“Uncommitted” In A System That Is Committed To Genocide

People in the United States have continued to watch the ongoing slaughter in Palestine with horror and have looked for possible ways to halt the genocide. As one of the forms of protest that people have turned to, hundreds of thousands have been refusing to vote for current President Joe Biden in the ongoing Democratic Party presidential primary elections and caucuses. Sizable proportions of voters in states like Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Colorado are casting their votes for a “No Preference” or “Uncommitted” option. Many of these votes are part of an organized effort to oppose Biden because of his support for the genocidal war in Gaza. Many of those who participated in this effort are Arabs who have family who have since been killed. The people participating in the movement to vote Uncommitted or No Preference are saying “We do not want to be funding a genocide… And we want our president to listen now,” according to Asma Mohammed. Mohammed is an organizer in Minnesota, where the Uncommitted vote share comprised 46,000 people, or 19%, the highest share yet of any state. As we get closer to November, many of these people will be pressured to support Joe Biden, even in spite of the fact that his bombs are responsible for their family members’ deaths.

This is not the first time that people have engaged in this tactic of voting Uncommitted in a primary to voice their dissatisfaction. Notably in 2008, over 238,000 people voted Uncommitted in the Democratic Party primary in Michigan to support Barack Obama who was not on the ballot. What’s different this year is that the Uncommitted votes are concentrated in areas populated by young, ethnically diverse people who are often politically active: key demographics that the Democratic Party typically relies on and takes for granted. Democratic strategists are getting worried because losing the support of these voters could lead to a loss for Biden in November.

To anyone who opposes genocide and occupation and desires justice for Palestinians, it’s encouraging and energizing to see so many people driven to tell Joe Biden that we won’t stand for his lies and fake sympathy. But even if the movement to vote Uncommitted sees such success that it compels Biden to end aid to Israel and support a permanent ceasefire, the Democratic Party will never end its support for the international regime of capitalist imperialism that underlies U.S. support for Israel.

The harsh reality is that this entire system is one that is absolutely committed to maintaining an empire and using the State of Israel as the cop of the Middle East region, even if it means sacrificing the Palestinian people in the process. Joe Biden and the rest of the Democratic Party are absolutely committed to furthering these aims. Even if people decide to show their opposition to what is going on through registering their Uncommitted votes for Biden and the Democrats, it will not fundamentally impact the situation.

The Biden regime is currently sending weapons to Israel every 36 hours, over 21 thousand bombs since October 7th. If Biden had any interest in ending the slaughter, he could have ended it with a single phone call. Even in the face of this mini-backlash at the voting booths, Biden is continuing with business as usual.

Biden and the Democrats often raise the alarm about Trump and the Republicans being an existential threat to democracy and basic freedoms, but they are showing that they have no problem in potentially handing over the presidency to them by ignoring wide sections of their voting base.

That’s why we must organize away from the polling centers—at our workplaces, in our schools, and in the streets. Only by committing to building a mass revolutionary movement to bring about a real alternative will we achieve long-lasting justice for oppressed people around the world.