Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Obama Money Machine--Where's it coming from, where is it going?

African Americans were asking this question even before he was the chosen one. Video of Cornel West at Tavis Smiley Presents.

Comments at "The Empire and Inequality Report" via Black Agenda Reports, where it was noted that when he doodled waiting to give his speech, he drew a picture of himself.
    Obama's power-worshipping campaign book The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006) - the book to which Obama refers reporters asking him for policy specifics behind his often vague statements - refers to the United States' rapacious, savagely unequal and fundamentally "materialist" capitalist economy as the nation's "greatest asset."

    Audacity absurdly praises the "American system of social organization" and "business culture" on the grounds that U.S. capitalism "has encouraged constant innovation, individual initiative and efficient allocation of resources" (8). It commends "the need to raise money from economic elites to finance elections" for "prevent[ing] Democrats...from straying too far from the center" and for marginalizing "those within the Democratic Party who tend toward zealotry" and "radical ideas" (like peace and justice). It praises fellow centrist Senator and presidential rival Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for embracing "the virtues of capitalism" (9) and applauds her "recognizably progressive" husband Bill Clinton for showing that "markets and fiscal discipline" and "personal responsibility [are] needed to combat poverty" (10) - an interesting reflection on the militantly corporate-neoliberal Clinton administration's efforts to increase poverty by eliminating poor families' entitlement to public cash assistance and privileging deficit reduction over social spending.

    Obama's badly mis-titled book audaciously lectures poor people on their "duty" to feel "empathy" for wealthy oppressors (12) - including Bush and Cheney, who are "pretty much like everyone else"(13) - and on their need to understood how well off and "free" they are compared to their more truly miserable counterparts in Africa and Latin America (14). It deletes less favorable contrasts with Western Europe and Japan, the most relevant comparisons, where dominant norms and institutional arrangements produce significantly slighter levels of poverty and inequality than what is found in the hierarchical U.S (15).
Paul Street's article appears in Black Agenda Report --I couldn't get the link to the notes to work, put I've left in the numbers. You know how librarians swoon over bibliographies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Paul Street is a rich white guy who gets richer telling black folk how bad they got it. No wonder he doesn't want Obama telling them how to live.