Friday, August 5, 2011

Leaves from a debt ceiling notebook

Whatever one might think of their strategic program and tactics [and as a former SWPer I do have some opinions on that], the Socialist Equality Party has produced some first-rate journalism about the debt ceiling crisis and the bipartisan austerity consensus.  They correctly and conclusively - I think - show that Obama did not "cave" to the Republicans; far from it: he "got there first with the most." 
To clarify my thinking I compiled in a notebook some pertinent excerpts of a few of the articles below.
3 August 2011

....unfolding social counterrevolution

.... ruling class responsible for the crisis is engineering a reversal of every social reform won in the 20th century.

....agreement ....cut trillions of dollars in social spending....

....a new period of social upheaval and class struggle in the United States.

....entire political and social system in the United States is being discredited before the eyes of the American people.
....Well before these cuts are fully implemented, the working class will begin to fight back.

This is only the beginning.

A basic deceit .... Obama was somehow forced or duped into doing something he did not want to do.
....Obama administration ....opportunity to pursue an ever more right-wing policy. Obama went even further than the

Republicans when he proposed that Social Security be included ...
....administration's lurch to the right following the 2010 mid-term elections.... discover that his entire campaign was a fraud, and that he was put into power by the same financial oligarchy that had backed Bush for the purpose of pursuing even more right-wing, anti-working class policies.

....powerful sections of the financial and corporate elite exercise a stranglehold over the entire political system.

....part of an international process. Obama's budget cuts will encourage the ruling class in every country to expand its own assault. The essential ally of the American working class is the international working class.
.... requires the active participation of all those who agree on

the need for socialism.


2 August 2011

Bush and Obama bankrupted the federal government in order to bail out Wall Street, and now the ruling class and its political servants in both parties are carrying out a social counterrevolution to make the working class pay the cost.

....spectacle of cynicism, manipulation and lies....putrefaction of American democracy and the hostility of both major parties and the entire political system to the interests of the working class....

....division of labor between Obama and the Republicans to impose austerity measures on which both sides were agreed.

....avoid a default while using the threat of one to slash social spending and open up a full-scale assault on social programs dating back to the 1930s.

....a frontal attack on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security

.... class-war measure is being implemented under conditions of a virtual collapse in economic growth.
....economic recovery has stalled.....75 percent of Americans oppose cuts in Medicare and large majorities support increases in taxes for the rich. stamps, home heating assistance, public health, housing aid—not to mention the basic health care and pension programs for the elderly and the poor—are to be slashed ....
....division of labor between Obama and the Republicans to impose austerity measures on which both sides were agreed.
....Obama played the critical role by tying an increase in the debt cuts in social programs. He outflanked the Republicans from the right by proposing reductions in Social Security as part of the fiscal plan.
....Obama and the Democrats to drop their fig leaf of a "balanced approach"—the closure of a few corporate tax loopholes....
....anti-working class, right-wing policy of the Obama administration....

....Tea Party Republicans....product of media promotion and cash injections from right-wing billionaires....
.... Tea Party congressmen....became an obstacle to pushing through the deal desired by the financial elite....pushed aside.

....No such objection [there is "no money"]  was raised when Wall Street demanded trillions of dollars in taxpayer funds to cover its bad debts. aristocracy concentrates more of the national wealth in its hands than ever before.
.... exploited the breakdown of its system to permanently restructure class relations and impoverish the working class.
....utilize mass unemployment to blackmail workers into accepting wage cuts and sweatshop conditions.

....class as the basic category of social life.... panic that erupted in September 2008 was an expression of a fundamental crisis of American and world capitalism. At the center of this crisis was the historic decline in the global position of the United States.

....for the independent mobilization of the working class in opposition to all cuts and all attacks on living standards.
....nationalization of the major corporations and banks under the democratic control of the working class to provide jobs, decent wages, housing, education and a secure retirement for all. struggles will break out....directly pit the working class against the government.
....critical issue is the building of a revolutionary leadership to provide a socialist perspective and program to unite and guide these struggles toward the establishment of a workers' government.


By David Walsh
4 August 2011

....While criticizing Obama for "capitulating" to the Republican right, both the Nation and the ISO hold out hope, explicitly or implicitly, for the "progressive" wing of the Democratic Party.
What worries these pseudo-left elements.....policies of the Obama administration, along with congressional acquiescence, will weaken the hold of the Democratic Party on the working class.... to mass struggles against the status quo.
....myth that the Democrats' "Progressive Caucus" in Congress opposed the assault on social programs and acted in a principled manner.

....Obama took the occasion of the debt ceiling initiate savage spending cuts.
....entire Progressive Caucus voted July 30 for the plan put forward by Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat and Senate Majority Leader, which also called for trillions in spending cuts.
....Dennis Kucinich, Raúl Grijalva, Barbara Lee and the rest said "Yes" to this massive slashing of entitlement programs.
....Reid plan....was as retrograde and cruel as the final deal.
[What House Democrat leadership told its members, though not in these words]: ...."Listen, I understand that some of you, in order to salvage your political reputations, will have to vote against the debt ceiling deal and its budget cutting. That's fine. In fact, it is desirable. Your vote will provide the party as a whole some badly needed credibility. In any case, it is entirely safe. We know that there are plenty of votes for the deal and it will pass. So, go ahead, make your little protest, it will help all of us."
....ISO's version .... "Many liberals were aghast at Obama's deal with the Republicans. Some 95 House Democrats, half the total who voted, rejected the deal in an August 1 vote because it went too far" … and left it at that.
....Scores of Democrats....wanted to make sure, in fact, that the measure would pass before offering their empty protest.
Congressional Progressive in this crisis as a fraud....
....hey voted en masse for the Reid plan, which included enormous cuts to social programs.
....Democrats held the key....and the plan that passed was a declaration of war against the working population. What conclusion should be drawn from that?

.... political charlatans at the of those forces creating expectations in Obama less than three years ago, insisting that "the scale of the problems and questions the U.S. faces … is driving Obama toward a different [i.e., progressive] agenda."
....ISO is essentially mourning for lost illusions in the Democratic Party, the center of its political universe.
....Greens, the Ralph Nader campaign or something similar....operates within the overall dominance of the Democratic Party.
[ISO says]...."The formation of a new political party isn't on the agenda."
....John Nichols of the Nation....find a silver lining in every political disaster.
....Nation and ISO....discomfited at present because the debt ceiling crisis and the brutal spending cuts campaigned for by Obama leave them discredited along with that party.

....present situation will also clear up a great many misconceptions about the political system in the US. It inevitably sets the stage for enormous social struggles in the US.




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