Obama’s Victory Should Be Welcomed by the Left

Barack Obama has won a second term in the White House after one of the longest, gruelling, and most expensive presidential campaigns in US history.

Though he lost support among white working class males in this election a progressive coalition of Black, Hispanic, the young, and women voters cemented his victory, especially in those all-important battleground states that were at the heart of both candidates’ campaigns in the final few weeks.

The manner of Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy gave his campaign an unintended but significant boost at a time when some polls had Romney edging ahead. The endorsements the president received over his handling of the disaster by in particular the Republican Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, was probably worth more than a month of campaign ads to the Obama campaign when it came to winning many of those crucial swing votes.

The deep polarisation that cleaves US society ensures that presidential elections have become increasingly akin to battles between the New Testament and Old Testament, with the opportunity and potential for consensus across the aisle wishful thinking. In his first term the obstructionist stance of a Republican controlled congress after the mid term elections left Obama unable to carry forward many of the reforms and policies he’d based his presidency on, illustrating the essential weakness of a democratic system monopolised by vested and corporate interests.

Moreover, the Supreme Court victory of Citizens United v Federal Electoral Commission in 2010 over the issue of campaign finance, touched on by Andy Newman in a previous article, effectively granting corporations the same right to free expression as people, amounts to a corruption of the very word democracy. It ensures that political office is bought and paid for in a way it isn’t in any other western democracy. The result has been the emergence of superPACS, independent political committees that deliver anonymous and unlimited financial support to political candidates.

Obama’s most significant decision when first elected in 2008 was to demobilise the massive grassroots base of volunteers that had largely been responsible for propelling him into office. As a result he quickly moved from being a change and populist candidate into just another machine politician, absent of the political support required to implement the meaningful reforms in Washington he’d pledged before taking office. Many on the left and in progressive circles were no doubt blinded by the fact he was the first viable black candidate for office, in the process projecting progressive credentials onto him that were unrealistic. Barack Obama is and has always been a centrist.

No matter, his repeated campaign boast of having saved the US auto industry and the millions of jobs involved with an $80 billion bailout package in 2009 is no idle one. It was a brave and a bold decision in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, flying in the face of three decades of neoliberal economics. At the time, according to a Pew Research poll, 54 percent of Americans did not support it.

US automotive industry expert Maryann Keller said of the bailout: “It had to be fast; it was ugly, and they certainly didn’t play by the rules of who are the preferred creditors. On the other hand, they saved the industry.”

A Pew poll this year recorded that 56 percent of respondents approved of the Obama bailout of the auto industry and considered it good for the US economy. GM and Chrysler are now in profit and the US auto industry has turned around.

For this and the fact that Romney ran on an avowedly anti-organized labour platform, the unions had much at stake in this election. As a consequence Obama’s victory will be seen as a victory for them and their millions of members, who would otherwise be facing a bleak future today.

Obamacare, as the president’s healthcare reforms have come to be known, falls short of the kind of government funded single payer system that bespeaks a civilised society. It continues to ensure billions in profits for the insurance industry and private healthcare providers, but it does preserve Medicare and Medicaid, and it does ensure that no one is deprived coverage due to pre-existing conditions, as was the case under the previous system.

When it comes to international issues, there is no doubt that Obama’s re-election will have met with considerable relief in places like Iran, Cuba, China, and Russia. Even with the crimes committed by the Obama administration, specifically with the ramping up of drone attacks against targets in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan, costing the lives of around 9,000 people during his first term, the idea that there would be little difference if Romney had been elected is simply not credible.

Romney’s statements of intent when it came to the issue of Iran in particular, which if elected and if implemented would have amounted to a resurrection the era of the unilateral deployment of hard power that defined the Bush era, were reason enough to support Obama’s re-election. It is also significant that the political right in Israel, headed by Netanyahu, were hoping for a Romney White House.

