Obama Staffer to Canadian Ambassador: “Don’t Take Our Campaign Rhetoric Seriously”

There is a global and corporate-globalizationist ruling class and there are subordinate, nation-bound working-classes within specific states that make up the many smaller state-specific political units of the world capitalist system.   Many of the working-class people are understandably upset about corporate globalization, which harms them in numerous material ways: savagely reduced job security, weakened unions, falling wages, and much more.  A good place to learn more about this in regarrd to North America most especially is Jeff Faux’s interesting book The Global Class War (New York: John Wiley, 2006)

In the more "advanced" bourgeois-democratic states, working class people typically  possess the technical right to vote for a certain small group of narrowly differentiated ruling-class candidates vetted in advance by their country’s business-based power elite. 

The politicians who want to win top offices have to balance (a) their need to occasionally – every four years in the case of the U.S. presidential elections (with the most intense pandering taking place during the Democratic Party’s primaries) — get votes from those working class people with (b) their need to reassure the ruling business and business-captive/-friendly political and policy community that they will remain safe for the corporate globalization agenda and (more broadly) for the related overall preservation of dominant state-capitalist domestic and global/imeprial hierarchies and doctrines.

Sometimes this dance of (a) and (b) involves candid and secretive communication between elites across national lines.  Earlier this week, for example, a top economic advisor in the pseudo-progressive, faux-populist and very corporate-neoliberal Barack Obama campaign called up the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. The advisor told the ambassador not to get too concerned about anti-NAFTA  and anti-"trade" rhetoric ("trade" is a word global capitalist elites like to use to decribe their negative globalization aims of enhancing investor rights at all costs) the Ambassador might be hearing coming out of Obama’s mouth when the Democratic Party’s presidential frontrunner Barack Goldman Sachs Lehman Brothers UBS Citigroup Morgan Stanley JP Morgan Chase Exelon Obama spoke to down-on-their-heels working-class people in the American state called Ohio. 

Ohio has seen an especially large number and percentage of its jobs disappear under the impact of corporate globalization – a regressive policy trend that was furthered (but was hardly invented by or reducible to) by the 1994 neoliberal "North American Free Trade Agreeement."

Democratic politicians who want to win the proletarian primary ballot in Ohio have to sound like they’re angry at NAFTA.

Basically the high Obama staffer told the Canadian ambassador not to worry about the populist- sounding words coming from the Great and Terrible BaRockstar’s mouth because "it’s just my Corporate Democrat candidate pandering – as he has no choice but to do, if he wants to win - to the idiotic and retrograde American working class, which doesn’t understand the glorious virtues of corporate globalization."

It’s "just campaign rhetoric," the Canadian official was told.

Can you feel the class contempt? Can you smell it?

You see, Hillary and Obama might be talking against NAFTA and "trade" in Ohio but it’s all a Great Big Bourgeois Farce because they’re "both avowed free traders." 

I just heard that (basically, in so many coded and polite words) from a ruling-class journalist named John Harwood.  He is the the Washington Correspondent for CNBC. 

It did not seem to bother him in the slightest.  Not at all – its how the world works, and its pretty cool and okay by him as far as he’s concerned. 

He’s totally absorbed what C. Wright Mills used to call the "Crackpot Realism of the Power Elite." It happened a long time ago, probably in an Ivy League school.  He was talking on the "Public" Broadcasting System’s weekly show "Washington Week." 

My fellow Americans, please give me a straight answer on how much longer you are going to put with this kind of shit from your masters.  You are living under the soft dictatorship – but a dicatatorship nonetheless, and its projected to get harder with each passing decade - of the bourgeoisie.  Before it’s too late, we should all think about extracting our hearts and minds and from (among other things) this deceptive, illusory, oppressive, savagely unequal, alienating, authoritarian and unjust eco-cidal political-economic order and from its quadrennial narrow-spectrum election extravaganzas.  We should begin the long and difficult work of organizing towards a truly democratic, working-class revolution – a great leveling that sweeps the parasitic ruling class and its army of slick, cynical, and bought-off sold-out liars, rationalizers, coordinators, controllers,  indoctrinators, diverters, bedazzlers, bambozzlers, beguilers, faith-healers, pie-in-the-sky Electoral Trappers, and false CHANGE–promisers into the proverbial dustbin of history once and for all.  

