Owed an Apology
|IT'S BEEN over 100 days. I am now prepared to accept the apologies of those who worked to put Obama in the White House.
Remember your effusive praise, how you touted him as being different than Bush? You accused people of being a sectarian, and out of touch with reality, if they refused to vote for him. You said he was leading a progressive movement - the beginning of a bright new era of politics.
You owe an apology to me and everyone else that spoke the truth about Obama. We said he would continue the Bush policies. We told you so.
More importantly, you need to express remorse to the millions of working people in this country and around the world that you helped convince to vote for him. Unlike you, they have nothing to apologize for. They made a mistake, but they did it for the right reasons - they hated what Bush stood for and wanted to express their solidarity as a class Ė they voted to reject war and racism.
They did not understand that the elections are a charade - but you did.
So let me make it clear who I am addressing this to: the union officials, peace activists, staff people for progressive organizations and others who have argued and fought against independent political action Ė all the longtime activists that have supported one lying, miserable Democratic politician after another as the lesser of two evils Ė Obama, Kerry, Clinton, Carter, Johnson, ad nausea.
Iíve now been listening to your equivocations and apologies for over 40 years. You cannot see beyond your own little milieu of self-absorbed radicals. You have learned nothing.
Letís review what your man Obama has accomplished in his first hundred days: revived the military tribunals; refused to address himself to the donít ask donít tell policy; decided to keep prisoners in GuantŠnamo; maintained troops in Iraq; refused to release the pictures of torture; supported the Israeli devastation of Gaza; maintained the US embargo of Cuba; named Cheneyís chief interrogator to head up the war in Afghanistan; refused to bring criminal action against widespread torture; expanded the war in Afghanistan to bomb civilians in Pakistan; given hundreds of billions of dollars to his Wall Street backers; given billions of dollars to the auto industry as a reward for massive layoffs; support for doctorís refusing a womenís right to abortion.
And as a special bonus: preventive detention.
You groveled at the feet of the democrats, begging for the Employee Free Choice Act, (a wimpy substitute for organizing for working-class power) Ė heís not even going to give you that. Heís not giving you a damn thing. Not even the jobs you coveted.
Iíve probably forgotten some of the rotten things heís done, but this is just the first hundred days. Obama has years to promote the Bush program, which is and always has been, the program of the ruling class - regardless of who sits in the White House. Like we told you, time and again.
Obama has proven himself the faithful servant of imperialism. He was selected to derail the antiwar movement and stifle social unrest emerging from the economic crisis. And you wagged your little poodle tails and helped him herd workers off the streets and into the voting booth. You helped mislead millions of anti-war people into supporting a militarist president. You covered up for him. You apologized for him. You fawned over him and gushed over his election victory.
Obama is being loyal to the class he represents Ė the employers. Obama didnít betray his class Ė you betrayed yours. Now you should stand up and take responsibility for your actions.
If you still support Obama, you are supporting the ruling class against your fellow workers. You cannot be a progressive for Obama. You can either be a progressive, or you can be for Obama.
Please donít take this personally. Some of you are friends. These comments are not directed at the many well-meaning people who got suckered in. They will learn from the experience and move on.
Iím talking about the pie-cards that have been hustling votes for the Democrats for years. Iím particularly talking about the most wretched, gutless, class collaborationist union bureaucracy that has ever existed. What a cesspool. At a time of growing economic crisis, when millions of workers would be willing to go into action and fight, you are hustling votes for the bosses and waging war with each other over dues money.
Iím not just referring to the millionaire pork-choppers like Stern, Gettlefinger, Wilhelm, etc Ė Iím including all the thousands of cogs in the bloated bureaucratic machinery that justify, apologize for, or remain silent about this dues money feeding frenzy. I donít care whether youíre a hardened business unionist thatís been sucking our blood for decades or a pretentious young nitwit that hires out to lead the poor workers - you should all be ashamed of yourselves.
Your behavior is a dishonor to the proud history of the militant working class of this country Ė to the women and men of the Knights of Labor, the IWW, the CIO, the anti-war GIs, the millions of undocumented workers that took to the streets in fearless action on Mayday just three years ago.
Any union staff person with an ounce of self-respect should get up from their desk right now and in a loud voice proclaim that you will no longer be a part of this travesty. Tell them that you are no longer willing to participate in raiding operations and jurisdictional squabbles. Tell them you are unwilling to impose contracts that sell out the next generations of workers. Tell them that you are no longer going to crawl to the bosses offering concessions. Tell them you will not apologize for Obama and you will never, never, ever again support the candidates of the employers.
Then announce that you are going out to look for a job so you can help organize your class. If you do that, we would all be proud of you.
OK Ė so why my sudden outburst? After all, none of this is new. I guess the quantitative just became the qualitative. There was the straw that broke the camelís back, the spark that led to this undisciplined outpouring and my years of self-control going down the tubes. This is what did it:
Basking in the glow of the ruling class electoral victory, some of you have begun to strut around, coming out as socialists. Whatís more, having rediscovered socialism, you are redefining it. We are being re-imagined. Lucky us.
This is much like the European discovery of America. In both cases, there were indigenous people that had little in common with the recent arrivals. Many of us have been socialists all along and I can say without qualification: you are not one of us. If you support Obama you are not any kind of revolutionary - you can hardly be considered a reformer.
You are not socialists; you are what I will call social-lites. Posers. Pretenders.
The rapidity with which your leader has revealed his real agenda has put you in an awkward position. Having helped deliver the working class vote to the bosses, you will now try to pose as the socialist opposition to Obama. Youíll put on a Marxist patina to hide your rotten deeds. Being shrewd careerists, youíll start back peddling, distancing yourself from Obamaís atrocities. (Until youíre right back doing it again in the next elections.)
But we know what you are: frightened functionaries living off our labor. You didnít believe us about Obama and you wonít believe me about this, but Iíll tell it plain: The workers that you have robbed and kept fettered in the face of the bosses offensive are going to rise up and roll right over you. When workers understand the depth of your duplicity, you are going to be booted so far that you will never be able to crawl back into your padded chairs.
Lest these words seem harsh, there is always room to change - itís never to late. Big fights are coming. As the illusions in Obama disappear, there will be new upsurges in the anti-war movement, for immigrant rights and economic justice. We could use your help.
Break with Obama, apologize, promise not to do it again, and we will embrace you as comrades.
Otherwise, just get the fuck out of our way.
- Mike Alewitz/ 5.23.9
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