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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Obama and the Socialists: On the Issues

Many may not know it but the Socialists in America have fielded their own candidate, Gloria La Riva, and a quick glance at their website finds some remarkable information. The platform of the Socialists and of Barack Obama has remarkable similarities. I won't make any ridiculous claims that there is no difference, on foreign policy for instance they see the world much differently, but on many domestic issues there is a dangerous symmetry.

1) Health Care.

No issue is more similar between the Socialists and Barack Obama. Here is how the Socialists view the problem of health care and its solutions.

None of the major presidential candidates pledge to implement what the people of the Unites States really need: free, universal access to quality health care. All the major candidates are stooges for corporations, including insurance companies, health care providers and pharmaceutical giants that profit from illness.

To deny the right to heath care is to deny the right to live. Even other imperialist governments, like Canada, Britain and France, provide universal health care. So, why can’t the U.S. government do the same? It can. A militant, working-class movement must demand it.

The La Riva/Puryear PSL presidential campaign believes that quality health care must be free and available to all people. Capitalist insurance companies and providers must be dismantled and replaced with publicly-owned entities that provide health care for all.

Now, as many will remember, Barack Obama was clear in the last debate that health care is a RIGHT. When analyzing his assertion that health care is a right, I pointed out that this is the way that Communists view the world, and of course, Socialists as well. The Socialist party also makes an interesting point about Obama's own plan. If health care is in fact a right, then why isn't provided universally free to everyone? Obama's plan is that it combines our current free market system with government run health care. (I pointed out the fallacy of such a plan by comparing it to the structure of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac) Of course, here I have to say that Obama is disingenuous. If health care is a right, then why should anyone pay for it. If he believes it is a right, then his honest plan should mirror that of the socialists.

2) The economy.

Here is how the Socialists view our economy.

In the United States, the productive capacity exists to meet people’s basic needs—here and all over the world. But under capitalism we experience repeated economic crises because goods are produced only to make profits for rich owners, not to meet the needs of people. Owners end up producing goods at a rate that exceeds the ability of the market to continue expanding.

The logic of this economic system requires the capitalists to stop producing goods or even destroy products that cannot be sold at a profit. Since human beings need these products it would make sense to sell abundant products at a lower price or just give them away. Instead, hundreds of thousands of workers are laid off from their jobs because they have produced more goods than can be sold at a profit. Under capitalism, profits come over peoples needs. Socialism reverses that equation.

More than 50 million people are already poor from low-wage jobs and now the
capitalist system is plunging the country into a severe recession and depressions. A depression is an exceptionally severe crisis of capitalism. The army of the unemployed grows by the millions. People lose their homes or are evicted from their apartments. Workers and even middle class people are confronted suddenly with the choice of buying either food or medicine when they and their families fall ill. Last year, more people were forced into bankruptcy than ever before; 50 percent were filed by people who could not pay their medical bills.

What can be done? There are only two choices. Either we can continue suffering under the present capitalist system with a tiny group owning everything and seeking to make greater profits. Or we can fight for socialism—a system where people are the priority, not profits. Under socialism, the economy is structured in a rational and ecologically sustainable manner to ensure that the basic needs of all people are met. Only under socialism will the economy brought into the realm of true democracy.

It should come as no surprise that the Socialists attack Capitalism and offer Socialism. The main problem that the Socialists see in our economy is that wealth is consolidated in the few wealthy. The only solution is the fair redistribution of wealth by the system of Socialism. So, what about Obama? Here is how Obama theorized about the problems of our economy and the solutions.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the Illinois Democrat said that he was trying to put together tax and spending policies that dealt with two challenges. One is the competition from rapidly growing developing countries, like India and China. The other: the U.S. becoming what he called a "winner-take-all" economy, where the gains from economic growth skew heavily toward the wealthy.


Sen. Barack Obama shed new light on his economic plans for the country, saying he would rely on a heavy dose of government spending to spur growth, use the tax code to narrow the widening gap between winners and losers in the U.S. economy, and possibly back a reduction in corporate tax rates.

So, much like the Socialists, Obama sees the main problem in the economy is that wealth is centered in the few. Rather than proposing full Socialism, Barack Obama merely proposes a plan that has its roots in Socialism, income redistribution. Rather than outwardly proposing Socialism, Obama proposes a hybrid. Under his plan, what will happen is that wealthy will be punished, severely. Anyone making over $250,000 will see their taxes go up as much as 10%. Not only will their income tax increase about 6% but they will also pay an extra newly created payroll tax. Meanwhile, everyone under $200,000 will receive a tax cut, even those that don't actually pay any income taxes. That may not be Socialsim but it certainly is close.

