Obama in Egypt

The following is a response from a Lebanese leftistHere is a link to a more scathing critique of the address.

It is easy to dismiss Obama’s speech, and rightly so. Noam Chomsky points to the substantive trap the U.S. president finds himself in:

A CNN headline, reporting Obama’s plans for his June 4 Cairo address, reads ‘Obama looks to reach the soul of the Muslim world.’ Perhaps that captures his intent, but more significant is the content hidden in the rhetorical stance, or more accurately, omitted.

Keeping just to Israel-Palestine — there was nothing substantive about anything else — Obama called on Arabs and Israelis not to ‘point fingers’ at each other or to ‘see this conflict only from one side or the other.’

There is, however, a third side, that of the United States, which has played a decisive role in sustaining the current conflict. Obama gave no indication that its role should change or even be considered.

Those familiar with the history will rationally conclude, then, that Obama will continue in the path of unilateral US rejectionism.

But there is an edge, especially his criticism of Israel. Ha’aretz points to the problems Obama has with the new Israeli government:

During long, personal conversations with his inner circle over the past week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that he had no idea what US President Barack Obama would say in his speech in Cairo. “We have no information,” he said. He does now.

Netanyahu now understands what he already knew before the speech: The moment of political reckoning that he so feared is now rapidly approaching.

The thunder he hears in the distance is the sound of the Likud legions and the West Bank settler hordes rolling down the mountains. The light on the horizon is not that of a new day, but of a train coming right at him — a night train from Cairo.

Netanyahu will have to decide over the coming weeks whom he would rather pick a fight with: the powerful US administration, whose president sees himself in an almost messianic role, or his own coalition and members of his party.

In these circumstances it is easy to dismiss Obama’s words as rhetoric, and we know that he faces deep problems reconciling the tensions inside US imperialism with its Arab allies. But tension there is, caused by popular anger over Palestine and hatred of the Arab regimes.

But Obama is not Bush Lite… it is deeper than that. The U.S. hoped that its invasion of Iraq would project its power, instead it has laid bare its weakness.

If you turn the prism you can see the light refracted in a different way. Here is a black man trotting the globe apologizing for what the white men did. This is significant, because it will be the Israelis who will ensure that he fails.

For the record here is Obama’s speech.

Note the reference to the struggle against slavery… he is saying that the Palestinians are like the slaves in the U.S. Anyone familiar with this history will understand that those who helped the slaves are heroes.

Here is the Bush “axis” speech.


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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)