[Marxism] Obama and His Discontents

C. G. Estabrook galliher at illinois.edu
Thu Jul 28 16:18:18 MDT 2011


Shane seems to me quite right here.

For Coates to suggest that, like Lincoln, Obama should compromise while not 
forgetting the principled critics, misrepresents both men.

Lincoln could have compromised the secession crisis at the outset of his 
administration, as he was advised to do by the the leading US military figure, 
Gen. Winfield Scott, in a memorandum delivered on the eve of his inauguration. 
instead he chose to "conquer those [seceding] States at the end of a long, 
expensive, and desolating war, and to no good purpose," as Scott predicted.

But Lincoln recognized there could be no compromise between two contrasting 
methods of extracting surplus value, wage-slavery and chattel-slavery.  (See his 
first Inaugural Address, December, 1861.)

Already in 1858 he had famously said, "A house divided against itself cannot 
stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half 
free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to 
fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing 
or all the other." (See 
<http://newsfromneptune.com/2009/02/13/lincoln-cult-february-2008/>.)

Obama is working for the imposition of austerity to the benefit of the 1%: 
hypocrisy being the tribute that vice pays to virtue, he has to pretend that 
he's not.




On 7/28/11 10:41 AM, Shane Mage wrote:
>> NY Times op-ed July 27, 2011
>> Obama and His Discontents
>> By TA-NEHISI COATES
>> ...The president invoked Abraham Lincoln, noting that the Emancipation 
>> Proclamation was a compromise that freed only the slaves in rebel territory. 
>> “Can you imagine how The Huffington Post would have reported on that? It 
>> would have been blistering. Think about it, ‘Lincoln sells out slaves.’ ”... 
>> “Never before had so large a number of slaves been declared free,” writes 
>> historian Eric Foner in his Pulitzer Prize-winning history, “The Fiery 
>> Trial.”... it’s true that the Proclamation was a compromise...
>
> Coates is as much an ignoramus as Obama.  The proclamation was the very 
> opposite of a compromise: compromise in 1862 meant the end of secession with 
> the maintenance of Southern slavery. The proclamation made compromise 
> impossible and committed the Union irrevocably to total military victory.  
> That it freed the slaves "only" in the Confederacy is no sign of 
> "compromise"--slavery was enshrined in the Constitution and Lincoln had no 
> legal authority to end it except in the context of suppressing the insurrection.
>
> And he is equally an ignoramus when he quotes Foner  in his totally false 
> “Never before had so large a number" claim: only a year before Lincoln's 
> proclamation Czar Alexander II had declared the freedom of a far larger number 
> of slaves ("serfs," the word is the same as the Latin servus, or slave!)
>




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