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Reference
Bond, Patrick (2011) Obama, not yet Uhuru.  : -.

Summary
Three articles by CCS director Patrick Bond warn of Obama mania.



Obama: Channeling Clinton, extending Bush

Obama was elected on a platform of change. Yet, his actions are pointing to more and more of the same. The question of whether Obama can possibly replace Bush as a danger to world peace is worth considering.

The president-elect’s turn to the Zionist, militarist wing of the US ruling class in recent weeks negates the interest and support he showed for the Palestinian cause while a Chicago community organiser during the 1990s and to the anti-war movement when Bush attacked Iraq five and a half years ago.

To counteract ongoing their economic and cultural decline, it appears that US imperialist managers have adopted two strategies: political revitalisation via Obama’s carefully-crafted image as a non-imperialist politician with roots in African-American, Kenyan and even Indonesian traditions; and the activism anticipated through his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, a firm supporter of the US war against Iraq.

In reaction to election campaign allegations that he is a peacenik, Obama himself uttered that the ‘surge’ of US troops in Iraq ‘succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.’

Responded Ray McGovern (formerly a CIA agent, now an anti-imperialist), ‘Succeeded? You betcha - the surge was a great success in terms of the administration’s overriding objective. The aim was to stave off definitive defeat in Iraq until President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney could swagger from the West Wing into the western sunset on Jan. 20, 2009.’

In spite of having last week renewed the contract of the Bush regime’s current military leader, defense secretary Robert Gates, Obama may not run as extreme a militarist regime as Bush/Cheney or as McCain/Palin would have.
Yet as US reporter Jeremy Scahill points out, there is an awful precedent from Washington’s imperialist habits during Bill Clinton’s administration: ‘The prospect of Obama’s foreign policy being, at least in part, an extension of the Clinton Doctrine is real.’

That doctrine, ‘paved the way for projects eventually carried out under the Bush/Cheney administration.’ Obama turned to ‘top players’ from the Clinton Administration for advice, and then, according to Cahill, generated the following militarist positions:

  • His plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan

  • An Iraq plan that could turn into a downsized and rebranded occupation that keeps U.S. forces in Iraq for the foreseeable future.


  • His labeling of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a ‘terrorist organization’


  • His pledge to use unilateral force inside of Pakistan to defend US interests.


  • His position, presented before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that Jerusalem ‘must remain undivided’ — a remark that infuriated Palestinian officials and which he later attempted to reframe.


  • His plan to continue the War on Drugs, a backdoor US counterinsurgency campaign in Central and Latin America.


  • His refusal to ‘rule out’ using Blackwater and other armed private forces in US war zones, despite previously introducing legislation to regulate these companies and bring them under US law.


  • In addition to Hillary Clinton, Scahill warns of the following imperialist influences: vice president Joe Biden, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher, former defense secretary William Perry, former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and a host of other key Clinton-era figures (Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, Anthony Lake, Lee Hamilton, Susan Rice, John Brennan, Jami Miscik, John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Ivo H. Daalder, Sarah Sewall, Michele Flournoy, Wendy Sherman, Tom Donilon, Denis McDonough and Mark Lippert).

    As Scahill concludes, ‘Barack Obama campaigned on a pledge to bring change to Washington. “I don’t want to just end the war,” he said early this year. “I want to end the mindset that got us into war.” That is going to be very difficult if Obama employs a foreign policy team that was central to creating that mindset, before and during the presidency of George W. Bush.’

    One danger zone is Africa, where the Bush/Cheney/Gates geopolitical and military machinery ground to a halt in the form of the Africa Command. No state aside from Liberia would entertain the idea of hosting the headquarters (which remained in Stuttgart), notwithstanding an endorsement of Africom from even Obama’s main Africa advisor, Witney Schneidman.

    More importantly, even if Obama restores a degree of US credibility at the level of international politics, US military decline will continue to be hastened by failed Pentagon strategies against urban Islamist guerilla movements in Baghdad, rural Islamist fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the belligerent nuclear-toting state of North Korea.

    None of these forces represent social progress, of course, but they probably are responsible for such despondency in Washington that other targets of US imperial hostility, such as the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, remain safe from blatant overthrow in the near term.

