Friday, October 31, 2008


A really remarkable piece of work by Stanley Kurtz on Obama and the New Party:
Obama’s New Party-endorsed first run for office began in late 1995. So it’s of interest that New Party co-founder Joel Rogers published an essay describing the Left’s need for the New Party in the March/April 1995 issue of The New Left Review. (The New Left Review, can fairly be described as a prestigious outlet for writing that is largely Marxist/Socialist in content.) Since the revelation of Obama’s New Party ties, Rogers has striven to paint his outlook as mainstream and moderate. Yet this 1995 article, contemporaneous with Obama’s run for office as a New Party-endorsed candidate, gives the lie to that claim....

In Rogers’s view, then, American capitalism needs to be tamed and transformed in fundamental, structural, ways, a task which mere liberals are unable and unwilling to undertake. Rogers does also slam America’s use of force in pursuit of its foreign policy goals, and decry our legacy of “four hundred years’ racism.” Yet his focus is clearly on the need to transform the very structure of the American economy.

This is why Rogers addresses himself, not to Clintonian liberals, but to “progressives.” For Rogers, the key difference between the two is that liberals are unwilling to generate a popular movement from below that would remove command of the economy from the hands of corporate capitalists. Liberals are content to manipulate the public from above, when what’s actually needed, says Rogers, is “mobilizing outside the state.” Only such grassroots mobilizing can hope to challenge corporate power.

Incremental Socialism?
Does this make Rogers’s a socialist? Arguably, yes. But the answer to that question is not a simple one. Rogers hopes to avoid the socialist label. Like many on the far left, he couches his ultimate goals in euphemism and convoluted language. So instead of calling for socialism, Rogers demands “economic democracy.” That sort of euphemism produces locutions that would strike most Americans as odd: “The biggest ‘rule’ and barrier to democracy, of course, is capitalism–private ownership of the means of production...and what follows does not seek to change that rule directly.” In this passage, the word “democracy,” serves as a virtual synonym for socialism, to the point where capitalism itself is described as the greatest “barrier to democracy.” What Rogers seems to want to say here is that the entire capitalist system is blocking his ultimate socialist goal. But of course he can’t afford to say that out loud. So instead he simply calls capitalism “undemocratic.”

I think it's interesting that the left has such a variety of "code words" to use when they really mean socialism. They have learned that you can't say the word socialism in America without getting funny looks, thus they have managed to put 'lipstick on a pig'--if I may coin a phrase.

That's why Obama and his progressive friends can nervously laugh when they are accused of being socialist; they really are socialists, but they believed they had made up that pig to be unrecognizable as a swine.

Sadly for them, it still 'oinks'. Please read all of Kurtz' article.

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