3) Reproductive rights.

Here is how the Socialists see it.

Women’s rights are under attack at the federal and state levels. The continuing subordinate position of women in society, at home and on the job, originated in the rise of class society. It has been compounded today by vicious attacks against women’s right to control their own bodies, by the virtual elimination affordable high-quality child care, and by drastic cuts in welfare and health care benefits. Black, Latino and other women of color are confronted by institutionalized and individual racism as well. Violence against women is still at epidemic proportions in the United States. Women are still paid far less on average then men for the same work. More working-class women than ever before are being incarcerated in the prison-industrial complex.

The La Riva/Puryear presidential campaign demands full reproductive rights for women, including the right to free, safe and legal abortions on demand. Free or affordable child care must be a top priority. Women’s clinics must be defended, and anti-choice bigots who attempt to deny women control of their bodies must be prosecuted. Access to free, quality health care and prenatal care, and access to free contraceptives is necessary.

Well, here again we have symmetry between the Socialists and Barack Obama. Obama wants to insure equal pay for women so much that he wants to make it law. As for so called reproductive rights, there isn't an abortion that Barack Obama thinks is wrong or should be made illegal. In fact, Obama is so pro abortion that he even believes that sometimes the baby should be killed even after the baby is born. Here I see absolutely no difference between his ow positions and that of the Socialists.

4) Immigration

Here is the Socialists position on immigration (or what the rest of us call illegal immigration)

All undocumented immigrants and residents in the United States should have full rights and equality now. That means equal wages, benefits, union rights, voting rights, and access to free, quality education, housing and health care. The government’s war on immigrants must end. Racist home and job raids must be stopped and concentration camp-style detention centers must be dismantled. The border wall must be dismantled.

The La Riva/Puryear presidential campaign believes that the struggle for legalization for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants is a top priority for the U.S. working class. Immigration is a natural outgrowth of imperialism and the forced uneven economic development of nations. “Free trade” agreements have eliminated national borders to enrich the capitalists, while the capitalists have erected borders against humans displaced by the effects of global capitalism.

So the Socialists are unabashedly pro totally open borders. .Here is how Barack Obama described the situation at the separatist group, La Raza.

And I will never walk away from the 12 million undocumented immigrants who live, work, and contribute to our country every single day.There are few better examples of how broken, bitter, and divisive ourpolitics has become than the immigration debate that played out in Washington a few weeks ago.

So many of us - Democrats and Republicans - were willing to compromise in order to pass comprehensive reform that would secure our borders while giving the undocumented a chance to earn their citizenship.

We knew that the American people believe that we are a nation of laws - that we have a right and duty to protect our borders. And we should also crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers so that we can protect jobs and wages.

But the American people also know that we are a nation of immigrants - a nation that has always been willing to give weary travelers from around the world the chance to come here and reach for the dream that so many of us have reached for. That's the America that answered my father's letters and his prayers and brought him here from Kenya so long ago. That's the America we believe in.

As for policy, Barack Obama has voted against stricter sanctions for those cities that practice sanctuary policies. He has voted for quasi pro open borders policies like the DREAM Act. He has come out against a border fence, and has not supported tough anti illegal immigration measure of
the SAVE Act. So, in words, he will "never walk away from the 12 million undocumented workers", and in deeds, he will support any pro open borders measure and oppose anything that will counter illegal immigration. On this issue, the only difference I see is that the Socialists are at least honest enough to say that they believe there are no borders in this country and anyone can come in. Barack Obama simply hides this belief with euphimisms.

5)Free trade

How do the Socialists view free trade?

In today’s capitalist-dominated world, capital is increasingly free to roam the planet in search of ever-greater profits. So-called free trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, the FTAA and other agreements negotiated through the World Trade Organization or bilaterally, serve the interests of the big capitalists. Unions and other organizations representing the interests of working people in industry and agriculture are excluded. Countries like Mexico have suffered severe economic destruction due to “free trade,” forcing millions of Mexican workers and farmers to emigrate to the U.S. for reasons of survival.

While the richer get richer and working people get poorer, racists and chauvinists like the “Minutemen” and Lou Dobbs try to scapegoat immigrants in order to hide the true cause of economic crisis—capitalism itself.

So, how does Barack Obama view free trade? Barack Obama doesn't take it quite that far but he comes close.

Improve Transition Assistance:To help all workers adapt to a rapidly changing economy, Obama would update the existing system of Trade Adjustment Assistance by extending it to service industries, creating flexible education accounts to help workers retrain, and providing retraining assistance for workers in sectors of the economy vulnerable to dislocation before they lose their jobs.