    Still, it is also worth noting that Obama’s lies about ‘change’ extend to economic mismanagement, and that too will cause immense suffering by countries – like South Africa – increasingly tied into the world economy by decades of pro-corporate policies adopted by Bush, Clinton, Bush senior and Ronald Reagan, since 1981.

    Although he announced a stimulus package aimed at creating 2.5 million jobs through public works by January 2011, Obama’s team of economic policy managers is decidedly neoliberal.

    A central figure in the current crisis is the deregulatory yet pro-bailout financial manager, Tim Geithner, chosen as Obama’s treasury secretary. Head of the Council of Economic Advisors is neoliberal University of Chicago professor Austan Goolsbee, a strong advocate of financial deregulation even as the subprime crisis broke the US economy’s back.

    Similarly, Lawrence Summers was not only the main force in Washington responsible for the most disastrous recent financial deregulation, in 2000 as Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary, he was also the central figure in the prior world financial crisis, in 1997-99, when he pushed Asia to open its doors to foreign banks in exchange for bailout loans.

    And the prior economic crisis featured Paul Volcker, Obama’s most senior and persuasive advisor. By tripling the world interest rate in 1979-80 as US Federal Reserve chair, Volcker caused the Third World debt crisis and countless associated deaths, so as to restore US economic power and refuel financial globalisation.

    Judging by their record and ideology, these men will do yet more intense damage to the rest of the world, and they will do so with far greater power – thanks to undeserved credibility associated with Obama’s election - than did Bush’s financial managers.

    Fighting US imperialism and neoliberalism is hence more important than ever, by a broad front of progressive forces. How long will it take such people to drop illusions about Obama and generate countervailing power?

    Originally published in Pambazuka and Muslim Views, December 8, 2008



    End of Neoliberalism? Sorry, Not Yet.

    Those who declare that the Great Crash of Late 2008 heralds the end of free market economic philosophy -- neoliberalism for short -- are not paying close enough attention.

    This includes the Swedish Bank's Economic Nobel Prize laureate, Princeton professor Paul Krugman. Everyone's talking about a new New Deal, for obvious reasons, he told his New York Times column readers. In 2008, as in 1932, a long era of Republican political dominance came to an end in the face of an economic and financial crisis that, in voters' minds, both discredited the free-market ideology and undermined its claims of competence. And for those on the progressive side of the political spectrum, these are hopeful times.

    But notwithstanding some promised fiscal stimulation and public works projects in the US, a more realistic -- and also radical -- approach requires us to first humbly acknowledge that a dangerous period lies immediately ahead, because of at least three factors:

  • Public policy will suffer from the financial sector crisis via intense austerity, pressures associated with extreme economic volatility, and a renewed lobby for micro-neoliberal strategies like privatization.


  • There remains unjustified faith in multilateral system solutions (from Kyoto climate change mitigation to Bretton Woods revivalism), which distracts us from the national-scale solutions that are both potentially feasible and just; and


  • A new threat arises, in the form of relegitimized neoliberalism and imperialism, via the election of Barack Obama as US president.


  • The mid-November G20 meeting on the international financial crisis was one site where illusory post-neoliberalism was on display. International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn suggested fiscal stimulus equal to 2 percent of gross domestic product across the world, everywhere, everywhere where it is possible.

    In reality, though, the IMF was simultaneously treating South Africa -- and even wealthier Seychelles -- like a typical Third World debtor deserving of a full neoliberal work-out. For at precisely the same moment, on November 15, the IMF lent Seychelles $26 million to cure a sickness (currency collapse) caused, in turn, by IMF medicine.

    According to one report, As part of its reform package, the Seychelles lifted long-standing currency exchange controls earlier this month, prompting a 48 percent slide in the value of the rupee. The IMF said the government had made a good start . . . but it said further steps were needed . . . 'in order to secure substantial primary surpluses over the medium term.' (Translation: no fiscal stimulus for Seychelles citizens.)

    Worsening austerity awaits many poorer, aid-dependent countries, thanks to the useless mode in which multilateral economic, political, and climate arrangements have been negotiated. Last week's Poznan climate talks again revealed how dysfunctional global processes can be.

