Monday, October 27, 2008

Barack Obama for President

Todd Chretien makes the argument in the Socialist Worker for apparent complete voter abstention November the fourth, a tactic even many anarchists critique as extreme and many times counterproductive; Noam Chomsky’s comments being here relevant.

For instance, surely it is better to have Obama become President and support bills that make it easier to join Unions - such as EFCA, the Employee Free Choice Act - and thus actually organize workers than to have McCain’s opposition. Smaller and compromised reforms can play a small part in a larger and completely autonomous program: such as organizing workers into Unions, establishing a strong Union movement, this in turn helps instill class consciousness as Marx phrased it and, as some left-Marxists – Anton Pannekoek coming to mind – observed: trade unionism plays a necessary role in class struggle, it could serve as the embryo from which a completely autonomous workers’ movement could emerge from.

It is true as surely the International Socialist Organization would argue that, as Pannekoek wrote: “trade unionism is an action of the workers, which does not go beyond the limit of capitalism. Its aim is not to replace capitalism by another form of production, but to secure good living conditions within capitalism. Its character is not revolutionary, but conservative…So there comes a disparity between the working class and trade unionism. The working class has to look beyond capitalism. Trade unionism lives entirely within capitalism and cannot look beyond it. Trade unionism can only represent a part, a necessary but narrow part, in the class struggle. And it develops aspects which bring it into conflict with the greater aims of the working class.”

But from the confines of “…the narrow field of trade union struggle widens into the broad field of class struggle. But now the workers themselves must change. They have to take a wider view of the world. From their trade, from their work within the factory walls, their mind must widen to encompass society as a whole. Their spirit must rise above the petty things around them. They have to face the state; they enter the realm of politics. The problems of revolution must be dealt with.”

But for the short-term it makes a difference to the impoverished, the hungry, the sick and so on whether or not there is going to be four more direct years of anti-union policy, regressive taxation, tax cuts and large subsidies for the upper most bourgeois, mass home foreclosures, unlimited debt, not just an imperial refocusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also potentially war with Iran and other potential McCain administration targets. Not to forget that McCain's choice for Vice President, Sarah Palin, agrees with Cheney's treacherous and false belief that the Vice President is "in charge" of the Senate and that she "can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes..."; such as legislating hate and discrimination, she's vehemently opposed to gay marriage and equal rights, even further restrict abortion rights or worse and so on (recall that the next President is likely to nominate a few Supreme Court Justices, we can't afford any more nominated by the likes of McCain and Palin).

Surely all of this matters to the ordinary population, which is why the population is going to hit the polls in droves and elect Obama in a landslide; possibly why Chretien is so complacently dismissive of voting for Obama.

A vote for Obama to ensure the demise of the neoconservative foreign policy establishment, among other things, does not mean that those few moments in a booth marking a piece of paper will render the voter incapable of, after leaving the polling station, organizing an autonomous opposition (completely independent of the Democratic party).

The IWW (the Industrial Workers of the World Union) has been conducting a successful international campaign to unionize Starbucks baristas , among many other actions, and in the United States baristas are constantly being fired for attempting to unionize: if for only this reason Obama should be voted for by people concerned for the working class, he will support policy that makes it easier for workers to join unions and McCain won’t, that’s a difference that matters.

19 comments:

elijeremiah said...

Great post, JDHURF!! I completely agree with you that Obama should and will be our next president.

I really like how you focus on how it will be easier to unionize under Obama's policies, and about how people should organize independently from the Democratic party once he wins.

I hope it's a landslide, because that will decrease the chances of a long, drawn-out fight like in 2000.

JDHURF said...

Thanks for the response Eli. I focused more on working class issues, such as unionizing, because the post was more of a response to the Socialist Worker than it was merely an endorsement of Obama.

Although I did want to mention progressive issues that are not necessarily tied to the labor movement, such as Palin's opposition to gay rights and abortion rights along with her view of the role of the Vice President.

It will be a landslide. In states which allow for early voting, it already is a landslide!

Anonymous said...

I can see that perspective JDHURF but helping the working class short term may be hurting the movement. Lenin decided never to help the poor because it is only under extreme material conditions that the revolution happens.

JDHURF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JDHURF said...

anonymous:

It is precisely conceptions such as yours – that the worse it gets the better for the movement, you might want to run that conception by the history of the labor movement in Germany – that are not only ineffective, but also both counterproductive and dangerous. Your citation of Lenin confirms this.

