Saturday, June 06, 2009

It's part of America's ideology to pretend that it doesn't have any ideology.

by William Blum

Oh, a woman nominated to be a Supreme Court justice. A woman whose parents are from Puerto Rico. A Latina! A Latina Supreme Court justice! Oh, hooray for America!

Who cares? Clarence Thomas is a Supreme Court justice. He's black. He's as hopelessly reactionary as they come. No one should give a damn that Sonia Sotomayor is a woman with a Latin American background. All that counts is her politics. Her ideology. Her positions on important social and political issues. Yes, I know, we're talking about the Law, the Majesty of the Law, judges who are scholars, impartial scholars, who study the fine points and the history of a law, experts on the Constitution of the United States, not swayed by today's partisan squabbles but take the long view, looking at precedent, considering what precedent may be set for the future.

Don't believe it. That may be true in the infrequent Supreme Court case where no ideological question at all is raised. Otherwise the judges are all biased human beings, appointed by a biased president, confirmed by biased members of the Senate.

Patrick Martin recently observed on the World Socialist Web Site: "For the past 12 years ... under two Democratic presidents and one Republican, the post of US Secretary of State has been occupied by, in succession, a white woman, a black man, a black woman, and a white woman."10 And they all loved the empire. When the empire called for it, they bombed, invaded, and killed; they overthrew, occupied, tortured, and lied; and swore allegiance to Israel and the corporations.

And now we have a black president. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or Stokely Carmichael he's not. His policies and his appointments have all fallen in that area that runs from ever so slightly to the left of center to clear conservative and imperialist on the right. He's more loath to being identified as, or collaborating with, progressives than with right-wingers. Team Obama sees the left as an eccentric old aunt who keeps showing up at family functions, making everyone uncomfortable and wishing she'd just go away.

America, and the world, have to grow up. Forget color. Forget ethnicity. Forget gender. Forget sexual orientation. Forget even the class the person comes from. Look at the class they serve. And understand that the person wouldn't be in the position they are, or be nominated for the position, if there was any serious question about their loyalty to the capitalist ethic or American world domination.

It also matters not whether the president is comically inarticulate or whether he speaks in complete grammatical sentences. Keep your eye on the policies.


To the numerous fans of Barack Obama, on the left, in the middle, on the right, and to the apolitical Obamaniacs, my advice is to read "Being There" by Jerzy Kosinski, or see the film version of the same name starring Peter Sellers.

Also read "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Hans Christian Andersen.

"Men go mad in herds, but only come to their senses one by one." — Charles Mackay, 19th century Scottish journalist


  1. Washington Post, May 26, 2009 book review
  2. Washington Post, May 15, 2009
  3. Associated Press, December 12, 2006
  4. Associated Press, June 2, 2009
  5. Does Google Censor Cuba?
  6. White House Press Office, April 19, 2009
  7. Cuban Political Prisoners ... in the United States
  8. Washington Post, June 3, 2009.
  9. "There Are Already 355 Terrorists in American Prisons", Slate Magazine, May 29, 2009
  10. "The fundamental social division is class, not race or gender", World Socialist Web Site, May 28, 2009

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at