Obama's win - a revenge of sorts for the poor, but no real change

10 November 2008

So Barack Obama decisively won the US presidential election. Commentators have called this election historic. Certainly many people thought they would never see the day that a black person - in this case a man with an African father - would be elected president of the USA! So it is seen as reason for celebration and cause for hope. Besides, who will be sorry to see the back of Bush?

Moreover, many black workers in the US - and here too - see Obama's election as the achievement of revenge against a system that not so long ago denied any rights to the black poor in America's inner cities and which met their protests with bullets. And yes, in that sense Obama's victory is a kind of revenge against the bigots who exist across our societies.

But that is unfortunately as far as it goes. Because the reason why he was selected in the first place was to sow illusions that this system will deliver (albeit some time in the future!) - and to pull in the votes of black people, many of whom had justifiably given up hoping for change or participating in elections. Of course, Obama's selection was also a way for the Democrats to capitalise on anti-Iraq war feelings and the hatred generated by the Bush administration. But the fact remains that Obama does not in any way represent the interests of the working class and poor - not any more that Bush did.

He went out of his way to say that he would intensify the war in Afghanistan and if necessary extend it to Pakistan. Which shows that he is just as keen as Bush to crush the poor countries under the imperialist boot.

Obama's slogan about changing the world rings a bit hollow when one of the first things he does is to choose Warren Buffet, one of the richest capitalists in the world, to help sort out the economic crisis. In whose interests will that be? It is not too difficult to guess.