Through the magic of Google's 2001 search engine index and the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, let's travel back to 2001. This is a time well before any ignorant people on the right were trying to tie Obama to Marxism.
In 2001 you could find a page titled "Workers Power Global | Marxism for Beginners". This is the website of an actual Marxist group.
This particular page from their website details the Workers Power's rejection of the "reformist strategy" of the UK's Socialist Labour Party.
Their rejection of SLP's agenda boils down to basically two points. First, the SLP wasn't calling for a total end to private property and the SLP wanted to work through existing government structures via "reform" rather than radical (militant) revolution.
Aside from the stray Che flag, I see nothing linking Obama to a call for government owning the means of production or violent overthrow of the government.
So, I submit to you that Obama is not a Marxist.
However, what Obama is calling for does fit in exactly with what the SLP was calling for in 2001.
As Workers Power put it in 2001:
The reformist strategy rests on three fundamental beliefs:
- the idea that what is wrong with capitalism is how it distributes the wealth it creates;
- that political reforms can ensure a redistribution of wealth and transform capitalism into a society in which injustice, inequality and the social conflict they generate will cease;
- given parliamentary democracy, all these changes can be brought about legally and without violence.
That is Obama to a tee. Let's look at actual Obama quotes:
To Bill O'Reilly, Obama admits he wants to shift wealth from those "sitting pretty" to"people who are having a tough time affording college," to "people who ... don't have health care," to "people who are trying to figure out how they are going to pay the bills," and to the "waitress who is making minimum wage plus tips".
To "Joe the Plumber", Obama admits he wants to "spread the wealth around" to "all these folks who are bus drivers, teachers, autoworkers who make less" and "the waitress, that I just met over there who's things are slow."
To Charlie Gibson, Obama admits "I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year -- $29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That's not fair. ... What I also want to make sure is that our tax system is fair and that we are able to finance health care for Americans who currently don't have it."
Quite clearly, Senator Obama thinks, like the SLP, that "what is wrong with capitalism is how it distributes the wealth it creates."
But, unlike a Marxist, he's happy to, as the SLP wanted to, bring about "all these changes" "legally and without violence."
In fact, that's what this weekend's 2001 audio clip of Obama is precisely talking about. Do you bring about "redistributive change" (his words - not mine!) through the courts or though "political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers"?
Senator Obama is not a Marxist. But, he does find today's capitalist system to be "not fair" and wants to, through legal means, bring about "redistributive change". This is the agenda of the Socalist Labour Party, the party that in 2001 couldn't gain more than 3% of the vote in the much more "pro-big-government" United Kingdom.
Wake up, America. Hiking up taxes on 5% to give away money to the remaining 95% is unjust and un-American. Obama's economic policies aim to redistribute. I thought we were a country that rewarded success.