Will Obama bring much-needed change?

As Solidarity goes to print, Democratic candidate Barack Obama is set to win the most passionate US presidential election campaign in generations.

Reshaping the political landscape, Obama will win southern states held safely by the Republicans for decades and should govern with a sizeable majority in Congress.

He will be the first African American president in the history of a country built on slavery. At Republican rallies, Obama was derided as a terrorist, who could not be trusted to lead because of his skin colour.

The failure of these smears illustrates a strong consolidation of anti-racist sentiment among ordinary Americans since the victories of the civil rights movement in the late 1960s.

Similarly, the enthusiasm with which millions of people have joined Obama rallies and his campaign for change indicates a deep yearning for social transformation in contemporary America. Along with the unpopular warfare of George W. Bush, American workers experienced a drop in living standards not seen since the 1930s.

Obama will enjoy a significant honeymoon. Reprieves from the harsh Bush years could come through token economic initiatives such as a small extension of unemployment benefits, liberal reforms such as an end to the ban on stem-cell research, or measures to address climate change (despite the ineffectiveness of promised clean coal and nuclear technology).

But Obama takes the helm of a US empire wracked by economic and military crises and is shaping to extend Bushs agenda rather than wind it back.

He calls for ongoing increases in the military budget, an indefinite occupation of Iraq by 50,000 US troops and the deployment of tens of thousands more to Afghanistan. He supports an extension of the war into Pakistan, wants all options on the table for dealing with Iran and discusses the need to reassert US military influence in Latin America.

Obama campaigned for the US$700 billion Wall St bailout, open robbery of US taxpayers by the countrys rich. He has promised no substantial initiatives to meet the needs of the one quarter of US workers living on poverty wages, the 10 per cent who will soon face unemployment or the two million set to lose their homes by the end of this year.

Obamas victory is symbolic of the deep discontent gripping America. But the real hope for change lies with the struggles of ordinary people against the imperial government he now leads. Struggles such as the 27,000 Boeing workers from Washington State, still on picket lines after a two month long strike, who are demanding affordable healthcare and wages above the poverty line point the way forward.

By Paddy Gibson


Solidarity meetings

Latest articles

Read more

Derek Chauvin is guilty, and so is the whole rotten system

Relieved celebrations broke out as police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last year.

US election—Biden’s narrow win ensures ongoing crisis

Joe Biden may have defeated Trump, but his weak position and centrist politics mean he will be unable to deal with the crises that dominate the US, writes James Supple

Why did 73 million vote for Trump?

Despite losing the election, Trump was able to increase his support base significantly on 2016.