[ About | Archive | Network | Latest | RSS/XML Feed]

Klassenkämpfen: the Key to Obama's Mind

July 2, 2009 8:43 AM

One outstanding characteristic of Barack Hussein Obama is his ability to cause confusion by speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He makes reassuring promises of benign and moderate intentions, while simultaneously taking radical action that will inevitably cause change, permanent change if possible, in the American way of life. Because of the subtlety and lack of transparency in Obama's public persona, he is viewed variously as a Marxist, a centrist, a radical, a moderate, an Islamist, and a fascist. Before the 2008 election, I called Obama a "fuzzy leftist."

It is not so important what kind of label is chosen for Obama (he will forever be labeled differently by different groups and individuals), but it is essential for every American to understand his intentions. I believe I understand them, and that is what I am writing about here.

Those who believe Obama is a Marxist, and I am one of them, have a whole smorgasbord of Marxist history from which to make their case. The problem is that Marxist history can be boring and irrelevant for many Americans. It is necessary, in my view, only to understand one thing about Marxist history, and then the big picture becomes clear, including the intentions of Barack Hussein Obama, what he says, what he does, and what he has in store for America. That one thing is called "class struggle."

In late 1847, Karl Marx and his sidekick Friedrich Engels published a "manifesto" of the German Communist Party, which is now known as the "Communist Manifesto." After a brief introduction, they wrote the world-shaking first sentence:

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."

Marx being German, the original Manifesto was written in the German language, and the word Marx wrote, translated as "class struggles," was Klassenkämpfen.

A word about that word: Kampf in German means conflict, struggle, combat, battle, or strife. Hitler's famous book, Mein Kampf, used the same word in the title. I believe that the battle between one class of people and the other (according to Marx, there are only two that count) is the single theme that dominates every order Obama gives, every agreement he makes and every plan he carries out.

Marx pointed out that there have been many kinds of class struggle in history: free man vs. slave, lord vs. serf, in other words, oppressor vs. oppressed. At the time he co-authored the Manifesto, Marx redefined the struggling classes, and his redefinition bears some attention.

Marx lived in a Germany which had been radically transformed by the Napoleonic wars, and which had long been divided into multiple nation-states. In 1848, the year following publication of the Manifesto, the Germans attempted a revolution hoping for freedom of the press, self-organization of the universities and a parliament representing German citizens. The revolution failed, and in the aftermath, many Germans left Germany for America, having given up hope for their native lands.

One of the three-way battles going on was between the remaining aristocrats, the new and rapidly growing middle class of industrialists, and the labor force, impoverished farmers who had left the land for factory jobs. Working conditions, as you might imagine, were brutal. Similar conditions prevailed in England, and readers of Dickens get a good idea what they were like. In the US, the labor movement was also growing, and in 1845, women working in the Lowell, Massachusetts mills had already spoken before the state legislature to communicate their plight.

Observing the grim conditions of the factory workers around him, Marx named them the "proletariat." The industrialists and factory owners, who were middle class and in many cases had aligned themselves with the aristocrats, were called the "bourgeoisie." Thus, the Marxist class struggle was defined for all time: a struggle between the "proletariat" and the "bourgeoisie."

There was a big problem for Marxists, however. For a variety of reasons, including an increasingly effective labor movement over time, the individuals who belonged to the "proletariat" preferred to try to become "bourgeois" rather than sacrifice themselves and their families in a battle to the death on behalf of a Marxist-style revolution, always doomed from the beginning. In fact, Germany never had a Marxist revolution, and Russia was the first nation to experience one when Lenin transformed it into the Soviet Union.

In spite of the built-in inevitability of failure of a Marxist class struggle for the "proletariat" against the "bourgeoisie," the idea of class struggle became and remained the core idea and core value of Marxism. It still is.

How then, can American Marxists, who call themselves "Progressives," by the way, since "Communist" is not a popular label, promote their obsolete, and perpetually doomed core value of class struggle? The can, and they do, promote it by perpetually redefining it.

Originally, the battle was labor vs. management, and US Marxists still fight for "labor," but now they have narrowed the definition of labor down to a few huge government employees' unions like SEIU and the teacher's union, and broadened the definition of "management" to include any American who doesn't like the way certain unions (I'll add the UAW) are riding roughshod over the rest of the economy.

In the 1960's, which witnessed hordes of construction workers wearing hard-hats voting for Ronald Reagan, US Marxists ("Progressives," remember) had to find another proletariat. They decided it was going to consist of Black Americans and women. That failed. They added gay men and lesbians to the "proletariat." That failed. By the time of the Clinton era, the class struggle looked pretty shaky, but the Marxists had not run out of ideas.

If US-born construction workers defected to the side of the "bourgeoisie," why not import construction workers? They did, by manipulating and circumventing immigration laws. They made sure that illegal immigrants got all kinds of welfare benefits free health care, and free education for their kids, and they turned them into a new proletariat, as well as voters for the Democrat Party.

US Marxists, however, still had oodles of bright ideas. Why not make the battle an international one? The Muslims, for example, a huge population of dismally oppressed humans, could be exploited as a "proletariat." Why was Obama so slow, and ultimately so weak, in condemning the mullahs of Iran in June, 2009? Now you know. The mullahs, with their support for Hizbullah and Hamas, form a ready-made leadership of Islamic militants, to be hijacked by Marxists in what I call the "anti-capitalist jihad."

Capitalism, by the way, is what makes the "bourgeoisie" successful, and Marxists are determined to destroy it.

But, wait - there's more! The life of the "bourgeoisie" looks very attractive to the children of the American and Westernized world-wide middle class, who have grown up in it, so it must be demonized. Therefore we hear that the planet is being destroyed by the captains of industry and the members of the middle class (the parents of the "green" generation). Carbon dioxide is dooming the Earth, and the rich, diabolical polluters must be stopped. We need "cap and trade," we need the Kyoto accords, we need curlicue light bulbs and little bitty cars, and the polluters and high energy users must be brought to their knees. The new "bourgeoisie" is anybody with a high standard of living, and the new "proletariat" is Mother Earth. Of course, Mother Earth cannot speak for herself, so Obama and his Marxist allies will represent her.

I do not expect to convince people about the importance of Marxist class struggle to an understanding of Obama merely about writing about it, but I am hoping that everything Obama does will be scrutinized and the questions asked, "who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys in Obama's mind, and why is he doing what he is doing? Over time, I think the answers will become obvious.

[Keywords: impeach-them-all.org class marx marxist marxists obama proletariat struggle ]