‘Left’ Obamites Prefer Kool-Aid to Struggle

Lots of folks on the left, it is now apparent, no longer seek anything more than to bask in the sunshine of Barack Obama’s smile. No matter how much national treasure their champion transfers to the bankster class, and despite his exceeding George W. Bush in military spending, so-called progressives for Obama continue to celebrate their imagined emergence as players in the national political saga. Having in practice foresworn resistance to Power, they relish in bashing the non-Obamite Left.

In tone and substance, Linda Burnham’s recent, widely circulated piece, “Notes on an Orientation to the Obama Presidency” is several cuts above last summer’s vicious rant by Amiri Baraka, “The Parade of Anti-Obama Rascals.” But both assaults on Left critics of Obama are based on the same false assumptions and willful illogic, and although no one can trump Baraka in argumentative foul play and sheer nastiness, Burnham’s article is nonetheless littered with sneers at those who “are stranded on Dogma Beach . . . flipping out over every appointment and policy move [Obama] makes.”

Burnham launches immediately into a denigration of non-Obamites, claiming Obama’s election “occasioned some disorientation and confusion” among those on the Left who “have become so used to confronting the dismal electoral choice between the lesser of two evils that they couldn’t figure out how to relate to a political figure who held out the possibility of substantive change.”

Burnham’s method is to invent straw men and then place words and thoughts in their fictitious mouths and brains. Certainly, we at Black Agenda Report were anything but “confused” by either Obama’s political conduct or his extraordinary popularity, having placed the young upstart under intense scrutiny beginning in the early Summer of 2003, while he was still a low-ranked candidate for the Democratic senatorial nomination in Illinois. His phenomenal talents, hitched to a transparently corporatist, imperial worldview — and a practiced dishonesty about his rightist alliances — made Obama a person worth watching. The BAR team, then operating out of Black Commentator, had Obama pegged as a potential vector of confusion in Black and progressive ranks long before his worldwide debut at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. And we were right. It is in Burnham’s political neighborhood that confusion reigns, not ours.

Burnham claims that many on the Left “were taken by surprise at how wide and deep ran the current for change.” Either she’s talking about herself, or she hangs around a very cloistered crowd. Or, more likely, Burnham is conflating the word “change” with “Obama” — an effect of drinking too much Kool-Aid. In either case, none of it applies to folks like us at BAR — and there are a number of others on the Left — who more than five years ago understood both Obama’s mass appeal and the mass desire for real change, and feared that one would thwart the other.

Left critics of Obama, according to Burnham, fail to recognize that he is not the “lesser of two evils,” but rather holds out the “possibility of substantive change.” This is a core position, central to the “progressive” Obamite argument. Beyond the fact of having broken the presidential color bar, which in the American context is a positive development on its face, Obama is near-identical to Hillary Clinton on virtually every policy issue, as became evident in the primaries. Their compatibility was revealed as something closer to political intimacy when Obama erected his Cabinet — a house as Clintonian as anything Bill ever built, with plenty of room reserved for friends from the Bush gang. Color aside, whatever kind of “evil” Hillary and Bill are, Obama is.

Burnham outlines what she says is the “active conversation on the left about what can be expected of an Obama administration and what the orientation of the left should be towards it.” We will have to take her word for it, although her mischaracterization of Left Obama critics (certainly those at BAR) makes us less than confident that the “conversation” is as she describes. Below are the “two conflicting views” on Obama, on the Left:

First, that Obama represents a substantial, principally positive political shift and that, while the left should criticize and resist policies that pull away from the interests of working people, its main orientation should be to actively engage with the political motion that’s underway.

Second, that Obama is, in essence, just another steward of capitalism, more attractive than most, but not an agent of fundamental change. He should be regarded with caution and is bound to disappoint. The basic orientation is to criticize every move the administration makes and to remain disengaged from mainstream politics.

The first viewpoint is no doubt held by Burnham. It is essentially mooted by the reality that most Left Obamites only weakly “criticize” and virtually never “resist” Obama’s rightist policies and appointments in the crucial military and economic arenas — which was, first, the fear and, later, the main complaint of the non-Obamite Left. The Obama Effect is to neutralize Blacks and the Left (Blacks being the main electoral base of the American Left) by capturing their enthusiasm for Obama’s own corporate purposes. Obama and his Democratic Leadership Council allies (and their corporate masters) monopolize the “motion,” all the while shutting out even mildly Left voices (as in the recent White House Forum on Health, from which single payer health care advocates were initially barred). Blacks and the Left have not been in any kind of effective forward “motion” since Election Day. As we shall see, Burnham’s definition of “motion” does not involve confronting Power, but rather, attaching oneself to it.

