Barack Obama: a socialist in disguise?

With the multi-billion dollar bailout of banks and the White House's plans to reform public services, socialism was a buzzword in the US in 2009. Yet many are undecided whether Barack Obama is really socialist-oriented.

For all the protests and public rage that Americans unloaded in 2009, one word remained a favorite amid the outcry.

“I believe in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and I feel that the country is turning into socialism,” said one participant at a rally in Washington DC.

From the “Tea Parties” to TV news channels, socialism was the boogieman of 2009, a villain seeking to swallow America’s precious capitalism.

Barack Obama, the first black US President, spent hundreds of billions bailing out banks, auto companies, and reforming the healthcare system – blurring the lines between public and private entities.

Weighing in on public opinion, Harlem Pastor James David Manning accused Obama of attempting to install a clandestine Karl Marx philosophy.

“This two-tongue liar, this quasi-Muslim, socialist, communist, Marxist freak called Barack Hussein Obama!” Pastor James David Manning says about the American president.

However, following Wall Street’s greed-inspired financial meltdown, US publications have asked if the father of communism was right and whether capitalism inevitably does lead to a destructive end.

For many citizens the “S” word denotes a government takeover of guns, property and freedom, but to rapper and activist “Immortal Technique”, the archaic fears of old are a far cry from today’s reality.

“The police department – aren’t they a paid-for entity by the government? The fire department? No one considers them a socialist entity. The post office, isn’t that a socialist entity? Anyone who’s ever been in the military… you know what socialism is as a caricature more than anyone else in the world, because if you get a tooth pulled out, the government is paying for it, you are not,” says Felipe Andres Coronel, AKA “Immortal Technique”.

However, trend forecaster Gerald Celente says critics should fear resurging sympathies for Mussolini, not Marx.

“Socialism is egalitarianism. It’s when everybody shares equally in something. And the government is in control of the system. It’s not socialism. It’s fascism. People are misunderstanding it because they’re afraid to call a spade a spade. It’s too ugly to look at,” Gerald Celente says.

America begins 2010 suffering something of an identity crisis, divided over which economic system works best.

What most agree on is that the model in place up until this point has failed to prevent a great recession that continues to take its toll on the people.