Thursday, February 28, 2008

Matt Gonzalez Critiques Senate Record of Barack Obama


This article by San Francisco leftist politician Matt Gonzalez critically pinpoints many of Obama's negative contradictions as far as his Senate voting record is concerned. This piece clearly indicates precisely why we must ALL continue to DEMAND of our politicians that they honestly own up to their populist political rhetoric in PRACTICE. That's what real struggle means. For the record this sentiment includes Gonzalez as well...My personal overall response to Gonzalez's article in another context can be found below...



I know Matt Gonzalez's political record as a 'Green party leftist' here in SF all too well. Trust me: He too has a LOT of skeletons (both personal and political) rattling around in his own closet and is frankly hardly in a position to talk about either Obama or as he so cynically puts it political"crazes." As I and many others here in the Bay Area vividly recall Gonzalez was the leader of a very similar kind of mass movement when he ran for Mayor against the current corporate neoliberal hustler who beat him (by default as it turns out) and who presently masquerades as Mayor of San Francisco (Gavin Newsome). Gonzalez punked out of the race altogether and ran scared when things got very hot during the campaign and he was exposed by both the media and the current Mayor as basically someone who was not fully what he claimed to be. I won't go into all the sordid and agonizing details about it because I simply don't have the time but you can easily FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF by going back and studying via the Internet, library research sources, magazines, and any number of books about Bay Area politics over the past 20 years just precisely WHO Matt Gonzalez really is and WHAT he stands for both when there's no pressure on him AND when he is being properly held accountable for his actions. Hopefully a critical investigation into Gonzalez's immediate past can help provide some much needed CONTEXT to fully understanding his arguments about Obama...

Be that as it may however the real issue here is the race for the Presidency and Obama's record. But first of all two very important things need to be addressed and clarified from 'jumpstreet' and they are the following:

1) Obama's candidacy is NOT a "craze." That's not only FALSE but ABSURD. Nor is his campaign a "cult" or an egocentric exercise in mass hypnotism. It is a genuine, REAL mass movement for fundamental political reform that is ultimately not dependent either for its form and content, energy and focus, vision and program on Barack Obama himself who as a politician (which remember is what and who he happens to be) is at most a conduit or one of many available tools or instruments for realizing political change in the U.S. federal government in terms of domestic and foreign policy. Only a complete MORON and/or a hopelessly NAIVE and clueless person would stupidly suggest that Obama (or any other POLITICIAN) was the major key to all that was possible, valuable, or necessary in our political lives. I can't imagine any adult individual with a BRAIN could or would make such a ridiculous assertion and certainly the overwhelming MAJORITY of people following and supporting Obama's campaign and candidacy are neither stupid nor lost in an idealistic haze. Get real! Contrary to the ideological bleatings of Gonzalez and many others in this country who think they've acquired the key to political purity and superiority by doing only self serving one dimensional 'analyses' of the obviously flawed and (yes) COMPROMISED records of (I stress again) POLITICIANS, politics in general (radical, reform, conservative, and reactionary) is about STRUGGLING WITH and assiduously working both FOR and AGAINST certain things for certain, particular reasons, under certain specific circumstances for certain particular and specific AGENDAS. This kind of ongoing COMMITMENT AND DISCIPLINE involves a great deal more than merely finding out who has or seems to have "all the correct positions" and then passively voting for, following, and supporting them. In this society individual 'leaders' are far too often portrayed as being the engine as well as the alpha and omega of their own dreams, anxieties, values, and positions. But as any actual political and ideological movement clearly demonstrates individual leaders are not and COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE the most significant aspect of that which they claim to "embody and represent." That's neither how politics, mass movements, or life itself works. NO. What's taking place with the Obama candidancy is that MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE DEMANDING POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CHANGE IN THE UNITED STATES regardless of all the obvious "positives" and "negatives" of Obama the individual leader. Don't you know that only masses of people ever really change anything and I bet you everything that we both own that Obama (like most "leaders") knows and understands that all too well. What's most important however is that WE understand and use that knowledge in our own lives which includes of course OUR POLITICS. Gonzalez for one seems not to understand this very crucial DIALECTIC which, as a self proclaimed "Marxist" and "socialist" (which Gonzalez claimed to be before he was really tested on these assertions during his own Mayoral campaign) one would expect that he of all people would understand and appreciate this fundamental fact.

But alas like far too many "armchair revolutionaries" Gonzalez erroneously thinks that politics (of whatever ideological stripe) is ultimately about "individual personalities" and their "flawed records." But that's not only wrong but INFANTILE. As a member of the U.S. Senate Obama like Hillary like Edwards, like McCain, hell like ANYONE who works in one of the wealthiest, most bourgeois and powerful branches of government in the world would already HAVE TO BE "flawed" and "compromised." SO WHAT!

When one engages in mass political struggle a mature, THINKING radical or reformist is not looking for or expecting "perfection" or "purity" out of the people and organizations he/she decides to support and organize around but far more importantly that activist/"regular person"/intellectual/CITIZEN is realistically (and DIALOGICALLY) looking for strategic, tactical, and objective OPPORTUNITIES and OPENINGS to make and sustain REAL CHANGE. That is unavoidably always a STRUGGLE and should be. As the late, great Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) pointed out in one of the greatest political speeches in American history: 'POWER CONCEDES NOTHING WITHOUT A DEMAND" (see the full quote below at the end of this letter). Guess who has to and is ultimately responsible for making these demands? CLUE: The answer ain't "Barack Obama"...

2) Always remember youngblood--and this is a very valuable political lesson for us ALL to recognize: POLITICIANS ARE NOT MESSIAHS...and you shouldn't "expect" them to be...

Peace & Struggle,


OBAMA IN 2008!

"Dare To Struggle, Dare To Win"

Here's the full Fred Douglass quote i promised you earlier in this email:

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. .. ”

--Frederick Douglass, 1857