Paradoxes of Politics

Date Written:  2015-07-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2015
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21215

Is there a viable presence for genuine independent politics, whether it’s a political party formation or broader coalition? What's needed is a force embracing the rising social insurgencies around race and national oppression, mass incarceration, immigrant rights, Fight for Fifteen, confronting the environmental disaster and endless imperialist wars - along with labor's traditional economic issues - capable of attracting thousands or tens of thousands of activists out of the corporate two-party trap.



When it comes to the TPP and the fossil fuel industry, president Obama has simply proven to be what he always said he was: a pro-corporate centrist Democrat. That's where any serious analysis of the Obama presidency begins.

The same applies to other apparent-but-not-real paradoxes: the 2009-10 economic stimulus that was just enough to prevent collapse but insufficient for a robust recovery; weak financial re-regulation that's left the "too big to fail" banks larger, fatter and more dangerous than ever; an Affordable Care Act that enriches the private insurance industry and falls tragically short of the universal health care that Americans need and want. (Given the appalling pre-Obamacare status quo of close to 50 million uninsured people in this country, it has been an improvement in covering around 16.4 million.)

In all these matters, this president sought reforms that would "make logical sense" without treading on the power, profits and prerogatives of corporate America from which the wealth of "the one percent" comes. The Republicans of course were having none of it. While Obama enjoyed Congressional Democratic majorities, the Republicans worked to ruin so that they could rule.

Once having taken the majorities, Republicans are pushing their unrestrained hard-right agenda while happily backing the TPP, on which there’s a substantial corporate consensus, and pushing Obama even further than he wants to go back into the spreading Middle East catastrophes that George W. Bush's wars created. They're supporting this president, as Lenin put it in a different context, "as a rope supports a hanging man."
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