Below is a collectively produced statement on the election of Barack Obama by Manchester AF.
Make no mistake, Barrack Obama's victory in the United States does not mean liberation for black people any more than Margaret Thatcher's government was a victory for the women's movement. Neither does it herald a new dawn for the world, as mainstream commentary would have us believe.
We firmly expect that those of the130 million Americans who voted in the election for Obama will soon be sorely disappointed. Obama is appealing because he is young, handsome and above all not George Bush. It was becoming clear to many in the USA and the world that George W won the 2000 elections, at least in part, by fraud and cheating. The wars he has led the US into are increasingly unpopular, with over 4000 troops dead and 100,000 injured in Iraq alone.
Huge sections of the press supported him in the election, even much of the right-wing Murdoch empire. Murdoch himself saw Obama’s turn from free-market fundamentalism as “dangerous”, but thought McCain totally clueless. Many sections of the US business world see him as a fresh break. Obama is presented as a Mr Clean who will sweep away the stench of corruption that haunts US politics. They say he will save the world from the current economic crisis, the “credit crunch” and recession. Mr Clean he may be, but he spent over $200 million to get elected – more than $40 million a month. Clearly that money is not coming from the poor – a quarter of African Americans live below the poverty line - or the quarter of the workforce in low paid jobs in a country where the minimum wage is $6.55 an hour (just over £4). It is coming from wealthy donors like bankers and financiers Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and companies like Microsoft, whose founder Bill gates is worth $45 billion.
Clearly these press barons and big companies are going to expect something in exchange.
We expect the wars to continue. Although he promises to pull out of Iraq eventually, the US will need to keep the government there friendly. Troops will be replaced by advisers, security guards and “contractors”, who are in reality heavily armed thugs and mercenaries. He promises to send yet more troops into Afghanistan, and strike Iran and Pakistan if necessary. Although we expect him to close the hell that is Guantanamo Bay, we doubt he'll do much for the 2.5 million (mostly black and Hispanic) Americans who rot in prison. We doubt the USA will stop bankrolling the racist Israeli regime and its persecution of the Palestinians.
Most of all capitalism is sliding deep into another of its inevitable economic crises. Obama has the backing of the rich and powerful because he will be better able to inflict pain and hard times on the working people in the States and the rest of the world. He is the “moderate” face which will sell austerity to the poor and working class people of the United States. He has been elected to bring change, but ultimately he will stop real change happening.
Elections come and elections go. The faces of our rulers come and go. But the need to struggle and fight against the bosses and the state goes on every day. Whoever the Americans voted for, the government got in. We need to be building a fighting alternative, a massive wave of class struggle to finally sweep these parasites off the face of the earth.
An expanded version of the article hosted on the AF's blog