Obama, “Black” Messiah for White Amerika

Liberals, even some calling themselves ’revolutionaries,’ have a chronically false ideal of Amerika. Instead of seeing historical injustices carried out by Amerika as part of its overall development, liberals see such things as disconnected aberrations which can be resolved through in a piecemeal fashion through progressive determination. They see Amerika, though flawed, as an unfinished experiment in freedom and democracy.

Revolutionaries see Amerika as a product of unending injustices carried out upon oppressed peoples. Revolutionaries see Amerika and all the decadent elements which constitute it as something that needs to be destroyed as part of the global struggle to build a better world. While revolutionaries hate Amerika, liberals love Amerika: they are always trying to save it, to reform it, to make it realize its so-called historic potential.

To this end, an Obama presidency marks a major step. White liberals are projecting their own hopes and aspirations regarding Amerika onto Obama. Having a Black man lead a nation founded on the slavery of Blacks is for many a confirmation that Amerika is still the land of hope. An Obama presidency represents evidence that even into the 21st century, Amerika is still becoming a better, more perfect democracy. Because of this, the historical narratives spun around Obama are endless. For much of Amerika, Obama is a near-messianic figure.

Within the liberal paradigm, by electing Obama, Amerika can go from a country shamed by the Bush administration to one reformed, made better. An Obama presidency proves that Amerikan democracy works. Amerika can arrive as a more pluralistic open society whose legitimacy as the leader of the world is reaffirmed. An Obama presidency represents the continuation of Amerikan supremacy without Bush’s overtly hee-haw element. Obama represents a form of imperialism which liberal Amerikans can be proud of.

But liberal love-amerika types are not the only force driving the Obama campaign. Within the imperialist camp, many view the overly belligerent Bush administration as a disaster. Over the last 8 years, Amerika’s actions have rightly inspired hate and resistance the world over.

Loosing the iron fist and taking up the velvet glove is understood by many to be a more effective approach to imperialism. Within much of the imperialist camp, a popular Obama presidency is seen as more conducive to their own long term interests. Obama is seen as a figure who can recover what power Amerika has lost over the last 8 years.

Obama, and the forces behind him, are not revolutionaries. They are not trying to end Amerikan imperialism. Rather, for those who benefit from imperialist exploitation, Obama is seen as savior, a messiah who can bring the return to Amerika’s power and so-called greatness. These are the social forces that will, in all likelihood, drive Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States.

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16 Comments

Filed under Agitation Statements, Barack Obama, White Amerika

16 responses to “Obama, “Black” Messiah for White Amerika

  1. While I agree that Imperialism is a nasty menace well worth smashing and that Obama will in all probability continue this white supremacist legacy of the United States, I must say, I prefer velvet to iron. There may be some value in pitting “revolutionaries” against “liberals,” but when iron fists are evoked, I get a bit nervous. Perhaps this is because my petite-bourgeois privileges are threatened? Perhaps this is because my passion for queer sexualities, artistic expression, liberation and autonomy have been threatened in the name of “anti-imperialism?” Perhaps I would rather hear about velvet fists, iron gloves, or better yet a rhizomatic, translocal, productive, creative, non-hierarchical, multiplicity that swarms the decentralized nodes of capitalism and engulfs our world of despair in spasms of joy and liberation? Perhaps most anti-imperialist rhetorical strategies are more akin to the anachronistic, iconic iron lung?

    Whatever the case, pleasure, erotics, autonomy, joy, liberation, and possibility are the only tools I know of that can inspire me and perhaps many to turn their back on what is, after all, a rather compelling, though misleading rhetoric of “hope.”

    Couch Potato Revolution

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  3. danex

    Obama is other face of imperialism

  4. Fcuk America

    Perhaps this is because my passion for queer sexualities, artistic expression, liberation and autonomy have been threatened in the name of “anti-imperialism?” Perhaps I would rather hear about velvet fists, iron gloves, or better yet a rhizomatic, translocal, productive, creative, non-hierarchical, multiplicity that swarms the decentralized nodes of capitalism and engulfs our world of despair in spasms of joy and liberation? Perhaps most anti-imperialist rhetorical strategies are more akin to the anachronistic, iconic iron lung?

