The candidacy of Barack Obama for president of the United States is a long stride forward toward throwing off the last vestiges of the slaveocracy. The power and strength of the rank and file upsurge is making it extremely difficult for the inner circles of the ruling class power elite to stop the forward march against their deep-seated racist policies.
They will try to minimize and marginalize Obama. They will attempt to demean his eloquence, question his loyalty, cast aspersions on his motives and imply that at his best he is not capable of governing. All this will be wrapped in the race card. None of it will be based on fact or truth. They will not be able to tarnish a person whom the Newark Star Ledger called “elegant.”
The struggle in this election campaign will be between the power elite brain trust of U.S. finance capital and the broad-based forward march of the people toward a new America. That power elite has tried to thwart every effort to unite black, brown and white since the Civil War. The new people’s movement has within it not only the ability to defeat this racist offensive, but also the ability to build a new, more representative, more democratic electoral structure in the country.
This movement will be the main driving force in the period ahead to bring to fruition those struggles which gave it birth, nurtured it, energized it and gave it hope, wisdom and finally the maturity to guide those struggles. There are many groups, elements and components which make up the amalgam that has jelled into the “Obama movement.”
Wither the movement?
This is a non-monopoly movement. Forces within it range from those who want to save and restore balance to the market economy to those who fight to reorder priorities. There are those who want to curb monopolies. And there are those who see the need for a new and different social and economic order.
The post-election struggle for legislative implementation of the agenda for a new America will in due course demonstrate the need for creating new, independent democratic electoral structures to guarantee the movement becomes a permanent feature of political life in our country. These new independent electoral forms, working alongside of and in cooperation with existing parties, will be better able to struggle for enacting new pro-people agendas now and in the future.
No one can predict with any certainty the path and the form for empowerment that the struggle will take. However, the process to fulfill the demand “power to the people” is under way.
While our electoral system continues to degenerate, many other countries have developed electoral systems far more democratic and more representative of the various sectors of their society.
Our system has become stultified and distorted so that it can always be manipulated to perpetuate monopoly control. The system as it is structured does not allow for guaranteeing representation of labor, African Americans, Latinos, women, youth and other sectors of our population. In fact elections can be and are stolen. The new movement signals the moment is at hand to make real breakthrough gains in our electoral process.
It is not too early to start looking to the future. Will the movement blossom out into the beginnings of a labor-led people’s party or will it take different forms? New advanced democracy is in the offing. To achieve this we need to topple the racist barriers, curb the power of the monopolies and demilitarize government policy. We can, we must, we will. The American people are worthy. Our country is worth it. The first step is a landslide victory for president and Congress in November.
Pat Barile is a retired trade unionist and member of the Communist Party USA National Board.