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A yard sign in Madison hints at the political energy generated by the recall campaign against right-wing Governor Scott Walker. Credit: Creative Commons/Lost Albatross.

I am writing from Madison, Wisconsin, where the pace of political events and the good cheer of widespread progressive mobilization inevitably shades anything that I would project. Neither the difficulties of Occupy nor the state-wide anxiety that Republican money will win re-election for our ALEC-controlled, right-wing governor, in the upcoming recall, could prevent me from drawing conclusions based upon the last thirteen months, and my hopes for a new political era ahead.

The first thing to be said is that the Obama presidency began its aggressive disillusionment policy with its followers in Summer, 2009, when it approved of the Honduran coup, and made clear that Hilary Clinton was to be War Secretary in the old sense, so familiar with US policy in Latin America for 150 years, of looking for the next opportunity to start the bombing and send in troops for occupation. Nothing since, not even adherence to the Bush-era agreement for withdrawal from Iraq, has changed this picture significantly. Indeed, as of mid-April, war is more unpopular than even in Vietnam days, but this public attitude seems unlikely to hold Clinton and Company back.

Here is Obama’s weakness, deeper than the economy but deeply connected with the economy. I suspect that the turnout in Wisconsin against Republican state candidates will bring the state in–but with almost none of the 2008 enthusiasm for Obama. He would be relying almost entirely upon fear and loathing of the alternative. Outside of Wisconsin, his global policies (not to mention the payoffs to bankers) seem destined to weigh the ticket down. There is currently talk of Obama’s team somehow embracing Occupy and reshaping it, a vision that is so contradictory, in so many ways, that it is unlikely to be tried, let alone succeed.

The War Against Women offers, ironically, the greatest hope for the campaign, in the old Popular Front, anti-fascist sense of mobilization against horrors. It may work and I hope so. But if women’s vote has been historically for peace, then Obama has a lot of work to do, with few prospects of doing it.


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