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Newsflash: Obama is not a socialist

I'm tired of getting "sober" assessments of Obama from Marxist commentators who rake the embers trying to catalogue every way in which Obama is tied to and dependent on the ruling class, how he has compromised to get where he is, and so on.

Here are a couple newsflashes. You don't get to be a presidential candidate without playing the game, making compromises, and so on. No doubt there are some naive people out there who believe in a messianic vision of Barack Obama, but they are not receiving Marxist commentaries in their email inbox so you are preaching to the choir.

Second newsflash. Obama's not a socialist -- we know already. Please stop cluttering my inbox with statements of the obvious dressed up as penetrating analysis. It just isn't that profound. Obama is the candidate of the ruling class and he has the job of rescuing American imperialism and American capitalism.

AND ALSO he has inspired a whole generation of new voters and activists; the election of an African-American is of tremendous historical importance, if only on the symbolic level; the Obama campaign HAS tapped into hope and a sense of malaise and a rejection of the Republican politics of the last 8 years. Obama is a northern, urban, Ivy League liberal. In the context of Republican-engineered culture wars, his victory is significant.

The many social movement leaders who worked wholeheartedly for Obama while always having a critical assessment of his potential and a realization that he won't do anything without pressure from social movements--they might be wrong but they shouldn't be misrepresented or dismissed so readily by self-appointed arbiters of sobriety sniping from beyond the fray.

Yesterday and today are days to savour and celebrate, to share in tears of joy and to feel relief at our avoidance of what might have been.

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