Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Is Obama a socialist?

Those scaremongering stories about Obama as a secret socialist just won't go away.

The Guardian reports on the latest guerilla campaign from the right directed against Obama personally and against his administration. It sounds ridiculous but it appears that if a smear is repeated often enough it will eventually gain some traction.

But it has to be said that it's not just Obama's who's being misrepresented here: Socialism is also getting a raw deal.

In light of this, I thought it was an opportune moment to repost the piece, 'Is Obama a socialist?, which originally appeared on the World Socialist Party of United States website in September of last year, and which explains that, though Obama is many things, he isn't a socialist.

Is Obama a socialist?

We got a an e-mail recently from some right-wing blogger for the New York Times who asked if we considered Barak Obama a socialist and if we supported his tax plans. blah, blah, blah. We won’t pass judgement on an article which may or may not see the light of day. But most likely this was another piece attempting to get someone calling themselves socialist to endorse Obama or one of his policies. Once that confession is procured, it will be widely touted as proof of Obama being a socialist, an elitist, etc.

But is Obama a socialist? OMFno-G no.

Obama isn’t anymore a socialist than McCain is a fascist, a leprechaun or sincere. Sure, Obama wants more government control of economic matters. But as even Obama said if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. Capitalism administered by the state is still capitalism. Duh.

No one’s calling Bush a socialist because he nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because it’s not socialism. So why call Obama a sociaiist?

This election is all about two factions of capitalism competing for power with each-other.

The methods each faction uses to mobilize the working class to support them says much about the lack of class-consciousness in the US today.

The Democratic faction uses appeals for “justice” and “equality”, for tax breaks for workers even though most workers don’t “pay” enough taxes to make the breaks more than pavlovian whistles. Sure “equality” sounds nice, but it cannot happen in class society. The vast majority of people are workers for a reason - to create wealth for new rounds of capital growth. Those who benefit from that capital growth can be individual capitalists or state functionaries, but it’s workers who do the physical labor which creates the wealth. there can be no equality or justice in capitalism. Even if the capitalist class has now opened it’s membership roles to non-whites and females.

For being so slavish to Christian zealots, one would think the Republicans would “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”. But being able to pay for such things as public infrastructure - ie highways, electric system, etc. takes a backseat to the accumulation of capital for massive investment in China, Mexico and India. So like the Democratic faction, they seek to slash public spending and taxes. Of course, underscoring their religious hypocracy, the Republicans have spent more than any other administration building US federal debts to record highs. It is fortunate that US federal bonds which pay for all that debt are held by those whose taxes were cut - the capitalists. Kaching! profit on both transactions!