Michael Moore, Obama, and the left
Michael Moore supported and voted for Obama’s reelection. Not only that he campaigned for him vigorously. Now with Obama proposing a budget with Social Security cuts and a generally more determined approach than ever to slash programs designed to help poor and working-class people, how would Michael Moore defend his decision to be such an Obama supporter only months ago? I think people like Moore, people whom the working-class looks to for political guidance, are a major reason we’re even in the situation of having to defend important programs like social security at a time when it’s needed most. They provided critical political cover when corporate politicians want to do things like slash social security to help the very richest among us.
It’s worth pointing out as others have already, that Obama has always had his mind made up about cutting social security and so-called “entitlements.” This isn’t a new phenomenon and combined with this president’s bloodthirsty foreign policy, Moore’s decision to get behind Obama last Fall is even more appalling. I will say that I’ve never necessarily always agreed with Moore politically. I think he’s maybe more liberal or moderate than I prefer, but at least I thought he was left of the Democrats.
This is about something more important than one (albeit influential) person though. It’s about why the working-class hasn’t/can’t figure out how to harness the immense power it truly has. If large swaths of working-class people continually let themselves be fooled into believing a group (the Democratic Party) funded by every enemy of theirs is somehow going to be the key to it’s liberation, then this crisis of capitalism we’re living in will continue to only be an opportunity for the ruling class to take what’s left of the public sector, hide it in tax shelters, and further consolidate it’s power as opposed to what this crisis should/could be: an opportunity for the working-class to truly assert itself and lead a revolution.
This isn’t to say that the entire working-class is under the donkey spell. Tens of millions chose not to vote for anyone at all in the election and who can blame them. Let’s not forget those who chose to cast ballots for left third parties as well as those already organizing of which there are surely some. The working class needs to get more organized though, and the purpose of writing this isn’t to suggest elections are where the left should be concentrating. It’s just one arena that could be useful for the left, if nothing else to point out how futile investing any sort of faith in capitalist political parties is.
If we really want this type of militant organizing to occur on a large scale, then we have to expose the Democrats for what they are. We have to bring our co-workers, neighbors, family, and friends to the maybe difficult realization that what we have always been told is the way to have your voice heard (voting for 1 of 2 parties) is a sham. We have to tell them about the ways of truly making change we don’t hear as much about: strikes, occupations, marches, rallies. The only ones who can help the working class are the working class people itself, not a Wall Street-funded politician.
A difficult but important task we have in front of us indeed. Making it more difficult is the confusion created when one of the most politically outspoken people who claims to stand up for regular folks takes the side of the oppressor. I believe that the left right now and for some time has simply been outsmarted and outmaneuvered by the ruling class. Why and how is this happening? This is an attempt at this sort of analysis using only one example of a way in which the working class/left gets neutralized, but much more needs to happen.
Moore has been completely involved in the gun control issue lately. I can’t say I am that passionate about it, especially since conditions for so much of the gun crime (poverty) aren’t being addressed whatsoever by people like Moore or representatives writing the legislation. I don’t really know how this factors in to all of this, but I thought I’d mention it since many have probably seen or heard about him championing this issue. Obviously helping elect someone who will undoubtedly increase the conditions one is likely to turn to crime (poverty through cutting the safety net) doesn’t help the epidemic of gun crime.
I’ll also mention Moore’s admirable denouncing of the drone strikes conducted by the U.S. and the treatment of Bradley Manning. But this just makes his vocal support of Obama’s election even more maddening. Both of those things aren’t just things Obama has done; they are key parts of Obama’s presidency. The drone strikes in their massively expanded form which kill so many civilians and the unprecedented war on whistleblowers and press freedoms generally are purely creations of the Obama White House. His views on these two matters is completely negated by his decision to ultimately support the president when the brief moment of something remotely constituting accountability for the man responsible for these atrocities took place.
I’m sure people reading this can think of other famous supposed lefties who decided to help elect the warmonger in the White House and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of them as well. Anyone who intentionally steers working-class people toward the Democrats (or Republicans obviously) is helping the ruling class or hasn’t figured out that supporting either of the 2 parties is the same thing as helping the ruling class. Either way, working-class people don’t help themselves by listening to these people come election time or any time for that matter.
Image by DonkeyHotey released under a Creative Commons license.