Lenin did not simply passively sit back as material conditions became worse, we all know this. Lenin committed and called for massive terrorism: the murdering of leftists who disagreed with the Bolsheviks, the murdering of workers and leftist soldiers, the murdering of peasants (referred to pejoratively as kulaks), the murdering of peasant "bagmen" and prostitutes and so on. Lenin was a reactionary terrorist who had no qualms murdering the people of Russia, workers, leftists, peasants and so on, so long as they got in the Bolsheviks way of seizing control of the state apparatus.

Lenin actually went so far as to repress internal Bolsheviks if and whent they didn’t tout the party line to its damndest. Lenin decided that even disagreements within the confines of Bolshevism was no longer tolerable when one of the very few Bolsheviks with actual proletarian background, Alexander Schliapnikov (who was primarily based in the trade unions), initiated the “workers resistance” within the party by advocating that control of the factories should be entrusted to the workers themselves (which is really just elementary socialist principle) rather than the Bolshevik party under hierarchies of domination and authoritarianism.

Lenin argued that to allow the workers control of the workplace would undermine the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” quite the inverted logic I would say, and thus had a “party unity” resolution passed banning any activity that deviated in the slightest from the strict party line. To enforce this ban the post of general secretary was created and for that position Lenin chose none other than Joseph Stalin.

The Left Socialist Revolutionaries were actually for a time the only leftists who weren’t Bolsheviks that Lenin didn’t have exterminated and that’s because they explicitly supported the Bolshevik seizure of power.

I would like to repeat the fact that Lenin had murdered not only other non-Bolshevik leftists, but workers and peasants also, “bagmen” and kulaks and so on.

Lenin was a terrorist who had nothing to do with a legitimate socialist revolutionary program.

Anonymous said...

O God save us from these communists. I fear another Al-queda attack is imminent.

JDHURF said...

anonymous:

Thank you for the amusing post, I got a kick out of it.

Anonymous said...

So then John Kerry (Sec of State ?)will make us the Biotch of the corrupt UN?? Face it libs you hate American prestige and the fact that an American President (Bush) was STRONG enough to defend us. Where as the current group of American apologizers that your Ilk elected would be asking permission to defend us and abdicate our sovereignty... Break international Law? Can you please site the case?? I imagine all of those lovely perfectly innocent people at gomtamo bay will love the ACLU all the while Kerry will insist that American Soldiers be tried in the Hague for war crimes... All you want to do is destroy this nation from the inside out.. You hatred for Bush will boomerang on you so fast.. As we conservatives have had it too.. Had it with the constant crap of the left that America is the source of evil in the world.. Expect us to make Obama Presidency at least as hard as you made Bush's... That is a promise... We love our country the way it is not the way you want to change it... The target of ridcule is on Obama's back now.. get used to it

Anonymous said...

The problem with the World Government approach we are going to see the Obama Administration implement is this... Obama thinks..
If we just talk we can solve anything, the only problem is the other side is not interested in any thing but world domination, it is their religious right and they fanatically support it. They will talk for tactical advantage but will drop it like a hot potato if we no longer support their long term goals, in the mean time our talking has yielded concessions against our interest.


Consider this quote:



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


“The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been about 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:



From bondage to spiritual faith;

From spiritual faith to great courage;

From courage to liberty;

From liberty to abundance;

From abundance to selfishness;

From selfishness to apathy;

From apathy to dependence;

From dependence back into bondage.”




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



It is my assessment that the country is between the selfish and apathy stage in the sequence. Recognizing that you and people who have similar beliefs are in an advanced state of apathy-I don't care the consequences just make the problem go away- have neither the strength or courage to deal with a mean, nasty tyrant of Islamofaschism.

JDHURF said...

anonymous:

You cited no sources for your pseudo-psycho-political analysis of civilization, even though you were clearly quoting it, and I will therefore dismiss it without further attention.

As for soft power and diplomacy. No where has Obama made the claim that “just” talking will solve everything. That is a pure falsification of his plain statements. He has explicitly said that diplomacy should at least be tried, rather than simply breaking international law and invading and occupying other countries.

