Mar 28, 2013 - Issue 510 Compromising with Extremists - Represent Our Resistance - By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD - BC Editorial Board 

Each new class which puts itself in the place of the ruling class before it, is compelled, merely in order to carry through its aim, to represent its interest as the common interest of all the members of society, that is, expressed in ideal form: it has to give its ideas the form of universality, and represent them as the only rational, universally valid ones.

- Karl Marx, Concerning the Production of Consciousness,” The German Ideology


All demands for complete or gradual disarmament, for the abolition of secret diplomacy, for the dissolution of the great powers into smaller national entities, and all other similar propositions, are absolutely Utopian so long as capitalist class rule remains in power. 

- Rosa Luxemburg, “The Junius Project”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pettus Bridge and Barrack Obama is resistance. That is enough. Anything else is out of line. But who is speaking and, if Obama represents resistance, then resistance to what? What ideology does Obama oppose? What ideology does he represent? He spends a great deal of time “compromising” with the Boehners and Grahams. More importantly, he is attracted to the political and legal analysts who rationalize ways to conduct war and justify killing. I have yet to hear that Obama plans to meet with, say, members of Code Pink anytime soon or any of the countless participants of Occupy Wall Street. King would have done so.

Yet, in newsprint and in front of cameras, there are Americans still pleading with Obama to remember “his roots,” remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are Americans unwilling to see what is very transparent particularly to other citizens around the world: Obama is operating in an undemocratic and increasingly deranged power that is muscling its right to determine who is killed or captured, tortured, imprisoned without due process, and indefinitely.

Obama is not resisting an ideology of dominance and death; he is facilitating it! Americans are obliging him, if not outright, by silence or deed, assisting in the violence of a capitalist/imperialist State.

When two predatory drones and Reapers positioned lasers on trucks transporting Americans Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan in Yemen that September day in 2011,[1] we did not hear about it even after the dust settled and the remains of American bodies were identified as the target in the U.S.’s war against terrorism. We did not hear anything from the charismatic leader of the “free” world because he ordered the killings to remain secret.

Kill and cover up!

This is a familiar legacy, alright, but not King’s!

Secret operations must be kept secret, particularly before a presidential election in which the U.S. president and his terrorism specialists, including two lawyers, David Barron and Martin Lederman, both of whom troubled the waters condemning Bush’s “presidential war powers to disregard Congressionally imposed limitations,” did not so much jump ship! No. They were returned to duty in friendlier waters, charismatic waters with progressive-looking waves to green light for the administration of Change murdering the enemy even if the enemy is an American. No longer stymied by an increasingly unpopular Bush II, the lawyers for Obama determined “that it is not unlawful ‘murder’ when the government kills an enemy leader in war or national defense.”

It is very simple and very transparent - Obama’s brand of Change is not a return to Dr. King’s anti-war and anti-imperialism legacy no matter how much he adopts the trembling cadence of a human right’s leader or conjures Pettus Bridge or calls on self-serving pastors, organizational leaders, and band-wagon politicians, or citizens donning corporate logos, T-shirts and caps stamped with approved images of his likeness to remind him to remember the interests of humanity.

Eighteen months passed during which those in authority worked to cover up the massacre at My Lai. Here we are again, 18 months of silence since the killings of Awlaki and Khan. The murders, according to the authors of “How a U.S. Citizen Came to be in America’s Cross Hairs,” “conducted behind a classified veil,” relied “on missile strikes rarely acknowledged by the American government and complex legal justifications drafted for only a small group of officials to read.”

The U.S. government intended to kill Awlaki but not Khan (“he was not a significant enough threat to warrant being specifically targeted”). And as for Awlaki’s 16-year old American-born son, killed a month later, well, that was accidental. He was not a target, but, yeah, he is dead!

Then Obama submitted his nomination of John O. Brennan to head the CIA, and in the course of Brennan’s confirmation came “the white papers.” These documents, wrote Mazzetti, Savage, and Shane, summarize “the administration’s abstract legal arguments” about how much to disclose on the preparation and the killings of Awlaki and Khan.

How could the man of Change allow this to happen under his watch, the authors of this New York Times article asks?

The question should be, how could American citizens allow this to happen in light of all we know about any government committed to capitalism and imperialist interests and goals of Wall Street bankers and corporate CEOs. 

The New York Times’ article offers a hollow cry of outrage, particularly when it refers to the 13-hour Senate filibuster that “delayed” the inevitable confirmation of Brennan as if this drama was anything more than drama made to appear as if some in the Senate were shocked by the executive branch’s audacity. After all, it has not been a secret that Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last year while Americans were celebrating the holidays. The Senate and Americans could have read about it in Forbes (not a Commie, Black Panther, La Raza, or Indy newspaper).

The National Defense Authorization Act greatly expands the power and scope of the federal government to fight the War on Terror, including codifying into law the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects without trial. Under the new law the US military has the power to carry out domestic anti-terrorism operation on US soil. (“President Obama Signed the National Defense Authorization Act - Now What?” January 2, 2012)

Obama had “serious reservations” in 2011, according to the Forbes article, but nonetheless, he signed the NDAA, he won another election, and he signed an extension of “Bush” FISA Warrant-less Wiretapping Act in December 2012.

When the intelligence community taps Obama on the shoulder and whispers that Awlaki is dead, Obama, according to Mazzetti, Savage, and Shane, signals to his team “that the operation in Yemen, although reported around the globe, would remain officially unacknowledged.” Congress members had to speak “cautiously about it,” and only “private” discussions could be held among counter terrorist officials.

