Thursday, September 2, 2010

G. W. Obama: The New Old President of the United States


I am about as far from a fan of neocons as it gets. I think they are wannabe fascists and I hope to never see U.S. politically active U.S.ers get any more fascistic. But the neoliberals are not proving themselves to stand for anything significantly different, with a few notable exceptions, like wanting to protect Roe v. Wade.

What we have in a president is a figurehead, and I'm increasingly disillusioned with what that figurehead stands for, or is a symbol of. At first, no matter what he accomplised in his four years--maybe his first four years, I felt he would at least be a symbol of a crack in the concrete of white supremacy in the U.S. But even that is not so certain any more, from my white point of view, anyway. I don't know how African American children see him, but imagine he is a symbol of a kind of hope for their own futures that Black children, especially boy children, didn't have life before he was elected. That said, he is behaving like an Empire-adoring racist genocidalist. And that's entirely "white male supremacist" behavior. So there's no applause from me as he promotes capitalism, the delusions of something bantered about as a [class-privileged white male] workers' "American Dream", and the demonisation of "terrorism" from people off our shores while refusing to identify this country as a Terroristic Nation seeking Globalised Empire--by any and all means necessary.

I realised a while ago that President Barack Obama was not really a free leader of a free country. This country and its leader are held hostage by the will and whims of corporate and military leaders and institutions so foundational to what this country really stands for, that there's not much likelihood he will even challenge their premises or practices. He is not "in charge" of our foreign, economic, or health care policy, any more than G.W. Bush was. He offers no plan for halting sexual slavery or trafficking of human beings for the purposes of gross exploitation and violation by disproportionately white het men. He won't speak about what this country is doing, today and tomorrow, and next week and next year, to destroy American Indians. He won't do anything to end rape, battery, or the generalised, normalised domination of women by men. He won't discuss the problem of incest, let alone pass laws against predatory sexual perpetrators having custody of their own children. He presents himself as a warrior, but not "the Audre Lorde kind".

What follows is from The Huffington Post. Click on title to link back.

Obama's Unpersuasive Iraq Speech

Jacob Heilbrunn

Posted: August 31, 2010 09:07 PM

It's hard not to examine President Obama's speech on Iraq and the economy without experiencing a sinking feeling. Obama employed a number of nautical metaphors about sailing through turbulent seas and storms in his speech, but even he seemed a little queasy about it all. Nothing could have made clearer the extent to which he remains a hostage of the Bush era, both in domestic and foreign policy. His speech did not chart a path to the future but remained mired in the past.

Obama declared, "We have now been through nearly a decade of war. We have endured a long and painful recession. And sometimes in the midst of these storms, the future that we are trying to build for our nation -- a future of lasting peace and long-term prosperity may seem beyond our reach." But it is simply not the case that we have endured a long and painful recession. The truth is that America continues to endure it.

The same goes for Iraq. Despite the president's pretense that combat is over, or at least that the war is, or that something has ended (it's not really quite clear what), Iraq has no government. Were the remaining 50,000 American troops to exit, Iraq would almost surely be engulfed by civil war, which could happen anyway. Meanwhile, the GOP is pretending as though everything is hunky-dory in Iraq and George W. Bush should get all the credit.

Perhaps Obama will recover his footing in the coming weeks and go on the offensive. But for the moment, he remains an easy target for the GOP. A sagging economy and endless war abroad are unlikely to revive America's or his fortunes.


  1. "This country and its leader are held hostage by the will and whims of corporate and military leaders and institutions so foundational to what this country really stands for, that there's not much likelihood he will even challenge their premises or practices. He is not "in charge" of our foreign, economic, or health care policy, any more than G.W. Bush was."

    - I so wish that more people in this country shared your lucidity in their approach to American politics. Unless we all realize how true the statement quoted above is, we have no chance even to imagine climbing out of this abyss we are currently in.

    GREAT post!!!

  2. Thank you, Clarissa.

    It's all very discouraging, how tied so many people are to dominant corporate media. I see people accepting things that are said on television as if the media only speaks Truth. Or, if they know it's not all Truth, too many people don't really want to know exactly what the Lies are, and who pays the most for them to be told.

