This post is also available in: French
In the run up to the big day of voting in the US Presidential election we asked Alice Slater, one of the founders of the Abolition 2000 network of anti-nuclear organisations, to reflect on Obama’s first term and what her thoughts were about the 2012 campaign.
Pressenza: How do you see the first term of the Obama Presidency from the point of view of domestic politics?
AS: I am extremely disappointed in Obama’s term, and have decided to vote for Jill Stein on the Green Party line. I note that Obama has raised as much in corporate funds as Romney, although the Congressional Republicans got much more funding than the Democrats. This is a signal to me that they [big business] want Obama to win, just as they did the first time around, and then Obama is expected to make a deal with the Republicans in congress, selling out social security (he has already said there’s not much difference between him and Romney on that issue in one of the three excuses for debates) and medicare.
Of course he sold us all out on health care when he walked into the back room as soon as he got elected and made a deal with the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations for his dreadful health care plan, after having campaigned on a plan with a public option–medicare for all. He never even went to the people to get that option on the agenda.
On energy Obama is trying to outdo Romney, Bush-Cheney, arguing for more nuclear power plants (he supported 8.3 billion dollars for new nuclear power plants in Georgia–the first to be built in the US since Three Mile Island!) And he talks about clean coal and more drilling for oil and fracking, including having opened up the pristine arctic for oil drilling!
Pressenza: Has Super-storm Sandy changed the election in the last week?
AS: I think Sandy has had an effect on [the New York campaigns of] Bloomberg and Cuomo, who has gingerly raised the need to do something different without actually saying it might be about c-c-c-climate change. Obama has been silent.
On Civil Liberties, no Republican would ever get away with what we democrats are allowing Obama to do in terms of desecrating the Constitution by suspending habeus corpus–the magna carta if you will–the basic principle in American law that no man can be locked away without evidence, charges, trial. Apparently, Obama signed a bill that says we can do that to terrorists–whoever they are!!
And don’t get me started on drones where he is the judge, jury and executioner, sitting in a room with two other guys-the heads of the CIA and the NSC and picking out who should be assassinated on the ground without a warrant, trial or any proof of guilt.
We’ve been doing this in 8 countries and have killed an estimated 1,000 innocent civilians by this cruel and barbaric method, with some member of the US Chairforce sitting at his desk in Virginia or Colorado and playing with his joystick on a computer to kill people on the ground.
Pressenza: How has been the Obama Presidency from the point of view of world peace and disarmament?
AS: He made a deal to fund the weapons labs and nuclear establishment with 184 billion over 10 years for new bombs, missiles, subs, and planes to deliver nuclear weapons! We are surrounding China and Russia with missiles and armaments–provoking a new arms race. Otherwise I think he’s doing a great job! As for Romney, if he wins, he has been a total echo of Obama’s foreign policy if you watched him in the third debate. NO help there.
Pressenza: If there is not much hope of change at the hands of a US President, what help can be expected?
AS: I expect the help to come from other consortiums of nations that are wising up to the US. A whole group at the UN called for nuclear disarmament talks based on humanitarian law. Ironically Japan of all nations didn’t sign on, not wanting to disturb its shelter under the US nuclear umbrella. I think this will be a more promising route than the much-abused NPT. Indeed, our Abolition 2000 network is planning its global annual meeting this year in Scotland to support their efforts to kick the British nuclear deterrent on Trident submarines out of Scotland. We’re skipping the NPT as a political statement as it has been so dishonored and keeps promising countries the keys to the bomb factory with nuclear power while threatening the nuclear have-nots who are thinking they might use that “peaceful” power to build their own bomb in the basement.
I think we will be seeing a lot more people power to stop this last gasp of the patriarchy. Occupy Wall Street hasn’t gone away and is organizing for the climate. People are sitting in trees to stop the Canadian tar sands from going forward and Jill Stein, my candidate, just got arrested bringing supplies to them. Obama decided to delay half the pipe line, but after his election should he go forward, I think this will be one of the biggest pressure point for demonstrations, and recapturing our democracy. I hope this will be the last gasp of the patriarchy as we move into a new sustainable paradigm.