An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Obama's Praise of War


"For myself, I have come in my time in college to an understanding of the beauty of MLK's philosophy of world peace. That violent force cannot ever be justified --that two wrongs don't make a right-- seems like second nature now. Obama's twisted pseudo-intellectual rationalization of war-mongering stands in strict opposition to the teachings of Jesus Christ (love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, blessed are the peacemakers, thou shalt not kill, et cetera) and make this veteran sick. I would not feign to argue with the leader of the free world, but then again I have seen war from the ground up, and he has not. I know that I speak for the young anti-war movement when I say that Obama has betrayed us. I also speak for the anti-war youth when I say that we won't forget it." - Evan Knappenberger, "The Betrayal of Generation Hope", Common Dreams, Dec. 13, 2009

This is one of most passionate and clear-sighted articles I've yet seen in the progressive press. The key question is "Why doesn't Obama get it?" and the answer is that he sees with different eyes than the generation he inspired and then so quickly betrayed. As many of Evan's generation are beginning to perceive, Marxist analysis has the tools to understand this enigma.

Despite a firm commitment to nonviolence, I must acknowledge the reality of class warfare. This is not a war chosen by the exploited, but by those who repress them and then accuse resisters of "violence", as did Obama in his speech. Though major media constantly strive to suppress awareness of this struggle, it continues with the same intensity as before. Obama is a member of the ruling class and he strives, very successfully up to now, to advance the interests of his class.

Consider Glenn Greenwald's description of the elite reaction to the speech, "Yesterday's speech and the odd, extremely bipartisan reaction to it underscored one of the real dangers of the Obama presidency: taking what had been ideas previously discredited as Republican or right-wing dogma and transforming them into bipartisan consensus." The "danger" here is actually stronger than he characterizes it. The crude destruction of constitutional rights under the previous administration now has the stamp of progressive approval added to it. But this approval of militarism and its consequent degradation of human dignity is far from "odd". It is the natural consequence of their philosophy of dominance.

This is precisely the point of the Obama administration - "...Obama has actually done more to legitimize Bush/Cheney 'counter-terrorism' policies than Bush and Cheney themselves -- because he made them bipartisan." Once we understand his actions from the viewpoint of class warfare, many otherwise inexplicable betrayals begin to fall into place. His role is to legitimize the instruments of exploitation which are now necessary in order to continue imperial domination. That he can do this with the blessing of the Nobel Committee adds the stamp of moral idealism to his brutal policies in the Middle East.

Once we lay aside liberal prejudices about "class warfare" and our ingrained taboos about "socialism", the realities of power finally stand out stark and clear. And the nonviolent battle plan can be made with confidence when we see the real enemy and throw off his yoke, no matter what moralistic flowers he decorates it with.

4 comments:

Ben said...

I agree. Obama is just continuing the policies of Bush and Cheyney. I really don't see why the Fascists, aka Republicans are so worked up. They had what they wanted for eight years, and now they're getting four more years of it, albeit in a slightly less extreme form. We still have capitalism. The US is still dragging its feet on climate change. We still have two wars. We still don't have universal healthcare. Nothing has changed. Marx's statement about tragedy replayed as farce really seems to apply. Obama is the Weimar Republic. Sarah Palin is Hitler. Limbaugh is Goebals. It will be interesting to see if these people get elected in four years.
Speaking of Fascists, I am currently reading a book called the Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black. It details how the Zionist Movement struck a deal with Hitler to kill the anti-Nazi boycott that was occuring in 1933. In exchange, Hilter agreed to transfer tens of thousands of Jews and their assets to Palestine to help build the Jewish state. Despite this fact, and the massive genocide committed against Arabs by Israel, the Obama administration continues today to support Israel to further the US's imperialist agenda. Once again, nothing has changed.

Boyd said...

Unfortunately, one thing has changed. Whereas before Obama was elected it was still possible to believe that electing a progressive-looking Democrat could bring us back to the days before a constitution-shredding and torture-defending national security state, now it is no longer possible to believe that. That's what Evan's article was about and it appears to me that we're getting near the breaking point. Large numbers of the disaffected will soon realize that there is no hope in the current government and will be forced to take matters in their own hands. Let's hope that the ideals of Martin Luther King live on enough so that mass violence is avoided, but the economic crisis may severely impede their ability to lie us into believing we are still happy. Eventually, some will tire of standing on the sidelines "hoping" for "change".

Mark Van Steenwyk said...

Thought-provoking post...any chance I could republish on Jesus Manifesto?

Boyd said...

Mark, Thanks for your comment. You certainly have my permission to post this on the Jesus Manifesto, but I would appreciate a link back to my site if you wouldn't mind.