"The problem is . . . the
economic, social and political model of the world. That capitalist model is in
crisis." -- President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela
�End the capitalist system� -- President Evo Morales of Bolivia
In November of 2008, an endless and disgracefully expensive
campaign will end with the selection of a new president of the United States.
We can safely assume that person will continue representing and working to
sustain the menace the above quoted presidents criticize and urge ending:
Given the continued disintegration of our imperial rule, any
call for political change can sound encouraging. But rather than being
entranced by a word which is abused every election cycle, we need to understand
that our problems are not due to particular leaders, but a system they serve
which is far more important than their individual personality, character or
The two South American presidents are addressing the larger
issue, as are other leaders, movements and NGOs all over the world. The choices
for president offered us by our ruling elite might as well be from another
In the age of Bush, it�s been easy to buy into a demonizing
process usually performed on foreign leaders. This makes it seem that
everything wrong with America and the world is the fault of the present regime.
While it is probably the worst and possibly the dumbest in modern history, the
Bush cabal is only speeding up the disintegration of empire. It had nothing to
do with creating it, or starting its fall. That process began a long time ago
and won�t be changed by the next administration, whichever affirmative action
Whether the next president is the first black man, white
woman or mentally disabled veteran to hold that office, he or she will affirm
the system. Just as millions of far less rich and powerful beneficiaries of
affirmative action, they have been financed to do just that. This will assure
that disintegration continues, while only the extent of damage and speed with
which it happens may change. Slightly.
The Obama candidacy has raised hope -- another abused word
in politics -- in the hearts of millions of Americans. Many are new to the
electoral process, but others more experienced have become almost desperate for
something, anything, anyone, who offers the slightest glimmer of hope in a time
of bleak circumstances. But we should not mistake the fact that this candidate
offers nothing more than the very slightest glimmer, and that real hope will
have to come from those inspired enough to transform a political fan club for
cosmetic change in the present into a political movement for real economic
change in the future. What affect this election may have on the creation of
such a future movement is an important question which can only be answered long
after November 2008. But we�d better start asking it now.
The most vital economic problems of the present could
provoke a revival of some welfare state policies of the past. These may bring
some breathing space, but they failed in the past because they merely worked to
reform capitalism in the short-term, not totally transform it for the
long-term. And it is the long-term that we must face, and why president Morales
calls for ending capitalism. The system that fills gas tanks at the cost of
empty stomachs and finances war at the expense of health care and education
will not face any problems from its chosen affirmative action candidates.
And when it comes to the most important foreign policy issue
of Palestine, Israel and the Middle East, this triad of capital�s servants is
totally beholden to the Israel lobby and continuation of a failed and bloody
policy that invites more misery for indigenous people, and more possibilities
of desperate retaliation.
While Obama has not yet addressed the lobby�s concerns in
quite the hysterical tones of the others, he has expressed his obedience to its
party line. Clinton, the family oriented feminist, threatened to �totally
obliterate� Iran, its families and its feminists, while McCain looked at the
horror inflicted on Gaza and assured Jewish state supporters that � I will be
Hamas�s worst nightmare.� Obama has bent his knee in slightly more subtle fashion,
but in his moderately important speech on race, he totally denigrated his
former pastor and accused him of entertaining �a view that sees the conflicts
in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like
Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of
A serious critic would have to be under the influence of
powerful drugs to find that statement anything but hateful and reactionary.
Oh well, given the dreadful economic circumstances, won�t a
revival of primitive social democratic policies of the past bring some relief
to a population facing chaos under the rule of free market fundamentalism?
Some, but not much. And it won�t last.
Without a radical transformation of capitalism, the gap between
the rich and the rest of us will grow wider, with more Americans likely to be
reduced to the material status of the worst Third World poverty. And the global
poor will grow in number, and in suffering, while the danger of terrorist
response to exploitation and pain will increase beyond its present, often
fictionalized threat. In fact, without that transformation, as the presidents
of Bolivia and Venezuela have repeatedly stated, there won't be much hope for
the future of humanity, let alone that of the USA. So while we vote in the
short-term present, if we don't seriously consider real change for the
long-term future, there may not be one. And the long-term has already begun.
Copyright � 2008
Frank Scott. All rights reserved.
Scott writes political commentary which appears in the Coastal Post, a monthly
publication from Marin County, California, and on numerous web sites, and
on his shared blog at legalienate.blogspot.com.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.