    During the height of the false prosperity, numerous promises about increased development aid were offered by wealthy countries (e.g. OECD members), especially at the Gleneagles G8 meeting.

    But, according to SA finance minister Trevor Manuel, who also serves as the UN secretary general's Special Envoy on Financing for Development, World military expenditure is estimated by the Stockholm Institute to have been $1.3 trillion in 2007. Compare this to the $104 billion spent on Overseas Development Assistance!

    The Institute reports that rich countries decreased their aid flows by 4.7 per cent in 2006 and 8.4 per cent in 2007, in contrast to rising military spending of 3 per cent in 2006 and 6 per cent in 2007.

    Manuel lamented, The food and fuel shocks and global financial turmoil are a bellwether of the consequences of broken promises. They are a signal of our failure.

    I agree with him for once. Yet in the face of such consistent failure -- on development aid, Bretton Woods Institution reform, the World Trade Organization's disastrous Doha Agenda, international financial regulation as proposed at the G20 summit, United Nations Security Council democratization, and various other crucial challenges to world elites -- the most myopic approach is to advocate yet more 'global economic governance.'

    I will concede that hope for a post-neoliberal global project emerged from the (brief) presidency of the United Nations General Assembly by Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, the former Sandinista foreign minister. D'Escoto chose as advisors some of the world's most profound left and centre-left analysts, including Joseph Stiglitz, Maude Barlow, Leonardo Boff, François Houtart, Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, Richard Falk and Howard Zinn.

    Stiglitz and Houtart joined a UN team at the Doha Financing for Development summit in late November, hoping to promote a new, more equitable and developmental Bretton Woods world financial architecture. But that meeting too was a complete waste of CO2 emissions, energy, and time -- as witnessed by the refusal of Strauss-Kahn and World Bank president Robert Zoellick to even bother showing up.

    D'Escoto's extraordinary gathering cannot substitute for more serious, durable forces, such as control of at least four Latin American countries by leftist governments. Unfortunately, the demise of both neoconservatism's main power base (the US White House, Vice Presidency, Pentagon, and CIA) and neoliberalism's financial and ideological base has not fundamentally altered power relations between elites and subaltern forces.

    Indeed, neoliberalism may have another breath of life, with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation applied from above by Barak Obama or the IMF. Much stronger pressure is needed from below to resist. Until grassroots forces again gather their strength to mount an assault, national-scale challenges to global financial power are the only ways forward given adverse global-scale power relations.

    From a national power base, various financial sector reforms can be pursued: imposition of exchange controls (such as were applied by Malaysia in 1998 or Venezuela in 2003), financial nationalization (as have some European countries egged), and fiscal stimulation (as national states are generally being encouraged to do at present, in order to avoid global depression).

    In his famous 1933 article on national self-sufficiency, John Maynard Keynes cautioned against nationalistic silliness, haste and intolerance, yet argued forcefully for the national not global scale of economic revival: I sympathize, therefore, with those who would minimize, rather than with those who would maximize, economic entanglement among nations. Ideas, knowledge, science, hospitality, travel -- these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible, and, above all, let finance be primarily national.

    He continued, in a passage that rings true today: Experience accumulates to prove that most modem processes of mass production can be performed in most countries and climates with almost equal efficiency. . . . A moderate increase in the real cost of primary and manufactured products consequent on greater national self-sufficiency may cease to be of serious consequence when weighed in the balance against advantages of a different kind. National self-sufficiency, in short, though it costs something, may be becoming a luxury which we can afford, if we happen to want it.

    For those (like myself) aiming for a society left of Keynes, it is still the case that, as Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto, The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie. The national scale is where the most power lies, and where strategies against commodification and corporate globalization have the best chance of success.

    In South Africa, to illustrate, the Treatment Action Campaign and Johannesburg Anti-Privatisation Forum have won, respectively, antiretroviral medicines needed to fight AIDS and publicly-provided water. The drugs are now made locally in Africa -- in Johannesburg, Kampala, Harare, etc. -- and on a generic not branded basis, and are provided free of charge, a great advance upon the $15,000/patient/year cost of branded AIDS medicines a decade earlier (in South Africa, half a million people receive them).

