The Door Is Open.

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture
The Door Is Open.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Well, Obama has been elected.
Now the continued mobilization from below must begin.

Obama can't be allowed to think he was just OWED his votes.

The work will be tough. But it must be done.
And now it can be done.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I think the real danger is that Obama manages to rehabilitate US imperialism, and people let him get away with it.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

It appears that fewer than 1% of the voters voted for either Nader or McKinney. Leftist voters were swept up in the Obamania and once again threw their votes away on the Democrats.

This is a body blow to the project for building a real party of the left in the USA, and it makes it unlikely that any meaningful organization of leftist social movements can be achieved during the O-bomb-a administration.

The O-bomb-a juggernaut has set back the process of independent working class political action by many years. Thus the Democrats have achieved another of their major objectives - the marginalization of the US left. They have proved that they can take the left for granted and don't need to listen to them. They have successfully promoted the message that There Is No Alternative to the Democratic Party.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Come now, its not that bad. It's just more of the same.

Obama now has the mandate to try and pull US imperialism out of the tail spin. This is like handing the cockpit over to the flight attendant while the pilots jump for safety.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Yes, but what an empowering victory for flight attendants everywhere!

martin dufresne

The only losers will be the Pakistanis from "tribal zones" who will die so that Obama can establish his imperial credentials.
Just what we were dreaming of: an imperialist superpower leader vindicated by progressives as symbolizing the uprising of the downtrodden.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I guess, I feel that is something at least, and that in itself might have some value. Generally, I have been with your take on this issue. But I also really kind of think the prospect of creating a genuine third party in the USA is not possible. Or only possible after substantial upheaval. So I am not that disappointed.

In the mean time I think the symbolic victory has some value, and certainly probably emotionally important to marginalized persons in the USA, so in that regard, I have been tacitly behind Obama in this. Certainly McCain would be no better.

That said, this mandate is frought with some serious dangers, especially because Obama will enjoy a special privilege to act with distain for international law, and in the interests of the ruling powers of the USA, partly because of the progressive halo that surrounds his election, and because his supporters are so enamoured of him.

It is a very strong mandate and can do some serious damage.

[ 04 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

quote:


Cueball: Obama now has the mandate to try and pull US imperialism out of the tail spin. This is like handing the cockpit over to the flight attendant while the pilots jump for safety.

This reminds me of the quote on the front page of the F-16 Flight Simulator Manual. It reads:

"There are fighters and there are targets. There is nothing else."

If Canadians are less of a target as a result of this election, then great.

Cueball Cueball's picture

You think? Or will the attendant pilot the plane away from the houses and crash on the outhouse?

[ 04 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Polly B Polly B's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]In the mean time I think the symbolic victory has some value, and certainly probably emotionally important to marginalized persons in the USA....

[ 04 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ][/b]


I think this may be an understatement.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I am not going to argue it. As I said, my position is one of tacit support. I am not going to second guess the needs, objectives and feelings of millions of people who are facing some very serious challenges, nor am I going to allow myself to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of US presidential politics, and allow myself to be carried away by slogans like "hope" and "change we need."

I personally don't know what is needed, and what can be done. It's all very intangible.

Obama has said some things that suggest he is not above being influenced by the powers that have straighjacketed the presidency.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Actually, I'm momentarily optimistic. Perhaps it will pass. But to continue the aircraft going to ground metaphor, this new guy seems more likely to listen to the mechanical warnings of "Pull Up! Pull Up!" from the flight software than his predecessor.

But, of course, he could still hit the (Canadian) outhouse and leave us worse off than before this great victory.

Michelle

I feel quite optimistic tonight, even though I know he's not left enough for my liking. Because as Ken says, at least there has been space created for left-wing activism and movement-building.

Hopefully those who organized on his behalf will hold him to task on the issues most important to them.

martin dufresne

Obama has always been clear about his targets (so far): Afghanistan, Pakistan and, if need be, Iran.
So our outhouse is safe. Hey, he may even send back Omar Khadr from Guantanamo (to Harpo's horror).
But we're probably further away from pulling out of the Afghanistan occupation.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Fact is that there has been generally a clear consensus of foreign policy objectivea of all US presidents, Democratic and Republican since the end of WW II. US foreign policy is continuity. Kennan was a Truman's foreign policy advisor, not Ikes.

"I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

-- H. S. Truman

It may even be that Obama will need to be even more hawkish in order to make progress on any dometic reform. Perhaps this will be of some good for Americans... but the rest of us?

Who knows...

[ 04 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

martin dufresne

Meanwhile, a disappointing note in San Francisco:

quote:

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco voters rejected a suggestion to rename one of The City's water treatment plants the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

The not-so-subtle dig at the current commander-in-chief would have required the change to become effective upon the inauguration of the next president. The name change would have been required on the facility's signage as well as on city maps.

