One of the most honest articles about the latest change in regime that I have read since the election is Paul Street’s article Barack Obama: The Empire’s new clothes. It is both terrifically true, and terribly tragic for our nation. Has nothing actually changed?
…The predominantly white U.S. business and political establishment still makes sure that nobody who questions dominant domestic and imperial hierarchies and doctrines can make a serious (“viable”) run for higher office – the presidency, above all…Our supposed “left” President-Elect’s first statement was NOT a call for peace, justice, and equality. It wasn’t a call for America to confront the inseparably linked problems (what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the “triple evils that are interrelated”) of economic exploitation, racism (deeply understood), and militarism-imperialism.
No, it was a Reagan-like declaration bolstering the American plutocracy’s ridiculous claim that the U.S. – the industrialized world’s most unequal and wealth-top-heavy society by far – is home to a great democracy and limitless opportunity for all…
One could argue that, yes, something must have changed because nobody could have believed (myself included) that America would actually elect a Black president. But at the same time, is Mr. President-Elect Obama actually doing any new, different, or dare we say, radical? Not really.
And yet we’ve got folks out there thinking that now the struggle’s over, that we can lay down our guns, picket signs, and power fists. Well if you’ve looked out your window or picked up a newspaper, then you know that the battle’s hardly won. Leave it to Unión del Barrio to lay it all out for us:
Real change will only come from those who struggle for dignity, justice and self-determination.
With the historic election of Barack Obama as President of the United States we can say with certainty that there has been a paradigm shift in the mythology of capitalist white rule. Without a doubt the backwards concept of race superiority has suffered a blow, but the transfer of political power from one capitalist party to another should not be taken lightly. Race relations has entered a new level of discussion in an empire that has built its existence on the genocide of indigenous people, the theft of African labor and the premise of expansionism under the ridiculous assertion of divine intervention to settle land and conquer people. The significance of the 2008 U.S. presidential election is that for the first time in the history of capitalism, the most powerful country in the annals of human history will be led by a black man. This phenomenon signals a decline in the ability of white power capitalism to rule openly and viciously as it has since its inception; but more importantly it signals the need for those that financed the Obama campaign to promote president elect Obama as the beacon to keep alive this unjust and decadent capitalist system. In short, president-elect Obama was formed by the elite and will rule with the elite, but the historical feat of a black politician winning the presidency of the United States cannot be taken for granted.
The election of the first black president of the United States signals for us as well a new paradigm of struggle. Certainly the triumph of Obama cannot and does not mean that our struggle for self-determination, justice and dignity is now over. Quite the contrary, our struggle must be intensified, it must be unyielding. For in a time in which the empire finds itself in the midst of the worst economic crisis, a crisis that has propelled the rest of the world into a certain global economic depression. In a time in which endless war is a failed and only remaining strategy for the empire to plunder the resources of the peoples of the world. In this time, in which our communities are under siege, raided, persecuted, deported by one of the most sinister campaigns ever launched by the empire within its boundaries. In this time in which the wall of death has been built all along the borderlands as a damming monument erected by the empire in order to reassure its theft of our lands. That horrendous monument not only destroys communities, divides our people, wounds our collective memory, but it kills with impunity.
In a time of crisis for those in power, we offer our commitment to struggle, our willingness to be free, our hope for a better tomorrow. In a time of the elite’s crisis we must seize the moment and transform their crisis into our victory, their weakness into our triumph, their hesitation into our steadfast movement forward, change only comes when we, those who have been persecuted, exploited, incarcerated, marginalized, disenfranchised, stand together and say enough, and demonstrate our ability to resist. For the empire is more dangerous when it is wounded, when its ideals are shattered, when its economic systems are in turmoil, the United States and its capitalist system has an outstanding ability to be resilient. It has risen triumphant and empowered on many occasions out of multiple crises, for such is the nature of the empire. It must self-degrade to gain strength. Their crisis will not become our victory until we build a movement with enough political strength to once and for all rid our people of the yolk of oppression…
We must unite for self-determination of all oppressed people no matter the nationality; we must unite as a working class people; and our struggle must be an anti-imperialist struggle, based on the struggles of all of us, when that happens then change becomes possible. Ours is not a change based on empty hopes for a better future; it is based on a need to ensure that all of us build a better community, a better society, a better world.
¡Hasta la Victoria, compañer@s! It’s not over yet!