The Abyss Confronting Us
Now, the election is over. It is over, and little has changed. In fact, I might be so bold as to assert that absolutely nothing has changed; the greatest struggle of the past decade in my own perspective, has been to maintain that dim illusion of practice. The new liberal government will face challenges. Indeed, there are several sets of challenges that the incoming government must face even before its birth. However, the nattering of liberal bourgeois politicians concern me very little; they may as well be screaming into a void, and in many ways, they are. Here, I will voice my doubts, not to the present state of liberal politics, but to the entire liberal process in general. Forgive me if I seem frank, blunt, or insensitive. I write out of several different urges, not the least of which is a deep-seated anger towards the institutions of liberal democracy in general, and a frustration with its supporters in particular.
First, let me puncture any illusion of progress. Biden, so far as I am concerned, can be treated only as an intellectual in the Gramscian sense . He is, simply phrased, a member of the bourgeoisie, and a creator of technical knowledge. The creators of knowledge are those who shape human behavior; if we wish to speak of the technicians (as I often call them these days), we can speak of the people at liberal and conservative think tanks that write (or ghost-write) policy proposals that government officials cannibalize or recite verbatim in laws. The whole mechanism of government, in this way, is a machine, filled with people who know how to manipulate the masses in order to achieve a certain result.
The first to note this was Aristotle, in his Nicomachean Ethics, where he states that “legislators make the citizens good by forming habits in them, and this is the wish of every legislator…it is in this that a good constitution differs from a bad one.”  From even these early days, when Aristotle wrote, political scientists understood that the goal of the state was in the formation of particular patterns of behavior. In other words, the goal of the state was to help enforce a certain way of behaving in society according to a system of social values. Now that the capitalist economy has created the worker as a commodity, the oppressed classes are forced, defined, circumscribed, etc. into certain patterns of material activity . So it is now the job of Joe Biden to ensure that the people of the United States act in a certain way. He has to establish a social order, or more precisely, he has to reinforce the slowly slipping social order.
The elected Biden has a single purpose, to establish what he and his Democratic friends no longer like to refer to as “Law and Order,” and he will do so. The main difference between Biden and Trump is that the former is capable of subterfuge, of producing certain patterns of behavior through techniques that are more refined. In this way, he can force the subaltern groups (the colonized, trans individuals, non-men, and so on) into patterns of behavior now with less bluster and yelling; he will enact the same policies without all the idiotic fanfare. Biden will not pass a bill to reform healthcare. He will not garner sufficient support in the Senate, as the Republicans could not. It is idiotic to think that the Democrats are more disciplined. This argument, of course, would rely upon the Democrats actually receiving a majority in the House, but this seems unlikely; the three remaining Senate seats are in Georgia and Alaska, all firm Republican states.
Of course, all this is taken upon the assumption that the Republican party and Trump himself care to act within the “legitimate” political institutions, something which cannot be taken for granted. We could, as has been said before, see a situation where competing electoral delegations from the same state meet in Washington to elect the president, and the democracy plunges into chaos. This occurred in 1872, when election commissions in the south gave 3 states to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes over Tilden, the Democrat. It resulted in a constitutional crisis that ended Reconstruction.  Of course, this is assuming he also, upon the rejection of his appeals, call his supporters into the street. Patience, liberals, there are yet many things that can occur to crush your institutions.
Above all, I reject the notion that Joe Biden has a progressive platform; people consistently speak out about his platform and his beliefs saying that they are “further left” than previous Democrats. The only people I ever hear make this assertion are Democrats, and nobody else. They only ever seem to claim it in order to get me to vote for the Democrats, and rarely else. And it does not stand to any scrutiny. Most of his policies, quite simply, are designed to fail. This is a tactic that reverts, again, to the 1800’s . If anything, the technical knowledge behind Biden’s success is being a better liar than Donald Trump. Trump’s lies became more and more apparent as they became less and less believable by certain segments of the population, notably the white suburbanites among his base.
Another difference between Trump and Biden is the latter’s ability to hide his responsibility for events that might otherwise be blamed upon him. Trump, because his tactics were unsuccessful in providing the result he desired (the structuring of behavior in a certain way, for instance, in the people voting for him), seems to have lacked the technical knowledge to manipulate public opinion sufficiently to achieve his goals. I have noted before that many of Biden’s policies may be designed to fail, and the vast majority of his proposals promise absolutely nothing concrete at all. The vast and overwhelming tone of the election itself was not about resolving the economic and social inequities exacerbated by the pandemic, but to point to the pandemic and associate it, through rhetorical techniques, with Donald Trump. So Biden sought to turn voters against Trump, and succeeded, if we use our little method of interpreting the results.
Biden merged the moral element of his campaign with the political aspect of his campaign. The Biden voter was a person who acted a certain way, had certain values, performed certain material activities, and formed themselves in a certain way. When I say “form oneself” I mean that the voter there enhances their exchange value or sabotages it in a certain way (and so on); for instance, if we were to turn to gender (see my article on Marxist Trans Theory), a woman might be encouraged to not engage in “feminine” activities, and so on. So the Biden voter must have certain attributes; this became very clear in an interview from Joe Biden by Charlemagne tha God on his radio show “The Breakfast Club.” He said “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, you ain’t black.”  Biden later retracted the statement, of course, but this is telling. The Biden voter is meant to be a person who has experienced colonial oppression.
Not much will change. The little rope that is handed to the white middle class to keep its head above water will subsequently not be extended the the colonized masses, and this will continue despite Kamala Harris being the first South Asian woman of color to be Vice President. The material reality won’t change all that much; the actions of individual presidents never affects such a change, primarily because it is not in their interests to do so.
Here I’ve taken a little time to analyze the reasons nothing will change. Why the title? A good question indeed. We are confronted by a great abyss, with all the possible connotations that this entails. We white settlers are confronted with the potential oblivion of that swelling darkness that confronts us, the movement back into complacency and docility. We settlers are capable of ignoring the reality before us. I cannot speak for the colonized; what do they see in the abyss? I see something dangerous, a pair of eyes staring back at me. It is a ghost that history has not exorcised, that speaks up again and again, telling me that nothing will change. It sometimes gets to me, this feeling of sameness. Of course, I then realize that it is wrong to despair. As a revolutionary, it is my duty to represent the interests of the colonized people in Kirksville, to organize to alleviate human suffering while creating my own form of technical knowledge turned entirely towards the people. For remember this: the people, and the people alone are the motive force in the making of world history.
Mao described perfectly the spontaneity of mass organization; we saw it during the summer, and we see it now. Those eyes that burn brightly back from the abyss are not only the ghosts of those dead fighting this seemingly endless struggle, they are the eyes of an oppressed person, fighting for their livelihood and striving against the constraints of a political-economic structure that is working exactly how it is designed to work.
 Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, notably in “On Intellectuals.” Gramsci uses the priesthood in Medieval Europe, who had control over much of the cultural, educational, and political lives of the society, as his example. He further explicates that even those born nobles required technical knowledge, though he does not engage in possible selection of nobility among sons under primogeniture via engaging one or more in seminary, etc.
 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 2, Ch 1; Bekker numbers, 1103b, 4–6.
 This is very apparent in Karl Marx, “Wages of Labor,” in Economic Manuscripts of 1844.
 Numerous discussions of the topic exist, most of my knowledge of it comes from Mark Wahlgren Summers, Party Games (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).
 Also derived from Summers, Party Games.
 Reported by CNN.