Saturday, 2 July 2011


Power is an aphrodisiac with tangible benefits for those who hold it. Now that Bush has published his memoirs of eight years of economic and foreign policy disasters, now that Republicans are in a good bargaining position, right-wing ideologues, their opportunistic financial backers can taste more power coming their way in 2012. The Tea Party has gained legitimacy, Obama feels the pressure and apparently he “got the message.”

The corporate world is using the Republican sweep of the House of Representatives to dilute if not eliminate Obama’s proposals for greater government regulation of banks, insurance companies, and corporations responsible for the global crisis of 2008-2010 and the skyrocketing public borrowing which will amount to $4.5 trillion in 2011, or about one-third of GDP.

A combination of very wealthy people, Tea Party activists, mainstream Republicans who see an opening for more gains, right-wing media using Joe McCarthy-witch-hunt tactics energized by the recent mid-term election will use all kind of dirty tactics to depict Obama and the Democrats as “radicals,” even Marxists by association. Why not, given that a percentage of the people are predisposed to believe right-wing propagandists and not think, not question, not use reason and common sense to reach their own conclusions.

Either I. Kant was right after all that people are intellectually lazy, or it is the case that human beings rarely absolve their minds of deep-seated ideological/religious convictions regardless of empirical evidence. There are many websites and media outlets devoted to the “Obama Marxist” theory. The conspiracy theorists have certain common traits that include using Obama’s full name to remind the public that this president has an Arab-sounding name instead of an Anglo-Saxon Christian name at a time that US is at “war with Muslim terrorists,” that he is a black man with a father from Africa with Muslim roots, that in college his mentors were Communists, and he associated with “academic Marxists” throughout his life.

The same ultra-right wing media, now more legitimate behind the Tea Party, depict Muslims, and specifically Arabs as terrorists; they present wealthy Obama supporters like George Soros as “Communists,” part of a global mafia to undermine the market economy for their personal gain (implying of course that there is a left-wing Jewish conspiracy as well, given that Soros is ideologically progressive); they argue that Putin and other devious world leaders like the Chinese are out to dilute America’s power; they point to his health care, immigration, and other social policies as proof that he is interested in “Marxist creative destruction.” There are more than one million web site hits dealing with the Obama a Marxist theory. What proof do these ultra-right wing media outlets offer for the countless accusations that Obama is a Marxist?

Obama had associations with Marxists during his college days and retained ties to such people. Is there any college-educated (even high-school graduate) person in the US or in the entire Western World that has not had contact with academic Marxists/Marxism, even if they were educated in private religious schools? And if such people exist, to what degree are they “educated” and are they proud to admit they are ignorant of Marxist influences in the various fields of academic studies?

Those who have studied Marxism and not simply heard about it from Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, or read a thing or two from rabid anti-Marxist ideologues who see no redeeming value to the ideology’s multifarious influences in the world of academia and in the real world, know that there are many varieties of this complex ideology that has influenced every field from sociology and economics to psychology and anthropology. In the past century-and-a-half all great thinkers and political leaders have been profoundly influenced by Marxism whether they admit it or are even aware of it.

From scientists like Albert Einstein to great economists like John Kenneth Galbraith, from leaders who left a rich legacy in their countries like Franklin D. Roosevelt to Gamal Abdul Nasser, both non-Marxists, were influenced by Marxism. Many people of course equate the Communist regimes, especially the USSR and Eastern Europe with Marxism, and to the degree that those regimes claimed Marxism as their ideological foundation, they deserve severe criticism for their failed regimes.

However, Marxism exists in society beyond the old Communist bloc and even central banks, yes, the Fed’s monetary policy is partly based on Marxist theory. In fact, every US president from FDR to the present was influenced by Marxism in conducting fiscal, economic, social, or labor policy. Obama is no different that past presidents in that regard. Considering the source of funding for Obama’s 2008 campaign, it is difficult to prove a Marxist conspiracy.  

“Goldman Sachs donated nearly a million bucks to Obama. Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase donated nearly $1.5 million to the Obama campaign while Morgan Stanley pitched in over a half million dollars. When you break it out by individual companies, you find that employees of Goldman Sachs gave more to Obama than workers of any other employer. Goldman Sachs is followed by employees of the University of California, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, National Amusements, Lehman Brothers, Harvard and Google… Obama has a three- or four-to-one fund-raising advantage over McCain.” New York Times (July 1, 2008).

In the 2012 presidential race, wealthy people and businesses will make enormous contributions to the Obama campaign, and will buy influence–not express their First Amendment right as the US Supreme Court has ruled by equating campaign contributions with free speech. And once Obama wins the election as he probably will once the economy picks up in 2012, unemployment declines, and he moves more to the right to win the conservative Democrat voters, lobbyists from powerful corporations will continue to exercise influence in shaping policy because that is how “democracy” in America–currently governed by a “Marxist” president–works!

Meanwhile, the McCarthy-style attacks continue from those making a living at it, many like Rush Limbaugh prospering with right-wing populist rhetoric that promotes an agenda, all in the name of “free speech” because it comes from the right–”anti-democratic speech” if progressive academics or journalists provide analysis and commentary about how finance capitalism is equated with democracy; “hate speech” if one argues that the state regardless of regime is potentially the most destructive instrument of terrorism.

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