Obama and the Left’s Dilemma BY William Bowles

4 November 2008

malcolm-obamaMy dear friend and comrade Patricia, ensconced in Jacksonville, FLA sent me these words yesterday (3 November):

“Because the elite has used this [racism] for eons. Stand up! Damn It! It’s the empire that is the focus. OHH PULEESE! But then they’re very nervous when using niggers within the empire to maintain the empire. Short story and oh so familiar. That is the Brits to the max. Within the U.S. matrix, not the Brits. This is a  tremulous time and there is deep worry. It’s [a] scary time for those who rule!!!”

Followed by:

“Got your thinking and reams of others. To repeat: no wonder those who rule are “tremulous”, very oft centered. But, dear bill, how do we expand and reproduce capital? Ye Gods!!! I know how deeply we experience our incipient mortality as producers of the world.”

Yes, selecting Obama was a desperate gamble no doubt, but the future of the empire is at stake here. So can Obama rescue it for whitey and what’s a lefty to do? Is it still the same old lesser of two evils paradigm (didn’t we go through this four years ago?)? Surely a ‘liberal’ black man as prez is preferable to a reactionary scumbag like McCain? Well we’ll skip the ‘liberal’ bit and let’s deal with his ‘blackness’.

Clearly black folks voting for Obama is not only about his programme (it differs only in syntax from McCain’s) but about Black Americans expressing their frustrations with centuries of oppression in the (I believe vain) hope that he will make a positive difference to their lives. So I think there’s more than an element of desperation involved here (on both sides) and under such circumstance who can blame black Americans voting for Obama? And I’m not sure the left understands this aspect, largely because most are white. But that said, it doesn’t alter my view one bit that this is the time for people to vote with their heads and their hearts and vote for Cynthia McKinney, the other black person about which we hear very little.

The degree to which race is a central issue is highlighted I think by the fact that black Americans constitute around 10% of the population, with Latinos for example, outnumbering them. Thus with only 10% of the population, why is Obama’s ‘blackness’ such a big issue?

This goes to the very heart of racism as an ideology of divide and rule and the fact that the Bush/Cheney clique have blown it with the populace, else why allow a black man to run for prez?

Moreover, it also reveals what a two-edged sword racism is, just when you need it to go away (but only for awhile you understand), it gets in the way of conducting real politik.

For regardless of what the pundits say, this is an election about race at least as far as Black Americans are concerned. But where does this leave the rest of America?

It’s the demographics stupid

Young people have registered in vast numbers with many being first time voters and it is likely that many will have a very different attitude toward the question of race as an issue. And women outnumber male registered voters and by a margin of 10 points, prefer Obama over McCain.[1]

It’s also about legitimacy, which is what choosing Obama is all about, trying to restore some legitimacy to capitalism. Isn’t it a case of ‘anybody, even a black man can be president in the land of opportunity’?

As I’ve noted before selecting Obama as the Democratic nominee was either a stroke of genius or one of desperation (more likely a bit of both) on the part of the Dems. And, as I’ve also noted before there are strong parallels with the election of Carter back in ‘77, for if Obama wins it gives the ruling elite some ‘breathing space’ before getting back to business as usual. The question is, will it ever again, be ‘business as usual’?

Frankly, I think the most dangerous aspect of this election is whether or not it’s going to be a fix and given that regardless of what the polls say, I think it’s going to be a very close run thing and if so, and the mass media do the right thing and expose any shenanigans on the part of the Bush/Cheney gang of pirates, then I think all hell will break loose.

And already it looks like literally millions of black Americans have been struck off various voter rolls around the country and reports of electronic voting machines ‘flipping’ votes (see for example, ‘Vote-Flipping Reported on E-Voting Machines’)[2], and if it is a close run thing, just as it was in Florida in ‘04, it will make the difference between winning and losing. So what are the likely reactions? An awful lot of very unhappy bunnies and a situation that could well turn into a very different kind of watershed.