Policy-wise, Obama no more “represents a substantial, principally positive political shift” than his political twin, Hillary — again, color aside.

The second viewpoint is supposedly held by the opposition, and partially reflects the views of the BAR team. Yes, Obama is “just another steward of capitalism, more attractive than most, but not an agent of fundamental change.” This has been easily observed, since Blacks and the Left have allowed Obama to act upon his corporate and imperial instincts, unimpeded by even the mildest counter-pressures. His presidency takes shape to the Right of Democratic congressional leaders, who have made more noise over Obama’s Iraq trickle-out and his clear threats to Social Security and other “entitlements,” than have many Left Obamites.

Obama is not simply “bound to disappoint” — he has already been cause for great disappointment, even among those of us who scoped his essential corporatist nature years ago. Who would have predicted that he would play the most eager Gunga Din for the bizarre Bush/Paulson bank bailout decree, last year? Who would have foreseen that Obama would retain the loathsome international criminal Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense? That he would continue Bush’s policies on Africa — Zimbabwe, Sudan, Somalia, AFRICOM — without missing a beat? That he would so quickly offer to put Social Security “on the table” for “reform” (in the Republican sense of the term)?

But Burnham would have you believe the Left opposition are nothing but nitpickers, inflating executive pinpricks into major assaults. Thus, she seeks to make the opposition look silly, as if we “criticize every move the administration makes.” In truth, her argument is designed to excuse her and her Left allies failure to “resist” or confront Obama in any meaningful way.

Like many of her cohorts, Burnham is quick to grant that Obama “is a steward of capitalism,” but maintains that “his election has opened up the potential for substantive reform in the interests of working people and that his election to office is a democratic win worthy of being fiercely defended.”

Again, if Obama’s election opened up the “potential” for reform, so would have Hillary’s. They were (and remain) political brother and sister under the skin. The Obamites would be utterly helpless if unable to deploy (and abuse) the term “potential,” given the actuality of Obama’s presidency. Conveniently, “potential” lives in the future, where it can’t be pinned down. That’s why Obama’s “potential” is a central theme of his Left camp followers — it allows them to claim that the opposition’s critiques of their hero might harm the “potential” good he might do in the future.

At any rate, the Obamite Left can claim no credit for Obama’s progressive “potential,” since they did little or nothing that might have caused him to abandon his relentless rightward drift.

Burnham & Co. want us to accept Obama’s corporate orientation as “what he was elected to do.” Burnham urges us to be “clear” about Obama’s “job description”: “Obama’s job is to salvage and stabilize the U.S. capitalist system and to perform whatever triage is necessary to restore the core institutions of finance and industry to profitability.”

That is certainly what Obama and his big campaign funders believe his job is, but a progressive’s task is to cause him to serve the people — an assignment that I am not convinced Burnham and her allies have accepted.

On the international scene (i.e., The Empire), Obama’s job — as Burnham says should be clear to “us” — is “to salvage the reputation of the U.S. in the world; repair the international ties shredded by eight years of cowboy unilateralism; and adjust U.S. positioning on the world stage [so far, so good, but here Burnham slips down the proverbial slope] on the basis of a rational assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the changed and changing centers of global political, economic and military power – rather than on the basis of a simple-minded ideological commitment to unchallenged world dominance.”

Obama’s military budget, bigger than Bush’s, his escalation in Afghanistan/Pakistan, the unraveling of his Iraq “withdrawal” promises, and his provocations in Africa all signal that this president has no intention of relinquishing the goal of global U.S. hegemony. To paraphrase his famous statement on war, “I’m not opposed to imperialism, just dumb imperialism.”

Burnham should bring herself to admit that Obama is, indeed, merely a more charming face pasted on the imperial monster — with the same teeth (weapons), appetite and ambitions. In an indirect way, she does offer a version of the truth, packaged in what sounds like genuine, praiseful admiration:

“Obama has been on the job for only a month but has not wasted a moment in going after his double bottom line with gusto, panache and high intelligence. In point of fact, the capitalists of the world – or at least the U.S. branch — ought to be building altars to the man and lighting candles. They have chosen an uncommonly steady hand to pull their sizzling fat from the fire.”