I disagree with him here, but here is FPIF on Obama’s Use of Force:
Obama has harshly criticized the Bush administration’s unilateralism and militarism and promises to be far more cautious regarding sending Americans off to war. Yet he leaves loopholes big enough to drive a tank through. Rather than categorically declaring he would use military force only as a last resort, he insists that “no president should ever hesitate to use force – unilaterally if necessary,” not only “to protect ourselves . . . when we are attacked,” but also to protect what he refers to as “our vital interests” when the president believes they are “imminently threatened.” And, rather than calling on the United States to strictly abide by the United Nations Charter and other international treaty obligations regarding the use of military force, he simply says “we should make every effort to garner the clear support and participation of others.”
At the same time, Obama has demonstrated enough of an awareness of history to indicate that he would be less likely to repeat some of the mistakes of the past, telling The New York Times, “For most of our history our crises have come from using force when we shouldn’t, not by failing to use force.”
Obama strongly supports the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Despite recent pleas by the democratically elected Afghan president Harmid Karzai that the ongoing U.S. bombing and the over-emphasis on aggressive counterinsurgency operations was harming efforts to deal with the resurgence of violence by the Taliban and other radical groups, Obama has promised to send at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan. He has also threatened bombings and incursions into Pakistan to root out al-Qaeda cells.
Though critical of the billions of dollars wasted annually on anachronistic Cold War-era military procurement projects, Obama calls for increasing America’s already-bloated military budget. Even though U.S military spending already totals more than all the military budgets of all the other countries in the world combined, Obama insists that Bush’s military spending spree of recent years has somehow not been enough.
Indeed, Obama has promised to enlarge the size of the uniformed armed forces by more than 92,000 troops. Given that the United States – surrounded by two oceans and two weak friendly neighbors – is essentially safe from any potential conventional attack, this position inevitably raises the question of what he intends to do with that expanded military capability.”

Barack Obama on Diplomacy


anonymous said:

”Recognizing that you and people who have similar beliefs are in an advanced state of apathy-I don't care the consequences just make the problem go away- have neither the strength or courage to deal with a mean, nasty tyrant of Islamofaschism.”

Pure witch-craft. You are not a psychiatrist and you are not telepathic, there is no way you divined my psychological state from reading a blog post of mine. You are a charlatan and a fool.

I am, in fact, far from apathetic. If I was apathetic, why would I be keeping a blog for years arguing for progressive change? You’re charges are the charges of a reactionary extremist and someone clearly very ignorant of the relevant facts.

Btw – if you’re the same anonymous who has been recently trolling this comments section, you need to start responding to my refutations of your propaganda before you continue making a fool of yourself.

JDHURF said...

btw - I'm a socialist - as my blog's title should indicate - not a liberal. There's a big difference.

Anonymous said...

Jdhurf,
thanks for your response, I will get back to you.

JDHURF said...

anonymous:

You're welcome. If you keep your posts within reason, I actually encourage opposition.

Anonymous said...

JD,

I came across something more baffling and I wanted to pick your mind.

The Obama bill introduced into the Senate adopts the UN goals across the board. This is not political correctness run amuck; this is a direct assault on US sovereignty. You can wrap it any way you want but it leads to subjugation.

Patriotic Americans should oppose it because their freedoms hang in the balance.

[url]http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/110_SN_2433.html[/url]

[url]http://www.infowars.com/?p=1992[/url]

Your thoughts on this one

JDHURF said...

anonymous:

You need to start reading more legitimate sources. When you post reactionary, conspiracy theory dolling, extreme right-wing propaganda like that, pretty much no one who reads this blog will take you seriously (and the left is not the only people reading the blog).

That you oppose the Global Poverty Act is demonstrative of just how reactionary and extreme you are and that you would cite sources that claim it destroys the sovereignty of the United States proves just how naïve, gullible and subservient to extreme right-wing doctrine you are.

“The Bill states that the Declaration of Policy is It is the policy of the United States to promote the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than 1$ per day.”

This will be accomplished by following the United Nations MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS; not by abolishing U.S. sovereignty.
Analysis of the bill

Furthermore, a majority of American citizens support the general aims of the United Nations, the United States’ participation in the United Nations, they would like to see the United Nations take a stronger leading role and so on:

“A large majority of Americans believes that the United Nations plays a necessary role in the world and supports US participation in the UN. Large majorities would like the UN to be stronger than it is and support even rather extreme options for giving greater powers to the UN including giving it the power to intervene in the internal affairs of states and having its own standing peacekeeping force. Large majorities favor the US working through the UN more than it does even if this means the US has to accept compromises and would prefer to see the UN rather than the US take the lead in dealing with world issues. At the same time Americans have in recent years shown significant dissatisfaction with UN performance in fulfilling its mission. The mixture of this strong support for the UN in principle and dissatisfaction with its performance leave most Americans feeling lukewarm about the UN as an institution.”

