Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

“Obama is No Pro-Worker President” or: He’s Just Not Into You

“In response, hundreds of janitors in Houston walked off the job last Tuesday, and there have been solidarity strikes in Denver, Minneapolis and a number of other cites…. If Obama wanted to offer a textbook example of a major campaign theme — America’s widening income gap — that would also signal his commitment to helping workers, he could at least release a statement supporting the strikers, yet he and other Democrats seem content to let the janitors fight alone.”

Orthodox, unthinking Obama boosters invariably accuse critics-from-the-left of secretly rooting or working for Romney to win. This is silliness; you’d be hard pressed to find any critic from the left who thinks Romney actually deserves to be elected. 

Speaking for myself I’ll vote for any genuine, progressive-left, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobia, working-class oriented Democrats (or Leftist Independents, Greens, Reds, etc.) with a demonstrable, substantial track record of being exactly that. 

Vote for whomever you want, but while we’re playing the game of lesser-evilism in which corporate-owned Democratic Party bosses demand everyone from the center-left onward perpetually lower our sights for empty, ultimately meaningless electoral gain, let us at the rank-and-file at least have the dignity not to pretend that Obama actually deserves re-election either.

We can’t keep having a long, slow bleed in which every four years the decision boils down to who sinks the knife into the back of the working-class the deepest; of who sells us out for the lowest price. That’s not a real choice and if unthinking apologists keeps pretending that it is, we’ll all be subjects of the ultra-reactionary GOP free-market fantasyland sooner than they can possibly believe.

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As a former liberal, I didn’t get much for buying into “hope and change” in 2008. But I do have to credit Obama for opening my eyes to the fact the whole of the Democratic Party is as much in the pocket of business as the Republicans are. I’ll never forget the moment I learned he invited the health insurance lobby to write the legislation…

In any case Democrats may throw out sexy platitudes to the working-class every now and then, but they ultimately serve right-wing, capitalist-class economic interests. Justice Roberts siding with a law that grants the health insurance industry, they very cause and core of our health-care crisis, a captive market of over 300 million people is strong evidence of the interchangeability of Democratic and Republican policies. As much as Obama has championed right-wing policies, it’s a real wonder why conservatives hate him so much.

As someone admittedly on the far-left (proudly, though the bar for what’s considered far-left is pathetically low in the US) I’m deeply embarrassed for the  liberals who cheer for a brainchild of the Heritage Foundation. It’s a chilling reminder that the Democratic Party has been an intellectually and morally bankrupt institution since at least the Clinton administration.

What Republicans have going for them is they at least ostensibly claim to have a set of principles; even if they’re morally repulsive, and backed by bullshit and stunning intellectual gymnastics, they at least stick to them, and I respect that. The Democratic Party on the other hand shucked itself of any principles to steal the clothes of Republican policies for the sake of naked electoral gain. Now they seem to exist to get people elected to public office for no apparent reason. This is why they lose, or are hugely but predictably disappointing when elected. But until the rug gets pulled out from underneath the Democratic Party and the working-class says “no more” to a Republican-lite politics, what will continue is this: the extreme right will sprint further to the right and the Democrats will just keep following along. Today was a decisive victory for the Obama administration and the health insurance companies, not for the American working-class.

Some of my liberal comrades will probably enjoy this infographic, but It needs and deserves a riposte.

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Let’s not forget that Obama and the DNC sat on their asses for Wisconsin and let the working-class hang out to dry. Quite frankly, Labor should do the same to the world’s second most enthusiastic capitalist political party. The working-class should forge its own political destiny and actually seek state power instead of squabbling with capitalists over vacation days and pensions. What unions fight for are undoubtedly important, but crude economism misses the forest from the trees and dooms the working class to subservience.

Case in point being that liberal savior-in-chief President Obama now wants to grant to corporations shocking endowments of extraordinary new political powers under the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Under this deal minimum wage laws, occupational safety mandates, environmental protections, banking and finance regulations, could all be swept away at the whim and request of multinational corporations if they consider them too “anti-business”. It bears mentioning that Mitt Romney and the US Chamber of Commerce are totally behind Obama in this NAFTA of the Pacific. Two sides of the same coin…

When infographics like this come out, Liberals can choose to allow themselves wowed and distracted by the cynical, calculated overtures about equal marriage rights or immigration reform. These are the political equivalent of shiny jingly keys dangled before liberals after years of inaction or outright capitulation to the right. But we’d be more honest with ourselves if we keep in mind that this guy isn’t really looking out for any of us and there’s very little daylight between the two candidates. Obama will not appoint liberals or leftists to the Court and we all on the left need to disabuse ourselves of that fantasy.

And to the “lesser evil” unthinking, orthodox Democrats, no one left-of-center thinks Romney shouldn’t be elected president; but don’t be so morally bankrupt and intellectually empty as to act as though Obama actually deserves re-election. In any case, anyone who believes Obama is working in the interests of the working-class is a fool or hasn’t been paying attention.