Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama's honeymoon will be short: crisis, conflict, class polarization is ahead.

by Sean O'Torrain

Obama's honeymoon? I think it will be short. I also think that it will be crisis ridden on many fronts.

He is already into trying to negotiate US capitalism's debt with the Republicans. The liberal wing of the Democrats will be pressing him to tax the rich. In the Republican Party the extreme right will try to hold their leaders to stand against this. Obama is liable to cave. This will increase tensions inside the Democratic Party maybe leading to splits.

This debate over the deficit shows the US economic system is in crisis, but also shows the political crisis of US capitalism. It is possible the Republicans could split in the next four years. This would open up a whole new political situation here where the two parties of US capitalism could begin to lose their political monopoly. This would be of world-wide significance.

This debacle of Petraeus and the top army brass who were conducting the wars in the Middle East will further discredit the US military, one of the few US capitalist institutions that was not looked upon with complete contempt. Read the descriptions of the shenanigans that were going on amongst these top brass and the so called hospitality groupies and the lavish dinners that these people held and the 20,000 to 30,000 emails that one general is reputed to have sent. Where did he get the time? No wonder US capitalism is losing the wars with its generals doing all this while the military rank and file were fighting and dying in the Middle East.

We should think of this serious crisis in the US military this way. Two Months after the Russian Revolution of 1917 formal ranks and the saluting of officers was banned. The salute is a recognition of the superiority and integrity of the officer caste, and the top ranks of all military's are from the ruling class or linked closely to it; the Bolsheviks got rid of it.  The salute is to make the soldier at every rank commit themselves to unquestionable loyalty to the chain of command.  Imagine what a soldier will think about now as he or she salutes Petraeus, or what appear to be an increasing number of others like him.  They will not be able to keep from laughing. This is a big blow to the military. And it was Petraeus remember who pushed Obama to stay longer in Afghanistan and launch a surge there against Obama's instincts.

Another area of great crisis for Obama is liable to be the Middle East. What will happen there in the next four years? It is likely that Syria will explode, it is likely that different peoples divided up  and transferred in to many different states by imperialism in the past will, as war and fragmentation sweeps the area, seek to build their own national states again breaking up the existing states further. There will even be a tendency to going back to the tribal divides again. Something will also happen in the next four years over the nuclear program of Iran and the Zionist regime in Israel and due to the Zionist regime's stupidity and arrogance the Israeli Palestinian conflict will continue. 

Then there is the world economy. I cannot see how Obama will get through his next four years without a new and much worse 2008 type collapse and a much worse recession than the one we are coming  through. I also cannot see how trade and other tensions with China will get anything but worse. In China itself it is hard to see the ruling elite there getting through the next four years without a huge increase in uprisings and instability. At some point, there will be more open conflict between the Stalinist bureaucracy and the rising Chinese capitalist class.  This will inevitably lead to splits in the ruling party and a more confident and open capitalist class making a move for total control. I cannot see the Euro crisis getting anything but worse and the movement of the working class there increasing. In Russia, stability will also be hard to maintain; the country is already extremely volatile and divided. In Africa and Latin America we are also seeing increasing movements of the working class. The Venezuelan elections which have kept Chavez at the helm was a real blow to US imperialism in the latter area.

Within this process we will see the emergence of working class women as never before. Half the factory workers in the world are now women. They will not sit back. Already in advanced capitalist countries and in countries such as Bangladesh we have seen them take action. And in the Arab Spring there is increased struggles against the sexism of the Islamic regimes and ideology.

Not the normal approach to Staten Island
And of course there is the the big one; climate change, pollution and the general environmental devastation that is the result of the capitalist system of production. What cities, what areas, will either be submerged under water or be made inhabitable through drought, pollution and nuclear catastrophe in the next four years? The storm in the NE of the US and the Caribbean that brought 6 foot walls of water down the streets of Staten Island, the tsunami and nuclear catastrophe in Japan, Katrina, the oil spill in the Gulf, and the melting of the ice caps, these are signs of  the developing catastrophe under capitalism.

Yes Obama is going to have a second term of it. The inspiring struggles that are taking place will give great opportunities to the working class. In that sense we are in a very favorable period. Here in the US we would hardly know it but there have been massive strikes in South Africa that have threatened the world production of Platinum. These have been joined by strikes of farmworkers and it comes after the murder of 40 or so workers by the state. The workers will not be cowed; not like their present leaders.  Today, in Europe, there are protests and/or general strikes in 23 countries.  There are calls in some quarters for a mass Europe-wide march on the European Parliament in Brussels. The ongoing struggles in Latin America and China and among the world's indigenous people against the destruction of their lands are ongoing.   But if these opportunities are not taken, they will turn into their opposite. As we say democratic international socialism or catastrophe and the destruction of life on earth as we know it.

Obama and capitalism is going to have their hands full, and so are the working gclass.

Unless the working class takes power and replaces the present clique that control the means of production of human life, then life on earth as we know it will be destroyed.  I believe we need to fight to build mass united front type formations, with programs that take on, confront and are able to throw back the capitalist offensive and open up the door to a worldwide working class offensive. This would put on the agenda of the mass of the working class once again the issues of capitalism and socialism. This can come quickly. After all think that it was only slightly over 20 years ago when socialism was declared dead and that history had ended.

The workers' movement world-wide has already ended this period. Within these united fronts that I speak of, whether they initially take the form of united fronts or united front type parties we have to also build revolutionary socialist currents which will be able to draw the lessons of history and  put a cutting edge on these movements, a cutting edge on these great chisels----one that can allow them to end capitalism and build a democratic socialist society.

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