Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Should Revolutionaries Feel Good About Obama?

Zombie Time's photo below, of the revolutionary communist trolling for converts in Berkeley, is pretty intriguing:


Look closely: The young guy's holding a copy of the communist journal, Revolution, with its cover blurb, "The Barack Obama Campaign: Should People Feel Good About This Country?"

So, let's think about it: Should folks feel good about the United States?

I certainly do, and I suspect most of my readers do as well. But just yesterday
I posted on Will Smith, who announced on national television that:

You know I just, I just came back from Moscow, Berlin, London and Paris and it's the first, I've been there quite a few times in the past five to 10 years. And it just hasn't been a good thing to be American. And this is the first time, since Barack has gotten the nomination, that it, it was a good thing...
Now, Will Smith is no revolutionary communist, but he does reflect the disturbing anti-American propensity among Obama supporters to state openly that they're not proud of the United States.

But let's be precise: Barack Obama, for all his ties to extremist movements, is the Democratic Party's nominee for president. He's by definition, then, not communist.

Moreover, note too that even
the Revolution article comes out clearly against him, saying that Obama's nomination represents his acceptance by the capitalist oppressors - they see and welcome his policies as perpetuating the imperialist hegemony of the international system's dominant criminal state.

the piece contains this extremely suggestive passage (with bold text added):
The Obama campaign is not about—and cannot be about—addressing in any real, fundamental way, the things that make millions of people not feel good about this country. But an important part of what the Obama candidacy is all about, and why it has gotten as far as it has with the blessings of the powers-that-be, is that it is about mis-channeling outrage into making people feel good about this country.

The point here is not that nothing can be done about all the things that the rulers of this country have done, and are doing, here and around the world. It can—but only outside the killing confines of a system that allows nothing more meaningful than participating in a ritual choice of who will preside over the next four years of oppression.

What all this shows even more emphatically is that we need a whole new, radically different system, and a revolution to bring that system into being.
Now, communist ideology explicity predicts that the people's revolution will represent the end stage of history, and amid the final crisis of capitalism the proletarian revolution will seize power, and ultimately society's resources will be distributed from each according to ability, and to each according to need. The state will whither away and community utopia will reign on earth.

The ideology's been completely discredited by history, of course.

But while the doctrinaire publishers of the Revolution state clearly that an Obama campaign will simply continue America's alleged imperial evil, the passage above provides a bit of insight as to why many of the radical members of the left-wing are flocking to the Obama banner: If the Obama campaign's truly about "mischanneling" outrage to make people feel good, then those, like Will Smith, as well as Michelle Obama (who's on record as not being proud of America), see Barack Obama as the personification of Lenin's "vanguard of the proletariat." That is, underneath the Democratic Party window-dressing, many Obama supporters indeed agree with the thesis of America as the irredeemable nation, the ultimate capitalist abomination.

Thus, these people, while not outwardly faithful to genuine Marxist-Leninism, nevertheless see - at some subconscious level - an Obama accession as representing a mid-term Hegelian stage, working toward achievement of the final contradictions in the American system of hegemonic crisis. The country, under Obama, thus moves into a quasi-communist party state of dynamic social-market economics, while the revolutionary consciousness of mass society is cultivated and prepared for next stage of the revolutionary process: the expropriation of the expropriators.

This is the significance of Barack Obama's appeal as the "messiah." This is the ulitmate significance of his candidacy for all of the hardline radicals,
like those posting "community blogs" at the Obama campaign's official page.

Barack Obama is not communist himself. But his promise of change for those a bit less doctrinaire than the editorial mandarins at the Revolution provides a wedge-opening to achieve the long-term triumph of the working classes over capital. Obama supporters might not look at it in quite as abstract terms, but when they say they "can't be proud" of the United States, they're naturally implying endorsment for a radically different direction, toward a workers' utopia midwifed by Barack Obama's calls for ethereal "hope" and "change."

So, yes, revolutionaries should feel good about Obama. He's their vanguard icon for the toppling of capitalism.