This just in from the Channel 4 TV News’ email:

“And then the festive mood was broken as a man ran up to us, baying, “The machines are broken! The machines are broken! All three of them!” And immediately the woman from the Portaloo company told him where the lawyers were. Calls were made, and we ran to the station where the machines had failed. A hundred people waited as engineers came to fix them.

“Voters are more than concerned that this system of machines, devoid of paper trail, is risky. And then, at another station, they were bemused that the only media who had come to see them had come all the way from London.”

And the very fact that Obama has a vast team of lawyers to call on vis a vis the suspect voting machines is an indication of just how fragile this ‘democratic’ process really is.

I think the real issue here is, as Patricia said, “Stand up! Damn It! It’s the empire that is the focus.” I might add that it should be the focus but this assumes an awful lot about the electorate’s understanding of the situation and not only their understanding but more importantly perhaps, their desires.

There’s clearly a vast gulf here between the left and its expectations and the rest of the population. Sure, the voters may well be united around specifics but this is not an election that’s being contested over specifics but over abstractions, ‘change’ being the operative word (one is tempted to say chump change) but of course, there are no specific changes being put forward by Obama, not that it matters, it’s the idea of change, any change, that counts.

The back story to this is of relevance, for it involves the power and influence of competing sectors of the ruling class, the ‘neo-cons’ on the one hand who prefer to shoot first and not even bother to ask questions afterwards, and on the other those who prefer to tread (relatively) quietly and carry a very big stick, the Dems and their major ideologue, Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is the crew that has broadly run the empire since the end of WWII.

And the venom with which Hillary Clinton and her backers contested the primaries reveals some pretty vicious infighting within the Democratic machine over the best way forward to save the empire. Thus we have two factions of the ruling elite fighting over the ‘best’ way forward.

The screwups of the past four years have created an almighty mess for the US ruling class and on top of this we have the long-awaited economic meltdown to add to their woes, thus electing Obama is for those more circumspect members of the ruling class absolutely vital to the future of the empire.

The bottom line is, will Obama as prez make a positive difference? This raises the question: to what degree will Obama himself, decide on what is to be done? For an answer to this, we need only look at who and what is grouped around him (let alone who and how he was selected in the first place).

Obama’s ‘advisors’ (or should this be minders?)

Well let’s start with former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and then former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke and Obama’s running mate Biden is good pals with Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia. Not surprisingly, his media/PR team is mainly selected from the former Clinton media machine, David Axelrod being the lead man in the Obama team.

In fact, his ‘advisors’ are a whose who of the imperial war machine and who knows what kind of ‘deals’ have been done with Obama to run for prez on the ‘understanding’ that he leaves the really important decisions to the ‘experts’. There’s no doubt a quid pro quo has gone down for frankly, I find it impossible to believe that the power brokers would entrust the presidency to a black man except under the most extreme of circumstances, like now for example, racism runs just too deep.

Ultimately, whoever gets elected it’s not going to change the basics, only we can do that.

Notes

1. ‘How gender difference is proving to be a critical factor for tomorrow’s election’

2. See also, ‘On Eve of Election Day, Is the Nation’s Voting System Ready? Reports of Irregularities Pour in from Across US in Record Early Voting’

And, ‘Urgent: Take Action Now to Stop Racist Voter Suppression’

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2 thoughts on “Obama and the Left’s Dilemma BY William Bowles

  1. rd says:

    A few articles concerning Obama in terms of both foreign and domestic policy. The gist of these articles?

    Barack Obama stands for … Cosmetic Change that the Empire Needs!

    Barack Obama and the “End” of Racism
    http://the-fourth-world.blogspot.com/2008/02/barack-obama-and-end-of-racism.html

    Andrew Sullivan on Obama: The “Best Face” For Imperialism
    http://www.assatashakur.org/forum/open-forum/27702-andrew-sullivan-obama-best-face-imperialism.html

    Minimal Differences Between Clinton, Obama
    Review the NAACP’s Questionnaire and a Legal Scholar’s Study of Candidates’ Campaign Stances
    http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=518&Itemid=1

    Is Obama the End of Black Politics?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/magazine/10politics-t.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

    Like

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