Joe Biden Podium Speech

What Democracy? Oligarchy Rules

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For a long time, we’ve told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed, but it’s not. We have to defend it, protect it, stand up for it, each and every one of us. That’s why tonight, I’m asking our nation to come together, unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy regardless of your ideology.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden gave a speech last week in which he often mentioned democracy and how we must defend it against MAGA Republicans. However, in the US there is no democracy to defend. President Jimmy Carter understood that the US is an “oligarchy with unlimited political bribery,” not a democracy.

Biden will not admit this, because he is a part of this corrupt system of oligarchy. He is a useful tool in the hands of the ruling class who was selected, not elected.

That the US is an oligarchy was confirmed in a study by Martin Gilens, Professor of Politics at Princeton University, and Benjamin I. Page, Gordon S. Fulcher Professor of Decision Making at Northwestern University. The findings of this study are summarized in this video:

The simple fact of the matter is that the capitalist class control the government and the people have no real say in policy. This is why Trump, Biden, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan all had such similar neoliberal economic policies. They were simply advancing the agenda of the transnational capitalist class. Politicians and media pundits like to use the term democracy, but that is just a veil to hide the actual workings of the capitalist system. Pull back the veil and what we have is a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

Marxists have long understood that bourgeois democracy is not true democracy. In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto:

The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

This could just as easily describe the United States today. And this applies equally to both parties. Just today (September 8, 2022), the Democratic National Committee prevented a vote on a resolution to ban dark money in Democratic primaries.

The DNC is once again showing its true colors as a puppet of the capitalist class. As Engels described in 1891:

Nowhere do “politicians” form a more separate, powerful section of the nation than in North America. There, each of the two great parties which alternately succeed each other in power is itself in turn controlled by people who make a business of politics, who speculate on seats in the legislative assemblies of the Union as well as of the separate states, or who make a living by carrying on agitation for their party and on its victory are rewarded with positions.

This sounds like the politician to lobbyist revolving door policy of the modern era. During his campaign for president in 1912, Eugene V. Debs said:

To the workers of the country these two parties in name are one in fact. They, or rather it, stands for capitalism, for the private ownership of the means of subsistence, for the exploitation of the workers, and for wage-slavery.

The Democratic and Republican parties are truly a uniparty. As George Carlin said, “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it!”

This is why today it is more important than ever to organize based around class, not around capitalist parties. Liberals may not like to hear it, but the working class includes the MAGA Republicans Biden spoke out against in his speech. The enemies of democracy are the oligarchy, not working class MAGA Republicans. The ruling class presents more threat to us than an ordinary Trump voter or election denier. But with a speech like Biden’s, it is clear the ruling class wants to exacerbate division within the working class in order to prevent any kind of solidarity or mass movement from below. And this strategy is working.

Pew research survey in October, 2021 found that the US topped the list of countries who considered their society to be divided:

When it comes to perceived political and ethnic conflicts, no public is more divided than Americans: 90% say there are conflicts between people who support different political parties and 71% say the same when it comes to ethnic and racial groups. – Pew Research

Even this non-partisan survey is designed to ignore divides along class lines. There was no question about economic class divisions – only race, political parties, religion, and urban vs. rural. These divides certainly do exist and have been exacerbated by capitalism but the true war is the class war – the working class vs. the capitalist class. While Biden wants to create a marked divide between Republicans and Democrats, it is important to understand that both groups are voting against their own class interests. Neither party once in office will represent the working class, no matter what they say on the campaign trail.

As Lenin wrote:

Let the bourgeoisie continue to keep the entire apparatus of state power in their hands, let a handful of exploiters continue to use the former, bourgeois, state machine! Elections held in such circumstances are lauded by the bourgeoisie, for very good reasons, as being “free”, “equal”, “democratic” and “universal”. These words are designed to conceal the truth, to conceal the fact that the means of production and political power remain in the hands of the exploiters, and that therefore real freedom and real equality for the exploited, that is, for the vast majority of the population, are out of the question.

Real power does not lie in the bourgeois electoral system where as Marx described it voters decide “once in three or six years which member of the ruling class was to misrepresent the people in Parliament…” The Biden regime has shown that they represent corporate interests, not the will of the working class. The working class largely support Medicare for All, a 15$ minimum wagefighting climate change, a Green New Deal, increased democracy in the work placefamily and medical leave, and legalizing marijuana. But these policies won’t be passed by either party because the ruling class does not agree. As long as the capitalist class controls the government, the working class will have no say in our society.

The battle for democracy is a class war. As Lenin said in 1916:

While capitalism exists, these demands—all of them—can only be accomplished as an exception, and even then in an incomplete and distorted form. Basing ourselves on the democracy already achieved, and exposing its incompleteness under capitalism, we demand the overthrow of capitalism, the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, as a necessary basis both for the abolition of the poverty of the masses and for the complete and all-round institution of all democratic reforms. Some of these reforms will be started before the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, others in the course of that overthrow, and still others after it. The social revolution is not a single battle, but a period covering a series of battles over all sorts of problems of economic and democratic reform, which are consummated only by the expropriation of the bourgeoisie.

The class war will not be won inside of either capitalist party. The working class must break with the capitalist parties and organize as a class. As Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto, “The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.” This is the only avenue that will achieve a truly democratic system.


Originally published 9-8-22 on the author’s substack An Appeal To Reason.

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