Monday, November 10, 2008

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

There seems to be quite a lot of genuine excitement in the English language media following the election of Barack Obama. Various commentators are talking about it as if it signifies real change within America and even the world, rather than just the end of another of America’s four yearly electoral circuses.

If one were to believe the media it, would appear that after eight long years of Bush America has undergone a real transformation, the first Black President, and a commitment to real radical change.
It sounds like it is too good to be true. Obviously it is.

So what can we expect from the new regime in the US. Let’s look at foreign policy first. Of course, it is possible to look back at the last Democratic Government in the US, that of Bill Clinton. This was a government that fired cruise missiles almost indiscriminately at its enemies. From factories producing medical goods in Sudan to residential areas in Iraq, not forgetting to fire a few at Afghanistan in-between. We call also mention the two air bombardment campaigns in ex-Yugoslavia, which was referred to at the time as Humanitarian bombing. We could also point to his continuation of US sanctions against Iraq, which according to UNICEF caused the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children, the fact that he was the first to introduce the ideological basis of Bush’s terror campaign. It was Clinton who first used the terms ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ and 'rogue state'. There was also the little matter of an invasion of Haiti…

But let’s not damn Obama on the past record of his party in Government. Let’s allow the man to speak for himself. In April 2007 in his first major foreign policy speech, Obama stated that "We must lead by building a 21st century military.... I strongly support the expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines.” One would wonder what he wants nearly 100,000 new soldiers for. Well, when he was asked on Fox News last month about the possibility of bombing Iran he stated that he “would never take a military option off the table.” He also wants to put an extra 10,000 troops into Afghanistan where he said that President Bush had ‘responded correctly’ in fighting the ‘good war’, a ‘good war in which between 20,000 and 60,000 civilians have been killed. He also believes that Pakistan is “the right battlefield the war on terrorism”, and has threatened to attack it.

To be honest all this puts him right at the centre of the Democratic tradition from Kennedy and Johnson in Vietnam via Clinton in Somalia, Kosovo and Iraq.

And what does he offer to the working class in the US? One of the things that was clear about the election campaign was that despite the background of the deepening crisis neither of the candidates had any proposals to deal with the crisis. This is because neither of them had any answers to offer. Nor are there any answers to offer. All that the politicians can hope to do is to bring in austerity measure to attack working class living standards. The first rule of the crisis is always that the ruling class will try to make the working class pay the cost of it. For all his words about ‘workers rights’, he must still implement austerity programmes. There can be no difference between the results of the economic programmes of different parties. Indeed generally there is no difference between the actual programmes.

So what Obama offers is more war abroad, and more attacks against the working class at home. Everything must change so it can stay exactly the same: meet the new boss, same as the old boss.



Anonymous said...

"So what Obama (don't you mean MCCAIN?) offers is more war abroad, and more attacks against the working class at home.
Everything must change so it can stay exactly the same: meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

This is the most pathetic and offensive thing I have read all week.

I just typed a long response to this, but my computer ate it.

So, in short.

You obviously know nothing about Barack Hussein Obama and everything he has always stood for. If so, you would not be predicting he will be the same as Bush.

You should research Obama's stances on issues more thoroughly before you jump to conclusions, although there is probably no point as all you ever seem to do is copy and paste other people's biased opinions.

The media has gone balistic with their coverage on Obama, and with good reason. He has made history, yes. But it is what he stands for that made him the President-elect, NOT his skin-colour.

The first thing Barack Obama is doing when he becomes President is withdrawing all troops from Iraq. Ending the war in Iraq. Decreased violence in Iraq has been mirrored by increased violence in Afghanistan. Peaceful order must be obtained in Afghanistan.

Obama has always said he would send additional troops there. Painting a broad approach for foreign relations, Obama has also called for securing nuclear weapons from terrorists, achieving energy security and rebuilding alliances.

“As president, I will pursue a tough, smart and principled national security strategy – one that recognizes that we have interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi,
in Tokyo and London, in Beijing and Berlin,” Obama said.

It's also sad that in these very early ages you are so desperate that you need bring up past mistakes of the Democratic party, with your finger pointed directly at Obama.

Obama's actions will speak louder than his words and, as he said in his victory speech, he is only human and will not be able to please everyone at once. He hasn't even had a chance to fuck-up yet but it seems you are gleefully waiting for this moment to eventuate and that sickens me.

Overall, it irriates me that you posted this now, before he is even officially the 44th President, just to go against popular opinion and prove how "alternative" you are.

I look forward to the change which will eventuate sooner than the world expects. But until then I will continue to admire a human-being who has not only changed perceptions but is already hard at work in taking his first, small steps in the right (or should I say 'left') direction to change America and, dare I say, the world.

But obviously you'll never be able to praise any good that he does do. Obviously. It's too mainstream, right?

Jared Davidson said...

Hi anonymous,

Thanks for your comment. While I totally disagree with your faith in the 'president-elect', and think your argument is flawed on a variety of levels, I do agree that we will have to wait and see whether his corporate ties will show itself sooner rather than later.

I'll try to counter some of your points below, but please, let's remeber throughout what the framework this article was writen in — that being an anarchist one.

I'm not posting this to prove that I am more 'alternative' than anyone else. In fact, it doesn't really matter whether people think this post was a reactionary one or not. What does matter is that whether it is Obama, or even if it was Hillary Clinton, who is now the new president of the US — the response from anarchist frameworks would be exactly the same.

It is not an issue of skin colour, gender, or party policy (democratic or republican), but an issue of power — the power of the state and the public mannifestation of that power: the President. For anarchists, social change doesn't come via decree or government policy, but through the direct action of all of us. So while Obamba may tidy up mess in Iraq, push through some mild reforms (note the term 'reform', and not radical change), it will do nothing for the majority of oppressed workers and communities in America, other than file down the rough edges of their chains. Anarchists recognise this, and why such articles as this one is published, to try and point out the failings of representative democracy. It's not a matter of policy at all.

In fact, it would be naive to think that Obama was some kind of neutral 'human' steering the ship towards a degree of social change. Why? Because government is never neutral. The fact that you have to spend 1.2 billion dollars such as Obama did to make it into government should point out some interesting facts about the nature of parliamentary democracy and the make up of the state that controls it.

So, no, I will not praise mild reform. I will recognise that it may mildly relieve sections of the poulation — ie make going to work everyday while their boss profits from their labour a little easier — but will continue to point out the failings of a political and economic system so illogical and bankrupt for the majority of this world. And not because I'm trying to be 'alternative' or buck the 'status-quo', nor because I am desperate — but because I believe in a future without politicians, without war, and without the passivity of millions while the few (ie OBAMA) continue in their privilege and positions of power.

You could do well by visiting Anarchist FAQ and having a read. There your irritation could be directed at the various anarchist ideas and thinkers (ie Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn) and save me the effort of typing.



Asher said...

For what its worth Jared, the article was from a Turkish left-communist group, not an anarchist one ;)

But yeah, I agree with the rest of what you said.

Jared Davidson said...

Thanks Asher, I should have made that clearer. Glandular Fever has tended to make me rush things while I still have some kind of coherency, but that's no excuse for not making the source clearer.