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Socialists & Social-lites (continued)

By Mike Alewitz

You groveled at the feet of the democrats, begging for the Employee Free Choice Act, (a wimpy substitute for organizing for working-class power) – he’s not even going to give you that. He’s not giving you a damn thing. Not even the jobs you coveted.

I’ve probably forgotten some of the rotten things he’s done, but this is just the first hundred days. Obama has years to promote the Bush program which is and always has been the program of the ruling class - regardless of who sits in the White House; like we told you, time and time again.

Obama has proven himself the faithful servant of imperialism. He was selected to derail the antiwar movement and stifle social unrest emerging from the economic crisis. And you wagged your little poodle tails and helped him herd workers off the streets and into the voting booth. You helped mislead millions of anti-war people into supporting a militarist president.  You covered up for him.  You apologized for him. You fawned over him and gushed over his election victory.Obama is being loyal to the class he represents – the employers. Obama didn’t betray his class – you betrayed yours. Now you should stand up and take responsibility for your actions.

If you still support Obama, you are supporting the ruling class against your fellow workers. You cannot be a progressive for Obama. You can either be a progressive, or you can be for Obama. Please don’t take this personally.  Some of you are friends. These comments are not directed at the many well-meaning people who got suckered in. They will learn from the experience and move on.

I’m talking about the pie-cards that have been hustling votes for the Democrats for years. I’m particularly talking about the most wretched, gutless, class collaborationist union bureaucracy that has ever existed. What a cesspool. At a time of growing economic crisis, when millions of workers would be willing to go into action and fight, you are hustling votes for the bosses and waging war with each other over dues money.

I’m not just referring to the millionaire pork-choppers like Stern, Gettlefinger, Wilhelm, etc – I’m including all the thousands of cogs in the bloated bureaucratic machinery that justify, apologize for, or remain silent about this dues money feeding frenzy. I don’t care whether you’re a hardened business unionist that’s been sucking our blood for decades or a pretentious young nitwit that hires out to lead the poor workers - you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Your behavior is a dishonor to the proud history of the militant working class of this country – to the women and men of the Knights of Labor, the IWW, the CIO, the anti-war GIs, the millions of undocumented workers that took to the streets in fearless action on Mayday just three years ago.

Any union staff person with an ounce of self-respect should get up from their desk right now and in a loud voice proclaim that you will no longer be a part of this travesty.  Tell them that you are no longer willing to participate in raiding operations and jurisdictional squabbles.  Tell them you are unwilling to impose contracts that sell out the next generations of workers.  Tell them that you are no longer going to crawl to the bosses offering concessions. Tell them you will not apologize for Obama and you will never, never, ever again support the candidates of the employers. Then announce that you are going out to look for a job so you can help organize your class. If you do that, we would all be proud of you.

OK – so why my sudden outburst? After all, none of this is new. I guess the quantitative just became the qualitative. There was the straw that broke the camel’s back, the spark that led to this undisciplined outpouring and my years of self-control going down the tubes. This is what did it:

Basking in the glow of the ruling class electoral victory, some of you have begun to strut around, coming out as socialists. What’s more, having rediscovered socialism, you are redefining it.  We are being re-imagined; Lucky us. This is much like the European discovery of America. In both cases, there were indigenous people that had little in common with the recent arrivals. Many of us have been socialists all along and I can say without qualification: you are not one of us. If you support Obama you are not any kind of revolutionary - you can hardly be considered a reformer.  

You are not socialists; you are what I will call social-lites, Posers and Pretenders.  The rapidity with which your leader has revealed his real agenda has put you in an awkward position. Having helped deliver the working class vote to the bosses, you will now try to pose as the socialist opposition to Obama. You’ll put on a Marxist patina to hide your rotten deeds. Being shrewd careerists, you’ll start back peddling, distancing yourself from Obama’s atrocities.  (Until you’re right back doing it again in the next elections.)

But we know what you are: frightened functionaries living off our labor. You didn’t believe us about Obama and you won’t believe me about this, but I’ll tell it plain: The workers that you have robbed and kept fettered in the face of the bosses’ offensive are going to rise up and roll right over you. When workers understand the depth of your duplicity, you are going to be booted so far that you will never be able to crawl back into your padded chairs.

Lest these words seem harsh, there is always room to change - it’s never too late.  Big fights are coming.  As the illusions in Obama disappear, there will be new upsurges in the anti-war movement, for immigrant rights and economic justice. We could use your help.

Break with Obama, apologize, promise not to do it again, and we will embrace you as comrades.

Otherwise, just get the f… out of our way.

How to Tell Socialists from Social-lites:

I have composed the following guide to help recognize the difference between socialists and social-lites. (Not all of these characteristics may apply at all times.)

Social-lites get paid jobs with unions to organize workers; 
Socialists are workers that organize unions.

Social-lites work in industry for a couple of years and then spend the rest of their life writing about it; 
Socialists work in industry their whole life and then spend a couple years writing about it.

Social-lites have framed photos of themselves with Fidel Castro or Nelson Mandela; 
Socialists don’t need such photos.

Social-lites speak at movement banquets and leave to get some decent food; 
Socialists are glad to get some decent food at a banquet, despite having to listen to the boring social-lite.

Social-lites have titles that include the word executive.
Socialists have titles that include the word head.

Social-lites organize meetings that try to keep out the wackos, so things don’t get out of control; 
Socialists are the wackos.

Social-lites try to get arrested at demonstrations to display their militancy; 
Socialists try to stay out of jail so they won’t get fired.

Social-lites enjoy successful careers writing books or making art about workers; 
Socialists write leaflets and paint banners with workers.

Social-lites speak at rallies that they didn’t organize; 
Socialists organize rallies that they are not allowed to speak at.

Social-lites are invited to Danny Glover’s or Sean Penn’s for receptions; 
Socialists go door-to-door selling papers.

Social-lites spend time lobbying, urging diplomatic initiatives and promoting time schedules; 
Socialists stay in the streets and demand stuff now.

Social-lites support progressive legislation and courts; 
Socialists tear up injunctions.

Social-lites receive awards from groups because of their activism; 
Socialists get expelled from groups because of their activism.

Social-lites want to get the country back on track; 
Socialists want to make a revolution.