Friday, April 24, 2009

From "Hopium" To "Hypium": Obama's Disillusioned Progressive Base

Naomi Klein, in The Nation this week, turned her not inconsiderable talents to creating an appropriate lexicon with which to describe the fading prospects for real change in the Obamanista regime, at least from the perspective of the left/liberal wing of the base:
All is not well in Obamafanland. It's not clear exactly what accounts for the change of mood. Maybe it was the rancid smell emanating from Treasury's latest bank bailout. Or the news that the president's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, earned millions from the very Wall Street banks and hedge funds he is protecting from reregulation now. Or perhaps it began earlier, with Obama's silence during Israel's Gaza attack.

Whatever the last straw, a growing number of Obama enthusiasts are starting to entertain the possibility that their man is not, in fact, going to save the world if we all just hope really hard.

This is a good thing. If the superfan culture that brought Obama to power is going to transform itself into an independent political movement, one fierce enough to produce programs capable of meeting the current crises, we are all going to have to stop hoping and start demanding.

The first stage, however, is to understand fully the awkward in-between space in which many US progressive movements find themselves. To do that, we need a new language, one specific to the Obama moment. Here is a start.
What follows is clever--
Hopeover. Like a hangover, a hopeover comes from having overindulged in something that felt good at the time but wasn't really all that healthy...
Hoper coaster. Like a roller coaster, the hoper coaster describes the intense emotional peaks and valleys of the Obama era, the veering between joy at having a president who supports safe-sex education and despondency that single-payer healthcare is off the table at the very moment when it could actually become a reality....(etc.)...
, but too "hopeful" by half in my humble opinion. Klein seems to think that the Murkin "prog/lib/left" has sufficient coherence that it can mobilize without a figure-head around which to rally.

Klein concludes by referencing:
Political scientist Sam Gindin (who) wrote recently that the labor movement can do more than protect the status quo. It can demand, for instance, that shuttered auto plants be converted into green-future factories, capable of producing mass-transit vehicles and technology for a renewable energy system. "Being realistic means taking hope out of speeches," he wrote, "and putting it in the hands of workers."
I never understand injunctions like this. Precisely HOW is "labor," which cannot even count of the Congress to consider, much less to PASS, the EFCA legislation, going to garner the support necessary to "re-open" closed automotive factories, re-tool them, and go into production?

There is one and only one thing that assures political activity will follow your agenda: MONEY. Labor doesn't have any. Hence they are condemned (as they have been since PATCO/Reagan) to sucking a dry, empty hind tit.

The problem is that wherever the word "hope" is appropriate, so it another four-letter word: "hype." I shall make no new friends with this assertion, but I have been pretty much convinced since late 2007 that the "hope" and the "hype" were virtually interchangeable in the Obama-con vocabulary. I think "thePrez" is even more a puppet/figure-head than even Raygun was. My deepest fear, and one I believe is increasing likely to be the true state of affairs, is that he is the "Ultimate Token," installed primarily to at least partially disguise the horrific stench of the contaminated USer politics of race: Political "Febreez"!

1 comment:

Grandpa Eddie said...

You are correct Woody.
Money is power and the working class has no money therefore it has no power....and we all know that it doesn't matter who it is in Congress, it's the people who control the purse who pull the strings.