Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving/Odds and Ends/Open Thread


Happy Thanksgiving to all. Christopher Hitchens wrote a brilliant essay in 2005, about Thanksgiving being a great American holiday. It is a holiday not connected to any particular religion. It is a time when a family may be feeding a complete stranger, or neighbor.

Soon I will have a post about the Spanish Civil War, with a Youtube video of John Peterson, who contributes to this blog, talking on that subject. It is the what not to do revolution.

Sean Penn, Douglas Brinkley and Christopher Hitchens interview Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Raul Castro in Cuba.

The movies to see are Milk***1/2 and Baz Luhrmann's Australia*** with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

Addendum November 30, 2008

See Giles Ji Ungpakorn's report from Thailand. Who but pro dictatorship demonstrators, can camp at an airport?


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Open Thread: Venezuelan Elections November 23, 2008 (Sunday)

***As of now Venezuela has been immune due to oil profits and social services the effects of the world economic crisis. With falling oil prices, eventually a reckoning will come. If Chavez's party the PSUV loses, the solution will be Obama/capitalist style cutbacks. If the left wins, socialism will be deeper.

***The election Sunday in Venezuela, is one of the most important and polarized in Venezuelan history. It is for the gubernatorial and municipal positions. The last time Venezuela had local elections, the opposition abstained claiming the elections in Venezuela are rigged. In reality the voting in Venezuela is universally deemed honest.

***One writer for this blog, went to Venezuela, as an election observer. Watched voting in both pro-Chavez barrios and elite suburban neighborhoods. Saw nothing resembling fraud. Sunday’s elections will be monitored by 130 international observers, including a representative from each of the 34 members of the Organization of American States (OAS). Additionally new voting machines will be brought to 34,662 voting centers.

***Two parties running opposition candidates to Chavez's slate are the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) and leftist Patria Para Todos (PPT).

***The opposition acknowledging Chavez's popularity (60% approval), are not attacking him directly or sounding ideological. They are concentrating on local issues.

***Alan Woods has a deeper analysis.

Post election assessment.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Israel: Tel Aviv Municipal Elections - A Pyrrhic Victory For The Right

By Dekel Avshalom in Israel
Monday, 17 November 2008

The municipal elections in Israel are usually regarded as a prosaic event. The participation is usually low and the candidates are very similar in their promises, their background and possibly their performance. But the recent municipal elections in Tel Aviv were markedly different. For the first time in Israel's history the candidates and their supporters were divided on class lines.

On the one side stood the incumbent mayor, Ron Huldai, an army brigadier general, who was supported by the city's bourgeoisie and the aging upper-middle class. His supporters were the landlords, the business men, the wealthy dwellers and owners of the skyscrapers which scar the city's horizons, the luxurious apartment buildings and villas in the north of the city, exclusively populated by the richest people in the country.

Dov Hanin

On the other side stood Dov Hanin, an MP and a leader of the Israeli Communist Party (ICP). Hanin received overwhelming and enthusiastic support by the city's working masses and students: The working men and women living in the south of the city, overburdened by rapidly ascending rents which they are forced to pay for crowded and dilapidated apartments in neighbourhoods abandoned by the city's bureaucracy. This is remarkable since the ICP was always a very marginal party, supported mostly by the Arab minority. It was resented by most Israelis because of its support for the Right of Return for the Palestinian refugees and other principles that are not in alignment with some basic Zionist creeds. No one would suspect that a leading member of that party would be so widely supported by the masses in Israel's largest and most important city.

In the elections held on November 11, 2008, Hanin lost to Huldai by what was seems a substantial gap: Huldai received 50% of the votes in comparison to Hanin's 35%. These figures however, hide a completely different picture: Hanin's party, Ir Le'Kulanu (City for All) received the same number of seats in the city's council as did Huldai's party, with a slightly larger number of votes. They have immediately begun to organize what seems to be a very powerful opposition to Huldai's rule. The figures also hide the fact that the Left was divided. The Green Party also had a candidate in the race, which received 4% of the votes, with another 4% going to an independent candidate representing the Arab minority. Another 10% went to another anti-Huldai candidate, who promised to cancel all parking tickets if elected.

