Had the presidential election gone otherwise, this column would have addressed self-styled “conservatives” on the utter phoniness of movement conservatism’s “small government,” “free market” and “individualist” pretensions. But it didn’t. So instead it is addressed to self-styled “progressives.”
By all means, enjoy yourselves. Get it out of your system.
If it makes you feel any better, I find an Obama victory considerably less horrifying than a Romney victory. The creeping authoritarianism of the security state and the broad outlines of the corporate state alliance would likely have remained the same either way. But the Brownshirts-in-Weimar-Germany cultural vibes of the GOP irregular wing scares the living bejeezus out of me. And Romney strikes me as the worst pathological liar and sociopath I’ve seen on a major party ticket in my lifetime.
I understand Obama’s a dangerous criminal, and I hate him on an intellectual level. But if he weren’t a politician, I’d probably enjoy having a beer with him. Romney, on the other hand, triggers a visceral impulse to inflict bodily harm on him every time I see him. So I can understand where you’re coming from.
Maybe you voted Obama because you favor reproductive choice and marriage equality. Maybe you like Obamacare. If so, I’m not going to argue with you. As an anarchist, I have no objection in principle to voting in self-defense for the corporate stooge you find least personally intolerable.
Just bear in mind that everything about Obama that makes him and his party more tolerable to progressives, also makes him more effective in serving the exploitative agenda of the corporate capitalist ruling class.
Obama represents the “progressive” wing of that ruling class. This wing supports reproductive choice and marriage equality, in part, because its members (whom David Brooks called “bobos,” yuppie managerial-professional types who shop at Whole Foods and listen to NPR) have a Blue State cultural sensibility. But they also understand that a ruling class reflecting evolving majority cultural mores is a good thing.
At one time, the dominant strand of the corporate ruling class used racism and racial division to divide the working class against itself and make it more easily exploitable. But the progressive wing of the ruling class now believes capitalism can function most stably in the long run if the ruling class becomes more multracial in its composition. And frankly, all those red-faced yahoos with the teabags, speaking in tongues and biting the heads off chickens, are just embarrassing.
Then there’s the Nixon to China thing. Back in the ’90s, Thomas Ferguson (in The Golden Rule) speculated that one reason finance-capital shifted its support to Clinton was that only a Democrat could get away with implementing the neoliberal agenda they needed (the GATT Uruguay Round, NAFTA, the DMCA) to consolidate global corporate rule in a post-Soviet world order. Clinton presided over the birth of full-blown neoliberal global capitalism, the decimation of what was left of the American labor movement, the polarization of income to 1920s levels, and the explosion of CEO pay to 500 times that of the average worker. But liberals still wax nostalgic over Clinton as the “Good President.”
The same holds true for Obama. As left-libertarian Arthur Silber recently argued (“Yeah, Yeah, Nobody Knows Anything,” Once Upon a Time, November 5), from a ruling class perspective
“[S]o many people who are not members of the ruling class think that Obama is on their side. Even after Obama has systematically betrayed all those ‘ordinary’ people for the last four years, they still think he’s really on their side. He just couldn’t do what he wanted to do — which happens to be exactly what all those good liberals and progressives wanted him to do — because: a) evil Republicans; b) evil Republicans left a really, really, huge mess; c) evil Republicans kept messing with him; d) evil Republicans kept stealing his toys; and e) evil Republicans.”
So Obama can wax Kennedyesque about growing the economy “from the middle out,” and “working families sitting around the kitchen table.” And in the meantime, he can murder thousands with drones enforcing a corporate world order. He can appoint an economic policy team of recycled human detritus from Citigroup and Goldman-Sachs. He and Biden can rubber stamp the totalitarian RIAA/MPAA “intellectual property” agenda — the state-enforced monopoly by far most structurally central to global corporate power. But as long as he uses vaguely leftish rhetoric, liberals will complacently brandish their “Democrats Care” bumper stickers.
These monstrous things demand justice, regardless of the culprits’ party affiliations. If you feel the rule of this Democratic war criminal and corporate stooge weighs less heavily on your neck than a Republican, I don’t begrudge you your momentary celebration. The question is, what are you going to do now that the election’s over?
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