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Food for Thought on Obama's Interview

June 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On the Monday news, an interview that Obama had done with a comedian Marc Maron was released. What hit the headlines was Obama’s comments that “race relations” had improved but racism still exists, and “It’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public.” 

What was less featured, but I thought much more revealing and thought-provoking, was what he said about the big contradictions that U.S. imperialism (and him as commander-in-chief) faces in relation to the sharpening struggle over the oppression of Black people.

This is from a June 23 article by Michael Memoli from the Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau on the Maron/Obama interview:

Obama said the “Hope” and “Change” posters so prevalent in his 2008 historic campaign to be the nation’s first black president captured Americans’ aspirations about where the country should be, but the challenge for him was always going to be how to “operationalize those abstract concepts into something really concrete.”

“As soon as you start talking about specifics, then the world’s complicated,” Obama said. “You’ve got these big legacy systems that you have to wrestle with, and you have to balance what you want and where you’re going with what is and what has been.”

In the end Obama agreed with Maron’s contention that in some respects the presidency is no more than a middle-management position. 

“Sometimes your job is just to make stuff work,” Obama said. “Sometimes the task of government is to make incremental improvements or try to steer the ocean liner 2 degrees north or south so that 10 years from now, suddenly we’re in a very different place than we were. At the moment, people may feel like we need a 50-degree turn, we don’t need a 2-degree turn. And you say, well if I turn 50 degrees the whole ship turns (over).” [emphasis added]

This is an admission on Obama’s part of the impact of the nationwide struggle against police murder and the oppression of Black people and what that has exposed about the brutal nature of this system. And it’s an admission that if the government tried to really put a stop to the oppression of Black people it could turn the whole ship over. BA has pointed out many times that white supremacy is built into the foundation of this system, since the first day of slavery, and permeates the fabric of society. That fabric is being torn. We don’t need to be fine-tuning the course of the ship that spawns this genocidal program against Black people, we need to END it. We need to work on intensifying that contradiction all the more and repolarizing millions of people toward revolution. Yes, the whole ship (this capitalist/imperialist system) needs to be turned over and sunk through revolution.


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