Revolution #146, October 26, 2008
The Morning After the Elections...
and the Change We Really Need...
WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO NOW?
This is a message to those who got behind Barack Obama because they have been horrified and furious with the direction this society has taken over the past eight years. To those who put their deep felt desires for change in the hope that Obama will take society in a different direction.
Revolution has made the argument about why such hopes are misplaced and illusory, why the direction Barack Obama will take society is diametrically opposed to the direction you want to go, and why supporting Obama is harmful. But we can’t help but raise one more time to those who know the system is rotten: the logic of getting behind Obama boils down to saying: if we can’t do away with this system now, we have to strengthen that system by putting resources into and/or working to elect someone who doesn’t even pretend he’s going to work to bring about a real change in the nature of that system.
And if you don’t think we need a revolution—then you need to explain how voting for Obama will address the things you do care about. How, from within the confines and framework of this system, can Obama begin to solve all the horrors facing humanity today, from global warming to the food crisis to the vicious discrimination in this society?
But with all that, here we are. As we go to press, the outcome of this election is undecided, and is unpredictable. Not just in how the votes add up, but even whether they will be added up. But, no matter what the outcome, when the dust clears the question will be posed for all those who genuinely desire changes so desperately needed by the people of the world:
What are you going to do now?
Will you fight for the changes in society and its direction—and the role the U.S. plays in the world—that you yourself care deeply about? And, if you voted for Obama, will you fight for the things that got you to put your hopes for change in Obama?
If Obama is elected, many will try to “wait and see” what happens.
But how long will you wait and how much will you have to see? What will you find intolerable? What is that line that you will not cross? At what point will you step up and resist?
- When Obama tells you the war in Afghanistan (and all the terror and suffering and murder that will mean for the Afghan people) must be escalated because this is “the good war” and the key front in the “war on terror,” will you go along like a sheep, or will you resist? Will you have sense and principle enough to remember that every step of the way those pulling the strings lied to people, and that it is an endless war for empire? When he even more aggressively “tracks down the terrorists in Pakistan” (read: raids on the people of Pakistan increase), will you step out and resist? When and if Obama were to attack Iran, as he has made amply clear he is willing to do, what would you do? And what if he reinstates a draft? In short, how much murder in defense of empire from Obama will you tolerate?
- When Obama tells you that people who are losing their homes just have to do their best and put their faith in their leaders, will you go along with that—or will you resist?
- When Obama pumps money into faith-based organizations and gives them control over whatever social services get funding—in a way that embeds religion even more deeply into all facets of society, will you go along with that—or will you resist?
- When Obama rules out of order taking on all the cruel and unjust ways in which Black people are oppressed—and argues for “understanding” the reactionary racist opposition of some white people to affirmative action, will you say that this is just something he has to say to get along? And when he blames Black people for a situation that is a product of a whole history and present reality of oppression as a people, in a way that justifies criminalizing a generation of Black youth, as he did in his infamous “Father’s Day speech” this year, will you make excuses for him or worse yet go along with it, or will you refute and resist it? And when other people point to Barack Obama as proof that racism has been overcome—while at the same time, nearly one million Black people languish in the jails—will you shrug and agree, or will you call out that backward shit for what it is?
- When Obama says “we all agree that abortion is terrible,” and conciliates time and again with regard to the attacks on abortion and birth control, in the name of overcoming differences, where will you be? Accepting this as the new reality? Or saying “NO FUCKING WAY”?
- When Obama maintains and even intensifies the repression of immigrants, and blandly justifies it while families are split apart and people humiliated and abused and demonized—what will you do then?
And consider this: McCain could win, just as Bush “won” the elections. What would that prove? Only that there is a section of society that can be whipped up around “small town” values of ignorance, intolerance, white supremacy, and patriotism—and that refusing to take this on, head-on, will only embolden these fascist elements. And it may once again prove that elections can be fixed and stolen. But then what? You knew the game was rigged when you sat down to play. It is impermissible to then retreat into cynicism and despair just because they cheated you. Will you let the open fascists then rule unchallenged? Or will you stand up and join with others to resist the juggernaut he will unleash, including going into the streets in massive political resistance if they do in some way once again try to steal the elections?
