Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 23, 2009

“Marxists” for Obama

Filed under: Obama,parliamentary cretinism — louisproyect @ 2:22 pm

In some cases even people who call themselves Marxists have run to Obama’s whistle. Last November, Carl Davidson, a former Sixties Maoist turned “Marxist” Web-master of “Progressives for Obama,” wrote a widely circulated essay claiming that Obama’s victory in the presidential election was “a major victory” for left progressives. Badly misusing the terminology of the Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci, Davidson claimed that the Obama administration represented the rise of “an emerging historic counter-hegemonic bloc” containing elements of Marxian/proletarian “class struggle.” He strained the bounds of credulity by claiming that the new Obama presidency represented a decisive break with both neoliberalism and corporate liberalism and that the new White House was torn by a major tension between forces representing the capitalist class’s “old hydrocarbon sector” and forces representing a progressive new left-leaning “green sector.” As the left journalist Arun Gupta quipped, “Obama must have missed Davidson’s memo,” for the Obama White House had committed to spending $1 trillion a year on the Pentagon but just a “few billion on green jobs, mainly as subsidies to big corporations like the big three [automakers].”

Last January, United for Peace and Justice leader and top U.S. Communist Party official Judith LeBlanc actually called President Obama’s appointment of Richard Holbrooke as a special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan last January “an exciting moment for the peace movement, because its possible diplomacy will be the first step…It’s incredibly important that the antiwar movement reach out to this envoy,” LeBlanc said, “and speak directly to the White House about our concerns.” This was remarkable commentary given Holbrooke’s rather unsavory history as a leading U.S. foreign policy operative and commentator over the years – a record that included critical support (in his role as Under-Secretary of State for Asian Affairs in the Carter administration) for Indonesia’s U.S.-supported atrocities (bordering on genocide) against East Timor in 1975, promising (in his role as Bill Clinton’s special envoy to the Balkans) immunity to Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic (according to Karadzic himself and to former Bosnian foreign minister Mohammad Sacirbey), helping lead (in his role as special envoy to Kosovo) the “diplomatic” charge to the U.S. bombing of Serbia in 1999, providing Democratic support for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and serving as a pro-war foreign policy advisor to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. As Holbrooke took up his appointment with a ringing endorsement from the Communist Party’s LeBlanc, a left U.S. newspaper reported that “Angry protesters gathered in Mehtarlam, capital of Afghanistan’s eastern Laghman Province, to protest deaths of at least 16 civilians in a U.S. raid on a village Jan. 23. The same day, across the border in western Pakistan, a senior Pakistani official said two U.S. missile attacks may have killed up to 100 civilians. In Washington, administration officials refused to answer whether President Obama had okayed the missile strikes.”

full: http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/23434

6 Comments »

  1. I would like to write the comment in english but mine is awfull. So if you don’t mind I will do it in spanish.

    A los ojos del mundo la victoria de Obama sobre McCain fue un giro muy inesperado en la política de los Estados Unidos puesto que se rompe una barrera muy importante es ese país: La raza.

    El simbolismo que rodeó, (y creo que es válido decir que aún lo rodea), a Obama por ser el primer Presidente negro de los EEUU (Estados Unidos), aquello sumado a amplia campaña mediática, (haya sido a favor o en contra), tanto local como internacional, han provocado un “Fenómeno Obama” de proporciones globales, llegando al punto de que se le otorgue un premio Novel de la Paz, (que creo no merece). Eso ha hecho que el publico, el pueblo, el ciudadano de a pie, se confunda y no vea la verdad tras ese cambio del “yes we can”.

    En algún numero de un periódico alternativo de mi país (Chile), leí una entrevista a un analista político norteamericano sobre este “fenómeno Obama” justo después de las elecciones del año pasado. Este analista (perdónenme si no puedo recordar su nombre ahora), decía que al Imperio no le interesa que su próximo Presidente, más bien su Administrador, sea negro, amarillo o musulmán mientras le sirva al imperio, mientras lo defienda y defienda los intereses de las corporaciones que profitan del país, basta y sobra.

    Todo lo dicho sirve como marco para que personas como las mencionadas en el artículo, aparezcan respaldando a una figura mediática tan hipócrita como la de Obama, sólo por el hecho de que se le denomina “progresista”. No reniego de las buenas obras que intenta hacer, tal es el caso del sistema de salud universal, pero por favor no queramos tapar el sol con un dedo.

    Esos así llamados Marxistas, profanan la ideología al pronunciarse en favor de una serie de políticas que justamente reafirman un modelo con el cual se está en contra por diferencias irreconciliables en el modo de hacer y de ejercer los derechos, en el modo en el cual se trata al trabajador y en un sinnúmero de otros aspectos. Es lamentable que personas de los altos cargos del Partido Comunista hagan tales declaraciones, resulta ser vergonzoso para personas como yo, que ven como esos agentes que debieran promover un verdadero cambio, adhieren a un hibrido político como Obama. Pero no pierdo las esperanzas de que aún existe gente clara que quiere que los Estados Unidos sea un país justo y equitativo.

    Saludos desde Chile

    Rogelio.

