Monday, June 01, 2009

Heading toward socialism with Obama?

Here in the heartland of McLean County, Illinois, where I've been told we have a good percentage of apostolic and evangelical Christians, it seems relatively widespread to view Obama as a socialist. Let's review some highlights of Obama's presidency so far and see if his policies are more socialist or status quo.
  • Bailout of the rich, amounting to billions of dollars of corporate welfare to the the financial sector elites who exacerbated the crisis.
  • Expansion of American imperialism with the Afghanistan surge and fake withdrawal from Iraq - plans are to leave 50,000 troops indefinitely to support the American puppet government in Iraq.
  • Continuation of Bush-era military tribunals on American soil, after much fanfare in the first days of his presidency on closing Gitmo.
  • The announcement, going beyond Bush, that he supports preventive detention.
  • The denial of Single-payer health care, the most popular health care option among Americans.
  • The part he played in the decimation of the United Auto Workers, with Obama forcing workers to shoulder the brunt of the capitalist crisis and his refusing to nationalize the auto industry for the purpose of retooling for the construction of green infrastructure.
  • His cave-in to the coal industry in supporting mountaintop removal (see my blog post)
  • Failure to deliver on Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).
So, is that socialism?

Conservatives might think Obama is a socialist because, for them, increased government spending or involvement in the economy is socialist. But any understanding of Keynesianism deficit spending, including the Reagan military Keynesianism of the 80s, should dispel that notion.

Also, it appears as if conservatives don't see that the free market failed last year and had to be bailed out by the taxpaying public. Since the market failed so miserably, I argue, we should demand socialization of the financial sector and auto industry, and not accept the current plan of socialization of the losses (which amounts to socialism for the rich).

This article in Business Week, a mainstay of the bourgeois press, exposes the massive gulf between Obama and socialism. However, maybe the socialist charge works well with their base.

For us on the left, in saying Obama is like any corporate politician before him, the point is not to crush our hope. There is hope in the building of democratic social movements, and hopefully the initiation of a party built on working people, outside of corporate control - a labor party or socialist party.

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