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Cork - Event Notice
Thursday January 01 1970

Will Obama bring change in America?

category cork | elections / politics | event notice author Saturday October 04, 2008 19:16author by Joe Moore - Socialist Workers Partyauthor email mapuche at eircom dot netauthor phone 087-2994796 Report this post to the editors

This question will be debated at a public meeting in the Victoria Hotel, Patrick Street, Cork on Thursday 30th October, 2008 at 8.00pm. The speaker is Dr. Brian Kelly, Queen's University, Belfast.

The Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama presents himself as a successor to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, but his campaign is a far cry from the radicalism of King.
Obama owes one important debt to King's movement-the very fact that a black politician has been selected as a candidate for US president is due to the legacy of the struggle for civil rights and the doors that it opened for a small layer of black people in the US.
Yet while Obama may have something of the style of King about him, he has none of the content.
Despite boasting of nearly two million individual donors who have given to his campaign, Obama still relies overwhelmingly on corporate donors and wealthy fundraisers.
More than 17 of his major fundraisers are heads of hedge funds or private equity firms.
Obama has attempted to align himself with the majority of the US population who are against the war in Iraq, pointing out that he opposed the war from the beginning.
But unlike King, who by the end of his life was an uncompromising opponent of US imperialism, Obama opposes the Iraq war not on principle, but because it is "unwinnable".
Obama has repeatedly voted in the Senate to support George Bush's calls for unlimited funding for the occupation. He has also called for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan, supports the possibility of military action against Iran, and backs Israel.
The situation for ordinary people in the US cries out for radical change. The poor are paying the price for the financial crisis. There have already been 1.5 million homes repossessed in the US last year and two million more are expected over the next year.
Racism is a daily reality. Unemployment for black workers is more than twice that for white people.
One in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is in prison-compared to one in 30 in the population in general.
Only a movement that is willing to challenge the system, rather than accommodate to it, can tackle such fundamental inequalities.

Dr. Brian Kelly lectures at Queen's University, Belfast. His "Race, Class and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-21"won the 2001 Deutscher Prize. He is currently working on a labour history of Reconstruction in South Carolina.

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