[Marxism] On Barak Obama (Tuesday, January 20, 2009)

johnaimani johnaimani at earthlink.net
Thu Sep 10 12:11:56 MDT 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
On Barak Obama

By John A. Imani
Member of the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities.

Let's face it, comrades, we have our hands full.

With the system in shatters all around us, capitalism had played 
its last card: it has elected ($700,000,000) a young, gifted and black 

At the Martin Luther King, Jr Day here in LA one could strike 
by two things, the first expected, the second, however, was surprising:

"Obama" was the word on many, nearly every, lip. The impact of 
the fact that after 400 years of captivity, then second-class citizenship 
and occupation of its community by a force not of that community (in 
our case, the LAPD), a person of color was elected to lead completely 
colored the air as minor celebrities echoed and led the crowd in chants 
of the new president's name.

The surprising thing was that this goodwill extended to just so the 
occupying force referred to above. Chief Bratton and Sheriff Baca 
led a contingent of pigs and for some strange reason the crowds 
applauded them. Not just the head cops but motorcycle, horse, 
bicycle, Segway riding, walking armed pigs were waved to and 
cheered. It was like watching concentration camp internees 
applauding their captors.

It was inexplicable.

Then the thought hit me: Obama = State. It dawned upon me that 
my comrade, Joaquin, from Revolutionary Autonomous Communities 
(RAC) had been correct when before the election he warned that if 
Obama was elected, it would make it more difficult to rebel. The 
identification of the president, and all the good will extended by this, 
had somehow 'rubbed off' on the first and last line of defense of the 
state, the police. And the occupiers were seemingly transformed, in 
the minds of the viewers, into their defenders. This is how one might 
view this happenstance if one ignores the fact that the existence of the 
police itself is laden with a fundamental contradiction: that its interests 
and its existence is the protection of the state and not of the people.

There is little doubt that the Obama regime will initiate some reforms. 
It has no choice in this matter: it must generate purchasing power just 
as the Bush regime did. The difference is promised to be, however, 
that while Bush injected liquidity into the system with its vast purchases 
of arms, Obama's medication will be prescribed in the form of extension 
of benefits, lower taxes on income and capital gains, workfare 
programs, etc. All of this in an attempt to save a system, a la FDR, 
teetering on the brink of self-implosion and ingesting vast sums of 
created public monies that are but IOU's written on the backs of 
today's and tomorrow's workers.

On a macrocosmic level, what this means is that when he sends in 
more troops to Afghanistan that there will be some, who protested 
under Bush, will be hesitant to take to the streets. Or, when times 
get harder and food riots are necessitated, the televised image of 
concerned 'Brother' Obama will keep some of the hungry at home 
mindful of the fact that "The brother is doing the best that he can."

Patriotism used to be the last refuge of scoundrels. Now it seems 
that its place has been taken by this cynical use of a black man as 
figurehead, standing in the same relationship to the real holders of 
power, the capitalist class, just as Bush II, Clinton, Bush's Daddy, 
Ronald Reagan, etc. Of whom, pick your choice, it was and it 
would be easier to rebel against. The question is "How to critique 
Obama and not alienate the masses who see this presidency, 
perhaps in some way, as payment for our sufferings, as 
reparations for our pains?" 


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