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Unless, of course, you labour under the delusion that if the communists had appeased the fascists and not demanded land reform, the fascists would never have launched their coup? But then I have to wonder who is really the naive one...

- Jake

It is necessary to distinguish between the virtue and the vice of liquidity. (With apologies to Lemuel K. Washburn)

I labor under the delusion that if the net result of a political struggle is the imposition of a fascist dictatorship that lasts 40 years and kills at least tens of thousands, then it's rather silly to call it a win.

In any case, the power of the left in Spain came from years of painful organizing, not fantasies that the moderate government would smash the state.

But Spain is a good example because it shows what happens when the government acts against the elites without having sufficient control of military.

by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:20:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which brings me back to the question: Does Obama control the military and the federal police?

If he doesn't, you don't need to fuck around with inside-the-Beltway strategizing. You need to get some guns.

If he does, then you don't need to fuck around with inside-the-Beltway strategizing either. You need to start arresting criminals.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:24:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The answer is that Obama has limited control of them within the context of the mic and security state and empire. And of course, "getting some guns" is suicidal.

 But since you have identified the Spanish Civil war as a success, I guess we are going to differ on goals.

by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:27:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Wall Street is above the law, working within the law will not result in any meaningful reform. So you work outside the law, or you accept that they will remain unaccountable.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:31:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
False choice. If incremental tinkering weakens wall street and allows labor unions to grow - the power balance changes. If Obama cannot command the MIC, he can bend its course somewhat. He cannot abolish finance but he can tinker with the laws so industrial concerns and unions gain in strength relatively.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:50:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has Obama strenghtened the unions?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:23:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's working on it - very hard. The business press is alarmed, but the "progressives" have not noticed.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:14:37 PM EST
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The business press is concern trolling.

Anything Obama does will be cast as socialists coming to take away mom and apple pie. Any policy, no matter how tame, will be heralded as the impending collapse of capitalism.

The business press is slightly to the right of Genghis Khan. If they think a policy is pulling the country left, there's at least a 50/50 chance that they think so only because it isn't pulling the country to the right as fast as they'd like.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:18:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are four major classes of political problems in the US:

  • Structural governance issues - endemic corruption, lack of an organised left, lack of organised labour, far-right media landscape, excessive military and corporate influence on government, creeping police state, etc.

  • Medium-term policy issues - a third-world infrastructure, structural current accounts deficit, unsustainable energy supply, decrepit health and education, lack of industrial policy, imperial overstretch, etc.

  • Short-term do-or-die issues, where policy has to be changed yesterday - climate crisis, pro-cyclical economic policy, structural oil dependency, etc.

  • Values politics - torture, criminal wars, high and increasing inequality, rampant sexual discrimination, unreconstructed racism, support for repressive regimes abroad, etc.

Now, nobody is demanding that Obama fixes everything on this list. That would be unrealistic. Not, perhaps, unreasonable, but unrealistic. The problem is that I'm not seeing any kind of progress on any of them.

Of course any kind of progress faces substantial institutional barriers. But there are so many issues where progress is needed and so few where progress is made that I think it's legitimate to ask whether these institutional barriers are, in fact, insurmountable, or whether they are simply being used as a convenient excuse for inaction. A determined attempt to enact sane policy (not even left-wing policy - demanding that from a centre-right president would be clearly unrealistic) could surely find at least one or two areas where the defences could be decisively breached.

Further, even minor progress is not sufficient. Eventually, the Democrats will lose power, and the Republicans are by now composed mainly of Taliban-wannabes and unreconstructed fascists. So losing power will mean another sickening lurch towards the far-right. Unless the gains achieved during a Democratic incumbency more than counterbalance the damage done under the Republicans, they're playing a losing game when averaged over the whole electoral cycle.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:08:43 PM EST
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