Forecast: Storms Ahead
Whoever steps into the Oval Office after this election will get behind the wheel of a whole system, and in particular, a system whose trajectory has been defined by the Bush regime, with its world ambitions—and the way it has fought to remake all of society in a fascist way. And whoever steps into the Oval Office will do so at a moment when there is tremendous turmoil and dislocation as the financial crisis destabilizes the global economy—with the prospect of much worse to come. The future of millions hangs in the balance.
However this election turns out, there are going to be profound “changes.” This upheaval could result in a leap in the remaking of society in a fascist way. But at the same time, if there is a growing revolutionary movement and a growing culture of resistance, it could open the way for and set different terms…and the balance of forces in society can be dramatically realigned.
The call from World Can’t Wait remains true: THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN. WHICH ONE WE GET IS UP TO US. There’s going to be storms. You can sit and let it pour down on the people, here and all over the world, or you can do something to wrench a whole better future out of it.
Whoever Wins, the Republican Fascist Offensive Will Continue
Many people are getting behind Obama because they feel he is all that stands between them and the imposition of an increasingly fascist Republican agenda. But the Democrats—and specifically Obama—are not going to stand up and forcefully call out and oppose what is going on. Time and time again, they tell us this—and demonstrate this through their actions. Even while the McCain/Palin rallies grew uglier and more threatening in the weeks before the election, Obama continued to call for “conciliation” and “overcoming our differences.” And let’s be clear, the unleashing of this narrow minded, right-wing populist movement now is not merely a campaign tactic. It is not just ugly; it is dangerous. When the specter of Obama being the anti-Christ is run out there in the way this campaign has done, it is just one ominous signal that the Christian fascist forces are on the move—and mobilizing and congealing their base to fight for their reactionary programs and ideas to govern the society.
Why? Because in these tumultuous times, Obama’s message and role is to bring people “into the fold.” He has won so much support from the ruling class—and make no mistake about it, he would not be leading in the polls and raking in the donations if he did not have tremendous ruling class backing—because they feel he has the best program to get the people in America to hold still and hold tight for the hell they are about to be put through. And they also feel that he is the best person to sell the bloody program of aggression and murder that they need to continue all over the globe to people of the world. He is a “fresh face.” But these rulers also agree that the Christian fascists who now slobber over Sarah Palin must also be part of the mix and must not be called out for what they really are. It follows, then, that in response to every attack from these dark forces of obscurantism, woman-enslaving theocracy, racism, and “USA #1” chauvinism, Obama has preached accommodation and capitulation. And this won’t change if he is president. Because to mobilize people to fight in opposition to the current agenda of the rulers holds within it the potential of unleashing the masses in a way which could lead to the further unraveling of a situation the ruling class is desperately trying to pull together. And calling forward the masses could contribute to the rise of a radical challenge to the whole set-up coming from below.
But while Obama does not want to and will not call forth a mass movement from below which goes up against all the reaction and injustice, and, in fact, as many Obama supporters will soon find out to their chagrin, he will use the machinery of state against any such movement—this is exactly what needs to happen.
What You Need to Do Now
Is this going to be a time of great change? How could it be otherwise given what is happening in the world? But the question is: what kind of change and in whose interests? The rulers of this country are not going to sit idly by and watch this system fall apart. In the face of powerful centrifugal forces pulling at the fabric of society—the rulers are going to try to bludgeon and hammer their way through this crisis. And if they are successful, they will do this on the basis of greatly and egregiously intensifying the suffering and exploitation of the people. But this outcome is not inevitable.
These heavy times also hold the potential for radical and dramatic shifts and an even more profound crisis that could pose the possibility for revolutionary change...and we must be preparing for such times.
To those who ask, “But until the revolution comes, what can we do?” the answer is that right now is the time to be building a revolutionary movement. Revolutions can only be made when the time is ripe, but in a real way, revolutions are “made” all along the way. Our Party is and will be out there, spreading revolution and building resistance. Our Party is and will be out in the world, working to bring forward a revolutionary people through all the twists and turns of this struggle so that when the situation develops where revolution has a real chance, the people will be ready to seize the time.
And when you realize you’ve been played...when you have had enough and decide to fight for the change the world needs, and not the change we’re told we have to settle for...when you decide it is time to stand up, step up, and resist—join with our Party in working for change that really matters.
To state it in a single sentence, elections: are controlled by the bourgeoisie; are not the means through which basic decisions are made in any case; and are really for the primary purpose of legitimizing the system and the policies and actions of the ruling class, giving them the mantle of a “popular mandate,” and of channeling, confining, and controlling the political activity of the masses of people.
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