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Barack Obama and the 2008 Elections

May 10, 2008

BY JAAN LAAMAN

Clearly 2008, has been and continues to be a history making election year. I’d like to offer a little analysis and personal thought on the presidential campaign and especially on Barack Obama.

With Hillary Clinton coming close to winning the Democratic Party primary and Barack Obama winning, and thus becoming the first Black major party candidate for president, electoral politics have been forever changed in the United States. And this is a good thing.

For me personally, this being my 24th straight year of captivity, of being a political prisoner of the U.S. government, the past 8 or 9 months have been a continuing learning process. I did not truly believe that America was ready to elect a Black man as president. I wasn’t even sure that America was ready to support a white woman as president. I am very pleased to find out I was wrong.

Of course Obama has not won the election yet, but there are real changes we can already see. In the past 5 to maybe 10 years, the United States has gone through a cultural and societal shift, a positive progressive growth in terms of race and racism. This positive development is centered in young and younger people. But a significant number of voters of all ages, whites, Blacks, Latinos and others, cast their votes for Obama. As a country we can be proud to see that the deadly grip of the false, ugly and dangerous ideology of white supremacy, is finally being lessened and even rejected by larger percentages of people in this country. This is a good and positive development that will benefit this country and reach beyond the next election.

Of course racism and discrimination against people of color is not dead. The Klan and other fascists are still out there hating, plotting and sneaking around. Killer cops are still shooting Black men and usually getting away with it. Obama’s candidcacy hasn’t ended this, and even if he is elected the next president, these problems will continue.

Barack Obama is clearly an intelligent and dynamic person. His electoral success so far, is because he has tapped into the public’s real desire to break with the pro-corporate, reactionary, warmongering policies of the Bush government. The people want an end to the war in Iraq and Obama is seen as the more anti-war candidate. The ever rising cost of gas and food, the tens of millions without health care coverage, while banks are seizing more and more homes, and the real estate market is collapsing, are all reasons why people are desperately looking for real change, and Obama has presented himself as the candidate of change.

Let’s be clear though, Obama is not a revolutionary and he poses no threat to the capitalist system. From the beginning, his campaign was backed and pushed by some sectors of the U.S. ruling class and political elite. More and more of these powerful corporate and monied ruling forces have recently thrown their support behind Obama. Large sectors of the ruling class in the United States recognize that a President Obama can do more to support and consolidate the interests of the U.S. system, I’m talking about corporate, military and government interests, the interests of U.S. imperialism of the U.S. Empire, than any other candidate or person presently out there. They believe he can do more than a tired old John McCain with his Bush like ideas.

A President Barack Obama can reach out to countries, both governments and their people, like no one else could. According to the Pew Global Attitude Project, a very recent world wide survey, over one-third of the countries surveyed, see the U.S. more as an enemy than a partner. Many across the globe blame the U.S. at least in part, for slumping economies and global warming. Europeans are more negative towards the U.S. government now, than they were in the year 2000, and highly negative views prevail across the Muslim world. Yet in July, after this survey, Obama took a trip to Afghanistan, the Middle East and Europe, and demonstrated that many foreign leaders and their publics, especially in Germany, were very willing and interested in listening to and dealing with him.

The rulers in the United States are desperate to seek a way to halt the rapid deterioration of their position as the world’s dominant economic and military power. U.S. imperialism is bogged down in two wars it can not win and is afraid or unwilling to abandon. The possibility exists that the Bush government might push the country into a third war against Iran before the November elections, even though they don’t have an extra army of 2 or 3 hundred thousand soldiers to invade Iran.

Obama and his ruling class backers want to try a different approach. Essentially Obama wants to rely less on raw military might. He wants to put a friendlier face on U.S. imperialism and strengthen its ability to compete economically with China, Europe, India, Latin America, etc. A President Obama would be much more welcomed and listened to by countries around the world, than the present Bush government or a McCain government.

Obama’s ongoing campaign and possible presidency is even now opening doors of societal change and progress in the U.S., and this is a good thing. If he becomes president he will try to open doors for U.S. imperialism especially in other countries. This won’t be good for us the people in America, but it will benefit U.S. corporate interests.

These are some of the realities of this interesting and historical 2008 election. Let’s keep our eyes open and our independent activist voices heard — our anti-war voices, our voices of outrage at gas prices, food costs and police abuses. Our independent activism, our rejection of Bush and his corporate policies, our demand for peace and bringing all U.S. troops home now, might even help to push Obama and his campaign in a more progressive direction.

Before I finish, lets stop, and be honest now, wouldn’t it be kind of cool to have a President named Barack Obama? Wouldn’t we all be just a little bit proud to see this happen?

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