So who else is mad as hell about the symbolic transfer of power between rival factions of the bourgeoisie? Remember all the demonstrations that spontaneously broke out eight years ago, when Barack Obama was first inaugurated? And then the acute sense of outrage we sustained throughout his two terms in office, holding regular protests as the government he oversaw deported a record number of undocumented immigrants?
None of that ever happened. In fact, the first issue of International Socialist Review released during Obama’s presidency featured one of his 2008 campaign slogans: “Yes we can!” Despite the fact his foreign policy platform was virtually identical to that of his predecessor (save some stuff about shifting focus away from the Middle East, toward East Asia), and although domestically he merely followed through on Bush’s bailout of the banks, most self-described Marxists sat back and cheered to themselves as Obama was sworn in. The lead editorial announced that
the election of Barack Hussein Obama as forty-fourth president of the United States is a watershed event. In a country where Africans were brought in chains, were slaves until 1865, where legal (or de facto) segregation was the rule, and where the majority of African Americans were not given the right to vote until 1965, Obama’s election is historic… Engagement is the order of the day.
By contrast, this same publication frowns upon any sort of engagement with the incoming Trump administration. “Resistance” is the order of the day: “Let the resistance begin. The churning fear and revulsion swirling inside us as we watch Donald J. Trump take the oath to become the 45th president of the United States will be at least somewhat balanced by the satisfaction of watching inspiring and unprecedented levels of protest rising up to greet an incoming president…” Conjuring up the ghost of fascism, anyone who entertains the idea of engaging with the new president is branded a collaborator.
What’s so different, though? You’d think that a Marxoid sect that traces its lineage to Lenin would remember his famous paraphrase of The Civil War in France (1871) in State and Revolution (1917): “Marx grasped this essence of capitalist democracy splendidly when, in analyzing the experience of the [Paris] Commune, he said that the oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament!” Obviously it would be folly to argue that both major American parties are identical. Yet neither represents the interests of the working class, so why engage with either? Continue reading