waiting to vote in a new candidate. The contradictions of settler-colonial capitalism-imperialism are fundamentally antagonistic. Ultimately, antagonistic contradictions can only be resolved through antagonism, and in the case of the contradictions between the working and oppressed masses and the capitalists and imperialists of the so-called united states, this antagonism can only be resolved through revolutionary armed struggle, in the form of Protracted People’s War.
The primary task of revolutionaries is to prepare for such a struggle. We must follow the mass line–and the reason we characterize it as a line? This is because it allows us to identify, in the course of increasingly integrating ourselves as revolutionaries in the lives and struggles of the masses, the clearest path from the dire conditions in which we currently find ourselves, to the achievement of our tasks and the realization of our goals – the complete and total liberation of the working and oppressed masses from capitalism, imperialism, and settler-colonialism and the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. If we succumb to “left” (adventurism, commandism) and right (opportunism, tailism) deviations, then that path becomes obscured and increasingly difficult to navigate, and we remain unable to proceed further towards victory.