A couple weeks ago I mentioned that two charges hurled at President Obama were driving me crazy - - class warfare and Marxist Socialist. I dealt with class warfare so now I’d like to turn my attention to the charge that Obama is a Marxist Socialist.
You’d think, to hear the corporate media, Republicans and conservatives tell it, that the Obama administration is beginning, as Lenin once said, to construct the socialist order. “We are all socialists now,” shouted Newsweek not long ago. “ We are creating ‘socialist republics’ in the
Take it from me, from a person who is a socialist, and said so, proudly, in this community for years, Barak Obama is many things but socialist is not among them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the new found attention being paid to socialists and our ideas and the opportunity to have a seat at the table again after decades of inattention. But socialists know that Obama is not one of us. “Not only is he not a socialist,” writes Wharton, “he may in fact not even be a liberal. Socialists understand him more as a hedge-fund Democrat - - one of a generation of neoliberal politicians firmly committee to free-market policies. Like his predecessor Franklin Roosevelt, Obama is in the unenviable position of having to save capitalism from itself and to do so he is employing some, and I emphasize some, left of liberal solutions. He has to. The proponents of free-market capitalism have, perhaps, struck a mortal blow at themselves. They have blown up capitalism and taken most of the known world along.
What would a socialist propose for real revolutionary change? Here are a few items proposed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the Communist Manifesto.
- Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
- A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
- Abolition of all right of inheritance.
- Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
- Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
- Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State
- Free education for all children in public schools
- In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things. . . . They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
Now perhaps I’ve missed something but I don’t recall Obama issuing a rallying cry for proletarian revolution. His efforts so far have been tepid and half-hearted. Perhaps more is in the offing. “