The ITT List
Wednesday Nov 5, 2008 12:34 pm
Howard Zinn on what Obama needs now
From the Socialist Worker:
I CONFESS I am excited by the thought of Obama becoming president, even though I am painfully aware of his limitations--his smooth, articulate intelligence covering up a quite traditional approach to domestic and foreign policy, aided and abetted by a group of advisers recycled from the Clinton administration and other parts of the Establishment.
Does he really think Robert Rubin will come up with a bold approach to the economy? Or that Madeleine Albright will carve a new path in foreign policy? (It was she who ran around the country in 1998 to defend Clinton's bombing of Iraq, warning of "weapons of mass destruction.")
If Richard Hofstadter were adding to his book The American Political Tradition, in which he found both "conservative" and "liberal" presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, maintaining for dear life the two critical characteristics of the American system, nationalism and capitalism, Obama would fit the pattern.
His obsequious joining with McCain in approving the $700 billion "bailout" for the financial giants is a sad sign. See my article (I say arrogantly) in a recent issue of the Nation about the bailout, as a futile "trickle-down" act, instead of using the money directly for the people Obama claims to represent.
So it will take a revivified social movement to do for Obama what the strikers and tenant organizers and unemployed councils and agitators of the early 1930s did for FDR, pushing him into new paths, so angering the superrich that FDR, in one of his best moments, said, "They hate me, and I welcome their hatred!"
Obama needs such fire. It is up to us, the citizenry--and non-citizens too!--to ignite it.