Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Take it from an expert: Obama is no socialist

Top of Socialist Party ticket says Obama's not a believer (h/t Green Left Infoasis):
SPRING HILL — Brian Moore said Barack Obama is not a socialist.

And Moore should know. He's the Socialist Party USA candidate for president.

"It's misleading for Republicans to say that," the local peace activist and perennial candidate said Wednesday from his Spring Hill home. "They know (Obama's) not a socialist."

Now, more than ever, Moore and his party are getting attention thanks to the $700-billion financial bailout and the rhetoric from the Republican presidential ticket. John McCain and Sarah Palin have repeatedly labeled Obama as a socialist in recent days.

"Now is not the time to experiment with socialism," Palin said at a rally Monday.

"I think his plans are redistribution of the wealth," McCain said in a television interview Sunday. "That's one of the tenets of socialism."

The Republicans are capitalizing on their Democratic rival's recent conversation with Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, in which Obama told the Ohio man that "when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

Obama was discussing his plan to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000.

Moore said McCain and Palin are abusing the "socialist" label. Likewise, he said Obama's programs wouldn't create a true wealth redistribution.

"It seems like both major party candidates are trying to use socialism to their advantage, in a negative and in a positive way," he said.

Moore and his vice presidential candidate Stewart Alexander are competing in 18 states, including Florida, which carry more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

(His name actually appears on the ballot in just eight states but he's a qualified write-in candidate in the other 10.)

If elected, Moore would push for the "full government takeover of all American corporations."

This position also earned him some face time on cable news shows as Congress debated the financial rescue plan.

Moore wants to nationalize the entire banking system and establish an independent banking authority, composed of consumers, workers and economists.

"Go all the way," he said during one of his two recent Fox News appearances. "Take them over lock, stock and barrel."

All this socialist talk gives candidacy some legitimacy. Moore said, "Everyone I run into now says, "Hey, you're not so crazy.'"
Let's just say that I know real socialists, and Mr. Obama - you're no socialist. Now if one were to contend Obama were a socialite, I wouldn't put up much of an argument. But socialist? Give me a fricken break. The dude didn't fall very far from the DLC apple tree, given his right-wing foreign policy rhetoric, and given his choice of economic advisors - one of the Chicago Boyz:
You know, the purveyors of Friedmanesque orthodoxy that has had genocidal consequences wherever it has been applied. Chile during the Pinochet regime's rule would be one of the more notoriously brutal exemplars - those first years of the regime (1973-1976) merit its inclusion in Genocide Watch's list of genocides since 1945 to the present. That said, the more insidious genocidal features of neoliberalism have largely been organizational and structural in nature: violent in their effects, but not as salient in public discourse as massacres. Subcomandante Marcos referred to NAFTA in a 1994 interview as a "death sentence" for the campesinos in his nation1. In fact, Marcos went on to say,
"NAFTA sets up competition among farmers, but how can our campesinos - who are mostly illiterate - compete with US and Canadian farmers? And look at this rocky land we have here. How can we compete with the land in California, or in Canada? So the people of Chiapas, as well as the people of Oaxaca, Veracruz, Quintana Roo, Guerrero, and Sonora were the sacrificial lambs of NAFTA."
Indeed, the subsequent 14 years have borne out his concerns, as imported produce flooded the markets, forcing campesinos to abandon their plots and become among the mass numbers of displaced people (many of whom then risk life and limb attempting to cross the border into the US). Similarly, as I've noted, manufacturing laborers also took a severe hit as jobs were outsourced to China. Although the effects of neoliberal orthodoxy have been far less visible in the US, we can note its effects here in the land of milk and honey as well - increased poverty, homelessness, decreased quality of life for all but a relative few multimillionaires and billionaires. Although Obama talks a good game when it comes to "change" - given his choices in Congress and on the current campaign trail, it's just talk. He's certainly not about to change nearly three decades of neoliberal orthodoxy that has governed the US in its domestic programs and international relations. Rather, expect more of the same, merely with a happier facade.

1. Benjamin, Medea (1995). Interview: Subcomandante Marcos. In E. Katzenberger (Ed.), First World, Ha Ha Ha! The Zapatista Challenge. San Francisco: City Lights.
Let's just say that Friedman and Buffett are Obama's heroes. Marx and Chavez? Not so much. Only in America can someone who's arguably to the right of England's Tories be described as a "socialist."

No comments:

Post a Comment