The International Socialist Organization (ISO) posted an editorial July 13 (“Claiming the Republican agenda as his own”), on the subject of Barack Obama’s proposal for massive budget cuts, which begins, “Turns out the president many expected to revive the New Deal is out to bury it instead.”
The comment failed to mention any of these “many” people with misplaced expectations by name. The editors at socialistworker.org are far too modest. Among those who energetically encouraged illusions in Obama were the ISO and its website, as well as many in the environs in which the ISO functions, including the left-liberal orbit of the Nation magazine and the trade unions. They bear a share of political responsibility for the present disastrous situation.
The Obama administration is proposing trillions in cuts to programs wide layers of the American population depend on. Life will become harsh and even unbearable for many. There is confusion and illusions in the working class, but the objective logic of events is unmistakable: an extraordinary intensification of the class struggle is on the agenda whatever the details of the deal eventually worked out with the Republicans in Congress.
The ISO’s July 13 editorial makes various points about the president’s proposals. It argues: “Obama’s actions can’t be explained as bad or incompetent tactics. He and his administration hope to win the favor of the bankers, CEOs and moneyed interests who fund politicians of both parties—in short, to keep capital happy.”
The editors write: “Obama’s right turn isn’t simply political opportunism or a bid for independent voters in 2012. His proposed cuts are part of a drive by the U.S. capitalist class to overcome the crisis by pushing the cost onto working people and making the U.S. economy more competitive by cutting wages and lowering social spending.”
What does socialistworker.org propose? Not very much. The editorial concludes: “With austerity and suffering for the working class now the official bipartisan consensus in U.S. politics, many people will be looking for alternative politics and organizations that are prepared to fight the cuts, whether they are pushed by Republicans or Democrats.”
Not what one would call a confident or fighting conclusion. In fact, one has the sense that the ISO doesn’t know what to propose. The organization finds it difficult to put a good face on the policies of the Obama administration, but it speaks for and draws support from an affluent milieu of academics, journalists, researchers, union officials and professional “activists” in various protest movements whose orientation to the Democratic Party is unwavering. So the editorial urges vague “alternative politics and organizations,” which will either never emerge or which will be another form of bourgeois “left” politics—an extension of the Democratic Party in one or another guise (Ralph Nader, the Greens, etc.).
And, if you've forgotten, that's the criticism both my grandfather and C.I. were making of (US) Socialist Worker. It became such a wasteland. Afraid to stand up. Afraid to stand up to Barack. Nonsense and garbage and no ethics.
And yet they love to e-mail us and whine about how unfair we are to them. I think we're plenty fair to them, they're fake.
An if that's not too much truth for you, Patrick Martin explains to you what's really going on with the scare tactics about the debt ceiling:
Official Washington and American media attention will be focused for the next two weeks on the August 2 deadline for raising the federal debt ceiling. Without congressional action to increase the debt limit by that date, according to the Treasury Department, the US government will be unable to borrow money to cover payments, including Social Security checks being sent out to 50 million recipients on August 3, and interest payments on US government bonds due later in the month.
In order to understand the significance of the debt ceiling crisis, and the measures being proposed to resolve it, it is necessary to cut through the lies and distortions of the Democratic and Republican politicians in Washington, reinforced by the commentaries in the corporate-controlled media, both liberal and conservative.
Why is the demand for “deficit reduction” now being voiced so unanimously in every quarter of official American politics? What are the fundamental class issues that underlie this campaign?
The American ruling elite is engaged in the greatest robbery of working people in US history. In the bank bailout of 2008-2009, the financial aristocracy effectively transferred to the federal government its bad debts and losses from a decade of reckless speculation. Now the working class is being compelled to pay the price for Wall Street’s looting of the Treasury through the destruction of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs in education, the environment, transportation and housing.
We shouldn't fall into their traps. There is no crisis. This is all a bunch of crap to destroy the safety net. It's amazing how people are rushing to act like this is a real problem. It was created by the White House for exactly this reason.