Burnham then sets up the Left straw men, so as to knock them down. These one-note Charlies, real or imagined, are incapable of sophisticated thought and analysis:

“For the anti-capitalist left that is grounded in Trotskyism, anarcho-horizontalism, or various forms of third-party-as-a-point-of-principleism [sic], the only change worthy of the name is change that hits directly at the kneecaps of capitalism and cripples it decisively. All else is trifling with minor reforms or, even worse, capitulating to the power elite. From this point of view the stance towards Obama is self-evident: criticize relentlessly, disabuse others of their presidential infatuation, and denounce anything that remotely smacks of mainstream politics.”

Such people may exist, but they don’t resemble BAR or any of our allies and correspondents. Burnham is employing the cheapest trick of argumentation: she picks (or invents) the weakest, most unreasonable, narrow opponent, and savages him. I know of no serious activist that believes “the only change worthy of the name is change that hits directly at the kneecaps of capitalism and cripples it decisively.” If that were so, then such activists would have nothing to do for most of their lives, since chances to “cripple” capitalism “decisively” are few and very far between.

But crises of capitalism do occur, and we are living through one of them. Capitulationists are also real, and reveal themselves at the worst possible junctures. One great tragedy of the current episode is that the crisis occurred at a moment when the remnants of the Left and Black movements in the U.S. have been neutralized by the “uncommonly steady hand” of imperialism’s Black champion, to whom Burnham and countless others have, yes, capitulated.

In order to defend the capitulation, the Burnhams of the Left must credit Obama with achievements he has not made, plus the amorphous “potential” achievements to which he has “opened the door” and which will magically occur even in the absence of organized people making a demand. A hilarious Burnham example of an Obama feat: He has “wrenched the Democratic Party out of the clammy grip of Clintonian centrism. (Although he himself often leads from the center, Obama’s center is a couple of notches to the left of the Clinton administration’s triangulation strategies)….”

Ha! Burnham imagines “notches” that aren’t there. Obama’s government IS Clintonian. And the new president is as skilled and ruthless a triangulator as Bill ever was, consistently finding a position to the Right of whatever passes for Left on Capitol Hill, but nestled near to the corporate bosom.

Burnham spends additional pages working the same themes of Left “anticipatory disillusionment” and other psycho-babble to mask her own cohort’s capitulation. Many Obama critics did anticipate his center-right behavior, and we were correct — but never disillusioned. Political groupies, however, are fated to suffer disillusion and betrayal.

Burnham reveals inklings of her own emotional state when she gratuitously urges “those who missed interacting with the motion of millions against the right, against the white racial monopoly on the executive branch, and for substantive change,” to re-examine their political orientation. In addition to her condescending tone, which seems to assume that her targets have no experience with the “motion of millions” in actual political movements, rather than a corporate-shaped and funded presidential election campaign, Burnham appears to think of the non-Obamite Left as people who didn’t RSVP for the best party of the year, and are now resentful.

In the last hundred words of the piece, we discover that her idea of “building the left” requires folding up the tent in or near the Obama camp. Examine this extraordinary passage:

“The current political alignment provides an opportunity to break out of isolation, marginalization and the habits of self-marginalization accumulated during the neo-conservative ascendancy. It provides the opportunity to initiate and/or strengthen substantive relationships with political actors in government, in the Democratic Party, and in independent sectors, as well as within the left itself – relationships to be built upon long after the Obama presidency has come to an end. It provides the opportunity to accumulate lessons about political actors, alignments and centers of power likewise relevant well beyond this administration. And it provides the opportunity for the immersion of the leaders, members and constituencies of left formations in a highly accelerated, real world poli-sci class.”

This sounds uncannily like Obamite Prof. Leonard Jeffries’ admonition that all Black folks “study Obama-ism.” Burnham’s gushings are remarkable for their abject surrender, not just to Obama’s persona and mystique, but to the institutional trappings and annexes of corporate-tethered rule. She wants us all to take lessons from the corporate-bought structures — to better serve the people? No. Burnham is telling us that now that she’s seen the Big Party, she doesn’t want to leave. She’s tasted that vintage wine, drank the good stuff, and is determined not to go back to movement rations.

I do agree that Burnham can use some political education. “For the anti-capitalist left,” she writes, “this is a period of experimentation. There is no roadmap; there are no recipes.” Maybe, but there are abiding truths that she has willfully forgotten: “Power concedes nothing without a demand.”

