Tag Archives: Obama

Where’s the anti-war movement?

The Freedom Road Socialist Organization recently posted an analysis of the state of the anti-war movement.  Mike Ely from the Kasama Project has written a criticalWhere's the anti-war movement?response,examining issues around Obama, connecting the anti-war movement to the anti-budget cut movement, and other issues which the FRSO analysis brings up. Given the ongoing bloodshed happening as a result of US imperialism, we are posting this exchange here for  radical and revolutionary minded folk to reflect on why the anti-war movement is the way it is.  Read, examine, critique.

Mike Ely Engaging FRSO:  To Oppose War, We Need To Expose the War-Makers

Let’s start with points of agreement: It is extremely important to build a powerful antiwar movement in the U.S. And it borders on criminal that so many years into these brutal colonial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan there is such a shameful silence here.

And we should welcome the attempt by Dennis O’Neil and Eric See to sum up the recent history and put forward their programmatic plans. (And it should be noted that both of them are tireless antiwar activists and have placed their time and energy into the effort against these wars.)

Their article ends with a simple assertion:

“This isn’t rocket science. We know how to do it. Let’s get going.”

Let’s start our discussion of disagreements there.

To tell the truth: I don’t think that much of the current activist  world has a clue how to end a war or mobilize people. Sincere people are at a loss.

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Obama’s War: Foreign and Domestic

Obama’s recent decision to commit 30,000 more soldiers to the

Translation: he criticized him so much . . . yet he follows his footsteps!

Translation: he criticized him so much . . . yet he follows his footsteps!

occupation of Afghanistan has angered folks who thought the promised “change” would include change in the US government’s imperialist foreign policy.  Anti-war, semi-socialist ex-Democrat Cynthia McKinney puts the cumulative effect well in a recent editorial:

“…there is deep disquiet today within the ranks of the President’s own base in the Democratic Party, with independents, and with middle-of-the-roaders called “swing” voters.  In unprecedented numbers, voters in the United States of all previous political persuasions went to the polls and invested their dreams and, most importantly, their votes in the “hope” and “change” promised by the Obama campaign.  But in light of the President’s defense of Bush Administration war crimes and torture in U.S. courts, the transfer of trillions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to the wealthy banking elite, continued spying on environmental and peace activists as well as support for the extension of the Patriot Act, and removal of Medicare-for-all (single payer) as a central feature of proposed health care reform, Obama voters are rethinking their support.”

The resulting uproar from the liberal/progressive wing of Democratic Party voters doesn’t result from simple naïveté about the nature of the US political system; many up-until-recently disillusioned US residents were bamboozled by Obama’s race and rhetoric.  The Black electoral base, which is generally the most progressive section of US society, has been especially victimized by the assumption that racist, imperialist politics radiate from a white, racist chief executive.  The Obama administration PR team, and the Democratic Party in general, have encouraged this image through Obama’s constant appropriation of Black political heroes like MLK and most recently Muhammad Ali.  As Dave Zirin observes in his recent article Message to Obama: You Can’t Have Muhammad Ali, this is a cynical bastardization of one of the most famous war resisters in the 20th century. Continue reading

Van Jones’ Resignation Helps Save Obama’s Credibility with Racists

Big L writes:

So, Van Jones resigned and took one for the team by backing down from his position as “green jobs czar” for the Obama

Van Jones & Obama: representing the pitfalls of the left in 2009

Van Jones & Obama: representing the failure of "leftist" strategy in 2009

administration.  This is happening after Glenn Beck, reactionary Fox News anchor, smashed on him and called him out on his show for being a “communist” and part of STORM.

Interestingly, Glenn Beck’s right-wing, reactionary red-baiting actually contains some useful, truthful facts about Van Jones’ strategy.  Specifically, Beck’s racist-ass (and let’s be clear, this dude is completely reactionary) brings up the way that Van Jones saw his work alongside Obama as the way to be a “more effective revolutionary.”  Van Jones, and many in the non-profitized left, see this “inside/outside” approach as the most effective way of organizing (and as we’ve seen this includes many post-STORM nonprofit organizations.)

What lessons will we draw from Van Jones’ effort to infiltrate the system and change it from within?  Is it possible to have an “inside/outside” combination approach to revolutionary organizing (where we work within bourgeois electoral circuits, and outside of them) like the one that Bill Fletcher Jr. advocates for?  This Van Jones example is yet another strong sign that it doesn’t work.

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Unfortunately, many self-proclaimed revolutionaries see this type of strategy – basically, working within the system – as the only way to engage in day to day struggles: fighting budget cuts means working mostly within the existing student government/organizations and teacher’s union; battling exploitation on the job means working within the official union which is  supposed to represent a particular group of workers interests.  Etc, Etc.

Perhaps revolutionaries should consider taking the road of building autonomous organizations as vehicles capable of challenging budget cuts, exploitation on the job, police brutality, and other forms of capitalist oppression and exploitation.  These autonomous organizations may relate to unions, student organizations, etc, but maintain ideological and organizational independence at the same time.  This independence would allow revolutionary minded folks to actually create a magnetic pole of radicalism; providing space for individuals who are ready to take the system on more militantly, and also serve to pull existing organizations like unions and student orgs leftward.

