Who won the election?

Who won the election? Among radicals and especially Marxists, the punch line of the joke has always been, “the bourgeoisie”. And that’s true. But we also won this one. We defeated McCain/Palin and the ultra-right and we are on the way to moving forward with the people’s struggles under new conditions. We also elected the first African American president in the history of this white-supremacist country. This is something to celebrate.

(Will I. Am’s song, “Yes We Can”)

The ultra-right has amazingly made socialism an issue this time around. Now we all know that Obama will be the Commander and Chief of the Empire. He’s an imperialist, not a socialist. We know that the struggle for socialism will be a struggle against the Democratic Party as much the Republicans. But tonight I want to celebrate the victory. Let the fight begin anew tomorrow, under new, and I would say more favorable, conditions.

Here is what Fidel Castro said about the importance of the election:

If my estimates should be erroneous, all kinds of racism prevail and the Republican candidate obtains the presidency, the danger of war would grow and the opportunities of the peoples to advance would be reduced.  

So here’s a wrap up of my most significant posts here on the election:

Please also read this important statement from Freedom Road Socialist Organization:


McCain: Down in Flames!

Americans are celebrating the defeat of warmonger and angry rich guy John McCain. The voters wanted change – an end to war, lies and corruption. Many correctly saw McCain as the continuation of Bush’s failed policies, so they punished him in the voting booths. To be sure, McCain’s pathetic response to the economic crisis and defense of tax breaks for the rich sealed his defeat. Working and middle class voters are angry about the economy, opposed to the $700 billion bailout and looking for a leader who will “spread the wealth.”

This is the end of an era, the end of Republican rule. For more than 25 years the racist, reactionary, anti-working class agenda of the Republicans dominated the political life of this country. Since Reagan, everything progressive and good was under attack – from women’s right to choose, to public education, to social security. The social movements were very much on the defensive and fighting off attacks. We will need to continue to invest ourselves in movements for social change, but the political atmosphere will be different.

The big shift for the Republicans came not at home, but over in Iraq. The Iraqi resistance fought with their lives to defeat the Bush/Cheney plans for domination and oil profits. This stopped Bush and the Republican agenda dead in its tracks on the home front too. There were no more big attempts to roll back the reforms like social security, which working people won decades ago. For people at home and abroad, the defeat of McCain represents the American people’s rejection of the ‘Bush doctrine’ and the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Across America, African American people and others are noisily celebrating the victory of Barack Obama, the first Black president. Did you see the victory celebration in Chicago? A great pride is bursting forth from African American communities and throughout the Black Belt South. African Americans are not alone in their joy either; all types of people are doing fist bumps and feeling good. Other oppressed nationalities that suffer racism and discrimination – Chicanos and Mexicanos, Puerto Ricans, Native-Americans and Asian- Americans are sharing the moment. Obama’s election represents a blow against racism and white chauvinism.

Obama’s victory is stunning and it also brings tremendous benefit to the Democratic party. It builds on elections two years ago when the Republicans suffered defeat and lost congressional majorities to the Democrats. The Democrats swept this election too, making their majorities stronger. Democrats will truly rule – hardly needing to consult with the Republicans to pass legislation.

There is a problem however, and it is not that one party is too strong. The problem is that the Democrats are the other party of big business. The Democrats are favored at this time by the billionaires and millionaires who actually rule the U.S. The wealthy elite rules the U.S. through the two-party system. It is true there is competition, but elections are largely predicted by who has the most money from the rich people. The defeat of the Republicans certainly marks a big shift, but it does not fundamentally alter the system or challenge the rule of the rich. The Democrats are the party of the $700 billion bailout that will tax working people to save bankers. The Democrats are the party that could have cut war funding and brought the troops home already. A million Iraqis are dead and the Democrats continue to fund the occupation.

So we need to continue the motion that defeated McCain and delivered the White House for Barack Obama. We need to build an understanding that a vocal, independent and active anti-war movement will be needed to bring ALL the troops home now. We need to bring the immigrants’ rights movement into the streets again, defeating both fear and the dreaded deportations that are breaking apart families. We need to prepare to rally and march and protest so workers can win legislation to make forming unions a simple democratic process without intimidation from bosses. And we need to fight every attempt on the part of the rich to shift the burden of the economic crisis on to the backs of poor and working people.

Who gets elected is important, but it is the masses that make history. We cannot just return to our living rooms to watch the History Channel. We must build every movement that demands peace, justice, equality and liberation.

See also: http://fightbacknews.org/2008/11/obama-wins-mccain-defeated.htm


2 responses to “Who won the election?

  1. The point here is very simple: it’s amazing for me to see that in a society like that of USA (I don’t have a very good impression of that country) a President dark in color can make is way to the Presidency by touching issues that are taboos in Republican dictionary. It’s amazing. It gives a lot of hope – hope that one day the people can go ahead of Obama and Democrats to bring a real change.

    My congratulations

  2. Yes, Umer. I think that says a lot. I think that points as well to why, knowing full well who and what Barack Obama is, I have some conflicting emotions about all of this. It is as you say. It means that broad masses of the people want real change. People that historically don’t vote did vote in this election, in record numbers. And we need to understand the implications of that. We need to look at the conditions we have now and figure out what is possible. The U.S. is still a white-supremacist country, we are not entering a post-white-supremacist era, but white-supremacy was dealt a big blow. And I think it true that people consciously want and need much more than Obama can or will deliver.

    In an earlier post on the financial crisis there was a pretty good discussion of the mass line, that principle of leadership of “from the masses, to the masses”. I think we need to look at that very closely here. An important quotation from Chairman Mao to consider:

    To link oneself with the masses, one must act in accordance with the needs and wishes of the masses. All work done for the masses must start from their needs and not from the desire of any individual, however well-intentioned. It often happens that objectively the masses need a certain change, but subjectively they are not yet conscious of the need, not yet willing or determined to make the change. In such cases, we should wait patiently. We should not make the change until, through our work, most of the masses have become conscious of the need and are willing and determined to carry it out. Otherwise we shall isolate ourselves from the masses. Unless they are conscious and willing, any kind of work that requires their participation will turn out to be a mere formality and will fail…. There are two principles here: one is the actual needs of the masses rather than what we fancy they need, and the other is the wishes of the masses, who must make up their own minds instead of our making up their minds for them.

    (“The United Front in Cultural Work“)

    We need to look closely at the mass line. We also need to revisit “On Practice” and “On Contradiction” (see my notes) as we move forward.

    The masses of working and oppressed people in the U.S. spoke rather clearly about what they want and need. So what does this mean for us as communists who want to organize for revolution from where we are now?

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