    And after massive battles, water in Johannesburg is now produced and distributed by public agencies (Suez was sent back to Paris after its controversial 2001-06 protest-ridden management of municipal water). In April, a major constitutional lawsuit in the High Court resulted in a doubling of free water to 50 liters/person/day and the prohibition of pre-payment water meters.

    But what is most crucial, then, for a realistic post-neoliberal project is ongoing delegitimization of the US in its political and military modes. One danger zone is Africa, where the Bush/Cheney/Gates geopolitical and military machinery ground to a halt in the form of the Africa Command. No state aside from Liberia would entertain the idea of hosting the headquarters (which remained in Stuttgart), notwithstanding an endorsement of Africom from even Obama's main Africa advisor, Witney Schneidman.

    More importantly, even if Obama restores a degree of US credibility at the level of international politics, US military decline will continue to be hastened by failed Pentagon strategies against urban Islamist guerilla movements in Baghdad, rural Islamist fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the belligerent nuclear-toting state of North Korea.

    None of these forces represent social progress, of course, but they probably are responsible for such despondency in Washington that other targets of US imperial hostility, such as the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador, remain safe from blatant overthrow in the near term.

    In turn, the leading Latin American countries have the best opportunity in the world, today, to build post-neoliberal economic, social, and environmental projects.

    The latter eco-socialist project is vitally important, because to counter the objectionable idea of petro-socialism, as practiced in Venezuela, there are inspiring examples in Cuba's post-carbon innovations, in Bolivia's indigenous people's power, and in Ecuador's official commitment -- no matter how it wavers in practice -- to a keep the oil in the soil policy in the Yasuni National Park.

    Finally, as even Keynes saw in 1933, global capitalism has had it: The decadent international but individualistic capitalism, in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war, is not a success. It is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous -- and it doesn't deliver the goods. In short, we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it.

    Turning our energies of dislike/despise into social progress is not impossible. But the most powerful SA examples are not (yet) the negation of national neoliberalism, but rather grassroots activist initiatives -- such as acquiring generic AIDS medicines and free public water supplies -- against forces of micro-commodification.

    These are indeed useful signals that another world -- realistically post-neoliberal -- is not only possible, but is being constructed now, going into a very dangerous 2009.

    Originally published in ZNet, Monthly Review, Counterpunch, GreenLeft Weekly



    Obama's Economic Advisors

    One of Barack Obama's leading advisors has done more damage to Africa, its economies and its people than anyone I can think of in world history, including even Cecil John Rhodes. That charge may surprise readers, but hear me out.

    His name is Paul Volcker, and although he is relatively unknown around the world, the 82 year old banker was recommended as 'a legend!' to Obama by Austan Goolsbee, the president-elect's chief economic advisor (and a professor at the University of Chicago). Volcker was recently profiled by the Wall Street Journal: The cigar-chomping central banker from 1979 to 1987, he received blame for driving up interest rates and tipping the US into the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

    We'll consider the impact of Volcker's rule on Africa in a moment. But why dredge up crimes nearly thirty years old?

    This kind of reckoning is important, as three current examples suggest:

  • Reparations lawsuits are now being heard in New York by victims of apartheid who are collectively requesting $400 billion in damages from three dozen US corporations who profited from South African operations during the same period. Supreme Court justices had so many investments in these companies that in May they had to bounce the case back to a lower New York court to decide, effectively throwing out an earlier judgment against the plaintiffs: the Jubilee anti-debt movement, the Khulumani Support Group for apartheid victicms, and 17 000 other black South Africans.


  • Last month a San Francisco court began considering a similar reparations lawsuit - under the Alien Tort Claims Act - filed by Larry Bowoto and the Ilaje people of the Niger Delta against Chevron for 1998 murders similar to those that took the life of Ken Saro-Wiwa on November 10, 1995.


  • In Boston last month, Harvard University's Pride Chigwedere released a study into preventable deaths - at least 330 000 - caused by Thabo Mbeki's AIDS policies during the early 2000s. The ex-president has 'blood on his hands,' according to Zackie Achmat of the Treatment Action Campaign, requesting a judicial inquiry.

