[Marxism] Richardson advocates dialoque with Cuba, Venezuala

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Tue Jun 10 13:13:52 MDT 2008

Eli writes: Marv, please don't put words in my mouth:

"You expect him to campaign on behalf of the Cuban Five, and are angry that
he doesn't?"

I never said I expected him to "campaign" on behalf of the Five. A simple
statement would suffice.

MG: It would be construed as more than a casual statement if Richardson were
to come out in favour of the Cuban Five when the Republicans are again
making "Democrats soft on terrorism" the centrepiece of their campaign. In
that sense it would detract from, rather than advance, what has become the
central issue in American politics today both within the ruling class and
the population, ie. whether US foreign policy should be geared to military
confrontation or diplomatic "engagement" with anti-imperialist states like
Cuba, Iran and Venezuela. But you may not have the same interest in this
debate as they as they do.

Eli: Why is it, by the way, that meeting with terrorists like the CANF and
specifically Francisco (Pepe) Hernandez is perfectly acceptable behavior for
Democrats during a campaign, but speaking out on behalf of political
prisoners imprisoned for OPPOSING terrorism is, according to you, a complete
and utter no-no even for someone like Richardson who isn't even a candidate
(yet, anyway)? Don't bother answering, that was a rhetorical question.

MG: The answer is that, given the present state of American political
consciousness, the Democrats have calculated they stand to lose more votes
by speaking out on behalf of the Cuban Five than by meeting with Hernandez
and the CANF. The same electoral arithmetic explains Obama's appearance at
AIPAC and his distancing himself from the Palestinians. I don't know that
it's politically necessary for Obama to prostrate himself in this way before
CANF and AIPAC, but I'm not one of his campaign advisors. What interests me
more is whether this electoral opportunism indicates that it is illusory to
believe there is a real ruling class debate underway about the direction of
US foreign policy which has important consequences for American workers and
those peoples seeking to develop independently of the American Empire. So
far, I'm not persuaded that Obama's electoral pandering to reactionary
Cubans and Zionists signals a continuation of Bush's foreign policy, and I
won't be, I suppose, until an Obama administration demonstrates this in

Eli: Clever the way you conflate Richardson and Obama, as if their positions
are the same. While Richardson is here calling for an end to the embargo,
Obama is not only doing no such thing, he's doing the OPPOSITE, stating very
openly he plans to CONTINUE the embargo until Cuba satisfies "us" (i.e.,
him) that it has "changed" to his liking.

MG: I'm not cleverly trying to conflate the two. They're already conflated.
Richardson is one of Obama's most prominent supporters and a possible
running mate. His remarks are very likely vetted by the Obama campaign. It's
a common device in American politics to have a proxy float and take fire for
controversial positions. If the blockade has been deemed ineffective and a
political liability for the US - as I think is widely felt, including inside
the Obama camp - then it will not take much to "satisfy" the US, following
negotiations, that Cuba has "changed" enough to lift it.

In general, campaign promises are not a very reliable guide to political
behaviour in office, especially when they diverge from what appear to be the
underlying imperatives of ruling class policy. That's as true for McCain as
for Obama.

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