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Was the "Obamist Trotskyism" born?
Written by ALEJANDRO ITURBE   
Thursday, 12 June 2008 00:00

In this same edition we pointed out that Barack Obama's candidature has spawned "also great confusion that reaches even. some trend of the left".

 

A clear expression of that is the article "The Obama Phenomenon" circulating through the internet. Its author is Oleo Belched, leader of the party Popular Alternative of Panama and a member of a trend that contain also MES (Movement de Ensured Socialist) of Brazil, the MST (Movement Socialist de loss Trabajadores) from Argentina and the ISO (International Socialist Organisation) of the USA.

 

We consider it important to contest this article because it expresses a mechanism or reasoning that, concealed under the "intelligent Marxist tactic", lead to total capitulation the imperialist policies. We do not know if these positions are shared by the entire organisations of the trend but, so far, we do not know that they have published any critical material.

 

The article begins with a definition that seems to establish limit lines clearly when they say, "Of course it would be a vain illusion and a serious mistake on our behalf were we to believe that if Obama is elected in November, American imperialist policy would disappear as if by magic. He also represents an important sector of American establishment".

 

Further on they add, "Democrat victory, especially is the candidate is Barack Obama will not mean the end of imperialism or warmongering and it is probable that it will not even mean the immediate end of the war in Iraq. But it seems to me that it will mark a change of hue, an attenuation of certain terrible features of the American regime that, after 9/11 embodies certain forms of neo-fascism". (Our bold)    

 

So far, the conclusion is, up to a point, correct. The triumph of Obama will represent "a change of hue" of the policy applied by Bush. But they should have added two points. The first one is that this "change" is nothing but a necessary adaptation of American imperialism to confront the consequences of the failure of their policy. The second one is that, as we pointed out in the main article, Democrats are experts at the art of presenting "new images" without changing anything. From this point of view, Obama is no "novelty" but only another variant of something that is already traditional in American policy. Something that the author forgets dangerously.

 

That is why, after a long disquisition on Hegelian logic and the contradiction between "essence" and "appearance" he tells us, "Obama's radical discourse has catalysed the wills of millions of Americans for the "change" who oppose the continuity of the hawks, direct representatives of the military industrial capital. That is progressive in itself. And if Obama id not keep his word (which is most probable) this great sector of the Yankee electorate will have taken a step forward in political awareness and would be in better conditions to mobilise for their demands that they now regard as canalised by Obama" (Our bolds)

 

That is to say, in order to win the Democratic preliminary, he created a great "objectively progressive movement" and its claims are either fulfilled during his presidency (the least probable) or a leap in the awareness and mobilisation of the masses will take place. Whatever the case, the process can have no loss for the masses and for the revolutionaries. It is almost incredible that the article should open the expectations - no matter how small - that Obama, pressed by the masses, will keep his promises and his "radical discourse". In other works, "due to objective pressure" and in spite of himself, he will play a "progressive role".

 

Even if we set this alternative aside, there is still a totally false way of reasoning that has nothing to do with facts. In the first place, Obama did not create (or catalyse) any movement: it already existed in real life in the mobilisations against the war, in the great slump of support from American people, in the mobilisations of the immigrants, in the first workers' strikes, etc.

 

Precisely it is he who has been chosen by the imperialist bourgeoisie fro stop it and to prevent its growth, to drive them off the streets and driving them into the dead-end elections. The author seems to have forgotten all the lessons of history. There is, of course, the possibility that the masses will make their experience with Obama and advance in their awareness and mobilisation. But there also is the possibility - and that is the major danger now - that he will succeed at lulling the awareness and so abort the process.

 

Be that as it may, this is the task set for him. That is why he received the support from Edward Kennedy and Zbigniew Brzezinski and the financial support from huge firms. To think that all those people jeopardised their political weight and their money in order to create - even if only "objectively" - a "progressive movement" that will turn against them is not only abusing of dialectics but also an insult to the intelligence of imperialist brains.

 

But the author is consistent to the end: ".I believe that given that in this election, one is not the same as the other. And we shall have to bid for the defeat of the Republicans. Even at risk of being accused of opportunism, if the Yankee system were of two shifts, I would make as straightforward proposal to the American left (.) vote critically Obama against McCain".

 

Many trends of Trotskyist past have so far used the reasoning of the "objectively progressive" to justify their capitulation and their support to the bourgeois Chavez, Evo Morales and Correa administrations, and their electoral support to Monsignor Lugo. In those cases they at least had the excuse that the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador govern colonial countries "having rubs with imperialism" and that in Paraguay it was all about "how to defeat the Colorado Party."   

 

With these proposals the author makes his qualitative leap: the search for "hues" within imperialism, between "hawks" and "doves", a logic that so far has been used by Stalinism to justify long term accords between the former USSR and the "democratic imperialisms" against "warmongering imperialisms" of "democratic wings of imperialism" against the "warmongering wings"[1] The abandonment of revolutionary principles made us feel accustomed to permanent capitulations. Capitulating to American imperialism, however, is taking things a bit too far.  As Don Quixote used to say, "Thou shalt see things, Sancho, thou shalt not believe".



[1] For example, In Europe in 1930, this as the base from which to justify the popular fronts with secctors of imperialist bourgeoisie or to support Roosevelt in the USA.


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