user preferences

Some remarks about Obama & Co.

category north america / mexico | miscellaneous | opinion / analysis author Friday January 23, 2009 18:17author by Kevin S. Report this post to the editors

For anarchists, in particular, his administration represents little more than a “change” (!) of the guard which, in every other respect than his skin, is 100% typical of U.S. politics. What is extraordinary is not so much Obama himself—Obama as a politician—but rather the unusual political context.

Some remarks about Obama & Co.

I only have a few short words about the new president (!) Barack Obama. The inauguration of Obama signals a “new era” in American and world politics, certainly, and a definite improvement for everyone from the last eight years of Bush. (I personally voted Democrat for that very reason, given it did not exactly compromise the Revolution and anarchist abstentionism is rather irrelevant in the absence of a popular anarchist movement.) For that matter, he is better so far than anything the Democrats have thrown up since Kennedy, in which respect it is highly interesting to watch from outside. No question, Obama is an impressive politician who appears to be sincere. Nevertheless, he is a bourgeois politician like any other one, and it is foolish for “revolutionaries” to think otherwise. For anarchists, in particular, his administration represents little more than a “change” (!) of the guard which, in every other respect than his skin, is 100% typical of U.S. politics. What is extraordinary is not so much Obama himself—Obama as a politician—but rather the unusual political context. Obama stands out less for his personal virtue than for the unusual “movement” that gave his campaign so much power and appeal—Obama as a phenomenon.

That “movement” has been getting more and more ridiculous ever since he won the Democratic nomination, as people who only a few months ago hated Hillary Clinton as much as any Republican now “change” tone to accept as Obama packs his new cabinet full of old Clintonites (including Hillary herself). Despite such facts, the last couple months have seen such a gush of mass enthusiasm that one is even threatened with political “irrelevance” for not excitedly joining in on their sudden patriotic love-affair. What criticism does occur (even from some anarchists!) consists of “warning” followers that Obama must be “reminded” to keep his promises, as he is, in fact, fallible and needs some gentle nudging along the way to Change.

All that said, I have nothing personal against Barack more than any other bourgeois politician, and despite the ludicrousness of recent euphoria, there is no getting around the historical significance of Obama’s election, and the profound effect of the Obama movement. In many ways it is a typical case of political populism, but it is no less important for that, as it has inspired fresh political enthusiasm focused on the “new” direction of the country. In the present context of economic crisis and general reaction against free-market economics and Wall Street finance capital, there is a definite opening for popular pressure to put big business “back in line.” Furthermore, despite the super-enthusiasm for Obama, Americans (naturally cynical anyway, especially the youth who form the hardcore of Obama’s base) should have more than a healthy dose of skepticism about “our leaders” after the long Bush regime. Anarchists should be clear that this administration is fundamentally like any other—that who manages the bourgeois State is the bourgeoisie’s problem, and “the People” (i.e. the popular classes) should focus all their energies on our own struggles against the bourgeoisie (not pathetically “reminding” them to “keep his promises”).

There are lessons to be learned from the election as well. Most notable has been the youth mobilization, a factor which Democrats have long been trying tap into with only mediocre success. Obama, through a formidable mixture of personal style, rhetorical power and organizing skill, powerfully appealed to young people (some Democrats and many before non-voters), not only pending the election but during the nomination contest, drawing unprecedented numbers to the Democratic primaries in his support. Also unprecedented was the level of small-donations from lower-income people, in a campaign system traditionally funded by big corporations.

All this has led young and working-class voters who support Obama to think of him as one of their own, and even an illusion that they themselves are now in power or that a vote for Obama was a vote for them. In reality, he has simply perfected populist political techniques that have always been used in some degree by politicians, including ultra-reactionaries like George Wallace (or for that matter, going back to Andrew Jackson!). Regardless of how sincere an individual politician may be or of certain improvements they make, they are swindlers luring the masses into support for the ruling class of big business and political bureaucrats. Anarchists must work tirelessly to separate these politicians from their popular supporters, in order to build a popular anarchist movement against the capitalists and their State.

Article written for

author by J - Too Many to Listpublication date Mon Jan 26, 2009 02:50Report this post to the editors

Everyone who voted for Obama is going to have Afghan blood on their hands.

This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch

Front page

Strike in Cachoeirinha

(Bielorrusia) ¡Libertad inmediata a nuestro compañero Mikola Dziadok!

DAF’ın Referandum Üzerine Birinci Bildirisi:

Cajamarca, Tolima: consulta popular y disputa por el territorio

Statement on the Schmidt Case and Proposed Commission of Inquiry

Aodhan Ó Ríordáin: Playing The Big Man in America

Nós anarquistas saudamos o 8 de março: dia internacional de luta e resistência das mulheres!

