Is Obama A Centrist As Claimed By Liberals? The illusion of “the center”, the social vs. economic right and the left alternative

If you’re an evangelical Christian – part of the so-called “Christian Right” – and are therefore against abortion, against equal rights for gays and women, against science and teaching of evolution in schools, are for mandatory school prayers, and are for an all-out conflagration in Middle East because you think of it as the sign of the coming Rapture that you’ve been waiting for, then you would understandably be against Democrats in general and Obama, in particular, and would likely find more affinity with the most reactionary elements of the Republican Party. Likewise, if you are a white person who feels concerned and worried that your race is losing its power, and blacks, Hispanics and Asians present an attack on the purity of your race, again, it’s understandable for you to be against the presidency of a black man. But, if you’re a billionaire or multimillionaire and are for unbridled capitalism without much effective regulations, oversight or taxation of corporations, are against workers’ rights, including immigrants’, are against unions, don’t care about climate change, or safety of the food you eat, are for austerity and against social programs for the poor, elderly, students and kids, and support US colonial policies and wars and military attacks against nations and individuals in several countries and assassinations without due process, and don’t mind curtailing of people’s civil liberties or violation of international laws or exploitation of the poor nations for enriching the wealthy of this country, then Obama is your man.

The fact is: the ruling corporate and wealthy class, including the largest multinational corporations, banks, arms manufacturers, insurance, oil and pharmaceutical companies and their CEO’s and large shareholders, in general, with some exceptions, are totally fine and indeed do fine with Obama in the White House.

The reactionary, ultra-religious, misogynist and racist sectors of the society, on the other hand, who want to send women back to the kitchen, Hispanics to Mexico (to them, they’re all Mexicans), and gays to therapy, are not in the driver seat of US corporate-military-industrial complex. Those crazies are used to scare people, especially women and minorities to vote with the millionaires and billionaires and CEO’s, keeping the corporate oligarchy in power.

Obama, therefore, is not “center-left”, “center” or even “center-right”, if you consider politics in the context of economics, which is what really matters and determines class orientation. The social issues, though important and must be paid attention to, is not where the real battle – class battle, to be exact – is. Those issues, such as the battle for women’s and gays’ rights, though real and important, is a side show and a distraction – not because they’re not important, but, because that’s not where the corporate power is putting its money, and it’s not where the corporations are going, necessarily. Wars and occupations, austerity for the population, less corporate regulations and taxation, less worker rights and more cuts for the poor, and more police and repressive laws and generally corporate dictatorship is where the wealthy put their money and where they really are headed, not a religious autocracy.

Obama and the Democratic Party are often juxtaposed against the social conservatives as a social and cultural movement, instead of the working class as an economic class, and their true class allegiance and disposition is thus ignored by those who call them centrist. This, effectively, distracts attention from and gives a free pass to corporatists and proponents of monopoly capital who keep getting stronger, politically and economically. The corporate class uses the social conservatives to create division among people over social issues – white vs. black, men vs. women, straight vs. gay – and scapegoat minorities to keep the focus off them.

Running away from the Christian Right and into the arms of Obama is analogous to the reaction of a herd of buffaloes running away from smaller wolves chasing them from behind and right into the bigger and stronger wolves waiting in front. For wolves, causing a stampede from behind is a part of a deliberate strategy with the purpose of delivering the buffaloes to those in front. For the social reactionaries and religious zealots, it’s an accidental, but no less effective, cooperation, that serves corporations and the wealthy, all the same.

Obama and his Party is not any kind of “center”, but precisely is and represents THE RIGHT – not the misogynist bigots of evangelical Christian Right, or the racists and ignorant “birthers” and barn burners of the Republican and Tea Parties, but corporate (economic) right. You may identify which right – social or economic – is more nefarious and dangerous and should be mostly resisted, and I would understand whichever you choose. I would understand if you picked the first, if you’re a woman, gay or a member of a minority, but, it’s not the egregiousness or outrageousness that determines where the main battle is. The main battle is with greedy corporations such as Monsanto, the giant banks, the oil, insurance, weapons, pharmaceutical and other big corporations and their servants who are in power and maintain their grip on power. What matters is which of those two groups – corporate bosses or religious right – stand a better chance of getting their way and imposing on us their dictatorship.

If you’re a woman concerned about your rights (which you should be), and fight back against those who try to take them away (which you should), or you’re an African American disgusted and outraged by racist or racially motivated attacks on Obama (I am), does it mean you should support a servant of the corporations and agent of their tyranny which he clearly and evidently is? I think not. Avoiding one bad doesn’t mean accepting another.

This leads us to ask what the real alternative to corporate politics is. Though the Occupy movement suffered from lack of a strong and capable leader such as Dr. King of the last such movement and was unable to withstand the attacks by the security forces and adapt to the changing circumstances, it had the right idea and was on the right track. For the first time in many decades, it represented an alternative viewpoint and put the spotlight on the 1% and their greed and crimes. Though it did not continue, it helped with political education of the masses and represented another way, though in its infancy and most primitive. The nationwide protests against Monsanto last Saturday, though not successful in shutting down the company operations – they never suffered from such elusion – did help raise, to a small degree, consciousness about what the company does and why we should care. Likewise, the protests against Walmart and the struggle for higher pay for fast food workers, the protests against Bank of America or Guantanamo or drone attacks or in support of Bradley Manning, are all important because they raise consciousness and they can be the seeds for a movement that incorporates and builds on the demands expressed in those protests. The civil rights movement of 1960’s began with protests and civil disobedience before developing into a large mass movement and finding its voice in Dr. King. It started with the Rosa Parks of the movement, many of them unknown and unsung heroes, before flourishing into a full movement and exerting its power and influence.

We need to distinguish what works for us from what works for them (the corporate elite, the 1%). What works for them is the Congress and Oval Office and corporate elections, paid for courtesy of the corporations which then demand payback, as soon as the votes are tallied. What works for us, on the other hand, is street protests and a grass roots movement born from those protests. We don’t own the Congress or the President or the media or the police. All those have already been bought, paid for and spoken for. What we can own and own decidedly, without a Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and without expensive lobbyists, is the streets which is where all major historic changes have come from and all big changes of the future will, too.

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