Wider War, Billion$ to Banks, Jobs Down, Rising Racism, Foreclosures – All in 100 Days!
Millions of workers supported Obama, wanting real change: jobs, an end to the imperialist wars, and, importantly, a victory against racism. However, Obama’s first 100 days hasn’t been the “change” from the Bush administration workers expected.
The day Obama was inaugurated, home foreclosures and racist unemployment were at their highest pace since the 1930s. Defenders of Obama claimed that he ‘inherited’ these crises from the Bush administration. Throughout the Bush years, CHALLENGE argued that the real problem “isn’t Bush, it’s capitalism.” It doesn’t matter which president is in office; the ruling class sets the agenda.
Instead of bailing out the working class, Obama gutted the auto workers’ contract, gave billions to his ruling-class buddies and called on workers to sacrifice for the “good of the country.” On April 27, Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in the presence of Senator Kennedy and former President Clinton. This will triple the number of U.S. youth volunteering for AmeriCorps, create four new national service corps (three focused on youth) and turn September 11 into a National Day of Service. The building of this volunteer corps takes people’s desire to serve the working class and directs it into service for the needs of the bosses. It will create a free army that can be mobilized as the wars waged by the rulers expand. It is a partial realization of the Hart-Rudman Commission’s report that outline the ruling-class’s plans for confronting rising imperialist rivals like Russia and China, and securing long-term global military superiority.
Obama’s true class loyalties were foreshadowed by his reaction to the Israeli genocide in Gaza. During Bush’s last months, Obama was more than willing to accuse Bush of “mishandling” the economy, and yet didn’t say a word about the thousands of men, women, and children being killed and maimed. His only remark was “we only have one president at a time.” Even Ben Cohen, liberal columnist and staunch Obama supporter, commented that Obama’s “silence was deafening” (Huffington Post, 12/29). When Israel destroyed a U.N. school and murdered at least 40 Palestinian refugees, Obama turned a blind eye.
Millions of workers expected and hoped that the Obama administration would improve workers’ lives. Obama staffed his administration with bank executives, former Clinton advisors like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and known torturers like General McChrystal, now in charge in Afghanistan. The Obama-led government passed a $787 billion “stimulus” package, secured a bank bailout and nationalized the auto industry. Obama’s priority has been saving the capitalists. He has no intention of stopping the foreclosures that are leaving thousands of families homeless with each passing week nor of fixing the racist unemployment that grows with each passing month.
As a presidential candidate, Obama promised to bring all combat troops back from Iraq by May 20, 2010. This gave him an edge among workers over Clinton or McCain, who admitted U.S. involvement in the Middle East may stretch a century or more. On February 27, President Obama changed his promise. By December, he plans to remove only two of the fourteen brigades, leaving a so-called residual force of around 50,000 troops. Those remaining beyond the Bush-brokered “Status of Forces Agreement” with the U.S.-sponsored Iraqi government will be merely renamed “advisory training brigades.”
Meanwhile, Obama continues authorizing the massive bombing campaign over Afghanistan and missile strikes onto villages in Pakistan. The makers of these weapons, arms industry giants such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon have a strong voice in the Obama administration through William J. Lynn III, former Raytheon lobbyist and Obama’s new Undersecretary of Defense, and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, one of their favorite campaign contribution recipients. The arms industry is intertwined with the very megabanks like J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup whose former executives now advise Obama’s administration.
Obama, just like Bush before him, has shown his willingness to serve the bankers and bosses at the expense of the working class. No matter how much we hope for change, the capitalists will never allow a president who isn’t loyal to them to occupy the White House. Voting will never bring about a society that truly serves the needs of the workers of the world. Only communist revolution can do that.