I’ve been concerned for quite some time about the mislabeling of Obama as a communist by the right and far right wing of the United States.
Those who make these gross charges miss two very important points:
First, the principles of communism are designed to help the poor, not enrich the government. We have taken it for granted that when you give the government total power, it stops serving the poor or leveling the playing field and moves into a mode of hyper-self-enrichment. Marx didn’t write about a system whereby Stalin gets to do whatever he wants and have as much power as he can grab. It is simply that the idealism of Marx was twisted by Stalin to do just that. Communism began as an idealistic attempt to lift those impoverished by the standing system into a relatively egalitarian state.
Which leads us to our second point: Obama has done more to attack poor and middle income people in the US than most presidents in recent memory. While some look at his moves to expand government power as communist, they would be better described as fascist. For instance, when he lifted a ten year ban on collecting food stamp over-payments in 2010 he gave governments across the country a club with which to beat poor people in order to excise more taxes. (The Divide, Taibbi, pg. 341) Instead of going after the bankers who ripped off pensions and defrauded municipalities, governments looking for cash began harassing and attacking poor people who may have been overpaid money as far back as thirty years ago for sums as small as 70 bucks. Ohio alone made more than 22,000 attempts to get money back from poor people, many of whom may not have been overpaid at all and most of whom were overpaid by government error, not by their own fault. Instead of going after the millions and billions ripped off by corrupt bankers (bankers Obama plays golf with), Obama opened the door for the government to attack the poor people a hundred dollars at a time.
Hundreds of instances of Obama using government to protect wealthy criminals and attack poor people wash over the internet. Even the mirage of Obamacare, which is labeled as some kind of communistic land grab, has one concrete result — a supreme court decision which granted the government the authority to punish citizens for the new crime of not purchasing health insurance.
This is not communism. This is fascism. Fascism is the enforcement of the big wins of the big winners in the free market by the government. The libertarian movement and especially the anarcho-capitalists are to fascism as the ideas of Marx were to communism. You start with an ideal, an unfortunately unattainable ideal, and you push the pendulum much too far in that ideological direction. In Russia the radical communists won battles against the dysfunctional monarchy in a revolution. In the US the Libertarians seem to be winning battles against the dysfunctional government bumbling our own future down the drain.
The next thing you know, instead of workers owning the means of production as Lenin had promised, they had Stalin. Instead of the ultimate freedom to exchange as we see fit in a utopia spared the creativity stifling pressure of government, we will have fascism. If we go far to the right, no matter how well intended, we will create a brutal regime which uses the incredibly idealistic goals of the libertarians to stomp on the faces of the vast majority of our American citizens for the of benefit a tiny, wealthy minority.
In both cases the pursuit of an unattainable ideal by a motivated and energized group ends in an Orwellian dystopia. We watched it happen in Russia. Must we watch it happen in the United States?