Ten things you can do instead of obsessing over who's going to be President next year
After some conversations I've had with the Biden faithful, I've concluded this: there are two crises. There's a national crisis right now, to be sure, with high unemployment, a lot of eviction, and COVID-19 running rampant throughout America. But then there's also a crisis in the brains of the President-obsessives.
The Trump true believers, a shrinking class indeed, cannot be persuaded because they think that "Antifa" or whomever is making their glorious President look bad. They thus live in a fantasy world of panic and hysteria, imagining nonexistent enemies every time they go out to practice on the firing ranges. The Biden faithful, lacking any interest whatsoever in their committee-chosen candidate, must create fantasies about their candidate (usually combined with excuses for their candidate, ready-made for whenever someone brings up who Joe Biden really is). The Biden faithful are a more complex bunch; their more complex complex results in the sort of campaign Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti discuss below:
But none of this theatrical prop has anything to do with the horrific reality of the physical world, nor does it have anything to do with the real Joe Biden. It's also rather irrelevant to the actual political situation, in which Joe Biden's sure path to political victory is to hide in his basement while Donald Trump destroys his own political chances. Campaigning for Joe Biden will not change this formula, since neither the Bernie-Sanders created fantasy about Joe Biden nor the real Joe Biden will improve the situation of the real Joe Biden. Oh and be sure to give that $5 you were going to give to the homeless woman to the Biden for President campaign fund. I'm sure it will look nice next to the donations of the billionaires. What's that slogan?
But if you ask the Presidential-election-obsessives, their number one concern is one of who you are voting for when you vote for President. They typically can't be bothered with a wide variety of discussions, say, of problems neither a second-term Donald Trump nor a first-term Joe Biden will fix. Remember Joe Biden's promise to rich donors that everything would remain the same? Yeah, that. Why is it, you ask, that Nina Turner compared voting for Joe Biden to "eating half a bowl"? Yeah, that.
Just to conclude this thought, here's a reflection. Some of you may be asking this question: why can't I do anything about the fact that both candidates in the Presidential election are (to give it a euphemism) seriously sub-par and that the result is, therefore, out of my hands? The answer is simple, my friends. You can't do anything about it because it's been that way for the past nine cycles and nothing was done then, either.
Oh and as for what these problems are that won't be solved? Let's start with this one. Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, a Brit journalist, has recently dug up research (peer-reviewed by Nature magazine) showing that it's overwhelmingly likely that there will be a civilization-wide collapse if we don't change direction. Moreover, recent behavior of our Congress, in both its (D) and (R) manifestations, ought to have revealed its priorities: more for the rich, peanuts for everyone else. And to show you what that means in context, here's Richard Wolff:
So in honor of the act of moving on from the great parade of Presidential propaganda, here is a list of ten things you can do instead of obsessing over who's going to be President next year.
1) Join Earth First!
Any recent observation of the alternative social media in the US will have noted that many organizations which claim to be for the public interest are in fact part of what Jane Hamsher called the "Veal Pen" -- basically it's that if they are to retain their foundation grants they must refrain from taking political positions that the foundation granters don't like. Earth First! is an environmental organization that is not part of any "Veal Pen."
2) Join the Movement for a People's Party
This is an attempt to create a new major party in the United States. It won't be gearing up with any degree of seriousness until after the November election. You could also join the Green Party or at least get to discussing how we're going to do something other than ride the Two-Party System to our ultimate dooms.
3) Create a Food Not Bombs local
Food Not Bombs is an anarchist "organization" which provides free meals to anyone who wants one, creating solidarity where for the most part free-meal-providing is a matter of charity, of provision coming from the rich to the poor. FNB should be very important in the coming months. I've been the go-to for a Food Not Bombs local before; I can go over it carefully for people who want to do it.
4) Join the Democratic Socialists of America
This is an organization of socialists who, it seems, will settle for social democracy in a pinch. You can see that they support Medicare for All, which Joe Biden does not support.
5) Join your state Medicare for All organization
It appears that if we get Medicare for All, it will be coming to the states first. My organization is Health Care for All Oregon; you may have to find yours through the Physicians for a National Health Program website.
6) Join your local evictions protest
If it can happen in New Orleans it can happen anywhere.
7) Grow your own food
If you don't have land of your own with which you can grow your own food, you should take up guerrilla gardening in your local vacant lot. It's not going to replace what you buy from the local supermarket, but if a lot of people do it we can be the next Havana. Here's a good place to start discussing how to do it.
8) Create a "Time Dollar" system
The one I know about is the Echo Park Time Bank; but the general idea is that a community starts its own "money" system in which participants exchange hours of labor with each other. This results in friendly mutual aid arrangements which do not involve subordination to corporations, landholding elites, or governments.
9) Just get in the streets
I'm sure you'll find something to protest. It's not like there isn't anything out there. There is, of course, Black Lives Matter, a very important cause. Or you might be able to start with the August 3 action to demand safe schools.
10) Educate your friends about alternatives to capitalism
There are many ways and many things to read. A lot of why we are in this mess is that people, especially American people, cannot envision another way of doing things except through capitalism, in which everything starts by soliciting money. Well, a lot of people don't have money. So we're going to need different ways.
I'm sure none of this precludes voting for Joe Biden. Do it if you want; don't waste a lot of time on it. It's not worth all its pageantry, and time's a'wastin'.