    Comment by Rogelio Bontá — December 23, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  2. While Davidson made astute use of his Stalinist popular front pedigree to concoct these sham “differences” in order to justify supporting one wing of the bourgeoisie against another, we all know that he would have supported any Democrat against McCain. Only Black yuppie “outsider” Obama was easier to sell than John Kerry or Hillary Clinton…something the Wall Street “wing” of the ruling class realized as well. While it is tempting to mock these morons for being the assholes they were, are, and always will be, we shouldn’t forget that this kind of “progressive” politics dominates what passes for a “left” in this country and until it is politically taken on and defeated by class struggle politics we are in for some pretty hard times. Witness the dearth of struggle against the war, Wall Street or for national health care.

    Comment by MN Roy — December 23, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

  3. My argument with P4O in pre-election 2008:

    Every time I see P4O (Progressives for Obama) I recognize the contradiction in the denial of Obama as a conservative. Obama is not even positioned to the left within the controlling political class which is in itself conservative. The left leaning conservatives within the conservative political class have been excluded from any meaningful governmental participation and largely exiled to the third parties.

    P4O is a misnomer, as it should be P4C as in “Progressives for Conservatives.” “Progressives in support of Conservatives” is a contradiction that can only call into question the validity of elections in such an exclusionary system such as this which dominates this nation’s government.

    The conservative political class with its two parties functions as a monopoly. The parties write the laws that regulate party activity. The political class is a law unto itself in that it excludes all competition that may interfere with its operation. It is self dealing in its maintenance of its monopoly.

    The popular argument is that a vote for the lesser of two evils is a contribution to reform.

    I argue that the vote for the lesser of two evils is a reinforcement of corruption.

    Those who accept the validity of a vote for the lesser of two evils have on their side the acknowledgment of the evil of the two parties. I see hope for all in that recognition on their part.

    If the parties are both evil, and a marginal difference is all that can recommend a vote for one over the other, the argument for “lesser of evil voting” is that the marginal difference justifies full throated support for a vote for the lesser of two evils by Progressives for Conservatives.

    The argument for lesser of two evils voting follows:

    Only when the two parties of the conservative political class are less evil by historical standards and less in need of reform, is it then safe to attempt reform. Since the parties are both conservative and are only marginally different, the only safe time for reform is when the political class as a whole has become less corrupted and less evil. Only when BOTH parties are LESS in need of reform should a vote be cast for a third party candidate. Only at a time when the urgency for reform is NOT a strong motivation for voting for a third party is it safe to vote for a third party. Otherwise the marginally less evil vote will be split by the third party vote and lose to the marginally MORE evil in our corrupt electoral system.

    The argument against lesser of two evils voting as a reinforcement of corruption follows:

    The public should WAIT until the government becomes less corrupted and less evil before attempting reform. The Lesser Evil Party will be asking the pubic to wait for years while posing as impotent do-gooders, apathetic leaders of an apathetic public. The evils and corruption will be portrayed as a temporary abnormality.

    Hence, reform can be INTENTIONALLY forestalled by MAXIMIZING corruption and evil with the understanding that the Lesser Evil Party will not allow the marginal difference gap to expand or contract, thereby maintaining third party votes as unacceptably dangerous in a time of increasing evil and corruption. Excluding third parties minimizes public interference with the business of the conservative political class. The Greater Evil Party can extend what is portrayed by the Lesser Evil Party as a temporary abnormality indefinitely.

    I make this argument in a generic manner without reference to specific parties, specific evils, or specific nations. The abstract nature of this argument makes it applicable to the past, present and future. It is applicable to a conservative political class exercising its monopoly through two parties with only marginal differences between them. It describes the exercise of domination by a political class through the spectacle of elections divorced from policy.

    The nature of this argument’s timelessness means that elections under this system are incapable of bringing change or being changed systemically by means other than that of a corrupt institution falling under its own weight.

    We will be having this same discussion before every election. The Lesser Evils Party, if it wins, will neither bring legal action for crimes nor legislation to restrain the conservative political class in successive administrations. The Greater Evil Party, if it wins, will move toward greater evils, followed by the loyal Lesser Evil Party with its admonishment to the public to WAIT for reforms.

    This argument can be credible only among those who judge the two parties as evil and corrupt. I argue this judgment is a minimum requirement of progressivism.

    Those who see the confrontation between the two parties as a battle between good and evil are conservative voters and de facto conservatives. They are Progressives for Conservatives and in their confusion neither progressive nor conservative. They are merely weak people who easily succumb to extortion.

    Comment by Glenn — December 24, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

  4. On the Kasama website, the indefatigable Carl Davidson proudly declared that he would have supported Obama over McCain “in a heartbeat” even if the sisters and brothers Obama was slaughtering were in his beloved Beaver County, and not in far off lands. You have to credit the guy for his internationalism, I guess.

    Comment by jp — December 24, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  5. Davidson apparently never found the time in his long career as a Marxist to read Marx.

    He referred to his work as a “capitalist” taxi driver. He fails to see that the first eight hours of his shift provided profit to the real capitalist, the owner of the taxi company, and nothing to himself. Had he parked the taxi after eight hours (on a good day) he would have only broken even for his efforts. Hours nine through fourteen provided his compensation.

    How does a person become a leading voice in a movement without understanding the meaning of exploitation and surplus? How does his claim to being a communist accord with support for Obama and the Democratic Party?

    Ignorance and actions such as these amount to nothing more than subversion of efforts to bring change from the left.

    Comment by Glenn — December 24, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

  6. Glenn nails the coffin.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 27, 2009 @ 3:34 pm


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