    Perhaps, you are just another privileged White American navel-gazer who spouts a lot of bullshit rhetoric.

    I’d love to see the reaction of, say, an Iraqi or Afghani resistance fighter to this kind of American “progressive.” The would probably laugh their asses off at this “rhizomatic, non-hierarchal, joyous” rhetoric.

    Just goes to show that the opposition to the American Empire most likely ain’t coming from White America.

  5. Ni

    While on an intrinsic level I certainly have no problem with all of that, I must say that if your “rhizomatic, translocal, productive, creative, non-hierarchical, multiplicity[…]” is solely made possible through the exploitation of Third World peoples— then ya, it is petty bourgeois as fuck.

    Furthermore, I don’t see how these things aren’t already provided for through imperialism. Seriously, what is stopping you from enjoying all of that??? I’ll be waiting for an answer.

    Like FcukAmerika said, what would an Iraqi think of your so-called “radicalism?”

  6. Zoot Suit Alien

    The problems with many radicals and so-called radicals in the U.$. is, they are focused on Amerika. They want an end to poverty, for Amerikans, freedom, for Amerikans, parties and enjoyment, for Amerikans. Now some may be internationalists, but they term things in the rest of the world like “why should we help the rest of the world when we can’t even help our own people?” They ignore that Amerika steals much much more than the pennies they throw back.

    If one wants to fight for more pleasure and mind expansion freedom, fine. Just be aware that the leisure time enjoyed by both upper class businessman and bohemian urbanites exists due to the superexploitation of billions of people in the Third World that will never have the time and resources to explore “pleasure, erotics, autonomy, joy, liberation, and possibility.” A 13 year old worker in India working 16 hours a day for less than what she can buy food and clothing will rarely be able to experience spasms of joy and liberation. If she does, it will involve drugs and other mind and body altering substances, to escape the present misery experienced, and sex (with more likely consequences absent birth control), for these are the only things available for them.

    For the majority of the world anti-imperialism offers a better hope. It is true that anti-imperialist regimes in the past have had conflicts with gays and other sexual minorities, and the gay liberation movement has emerged worldwide, in oppressor and oppressed countries. But these struggles will not be helped by exploiter nations.

    RAIMD is truly internationalist in that it looks to the perspective of the world majority and their interests first. First World alienation of privileged people takes a back seat for now to the material injustice of the real masses in the Third World.

  7. Regarding this friendly quote:

    “Perhaps, you are just another privileged White American navel-gazer who spouts a lot of bullshit rhetoric,”

    I would answer, “Of course I am. Today, my belly button is filled with lint from clothes made in sweatshops by people who have full subjectivities and are not simply the objects of first world imagination. My privileges come from exploitation, historical, contemporary, and probably future too unless somebody puts an end to this despicable system.”

    Regarding this quote:

    “I’d love to see the reaction of, say, an Iraqi or Afghani resistance fighter to this kind of American “progressive.” The would probably laugh their asses off at this “rhizomatic, non-hierarchal, joyous” rhetoric,’

    I would say, “I love laughter. Particularly when it comes from language. Should I be laughed at? Hopefully. As long as the dialog can continue beyond that point.”

    Regarding the post:

    “While on an intrinsic level I certainly have no problem with all of that, I must say that if your “rhizomatic, translocal, productive, creative, non-hierarchical, multiplicity[…]” is solely made possible through the exploitation of Third World peoples— then ya, it is petty bourgeois as fuck.

    Furthermore, I don’t see how these things aren’t already provided for through imperialism. Seriously, what is stopping you from enjoying all of that??? I’ll be waiting for an answer.”

    I would say, I am already working on projects of creativity, productivity, non-hierarchy, translocal, multiple, etc…I work on these with people here in Denver and people throughout the world including folks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Korea, and elsewhere. Do people from these places work on these projects? Yes. They too are liberationists and revolutionaries working creatively on combating imperialism. Do I eat better than some of them? Much better. Is this because of global exploitation? Yes. Do I fight global exploitation? At my best. Am I radical? I wouldn’t define myself that way. I tend to argue that I am petite-bourgeois and attempt to be well intentioned. Am I progressive? I don’t define myself that way either.

