In renewing its great traditions of struggle, the American proletariat will have to fight the coming blood and tears policy of the Obama presidency
(«Proletarian»;Nr. 5; November 2009)
Barack Obama, new mouthpiece of American ruling class interests.
The proletarians of America and the world should not expect changes in their favor from the government, the capitalist crisis which commenced last year will get worse and last much longer, with serious consequences for workers. Perhaps slowly, but inexorably, it increases and continues to increase the intensity of exploitation, the number of unemployed, to lower real wages.The crises of overproduction - not overproduction in relation to the needs of the population, but to the market - are a congenital phenomenon of capitalism.
The bourgeoisie cannot respond by improving conditions for workers, but only by maintaining or increasing the profits which it extracts, ie by worsening these conditions to decrease the «cost» of labor and wages in general, by the closure of insufficiently profitable enterprises, layoffs, etc..
Already the number of unemployed increases in the
United States as in most countries, these are not only employees of various
financial institutions, but workers of all productive sectors, automotive to
aviation , Construction to computers ... More than a million jobs have been lost
during the first ten months of the year, bringing the number of unemployed to
nearly 10 million (6.5% of the working population) according to official
statistics, less than a third of whom are receiving unemployment benefits (1).
The increasingly tense international situation compels Barak Obama just like his predecessors to defend imperialist interests through the massive military machine of the United States - and even before his election he had already criticized Bush for the insufficiency of his war effort in Afghanistan! Clashes between capitalist powers are destined to worsen in different parts of the world: certainly in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia and the oil fields of the Caucasus as we saw this summer. And in Europe, the historic cradle of capitalism and hearth of inter-imperialist wars, where factors of crises and tension continue to accumulate.
The electoral victory of Obama has been hailed by the media throughout the world as the symbol of a new era for the United States. The election of an “Afro-American” Democratic candidate in a State which was officially racist (as was the Democratic Party itself) just a few decades ago is undoubtedly a novelty, as the victory of a woman would have been if Hillary Clinton had been nominated by her party.
But if this aspect created a sensation, what was the program of the candidate?
Exactly the same one as that of his rival, McCain: rescue of the financial and banking system (see his full support for the so-called “Paulson plan” that gigantic legal robbery to come to the assistance of the Wall Street bankers), defense of the profits of the American capitalists, the only difference being that Obama spoke - very vaguely - to better “share” the wealth and to tax and the largest fortunes (2).
However because he is a member of a racial minority whose majority belongs to the proletariat, Obama, with the support of virtually all the media, has been seen as a bearer of positive “change” by the exploited layers of the population, even though his campaign has received record funding and strong support from financial and industrial circles (3).
Whereas voter turnout is traditionally very low in the United States, this time there was a slight increase compared to the last presidential election: 61% compared with 60% of registered voters (4). If this falls far short of the wave of participation described by the media at the time of the vote (the rate of abstention actually increased in large cities like New York or Washington), there is however no doubt that Obama’s candidacy has drawn in a large number of new proletarian voters, black or otherwise, to the ballot box, attracted by his promise of “change” or by the desire to get rid of the present government.
A British daily newspaper confirms this, writing: “If Obama had lost the election while the party which has presided over an economic collapse of historic magnitude and 2 unsuccessful and unpopular wars while three-quarters of Americans are convinced their country is moving in the wrong direction (...), it would have been the greatest missed electoral opportunity in generations. This could persuade a whole generation that there was nothing to expect from elections. (5). Millions of people could conclude that the only way for the Republicans to lose power lies in a form of armed insurrection”(5).
The electoral illusion, this powerful means of defense of the established order, thus functioned perfectly! Millions of proletarians, black, white, Hispanic and others, believed that it was possible to change their situation at least a little by the electoral, democratic, peaceful and legalist road. They believed that on the day of the vote all individuals were equal and that the policy of the State was determined by the number of votes obtained by this or that candidate.
This was a dream, which reality will quickly dissipate. Already they can see that the personages approached to fill future official positions to carry out the alleged “change” are the same politicians as yesterday, they can already see that if Obama expressed himself in favor of a plan of support for the automobile industries, he has not spoken of support to the proletarians who work there, they can already see it taken up in his statements in favor of national unity ( “We must come together as one nation - young and old, rich and poor, black and white, Republicans and Democrats”) a classic bourgeois theme, but used with greater insistence in times of crisis: the more the bourgeoisie speaks of national unity, the more it prepares for the social war internally and imperialist war externally! At the end of October Biden, Obama’s running mate for the vice-presidency, publicly warned that, in connection with the crisis, the new government “would be obliged to make incredibly tough decisions” in the first two years, on the internal plane as well as in foreign policy (6).
American capitalism boasts of being “the most democratic” in the world, it has been undoubtedly the most aggressive since it was imposed at the end of World War II as the dominant imperialism (including within the framework of Russo-American condominium over the world).
President Obama will continue on this path; after quickly abandoning his initial statements in favor of a military withdrawal from Iraq, he repeated many times during his campaign that he would increase the American military effort in Afghanistan. He endorsed the old theme of the “fight against terrorism” that has already been used as a pretext to justify the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact the biggest and most lethal terrorists by far are the imperialist states, and especially American imperialism, whose victims are estimated in the tens of millions during the butcheries of two world wars or in countless “localized” slaughters!