But the most important issue is very much beyond any of these statistics. It is the fact that Huldai now has to face a class-oriented opposition. The elections showed that Huldai failed in the most important mission that any bourgeois politician must fulfil successfully: to keep the working masses divided and to make them forget all about their common class interests. This is what makes these elections one of the most important events in Israel's history: so far Israel's ruling class was successful in replacing the Israeli proletariat's class consciousness with numerous ethnic and religious divisions fed by fear of terrorism and racism against the Arab minority in Israel. The state made sure that class interests would always be perceived as secondary to Jewish "national" interests. The recent elections have proved that this hitherto set up is beginning to crack. Arab and Jewish workers and students voted together and participated in numerous demonstrations and activities in order to place their representative in the mayor's office. Many young Jews were no longer impressed by Huldai's incessant attacks on Hanin's anti-Zionism, his support for equality between Jews and Arabs and his support for draft dodging. They already knew all that, and they were ok with it. A substantial generation gap was also revealed: unlike the conservative Zionism of the more elderly, the youth are much more willing to absorb radically different ideas.

The Battle for Tel Aviv

Perhaps one of the hallmarks of capitalist development is the influx of population from the countryside into the big cities. If the opposite occurs – people emigrating from the city back to the countryside – it is usually indicative of substantial economic decline and recession. In industrializing countries, most notably China, the state intervenes to encourage people to leave the villages in order to become workers in the emerging industrial sector. Thus, a state's policy that will force people away from the metropolis would be considered as reactionary even in bourgeois terms. This, however, is exactly the policy planned by Israel with the full support of Ron Huldai.

Recently it was reported that the Israeli government intends to limit the construction of new apartment buildings in Tel Aviv. The government claims that this was designed to "encourage" (the correct term is to force) as many people as possible away from the city to live in the outlying areas. By limiting the supply of new apartments, the prices for the existing ones will rise artificially to astronomic levels, thus forcing many young people to live in secluded and impoverished towns in Israel's periphery.

Hanin Speaks To Rally in Tel Aviv

What is behind such a reactionary policy? The ruling class fears that if Israel's territories are not populated by Jews, the Arab minority will take over. Already there are big concerns that in some areas of the country, such as the north, the Arabs constitute a majority. The concentration of Jews in the big cities and away from the periphery, is thus in contradiction with the Zionist necessity of a Jewish majority. Paradoxically, this policy is actually meant to protect the big cities. The Jewish settlements throughout the periphery are supposed to serve as a buffer that protects the big cities from terror and war attacks. In every war that Israel has been involved in, the periphery was the first to suffer. The peripheral settlements, such as Sderot, also absorb most of the terrorist acts.

At the time of deindustrialisation, such as the one we are in now, many workers are no longer required in the big cities of Israel. It would therefore be much more "effective" for the Zionist ruling class to evacuate them to the periphery. According to the government's statements, Israel plans to turn Tel Aviv into a financial centre: something like the Singapore of the Middle East. According to this perspective, it would be filled with skyscrapers and luxurious apartment buildings – an Emerald City for the rich, inaccessible to the rest. There is no place for the working class and students in this picture. They are to be evacuated, atomised and scattered into isolated settlements, with a lack of education and no political power whatsoever, dependent on the mercy of the welfare state.

However, the ruling class didn't take into account the fact that the working masses and students would not take this lying down. Struggles have erupted, starting with impressive student protests, which began in Tel Aviv and then swept to the entire country, and ended with the dramatic struggle of workers against the city who wanted to push them out of their neighbourhoods, destroy them, and build luxury apartments instead.

The war over Tel Aviv is a war for the survival of the democratic and progressive section of Israeli society. This section constitutes the revolutionary forces in Israel, and they are taking the first steps in their self-assertion and the grasping of their historic role. The recent elections were just the first round in this long term struggle against capitalism, from which the movement can only grow stronger.

Tel Aviv and The ICP

The class conflict in Tel Aviv has yielded something unprecedented in a conservative society such as Israel. The ICP emerged as a significant political force for the first time since the independence of the state. Cynics may remind us of the Party's reformist nature. This is undeniable, but that is not so relevant at this point of development. What is most important is the fact that suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, so many Israelis were willing to identify themselves so enthusiastically with social taboos such as communism and a critical approach towards Zionist creeds.

