It started in the 2008 election, and has persisted even today. Four years later, we’re still hearing right wingers angrily denouncing Obama as an “America hating socialist”, and one who wants to see this country fail and on and on. Very seldom do we ever hear anyone address this seriously, or even hardly at all. So for the fun (and education of it) let’s examine closely what being a socialist means, and if Obama meets that definition.
Socialism: What is it?
It would seem that many people in the US are a bit ignorant of what the word socialism means. Let’s consult a dictionary first:
so·cial·ism noun \ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\
Definition of SOCIALISM
: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done
What does this mean?
OK, so basically, socialism means collective or government control of the means of production. There are different ideologies and parties that claim to be varying forms of socialism. You have Democratic Socialists, Social Democrats (not really socialists, but for the sake of argument we’ll group them in here) among others, like libertarian socialists, also known as anarchists. Do Obama’s policies have any links to these political ideologies at all?
What Obama has done while in office has been nothing short of capitalist in nature. From a slew of FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) to drones attacking people in Pakistan with more stealth and precision than George W. Bush, Obama has proven himself time and again to be on the capitalist side of the fight. He talks about building jobs, but continues the 10 year old tax cut for the wealthy that Bush began. He has mostly kept the military at it’s current level, with only minimal cutbacks. He has instituted a weak health care reform plan that will probably be knocked down and out by the Republicans. In fact, the health care reform law was very capitalist in nature from the start. It is in effect a huge kickback to insurance companies by making everyone buy PRIVATE insurance.
He has hired people for his administration at top levels that come directly from firms like Goldman Sachs, he has maintained the embargo against Cuba. He has caved in almost every instance to the Republicans, even when he had the political power to accomplish something good. He has allowed cuts in education, in social programs and has maintained basically a majority of Bush policies in almost every regard.
He has not overseen the nationalization of industry. While he did bail out the car companies, banks and insurance firms, these were merely hundreds of billions in injected capital, not an actual government takeover. Certainly none of those helped the common people in a real or lasting way, but sure did make some good money for his friends at the top of those companies.
In short, Obama has been, and continues to be a very conservative president. He advocates capitalism, is hardly even an advocate of Keynesian Economics and is just as war mongering as his predecessor.
Let’s lay this to rest. Socialists such as myself are sick of hearing how socialist Obama supposedly is. The facts tell us that he is not a socialist, not on the side of the working class, and not worthy of our support. The Communist Party USA may support him, but only because they’re defeatists who think that since the GOP is worse they have no obligation to fight for anything better than the status quo. Reject this argument, Obama is not a socialist, nor should anyone consider him one. We fight for a radically different America where common citizens get bailouts, not giant cash hungry corporations. We fight for a future where education and health care are considered human rights, not merely a bottom line for a corporation. We fight for food, housing and clothing for every singe person within our borders. We fight for a future free from war and imperialism. Obama stands for NONE of that. Reject both capitalist imperialist parties, and vote for a real socialist in 2012.
Peta Lindsay 2012! http://www.votepsl.org