I believe all of you are as open and willing to listen as anyone else in
- Barack Obama, speaking to the masters of “American” finance capitalism at the headquarters of NASDAQ, Wall Street, New York City, September 17, 2007
For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of society, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire society…a radical redistribution of political and economic power.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., May 1967
Obama is deeply conservative.
- Larissa MacFarquhar, “The Conciliator,” The New Yorker. May 2007.
“STANDING UP” AND KNEELING DOWN
Maybe it’s because Barack Obama and his handlers are sensitive to the need to reassure ruling forces that the “first black
BLACK EXPERIENCE “NOT FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT”
We know that the technically black Obama has political reasons to avoid threatening the white electoral majority. Still it is too much for him to absurdly claim, in his power-adoring 2006 campaign book The Audacity of Hope (3), that “what ails working- and middle-class blacks and Latinos is not fundamentally different from what ails their white counterparts”(Obama 2006, p. 245). Also rather audacious is Obama’s praise of the U.S. for historically possessing “an economic system that, more than any other, has offered opportunity to all comers regardless of status, title or rank”(Obama 2006, pp. 231-232) – including apparently the many millions of black chattel “comers” who came in chains, carrying literally subhuman “status.” Just to make sure that no Caucasians fear he’s about reawaken the tragically unfinished revolutions of Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement, Obama calms white anxieties further by claiming that black Americans (who suffer from a median household wealth gap of seven cents on the white dollar in the 21st century United States) have been “pulled into the economic mainstream” (Obama, 2006, pp. 248-49).
He also apologizes for whites’ indifference to the persistence of profound racial inequality and discrimination in the U.S (see Street.2007c and Brown 2003) by explaining that “white guilt has largely exhausted itself in America” as “even the most fair-minded of whites…tend to push back against suggestions of racial victimization and race-based claims based on the history of racial discrimination in this country” (Obama 2006, p. 247). This statement of understanding toleration for white racism-denial deftly consigns racial oppression to the supposedly finished past, cleverly deleting its continuing and deeply cumulative (Brown 2003) relevance in the living historical present (4).
“THE VOICE OF THE COUNCIL OF FOREIGN RELATIONS”
The self-described “American exceptionalist” Obama has obvious political reasons to try to bring to his campaign as much of the imperial
John Pilger put the imperial foreign policy essence of the Obama phenomenon in useful context indeed during a speech in
“As for the Democrats, look at how Barack Obama has become the voice of the Council on Foreign Relations, one of the propaganda organs of the old liberal Washington establishment. Obama writes that while he wants the troops home, ‘We must not rule out military force against long-standing adversaries such as
“DANGER IN THE IDEA OF EQUALITY”
Then there are Obama’s disturbing statements of fawning respect for the predominantly white capitalist economic elite – the top 1 percent that owns more than a third of U.S. wealth and a probably higher percentage of its politicians, policymakers, and opinion-makers. Given his dependence on super-rich “election investors” to run a viable presidential campaign under the plutocratic rules of the United States’ self-negating “market democracy” (Herman 2007), it’s not surprising that he would wish to avoid offending the nation’s leading corporate power-brokers. But Obama goes beyond the call of class-deferential duty when he praises the arch-plutocratic Ronald Reagan for embodying “American’s longing for order” (Obama 2006, p. 31) and when he pens the following nauseating paean to aristocratic rule in The Audacity of Hope: “The Founders recognized that there were seeds of anarchy in the idea of individual freedom, an intoxicating danger in the idea of equality, for if everybody is truly free, without the constraints of birth or rank and an inherited social order…how can we ever hope to form a society that coheres?” (Obama 2006, pp. 86-87). How’s that for commitment to the democratic and egalitarian ideals to which the
“OUR [GREAT] FREE MARKET SYSTEM”
Equally sickening is Obama’s eagerness to praise the glories of the capitalist system that produces grotesque fortunes at the top of America’s “inherited social order” while tens of millions of Americans go without adequate food, clothing, shelter, and health insurance. One key question addressed in The Audacity of Hope comes straight out of the neoconservative world view Obama was so good at accommodating at Harvard Law: what makes the
“Calvin Coolidge once said that ‘the chief business of the American people is business,’ and indeed, it would be hard to find a country on earth that’s been more consistently hospitable to the logic of the marketplace. Our Constitution pl