To be President of the United States is to preside over a global empire that has its own dynamic and momentum. No one could ever hope to get elected to the White House who does not unequivocally support the logic and imperatives of empire as the very essence of US exceptionalism. The historic low level of class consciousness prevalent in the country is a product of the compelling mythology of the American dream and land of the free ethos. Feeding an apotheosis of individualism, both have proved an historic bulwark against the threat of a counter-hegemonic narrative of class and class-based ideology within the United States, even during periods of extreme economic hardship as now.

Regardless, the United States is a declining superpower, one that will increasingly become reliant on its overwhelming military might to maintain its global hegemony as its economy loses ground in the years ahead. For this and the other aforementioned factors the logic of lesser evilism is inescapable when it comes to any US presidential election.

This is why Obama’s victory should be welcomed by progressives and socialists not only in the United States but around the world.

40 comments on “Obama’s Victory Should Be Welcomed by the Left

  1. jock mctrousers on said:

    Over-egging it a bit? How about: ” could be worse”? Does that qualify as ‘progress’? And is that what we are now – ‘progressives’, looking for undefined ‘progress’?

    Good for the unions? What was that Employee Free Choice act card check thingy again again?

    I heard a BBC commenter last night talk of the upcoming ‘grand bargain’ – I read or hear of this all over the place; yet when I mentioned it here last, it seemed news to everyone. So here’s another (very long and detailed) piece on the likely shape of the ‘grand bargain’

    Bill Black (author of ‘the Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One): Wall Street Urges Obama to Commit the Great Betrayal

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/11/bill-black-wall-street-urges-obama-to-commit-the-great-betrayal.html

  2. to be President of the United States is to preside over a global empire that has its own dynamic and momentum. No one could ever hope to get elected to the White House who does not offer unequivocal support for the logic and imperatives of empire as the very essence of US exceptionalism.

    Quite so. We could probably go further than that, and that even in the unlikely event of a president who did not subjectively support the imperial project, they would still be prisoner of a system predicated upon its continuance.

    That is not to say that political actors have no choice, but their choices are constrained by the complex social systems that they inhabit.

  3. Jellytot on said:

    progressive coalition of Black, Hispanic, the young, and women voters cemented his victory

    In 1980, White voters accounted for 89% of the US voters in that November’s election. Yesterday it was down to around 72% and will further decline. The Republicans have been mugged by demographic reality. I do predict that they will try to double down on voter supression schemes at the State level but even then it will be hard going for them.

  4. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Over on the CNN Turk TV channel (US-owned, Turkish-language) Obama was cited as saying relations with Israel will be better than ever, so presumably the Zionist tail will go on wagging the US dog. Romney would have been no better, but my central point has been that it doesn’t matter who won. And it won’t matter.

  5. Jellytot on said:

    @6 From the Neale article: Romney had an easy election to win because people’s lives are harder under Obama. He lost it because he was so obviously the rich guy.

    Neale’s somebody who doesn’t understand the Electoral College because Romney had a far tougher task to win this seeing as Obama had more permutations to the 270 line. The President had the colossal states of California and New York in the bag already with massive number of college votes given their population. Romney’s goose was cooked in Ohio over a NYT op-ed he wrote arguing against the Auto Bale-out and the blatant lies he told about Chrysler shipping Jeep jobs to China.

  6. Jonathan Neale (remember the SWP “expert” on Afghaniztan who supported Islamist terror against the secular socialist govt) argues that the US election is about how he *feels* , rather than politics.

  7. neprimerimye on said:

    The defeat of Russian imperialism weakened and defeated the Stalinist beast in the Kremlin. That was progress the electoral victory of one imperialist warmonger over another is a victory for reaction.

  8. This article strikes the right tone for me. On balance a victory to be welcomed.

    “2.to be President of the United States is to preside over a global empire that has its own dynamic and momentum. No one could ever hope to get elected to the White House who does not offer unequivocal support for the logic and imperatives of empire as the very essence of US exceptionalism”

    Hasn’t that be the way of it since time immemorial? Isn’t this why the world went to war….twice? Doesn’t this have serious implications for ever moving to socialism? In the advanced nations the left have to be fanatically against the actions of their own nation, because the masses falsely believe that advanced status gives them a better standard of living than the less advanced. Breaking the masses from the imperialist mindset must the the primary task of the left. Isn’t that why we oppose the decents so much, not discounting the morality of imperialist criminality?