    The same critical treatment is appropriate for Volcker, because of the awesome financial destruction he imposed, within most Africans' living memory. His policies stunted the continent's growth when it most needed internal economic coherence.

    Even the International Monetary Fund's official history cannot avoid using the famous phrase most associated with the Fed chair's name: The origins of the debt crisis of the 1980s may be traced back to and through the lurching efforts of the world's governments to cope with the economic instabilities of the 1970s... [including the] monetary contraction in the United States (the 'Volcker Shock') that brought a sharp rise in world interest rates and a sustained appreciation of the dollar.

    Volcker's decision to raise rates so high to rid the US economy of inflation and strengthen the fast-falling dollar had special significance in Africa, write British academics Sarah Bracking and Graham Harrison: 1979 marked a radical change in global economic policy, inaugurated with the 'Volcker Shock' (so called after Paul Volcker, then chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve) when the United States suddenly and dramatically raised interest rates, [which] increased the cost of African debt precipitously, since a majority of debt stock was held in dollars. The majority of the newly independent states had been effectively delivered into at least twenty years of indentured labor. From that point on access to finance became a key policing mechanism directed at African populations.

    Adds journalist Naomi Klein in her book The Shock Doctrine, In developing countries carrying heavy debt loads, the Volcker Shock was like a giant Taser gun fired from Washington, sending the developing world into convulsions. Soaring interest rates meant higher interest payments on foreign debts, and often the higher payments could only be met by taking on more loans... It was after the Volcker Shock that Brazil's debt exploded, doubling from $50 billion to $100 billion in six years. Many African countries, having borrowed heavily in the seventies, found themselves in similar straits: Nigeria's debt in the same short time period went from $9 billion to $29 billion.

    The numbers involved were daunting for low-income countries. According to University of California economic geographer Gillian Hart, Medium and long-term public debt shot up from $75.1 billion in 1970 to $634.4 billion in 1983. It was the so-called Volcker Shock... that ushered in the debt crisis, the neoliberal counterrevolution, and vastly changed roles of the World Bank and IMF in Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia.

    Elmar Altvater of Berlin's Free University recalls how the world slid into the debt crisis of the 1980s after the US Federal Reserve tripled interest rates (the so called 'Volcker Shock'), leading to what later has been described as the 'lost decade' for the developing world.

    How 'lost'? The British Medical Journal complained in 1999 of orthodox World Bank structural adjustment policies that immediately followed: According to Unicef, a drop of 10-25% in average incomes in the 1980s-the decade noted for structural adjustment lending-in Africa and Latin America, and a 25% reduction in spending per capita on health and a 50% reduction per capita on education in the poorest countries of the world, are mostly attributable to structural adjustment policies. Unicef has estimated that such adverse effects on progress in developing countries resulted in the deaths of half a million young children-and in just a 12 month period.

    A few honest mainstream economists also explain Africa's economic crisis in these terms. The external shock that might have precipitated the developing country slowdown is the increase in real interest rates after the Volcker Shock in 1979, wrote World Bank senior researcher William Easterly in 2001. The interest on external debt as a ratio to GDP has a statistically significant and negative effect on growth.

    A few blocks away from the Federal Reserve, one of Volcker's closest allies was World Bank president Tom Clausen, formerly Bank of America chief executive officer. As the Volcker Shock wore on, in 1983, Clausen offered his Board of Directors this frank confession: We must ask ourselves: How much pressure can these nations be expected to bear? How far can the poorest peoples be pushed into further reducing their meagre standards of living? How resilient are the political systems and institutions in these countries in the face of steadily worsening conditions? I don't have the answers to these important questions. But if these countries are pushed too far, and too much is demanded of them without the provision of substantial assistance in their adjustment efforts, we must face the consequences. And those will surely exact a cost in terms of human suffering and political instability.

    At that point, Africa was not even on my radar screen, Volcker told interviewers Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin.

    Meanwhile, the Bank's sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, was described by Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere as a neo-colonial institution which exploits the poor to make them poorer and serves the rich to become richer. Volcker had, ironically, played a central role in the destruction of the Bretton Woods system's dollar-gold convertibility arrangement, effectively a US$80 billion default on holders of dollars abroad, when in 1971 he served Richard Nixon as under-secretary of the Treasury.

