Obama is no friend of the masses

On the 10th December 2013, Obama addressed the crowds at the FNB stadium at the Mandela memorial. That he was cheered, admittedly, more as a contrast to the crowd’s rejection of Zuma, shows the working class movement is still dominated by nationalism, something deliberately cultivated by the SACP and Cosatu leadership.

Firstly, the policies that Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma have carried out are directly in line with the dictates of imperialism, and US imperialism in particular. Tax breaks for monopolies, privatization and the collapse of the public sector, etc are all international capitalist policies.  By imperialism we mean the domination of the world by a handful of industrial and banking monopolies, that are backed up by military force. There are 5 monopolies that control the SA economy: Anglo American (by far the biggest), Old Mutual, Sanlam, Liberty, Rembrandt. The US bank, JP Morgan Chase, controls Anglo American and also the SA Reserve bank (being its major controlling shareholder, albeit directly and through proxies). US banks are the main shareholders of Sasol, as they are of the gold, platinum, diamond and most other mines. Every year, the mining giants take out hundreds of billions of Rands worth of wealth, through transfer pricing (direct stealing) and export of profits. US banks and mining giants are almost single-handedly responsible for robbing the masses in SA and most of Southern Africa of our future. Thus the one who represents US imperialism should have been booed more, in fact, protests should have been far wider and more intense.

Obama talks of a ‘oneness to humanity’ and the ‘human spirit’ , yet US imperialism has more than 1000 military bases and warehouses around the world, taking up 2.2 million hectares, the space of 55 times that of the Gaza strip. The 1.4 million man US army is larger than the population of more than 40 countries. There are US military bases in Botswana, Djibouti, more than 600 soldiers in Egypt, and US army personnel in a number of other African countries.  A few years ago, when the Rwandan army invaded the DRC, there were US arms and military advisors used in support of this. Since about 1996, more than 6 million people have died in the wars in the DRC. The main beneficiary of the wars in the DRC have been the US corporates. For example, the main source of raw material for the production of cell phones, laptops and playstations, namely cassiterite, comes from the DRC- vast areas where villages used to be, are now used by mining operations linked to Anglo American, ironically protected by SA soldiers. The US army uses drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) that have killed many children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is no ‘oneness to humanity’, there are deep irrevocable class divisions in the world- the masses of the world who are enslaved to the handful of giant corporates. Such slavery is guaranteed by violence, by force of arms of the US imperialist and other imperialist war machinery. Much more is taken out from Africa through theft like transfer pricing, tax breaks for companies, much higher interest rates for unnecessary bank loans, than what imperialism gives as ‘Aid’. The ground in Angola is so fertile that it could feed the whole of Africa, but US imperialist support of Unita in the decades long war there has reduced the land to an empty mine field. The very reason for the massive starvation and poverty in Africa is the violent plunder by mainly US and French imperialism. While the means exist to produce enough to feed the world several times over, the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, billions are starving. Capitalism is based on the crushing of the ‘human spirit’.   

Enforcing racism and sectarianism

Obama talks of ‘every race’ , ‘racial justice’, ‘racial reconciliation’, a ‘multiracial democracy’, as if there are separate races. There is only once race on this planet, the human race. So why does he talk of separate races as if these are scientifically defined categories? It is to emphasize and reinforce the artificial divisions that capitalism uses to put one section of the working class against the other. It is for the same reason that he refers to Mandela’s Thembu tribe and ‘sectarian war’. The mining corporates have a long history of using tribal divisions to make one worker fight another, while they continue to extract massive profits. In the war in Iraq, it is on record that British soldiers disguised themselves as locals to plant car bombs to deliberately fan fighting between ‘Sunni’ and ‘Shia’. Such inter-sectarian fighting has been deliberately promoted in Iraq by US imperialism- it is a means to keep the masses destabilised, fighting each other, while imperialism carries off the oil undisturbed. The divisions between ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’ was a deliberate tool of control by imperialism in Rwanda-Burundi. The deliberate attacks on churches and mosques, fanning fighting between Muslim and Christian and Muslim in Nigeria and Egypt, is a tool of US imperialism to keep the masses divided and destabilised, fighting each other and not their state which is a puppet of US imperialism.

He deliberately talks about ‘sectarian war’ when the capitalists are permanently at war with the masses of the world. He wants to misdirect people as if the enemy is Jewish or Muslim, whereas the common enemy of the masses is the handful of capitalists.     

Saviour of capitalism

Why did all the world’s mass murderers and dictators line up to honour Mandela? Is this not a contradiction, to see Bush, Prince Charles, Mugabe,etc , side by side, all paying respects? Obama exposes the real reason: ‘…he was not afraid to compromise…….(to) protect minority… rights’ . What he meant is that the domination and absolute control by the imperialist monopolies was guaranteed by the ANC under the leadership of Mandela. At the very time when the capitalist system was under threat from being overthrown by the masses, the ANC reached a compromise with the capitalists so that their plunder could continue.

At the very time when there was massive class hatred against the US regime over the war in Iraq, imperialism hauled out Obama to win time for them  to continue their exploitation of the masses in the US and the world. So it is true that Obama and Mandela played the same class role, one of betrayal of the masses and ensuring that the monopolies benefit.

The price? Incorporation into the system, for a few pennies. Thus it is true that ‘Michelle and I are the beneficiaries of that struggle’- Obama and Mandela and a tiny section of the black middle class were incorporated into the system of capitalist exploitation, on the backs of the masses. Indeed Mandela and Obama have ‘learned the language and customs of his oppressor’ all too well. They became managers for the imperialist masters.

