S. Trimble : Obamamania, the Democratic Party and the Left

If we could just get on the same page…
By Scott Trimble / May 11, 2008 / The Rag Blog

[These comments from Scott Trimble are the latest contribution to a Rag Blogger discussion of radical strategy and electoral politics. Go here for the rest of the conversation.}

If we could really take over the Democratic Party, that would of course be the optimal strategy. However, to believe that Obamamania is really indicative of such a takeover is equally idealistic to hoping that all progressives will suddenly realize that they should unite behind the Green Party and make it competitive with the Dems and Rethugs. Neither of these things is likely to happen in the here and now. Either of them are useful goals to work toward. I just wish we could all get on the same page, because with half of us going one way and the other half choosing the second, the DLC types and other neoliberals will continue to control the “left” in American politics, and will continue to work on behalf of their corporate masters instead of “we the people.”

Unfortunately, healing the rifts in the American left are not much more likely than a one-state solution in Palestine/Israel. So, we can debate them eternally here, but what we really need to be doing is trying to find new and utterly original ideas to break the molds imposed on us. We will basically have to fool ourselves and our potential allies into uniting behind one or the other. Obamamania has almost done it, but he is just too right wing, too pro-corporate for some of us. If it had been John Edwards, or maybe if Obama had adopted a platform somewhere between Edwards and Kucinich…but alas, what we’ve got is all we’ve got.

I don’t want to sound like I’m just being a contrarian. I fully support your decision to back Obama, and I sincerely hope that he proves me wrong, that he turns out to be the leftist in centrist clothing that some seem to think he will be. I hope he gets us out of Iraq expediently and entirely. I wish I could hope that he’d get us out of Afghanistan just as quickly (but unless he is such a con artist that he is fooling himself, I don’t think that is at all likely). I would love to see him end the “war on terror” propaganda, and focus on sound diplomacy based on cooperation rather than domination, and on repairing our infrastructure, education system, health care system, and working toward full employment. It is just that I don’t think any of those things will really happen.

I’m sorry if I seem pessimistic, but I believe what we will actually get is a drawdown of most troops in Iraq, with a residual force to maintain neo-colonial control of the Iraqi government, an escalation in Afghanistan, a continuation of the war on terror, a somewhat less aggressive foreign policy, but one still based on military might, especially as our economic power fades, and moderate improvements in domestic social programs, while maintaining the imbalances necessary for capitalism, corporations and the wealthy to continue to thrive. In short, something a little better than we’d get from a second Clinton term (whether Bill or Hillary), and a lot better than we’d get from McCain. Better, but not necessarily good.

Oh well, at least I will be able to feel some relief, as long as the Republicans are not able to steal another one. Meh.

But I digress. My apologies. I’d love to work on a way to convince Greens and Socialists et. al. to join with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party to wrest it from the grasp of the neoliberal wing. Convince me to join you in that effort. But Obama is not the vehicle that will get me there.

For the rest of the discussion, go here.

The Rag Blog

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