Elections & Voting
Affirmative action for capitalism
By Frank Scott
Online Journal Contributing Writer

May 2, 2008, 00:14

"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: capitalism.

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 intelligence flaws.

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 planet.

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 candidate wins.

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 radical Islam.�

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.

Frank 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 frankscott@comcast.net.

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