These achievements could not be understood outside of the context of the severe crisis facing world capitalism in general and Zionism in particular. While the older Israelis find it difficult to part ways with the dogmas they grew up with, the younger generation is much more willing to relinquish them. While the older generation lived through the boom years of post-war capitalism, this younger generation is composed of people born after the 1970s, during a period of recession, inflation, deindustrialisation, unemployment and the war the state has been waging against the working class. They see how capitalism has no solutions. They were brought up to believe that privatisation and wage restraints are necessary to prevent job loss. The current crisis is proving this to be false. All their sacrifice was in vain. They are much less willing now to allow capitalism to survive at their expense.

On the political front, things are just as bad. The Zionist regime has proved to be completely incompetent in providing peace and security, so much desired by the Israeli masses. The generation gap plays a role here as well. While the older Israelis fought in wars that at least seem to threaten the very existence of their society, this younger generation fights in wars that are totally redundant, with marked imperialistic distinctions: these are the wars in Lebanon and the unending war of appeasement against the occupied Palestinian masses. Many of them are starting to see no solutions to their plight within the framework of Zionism.

We may and we must criticize the ICP for its reformist policies and bureaucratic approach. But in Israel this is the political framework under which the most progressive workers are united. The ICP is the only political force that offers something totally different from anything any other political party in Israel has ever offered: Instead of nationalist superiority, it offers international solidarity; instead of corruption and self interest, it offers honest leaders that are not under police investigation.

In this context there is no wonder that the advanced workers and students are starting to notice it. It will not be surprising if workers and students from other cities will follow suit in the near future. This new blood flowing into the ICP will undoubtedly have some effect on the party itself. The younger members are already more ideological than the old, and more willing to engage in extra-parliamentary activity. These new members can influence the party towards new directions.

In conclusion, we know of comrades in Israel who, having become frustrated by the ICP's reformism, are trying to form their own worker's organizations. We understand these frustrations, but we must advise against any form of sectarianism. The mass of workers in Tel Aviv has turned to the ICP. This confirms what the Marxists have maintained for decades. The working class as a whole is not attracted to small left group, but seeks a mass expression. In Tel Aviv they have done this through the ICP.

With all its flaws, therefore, Israeli Marxists should work with and within the ICP, so they can be in contact with the bulk of the most advanced organized workers and students in Israel, especially in such a historical time, when only a Marxist analysis can explain what is going on and offer a way out.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stratfor: Iran Returns to the Global Stage

By George Friedman
November 10, 2008

After a three-month hiatus, Iran seems set to re-emerge near the top of the U.S. agenda. Last week, the Iranian government congratulated U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on his Nov. 4 electoral victory. This marks the first time since the Iranian Revolution that such greetings have been sent.

While it seems trivial, the gesture is quite significant. It represents a diplomatic way for the Iranians to announce that they regard Obama’s election as offering a potential breakthrough in 30 years of U.S. relations with Iran. At his press conference, Obama said he does not yet have a response to the congratulatory message, and reiterated that he opposes Iran’s nuclear program and its support for terrorism. The Iranians returned to criticizing Obama after this, but without their usual passion.

The Warming of U.S.-Iranian Relations

The warming of U.S.-Iranian relations did not begin with Obama’s election; it began with the Russo-Georgian War. In the weeks and months prior to the August war, the United States had steadily increased tensions with Iran. This process proceeded along two tracks.

On one track, the United States pressed its fellow permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom) and Germany to join Washington in imposing additional sanctions on Iran. U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs William J. Burns joined a July 19 meeting between EU foreign policy adviser Javier Solana and Iranian national security chief Saeed Jalili, which was read as a thaw in the American position on Iran. The Iranian response was ambiguous, which is a polite way of saying that Tehran wouldn’t commit to anything. The Iranians were given two weeks after the meeting to provide an answer or face new sanctions.

A second track consisted of intensified signals of potential U.S. military action. Recall the carefully leaked report published in The New York Times on June 20 regarding Israeli preparations for airstrikes against Iran. According to U.S. — not Israeli — sources, the Israeli air force rehearsed for an attack on Iran by carrying out a simulated attack over Greece and the eastern Mediterranean Sea involving more than 100 aircraft.

At the same time, reports circulated about Israeli planes using U.S. airfields in Iraq in preparation for an attack on Iran. The markets and oil prices — at a high in late July and early August — were twitching with reports of a potential blockade of Iranian ports, while the Internet was filled with lurid reports of a fleet of American and French ships on its way to carry out the blockade.

