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July 1, 2020

Presidential platform

Opinion

July 1, 2020

A political line was drawn in 2016 when Hillary Clinton asked: ‘if we broke up the big banks tomorrow, would that end racism?’ With history erased, the question is a non sequitur.

When it is considered, Wall Street was financier to the slave trade and money launderer for it. Leading up to the crisis of 2008, Wall Street securitized predatory loans made at high interest rates to blacks because of their historic exclusion from access to credit. When the housing bubble turned to bust, Wall Street disappeared a generation or more of black wealth through foreclosures organized by America’s first black President, Barack Obama.

In the midst of protests and the reinvigorated Black Lives Matter movement, race is once again being put forward as the social axis most in need of rectification. From the perspective of ‘racial capital,’ the ills of capitalism can’t be meaningfully addressed until white supremacy has been defeated. From a left perspective grounded in Marx and history, race is a product of capitalism, not its cause. The economic relationships of indentured servitude and slavery both preceded the concept of race. And the iterative view begins with economic relationships to claim that at some point race became a causal factor in itself.

With this laid out, the establishment political parties exist to subsume and subvert social movements that threaten the rule of capital. Considered this way, Ms Clinton’s effort to separate Wall Street from the Democrat’s emotive theory of racism serves a political purpose. Her reference to it is as a moral failure, not the toxic social residual of policies she supported. Assertions that the parties are themselves, or represent, social movements are belied by declining party membership, an absence of actionable political programs, and serial disdain by voters for their designated candidates. Their actual constituency is wealthy campaign contributors whose interests correlate with legislation that is proposed and passed.

To the extent that a political movement grows out of current protests, protesters are unlikely to get a sympathetic hearing from either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. While Mr Trump is a known quantity, Democrats assume that they know Mr Biden through his party affiliation and as Barack Obama’s vice-president. While rank-and-file Democrats supported his ‘law and order’ programs in the past, times have changed, and protesters are unlikely to want a repeat of this history. Given its current trajectory, the economic backdrop in 2021 will more likely than not be one of ongoing decline. This adds to the likelihood of a Weimar moment whether or not Joe Biden prevails in 2020.

Following Mr Biden’s anointment, the Democrat’s offer to the political left – with which some protesters share ideological predilections, was to help craft their 2020 Presidential Platform.

Excerpted from: 'Racism and the Neolibera Consensus'.

Counterpunch.org