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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday June 16th 2024

Irony Of Ironies

By Peter Molenaar

Followers of this column might recall a two-part slogan issued prior to the Obama presidency. The first part read: “Unite to fight the ultra-right”. The second part: “even as we project the vision of socialist future”. It occurs now that it might be helpful to define some terms.
By ”˜ultra-right”' is meant: those political forces which are manipulated and set in motion by the most greedy and self-absorbed section of the capitalist ruling class. The Republican Party is said to be dominated by these forces. Whereas, the more liberal wing of the ruling class consents to a political alliance with the social-democratic wing of Labor (and the other sectors which make up the Democratic Party).
The term ”˜social-democratic”' refers to that trend within Labor which seeks to improve life without fundamentally challenging the power of accumulated wealth, i.e. without challenging the property relations which constitute the “rule of capital”. However, during a prolonged period of declining living standards, social-democracy of necessity evolves towards a more militant socialism. Similarly, the liberal tendency will be altered, but in reaction.

Note: We will endeavor to define working class socialism as opposed to “national socialism”.

Socialist society is based on public ownership of large scale industry, transport, and real estate. Thus it involves the revolutionary transfer of a huge sum of wealth to the public domain. It follows that a strong “worker”'s state” must be built upon a foundation of democratic institutions which in turn must reflect necessity itself. Socialist society strives to eliminate all forms of oppression and inequality while seeking to elevate the spiritual content of each individual. Peace between nations and harmony with nature is the goal.

But for now, “our” state rests upon a highly unstable capitalism: hyper concentration of wealth ”¦mass consumer debt”¦stagnation…financialization”¦housing bubble burst”¦meltdown”¦bailout”¦Obama”¦stimulus.

In essence (consciously or not), we have elected Obama to save capitalism (to save capitalism from the capitalists!) until such time as a viable socialist vanguard develops in conjunction with the requisite mass movement. As for now, I suggest we defend our president from the radical right saboteurs (and racists) on the one hand, and from certain “left” agitators who falsely focus blame on him.
Is Obama a good and competent man? Yes, he is. However the gods of history might yet view his election as the irony of ironies.

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