    Do I think the U.S. Empire will be brought down by white folks in the U.S? VERY UNLIKELY!

    Pleasure, erotics, autonomy, joy, liberation, and possibility are goals any revolutionary movement should consider paramount. These are things well worth fighting for. The world is a terribly grim place filled with much suffering. When people suffer, they deserve joy and liberation as much as any so-called “first world” revolutionary.

    Am I irrelevant to the struggles of the Iraqi resistance? Of course I am. Am I relevant to the struggles in my own communities? Hopefully, but not necessarily? Are you relevant? I guess time will tell.

    One of my favorite books, one that many folks in RAIM might very well enjoy, is Jean Genet’s Prisoner of Love which chronicles this white, queer French writer’s time with Arafat during the first intifada and his time doing solidarity work with the Black Panther Party. It was from Genet’s writings I developed a framework where joy and liberation were foregrounded. Arafat brought Genet to Palestine to chronicle this revolutionary struggle knowing Genet was France’s foremost queer artist. For this, the Palestinian leader should be much admired.

    In my above post I am encouraging a swarm to attack capitalism. I am simply suggesting anti-imperialist rhetoric might need a bit of a freshening up, a make-over.

  8. Seansky

    ——————————————————————
    “RAIMD is truly internationalist in that it looks to the perspective of the world majority and their interests first. First World alienation of privileged people takes a back seat for now to the material injustice of the real masses in the Third World.”
    ——————————————————————-

    I enjoy the site and check it regularly. RAIMD keeps
    morality and ethics in real perspective. Some have
    called RAIMD vangaurdist but I remain unconvinced.
    However I disagree with what was just said in the
    above quote. Let’s assume its correct, however.
    If you’re willing to sideline some movement in favor of
    your own, then I would suggest your approach should
    be sidelined as well.

    Almost nowhere on this website
    is anything written about the environment. Human
    beings are a virus species – the ultimate oppressor,
    creating an artificial period of mass extinctions, and
    extinction is a crime up there with genocide, perhaps
    worse. Compared to the strugle about the environment
    movements like RAIMD seem parochial and rather
    tunnel-visioned. Always valuing the human species over
    wildlife is a common assumption which I see no
    evidence of to accept. On top of extinctions we see
    climate change, radioactive waist with halflives that
    are millions of years long, and other forms of pollution
    as permanently and irreversably destroying the capacity
    for any life form to evolve past the current state which
    humanity has achieved.

    So it seems to me you can either accept my view, or
    do as I have, and view all struggles, for the environment,
    for human liberation, for gay rights, and even for things like naked bike riding to be positive, if not equally beneficial.

  9. Goliath is Dead

    Thank you for posting, I can see you have thought about these issues. However I must take issue with your understanding of the important struggles.

    As for the Human species being the worst oppressors, this is a poor argument. While yes, Humans are the only species that I know of to cause mass extinction on a scale not before known, the argument that the whole species is responsible ignores power relations and wealth differential within the Human species. For example: One Amerikan is worth 25 Asian Indians in terms of resources consumed and waste created. In that scenario, who is the environmental devastator? Could Angola for example, really carry out a “mass extinction?” I don’t think so. But, United Snakes imperialism could and does every single day.

    As for RAIM’s position on the environment. It is clear that environmental destruction is a problem that affects the oppressed nations of the third world more than anyone else. Look at the case of Newmont Mining in Peru, or in Newe Segobia: homeland of the Western Shoshone in what is called Nevada. Newmonts mining operations are horrible environmental atrocities and the only hope to stop this sort of activity is through national liberation.

    Only a global anti-imperialist revolution would be able to unleash the forces needed to save the planet from corporate/imperialist environmental terrorism. Because of this fact RAIM supports environmental activism and particpated in a protest against Newmont’s CEO Wayne “Dirty” Murdy receiving a “humanitarian award.” (Read more about the protest on this site.)

