Former US President Barack Obama endorsed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bid for re-election.
For the centrist status quo liberals, this is a moment of elation. Two tried-and-tested leaders that have respect on the international stage for being progressive heartthrobs, supporting each other against a mounting Conservative opposition. Sounds great.
Except, it isn’t.
The problems with this endorsement are being seen by both the Left and the Right.
While the Right cries “electoral interference,” which may be only a plausible argument, the Left has something much more deeper to worry about.
It has to worry about hypocritical leaders trying to squander whatever they can in a last ditch attempt to hold onto power. It has to worry about leaders whose inactions speak louder than their abstract rhetoric. It has to worry about the reign of neoliberalism capitalism.
It has to worry about the class unity of the 1 percent.
Barack Obama was elected in 2008 to replace George Bush after he had plunged the US into expensive foreign wars and an unprecedented economic crisis.
Obama rose through and resonated with Americans with a much more progressive message. Nobody liked wars, everyone wanted economic recovery, and everyone wished for health care reform.
Obama bombed 7 countries in the Middle-East during his tenure. He turned Libya into a slave market, effectively ended up funding Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels in Syria, and supported Saudi Arabia’s genocide in Yemen.
Obama did deliver, to some degree. He did introduce Obamacare that did improve health care access for a fair amount of people. Obama did stimulate economic growth and brought the US out of the 2008 recession.
However, Obamacare was nothing but a milquetoast initiative that left millions out of coverage. While it was something better than before, there is a reason Bernie Sanders campaigned on Medicare for All because he know Obamacare was not working.
Obama’s bailouts effectively concentrated more resources in the hands of the very people that caused the Financial Crisis of 2008. It gave more power to the corrupt 1 percent who had broken the laws and caused the collapse of the entire global economy.
And obviously, Obama’s most blatant act of hypocrisy was the numerous foreign interventions he took part in. Obama bombed 7 countries in the Middle-East during his tenure. He turned Libya into a slave market, effectively ended up funding Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels in Syria, and supported Saudi Arabia’s genocide in Yemen.
Obama was not a progressive leader.
Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015 to replace the Conservative Stephen Harper on a message much more progressive than that of the actual socialist party, the NDP.
Trudeau’s calls for feminism, electoral reform, and helping the middle class earned him a majority. He managed to multiply the Liberal party’s share of seats by five times.
He started his term with great enthusiasm; he maintained a diverse cabinet both in terms of sex and ethnicity; he launched plans for an ambitious carbon tax; he instituted policies that got nearly 300,000 children off of poverty; he vocally promoted strong reconciliation and consulation with the indigenous community.
He seemed like a hero.
Except of course he wasn’t.
Trudeau still continues to sell armaments to Saudi Arabia which shows a stark contrast from his feministic and pro-human rights rhetoric.
Trudeau gave over CA$14 billion to large companies in corporate welfare at the expense of the taxpayer. The SNC-Lavalin scandal also shattered his reputation on ethics and feminism when he fired his female indigenous Attorney-General for trying to tell the truth.
Trudeau bought the TMX pipeline which, while being notoriously detrimental to the environment, goes through certain indigenous lands without their consent.
Trudeau gave exemptions of upto 80% to big polluters on his carbon tax, effectively placing the burden on the most economically marginalized and rural people of Canada.
Trudeau sued indigenous children when a verdict was delivered that his government would have to pay them for reconciliation.
Trudeau has not released a clear plan to budget any money for universal pharmacare, instead making vague references his in policy platform for this election.
And of course, how can one forget, the infamous blackface scandal where the world discovered Trudeau covered in black paint over his entire body, on 3 separate occasions.
Trudeau is not a progressive.
If this entire shenanigan reveals something, it is that no matter what you do and no matter what your policies are, as long as you are protecting the interest of capital, the elite has your back.
Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama represent peak neoliberalism, where in they change as little as possible in terms of social structures but allow for unfettered capitalism to continue its economic savagery.
Of course, the argument isn’t as black and white as it seems, as mentioned with how Trudeau has uplifted thousands out of poverty and Obama helped millions get health care. The argument is about knowing that you can do more, saying that you can, then not doing it and using your PR team to brand you as a progressive prince.
He chose Trudeau because he would allow more opportunities for corporate welfare. He chose Trudeau because behind his socially progressive overtones, are his menacingly capitalistic undertones.
If Barack Obama truly cared about endorsing a progressive economic leader, or even a leader of colour just like him, he could have chosen Jagmeet Singh of the left-wing New Democratic Party. But he didn’t.
He chose Trudeau for the specific reason that Trudeau won’t tax the 1 percent, not because Trudeau was “the only realistic option” against Scheer. He chose Trudeau because he would allow more opportunities for corporate welfare. He chose Trudeau because behind his socially progressive overtones, are his menacingly capitalistic undertones.
As Jagmeet Singh’s sharp attacks and courageous campaigning seeks to unseat numerous Liberal and Conservative ridings, Trudeau’s attempt to gain political credibility and authoritative forgiveness from the likes of Barack Obama actually highlight the state of panic his campaign is in.
As class unity is trying to prop up the Leftist cause, the Right is trying to consolidate its own class unity.
The reigns of capital and billionaires are threatened after a very long time. And it is the right time to strike on it the Left-wing’s hammer.