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John Passant

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November 2009



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Obama: the charismatic Bush

It is now 12 months since Barack Obama won the US Presidential election and created real hope for fundamental change around the world. 

A frank assessment of his results to date would suggest that rather than representing a fundamental break with the policies of George W Bush, he represents their continuity. 

That is true certainly of foreign policy, where Obama’s actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East look remarkably similar to George W Bush’s in their fundamentals.

The US under Obama continues its long and bloody interventionist strategy with, as Howard Zinn commented recently, over 100 bases around the world. 

It was Harold in a video recently who drew the connection for me that the wars overseas are a mirror of the war at home when he was asked what Obama should do differently.

Bring the  troops home – not just from Iraq and Afghanistan but from every one of the countries the US has bases in, Zinn said.  That would save trillions which could then be used to make health care absolutely free for every American.

Of course Obama won’t do that because his priorities are not the American people but the profits of American corporations. The two are not synonymous; they are counterposed.

Obama used the idea of change to win power to stabilise the status quo and rescue it from the disaster that was Bush.

That disaster is clearest, to someone like me far removed from the US,  in foreign policy with failed invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan and now, using the Pakistan Army as a proxy, spreading the failure to that country.

Hilary Clinton has ripped off the mask of ‘even handedness’ in the Middle East by supporting the Israelis building new settlements. This slow Israeli genocide of the Palestinians may produce an explosion of resistance, perhaps in another Intifada.

The Intifada is an expression of the hopelessness of  a beaten people who see no future as Israel continues its slow strangulation of Palestine.   

While the uprisings have been a symbol of hope to all around the world – much like the inspiration we can draw from the Warsaw Ghetto in its resistance against overwhelming odds and the victory of the liberation forces against apartheid – that strategy alone cannot alone defeat the might of Israel, a might built almost exclusively on the labour of American workers and the expropriation of their surplus value by the American bourgeoisie and its state. 

Obama now runs that state and since Israel is the armed wing of US imperialism in the region it is no surprise that his administration has sided with the Israelis in their  efforts to eradicate the Palestinians over time.

Obama is the commander in chief of terror.

That role, as the military protector of the US profit machine, mandates he rule with bloody might and power.

He has already killed hundreds of innocent people in Pakistan and Afghanistan with his drones and as the population of the occupied countries and Pakistan fight back against the US and its puppets, the numbers Obama murders will increase.

Domestically Obama has not addressed and cannot address unemployment within the narrow strictures the profit system imposes.

His trillions to Wall Street have temporarily restored the swill from which they feed, but that hasn’t created one extra job in downturn America.

And despite the historical significance of a black American winning the Presidency, minority groups have disproportionately borne the economic burden of the Global Financial crisis.

Obama will not shake the foundations of the system but rather prettify its front gate. That provides no protection for jobs, for wages, for health care or for education. It doesn’t challenge racism, or homophobia or women’s oppression. It doesn’t address climate change.

Obama mobilised millions to get elected. Once ensconced in the White House, he has de-mobilised his supporters because they might threaten the structures of power which he now manages.

There’s a famous ditty about the Duke of York that comes to mind. 

Oh, the noble Duke of York.
He had ten thousand men.
He marched them up
to the top of the hill.
And he marched
them down again 

Obama’s supporters became foot soldiers not in a campaign of change but of electoral dilettantism.  Now they are back at the bottom of the hill Duke Obama’s troops are dazed, confused and tired.  

The right in America is on the offensive.

One word from the President could see his supporters on the streets in their millions, and even more importantly, taking action in their workplaces, to defend jobs, demand green jobs, win better wages and conditions and force through a real free health care system for all.

But Obama won’t do that because his role is to control the masses for the bourgeoisie, not inflame and excite them.

The task is now to build a mass movement from the grassroots up to challenge Obama and his cronies of capital.

Obama is playing the bosses’ game, not that of ordinary Americans.

Workers in the US have elected a charismatic George W Bush.

Readers might also like to look at some early pieces I wrote when Obama was elected and then two months later sworn in. They include All change at Obama station? and Barack Obama is not Jesus Christ.



Pingback from Valuable Internet Information » Obama: the charismatic Bush
Time November 3, 2009 at 7:24 am

[…] See the original post:  Obama: the charismatic Bush […]

Trackback from uberVU – social comments
Time November 3, 2009 at 11:39 am

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Reddit by Passy: The striking thing about Obama’s policies is their continuity with Bush’s, not their difference. American workers have elected a charismatic George W Bush….

Comment from Flower
Time November 3, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Patience John – what’s the immediate alternative? These scary dudes?:

Comment from John
Time November 3, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Flower, I think we need to think outside the box of republicans and democrats. Obama mobilised millions as part of a grass roots campaign to get him elected. he could mobilise them again – on the streets and in the workplaces – for free health care. That way he could drive back the right and he may also just save his presidency in November 2012.

Pingback from En Passant » Obama – no punch at all
Time November 6, 2009 at 5:59 am

[…] millions of green jobs. And, who knows, tax the rich too. Readers might also like to have a look at Obama: a charismatic Bush. […]