The temperature in U.S.-Iranian relations was surging, at least publicly. Then Russia and Georgia went to war, and Iran suddenly dropped off the U.S. radar screen. Washington went quiet on the entire Iranian matter, and the Israelis declared that Iran was two to five years from developing a nuclear device (as opposed to a deliverable weapon), reducing the probability of an Israeli airstrike. From Washington’s point of view, the bottom fell out of U.S. policy on Iran when the Russians and Georgians opened fire on each other.

The Georgian Connection

There were two reasons for this.

First, Washington had no intention of actually carrying out airstrikes against Iran. The United States was far too tied down in other areas to do that. Nor did the Israelis intend to attack. The military obstacles to what promised to be a multiday conventional strike against Iranian targets more than a thousand miles away were more than a little daunting. Nevertheless, generating that threat of such a strike suited U.S. diplomacy. Washington wanted not only to make Iran feel threatened, but also to increase Tehran’s isolation by forging the U.N. Security Council members and Germany into a solid bloc imposing increasingly painful sanctions on Iran.

Once the Russo-Georgian War broke out, however, and the United States sided publicly and vigorously with Georgia, the chances of the Russians participating in such sanctions against Iran dissolved. As the Russians rejected the idea of increased sanctions, so did the Chinese. If the Russians and Chinese weren’t prepared to participate in sanctions, no sanctions were possible, because the Iranians could get whatever they needed from these two countries.

The second reason was more important. As U.S.-Russian relations deteriorated, each side looked for levers to control the other. For the Russians, one of the best levers with the Americans was the threat of selling weapons to Iran. From the U.S. point of view, not only would weapon sales to Iran make it more difficult to attack Iran, but the weapons would find their way to Hezbollah and other undesirable players. The United States did not want the Russians selling weapons, but the Russians were being unpredictable. Therefore, while the Russians had the potential to offer Iran weapons, the United States wanted to reduce Iran’s incentive for accepting those weapons.

The Iranians have a long history with the Russians, including the occupation of northern Iran by Russia during World War II. The Russians are close to Iran, and the Americans are far away. Tehran’s desire to get closer to the Russians is therefore limited, although under pressure Iran would certainly purchase weapons from Russia, just as it has purchased nuclear technology in the past. With the purchase of advanced weapons would come Russian advisers — something that might not be to Iran’s liking unless it were absolutely necessary.

The United States did not want to give Iran a motive for closing an arms deal with Russia, leaving aside the question of whether the Russian threat to sell weapons was anything more than a bargaining chip with the Americans. With Washington rhetorically pounding Russia, pounding Iran at the same time made no sense. For one thing, the Iranians, like the Russians, knew the Americans were spread too thin. Also, the United States suddenly had to reverse its position on Iran. Prior to Aug. 8, Washington wanted the Iranians to feel embattled; after Aug. 8, the last thing the United States wanted was for the Iranians to feel under threat. In a flash, Iran went from being the most important issue on the table to being barely mentioned.

Iran and a Formal U.S. Opening

Different leaks about Iran started to emerge. The Bush administration posed the idea of opening a U.S. interest section in Iran, the lowest form of diplomatic recognition (but diplomatic recognition nonetheless). This idea had been floated June 23, but now it was being floated after the Russo-Georgian War. The initial discussion of the interest section seemed to calm the atmosphere, but the idea went away.

Then, just before U.S. presidential elections in November, the reports re-emerged, this time in the context of a new administration. According to the leaks, U.S. President George W. Bush intended to open diplomatic relations with Iran after the election regardless of who won, in order to free the next president from the burden of opening relations with Iran. In other words, if Obama won, Bush was prepared to provide cover with the American right on an opening to Iran.

If we take these leaks seriously — and we do — this means Bush has concluded that a formal opening to Iran is necessary. Indeed, the Bush administration has been operating on this premise ever since the U.S. troop surge in Iraq. Two things were clear to the Bush administration in 2007: first, that the United States had to make a deal with the Iraqi Sunni nationalist insurgents; and second, that while the Iranians might not be able to impose a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, Tehran had enough leverage with enough Iraq Shiite factions to disrupt Iraq, and thus disrupt the peace process. Therefore, without an understanding with Iran, a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be difficult and full of potentially unpleasant consequences, regardless of who is in the White House.