Dissatisfaction with the performance of the UN is studied elsewhere and it is clear that U.S. subversion of the UN is a leading factor in the dissatisfaction, as well as the subversion of the UN by all members of the Security Council.

Research polling data,

The same faction of people who are adamantly opposed to the United Nations are the same people who orchestrated and conducted the Oklahoma City bombing.

Anonymous said...

And exactly what fact that I presented was erroneous? I didn't see that in your response.


The signing on to the conventions makes US law subservient to UN dictates. That is what I said and that is exactly what it does.

The goals are far more substantial than poverty as the following quote from the UN SG states.

. Thematic framework of the Millennium Summit
In the discussions that have taken place in the open-ended informal consultations of the plenary, it has been underlined that, irrespective of the decision the Assembly takes on the matter, the theme or themes should "articulate and affirm an animating vision for the United Nations in the new area" and "provide an opportunity to strengthen the role of the United Nations in meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century", as envisioned in resolution 53/202. In this context, the following overall themes have been mentioned:

(a) The role and function of the United Nations in the twenty-first century;
(b) Towards a global society: the tasks for the United Nations in the twenty-first century;
(c) New challenges to multilateralism in the era of globalization;
(d) International cooperation and the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century;
(e) The role of the United Nations in promoting peace and sustainable development of mankind in the conditions of globalization.

7. Other proposals, either within an overarching theme or as separate themes, were as follows:

(a) Strengthening the capacity of the international community to respond to conflict by taking measures, including preventive measures, peacekeeping and humanitarian activities and peace-building activities, and linkages among them;
(b) Modality for a cooperative mechanism among the United Nations system, regional organizations and non-governmental organizations;
(c) Peace, international security and settlement of disputes;
(d) Disarmament;
(e) Conventional and nuclear disarmament;
(f) Development cooperation and poverty eradication;
(g) Development, including poverty eradication;
(h) Development financing;
(i) Sustainable development;
(j) Globalization and its implications;
(k) Poverty eradication in the context of globalization;
(l) Human security in the context of globalization;
(m) Human rights;
(n) Social development and human rights;
(o) Structural changes and enhancement of the United Nations system;
(p) Regionalism and multilateralism;
(q) The relationship between the United Nations and civil society;
(r) Strengthening the relevance of the General Assembly: new arrangements for the work of the General Assembly;
(s) International cooperation and the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century.



I did not state that the bill did not purport to end world poverty. It does. That does not invalidate my point, it strengthens it by hiding the real effect of its passage.

The War on Poverty has such a great track record and the UN is such a paragon of fiscal virtue and honesty, I don't know how anyone could question sending that much money to the UN. It's not like the past record has show UN funds have been diverted to the Swiss bank accounts of the ruling classes in poor countries; is it?

You are incapable of discussing an issue without making irrational personal attacks. That is a sure sign of weakness in your position and lack of critical thinking on your part.

JDHURF said...

anonymous:

You said, and I quote:

"this is a direct assault on US sovereignty."

However, that is clearly the most ridiculous falsification of the bill possible.

You then falsified what I wrote - claiming that I argued you didn't know it was about poverty, but that is also just plain false. I merely pointed out that you opposed the Poverty Bill, which you clearly still do.

You didn't offer any supporting evidence for your criticisms of the United Nations, which means that I am going to dismiss them out of hand. That which can be presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

I will again repeat that you are in a very extremist minority. As my polling data confirms, most Americans support the Untied Nations, the United States' role within the UN, they support the UN taking the lead on many issues and so on.
I even listed some reasons why the UN, when it is ineffectual, why it is so? U.S. subversion mainly, as well as subversion of the UN by all permanent members of the Security Council with their veto power. That needs to end.

If you take someone pointing out the objective facts as an insult, you should do some serious reflection.

Rosa Lichtenstein said...

JD, the mods removed this link from my last post to you at the Political Crossfire Forum; it has a message for you:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/hurfinator.htm

JDHURF said...

Rosa:

Your outrageous sense of ego and your transparent ad hominems speak for themselves.
That you would post such a baseless personal attack on your own site without compunction is discrediting of yourself and your site enough.
Although, the contrast between that and what you claim to have written about dialectics is about as different as the writing of John Dewey compared to Hegel himself. It would appear to confirm precisely that which you object to.
I will leave it at that. Thanks for the link.