Whatever Happened to the “Yes We Can” President?
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It was that late, great American wit Gore Vidal who remarked that the United States of America is a one-party state with two right wings. American socialists may wish to feel relatively comforted by the fact that this political ‘double act’ is now generally operative all over the capitalist world. In Britain, the expression sometimes articulated is that you cannot ‘slip a cig paper’ between Liberal, Tory and Labour. None of them would look out of place in the same political party. A recent measure by the Obama administration is a living testament to Vidal’s rather pithy little maxim.
It could be just as much a ‘republican’ as a ‘democratic’ measure. Within an American context, perhaps we should assert that it is impossible to slip a ‘buck’ between the two.
The ‘Farm Bill’ will mean thousands of poor American households losing $90 per month. This will inevitably impact on the ability of households to maintain themselves. $90 is what a Wall Street Parasite or Congressman spends on a new tie or shirt. But for a jobless American, it helps to keep your home warm or feed your children in the cold New York winters. This same bill subsidises corporate agricultural capital to the tune of billions of dollars.
The Obama administration has attempted to present this bill as one which will “give more Americans a shot at opportunity”. Quite the opposite. It will serve to entrench poverty and force the pace of destitution. It is nothing but a subsidy for agricultural capital at the expense of the poor and destitute in the American cities; the transfer of food out of the mouths of the needy, disabled and jobless and its value re-deposited into the bank accounts of corporate food producers and the well-heeled.
“Congress passed a bipartisan Farm Bill that is going to make a big difference in communities across the country,” said Mr President.
“Big difference” is the appropriate expression but it is simultaneously a double-edged one. It is not the kind of “big difference” with which Mr President is trying to delude us. In Britain, welfare/benefit cuts are presenting people with the dilemma of ‘eat or heat’. Do I turn up the thermostat or do I give the children a quality cooked meal with fresh vegetables? No such dilemmas will exist for the political elite in Washington and the motley assortment of unproductive parasites and layabouts on Wall Street and elsewhere whose interests they most ably represent and articulate in Congress. Obama’s actions have indeed “focussed heavily on economic equality” which he has qualified with a pretentiously glib “defining challenge of our time”. Whose inequality and whose challenge, we may ask.
Obama further remarked that the Farm Bill “preserved much-needed benefits”. Which is rather like asserting that a street mugger who takes the contents of your wallet has left you with enough money in it to get the bus back home or to the hospital.
Whether or not “the savings in food assistance came solely from addressing fraud and misuse” really does not wash with a single, jobless mother who now has to feed her children with $90 less than previously. And Obama refers to this as “protection for vulnerable Americans”! May the Good Lord in his infinite wisdom and bounty help those who are not under the protective benevolence of the ‘yes we can’ President!
Welfare claimants can, however, be re-assured by a Barack side-kick in Congress that…
“This is a nutrition bill that makes sure families have a safety net just like farmers do, …….while maintaining the important benefits for families that need temporary help.”
She forgets to mention that the “safety net” now has a trampoline-sized hole in it. You fall into it at your peril.
Congressman McGovern and others are correct when they “expect the burden of the cuts to fall disproportionately on the elderly and disabled” which does not make these inhuman measures any “more legitimate” for them.
In a land with one of the highest productivities (if not the highest) of labour on Earth, we can still witness thousands across the country in poverty, destitution, hunger, homelessness and with poor or no access to healthcare. Of the countries on Earth, the United States is one which presents highly developed material conditions necessary for socialism. The elimination of poverty, jobs and homes for all, universal access to advanced educational and healthcare facilities, leisure time and the potential to develop the individual human being to unprecedented and continually developing levels of cultural enrichment.
Where is all the fake nonsense and rising expectation now which filled the air when the ‘yes we can’ Obama was first elected? It is lying rotting at the bottom of a cesspit somewhere in the midwest.
The American proletariat are being forced to shoulder the burden of the structural crisis of the capital system. It is its poorest sections who are being chronically subjected to this burden by the state power of capital in the United States. It is a system which is necessarily built on inequality, injustice, oppression and the forced destitution and poverty of millions. Millions in structural unemployment are now simply a burden on capital, surplus to its requirements. The indebtedness of the US state to the world now runs into trillions of dollars. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ that state power will default on its debt to the world. And when that happens, the gates of a man-created Hell will swing open and out will rush every known demon and devil in history to haunt human society until humanity puts a final end, once and for all, to the rule of capital. This is the absolutely fundamental, quintessential question : who rules – capital or the associated producers? Revolution is necessary, by any means necessary and at any cost. The future of socialism – and therefore humanity – will ultimately be resolved and settled in America. This is the historic burden which the American proletariat must bear and carry through to the very end, regardless of the costs. The capital order must be destroyed. And replaced by a socialist life for humanity.