    Eight years later, he was chosen to chair the Federal Reserve, which sets US (and by extension world) interest rates. As Jimmy Carter's domestic policy advisor Stuart Eizenstat explained, Volcker was selected because he was the candidate of Wall Street. This was their price, in effect.

    In 1985, Ronald Reagan offered Clausen's job to Volcker, but he decided to stay on at the Fed until 1987, when he went back to a high-paid Wall Street job.

    Now he is back, and according to a recent profile by the Wall Street Journal, Obama is increasingly relying on Mr. Volcker. His staff now routinely reviews policy proposals and speeches with Mr. Volcker. Conference calls and face-to-face meetings of the Obama economic team are often reorganized to accommodate his schedule. When the team discusses the financial crisis, 'The most important question to Obama: What does Paul Volcker think?' says Jason Furman, the campaign's economic-policy director... When Sen. Obama raised the prospect of a package of spending and tax measures to 'stimulate' the economy, Mr. Volcker disapproved. 'Americans are spending beyond their means,' he told the group. A stimulus package would delay the belt-tightening and savings needed, he added, proposing instead better regulation and assistance to banks.

    By November 8, the odds of Volcker being appointed Treasury Secretary were 10%, according to the Journal's betting pool. The race was between New York Federal Reserve Bank president Tim Geithner and former Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, at 40% odds each. Geithner served under Summers and Robert Rubin in Bill Clinton's Treasury Department during the 1990s.

    Summers is best known for the sexism controversy which cost him the presidency of Harvard in 2006. But fifteen years earlier he gained infamy as an advocate of African genocide and environmental racism, thanks to a confidential World Bank memo he signed when he was the institution's senior vice president and chief economist: I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that... I've always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly underpolluted, their air quality is vastly inefficiently low...

    After all, Summers continued, inhabitants of low-income countries typically die before the age at which they would begin suffering prostate cancer associated with toxic dumping. And in any event, using marginal productivity of labour as a measure, low-income Africans are not worth very much anyhow. Nor are African's aesthetic concerns with air pollution likely to be as substantive as they are for wealthy northerners.

    Such arguments were said by Summers to be made in an 'ironic' way (and in his defense, he may have simply plagiarized the memo from a colleague, Lant Pritchett). Yet their internal logic was pursued with a vengeance by the World Bank and IMF long after Summers moved over to the Clinton Treasury Department, where in 1999 he insisted that Joseph Stiglitz be fired by Bank president James Wolfensohn, for speaking out against the impeccable economic logic of the Washington Consensus.

    Volcker, Summers and a whole crew of similar capitalist economists are whispering in Obama's ear for a resurgent US based on brutal national self-interest. They need Obama to relegitimate shock-doctrinaire neoliberalism - and in turn, they need Obama's Africa advisors (like Witney Schneidman) to promote military imperialism in the form of the Africa Command.

    Can Obama instead hear supporters like Bill Fletcher, Imani Countess and Danny Glover, who made TransAfrica (as one example) a visionary economic justice organization, by fighting the policies of Volcker and Summers? Can AfricaAction, the Institute for Policy Studies, the American Friends Service Committee, Jubilee USA, ActionAid and other genuine advocates for the continent get a word in edgewise, between fits of cackling from the corporate liberals who think they own Obama? Will the president-elect ever get advice from economists James K. Galbraith of the University of Texas or Center for Economic and Policy Research codirectors Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot, who correctly read the various financial crises way ahead of time, and whose records promoting social justice would serve Africa far better?

    Probably not. So it is vital for Africans to wake up to the danger that the likes of Volcker and Summers represent. Anyone paying attention to the continent's economic decline since 1980 knows the damage they did, but Obama apparently needs to hear more of their sins against his father's people before he chooses his Treasury Secretary next week. And while he's at it, how about a revision of Obama's utterly neoliberal 'fundamental objective' for the continent, which is to accelerate Africa's integration into the global economy?

    Originally in Counterpunch, November 12, 2008

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