Revolution #172, August 9, 2009

Obama in Cairo:

A Speech of Lies to Enforce a SYSTEM of Oppression

Part 3

The following is the third excerpt from an article which is being serialized in Revolution, on Barack Obama’s June 5 speech at Cairo University in Egypt. The first excerpt, appearing in issue #168, included the sections “The Muslim World” and “Crude Stereotype or Dead-On Characterization?” The second excerpt, appearing in issue #169, included the sections “Defending – and Extending – American Wars,” Justifying Israeli Domination,” and “Pimping off of – and Viciously Distorting – the History of Black People in the U.S.” The full article is available online at

Iran and Nukes

Obama next moves to address the question of “rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.” In his typically euphemistic fashion, Obama owns up that “the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government.” Well, actually the U.S. didn’t just play a role—it godfathered and engineered the 1953 coup against the elected prime minister Mossadegh. It replaced him with the brutal Shah of Iran, who was supported and armed by the U.S. for the next 25 years until being finally overthrown in 1978. Obama somehow forgets to mention the tens of thousands who died as a result of this “role-playing” he alludes to. Instead, he deploys his favorite tactic of “even-handedness” to equate 25 years of vicious oppression and murder to the seizure of the U.S. embassy by students and the taking of several dozen U.S. hostages in the process.

He expresses “understanding” for “those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not.” This vague circumlocution, or double-talk, is meant to avoid mentioning that Israel has somewhere between 100 and 300 nuclear weapons and that the U.S. itself, of course, has several thousand, but that it is Iran—which has NO nuclear weapons—which is being threatened with war for refusing to put its nuclear power program under the control of the United Nations and, through that, the U.S. Obama does not mention that Iran is even today being attacked and subverted by U.S. “Special Forces” within its borders—a program begun by Bush and continued by Obama.

We will not here attempt to analyze the further twists and turns in U.S. tactics toward Iran, other than to note that Obama’s vocal “hand of unity” has thus far been accompanied by the same iron fist in practice associated with Bush (for background, see “An Assessment of the Momentum Towards War Between the United States and Iran: Causes and Potential
Ramifications; Preliminary Findings by a Working Group
,” at

The “Two Outmodeds”  and the Emancipation of Women

Obama goes on to cover democracy, religious freedom, women’s rights and economic development and opportunity, before finally ending with a call to trust America and a final crescendo of religious flourishes and outright god-mongering. While this article will not attempt to address each of these topics in turn, they all could—and eventually should—be given the same sort of analysis that we have to the beginning and more central points of his speech.

We do, however, want to refer our readers to “A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity,” by the RCP,USA, which appeared in issue 158 of Revolution, and in particular the section “U.S. Imperialism and Islamic Fundamentalism: A ‘Lose/Lose’ Choice and Deadly Trap.” Here we will quote at length from that Declaration, which stands as a telling and important refutation not only of Obama’s distortions on the topic of “women’s rights” but, in many ways, his speech as a whole.

“While they may appear very different, the burkha enforced by fanatical Islamic fundamentalism, on the one hand, and the ‘thong,’ widely advertised and promoted as ‘sexy underwear’ for women, in ‘modern’ capitalist society, on the other hand, are both hideous symbols and embodiments of the degradation of women. The fundamental thing they have in common is that they are both manifestations of a world marked by horrendous forms of oppression, both ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’—a world dominated overall by capitalist imperialism—a world that needs to be turned upside down and radically transformed.

“As Bob Avakian has pointed out in speaking to a phenomenon that is increasingly shaping the lives of many millions around the world:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these ‘outmodeds,’ you end up strengthening both.

“Between these two ‘outmodeds’ it is the imperialist ruling classes, and that of the U.S. in particular, which have, by far, done the most harm to humanity and pose the greatest threats. In fact, imperialist domination itself in the Middle East, Indonesia, and elsewhere—along with the massive disruption and dislocation that this domination causes, and the corruption, venality and vicious repression characteristic of the local governments that are dependent on and serve imperialism—gives great fuel to the fire of Islamic fundamentalism as a response to all this, although a reactionary one. Anyone who uses their feminist credentials to legitimate any part of the U.S.’s savage imperialist aggression is morally bankrupt. If they are able to do this while managing to maintain the self-delusion that those who are really calling the shots give a damn what they think, they may well have crossed over to the realm of the criminally insane.

“What is urgently needed is to bring forward another way—a way that opposes BOTH of these reactionary and outmoded forces. And the more this kind of movement and powerful resistance is brought forward in the U.S., the more it will give air to breathe and initiative to genuine revolutionaries in parts of the world that are quite righteously hotbeds of hatred against U.S. imperialism.

“And what is needed, above all, is a revolution, to sweep away capitalism-imperialism, and all reactionary and outmoded systems and relations...all the ways in which half of humanity is held down, demeaned, plundered and despoiled by the other half……and all the ways in which the masses of humanity are enslaved and oppressed by a rotten and murderous system, ruled over by a relative handful of ruthless exploiters.”

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