Anarchist Federation on Obama

Anarchist Federation on Obama

Below is a collectively produced statement on the election of Barack Obama by Manchester AF.

Make no mistake, Barrack Obama's victory in the United States does not mean liberation for black people any more than Margaret Thatcher's government was a victory for the women's movement. Neither does it herald a new dawn for the world, as mainstream commentary would have us believe.

We firmly expect that those of the130 million Americans who voted in the election for Obama will soon be sorely disappointed. Obama is appealing because he is young, handsome and above all not George Bush. It was becoming clear to many in the USA and the world that George W won the 2000 elections, at least in part, by fraud and cheating. The wars he has led the US into are increasingly unpopular, with over 4000 troops dead and 100,000 injured in Iraq alone.

Huge sections of the press supported him in the election, even much of the right-wing Murdoch empire. Murdoch himself saw Obama’s turn from free-market fundamentalism as “dangerous”, but thought McCain totally clueless. Many sections of the US business world see him as a fresh break. Obama is presented as a Mr Clean who will sweep away the stench of corruption that haunts US politics. They say he will save the world from the current economic crisis, the “credit crunch” and recession. Mr Clean he may be, but he spent over $200 million to get elected – more than $40 million a month. Clearly that money is not coming from the poor – a quarter of African Americans live below the poverty line - or the quarter of the workforce in low paid jobs in a country where the minimum wage is $6.55 an hour (just over £4). It is coming from wealthy donors like bankers and financiers Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and companies like Microsoft, whose founder Bill gates is worth $45 billion.

Clearly these press barons and big companies are going to expect something in exchange.

We expect the wars to continue. Although he promises to pull out of Iraq eventually, the US will need to keep the government there friendly. Troops will be replaced by advisers, security guards and “contractors”, who are in reality heavily armed thugs and mercenaries. He promises to send yet more troops into Afghanistan, and strike Iran and Pakistan if necessary. Although we expect him to close the hell that is Guantanamo Bay, we doubt he'll do much for the 2.5 million (mostly black and Hispanic) Americans who rot in prison. We doubt the USA will stop bankrolling the racist Israeli regime and its persecution of the Palestinians.

Most of all capitalism is sliding deep into another of its inevitable economic crises. Obama has the backing of the rich and powerful because he will be better able to inflict pain and hard times on the working people in the States and the rest of the world. He is the “moderate” face which will sell austerity to the poor and working class people of the United States. He has been elected to bring change, but ultimately he will stop real change happening.

Elections come and elections go. The faces of our rulers come and go. But the need to struggle and fight against the bosses and the state goes on every day. Whoever the Americans voted for, the government got in. We need to be building a fighting alternative, a massive wave of class struggle to finally sweep these parasites off the face of the earth.

An expanded version of the article hosted on the AF's blog

Posted By

Nov 9 2008 19:23


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Nov 9 2008 21:25

i agree of course with the thrust of this, especially the bit about his militatrism, but one pedantic point:

We firmly expect that the 130 million Americans who voted in the election will soon be sorely disappointed.

half of them already are, becuase they voted for someoone other than obama.

Nov 9 2008 21:55

Lol. Not really pedantic, pretty important. changed for clarity.

Mike Harman
Nov 9 2008 22:34

While we're nit-picking,

Huge sections of the press supported him in the election,

looks like it refers to George W Bush.

Nov 9 2008 23:17

cheers django.

Nov 10 2008 07:39

Sorry for reposting this so many times. It's just that there's so many different Obama articles on here, haha.

Barack Obama is a bourgeois politician representing bourgeois interests which are diametrically opposed to proletarian interests. The Obama movement is a predominantly proletarian movement, with a predominantly bourgeois false-consciousness. Nevertheless, this following belies restlessness within the working class; concealed as it is by the obfuscations of Obama's bourgeois, populist propaganda. While Obama and his team are obviously bourgeois, it must be acknowledged that he represents what happens to be at the present time (and could easily cease to be tomorrow, of course) the 'progressive' branch of our national bourgeoisie. What this means is that it just so happens at the present time that the proletariat does stand to gain - but a trifle - from Obama's presidency. The key gain, however, is not actually material but ideological: as Obama fails over and over to deliver change except in the most base material advances for small sections of the population, the proletariat will go one way or the other ideologically. Either they'll become disenchanted with the bourgeois electoral process and doubtful of the possibility for change - that's if they are unorganized and uneducated; or they'll become radicalized, as their historical experiences coincide with their new exposure to anarchist and communist ideas.

Essentially, then: he will not deliver change in the sense that any revolutionary or even any social-democrat understands it. He will betray that promise in the lap of the bourgeoisie. He will continue the war in Iraq and intensify the war in Afghanistan, and the secret wars in Somalia and elsewhere will go on. The changes he will deliver or help deliver will be trifling and insignificant, yet still meaningful on some basic level. (For example, the lifting of travel restrictions to Cuba is thrilling to many; but it's clear the general embargo will continue.)

Either way, we're faced with his presidency and the question is begged by history: what are we going to do about it? We've got to seize on the energy and the new interest in politics that his campaign has everywhere developed. We've got to throw ourselves into properly organizing these people who are newly-organized by the Obama campaign. In order to make the best use of this, though, we must first understand what exactly it is that we're dealing with. Which sections of which classes backed Obama? Why? What will Obama do and what will he not do - and how can we take advantage of the totality of both those situations to drive more people to correct ideas and analyses? How can this latest circus be made to be one of the last?

I encourage everyone to read the article below, because it deals with exactly these questions. The analysis is incomplete and needs further development and needs to be further furnished with actual facts. The most useful thing, though, would be to read, analyze, and criticize the analysis itself.

Yours in struggle,