Those elements that refuse to make demands of Power ought to stop calling themselves part of the Left. Unless the Left is in power, it is a contradiction in terms.

Glen Ford is Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, where this article first appeared. He can be contacted at: Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com. Read other articles by Glen, or visit Glen's website.

19 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on March 11th, 2009 at 9:52am #

    one cannot obtain an elucidation about some peoples’ plans/proposals by solely pidgeonholing the in Left or Right.
    but if one wld alight on descriptive level and reveal what the Left’s plans are, we might learn s’mthing.

    so, whenever i see the word “left” i skip at least a whole paragraph. i am averse to dwell on what the Center, Right, and Left means in US.
    especially in view what the three groups approbate iraq, afgh’n, and pal’n wars.
    all i have to remember is that 98% of USans have approved of the three wars and rejected free high schooling and health care.tx

  2. Dogwood said on March 11th, 2009 at 11:14am #

    Yes, I find all the Obamites I know firmly grounded in “hopes”, “dreams” and “potential”. – but, facts, they, to a person, keep well clear of.

  3. Dave Silver said on March 11th, 2009 at 11:35am #

    Bravo Glen
    A mighty blow at the pseudo-Left and other opportunists.

  4. Dave Silver said on March 11th, 2009 at 1:32pm #

    A timely blow against the pseudo Left opportunistic politics

  5. Brian said on March 11th, 2009 at 4:10pm #

    Don’t forget Obama’s absurd appointment of Arne Duncan to run the Ed. Dept. The guy couldn’t even run one school district.

    No training in education, he’s Obama’s Michael Brown appointment.

    Now he’s got billions of dollars to hand out to those schools which adopt his antiquated notions of reform: more conceptually flawed standardized testing, divisive, proven failure merit pay schemes, and pedagogically wreckless pay for grade bribery.

  6. danE said on March 11th, 2009 at 6:15pm #

    Glen — May I extend my effusive thanks and congratulations for this superb and superbly well-focussed response to Ms Burnham’s unfortunate but superbly crafted propaganda piece.

    Since your post contains both sides of a, if not “the” key debates between people claiming to be “on the left”, claiming to advocate for the interests of those subordinated by Capitalism, Imperialism, Racism etc, I’m a little surprised how few of DV’s resident Troll corps have chosen to weigh in. Surely the Green Party(s) must have a position on Ms Burnham’s arguments? That a GP DVer could post a link to, if unable to say anything new themselves?
    Which very nearly describes my own predicament, but I did spot one point Glen left out, which to me would be pretty funny if it wasn’t so sad:
    “For the anti-capitalist left that is grounded in Trotskyism, anarcho-horizontalism, or various forms of third-party-as-a-point-of-principleism, the only change worthy of the name is change that hits directly at the kneecaps of capitalism and cripples it decisively. All else is trifling with minor reforms or, even worse, capitulating to the power elite.”
    I wonder how many reading this would suspect that Ms Burnham was for many years a senior member of the Maoist “Line of March” (aka “Frontline”) organization. LOM for many years held the “George Habash” franchise in the US, and was seen by many ( including myself at the time) as the leading pro-Palestine/anti-Zionist formation in the US, having played the key role in organizing the Nov. 29 Coalition to mobilize opposition to the 1982 IOF invasion of Lebanon.

    Line of March was an outfront Marxist-Leninist outfit, run on Democratic Centralist lines by former National Guardian editor Irwin Silber with the assistance of Max Elbaum. LOM was at pains to let you know of their opposition to “reformism”, which they equated with “revisionism” as displayed by the CPUSA & the CPSU of that time, before Bukharin was “rehabilitated” etc. So it’s ironic to read her skillful pleading on behalf of a position totally opposite to what she supported earlier.
    Oh well. What a shame. I had the pleasure of meeting the charming Ms B f2f on a cpl of occasions, and was totally impressed. Really bums me out to see her turn out like this. Alas, most of my onetime LOM associates have gone the same way: down the Demock rat-hole. So take heed: beware of More Radical Than Thou college graduates with rich relatives.
    BTW: Rereading her piece for the quote, I spotted several really unsound arguments Glen didn’t cover. I have to get offline now, but I hope when I come back tomorrow I’ll find some additional Comments dissecting same?
    Thanks again, Glen:)

  7. Max Shields said on March 11th, 2009 at 7:17pm #

    Brian, yea, “charter” schools?! Now that’s innovative change you can believe in(?). And what is it about “charter” schools that makes them so great we should jump to them? The results are mixed at best.