Prisoners of conscience or jailor of the masses?

Obama says ‘we still see children suffering from hunger and disease, run-down schools and few prospects for the future’ and hides the fact that US imperialism, that he represents, is the main agency that has robbed the masses and our children of our future.

He ‘laments’ ‘men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs and are still persecuted’ and those who ‘dissent’ are targeted  by government leaders but conveniently ‘forgets’ his own promise to close down Guantanamo bay military prison, he ‘forgets’ that Bradley Manning is serving a 20+ year sentence for ‘dissent’, exposing the crimes of the US military in Iraq; Edward Snowden is being hunted for ‘dissent’, exposing that the NSA (National Security Agency of the USA) is spying on most of the world’s telecommunications; Mumia abu Jamal, ex Black Panther member, was framed for ‘dissent’, for  a crime he did not commit and is currently on death row (for more than 20 years).   Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners are being kept in Israeli jails (US imperialism funds Israel at least $2 bn every year [R20 bn], to keep the millions of dissenting Palestinians in chains and open air prisons as well as closed wall prisons). The Egyptian military is funded over $1 bn every year by US imperialism- this military has just declared that anyone who dissents with them can face from 5 years in jail or even the death penalty.

US imperialism backed the Indonesian dictator who killed off more than 1 million dissenting Communists. US imperialism (specifically backed by JP Morgan Chase, Anglo American and Pepsi) organised the coup against a democratically elected government in 1973 in Chile and installed the Pinochet military junta that killed off thousands of activists. (Allende, the overthrown President only slightly dissented, yet he was overthrown and killed).

Obama was silent of the role of the CIA who collaborated with the apartheid regime, not only in the capture of Mandela and many other anti-regime activists, but also over the fact that the US regime still listed him as a ‘terrorist’ until as recently as 2008.

Mandela did not free the prisoner, he freed the jailor, he saved imperialism from revolution. The masses are still in the capitalist jail. On what core principle did he remain ‘unyielding’ considering capitalist violence has continued? We can only conclude that his unyielding principle was compromise.

Obama deliberately flatters with references to Gandhi, King, Kennedy, Kruschev, Lincoln and the founding fathers of the USA. These are the heroes of capitalism that saved the capitalist system when faced with revolt from the masses. Lincoln was forced to abolish slavery to make it easier to create a pool of ‘free’ labour for the more rapid development of capitalism; at the same time, it was preferable that the state freed the slaves rather than they freed themselves as the mass slave revolts could have gone beyond breaking the chains of slavery, it could have threatened even the rule of capitalism. Obama extended the hand of greeting and thanks to Raul Castro for beginning to privatize Cuba’s state assets and for the role of the Cuban regime in preventing other Cuba’s from developing in South America [Fidel Castro went to Buenos Aires in 2001 to beg the masses in revolt that there should be no more Cuba’s].

The Second Amendment of the US Constitution includes ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon’. Compare this to Mandela’ call the masses to ‘throw your weapons into the sea’. The USA was formed out of armed revolution against British colonial domination. The right to bear arms against an oppressive regime is entrenched, on paper that is, in the USA. The ANC called for the masses to lay down arms to ensure the continued domination of imperialism. The founding fathers of the USA used arms to break from colonialism but to continue slavery and wage slavery.

When Obama was a student he framed an opponent to have her disqualified from the varsity elections so that he could win. Now he wants to lecture world leaders about when to step down from power and tolerating dissent. Actually he is advising the puppet leaders that it is a tool of capitalist control to regularly change leaders otherwise the masses turn to the streets to remove them, thereby threatening the system. It is not out of generosity that the maximum that a US President can sit in office, is 8 years. By this time there is so much class hatred against the President that if he/she stays on longer, revolution against the system may result.  Obama is also advising the puppet leaders to give a few more crumbs to save the whole system.

Yes, Mandela fought against white domination (because it did not give the black middle class a stake in the system) and against black domination (because an unrestricted democratic rule, without a property clause to protect the monopolies, would have threatened imperialist domination and capitalist rule itself).

Mandela promoted reconciliation of the irreconcilable- The TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) led to a handful of the killers being jailed but the vast majority of the apartheid killers went free, were not even charged, the real organizers of slave capitalism, the imperialists, got off scott free, they continued to rule and indeed their profit levels rose to levels much higher than pre-1994. The apartheid regime charged companies 48% tax on profits, the ANC charges companies 28%. Many attacks on the masses that would have led to mass revolts, if they had been introduced by the old regime, have been introduced by the ANC govt. [many of the apartheid killers have been kept in the state; many have been used as mercenaries  to support imperialist actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere- in fact SA mercenaries were the second biggest occupation force in Iraq, after the US military].

The real tragedy of Mandela’s life is that imperialism put him in jail for 27 years and hauled him out to head off a revolution. Mandela was freed in 1990 but imperialism was the master of his fate, the captain of his soul, even up to his death, his memorial and burial.

If we learn one thing from Mandela and Obama is that a black capitalist ruler can be as cruel an exploiter and oppressor as a white capitalist ruler. Just ask the Gogos and Tatas who are starving in the townships, the unemployed starving in the rural areas, the men, women and the youth who are all still in the capitalist prison. 


29.12.2013    Email : workersinternational@gmail.com