Jubilation in the streets greeted the victory of Barack Obama in the presidential election last week, not only in the U.S. but throughout Africa and the world.
As Uhuru Movement leader Omali Yeshitela has summed up, African and oppressed peoples everywhere exuberantly see themselves in this victory. It is a validation of the power and brilliance of the African identity that has so long been linked to the notion of the “slave” and colonial subject by this white power system.
After all, capitalism and the United States itself were built on the hideous enslavement of African people, on genocide of the Indigenous people and the indescribable atrocities of colonialism.
For half a millennium “white” has been associated with “good,” while “black” was evil, philosophically justifying a relationship that gives some of the benefits of the stolen loot of the colonial system to the general white population.
That’s why we have two Americas and two worlds, despite Obama’s myth of a “post-racial America.” As much as we all want to believe that, a look at reality tells us it just ain’t true.
There’s the affluent white “first world,” versus the misery of the black, brown and “others,” whose lives, values and cultures were assigned little value by white power. Their stolen labor, land, oil, diamonds, minerals and scientific understandings, however, have always had tremendous worth for capitalism.
This is the basis for the financial and political crisis of imperialism being felt so sharply inside the U.S. and worldwide at this time: people everywhere are just saying “no” to the greedy hands of white power. They will keep their resources to feed their own children, thank you.
They are tired of subsisting on 50 cents a day while the white world has got a diamond on every ring finger and plenty of gas to fuel massive SUVs. From Venezuela, to Nigeria, to Iraq and Russia, people are prepared to fight the parasitic U.S. and imperialist military and economic stanglehold.
So white power has to prop up an Obama or Mandela or Mobutu or Shah of Iran to do its bidding for it. The white face has got a real bad reputation to deal with.
Barack Obama is a figurehead for a new image being carefully crafted by the powers-that-be to attempt to save an imperialist system deep in crisis. This is called neocolonialism.
As psychologically gratifying as his victory may be for African people and even for those of us from the white community who want change, Obama cannot bring us anything new.
There was similar jubilation throughout South Africa, the African continent and the world when Nelson Mandela was made president in 1994. Today the conditions for the average working class African in South Africa are far worse than they were under direct apartheid.
Like Mandela, Obama is a neocolonial puppet of the ruling and owning class of capitalism.
Obama has an uncanny ability to make everyone believe that the new president will carry out the people’s aspirations—whatever they may be. But what did Obama really promise us?
His staff, advisors and financial backers clue us in to his true program. Rahm Emanuel, recently named as Chief of Staff, is a virulent Zionist Democratic neo-con who profiteered from the subprime mortgage scam and fights for free trade.
Obama’s transition teams are made up of the same old usual suspects of banksters, crooks, corporate exploiters and counterinsurgency experts.
With Democratic party majorities in the house and senate Obama could do anything he wants.
But will he take real measures to stem the economic crisis that will benefit the African community and other working people?
Will he stop the epidemic of police murders of young African men or end the laws that justify the discriminatory imprisonment of millions of African people?
Will Obama help African victims of the subprime scam facing foreclosure or will the government aid only go to well-to-do white people?
Will he rescind the USA Patriot Act?
Will Obama really withdraw from Iraq?
Of course not. Just as you and I know there is no “post-racial America,” we know he will not do any of this.
As Omali Yeshitela noted, the only thing that is going to bring about change is the “audacity of struggle,” a mass movement to force Obama to carry out the progressive agenda that many mistakenly believe he represents.