    What Burnham doesn’t get is that many of those who think Obama is a cheap pol. saw saw it way before Nov. 4. Obama is and has been what he is a pol.

    Look his “followers” think he was for “single payer health care”. What speech were they fu)cking listening to? The ONE he gave in 2003? Or the hundreds on the same ol privatized health care program he was offering on the campaign stump since 2007? And these are the people who are somewhat willing to admit this guy’s a lier.

    His “anti-war” speech that these dupes voted for was sometime in 2003 when he was a State Senator. But they kept on HOPING.

    Now he’s in and he’s cheaper and as corporate as you can be.

  8. Max Shields said on March 11th, 2009 at 8:30pm #

    Just listening to Duncan. Instead of building community, he wants children to spend all their time in school buildings rather than connecting with their communities. That’s what he says comes down to.

    Today, a child’s day begins around 6:30 am with a yellow bus ride to a brick building where they are housed until about 2:30 pm. Then they hop on the yellow bus and are “dumped” off at their home where there may or may not be anyone home. They go in and play video games or watch tv. And it’s repeated until the weekend.

    The point isn’t simply that the children come home to an empty house and play inside by themselves. Little outside activity. NO connection with the community, with the neighborhood. No real contact with people of different ages.

    So, Duncan’s answer – use the school as the main community center. No particular connection with day to day community life, it will all go on within a artificial ediface. The school is the place to keep children for not just 5 days but 7 days. Schools are assets which should be fully utilized, but not simply as a means to keep children. The key is to get children interacting in the world, connecting with the neighborhood/community.

    I’d suggest Duncan contact ABCD Institute in Chicago to get a better understanding of how children can play a major role in the community, not as passive “learners” but as community builders.

    Children don’t play outside, with other children (I’m generalizing, but the decline of outside activity, kids with kids, has diminished in cities to the point of almost non-existence). Does Duncan care? Or does he think we can engineer human development through immersion into the school system. Arse backwards.

  9. Deadbeat said on March 11th, 2009 at 11:54pm #

    Of course Duncan and Obama believe this regarding education because their mandate is to breed children for the workforce so that America can remain “competitive”. I agree with Ford’s general critique of “Left-winger” who are in the Obama camp but as usual Ford forget’s that he was in the camp of the Democrats in 2004. The problem as it still stand is that the Left offers NO coherent alternatives especially to mainstream African American voters and people of color in general.

    The Left split it ranks in 2008 with both Nader and McKinney running on different slates. Even Ford referred to the Democrat, Dennis Kucinich as the “Black” candidate. So with the Left being all over the map and having no solidarity there is a huge void on the Left that leave the only “rational” choice being the Democratic candidate.

    Until the Left can reach some sort of consensus and build solidarity with people of color, Obama will have no problem getting the Black vote in 2012. There is much work to be done on the Left. As we have seen Obama economic strategy will fail miserably and perhaps that may radicalize a few folks to seek some real change.

  10. Oemissions said on March 12th, 2009 at 1:40am #

    Atleast feedback from the socalled “left” and dissident left is welcomed, even tho’ much of it is “after the fact” rather than before the decisions are made.
    An example of this would be the appointment of Vilsack for agriculture.
    The organic movement organized before this with other recommendations, and after the announcement of Vilsack, the protest was immense. So , Obama responded with a second in command appointee who was an approved appointee by the organic organizations.

  11. Max Shields said on March 12th, 2009 at 5:28am #

    Oemissions, what you described is called meaningless “appeasement”.

    Ups the drone and killing Afghanistan it allows stem cell research. This is his mo. Watch it. Holds the violin with his left hand and plays with his right. This is Dem finesse over Repub in your face – still the same net results only the “left” as DB says is appeased, shut up/down.

  12. Dave Silver said on March 12th, 2009 at 6:37am #

    A well needed blow at the pseudo Left and assorted opportunists.

  13. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 12th, 2009 at 7:11am #

    People in USA don’t know what socialism is, and that’s why they follow Obama. For Obama to be a real electoralist-socialist, he would have to reform the US constitution, the economy, and the apparatus of the US government. This would include a nationalization program of most giant corporations, and a regulation of the smaller nationalist bourgeoise corporations which would remain privately owned.

