The 2020 United States Presidential election is days away. Since 2015, we have witnessed the growth and eventual electoral victory of a far-right populist experiment. The flaws inherent in the United States as a country are manifest and date back to well before its founding, but there can be no denying that Donald Trump validates and provides power to a very real fascist tide on the rise. Should Trump win or lose, we face a continued struggle against fascism. The following is a statement by the Love and Rage Media Collective, with some choice inspiration from comrades from BRRN Miami, on why elections provide little defense against this:
by Love and Rage Team
Liberal democracy’s relationship to capitalism is predeterminate in that liberal democracies will always veer to the right and liberalism itself is no defense from fascism because capitalism is incompatible with socialism, but compatible with fascism.
Classical liberalism, and neoliberalism, slide much easier into fascism because the political environment they produce is a cult of strength rooted in individualism, “personal responsibility”, and competitiveness. The cult of strength first overlooks or ignores vulnerabilities or externalities which provide significant obstacles to parts of the population who will struggle in such a system due to race, religion, gender, disability, social class. Fascism creeps in as these elements begin to define undesirability. Laws are incrementally introduced which either limit the freedoms of these groups or outlaw them altogether.
The liberal state’s complicity comes in many ways, but most notably in the political system’s embrace and defense of capitalism. The ability of vulnerable groups to organize is repressed, sometimes violently, because of that organizing’s leftist nature. So in restricting the legal ability for groups to defend themselves, and putting that responsibility in the hands of the liberal state which will platform all views, and even defend hate speech with violence, while allowing for fascists to pull the state’s political and judicial apparatuses farther into their corner, poisoning cherished liberal values like discourse with propaganda, fascism easily preys on the malcontents produced by capitalism because it can make ready use of scapegoats produced by the policies of the liberal state. It empowers fascism while disempowering socialism.
This is precisely why a liberal society can vote itself into fascism, but not out (whether fascism is nascent or in power). The political system is biased toward empowering the right because of capitalism. If the function of voting is to delay or reverse abuses to people who are always on the chopping block in liberal society regardless, what is actually being gained that can be protected from the liberal state, capitalism and the fascism these enable?
Vote if you must. Vote if you want. But do not be lulled into the illusion that simple reform, outside of that which builds working class power, can deliver what we need from this system: its dismantlement from a revolutionary and anti-capitalist perspective.
For more analysis on elections, check out the following articles:
[Photo: picture-alliance/AP Photo/J. Cortez]