    As for animal liberation. You are right, RAIM does put humans above other species. However, Amerikans put their pets above the worlds human majority, meaning that even a first world dog eats better than someone in the third world. For example, a majority of Peru’s fishing stock is exported to the United Snakes to make gourmet cat food.

    Seansky Says: “So it seems to me you can either accept my view, or do as I have, and view all struggles, for the environment, for human liberation, for gay rights, and even for things like naked bike riding to be positive, if not equally beneficial.”

    Then we must disagree. RAIM does not see struggles for “naked bike riding” as being equally beneficial to the struggle to feed one’s family, or for access to clean drinking water, or to be free from violence from outside imperialist armies. Only once these struggles have been completed and the oppressed are victorious, will RAIM concern itself with “naked bike riding” or other bourgeous struggles.

  10. Black Panther Reborn

    What is going on here is that Seansky confuses the idea that humans are the ultimate oppressor of nature with the principal contradiction. Even if it were the case that human oppression of nature was the worst that does not make the contradiction between human versus nature the principal one.

    The principal contradiction is the one that by resolving we unleash the social forces of solving other ones. Our goal, ultimately, is ending all oppression, resolving all antagonistic contradictions. Anyone with any kind of strategic and tactical sense is going to realize that we prioritize our battles.

    It is only the struggle for national liberation that has opened up the kind possibility of making social revolution in the past half century — and the world is still largely the same. It was the decolonization struggle that created every single serious attempt at social revolution: China, Cuba, Vietnam, etc. The imperialism versus oppressed nations, First versus Third World dynamic, is the main one that through resolving we can unleash the masses to radically reorganize their society in terms of social revolution and in terms of striking a better balance with production and nature.

    As it happens, imperialist oppression is the worst from a human standpoint. It is the worst in terms of bringing about the most misery, death, etc. However, this is not why the fight against imperialism is the principal fight. It is from within the anti-imperialist struggle, the national liberation struggle, that whole nations of people are mobilized to connect their immediate interests to farsighted interests of social revolution and the planet. The role of the vanguard is to connect these immediate interests to the broader outlook.

  11. Seansky

    I know about Newmont, I was there for the DU award and I brought 10 people with me. I did say “NOT equally beneficial”. Obviously naked bike riding doesn’t help things much at all, and doing it a few times cannot justify one’s privaledge. I’m not saying that you should participate in those rides, I dont. I just can’t tell other people not to with a clear conscience.

    —————————————————————–
    “One Amerikan is worth 25 Asian Indians in terms of resources consumed and waste created. In that scenario, who is the environmental devastator?”
    —————————————————————
    possibly both, but obviously the Amerikan is worse. The fact that some people (third world) are less bad then others, is no different than the fact that some Imperialist nations (say Israel) haven’t killed nearly as many people as others, (i.e. the US).

    I’m not sure what you mean by “principal contradiction”, or why you feel that there is less antagonism between man and wildlife than between the first and thirdworld. I see no evidence of this. If by “contradiction” you mean logical inconsistency or chance for something better from a synthesis of thesis and antithesis, then I also see no reason why one dynamic is “principle” and the other is not.

    Let’s be honest though, there is potential conflict between movements. Environmental movements have a bad track record of green washing and supporting imperialism, but revolutionary movements have not been perfect either. The Soviet Union and China had very bad environmental policies. Honestly though, many people would rather see a clean, safe, lush, beautiful planet where one part of humanity uses the other as a slave race then a polluted, toxic, radioactive, barren, scorched, deformed, dirty world occupied with free, liberated, equal populations of humans. In the first case you can have the revolution still and still have something worth fighting for, in the latter case its too late to fix the environment, and life sucks for absolutely everyone instead of just most of the people.

    I’m not here to critisize RAIMD, your work is important. I hope that liberating humanity will be done right and create a more sane world. My only point is that various movements can be, if not stated allies, mutually beneficial.

  12. Nick

    [I wrote this before Seansky’s last comment. Still, I hope adds a better understanding to the conversation]

    To some degree repeating what Goliath said, ‘humans’ are not a ‘viral species,‘ Up until the dawn of capitalism, humans lived well within the limits of what local ecological systems allowed. Moreover, this trend continues today in the Third World. To say that humans, a blanket statement, live beyond ecological means is plainly false. The First World has set a precedent and is leading the way towards ecological destruction.