Fight for Fair Trade: Obama will pressure the World Trade Organization to enforce trade agreements and stop countries from continuing unfair government subsidies to foreign exporters and nontariff barriers on U.S. exports.

Amend the North American Free Trade Agreement: Obama believes that NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people. Obama will work with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to fix NAFTA so that it works for American workers.

Rather than abolishing free trade entirely, Barack Obama believes in the nebulous concept of "fair trade". Once again, here the Socialists are honest about their total protectionist stance. Obama hides it with some Utopian concept known as "fair trade".

6) Jobs

Instead of using our tax dollars to fuel the destructive Pentagon budget of more than a half a trillion dollars per year, the La Riva/Puryear presidential campaign calls for redirecting that money to create millions of union jobs for unemployed and underemployed working-class people. We also demand that the minimum wage be raised to $15 dollars an hour now.

The highway and bridge infrastructure in the United States is in serious need of repair, More than 155,000 U.S. bridges need to be restored or reconstructed. The creation of hundreds of thousands of permanent, full-time union jobs could restore the infrastructure. Mass transit and high-speed national train systems also are needed to greatly reduce dependence on cars and to reduce global warming.

We demand that New Orleans and the Gulf Coast be rebuilt. There must be homes, schools, hospitals and parks for all those who were displaced in Katrina’s aftermath. Jobs and job training should be guaranteed first for the region’s residents. Environmental programs also must be created to restore wetlands and other natural areas, and to rebuild the levee system

The Socialists want to end war and use that money so that government can provide more jobs.

So, how does Obama match up? Here is how Barack Obama described his job's plan.

Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday that as president he would spend $210 billion to create jobs in construction and environmental industries, as he tried to win over economically struggling voters. Obama's investment would be over 10 years as part of two programs. The larger is $150 billion to create 5 million so-called "green collar" jobs to develop more environmentally friendly energy sources.

Sixty billion would go to a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama estimated that could generate nearly 2 million jobs, many of them in the construction industry that's been hit by the housing crisis.

How does he plan on paying for this?

Obama explained that the money for his spending proposals will come from ending the Iraq war, cutting tax breaks for corporations, taxing carbon pollution and raising taxes on high income earners.

Remarkable...If you think that Barack Obama reminds you of a Socialist just compare him to a real one and see how close they are.


To be fair on foreign policy, the Socialists see the world much differently than Obama. Here is their foreign policy view.

U.S. foreign policy has only one purpose: global domination through military, economic, political and diplomatic means. Washington uses war and the threat of war, economic blockades, sanctions and bribery to force other countries—particularly those in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East—to accept its dictates. There are over 700 U.S. military bases in over 130 countries. Governments that refuse to go along with the U.S. imperialists’ agenda are targeted for “regime change.” Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Sudan, Bolivia, Zimbabwe and others are currently on their list.

U.S. imperialism serves the interests of the capitalists in corporate America, not working-class people. This expansionist, profit-based system seeks to gain control of resources and markets for unlimited exploitation. Imperialist leaders and their media lapdogs whip up racist campaigns against targeted countries to gain popular support for wars of aggression.

In place of chauvinist imperialist domination, the La Riva/Puryear PSL presidential campaign stands for relations with all nations and peoples based on equality, mutual respect, friendship, cooperation and solidarity. This policy could only be implemented by a government that was no longer beholden to the interests of transnational corporations and banks.

That sort of anti American hate doesn't come out of his mouth.


CT said...

Most people accept the idea that socialism means more government. Not true. Socialism is an economic system. A quick study of 19th century history will reveil that libertarian socialist are the anarchist and democratic socialist. Under a socialist econimic system people would own, manage, and control the basis means of production and distribution. Another name for socialism is economic democracy. Socialist simply want to move the democratic institutions into the work place, thus giving them more control over their lives.

mike volpe said...

Most people accept the idea that socialism means more government because it is. It's an economic system based on the government, rather than the free market, creating the wealth. Your pseudo theories are kooky.

Maggie Phair said...

The Socialist Party USA (over 100 years old) is running Brian Moore for President and Stewart Alexander for VP. These are DEMOCRATIC socialists who believe in free speech for ALL and multi-party systems. The PSL is a recent split from the Workers World Party which admires China for its big army. China does not permit free speech for ALL. Does PSL? Maggie Phair

Bucky O'Hare said...

CT is a moron. Bringing "democratic institutions" into the work place is big government. You can't do it without government. Then it would be a suggestion, not a policy. Anarchists are idiots who have goals that can only be achieved with authoritarian communist policies, no matter what they think.

Bladesinger said...

good stuff I might have to use a few lines :D