  9. “my central point has been that it doesn’t matter who won. And it won’t matter.”
    What a load of ultra-left bollocks. The state of health and education services don’t matter? Massive cuts in spending (which is what would have happened under Romney) don’t matter? Obama was against invading Iraq. He’s not perfect by a long way but his victory is worth celebrating.

  10. neprimerimye: The defeat of Russian imperialism weakened and defeated the Stalinist beast in the Kremlin. That was progress

    So what happened to the people of the ex-USSR, and of course to the people of Afghanistan- that’s your definition of progress?

  11. prianikoff on said:

    Voting demographics:-

    % Figures in order: (Obama/ Romney/ share of vote)

    White 39: 59: 72
    Black 93: 6: 13
    Hispanic 71: 27: 10
    Asian 73: 26: 3
    Other 58: 38: 2

    *According to an exit poll by CNN, 69% of Jewish voters were for Obama
    * States with high unemployment rates were generally pro-Obama
    * States with high employment rates were generally pro-Romney (except where these might be ascribed to Obama’s bail-out policies e.g Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa)
    *Obama also received more votes than Romney in the 6 richest counties in the US.

    See:-
    “The Types of People Who Voted for Obama”
    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/11/types-people-who-voted-obama/58794/

  12. brokenwindow on said:

    So the Left is now supporting a guy who has made the corporate tax leaner and the rich 2% richer in gains than in any time in American history? What’s the slogan?
    I know lwt’s take it from the speech today…’black and white,Hispanic and Asian,
    RICH and poor…’Yes of course he is marginally better than Romney but you actually think there is a platform for the Left here too?

  13. Rorschach on said:

    I’m delighted that people voted for Obomba because they are progressive and because they think he’s progressive. Americans support him for the best of reasons, but they are wrong. He is a conventional right wing politician, who will continue bombing and killing and make ordinary working class Americans pay for the ‘fiscal cliff’. If the US left continues restricting its horizons to electing the ‘lesser evil’, it will remain impotent in the face of these challenges. If only the energy spent on getting the vote out was put into organising the resistance instead.

  14. Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama bombed six different countries in his first four years as President, this has dampened my welcome to his new victory somewhat.

  15. Peter Hine on said:

    ‘and it does ensure that no one is deprived coverage, as was the case under the previous system.’

    Don’t forget the term ‘Obamacare’ was coined by the right wing. But the above statement is really not true. The ‘plan’ will still leave millions without access to health care. And it just forces people to buy ‘coverage,’from parasitic insurance companies. This is entirely different from actually getting the necessary treatment. Many patients are left with plenty of debts after receiving treatment, even with fairly good coverage. That is why many of the home foreclosures today are a result of hospital bills that need to be payed off that are not covered by ‘health insurance.’And these hospitals, even those ‘christian’ ones, WILL come after you with their legal vultures to get money.
    As they say, all that glitters is not gold.

  16. elliot on said:

    Check your facts – Obama was a ‘hawk’ over Iraq. Forgotten the ‘surge’ in Afghanistan? The mainstreaming of extra judicial killings? Suppression of the One Percent movement co-ordinated by Obama & the Democrats? Republican or Democrat, the policies are essentially the same.

  17. Peter Hine: Don’t forget the term ‘Obamacare’ was coined by the right wing. But the above statement is really not true.

    It was coined by the right in an attempt to disparage the programme, but its since been adopted by its supporters too. I referenced my facts on the programme from a pro-Democrat website called ObamaCare Facts, for example. http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-facts.php

    Peter Hine: The ‘plan’ will still leave millions without access to health care. And it just forces people to buy ‘coverage,’from parasitic insurance companies.

