The Truth the Left Must Grasp About Obama

Obama isn’t giving ground. He isn’t caving. He isn’t timid, confused, or unsure of himself. He simply isn’t one of us. If he wins re-election, he will become even more of what he is right now and has been for years: a neoliberal globalist. His campaign was a sham. (The great untold story of our age is how millions of left and left of center voters allowed themselves to be so completely bamboozled by an obvious Madison Avenue-style campaign.) Obama’s election sucked much of the energy out of anti-corporate/anti-war movement. The election of Obama to office was a spectacular propaganda achievement by the corporations that own the country.

President Barack Obama

What the left must now understand (what they should have understood all along) is that Obama is a key player in a structural adjustment program being imposed on the United States by finance capital. Obama had to be the bringer of the austerity phase of the project because the ruling class knew progressives wouldn’t go for it if McCain were president. If it were McCain cutting Medicare, expanding military presence in Central Asia, Middle East, and Africa (imperialism), extending the PATRIOT Act, as well as George Bush’s tax cuts, organizing assassination squads, undermining Social Security, etc., progressives would be howling. But because it’s Obama, they instead rationalize, apologize, make excuses, and blame Republicans.

Such rationalization as, “We’re stuck with him,” would sound ridiculous to progressives if it were McCain doing all the things Obama is doing. We would instead hear: “We have to get this man out of office.” But it’s just as ridiculous to say shrug off the situation with Obama. In fact, that he commands the obedience of so many citizens makes him worse than McCain. The Obama years will be looked back upon as among the worst in the rollback of democracy gained during the 20th century. The United States is now being fully re-articulated into the global capitalist economy, but this time with a different locus of power: a transnational ruling elite. Both parties are servants of the project. It’s time to withdraw consent from the two-party system. They win. We lose.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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