The issue of Iran’s nuclear program was part of this negotiation. The Iranians were less interested in building a nuclear weapon than in having the United States believe they were building one. As Tehran learned by observing the U.S. reaction to North Korea, Washington has a nuclear phobia. Tehran thus hoped it could use the threat of a nuclear program to force the United States to be more forthcoming on Iranian interests in Iraq, a matter of fundamental importance to Iran. At the same time, the United States had no appetite for bombing Iran, but used the threat of attacks as leverage to get the Iranians to be more tractable.

The Iranians in 2007 withdrew their support from destabilizing elements in Iraq like Muqtada al-Sadr, contributing to a dramatic decline in violence in Iraq. In return, Iran wanted to see an American commitment to withdraw from Iraq on a set timetable. Washington was unprepared to make that commitment. Current talks over a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Washington and Baghdad revolve around just this issue. The Iraqi Shia are demanding a fixed timetable, while the Kurds and Sunnis — not to mention foreign governments like Saudi Arabia — seem to be more comfortable with a residual U.S. force in place to guarantee political agreements.

The Shia are clearly being influenced by Iran on the SOFA issue, as their interests align. The Sunnis and Kurds, however, fear this agreement. In their view, the withdrawal of U.S. forces on a fixed timetable will create a vacuum in Iraq that the Iranians eventually will fill, at the very least by having a government in Baghdad that Tehran can influence. The Kurds and Sunnis are deeply concerned about their own security in such an event. Therefore, the SOFA is not moving toward fruition.

The Iraqi Stumbling Block

There is a fundamental issue blocking the agreement. The United States has agreed to an Iraqi government that is neutral between Washington and Tehran. That is a major defeat for the United States, but an unavoidable one under the circumstances. But a U.S. withdrawal without a residual force means that the Iranians will be the dominant force in the region, and this is not something United States — along with the Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis, the Saudis and Israelis — wants. Therefore the SOFA remains in gridlock, with the specter of Russian-Iranian ties complicating the situation.

Obama’s position during the election was that he favored a timed U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, but he was ambiguous about whether he would want a residual force kept there. Clearly, the Shia and Iranians are more favorably inclined toward Obama than Bush because of Obama’s views on a general withdrawal by a certain date and the possibility of a complete withdrawal. This means that Obama must be extremely careful politically. The American political right is wounded but far from dead, and it would strike hard if it appeared Obama was preparing to give Iran a free hand in Iraq.

One possible way for Obama to proceed would be to keep Russia and Iran from moving closer together. Last week, Obama’s advisers insisted their camp has made no firm commitments on ballistic missile defense (BMD) installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, repudiating claims by Polish President Lech Kaczynski that the new U.S. president-elect had assured him of firm support during a Nov. 8 phone conversation. This is an enormous issue for the Russians.

It is not clear in how broad of a context the idea of avoiding firm commitments on BMD was mentioned, but it might go a long way toward keeping Russia happy and therefore making Moscow less likely to provide aid — material or psychological — to the Iranians. Making Iran feel as isolated as possible, without forcing it into dependence on Russia, is critical to a satisfactory solution for the United States in Iraq.

Complicating this are what appear to be serious political issues in Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been attacked for his handling of the economy. He has seen an ally forced from the Interior Ministry and the head of the Iranian central bank replaced. Ahmadinejad has even come under criticism for his views on Israel, with critics saying that he has achieved nothing and lost much through his statements. He therefore appears to be on the defensive.

The gridlock in Baghdad is not over a tedious diplomatic point, but over the future of Iraq and its relation to Iran. At the same time, there appears to be a debate going on in Iran over whether Ahmadinejad’s policies have improved the outlook for Iran’s role in Iraq. Finally, any serious thoughts the Iranians might have had about cozying up to the Russians have dissipated since August, and Obama might have made them even more distant. Still, Obama’s apparent commitment to a timed, complete withdrawal of U.S. forces poses complexities. His advisers have already hinted at flexibility on these issues.

We think that Bush will — after all his leaks — smooth the way for Obama by opening diplomatic relations with Iran. From a political point of view, this will allow Bush to take some credit for any breakthrough. But from the point of view of U.S. national interest, going public with conversations that have taken place privately over the past couple of years (along with some formal, public meetings in Baghdad) makes a great deal of sense. It could possibly create an internal dynamic in Iran that would force Ahmadinejad out, or at least weaken him. It could potentially break the logjam over the SOFA in Baghdad, and it could even stabilize the region.