    This isn’t true, Peter. Those who will still be denied coverage are victims of a Supreme Court decision in favour of the right, when it tried to get Obamacare repealed, which allows states to opt out of Medicaid. This has left millions of the poorest who qualified for Medicaid in the states concerned without coverage.

    Obama has pledged to extent Medicaid by 2019, which his administration predicts will extend coverage to an additional 17 million people who are below the poverty line.

    Peter Hine: That is why many of the home foreclosures today are a result of hospital bills that need to be payed off that are not covered by ‘health insurance.

    I think Obama’s healthcare reforms were introduced to prevent this.

    There’s no doubt that what has been delivered thus far is far from a comprehensive healthcare programme free at the point of need. But it’s undeniably a vast improvement on the previous system in the US, and its watered down version is the provenance of the right, which has exerted itself in blocking these reforms from start to finish. I really do think your argument’s with them.

  18. jock mctrousers on said:

    #21 you’re missing the previous commenter’s point. What he said was that most of the bankruptcies happen to people who already HAVE insurance. There’s all sorts of what they call co-pays – they have to pay part of it, in order to get any of it… you can imagine there’s all sorts of ways for the insurance companies to wriggle out of it.

    But, as I understood it (last time I read up on it, some time ago), the Obamacare plan obliges ALL insurees to pay for the first whatever percent or sum or whatever… BEFORE the insurance contributes anything. This will not make the slightest difference to people who can’t afford the co-pays (i.e. the sort of people who can’t afford insurance now). In fact, it WILL make a difference, because they have to pay for insurance which is no use to them( money which they could save to buy their own treatment otherwise ) or face a fine – and knowing the US justice system, what would you bet that failing to pay a fine becomes a felony that prevents you ever working again, or getting a passport to get the fuck out of there, or… land of the brave LOL.

  19. prianikoff on said:

    “Britain is to review the EU arms embargo on Syria as part of a wholesale change in strategy in the wake of Barack Obama’s re-election that could lead to the eventual arming of the rebel forces fighting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. As David Cameron said he would press Obama to make Syria a priority, No 10 officials indicated that the prime minister now wants to put every possible measure to remove Assad “back on the table”.

    In full:-
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/08/syria-arms-embargo-rebel

    “…American officials are considering meeting with rebel military commanders. If the contacts were to happen, they would be most likely conducted by Robert Ford, the former U.S. ambassador in Damascus, who is currently in Doha for Syrian opposition talks, a U.S. official said. But no final decision has been made.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron, visiting a camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan, said the U.S., Britain and other allies should do more to “shape the opposition” into a coherent force and open channels of communication directly with rebel military commanders.

    Previously, Britain and the U.S. have acknowledged contacts only with exile groups and political opposition figures – some connected to rebel forces – inside Syria.

    “There is an opportunity for Britain, for America, for Saudi Arabia, Jordan and like-minded allies to come together and try to help shape the opposition, outside Syria and inside Syria,” Cameron said. “And try to help them achieve their goal, which is our goal of a Syria without Assad.”

    In full:-
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/obama-syria-war_n_2087585.html

  20. neprimerimye on said:

    Noah: So what happened to the people of the ex-USSR, and of course to the people of Afghanistan- that’s your definition of progress?

    They got to decide their own fate and form trade unuions independent of the state. As for the Afghans they got to exercise their right to self determination.

  21. albacore on said:

    “The manner of Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy gave his campaign an unintended but significant boost at a time when some polls had Romney edging ahead.”

    “Unintended” seems a bit naive. Obama didn’t plan the hurricane (or did he?) but I’m sure he and his team intended to milk as much good coverage from it as they possibly could.

  22. jack ford on said:

    Obama’s most significant decision when first elected in 2008 was to demobilise the massive grassroots base of volunteers that had largely been responsible for propelling him into office

    Exactly. He should have mobilised his grassroots base and used the email database from the 2008 campaign to mobilise the public to put pressure on Congress to get reform through.