Özgürlüğümüz Mücadelemizdedir

IWD 2017: Celebrating a new revolution

Solidarité avec Théo et toutes les victimes des violences policières ! Non à la loi « Sécurité Publique » !

Solidaridad y Defensa de las Comunidades Frente al Avance del Paramilitarismo en el Cauca

A Conservative Threat Offers New Opportunities for Working Class Feminism

De las colectivizaciones al 15M: 80 años de lucha por la autogestión en España

False hope, broken promises: Obama’s belligerent legacy

Primer encuentro feminista Solidaridad – Federación Comunista Libertaria

Devrimci Anarşist Tutsak Umut Fırat Süvarioğulları Açlık Grevinin 39 Gününde

The Fall of Aleppo

Italia - Ricostruire opposizione sociale organizzata dal basso. Costruire un progetto collettivo per l’alternativa libertaria.

Recordando a César Roa, luchador de la caña

Prison Sentence to Managing Editor of Anarchist Meydan Newspaper in Turkey

Liberación de la Uma Kiwe, autonomía y territorio: una mirada libertaria para la comprensión de la lucha nasa

Misunderstanding syndicalism

American Anarchist and Wobbly killed by Turkey while fighting ISIS in Rojava

Devlet Tecavüzdür

North America / Mexico | Miscellaneous | en

Thu 27 Apr, 09:27

browse text browse image

textCanada: Anarchists scapegoats for RBC arson 00:53 Sun 23 May by Common cause 0 comments

Despite widespread claims by the media, there is no indication that the recent "firebombing" of an RBC bank branch in Ottawa was carried out by "anarchists".


healthpamphletcover.png imageA New Center of Trauma? 19:40 Sat 01 May by s. nappalos 0 comments

This article is commentary on a proposed trauma center at Kendall Regional Medical Center in South Florida, USA.

textCommon Action General Assembly Report 12:40 Wed 30 Sep by Common Action External Secretary 0 comments

From Saturday, September 19th to Sunday, September 20th members of the anarchist organization Common Action met in Seattle, WA for our fifth general assembly. Common Action members from Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia were in attendance. There was an incredible amount for us to talk about, vote on and brainstorm together! We also had several skill shares and open working group meetings.

textSan Francisco Transit Fight 09:19 Wed 07 Sep by Tom Wetzel 0 comments

Despite heavy police presence at major bus transfer points, at least a
couple thousand passengers rode the buses for free in San Francisco on
Thursday, September 1st - the opening day of a fare strike in North
America's most bus-intensive city. In the days leading up to September
more than 50 people were actively organizing for the fare strike, with new
groups endorsing the effort in the last week. More than 20,000 leaflets
had been distributed and 10,000 stickers were attached to bus shelters and
poles throughout the city - in Spanish and Chinese as well as English.

textDemonstration against the Capitalists! 06:24 Thu 09 Jun by neo 0 comments


imageThe Illusion of Choice Oct 02 by Lorsen 0 comments

The 2012 presidential election is fast approaching and Americans will participate in this ritual of voting for a member of the Democratic Party or Republican Party. This is almost the same as deciding to have Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Democrats and Republicans are constantly arguing and promoting their liberal and conservative views (just different sides of the same corrupt coin). This is merely a show this two party system is owed by the same corporatist elites and funded by the same internationally bankers. They may have different tone, but over all they are both practically the same one comes in a blue can and the other one in a red can, but when those cans are open they both contain the same substance. [Italiano]

imageSome Objections To Occupy May 1st Apr 24 by Juan Conatz 1 comments

A short list of objections to the May 1st general strike effort within the Occupy movement and some responses to them.

textCrash the tea parties! Mar 28 by anarchist 17 comments

On April 15th thousands of right-wingers will attend rallies in cities and towns across the United States.

textCanada: Elections: all we can hope for? Nov 25 by Scott Neigh 0 comments

Elections are neither nothing nor everything. Within narrow bounds, we get to choose -- criminally narrow bounds that mean they cannot touch the things that mean life or death, more suffering or less suffering, for many, but can make small but real changes that mean life or death, more suffering or less suffering, for others. It would be politically foolish and morally dubious to ignore that.

imagevideoChomsky - the Vote in USA Elections Oct 28 by Dermo 2 comments

As a known anarchist, I was asked for my views on the Chomsky interview contained below. In it he mentions or deals with the options you have to weigh up prior to voting in the current US presidential election.

more >>

textCanada: Anarchists scapegoats for RBC arson May 23 Common cause 0 comments

Despite widespread claims by the media, there is no indication that the recent "firebombing" of an RBC bank branch in Ottawa was carried out by "anarchists".


© 2005-2017 Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]