Black History Month 2009 Change and continuity: The election of  Barack Obama 
By Waistline2 
Obama: Change or continuity? (Part III) By Elíades Acosta Matos raises a  
question whose answer is "both!" 


John Foster Dulles, leading Cold War warrior and America’s secretary of  
state from 1953 to 1959, summed up America’s foreign policy as, "no permanent  
friends, just permanent interest." This formula also applies to domestic 
Barack Obama election as President, proves something has changed  in American 
society, according to every political pole and tendency in  American  society 
itself. This "something" is bound up with American  history; the historic 
crossing of the color line; political shifts and political  realignments world 
wide and changes in the world wide mode of production  demanding policy shift 
US imperialism struggles to hold together the unity of  productive forces and 
productive relations world wide. Obama the person and  chief executive 
officer of  capital - his symbolic gestures/jesters and  rhetoric, are better 
understood  placed in a historical and political  context. 
Our society is breaking down. This break down is material and ideological.  
Barrack Obama was called forth as President Obama to "fix what is broken." All  
the Kings horses and all the Kings men can put our society back together  
again;  at least on the old basis. Herein lays the rub. 
The context and content of the current financial and economic crisis, an  
intense cyclical crisis of capitalism, is shaped and impacted by the increasing 
revolution - crisis, in the productive machinery of American society. America  
is  undergoing economic dislocation. This dislocation is a combination of  
revolution  in the productive forces, the emergence of an antagonistic form  of 
wealth and  new antagonistic classes, combined with a classical crisis  of 
capital reproduction.  The new antagonistic form of wealth is capital as  a 
(imaginary) value or wealth as valueless production. 
Society move in class antagonism. The dialectic of all social revolution is  
a combination of "contradiction" and "antagonism," with contradiction being  
replaced by antagonism. This process is slowly but inexorably underway in  
America, demanding disclosure and then President Obama‘s election place in that 
Contradiction and Antagonism. . 
The contradiction between the two basic classes holding society together,  
drives the system - mode of production, through all its quantitative 
 The introduction of new productive machinery creates new classes. With the  
emergence and quantitative expansion of new class(s), the new classes collide  
in  external collision - antagonism, with the existing classes of the old  
society,  founded on the old property relations. Then an epoch of social  
revolution  emerges. The basic class contradiction of feudal society was  
the serf  and the nobility, with neither being able to overthrow  the system of 
which they  constituted. The serfs were not birthed in, or  existed as an 
antagonistic class  in in relationship to/with the nobility  or the landed 
property relations,  despite its history of repeated violent  clashes. 
Why should not this very same dialectic apply to the two basic classes of  
capitalist society? 
At a certain stage of development of the productive forces, contradictions  
internal to feudal society, driving it through all its quantitative boundary’s  
were replaced, (not extinguished, but superseded) by an antagonism that  
appears  as the new classes being generated on the basis of the revolution  in 
productive forces. These new classes were bourgeoisie and proletariat. 
Feudal society as the landed property relations, did not "just  generate"  
the new classes, but rather a development in the productive  machinery of 
society is the material wherewithal for the emergence of the  new classes. 
Hence,  these classes emerging in the womb of the feudal order  were birthed in 
antagonism - not contradiction, with landed property and all its  social 
trappings and privileges. With the growth of industry - capital, segments  of 
serf as a class, undergoes transformation (metamorphosis), sheds its  "serf 
form," and become modern proletarians. This change in the form of the  working 
class, (from serf to modern proletariat) is the creation of an  antagonistic 
class, or contradiction being replaced - superseded, by antagonism. 
Now that American society is undergoing a profound revolution in the   
society machinery the difference between class contradiction and class   
rather than "antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions"  is  relevant. 
New classes in their infancy exist in America today in the  form of a  
destitute proletariat, gravitating in and out of employment;  merging one 
with a population permanently cast as temporary worker  (30% of our working 
class  and still growing); along side a mass of  overaccumlated capital, whose 
over accumulation means it seek wealth expansion  outside the boundary of 
investment  in production or as it is understand  and articulated at this 
moment; the 
brave new world of financialization,  securitization or credit capitalism. 
Financialization is not a preferred policy of capital but the inexorable  
logic of the unheard of development of the productive forces and the scrabble 
realize maximum profits at any cost, including institutional wealth creation  
outside the production of commodities. Some speak of the emergence of a new  
non-banking financial architecture - regime. What is clear is wealth creation  
detached from surplus value is a valueless form of wealth. 
This does not mean productive capital has mysterious vanished or no one  
works. Economic collapse in its revolutionary meanings implies the foundation 
the old society faces collapse as society strains to reconstruct a new  
social/economic order based on the revolutionary new machinery of production 
new forms of wealth. This new form of wealth creation has its infrastructure 
 political architects, who write the political agenda for American finance  