    Instead he failed to stand up to the vested interests in Congress with the result that people became demoralised and allowed the Republicans to retake Congress in 2010 since when it’s been gridlock.

    Once he appointed Geithner and Summers it was clear that there’d be no serious attempt to clean up Wall Street. I believe there might have been a better chance of confronting the banksters had McCain been elected in 2008. His potlitical hero was Teddy Roosevelt who broke up the corporate trusts.

  23. StevieB on said:

    #23 “They got to decide their own fate and form trade unions independent of the state” – Living standards and life expectancy were slashed as capitalism was restored. That’s your idea of progress?

    “As for Afghans they got to exercise their right to self-determination” – They got a civil war in which a million died, followed by a Taliban government, then a NATO occupation. That’s a social catastrophe, not self-determination.

  24. Peter Hine on said:

    John,

    ‘I referenced my facts on the programme from a pro-Democrat website called ObamaCare Facts’
    Well, there you go John! If I want to know whats going on in the UK should I go to davidcameron.com?
    Here is a useful article from earlier on this yearhttp://socialistworker.org/2012/07/09/john-roberts-and-health-care
    The reality is that those of us who are getting little above minimum wage with no benefits are looking at a grim time if we get sick.
    And what of the people who can’t pay for these ‘obamacare’ schemes. Are they going to be put into jail for non payment? The US likes to put poor people in jail.
    Giving money to insurance companies is only going to make them richer, not the working class healthier. And that is the sad facts of life in the US.

  25. Peter Hine: Well, there you go John! If I want to know whats going on in the UK should I go to davidcameron.com?
    Here is a useful article from earlier on this yearhttp://socialistworker.org/2012/07/09/john-roberts-and-health-care

    Are you really trying to suggest, Peter, that the facts referenced on the website I cited are patently false? Are you serious?

    I have to say I’d put more credence in the official information on Obamacare than I would in any article carried in the Socialist Worker.

    If you read the piece, I do say that Obamacare continues to guarantee billions in profits for the private insurance companies. I mean, I don’t describe it as a US version of the NHS or anything like it. But it is a significant improvement on what was in place before. I have friends in the US who would attest to that.

  26. jack ford on said:

    Republicans who were downcast by Obama’s victory, should take heart; the policies we’ll see for the next four years will be exactly the same as the ones that we would have had if their candidate had won, and now they have the freedom to criticize them, while the Democrats have to put up with another four years of pretending that the man they helped put into office isn’t betraying every principle they claim their party stands for. The blustering and violent pursuit of the same failed foreign policy, the eager pursuit of national bankruptcy in the name of global security, the tacit refusal to prosecute even the most egregious financial crimes, the whittling away of civil liberties, the gargantuan giveaways to corrupt but influential industries, and the rest of it: the whole package that’s been welded in place since the days of George W. Bush was guaranteed to continue whoever won.

  27. Peter Hine on said:

    John,

    Are you really trying to suggest, Peter, that the facts referenced on the website I cited are patently false? Are you serious?

    Well, I’d say they are economic with the truth.

    ‘I have to say I’d put more credence in the official information on Obamacare than I would in any article carried in the Socialist Worker.’

    It’s kind of sad to see that you would put more credence in a democratic website than a workers newspaper that is written by workers for workers. And if you have a link to SW on yor own website!

    ‘But it is a significant improvement on what was in place before. I have friends in the US who would attest to that.’

    I can only assume your friends already have good health care insurance, because they probably have benefited from it, like keeping your kids on your policy until they are 25 or 26, screening for women and a few other things. But for those who don’t have have access to health insurance, for the most part they will not benefit. I mix and work with them every day.
    Also, you may like to know that many employers will not hire people over a certain age because it costs more to insure them.
    Getting old sucks in more ways than one.