These are some of the most burning questions revolutionaries should be discussing.

Tim Wise on Obama Red-baiting: Socialism as a New Black Bogeyman

This was originally posted on Tim Wise’ facebook page,and we’re reproducing it here for folks to discuss, critique, and comment on. Tim Wise is a white guy known for his writings on white privilege.

Red-Baiting and Racism: Socialism as the New Black Bogeyman

By Tim Wiseobama-marx
August 10, 2009

Throughout the first six months of his administration, President Obama–perhaps one of the most politically cautious leaders in contemporary history–has been routinely portrayed as a radical by his opponents on the far-right. In particular, persons who have apparently never actually studied Marxism (or if they did, managed to somehow find therein support for such things as bailing out banks and elite corporations) contend that Obama is indeed a socialist. Reducing all government action other than warmaking to part of a larger socialist conspiracy, the right contends that health care reform is socialist, capping greenhouse gas emissions is socialist, even providing incentives for driving fuel efficient cars is socialist. That the right insists upon Obama’s radical-left credentials, even as they push an Obama=Hitler meme (something they apparently think is fair, since, after all the Nazis were National Socialists, albeit the kind who routinely murdered the genuine article) only speaks to the special brand of crazy currently in vogue among the nation’s reactionary forces.

As real socialists laugh at these clumsily made broadsides, and as scholars of actual socialist theory try and explain the absurdity of the analogies being drawn by conservative commentators, a key point seems to have been missed, and it is this point that best explains what the red-baiting is actually about.
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A Challenge to ‘Radical’ and ‘Pan-Africanist’ Obamites

Glenn Beck: Challenge to ‘Radical’ and ‘Pan-Africanist’ Obamites


Harlem-demo-Zimbabwe

In this article, Glenn Ford of Black Agenda Report calls out the hypocrites who love Obama yet claim to hate imperialism. Imperialism is a complex relationship of unequal power between nations, with a select few nations at the center of the commanding structures and the great majority of nations at the receiving end of the core countries’ dictates. The core countries got to the core because of their upward progress in the division of capitalist labor, starting with West Europe’s innovative city-based manufacturing and trans-oceanic plunder, evolving into European and North American industrial factory production and colonialism, and the present-day “financialization” of the world economy and the global network of sovereign nation states. The world today is the product of history which is pushed forward by class struggle. The independence of the former colonies was a victory for the global working class, and should be defended today. That’s precisely why the US – no matter who the president is – should never be supported in its foreign policies which even more than its domestic policies are inevitably at odds with the interests of the global proletariat.
Excerpt:

“It requires rivers of obfuscation and oceans of purposeful omission to separate the Commander-in-Chief and President of the United States from the crimes planned and carried out in his office.”

Forbes: Obama not a Socialist, More like an Oligarch

Just another example of the fact that business news publications tend to be the most honest (they speak honestly to their constituency). Forbes editor Michael Maiello’s newest column proclaims:

Obama Loves The Rich

Here’s an excerpt:

Obama’s no socialist. An observer from Mars would think the man’s a downright oligarch. While the “angry white men” movement assembles into tea parties, the real anger should be felt by those on the left who have so far watched the president continue to follow an economic rescue plan that was outlined by George Bush and Hank Paulson. The only thing that Obama has socialized are the losses incurred by Wall Street’s major banks….

obama-wall-street

Yeah we’d say that’s pretty right on. Obama’s brand of socialism involves foisting the burden of Wall Street excesses upon the people to share, while privatizing profits made by Wall Street Execs (who still continue to receive bonuses…)

Again, it is important to point out that Obama is incapable of bringing any kind of real change because its the system that needs changing not its leadership. Power should (and could) be in the hands of the people, that would be real change. However that kind of change requires much deeper and qualitatively different struggle.

Treasury Secretary Geithner: Puppet of Finance Capital

Tim Geithner and his Capitalist Cronies

Tim Geithner and his Capitalist Cronies

For all the progressives that drank Obama’s Kool-Aid: Who’s Obama’s real constituents?

The New York Times published a lengthy article recently with the following revelations about Obama’s Treasury Sectretary Timothy Geithner:

1. A year before he was elected Geithner shocked then-Treasury Sectretary Henry Paulson with a proposal “to give the president broad power to guarantee all the debt in the banking system”. Paulson was shocked by the proposal, seen as audacious and “politically untenable” because it would “put taxpayers on the hook for trillions of dollars”.

A year later, Geithner’s proposal has been implemented almost entirely.

2. As President of the New York Federal Reserve, The NYT reports, Geithner maintained “unusually close relationships with executives of Wall Street’s giant financial institutions.”

A look at the New York Federal Reserve’s former and present Board of Directors shows it staffed by CEO’s of such big capitalist firms as: General Electric, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Quandrangle Group (Investment Firm), etc. etc.

For those who thought Obama was going to usher in all this radical progressive change, one can only ask… What were you thinking?

Obama is not the “elected representative” of the people, he is the elected representative of Capital. After trillions in bailout money, its safe to say he’s served them well.

The only thing that can defeat the bankers is class struggle. The working class vs. Geithner, Obama and the rest of the Capitalist ruling class.