The Obamagoge and Capital vs The People
By Rich Gibson
19 million US homes stand vacant today. 600,000 people lost jobs in December, 2 million in all of 2008. The layoff rate only accelerates. Soon, public services will founder and homes will be re-valued, taxes unpaid. Every bit of this is coded with the sharpest end of many sticks aimed at those who were born with the least–but encompassing everyone who must work to live. It’s a whirlwind that is not going to end soon. In schools, we will see more and more kids homeless or moved by foreclosures, more hungry, sleepy kids, more incoherent delinquency, made reasonable only by a grasp of social circumstances.
The One who I named The Obamagogue seeks to use Keynesian measures to solve the waterfall of economic collapse and lost wars. Keynes was an elitist and an active racist who despised working people, who thought only the most favored should rule, but he sought to save capitalism. The myth is that he did.
He didn’t. Henry Morganthau, Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Treasury recognized that in the late thirties when he wrote that all that Keynesian spending had done little or nothing.
What ended the Great Depression was WW 2. Capitalism loves outright destruction. Thrives on that kind of chaos, and as an utterly fickle system, goes off and lets who ever wins at a given moment ride it.
What The Obamgogue’s spending will do is to bring out the lowest forms of opportunism in every sector of society which will, in effect, be saying, “what about ME!” That is why we see, right now, the AFL-CIO backing the most reactionary of the bailout measures, US protectionism.
It is also why we see the California Teachers Association leadership demanding a 1% sales tax hike, the most regressive of all taxes which will hit poor people hard, abandoning school workers’ most valuable allies, parents of children who need those educators the most.
So far, depending on which source one likes, maybe a trillion dollars has been doled out or will be doled out to the banksters by their procurers, the politicians.
That number will double, and another one or two trillion will go to the wars, which the US is going to lose (Afghans drove 300,000 Soviet troops out of their country, with help from the US—are we to think the Russians and Chinese don’t remember?).
There is, as Chalmers Johnson (author of Nemesis) insists, a relationship between imperialist expenditures and the economic collapse, something that few economists are willing to recognize, just as few Obamagogueites in education are not willing to admit that schools and capitalism exist in a relationship.
Arne Duncan is no mistake. He will intensify the three pronged project of most schooling: more curricula regimentation to regulate what is taught and how it is taught, to use high stakes tests to sort kids, and to deepen the militarization of schools. Where privatization is serviceable, Duncan will back privatization. Where he can get the working class to pay, through their taxes, for the mis-education of our children, he will do that. Arne Duncan leads, not public schools, but capitalist schools. Those who did not foresee this before The Obamagogue came to power should see it now, and say so.
Those who now claim The Obamagogue “betrayed them,” after a year of supporting his demagogic campaign and contributing to what only can be called national hysteria, should own up to the fact that their entire method of analysis was wrong, that they betrayed hundreds, maybe thousands of people themselves, and issue a self criticism about exactly why they got things completely wrong.
Is it not odd that nobody in power suggests that the way to halt foreclosures and keep the economy afloat is to just direct-pay people’s mortgages for a time certain, if they can prove they cannot pay?
But that is not how capitalist democracy, which is not democracy but an executive committee of the rich ruling behind populist rhetoric, bearing the same connection to democracy that the Pope does to, “do unto others,” works. Such a mortgage program would send up howls about “personal responsibility,” “welfare queens,” “socialism,” that were not sent up when the banksters began the robbery that continues today behind capital’s new sword and shield: The Obamagogue.
In education, a similar ploy might work. If we are to measure kids’ worth by test scores, and thus the wealth and health of the nation, why not just give the kids the test on the first day of school and simply work on it the rest of the year until everyone passes? But that would be cheating, eh?
But, beyond tongue in cheek measures, what is needed is a mass movement of resistance, rank and filers throwing off the bogus mis-leaders who steer struggle away from direct action, real resistors promoting test boycotts and freedom schools, and driving the Empire’s recruiters from campuses; in communities moving families right back into homes they are evicted from, at work places—no concessions, none, not one step back, in fact we want MORE and we will fight to get it, seizing plants, schools and properties; in the military, simply standing down, walking away from the wars for oil and profits; in sum, against the system of capital itself as it has obviously failed miserably everywhere in the world.
If we do not fight back, we will only see sharpened depression and war. Indeed the depth of that will be determined by the amount of resistance. Besides, the only way to be a truly whole person today, to be more than a loyal servant of Empire, is to protest and to join with like-minded people who, organized, can form a movement to win.
The Rouge Forum Conference is May 14 to 17 in Ypsilanti Michigan, Eastern Michigan U. You are welcome to submit a proposal or just come and join us.