  14. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 12th, 2009 at 2:34pm #






  15. danE said on March 12th, 2009 at 2:56pm #

    Herewith a cpl links to some on-topic pieces from today’s I-news:
    Howard Zinn: Obama “Is Going to Need Demonstrations and Protest and Letters and Petitions” to Do the Right Things
    By Liliana Segura, AlterNet
    Posted on March 12, 2009, Printed on March 12, 2009

    Ms Segura prefaced Zinn with a report about the event where the interview took place, quoting ILWU Local 10’s Clarence Thomas reciting from Langston Hughes’ “The Ballad of Roosevelt”:
    “I am tired of waiting on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt. Damned tired of waiting on Roosevelt. And a lot of other folks was hungry and cold, done stopped believing what they had been told by Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt. Because the pot is still empty and the cupboard is still bare and you cannot build a bungalow out of air.”

    “Western democracism– especially in its most perverted form, the Anglo-Saxon two-party system – always reminds me of American style ‘World Wrestling’, a choreographed pretend fight with pre-determined outcomes where all ‘competitors’ are employed by the same organisation. No matter who wins the ‘smack down’, the World Wrestling Federation always ends up with a profit.”

    Land of Oz: this highly informative Aussie Winkler so far seems to me best characterized as a character, shows some terminally “poor judgment” incl. link to David Duke (!) but other times shows remarkable insight. this piece at best provides some useable ammunition, at worst considerable amusement.

    Props to Max Shields, found your comments right on. As penance for earlier unfortunate misperceptions, let me offer for general amusement the fact that I bought into the Rainbow Coalition rap so hard back in 84 I found myself walking precincts for Doo-kakas. Was stupid enough to buy the koolaid again in 88 doing GOTV for (ugh) Mondale. Took the aborted Rainbow Founding Convention of March 89 (now there’s a funny story) to convince me my instincts had been better than my tortured logic.
    March 1989: was that really twenty years ago? Really gives me a sense of my own obsolescence. Scuse me while I go rust:)

  16. kalidas said on March 12th, 2009 at 5:33pm #

    Well, like father like son.. (whether you know him or not?)


  17. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 12th, 2009 at 7:52pm #


    Most americans think that everybody who owns a small business is an evil capitalist, and even some dogmatic-marxists think that all US citizens are capitalists and part of the capitalist class. (Wrong). The enemy as Marx and Lenin put it are those in the upper classes, the Giant corporations large stock owners. Small business owners like pizza restaurants, barber shops, bakeries, health food stores, gas stations, are victims of capitalism

    the thing is that US media tries to divide small business owners against workers, and workers against each other so that the whole country is divided and unable to overthrow the real capitalists

    and then there are anarchists, and libertarians in USA who don’t take part in political activism, i think that utopian ideologies like anarchism are also tools of disinformation and confusion used by Rothchilds and real capitalists to prevent in USA a real united left movement backed by the US workers, and the nationalist-bourgeoise sectors (Small business owners, like barber shops, gas stations, family owned restaurants, and even supermarkets, not aligned to Wal Mart and Mega-stores), etc.

  18. Joe said on March 13th, 2009 at 8:08pm #

    Though I voted for Obama, I never assumed he would be an example of the “Left in Power”. His purpose is to protect powerful Capitalists and their (imperialist) interests, as would be the purpose of any American president of capitalism. Zizek has suggested that “resistance is surrender”. Making demands of or resisting capitalist power is a surrender to capitalist power, because the rules of the capitalist power game are never overthrown. For the Left to waste time making demands of Obama’s power forgets that Obama can never truly champion the projects of the Left since he is the defender of capitalism. Nevertheless, Obama does indeed symbolize at least one victory of the Civil Rights Movement, and therefore a victory for the struggles of my ancestors. But to criticize him for not demolishing or counteracting capitalist power, and the imperialism it depends on, seems silly. There has never been a movement to overthrow capitalism supported by the majority of Americans; this majority is a prerequisite to capitalism’s defeat. Most Americans, unfortunately, still believe in capitalism, and Obama’s presidency only serves to preserve that belief. Most Americans still worship and imitate the Rich; we can’t expect Obama, who was hired by the Rich, to disparage, even if he moderately criticizes, his employers.

  19. Hue Longer said on March 13th, 2009 at 8:31pm #

    That’s not entirely true Joe,

    The New Deal was made to save capitalism from the masses

    Post WWII Americans were all for socialism (whatever name you give it)

    Kennedy and company narrowly avoided a takeover of the DC airport which would have sparked mass death and resistance.

    There’s plenty history that gets misrepresented or intentionally forgotten for us