As I’ve said before, this is my blog about music (and dancing and movies), which I have chosen for the most part to separate from blogging that I’ve done about politics. I’ll bring in the political commentary once in a while but most often when there is a connection to music or the culture surrounding it. I’ve made that choice for various reasons, no need to go into all of it now. But many of the music blogs in my blogroll choose to mix overt political campaigning with their music reviews. And especially when they start to indulge in electioneering, I feel a need to distance myself. So, a brief political statement here…
Unlike several of the bloggers in my blogroll, I don not support Barack Obama. Generally, I don’t see any significant differences in policies or political approach between him and his chief rival, Hillary Clinton. I know that he is sponsored by some pretty big corporate bigwigs, and I believe that he ultimately supports their interests, just like Hillary (and most any other “viable” candidate). And I don’t think any politician is going to bring about big changes just because he utters the word “change” a hundred times an hour.
I also think that Obama’s talk about bringing people together, everybody working together(?), is kind of silly. The U.S. today is experiencing much bigger class divisions than it has in a long, long time. We’re in an economic tailspin, and a lot of working people are going to be losing their steady sources of income (I know that first-hand – though the source that I just lost was really only a relatively steady one, without any health benefits - also an increasing tendency in the present U.S. economy). Additionally, we are in a situation in which fewer and fewer people are controling a drastically increasing share of the wealth. So, we’ve got ever-greater economic/class conflict to contend with, even if people don’t want to acknowledge it. And, on top of that, we’ve got a world situation increasingly rife with conflict, much of it due to imperialism, which is directly related to those economic tendencies and disparities as they exist globally.
In such a situation, anybody pushing the idea that everybody can work together is working counter to any hopes for genuine change. (Plus, as far as Obama is concerned, does he show any real desire to change these tendencies? I certainly don’t see it.)
I’m not voting in the primaries here in New York City, in part because I didn’t register in time. I’ve moved a lot recently (due to my own housing troubles) and I dropped out of the Democratic Party for real after the presidential primaries of 2004 (though I’d kept my membership for a long time for strictly “strategic” reasons relating to short-term issues, or to register protest), so getting myself back into that party would have taken some effort which just didn’t seem worth it to me most of the time. Back in 2004, I voted in the primaries for Dennis Kucinich, but this time around, I think that doing that would amount to an even bigger waste of time. I voted for Nader in the election of 2004. In 2000, I stayed home from the polls, but I was extremely politically active that year (and for another year-plus on either side), mostly in relation to the “anti-globalization” protests, where I soaked in lots of tear gas while physically registering my opposition to certain world financial institutions and their “free trade” agreements. (How did I “physically register” my opposition? Well, it’s not as exciting as it may sound… Mostly it was just walking or running within groups in certain places, or joining some people in blocking a street. But even that’s a big step up in terms of political activity from going to pull a lever in the voting booth, especially given the real (non) choice that we always have.)
Generally, I don’t think that in the U.S. any major change is going to come through a presidential election. (Of course, those who know me or some of my writings elsewhere know that this is obvious. But I thought I’d just make that clear for some of my friends in the world of music blogging…) I sometimes do think that it might help to support a political campaign from someone who at least brings up certain issues, if only to provoke a larger number of people to talk and think about them. This is why I voted for Nader in 2004 and also in 1996, and it’s why, if someone put a gun to my head and said “You must select one of the big three democratic candidates right now,” I would probably pick Edwards, just because he’s saying certain things. (Though I don’t think his deeds have really supported much of his rhetoric, and he’s supported some pretty horrible stuff in the Senate, just like most of the others.) However, I don’t think that simply getting anybody elected to the presidential office - especially considering which candidates anyone could possibly get elected right now – is going to cause any big changes by itself.
I also can’t think of a presidential candidate whom I could support fully (I even had big reservations about Ralph Nader) unless we could somehow resurrect the corpse of Eugene Debs. And even there, I’d have some theoretical differences, as I would be a bit to the left of him. But that’s not material to be discussed here…
The only way any change is going to come about is through a mass movement from the grassroots, maybe from some new kind of labor movement (certainly not via today’s trade union hierarchies), from movements and actions pertaining to issues such as healthcare and housing, and from activity in the streets.
Anyway, to all my blogging friends out there who are raving about Barack Obama, I just wanted to say, while I’m certainly not going to drop your blog because of it, I feel compelled to make it clear that I am not supporting the same “cause.”