Behind the veil of electoral democracy lies the unyielding reality of the armed dictatorship of capital. It is easy to note that when faced with even the most meagre requests for social ameliorations, the democratic governments respond that they have no money, then they immediately find billions and billions of dollars or euros to come to the assistance of the banks or companies!
Whether left or right, socialist or conservative, Democrat or Republican, bourgeois governments are only mobilized to defend capitalist interests.
As for the proletariat, though they may be evicted from their homes, forced from their jobs, expelled from the country where they work, or exploited in the most savage way, they will receive, in the best case, a few crumbs to prevent them from revolting. The new president will use his social rhetoric to more easily implement anti-proletarian measures inevitable in order to save the capitalist system; he will use the renewed patriotic propaganda to more easily implement military intervention on behalf of a “historic mission” of the American people to spread democracy.
But American democracy has never been anything other than the mask of the super-gangsterism of U.S. imperialism, a worthy successor to the old European imperialist gangsters. Capitalism bears war within itself, and American capitalism, the realm of the world’s most powerful “military industrial complex”, is no exception. For the American and world proletariat, American capitalism is and will remain the most powerful enemy and the pillar of global capitalism, even if it calls itself democratic and has a black president.
Faced with this overwhelming domination of capitalist forces, there does not appear to be any way out.
Yet it is the proletariat - the class of non-owners, forced to be exploited by the bosses in order to live - that create all the wealth of society, it is their wage labor that creates the profits that are essential to the life of capitalism. The proletarians potentially have in their hands the immense power to put an end to the capitalist system of misery and blood!
But for this force to begin to concretize itself they must overcome all the obstacles created by the bourgeois class and its reformist servants; they must overcome all the democratic lies, class-collaborationist propaganda for social peace, all racial, national, class, age or sex divisions.
As difficult as this may seem, it is not impossible to fight against the American capitalists, as the 57 day strike of Boeing machinists demonstrated this fall. There is no alternative to class struggle to resist capitalist attacks which will grow sharper with the crisis. The American proletariat, which in the past has carried out great struggles against a ferocious capitalism, will lead even more gigantic struggles in the future.
Their fate depends on it, and that of the proletarians of the whole world!
- No confidence in bourgeois democracy, which has systematically misled the workers and led them into the massacres of local and world wars!
- No confidence in a political change which is nothing other than the changing of the guard of the temple of His Majesty: Capital!
- No confidence in the agreements and solidarity between the large capitalist countries against the crisis!
- No confidence in collaborationist forces which claim to uniquely defend the interests of the exploited masses in order to better control them and to deliver their avant-garde minorities to repression!
- No confidence in the political parties of the “extreme left” which want only to take the anti-proletarian place of a worn-out traditional reformism until sterner measures are needed!
- Confidence in the force that the proletariat expresses as it ruptures with the interclassist traditions inculcated by decades of collaborationist policies!
- Confidence in the organizational ability of the proletariat when it takes into its own hands control of its struggles.
- Confidence in the resumption of the class struggle, when the proletariat, reacting to exploitation and repression, will organize a struggle of resistance to capital extending to the broadest layers and maintaining itself for the longest possible period of time! This resumption of the class struggle will make it possible for the proletarians to distinguish who are their friends, their open enemies and their even more dangerous false friends.
- Confidence in the analysis carried out 150 years ago by Marxism according to which the exaggerated economic development of capitalism inevitably leads to more and more acute crises until its gigantic system of production of profits becomes seized up, leading to generalized wars. Confidence in the point of view according to which the proletariat, the class of those without-reserves, which produces all social wealth, will be the class which will put an end to capitalism and all class societies!
- Confidence in the Marxist point of view according to which the proletariat organized and directed by its class party, will seize political power by insurrection, will found its own class dictatorship on the ruins of the bourgeois state in order to intervene despotically in the economic and social organization in order to extirpate capitalism, to revolutionize society from top to bottom and to definitively free mankind from any form of oppression and exploitation!
7th November 2008
(1) Official figures of US Department of Labor for the month of October. The unemployment rate was 5.9% for whites, 7.8% for latinos and 11.4% for blacks: racial discriminations are always alive! This month the financial sector lost 24,000 employees, whereas the manufacturing industry lost 90,000, the construction sector 49,000, service sector 51,000, etc. If one includes part-time workers, workers “discouraged from seeking employment”, etc, the unemployment rate then reaches 11.8% (against 8.4% one year earlier). www. bls.gov / news.release / empsit.nr0.htm
2) That earned him accusations of being “socialist”, which he said ironically: “It’s a little difficult to imagine how are Warren Buffet and Colin Powell to support me, if I practice socialism” New York Times, 8 October 2008. Warren Buffett is a famous multi-billionaire and Powell, former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces during the first war against Iraq and Bush’s former Secretary of State during the last war against Iraq
(3) The Obama campaign has received unprecedented financial support: more than $ 600 million against probably a hundred for McCain. Supporters of Obama insist on the number of small contributions, but according to the New York Times a third of the funds came from campaign contributions exceeding $ 1,000, a higher proportion than for McCain or his previous rival Clinton. NYT, 6 August 2008.
(4) Estimates a few days after the election: www.elections.gmu.edu/preliminary_vote_2008.html
(5) The Guardian, November 5, 2008. www.guardian. co.uk / commentisfree / 2008 / nov / 05 / barackobama - uselections 20081
(6) http:// blogs.suntimes.com / sweet / 2008 / 10 / joe_biden_seattle_ fund_ raiser.html
International Communist Party