Why do Social Democrats do what they do?

September 29, 2009

Op-Ed: Obama and the US far-Right collide : the Class-forces divided over how best to enhance US imperialist power, by Andy Taylor, Sep 29, 09

which Camp will predominate in the US Ruling Class? When will the State unite to assert common imperial interests?


The US demonstrates its power through various methods but a very important means is its perceived ability to successfully dominate defiant or contested nations.

The Pentagon needs sales promotions, displays and showcases as much as any corporation. The US can not continue to dominate the globe if they are perceived as weak/beatable.This was the great lesson of their Defeat by Vietnam. For a decade after the final Vietnam evacuation in 1975 the US state was restricted in its ability to boldly and brazenly create crises and wars etc. For the Pentagon and US Intelligence The Church Commission investigation of CIA criminality is still considered a humiliating debacle. For the present governing elite, the Watergate Hearings were terrifying. Both US parties know that such lustrations or cleansings of government must be stopped in their tracks.

Worse even than international perception, the US state had a severe outbreak of internal democracy in the late 60s to mid 70s and the powers in DC couldn't lie or cheat with as much impunity for a time thereafter.

Today Mr. Obama has been promoted not just by his impressive electoral victory but by a section of the pragmatic US Ruling Class that saw very clearly that the US was not successfully dominating the world or stabilizing the making of profits by having Bush - Cheney in power (ex. the extraordinary Transnational "liberal", George Soros). The war in Iraq was floundering as the U.S. imperialists watched. The varied political, ethnic and class forces within Iraq were not rallying around the US created government. In a notable piece that appeared in the New York Times"A Timetable for Mr. Bush" the liberal American voice expressed its anguish over the turn of events:

"The ultimate Iraqi nightmare, which continually seems to be drawing closer, is a violent fracturing of the country in which the Kurdish north and Arab Shiite southeast break away, leaving the west, dominated by Arab Sunnis, an impoverished no man’s land and a breeding ground for international terrorism. . .
The consequences of such a breakup would be endless and awful: civil war, the persecution of minority populations in the new states, an alliance between the Shiites and Iran, and a complete breakdown of American moral and military influence in the Middle East. "

'A COMPLETE BREAKDOWN OF AMERICAN MORAL AND MILITARY INFLUENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST: ' we hear the nub problem at the heart of the crisis from the mouthpiece at the centre of the US liberal elite. That section of the US elite bet on Obama's charismatic charm to change " the tone" or perception about America. Not that the ruling class pragmatics want to reduce the level of US global domination
or reduce the rate of profit: far from it, they saw Obama as the one who could potentially disarm global opposition to US imperialism and make US dominion less indigestible to the allies.

As Paul L Street writes in his note "The Re-Branding" of Sep 28, 09, the two parties both play an important role for the ruling class in America:

" All things equal, the business class power elite would just assume have the GOP in office. But when the GOP elites screw up, as they ultimately do, it becomes necessary (as the left author Lance Selfa pointed out last year) to pull the Republican brand off the shelf for a while (1977-1981, 1993-2001). Bring in the other Empire and Inequality party - the other wing of the corporate-managed democracy's one-and-a-half party system, aptly described as "History's second-most enthusiastic capitalist party" by the former Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips years ago".

Can Obama fulfill this agenda? The other, openly vitriolic far-right section of the US ruling-class is incensed that any concessions of bravado in bellicose speech and actions has been allowed or indulged in by the new administration. They wish to dominate the globe in the open contempt for the weaker displayed by Bush and Cheney or Mr. McCain.

So what we see in Obama's struggle with the far-right is NOT an anti-imperialist, radical president being bullied by the far-right, but a far-right attack on a judiciously imperialist pragmatist president who wishes to manage and extend the US empire with less needless exasperation of allies and others. But we should not think that the Obama campaign and presidency in its moment was a reactionary force within the ruling class.It has been a disappointment to realize the limited extent of the Obama mandate for change to be sure. It has been a disappointment to see Obama fall into the imperialists morass in Afghanistan. It is a let-down for many progressives to hear that the Democrats in the US Senate seem prepared to dump the public option in the future Healthcare Bill. Obama is a centrist corporate democrat with a fairly limited reform agenda.

And this past week Obama has played his Iran Card. To what degree will his effort to rally the Imperialist nations and China around an economic war on Iran unify the internal US Ruling Class by this fresh display of Euro-American imperial unity and determination? Will Obama justify the hopes of either those who elected him or the pragmatic section of the American Bourgeoisie?

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