    But lets give you the benefit on the doubt and say that humans are a ‘viral species.’ The only reasonable solution would be a) a mass die-off leaving only those who were committed so-called ‘primitivism,’ or b) the death of all humans. Neither very palatable solutions. Both ring of infantile all-or-nothing idealism.

    The correct solution is to fundamentally alter the relationship between humans and their environment. IMO, anti-imperialist revolution is a huge step in this direction. Because– lets face it– clear-cutting forests and over-fishing oceans half the world away isn’t exactly healthy for the environment.

    Moreover real fundamental alteration of such human-ecology relations isn’t going to change overnight. Rather, it will take concerted political and social effort, led by the my progressive sections of society over many generations, to reach a point where the world will be as we’d like.

    No doubt our goal is a human society in harmony with its ecological surroundings. But such a society will never exist so long as one section exploitation another half the world away.

    Otherwise, thanks for the comments.

  13. I have to ask Seansky, what do you see as a logical solution?

    Advocating for ‘green’ imperialism? Voluntary lifestyle politics on the part of those who can afford/have the taste for it? Hope natural disasters kill of a significant portion of humanity (in this case most likely Third World peoples)?

    I’ve already stated what I though. A fundamental alteration in the way humans, on a social and individual level, relate to their environment. Like I said, the only way that i see this truly coming about is through the long term struggle, and indeed revolutions, carried out which over the course of history which fundamentally alter every sort of relationship. Again, I don’t see how you can arrive at a truly ecologically harmonious society whilst profit is motive and people exploit others half the world away. I hope this clears some of this up.

    If you don’t see any contradiction between your type of environmentalism and RAIM’s politics, but would like to see a bit more focus on environmental issue, then perhaps you should consider contributing material to RAIM.

  14. Black Panther Reborn

    By “principal contradiction” we mean that social contradiction that has to be immediately resolved to advance us as rapidly as possible to communism/anarchism (the end of all oppression, the end of all antagonistic social contradiction). The principal contradiction, in the current era, is between imperialism versus oppressed nations. This contradiction is the one that we resolve in order to unleash the social forces to resolve other contradictions (capitalist versus worker, man versus woman, man versus planet).

    It is through the national liberation struggle, the anti-imperialist struggle, the struggle of oppressed nations against imperialism that the kinds of social forces will be unleashed to push forward the other contradictions in our favor. In other words, fundamental environmental change, fundamental social revolution, fundamental gender revolution, happens on the back of national liberation struggle. So, they are subordinate to it.

  15. Seansky

    Thank you all for your comments, I find that we agree on almost everything, and you do seem to have good understandings of the environmental movement, so I’m not going to argue the details with that. Obviously, no I do not argue for evironmental imperialism. Although I’m not a maoist, and I still disagree with Black Panther Reborn. But that’s just a matter of prediction. National liberation is important and powerful, but I’m not convinced that it’s more likely to happen than social revolution or any other revolutions. I also think that history shows only sometimes and in certain circumstances is it coordinate or even beneficial to gender, environmental, and social revolution. This really isnt that important of a topic and I thank you all for spending so much time on it this far.

  16. Morbid Sentimentalist

    Having Mr. Obama as our President will allow us Americans to properly congratulate ourselves on our overflowing generosity of spirit. To allow such a well-spoken Negro to lead our nation as it helps humanity organise itself around democratic capitalist principles, only goes to show what progressive and high-minded people we are.

    The colored people of the world will be deeply thankful that we Americans have put aside our old cultural divisions, and have allowed one of their own sons to put a face to the American Dream.

    No more will the radicals be able to paint America as a colossal vampire feeding off the blood, sweat and tears of the Third World peoples whose cultures we throw out like yesterday’s news. We can simply point to Barack Obama and say, truthfully, “Our President is black! Racism is no longer an issue in America, if it ever was.”

    Come on America! Love yourself! Be Inspired!

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