Wage Slave News - Contents
26 November 2008
Barack Obama swept to power in the US presidential election on a wave of hope, change, and ‘new politics’, although the popular vote didn’t match the hype. His election gave hope to many from the down-trodden poor to the broken promise weary ‘middle class’ Americans. Is he what he seems, and can he follow through on his election rhetoric?
Rosie Dimanno (Toronto Star, 7/November/2008) points out that he supports the death penalty, opposes same sex marriage, and wants to pursue the “war on terror” vigorously by increasing the troop numbers in Afghanistan and will likely ask his NATO allies to do the same. She comments, “In Canadian terms, he’d barely qualify as a Red Tory.”
People are judged more by their actions than their words. The make-up of his transition team and appointments speak volumes. His team includes John Podesta, Clinton chief of staff and a successful corporate lobbyist. Valerie Jarret, a Chicago real estate executive, and Washington insider, Peter Rouse. His appointments, so far, are Rahm Emanuel, a leading member of the right wing Democratic Leadership Council and former investment banker who received the most campaign cash from banks and investment firms, and Hilary Clinton as Secretary of state. She represents the establishment and the right wing of the party. Rumoured appointments include former Federal Reserve chairmen, Paul Volcker, current Citigroup executive, Robert Rubin, and New York Federal Reserve Bank president, Timothy Geithner, all of whom played a leading role in the 1990s bank deregulation movement that created massive profits and CEO salaries and contributed to the current financial collapse. Robert Gates, who expounded the doctrine of ‘pre-emptive strike’, could stay on as Defense Secretary (email@example.com). All this signals to the ruling elite that Obama is ready to defend their interests while the promises of health care reform, tax breaks, and other social measures are already being pushed to the back burner by the economic situation and massive government deficits. It will be difficult to explain the two trillion dollar bank bailouts and looming auto industry hand outs while the workers receive nothing but unemployment, homelessness, and disappearing pensions. It also signals business as usual and this is no surprise to socialists. The Socialist Party of Canada and its companion parties around the world have claimed since their inception that state governments are a necessary part of capitalism and must be supported and run in its interests at all costs. It is the state government that legitimizes the private ownership of the world’s riches and the means of producing goods by the capitalist class through its legislation, thus legalizing the exploitation of the working class through the appropriation of the surplus value created by the workers. It is the state government that creates the mechanisms (the army, police, the law/court/prison system, the educational system, etc.) for maintaining the system of a tiny minority controlling the vast majority in that minority’s interest. In fact, clause six in our Declaration of Principles says,
“That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organize consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.”
This was written in 1904 and holds as true today as it did then. Thus it can be deduced that, until a party, such as The Socialist Party of Canada, or The World Socialist Party, United States, that represent the interests of the working class is on every ballot, and the majority working class become conscious of theses facts and choose socialism, elections will come and go, hopes will be raised and lost, but there will be no fundamental change in the composition of our socio-economic system and the present one that is run in the interest of the owning class will continue ad infinitum. Obama may well bring a change in style from the crude and blunt style of the Bush administration, but we can confidently say that eight years from now the American people will be seeking change and hope once again, as do the voters of all the world’s countries in their elections.