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By unknown | Nov 20, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

here is no denying that Barack Obama won a great victory against the Republicans, the party that has been in power in the US for the past eight years.

here is no denying that Barack Obama won a great victory against the Republicans, the party that has been in power in the US for the past eight years.

The Republicans will leave behind a legacy of unprovoked wars that destroyed Iraq and are continuing to rage in Afghanistan.

But we should not forget that the Democratic Party has been in exactly the same situation at various times when power was in their hands.

They will be remembered for denying Palestinians their right to self-determination and for promoting, sustaining and funding Israel in its genocidal wars against Palestinians.

The role they have played in the dislocation of African countries - from Zimbabwe through to Somalia - are well documented.

This is just part of the legacy that will be inherited by Obama and his Democratic Party, which is not in any way better. The two parties have generally been referred to as two sides of the same coin.

Obama's victory represents the desire of Americans to break with the system that has brought them the economic chaos and suffering they find themselves in.

They want a break from a system that has sent their children to go and die in far-off countries. It is the very system that has galvanised millions of black people to seek a real break.

When Obama declares "We Can" he means everybody can be an "American", but when the people respond they mean "it is possible to break with the Americanism" that was so aptly described by Malcolm X, the "Americanism" that has brought them so much suffering to date.

The working class, women, young and black people, all believe they deserve a break, the kind of break that the twin parties of capital have so far failed to provide.

The fact that Obama was virtually unknown before this election and the people could not identify him fully with the politics of the two parties was of utmost importance.

In an odd way people did not see Obama as carrying the crippling baggage of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

The more than 54 million people who voted for Obama dreamt of possibilities of changing the United States, and the world. To them, electing Obama was a fresh start, a thing that can only be an unfulfillable wish for the rest of us who believe that any system can only operate within its own defined limits and perimeters.

No matter how gifted and morally willing Obama might be, his very important supporters - big business that made his campaign even much better funded than that of his rival John McCain - will invariably demand and extract their pound of flesh.

The amount of money they poured into Obama's election campaign is commensurate with their expectations from him.

Had he been an independent candidate, the possibilities would have been immeasurable. It would have been possible to truly respond to the real aspirations and expectations of those who voted him into office.

But as things stand he has to adhere to his party's programme. Even before his victory, the Democratic Party leadership had seen exactly where and how they were going to use Obama. They saw in him "the end of all the struggles of the minorities".

If he won the election there would no longer be any need to deal with the struggles of blacks, Hispanics, Mexicans and even gays and lesbians.

Through the Obama victory they hope to bury all the compelling issues raised by Malcolm X and others about the conditions of black in the US, in Africa and everywhere in the world.

There is no denying that a turning point has been reached in US and world politics.

We hope Obama will not respond in much the same way as Germany responded at the end of World War 2, that prompted a German historian to comment: "In 1945 the history of Germany reached a turning point but Germany refused to turn."

This is so true about the situation in the US today. Wall Street and all its institutions would have people believe that it is the responsibility of Main Street to save it.

But what is more urgent for Americans is not to save the very instruments and implement of exploitation and oppression but to save jobs, to put adequate resources in social security, in education and healthcare, to build a country that is at peace with the world and its varied communities.

There are millions of people, particularly workers and the poor, who were disappointed that Obama, his Democratic Party and the Republicans, joined hands to vote for a financial bailout that allowed the US government to pull out one of the greatest swindles in American history when they agreed to give away more that $1,3 trillion to the very Wall Street bankers who had profited from the home-mortgage speculation orgy.

Obama will most probably face the most difficult challenges faced by any US president in history. The disillusionment of many might follow.

We will have no choice but to stand with those millions. Indeed the people have spoken, they have spoken so eloquently and so loudly. They are speaking at a time when a system underpinned by private ownership of the means of production is crumbling.

Can Obama lead the way out of the present darkness? We have our doubts but only time will tell.

lThe writer is president of the Socialist Party of Azania.


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