Backers of Proposition R gathered the required 7,000-plus signatures to place it on the ballot.


Cueball Cueball's picture

Sad.

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/in_her_own_words.shtml?sh_itm=7548eeb3cb83e85cf50de... Obama: Change the world can believe in? [/url]

quote:

Senator Obama seems resolved to end the Iraq war quickly. But it appears that he plans to escalate the Afghan war by sending in more American troops. This has the makings of a disaster that could well bog down his Administration in a quagmire.

American, British and Canadian forces have been unable to provide security to Afghans, or stabilize the Karzai regime. Anger is mounting in that country at the ongoing occupation. As a number of top military commanders, including the British Commander, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, have acknowledged, the Afghan war is militarily un-winnable. The only exit strategy is negotiation with the Taliban for a political solution. The sooner the Obama Administration does this, the quicker the mounting of casualties can be stopped.


Doug

Imperialist or not, Obama seems much more willing than the previous management to talk first rather than just blow things up, and that's an improvement.

Cueball Cueball's picture

That's purely conjectural. Any student of US history will see clearly that US foreign policy is a continuum of policy. Any suggestion that Repbulicans are inately more hawkish is supercilious image politics.

The Republican's posture more agressively, while the Democrat's posture as diplomats. There is nothing new here. The results and actions are the same.

For example. A big deal is often made about Reagan facing down the Russians in the eighties by requipping and updating NATO's forward based intermediate range nuclear missile systems by introducing GLCM and the Pershing II. The fact is that Carter had already undertaken the "modernization" of NATO forces, on the basis that it was a reaction to the introduction of a large number of intermidiate range SS-20 systems by the Warsaw Pact. This argument was co-opted by Reagan as a justification for modernizing the NATO nuclear strike force in Europe.

Both the GLCM and the Pershing II were already on the drawing board under the Carter administraion.

All reagan did was rip up SALT II. In fact, Carter was already leveraging the SALT II negotiations from a "position of strength" by threatening to introduce the GLCM and the Pershing II to Western Europe. Reagan did some posturing, tore up SALT II, did what Carter had already said he was going to do by deploying the missile systems Carter had funded, and then restarted talks with Gorbacheov on the same basis.

These negotiations were just called something different: INF and START.

I have to work tomorrow... again. Pleasant dreams. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 04 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

No harm has been done to the left by Obama's win.

What happens next is at least somewhat in the hands of activists.

And as for third-party advocates, the next step is working seriously for electoral reform.

Be at least somewhat happy, ok?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Don't read Rosie Dimmano's column today unless you want to lose your breakfast... it start like this: "A bro is the prez."

[ 05 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Thanks for the heads-up.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I think the most encouraging thing about this election is the increased voter turnout, and the fact that so many first-time voters were compelled to come out (and vote Obama). Although, when people were saying that 'this is the most important election of my lifetime!', I was thinking, 'the most important election of your lifetime was eight years ago, and you blew it'.

I mostly agree with the cynical view that Obama's victory might give neoliberal politics a new lease on life, but I think we can be encouraged at the fact that so many people seem to know that they [i]reject[/i] the politics of the last thirty years--they simply don't know what a viable alternative might look like.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And this gives us the space to show them.
We can do a lot with this situation. It's largely down to the effort we put in in the days to come.

Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]Don't read Rosie Dimmano's column today unless you want to lose your breakfast... it start like this: "A bro is the prez."[/b]

Well, I had to go look at the train wreck. The worst part is that, of course, but second-worse is all the sentence fragments and poor grammar. I guess she was going for "conversational style" but it doesn't read well at all.

At least the tone was congratulating, despite the first line. It could've been a lot worse!

martin dufresne

DiManno's mimicking of her idea of "Black speak" is embarrassing. So is some White babblers' contention that Obama's election must be wonderful for Canada's First Nations youths.

kegbot

People,

PEOPLE. . .

Look I KNOW it isn't all sunshine and roses but for Goddess sakes THE USA JUST ELECTED A PERSON OF COLOUR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

I STILL don't quite believe what I saw last night and I'm about the most cynical American leftist you'll ever see (and Michelle can vouch for that).

Do you not think that progressives will hold Obama to certain principles? No one down here is going to relax one bit. There's a lot of work to be done and we're going down a dangerous road.

But at least for one day, one very special day,

I feel good about it all.

Papal Bull
M. Spector M. Spector's picture

So what? We Canadians have a person of colour - and a female to boot - as our acting head of state. It's no biggie, believe me.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Papal Bull: Where does that image come from?

Papal Bull

EQ-Ah, I found it floating around some the sites I usually frequent. It is a (de)motivational poster meme that is genuinely funny.

M.Spector - yeah, but remember this is the United States which had that whole civil war deal about the colour of people's skins being a major factor in it. This is a big deal. If only it is symbolic.