There’s some change I can believe in.

All the master class has got is the same old shit recycled again and again. You can change the executive committee ruliing class’s frontman’s color, ethnocultural nomenclature, gender, sexual orientation, voice pitch, height…you name it, change it all but at the end of the day its nothing but plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose unless and until you all get up off your down-on-your-heels asses and demand and work for actual revolution – the kind you have to fight for from the bottom up and against the disingenous know it all drivel and repressive desublimation of your supposed God- and/or History-graced "betters" from Yale and Harvard and NASDAQ and the Fortune 500 and the Pentagon and the Democratic Party National Committee and the Council on Foreign Relations and the Obama Campaign and the North American chamber of commerce and so on if you know what I’m saying.  What would it take to make you revolt?

Does this (below) help? It is a paste-in of a/the story about the Obama economic advisor and the Canadian Ambassador. it’s from CTV.ca.  You could find a lot more links on this online (look up the folks at No Quarter) but I thought I would just paste this one in and see if any readers wanted to send other links or make any comments on whether they agree or disagee on this specific case or about the need to work towards an anti-capitalist revolution sooner rather than later.


Obama staffer gave warning of NAFTA rhetoric

Updated Wed. Feb. 27 2008 11:45 PM ET


 CTV.ca News Staff

Barack Obama has ratcheted up his attacks on NAFTA, but a senior member of his campaign team told a Canadian official not to take his criticisms seriously, CTV News has learned.

Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have been critical of the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement over the course of the Democratic primaries, saying that the deal has cost U.S. workers’ jobs.

Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama’s campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA, according to Canadian sources.

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

But Tuesday night in Ohio, where NAFTA is blamed for massive job losses, Obama said he would tell Canada and Mexico "that we will opt out unless we renegotiate the core labour and environmental standards."

Late Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign said the staff member’s warning to Wilson sounded implausible, but did not deny that contact had been made.

"Senator Obama does not make promises he doesn’t intend to keep," the spokesperson said.

Low-level sources also suggested the Clinton campaign may have given a similar warning to Ottawa, but a Clinton spokesperson flatly denied the claim.

During Tuesday’s debate, she said that as president she would opt out of NAFTA "unless we renegotiate it."

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Wednesday that the candidates’ criticisms of NAFTA were misguided.

"(They) should recognize that NAFTA benefits the U.S. tremendously," he said. "Those who speak of it as helpful to (just the) Canadian or Mexican economies are missing the point."

Liberal MP and finance critic John McCallum told Canada AM that the U.S. pulling out of NAFTA "would be a disaster for Canada."

But he added, "I hope and I believe that it’s politics, because they’re in a high-stakes contest. I believe after this nominee is decided, this issue will go away."

John Fortier, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise institute, said that in an effort to gain votes in the anti-NAFTA state of Ohio, each candidate might find themselves "locked-in" to their pledge to renegotiate NAFTA.

"Last night, both candidates really locked themselves in to at least doing some serious renegotiation," Fortier told Canada AM. "But how serious they are and what the changes (will be) . . . that’s another question.

"But I don’t know how Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton can get out of last night’s very clear pledge that they are going to use the opt-out (clause) as a threat to do some serious renegotiation."

Crucial primaries in Ohio and Texas are just one week away.

During Tuesday night’s debate, each candidate was quite specific about using the six-month opt-out clause in NAFTA, to pressure Canada and Mexico into renegotiating the deal.

The March 4 primaries are seen as vital for each candidate, but particularly Clinton. It’s expected that without a decisive win in both Texas and Ohio, she has no chance of winning the Democratic nomination.

Clinton once had a large lead in each state, but recent polls are showing the candidates as close to even, with Obama surging ahead.

Early polls show that there is a strong possibility of a Democrat in the White House in January 2009.

Obama, in particular, is surging in popularity throughout the U.S. and some polls give the Illinois senator an almost double-digit lead if he were to run head-to-head against the expected Republican candidate, John McCain.

With a report by CTV’s Tom Clark in Washington

Leave a comment