[Marxism] Obamamania and taking Chomsky and co. off their high horse

Dbachmozart at aol.com Dbachmozart at aol.com
Mon Dec 1 08:29:50 MST 2008

Chomsky is agreeable to supporting an alternative to the two factions of  the 
US ruling class as long as that alternative is viable. Absent  that, he's 
willing to lend his immense prestige to strengthening the most  crippling 
illusion facing the US left - that the Democrats are the lesser evil  and are thus 
worth supporting. But just how will that alternative arise? Will  it start out 
with 20 - 30% support in the polls or will it, at first  have much less support?
As Peter Camejo used to say, "how many terrible things does the Democratic  
Party have to do before people say 'enough'?" Just when will it be  permissible 
for those on the left who clearly see the role and history of the  DP,  to 
actually oppose them and propose an alternative? Nader,  for all his 
shortcomings dared to take that step years ago and has caught hell  for it ever since 
from the "progressive" left (including if I'm not mistaken,  the Left Business 
Observer's own Doug Henwood, another supporter "without  illusions" of Kerry). 
Chomsky, for all his excellent analytical abilities  and great courage over the 
decades speaking out against the crimes of the  Empire, has shrunk from it. 
He, Zinn, Henwood and co. gave the Democrats a  major assist in '04 when they 
supported Kerry. Many antiwar people who  were uncomfortable about supporting 
someone who was quite proud of voting  in favor of a US President's right to 
start a pre-emptive war, were won over.  "If Noam Chomsky was supporting Kerry, 
that's good enough for me."
On the question of how to take on Obamamania - at this point Obama has  
strong support from the great majority of Americans who are so thrilled and  
relieved that Bush/Cheney will be leaving, that they're not paying attention to  
Obama's history, his Cabinet selections or our criticisms, no matter how loud  
and shrill they are. Attacking him head on as a betrayer of promises (that he  
never really made) would cause the people who we are trying to win over to say 
-  "give the guy a chance; he hasn't even taken the oath yet". What we can do 
is  urge his followers to petition him to undo the eight years of Bush/Cheney. 
As a  former law professor, who better than he would understand the scope of 
the  outgoing administration's violations of international and US law and the  
breaking of his oath to uphold the Constitution? Certainly a law professor  
understands the necessity for filing charges and putting on trial all those,  
including lawyers and the complicit media suspected of breaking  the law. In a 
democracy, "no one is above the law" - doesn't Obama agree, or  will he sweep 
it all under the rug in the name of bipartisanship? Don't we teach  our 
children that there are consequences to misbehavior? If left unpunished,  don't 
these crimes serve as a precedent for future presidents, much like the  Democrats' 
letting Reagan and Bush Sr. off the hook with Iran-Contra provided  
Bush/Cheney with a precedent?
We should ask Obama's supporters to 
call on him to apologize for war based on lies, withdraw totally from Iraq  
and Afghanistan, and help rebuild those countries;
officially pledge to cease torture by any name, including "enhanced  
interrogation techniques" and prosecute all those responsible, especially the  
begin dismantling the 800 US military bases around the world and use the  
money to rebuild the US infrastructure;
etc, etc, etc.
Our approach - as if we are an organized political force and not a bunch of  
disparate graying 60s radicals - should be to act like a small gear turning a  
much larger one - Obama's leftist supporters. We are not strong enough to 
take  Obamamania on directly, but we can make reasonable demands on his 
supporters to  do that for us. "If he actually accomplishes some of these moves, we're 
willing  to admit that we may have been wrong about him". If and when he 
refuses, our  credibility is enhanced, and those who did not want to listen to our 
critique  may now open their minds a little more, provided we don't have a 
condescending  "we told you so" attitude.
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