WASHINGTON, DC, January 20 — The only apparent opposition at the inauguration of the new Obama regime came from a multiracial group of PLP communists and friends. A bullhorn rally was held at Gallery Place, a major Metro stop just outside the “security zone” for the Obama inauguration parade. Speakers at the rally called on the crowd heading to the parade to join PLP in the struggle against capitalism and racism instead of supporting Obama.

In a demonstration of the fascism of this system, 25,000 civilian and military police locked down the city. The day’s events were used to practice methods for the ruler’s need to control the working class.

The two million or so people that came to the inauguration, among them a sizeable number of black and Latino workers, believed what they were witnessing represented an historic victory against racism. In reality, they witnessed the latest in the succession of representatives of the U.S. ruling class, the most racist and murderous group of thieves in history.

Obama made it clear that for the working class, things will get worse, and the workers will be the ones paying for the latest crisis. Obama didn’t blame this racist system for the crisis, one that has enslaved millions and waged genocidal wars for the past 400 years, but instead blamed “our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.”

The desperate conditions of millions of workers were glossed over as Obama paid only lip service to the swathes of racist foreclosures. Up to 10,000 homes per week have been claimed. Millions of black, Latino and other workers were unable to keep up payments on houses they were encouraged to buy at high prices and at eventual exorbitant interest rates. Similarly dismissed was the prison-like conditions of our schools, stating simply that “homes have been lost…our schools fail too many.”

He immediately followed that saying, “no less profound is…the nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable.” “America’s decline” is indeed the “profound fear” of the Rockefeller-led wing of the U.S. ruling class, the banks and companies like J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Exxon Mobil, who have trillions of dollars invested in U.S. imperialism and have cast a nervous eye on their growing imperialist rivals in Russia, China, and the European Union.

Obama and his administration are the ruling class’s number one investment. They’re counting on him to win U.S. workers to support wider wars, unlike the Bush gang who not only squandered the chance to mobilize the country but provoked the anger of millions of workers worldwide. Key to this effort is the movement for national service, a precursor to support for a larger military as was evident in the references to the, “Brave Americans…who patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. …[and] embody the spirit of service: a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.”

In addition to this thinly veiled call to kill and die for U.S. imperialism was another message extolling workers to sacrifice to save the bosses’ system which Obama called on people to imitate, “the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours” — in effect, a wage-cut. Meanwhile, of the current U.S. prison population of 2.4 million — the largest ever in human history, and now over 1% of the total adult U.S. population — 70% are black and Latino. The inmate population languishing in the prisons of 10 states is expected to increase by 25% or more by 2011.

In the dangers of the ruling class’s efforts to build its movement, there are opportunities. Millions hate racism, imperialism, and sexism, and could be won to dedicate their lives to ending the brutal system that requires these evils.

Obama melodramatically showered us with images of slave-owner George Washington “huddling by dying campfires” and called on us to be “faithful to the ideals of our forbears.” Does he mean the first eight U.S. presidents, all of whom owned slaves? When only white, property-owning men were considered citizens and Native Americans were exterminated by the millions? What “greatness” about the U.S. is he talking about if not genocide and slavery?

The horrifying conditions of, and racism against, immigrant workers, and the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror, continued full steam into the 20th century. The U.S. was just cutting its teeth as a rival imperialist power to the genocidal British and French imperialists.  No, U.S. rulers have never been great at any- thing except mass murder — and now, with about 750 U.S. military bases worldwide, Obama wants to usher in “a new era” of U.S. global dominance.

The international working class’s inspiration is not in the slave-owners’ revolt in the U.S. war of independence from Britain, nor in racist Abraham Lincoln’s “solution” of shipping black slaves back to Africa. It’s in the mass slave rebellions and the actions of Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman and John Brown which led to the crushing of slavery.

We fight today with the memory of the brave millions of the Haitian Revolution of 1801, which inspired generations of workers because they taught the world how to fight back. The pride in our history is in the workers at Stalingrad who smashed the Nazis; in the caves of Yenan, China as the communist-led workers regrouped after the Long March to win workers’ power in the most populated country on earth; and in countless other uprisings where our class rose against all odds and dared to struggle for a world free of the capitalist slavery that Obama represents. Real change will come when millions of workers read and distribute CHALLENGE and become steeled in class struggle. Join the Progressive Labor Party and help build a mass international communist movement, learn from our predecessors’ mistakes and victories, and help destroy this system once and for all.


WASHINGTON, DC, January 20 — Speakers at our rally alerted the throngs of people that Obama, far from making things better, would lead workers and students into expanded war. He would continue racist oppression from Chicago, where police terror and hospital closings marked his time in leadership, to Gaza, where he gave his stamp of approval to genocide. He will reward the thieving capitalists with bailouts just as he condoned those George Bush had given.
Many agreed that the struggle would have to continue, but thought that Obama would still be an improvement. One person told us that he had just won a 3-year battle against D.C. for police brutality and was interested in joining our campaigns on this issue. Several youth from Baltimore were happy to see us, as they knew us from our work in their city as part of the Algebra Project/Peer-to-Peer (see CHALLENGE 10/15/08). Several other young people agreed that Obama just represented capitalism, just more of the same, and that we had to intensify our fight-back.
There were a few hostile responses, one demanding that we talk about Bush’s crimes. We told him that we’d been doing that for eight years! Another said we shouldn’t “rain on Obama’s parade” and should give him a chance. But we can’t give murderous capitalism a chance. Capitalism always has, and always will, serve the ruling class, not the working class. We are in the midst of a severe economic and military crisis, and the working class must be mobilized to fight racism and capitalism now!
We gained several new contacts for the Party and distributed over 800 flyers and 400 CHALLENGES. We also came away determined to win the millions of workers deceived by the election to a revolutionary struggle against racist capitalism, and not compliance with the increased war and fascism being ushered in by this new CEO of U.S. capitalism.

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