No hope

Dear Auntie, All my left-wing friends seem to be overjoyed about Obama winning the US election, holding real hope that he will bring change, that he'll stop the wars, and that he'll somehow make America all cuddly and nice. But haven't we been here before? I'm getting flashbacks to the expectations people had of politicians like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, and how quickly they betrayed us. Is it terrible that I think Obama will be just more of the same? Hopeless, London

December 5, 2008 · 2 min read

Dear Hopeless,

Auntie admits getting quite swept away by the tide of hope on election night but it was more a case of anyone but Bush (or McCain and Palin) and I’ll open the champagne. She quickly sobered up, though, after few hours broken sleep and nightmares in which Barack Obama was bopping with Margaret Thatcher, dressed as St Francis of Assisi, to the sound of ‘Things can only get better’.

And she too remembers we’ve been here before and 11 years on nowt much has got better and much has got worse. In Auntie’s experience, politicians that promise to save the world usually disappoint.

Suddenly, it seems healthy cynicism is out of fashion. But the devil’s always worn Prada and so do the most Machiavellian and seductive of the spin doctors. The Obama publicity machine has more oil on it than the Exxon Valdez and is in much better nick than the toxic tanker. But the result could be just as devastating – if nothing else, in crushing all this new found hope and optimism.

Auntie won’t state the bleeding obvious and say Obama is no socialist but … well, he isn’t. The more desperate you are for a cure the more the snake oil sounds like a good bet but on the more positive side, it’s up to us to make sure Obama’s fine words translate into fine actions.

Email your questions to: Subcomandauntie@gmail.com


Election 2019: Transatlantic socialism rising

As Sanders and Corbyn head to the polls, Peter Gowan describes a new spirit of international collaboration on the left

Political discourse can be deadly

As long as our politicians feed, rather than challenge, racism, the most marginal in our societies will continue to be at risk, argues Remi Joseph-Salisbury

photo of people marching with placards

Nurses say: Patients’ rights have no borders

As a US-friendly no-deal Brexit inches closer, Bonnie Castillo of National Nurses United explains why US nurses have joined the fight against NHS privatisation. Recommended reading ahead of The World Transformed health sessions


Keep an eye on these key battlegrounds in the US midterms

The U.S. midterm elections take place on November 6. We asked four grassroots activists, all currently canvassing to get out the vote, to tell us which candidates they are backing and what their elections might mean for US politics.

The deadly dangers of the ‘special relationship’

The ties which bind the 'special relationship' between the UK and the US are a toxic mix of militarism and free trade. By Andrew Smith

By withdrawing from the Iran Deal, Trump is gambling with the future of the planet

Jettisoning the deal risks nuclear escalation at a delicate time in Middle East relations, writes Kate Hudson from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament