[Marxism] New Deal: Racism, and imperialism

Anthony Boynton anthony.boynton at gmail.com
Thu Dec 25 11:22:56 MST 2008


Sorry I have not been able to follow the thread(s) on the New Deal very
closely, and may be repeating what someone else has said...

Some people on this list are discussion whether or not the New Deal was
successful. Look around you. It was wildly successful and anyone living in
the capitalist 21st century should be able to discern. There were no....

socialist revolutions in the United States. None in Western Europe, none in
Japan...

FDR''s New Deal saved capitalism. US capitalism, and as a result world
capitalism.

The only way that you can even talk about the possibiilty that it was not
successful, is if you divide it into a "domestic" policy and an
"international" policy. But that would be wishful thinking contrary to
historic facts.

How successful FDR was prior to the entrace of the USA into World War II
(and after, too) should not be judged by statistical tables, in any case.
The New Deal's success should be judged on how well it was able to prevent
the collapse of markets from creating the conditions for social revolution
in the USA.

To prevent the full development of those conditions, Roosevelt had to

1) Reorganize the capitalist class.

2) Regulate markets

3) Give hope to the working class and petty bourgeoisie that capitalism
could work for their benefit.

4) Make whatever concessions were necessary to limit mobilizations of the
working class and poor, especially to maintain such mobilizations as local
and regional, and esepecially to prevent economic struggles from becoming
political challenges to the two party system.

The massive mobilizations of the working class in the USA won those
concessions. The great strikes of 1933, and the wave of sit-downs in 1937
were the reasons FDR and the New Deal acted to extend legal rights to
unions, and to twist the arms of capitalist businesses to recognize unions.
More than these things, those mobilizations were always behind every move
towards any kind of social legislation by the New Deal.

How limited the gains of the working class were under the New Deal can be
easily seen by looking at its policies on race and immigration. The border
with Mexico was closed, segregation was maintained and defended in every New
Deal program.

The fact that US capitalism had reached a historic dead end by 1931, meant
that the New Deal's only long term (relatively long term) solution lay in
the reorganization of world capitalist markets to benefit US capitalism.

FDR's foreign policy began by defending the imperial interests of the USA in
Latin America, Asia, and Europe. By 1937 it was becoming clear that FDR
would lead the USA into the coming world war, and his foreign policy became
more and more focused on alliance with Great Britain.

All of that old history is extremely relevbant for the new epoch that we
have just entered inthe last few years.

Capitalism is again at a dead end. Both in the USA, and globally.

Obama is almost certain to try to craft a New "New Deal".

Obama seems like a very serious, intellignet, above all else, cautious
bourgeois politician. I think his actions so far show that he intends to,

1) Reorganize the capitalist class.

2) Regulate markets

3) Give hope to the working class and petty bourgeoisie that capitalism
could work for their benefit.

4) Make whatever concessions were necessary to limit mobilizations of the
working class and poor, especially to maintain such mobilizations as local
and regional, and esepecially to prevent economic struggles from becoming
political challenges to the two party system.

He will be very careful about reorganizing the capitalist class, because he
does not want to make too many enemies. After all, he already has a lot.
Likewise for regulating markets, but since they are failing so spectacularly
at the job they are supposed to do according to neo-liberal,
neo-conservative dreams, he may have to move more quickly here than in any
other sphere. by itself, Obama's election has given hope to the working
class and oppressed - not just of the USA, but of the world. How long Obama
can cash in on that hope is an important point for the "tempo" of the
struggle, but at some point he will have to do something more tangiible to
maintain hope in his leadership.

What that will be depends in large part on how, when, and where the working
class and oppressed begin to mobilize themselves. That will also determine
in large measure what kinds of concessions the New "New Deal" makes to the
working class and the oppressed.

Obama and his administration look like they will be pragmatic, offering
nothing if they do not have to, offering as little as they think they can
get away with when they need to.

This pragmatism is already shaping Obama's appointments and policy, but
nobody should think that the Obama New New Deal has already taken shape.
That will depend on how the class struggle develops.

Anthony



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