The critical question will not be the timing of the U.S. withdrawal. It will be the residual force — whether an American force of 20,000 to 40,000 troops will remain to guarantee that Iran does not have undue influence in Iraq, and that Sunni and Kurdish interests are protected. Obama promised to end the war in Iraq, and he promised to withdraw all U.S. troops. He might have to deal with the fact that he can have the former only if he compromises on the latter. But he has left himself enough room for maneuver that he can do just that.

It seems clear that Iran will now return to the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. If Bush re-establishes formal diplomatic relations with Iran at some level, and if Obama responds to Iranian congratulations in a positive way, then an interesting dynamic will be in place well before Inauguration Day. The key will be the Nov. 10 meeting between Bush and Obama.

Bush wants to make a move that saves some of his legacy; Obama knows he will have to deal with Iran and even make concessions. Obama also knows the political price he will have to pay if he does. If Bush makes the first move, it will make things politically easier for Obama. Obama can afford to let Bush take the first step if it makes the subsequent steps easier for the Obama administration. But first, there must be an understanding between Bush and Obama. Then can there be an understanding between the United States and Iran, and then there can be an understanding among Iraqi Shia, Sunnis and Kurds. And then history can move on.

There are many understandings in the way of history.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) **** /Other Stuff

**I saw a screening of Danny Boyle's (trainspotting) new movie Slumdog Millionaire, with partners in crime Graeme and John Peterson. I highly recommend it. I like Graeme's description of it "as City of God meets Bollywood.' Based on bestselling novel Q and A by Vikas Swarup, the story revolves around how could a slumboy from Mumbai, know the answers to such hard questions? There is much more to this beautifully told story then I want to give away. Opens November 12th 2008.

**RIP Miriam Makeba, Studs Terkel and Inca Princess Yma Sumac.

**Blogrolling is still down, while it is being repaired after being hacked. I'm keeping a list of new blogs I want to add to my blogroll, that will eventually be added.

**Sonia is the only rightist blogger who understands what Obama stands for, and supported him. In this post, she explains why insider/outsider presidential candidates don't work, as opposed to outsider/insider. I personally doubt the Palin/McCain ticket could have won in this climate. It is like putting lipstick on George Bush.

**Stratfor and UK journalist blogger David Osler have stories about Obama and his security issues, with emphasis on white supremacist groups.

**Louis Proyect blogs about progressives who supported Obama such as 1960s radicals Tom Hayden, Carl Oglesby, Mike Klonsky etc. Carl Davidson left comments in his own defense. The "new left" was hatched from social democracy. Under all the rhetoric, the ideas of the new left were compatible with capitalism.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

US elections: Welcome to the “School of the Democrats”

This is an excerpt of the post election assessment of the 2008 elections from John Peterson, national chairperson of Workers Int'l League as well as founder of Hands Off Venezuela".

By John Peterson, Socialist Appeal (U.S.)
Wednesday, 05 November 2008

Film maker Michael Moore calls it the end of 28 years of rule by Republicans and Democrats who act like Republicans. At long last! The Bush years of war, terrorism, Enron, Katrina, domestic spying, mass layoffs and off shoring, raids and deportations of immigrant workers, attacks on the unions and declining living conditions are over! Or are they?

As we have explained time and again, on all fundamentals, Obama represents the same interests as Bush and McCain. The only real difference is greater his charm, eloquence and intellect. A cunning politician who knows full well whose interests he has been elected to defend, he will, like Bill Clinton before him, be used to carry out attacks on the working class that even the Bushes couldn't get away with - albeit with a warm smile on his face and a charming twinkle in his eye. Obama was above all elected on the basis of what people want to see in him, not what he really represents. "Hope" and "change" are powerful words in these times of turmoil and uncertainty. But sooner rather than later, Obama's true colors will be revealed. He may be riding high for the moment, and millions of people are elated, but we can predict that in the not-too-distant future, increasing numbers of his supporters will begin to feel confused and betrayed, bitterly disappointed, and then angry. They will be looking for answers and a way out of the crisis that still confronts them, and will be increasingly open to the ideas of revolutionary Marxism and socialism.

This is an excerpt of a much longer article here.

John Peterson