  3. When your Barak Obama became your first African American president I was surprised by all the excitement he received as he was sworn in. Granted the idea of America's first black president is certainly an important chapter for the history textbooks. But what exactly were you Americans hoping for? Where you all really expecting ground breaking changes?
    Obama may be a black man, but he is presiding over a nation firmly in the grip of white male supremacy that believes it has the right to oppress anyone it so desires.
    In the UK and under the previous government Harriet Harman was second in charge of the labour party. She was a woman who strongly advocated women's rights and the rights of minority groups. Yet she was one woman in a white male dominated and controlled government. As a result every-time she tried to pass female friendly laws or undo sexist and racist laws instituted by the white males she was pulled to piecesby her white male colleagues and the white male controlled media. What makes you think Obama is in a different position?

    White male America is really good at creating illusions to fool people into believing that it is a force for good. They sent in the troops to liberate the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, especially the women and girls. I wonder how many of these women and girls would agree with this view and how many are better off as a result.
    Internally they created affirmative action to show how much they cared that women and minorities would have a fair chance in the government and corporate world. Strange though how in reality white males are still very much running the show and treating the rest as if they are too stupid to be in top positions.

    Unfortunately changing one person (even if it is the president) is not going to help. For true success and liberation you are going to need a lot more.

  4. Solid analysis, Julian. The most we can hope from Obama is that he would pay attention to a powerful grassroots radical movement. Building one remains the task.

  5. Obama got 43% of the White vote, and 54% of the Young White vote so where is this "core White vote" to start with (the 22 year olds are no longer hopeful-surprise, surprise)?

    Given the attention most of us give to: sports, reality and other tv shows and general "popular culture" vs. learning about the rest of the world and studying politics, history and related areas, it is any wonder how many of us think Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis caused 911 or that Obama is Muslim?

    Democrats commonly are Either - "middle-of-the-roadized" as Obama is - where one might as well have a "real Republican" or they are "radicalized" and pushed as "out of touch left-wingers" as a few Democrats are.

    Until and unless far more of us listen and hear much more related to Class, Race, Gender - militarism and similar and actively fight for control (and miraculously succeed) things are hardly like to change, except to get worse.

    Given the general economy - the unemployment rates and the housing market mess and Obama and the Democrats total failure to deal with the basic issues, is it any wonder that conspiracy based right wing forces are showing signs of helping bring real facism to the U.S?

    We should give the Republicans and business interests some credit also. They are very good at building upon the fears and manipulating people who have a lot to lose to support them.

    Certainly we all are up against a lot, however over the years we've done little to bring about change. Scapegoating George W. and Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan and similar didn't help us - except in our delusions.

    Where change does come in good ways it usually comes from poorer, non-White, often non-male people who struggle and organize because they can see How they are hurt by Not doing what they're doing.

    We upper-middle class, White, often Male People are very good at alienating potential allies such as working class Whites, while we fail to support the Good Efforts that are building around us (we usually don't see them). Thanks!

  6. Thank you for that comment, about the State of Resistance and the limits of it, as currently experienced in the U.S. among whites particularly.

    I agree with you.

    What I'll add is this: what we need as well as an non-status-quo, non-capitalist, non-patriarchal pro-community, pro-sustainability ground-swell.

    Community gardens, neighborhoods strengthening their abilities to reach out and support one another's residents, creating co-operative housing that is not oil-dependent, supporting solar energy for homes and apartment buildings, dealing with differences across ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, class--all this is possible in what is termed a down economy.

    The economy is down because it is on its deathbed. Corporate capitalism is as unsustainable as oil-based societies and the two go hand-in-hand.

    Where's the vision for building alternative economies--bartering, sharing resources, pooling resources? Where's the vision to organise alternative housing?

    I don't understand why, for example, the few ex-hippies left who are not corporate sell-outs do not work with their neighbors to organise in the time of no health care and no employment, to do productive, creative work and barter for services.

    The organisers, usually, as you also note, are usually women of color and always have been--because women of color experience the harshest details of dehumanising systems of exploitation and hierarchical social organisation.

    And many, many women of color activists, globally, are coming into some prominence, such as Malalai Joya, Yanar Mohammed, Ruchira Gupta, and Vandana Shiva. Let's take their counsel and guidance for how to proceed. Each and every one of them has a cogent, reality-based critique of dominant society and also knows what needs to happen to transform it: empowering and supporting the efforts of those women and millions of others around the world, many of whom are Black and Indigenous as well as Brown and Asian, and their human rights, economic justice, and anti-heteropatriarchal organisations.

    Economic justice, on the global level, necessitates U.S.ers working on communal levels to replace capitalism, and not hope it makes a strong come-back. It has no other agenda than gross exploitation, slavery, genocide, and ecocide. Why would we want it to come back strong?