See how that works? Citizens around the globe know what is happening, but in the U.S., the administration of Change does not even have to open its mouth. He’s better than the Republicans. Hail, America! 

Some citizens, writes Mazzetti, Savage, and Shane, are asking what are the limits of Obama’s power?


Why else would Obama have won the political support and financial backing of the Daley Machine, the banking, and corporate powers? Would this coalition of power have backed Dr. King today?

Turn the question of transparency on its head and make it face the American public: Where are the citizens who imagine a compassionate United States of America, who imagine an America engaged in wars only against racism, poverty, and imperialism, an America free of the violence of capitalism?

Few - that is why Obama is the right man for this stage of capitalism! What here is so confusing for The New York Times to comprehend? The paper supports capitalism and supported the U.S. invasion in the first place!

A few years ago, a department (I forget now, maybe the “Indian Department”) at the University of Wisconsin Madison sponsored a book lecture/discussion featuring the Indigenous fiction writer, Sherman Alexie. I had my suspicions, but I attended the event held in a large auditorium on campus. When Alexis took the podium, he immediately began with what seemed to me a comedy routine. The audience, predominately white, settled back and laughed along with the author as he talked about his childhood and life in general as a member of an Indigenous population. Time passed; Alexis kept up the jokes. The audience laughed. They loved it! They loved him! He made them feel comfortable about the plight of Indigenous people. You see, all is not bad!

I cringed.

At the end, the audience bought copies of his book and left the auditorium pleased. Change had happened. All those dead bodies of Indigenous men, women, and children made invisible behind this laughter! No reality check for the white, liberal, progressive audience! No anger on display from this author!

Very transparent if you acknowledge the truth before you. 

This change, brought to you by capitalism, offers the American public colorful carrots here and there, but sticks are made ready to pounce on those who refuse to consent to this lethal American legacy. So Americans accept the carrots to afford reprisals from neighbors, employers and co-workers, even from friends and family members. 

Asked on a segment of Law and Disorder Radio to explain why Americans, unlike Europeans, have not taken to the streets, economist Richard D. Wolff offered this: Americans, he said, were like a deer in the headlights. Imminent danger is approaching, but the deer is unable to move (March 11, 2013). Americans were told they would have it all, and now, most can barely get by.

“Americans are in shock.”

I recognize the narrative, and the image - a “shocked American” public. But who are the Americans? Are these the Americans Dr. King had planned to march to Washington D.C. before he was targeted for assassination? Are these Americans the longtime incarcerated Red, Black, and Brown? Are they the “undocumented” workers who toil in the homes of the wealthy or sweat in the fields of those who refuse to pay living wages, but workers who have been targeted by the Obama administration for deportation often to countries where they have never lived? Are these Americans the Indigenous on reservations in a continual battle against poverty and invisibility in their struggle to survive governmental injunctions and corporate incursions?

This is the great and deep national secret no one wants to discuss - these are the people excluded so that the now “shocked Americans” can justify their own inclusion in the violent scheme that is capitalism. For these mostly “shocked” liberal Americans there is the fear that if Obama goes down, then they go down, too.

Obama’s failure reveals what was sacrificed for reform rather than fundamental change, sacrificed for fear of violence nonetheless has resulted in the carnage of millions more - including now the future of their progeny. They have put all their hopes and dreams in capitalism with a friendly face, only to realize that the dreaded nightmare of racial and class unrest might come about anyway. 

All that sacrifice of human life, all that suffering, amounts to Americans compromising with extremists!

Wolff knows this without saying as much, since he follows up by offering what might happen when the proverbial deer in the headlights wakes up and begins to take action. For “Americans will not be shocked for long.”

Americans, Wolff explains, will feel betrayed and will become angry. (Difference is not permitted to express anger). They will start looking around for an alternative to the economic system of capitalism. Since what Americans know about socialism derives from capitalist propaganda, some will consider anarchy. It is quite possible others will consider fascism. If this happens, Wolff continues, if Americans lean toward fascism, who will be their target enemy? 

No secret here--

Immigrants, Blacks, Jews...(the usual and historical scapegoats). 

What system is on the ready to fuel this anger, this hatred, this fear? As Wolff points out - capitalism! After all, I might point out, is U.S. warfare but a galvanizing of anger, hatred, and fear?

Capitalism does capitalize on nightmares as well as dreams, particularly since an era of the nightmare or the dream represents the barometer by which to measure Anglo-America’s comfort with the exclusion of racial and class difference or its discomfort with the inclusion of that difference.

A majority of these “shocked Americans,” in their complicity with Obama’s complicity, are not all “Republicans” or “right-wingers.”

Killing Americans is not a new development, and the legal justification for killing and subsequent cover ups is as legendary domestically as it is globally.

For the U.S. Empire and the survival of capitalism, killing has long been universal. Its various Pentagon and CIA operations are more transparent: comfortable boss and the same brutal legal and political operatives.

Killing is what is to be expected, more high-tech killings, accidental killings and more so-called secretly conducted and secretly justified repression. You cannot get water from a rock. It does not have it because it does not need it. There is nothing the imperialists in power and their capitalism can do with freedom, democracy, justice, except corrupt freedom, democracy, and justice through our complicity or anger!

The world waits for the American people.

[1] See Mark Mazzetti, Charlie Savage, and Scott Shane, “How a U.S. Citizen Came to Be in America's Cross Hairs,” New York Times, March 9, 2013. Editorial Board member and Columnist, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory. Click here to contact Dr. Daniels.