Obama's recession empire and the rest of us
[Lady Gaga's song, Bad Romance, is a subversive feminist critique equating her relationship with record industry execs to an abusive relationship. The song speaks universally to young peoples' relationship with the CEOs and politicians who exploit and abuse us.]
In 2008, Obama seduced the world with “hope” and promises of a clean break from Bush's abuses. Now Obama is fielding 30,000 soldiers and more than 50,000 corporate mercenaries to expand the assault on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over 130,000 troops and 130,000 mercenaries remain in Iraq. Without mutiny in the ranks and pressure from mass resistance at home, Obama's word on exit strategy is as good as his promise to close Guantanamo by January22—worthless.
In 2003, Bush bombed his way into Iraq, letting schools and libraries burn while troops secured the oil ministry. He occupied Iraq and Afghanistan for so long that the military implemented “stop-loss” to force soldiers to work past the end of their contracts. The war budget bankrupted the country. Young people were among the hardest hit at home on the battlefield and at home. Deteriorating public schools were neglected while college tuition skyrocketed and jobs grew scarce. Many youth turned to the military for college money and sham job training, only to be stop-lossed and traumatized by the horrors of war. It's Obama's war now and little has changed.
No doubt, Obama inherited a wrecked economy and the War on Terror. But he's turned his back on the change he convinced so many to believe in.
Obama is continuing Bush's policy of corporate resource imperialism in the Middle East and Central Asia, subsidizing the worst polluters while they drag the youth of the world into a future of endless wars and climate chaos. The $708 billion 2010 war budget is enough to fund nationwide free college education or to fund adaptation to the climate crisis in the Global South: droughts in Sub-Saharan Africa, Hurricane Katrina-style threats to Island nations. Military industry, fossil fuel companies, and bankers are thriving while the rest of us suffer the worst recession since the 1930s.
The recession is killing young people's prospects and military recruiters are circling like vultures. In the US, youth unemployment is at a record high 50%, with twice as many black youth as white youth unemployed. No options means a racist poverty draft. That's how recruiters are surpassing their quotas for the first time since the Viet Nam War. The only other time they came close to today's numbers was during the recession of the early 1980s.
Many US soldiers are trapped in the War on Terror and see no way
out other than suicide. 160 in 2009, and 140 in 2008 took their own lives rather than kill for empire. The War on Terror has cost over 5300 US soldier's lives and over a million Iraqis, Afghans, and Pakistanis. But there is hope in work of Courage to Resist and Iraq Veterans Against the War, groups encouraging war resistance and defending the many soldiers who refuse to fight. It is our responsibility to match their courage with strategic resistance on campus and on the street until we stop this bad romance.
We'll see you in the Streets on March 19th and in the news as youth & student resistance builds in 2010.