  28. jock mctrousers on said:

    Ok, it may be that the very poor are exempt from the fine because they’re eligible for Medicaid ( of course, if they want treatment, everything they own will be forfeit, and how long’s Medicaid going to survive?). Here’s a summary of the good points of Obamacare from an overall skeptical piece:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/12/obamacare-the-public-good/

    As of 2012, the average family of four earns on $67,000 a year, and their total health care costs were on average $20,000. Families on average pay 59 percent of health care costs, versus employers who pay 41 percent. This means the average family of four pays $11,800 a year for health care, or about $1,000 a month, or a total of 17.5 percent of their pre-tax income.

    “Under the affordable care act, by law a family of four cannot pay more (through the state exchange) than 6.5 percent of their pre-tax income for health care or about $4,355 a year. If you subtract the previous cost of $11,800 from $4,355, this would translate into a savings via the exchange of $7,445 a year, which constitutes 11 percent of their family’s pre-tax income.”

    “For single persons, the average salary is about $31,000 a year. Individuals pay on average $5,900 for their own health care, or 19 percent of their pre-tax income, or $490 per month. Under the Affordable care act, they can’t by law pay more than 9 percent of their pre-tax income into health care for exchange-based insurance, which translates into $2,785 a year, or $232 a month. This represents a savings of about 10 percent of your income, or $3,115 dollars for the year.”

    “How it’s paid for: the bill introduces a tax on those making $250,000 a year, through a tanning tax, through a tax on higher end health care plans, and through a tax on Medicare advantage (a high-end Medicare program). The catch is that, if you don’t buy health insurance, you have to pay a $695 a year fine, but only if you make more than the 133 percent of the poverty rate ($11,856 for a single person or $30,656 for a family of four). For those individuals or families making less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, they would not be fined because they would be eligible for Medicaid coverage.”

  29. jock mctrousers on said:

    Here’s a link to a particularly good fact sheet on Obamacare, which essentially agrees with the PNHP spokesperson interviewed in that Socialist Worker article:

    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/03/19/fact-sheet-the-truth-about-the-health-care-bill/

    A few samples:

    #18 The bill will end medical bankruptcy and provide all Americans with peace of mind?

    Most people with medical bankruptcies already have insurance, and out-of-pocket expenses will continue to be a burden on the middle class.

    In 2009, 1.5 million Americans declared bankruptcy
    Of those, 62% were medically related
    Three-quarters of those had health insurance
    The Obama bill leaves 24 million without insurance
    The maximum yearly out-of-pocket limit for a family will be $11,900 (PDF) on top of premiums
    A family with serious medical problems that last for a few years could easily be financially crushed by medical costs

    #2 This bill is almost identical to the plan written by AHIP, the insurance company trade association, in 2009.

    The original Senate Finance Committee bill was authored by a former Wellpoint VP. Since Congress released the first of its health care bills on October 30, 2009, health care stocks have risen 28.35%.

    #3 he bill will not bring down premiums significantly, and certainly not the $2,500/year that the President promised.

    Annual premiums in 2016, status quo / with bill:

    Small group market, single: $7,800 / $7,800

    Small group market, family: $19,300 / $19,200

    Large Group market, single: $7,400 / $7,300

    Large group market, family: $21,100 / $21,300

    Individual market, single: $5,500 / $5,800*

    Individual market, family: $13,100 / $15,200

    #4 The bill will impose a financial hardship on middle class Americans who will be forced to buy a product that they can’t afford to use.

    A family of four making $66,370 will be forced to pay $5,243 per year for insurance. After basic necessities, this leaves them with $8,307 in discretionary income — out of which they would have to cover clothing, credit card and other debt, child care and education costs, in addition to $5,882 in annual out-of-pocket medical expenses for which families will be responsible.

    #5. This plan is similar to the Massachusetts plan, which makes health care affordable?

    A 2009 study by the state of Massachusetts found that:

    21% of residents forgo medical treatment because they can’t afford it, including 12% of children
    18% have health insurance but can’t afford to use it

    #12. The bill will provide immediate access to insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition?