The key to understanding Obama the person and his administration resides in  
American history itself and this moment of capitalist crisis. Barack Obama is  
most certainly the chief executive officer of imperial capital but that does  
not  tell anyone very much. 
Dialectic of Revolution as history. 
Obama the person is the promise made flesh of our Second Revolutionary  War  
- the Civil War. Written on the banner of our Second Revolutionary War  is the 
 p romise, "toward a more perfect union," and then the idea of a  nation - 
not Union, conceived in liberty and justice. The living Obama as  symbol, 
manifest this promise, and is the crossing of the color line in American  
Without  understanding this tiny promise, and the crossing of the  color line, 
the behavior of the American peoples and the class intersection that  made his 
election possible makes no(n)-sense. The complexity as the moment,  resides 
in the need for bourgeoisie and revolutionary alike, compelled by the  logic of 
history, to appropriate the same history for diametrically opposed -  
antagonistic, purposes. 
Just as the living memory of Marti (José Julián Martí Pérez, January  28,  
1853 –May 19, 1895) inspires masses to action and greatness, the  peoples of 
America possess their inspiring ideas articulated in symbols. Some of  those 
inspiring symbols expressed in the words freedom, emancipation, liberty  and 
justice, have in our history worked at cross purpose and at loggerhead.  During 
the entire period of the Civil Rights Movement, "freedom" and  "emancipation"  
more often than not collided with notions of "liberty" and  "justice." 
For reasons of our own history, our real culture, the Second and First  
American Revolutions continue to stir profound feelings in the peoples of   
America, precisely because they call forth noble ideas, promise activated,   
in old Europe’s revolutionary wars against political feudalism,  horrible  
defeats and partial realization in America. When Lincoln called  America 
last great bastion of hope, he was referring to the promise of  the French 
Revolution - 1848, and the waves of reaction sweeping Europe. 
That American history is written on a parchment of genocide inked with  
Indian blood and chattel slavery, does not eclipse revolutionary logic and the  
dialectic of history as interlinked generations’ revolution. 
Successful revolutions achieve their cause, but the conditions are never  
quite ripe to achieve the scope of revolutionary vision, the mobilizing, 
subjective side of imagination that is human history as assertion. On the  
scale  of history, the vision of one revolution becomes the cause of the  next. 
The  spontaneous movement of people/classes/form of the laboring  class and 
their enlightened elements keep demanding the same thing over and  over, under 
changing  conditions and each time the demands advance the  revolutionary 
process. In this  sense, there is chain of demands from one  revolution to the 
next, weaving  history together culminating in  revolutionary warfare. 
"The vision of one revolution becomes the cause of the next." 
The fight to realize "the cause" by implementing social structures to   
ensure its stability, give rise to a new vision. On this basis the system  
is driven through all its quantitative boundaries. 
The cause in our Revolutionary War was independence. The vision was stated  
in the Declaration of Independence as competing forms of democracy.  
Jeffersonian  democracy rest on the idea of a nation of independent small  land 
The  vision of democracy espoused by slave holders, in the  form of 
Jeffersonian democracy, contradicted itself. Since the vision was not  
another revolution was inevitable. 
Yet, "The Revolution of 1776" was a new thing in history. 
The French and British had revolutions to free themselves of feudalism.  
America was different, with no feudal classes and consequently no feudal  
relations. America was founded as a colony owned by England. Its purpose was  
to  ship 
goods and resources back to the mother country. For the first time  in 
history, a revolution for national liberation was bound up with "the  
in the mode of production itself, against feudalism. The  Americans bourgeoisie 
wanted freedom from the restraints of feudal England for a  complex of 
reasons, including the preservation of slavery. America was much  different 
Canada and one can see the remnants of Canada’s acceptance of a  colonial 
imprinted on her currency. As a result of feudalism, the  culture of 
Canadians - the real culture, manifest a "noblesse oblige," - (noble  
obligation) of 
the Queen or ruling class to help her subjects. Not so in  America. This in 
part accounts for a profound belief by the American workers in  possessing a 
and asking the government for nothing. America is perhaps the  only country on 
earth  never tainted by feudalism. When people cannot find  work things 
polarize very  quickly. Thus, a social and political shift,  realignment is 
underway as the  crisis deepens. 
What constituted the revolutionary kernel of 1776 was that it ushered  in  
the historical epoch of national liberation, which would run its course  for 
another 200 years, peaking between 1940 and the 1970s, and as a political  
being closed out with the 1976 establishment of the Socialist Republic of  
Vietnam (SRVN). This does not mean that every inch of earth was wiped clean of  
feudal residue. What is meant is that a distinct period charactering history  
came to an end. 
What is of interest is that the paramount leader of the first  Revolution  
was the country’s largest slave holder and richest man: George  Washington. 
Jeffersonian democracy could not be realized because of slavery,  Washington 
Jefferson in the flesh. The seed was planted for the battle to be  fought out 
The vision of one revolution becomes the cause of the next. Another  
revolution was inevitable. The clearest thinking revolutionaries of 1776   
this, and knew without national liberation emancipating the  slaves, the 
revolution would have to fight again. 

end 1 of  6  

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