But symbols, as you should know, can be as powerful as anything.

kegbot

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]So what? We Canadians have a person of colour - and a female to boot - as our acting head of state. It's no biggie, believe me.[/b]

Not for you guys, no.

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]DiManno's mimicking of her idea of "Black speak" is embarrassing. So is some White babblers' contention that Obama's election must be wonderful for Canada's First Nations youths.[/b]

Nice drive by Martin, [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img] I guess in fact you are quite out of touch with FN youth and indeed FN's people, if you can say this. And in fact, I find your comment very indicative and very embarassing for yourself.

There is in fact a significant FN support base for Obama, or rather for what his wins means in indicating that exploited and marginalized people can come back and win the highest office in a country. FN youth across Canada have been wearing Obama tee shirts for months and watching this election closely. And I will guarantee that many many more will come out to vote and get political after seeing that indeed voting can change the white's grasp on power.

My partner, who is FN, is absolutely estatic, and is/was very non-political as he believes, or believed, that the white supremist strangle hold on politics would never end, as is my daughter, and many of our friends who are FN's. It has given them renewed hope for the future of their people.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]It may even be that Obama will need to be even more hawkish in order to make progress on any dometic reform. Perhaps this will be of some good for Americans... but the rest of us?

Who knows...

[ 04 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ][/b]


quote:

Cueball
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4790

posted 04 November 2008 05:57 PM
Voting is wrong.


Is it only voting in Canada that is wrong because it seems to me that your reaction to the American election should have been VOTING IS WRONG if that is what you truly believe.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Papal Bull:
[b]M.Spector - yeah, but remember this is the United States which had that whole civil war deal about the colour of people's skins being a major factor in it. This is a big deal. If only it is symbolic.

But symbols, as you should know, can be as powerful as anything.[/b]


The US Civil War was not a war over civil rights and racism. Besides the North won, and racism continues apace.

Yes, it is symbolic. But symbols are by definition representative of something. The Obama symbol represents a continuation of racist, imperial rule by the plutocracy of Amerika.

USians may not know this, but much of the "civilized" world long ago got over the idea of people being disqualified from top government positions because of their ethnicity, race, or gender. They also long ago learned to loathe the [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=13&t=004407]c... of smug self-congratulation[/url] that permeates Amerika, god's gift to the planet.

And so, when a sizeable minority of US white voters actually votes for a black man for president and this provokes unbridled joy among blacks and the left in that country, it seems quaint to us. Especially when the black man they voted for believes that racism in Amerika is a dead issue. I suppose he'd say that his election proves his point. Others would beg to differ.

[ 05 November 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


Originally posted by kropotkin1951:
[b] Is it only voting in Canada that is wrong because it seems to me that your reaction to the American election should have been VOTING IS WRONG if that is what you truly believe.[/b]

I was only being rhetorical, as a juxtoposition to the fascist notion that people should be forced to vote.

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Amйricain Йgalitaire:
[b]People,

PEOPLE. . .

Look I KNOW it isn't all sunshine and roses but for Goddess sakes THE USA JUST ELECTED A PERSON OF COLOUR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

I STILL don't quite believe what I saw last night and I'm about the most cynical American leftist you'll ever see (and Michelle can vouch for that).

Do you not think that progressives will hold Obama to certain principles? No one down here is going to relax one bit. There's a lot of work to be done and we're going down a dangerous road.

But at least for one day, one very special day,

I feel good about it all.[/b]


It's nice to feel good. I feel great myself. The US selection is not very much a factor in that.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]

I was only being rhetorical, as a juxtoposition to the fascist notion that people should be forced to vote.[/b]


Indeed the most fascist state we have seen over the last hundred years is Australia.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I think that we will all get some sense of the direction that Obama intends to go in by who he chooses to be in his cabinet. Since he can name anyone it leaves him the opportunity to dramatically shift American foreign policy and domestic policy.

Maybe he will get Hillary to finish the job in health care reform that she started during her husband's term. Of course that would require Barack to have a deeper commitment to the issue than Bill did.

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


Originally posted by kropotkin1951:
[b]Indeed the most fascist state we have seen over the last hundred years is Australia.[/b]

Indeed, Australia even makes it a punishable offence to spoil your ballot. It's possible to impose a fascist idea in a non-fascist context. Australia has numerous concepts inherent in its forumlation as a state that are directly linked to its history as a colonial project of the British Empire. Imperialism, imo, is an inherently fascist idea.

One might even reverse the equation, and say its possible to have non-fascist ideas operative in a fascist context, and that might be a better way to think of Australian "democracy".

[ 05 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

martin dufresne

quote:


Kropotkin: Indeed the most fascist state we have seen over the last hundred years is Australia.

The cheques from Italy and Germany are in the mail...