    Only those who have been uninsured for more than six months will qualify for the high risk pool. Only 0.7% of those without insurance now will get coverage, and the CMS report estimates it will run out of funding by 2011 or 2012.

    #13 There are already many states that have laws on the books prohibiting people from being dropped when they’re sick, but without an enforcement mechanism, there is little to hold the insurance companies in check.

    #15 This bill does not limit insurance company rate hikes. Private insurers continue to be exempt from anti-trust laws, and are free to raise rates without fear of competition in many areas of the country.

  30. jock mctrousers on said:

    “Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP.)…An organization of 16,000 doctors that conducts research on major aspects of the health care crisis and have been on the frontlines for real reform for decades ”

    Here Come the Apologists
    Yes, This Health Care Bill Really is Worse Than Nothing
    by HELEN REDMOND
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/12/08/yes-this-health-care-bill-really-is-worse-than-nothing/

    #30″ ‘I have to say I’d put more credence in the official information on Obamacare than I would in any article carried in the Socialist Worker.’

    It’s kind of sad to see that you would put more credence in a democratic website than a workers newspaper that is written by workers for workers.”

    I too noticed this instinct to take the right wing establishment more seriously – but I’m not sure I’d feel very confident that the US International Socialist Organisation (Socialist Worker is their paper in the USA, sister organisation, though they recently fell out, of the UK SWP), is ‘produced by workers for workers’, or indeed trust them very far – look at their take on Libya and Syria – but that piece on Obamacare quotes from PNHP, who seem a pretty serious organisation.

  31. jack ford on said:

    Obama made a lot of promises to the left when he was running in 2008, and broke most of them. Romney made a lot of promises to the right this time around, and if he’d got into office, I’d have been prepared to bet that most of them — including his saber-rattling toward Iran and a lasting presence in Afghanistan — would have gone the way of “hope and change.” So, probably, would his opposition to Obamacare, given that he presided over the creation of a nearly identical system while governor of Massachusetts. How many times do we have to watch campaign promises hit the dumpster, to be replaced by another round of the same policies, before people begin to grasp that the range of policy initiatives open to any US government is so tightly constrained by a failing political system that the personality of the guy behind the podium basically doesn’t matter any more?

  32. prianikoff on said:

    Election night speech by Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative candidate who got 27% in Washington State.
    (the official union leaders backed the Democratic Party candidate, Frank Chopp, even though there was no Republican in the race.

    extract:-
    “…the labor leadership…pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Democratic party campaign and say
    “you have to be happy with cuts..you have to be happy with casualisation”.
    “The unions need to break from the Democratic party and run their own grass roots campaign.
    If we don’t challenge the corporate agenda, the right wing will occupy that space…”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3Ur_4Ur-ss

    http://votesawant.org/

  33. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    prianikoff: Election night speech by Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative candidate who got 27% in Washington State.(the official union leaders backed the Democratic Party candidate, Frank Chopp, even though there was no Republican in the race.extract:-“…the labor leadership…pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Democratic party campaign and say“you have to be happy with cuts..you have to be happy with casualisation”.“The unions need to break from the Democratic party and run their own grass roots campaign.If we don’t challenge the corporate agenda, the right wing will occupy that space…”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3Ur_4Ur-sshttp://votesawant.org/

    Indeed. But supporters of Obama do not challenge the corporate agenda.

    I think it was the late Gore Vidal (a gay man who had opportunities to observe the US political system up close) who described the USA as having a one-party system with two right wings.

  34. Elliot #19

    elliot: Check your facts – Obama was a ‘hawk’ over Iraq.

    No, I think you should check your facts, Obama was famously opposed to the Iraq war. He said, for example;

    “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

    “What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

    “That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.”

    Full speech here; http://usliberals.about.com/od/extraordinaryspeeches/a/Obama2002War.htm

  35. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    What positive difference did it make to the people of Gaza that this Zionist shill got elected, as opposed to the other Zionist shill?