Joe Biden is headed to a UAW picket-line in Detroit

“I want to do it, now make me do it.”

Cory Doctorow
7 min readSep 24


A vintage photo of strikers in front of a factory. The image has been altered to insert a ‘Dank Brandon’ image of Joe Biden with red laser eyes, a UAW pin on his lapel. He looms over the strikers, who have been altered to carry UAW ON STRIKE signs. A General Motors sign has been inserted onto the factory. A sunrise emerges over the factory building. Image: Fabio Basagni CC BY-SA 4.0
Fabio Basagni/CC BY-SA 4.0 (modified)

Wednesday (September 27), I’ll be at Chevalier’s Books in Los Angeles with Brian Merchant for a joint launch for my new book The Internet Con and his new book, Blood in the Machine. On October 2, I’ll be in Boise to host an event with VE Schwab.

Joe Biden will join striking workers on a UAW picket-line in Detroit on Tuesday.

No sitting president in US history has ever walked a picket line with strikers.

This is a big deal.

It’s great.

UAW members are striking against all of the Big Three automakers — that’s another unprecedented move.

At issue: the automakers are retooling to switch to EV production, action they were prodded into by public protest over the ongoing climate polycrisis, and bribed into by giant subsidies in Biden’s Infrastructure Bill.

But the Infrastructure Bill was compromise legislation, a hollowed-out and denatured version of the original Build Back Better plan. Build Back Better had no future in the Manchin-Synematic Universe, which we arrived at thanks to the cynical maneuvers of Democratic Party string-pullers, whose idea of victory is a 50.1 percent majority that is — conveniently — incapable of achieving transformative change. That’s why the Infrastructure Bill hands public money to the automakers but doesn’t require them to build their EV in union shops.

Now, union organizers face all the same challenges as election campaign consultants: gerrymandering, disinformation and voter-suppression. But union organizers don’t shoot for 50.1 percent majorities. They work for supermajorities, and no experienced union organizer would call a vote unless they knew they had 70 percent or more.

The UAW strike? It carried with a 97 percent majority.

Apologists for Democratic Party inaction like to pretend that politics begins and ends with parliamentary procedure. If you don’t have the votes, your hands are tied.

This is the carefully cultivated learned helplessness of centrists who don’t want change, but don’t want to be blamed for it.