On Some Political Developments
[Scientific Socialist, Spring 2004]
The thesis advanced in Scientific Socialist Draft Program (2000) that American neo-fascism will resort to more tyrannical and terrorist forms of rule has been completely borne out over the last several years(1).
In 2000, the US financial oligarchy prepared to push its fascist dictatorship even further towards Hitlerism by installing the Bush-Cheney ultra-right Republicans, dubbed the neo-conservatives or “neocons” (2).
As always, the presidential election was decidedly rigged. One early and obvious sign: the oligarchy's other puppet party, the "liberal" Democrats headed by Gore, deliberately ran one of the most uninspiring and lackluster campaigns in recent memory. Voter turnout was typically low, with only about half of the voting age population casting a ballot. In addition, tens of thousands of Florida's Black voters, traditionally Democrats, had their voting rights denied. Yet the constituency still tilted toward Gore, who won the popular vote. As it turned out, Bush was handed the presidency by the Supreme Court that made the extraordinary and illegal ruling to prohibit a recount in Florida which, had it been done, would have easily given Gore the votes he needed to carry the state and win the election. However, the Democrats were programmed to lose not win the election. This was clear for all to see when Congress, with Gore presiding, refused to contest the fraudulent Florida electoral vote for lack of one approving Senator. The collaboration between the "two opposing political parties" could not have been clearer (3). Thus, the oligarchy discarded both legal and democratic convention and essentially installed the Bush-Cheney clique as a Junta to implement its plan for unleashing unparalleled repression and exploitation against the working class and people at home and escalating aggression to defend, expand, and plunder its empire abroad.
Nevertheless, the mandate from the oligarchy did not go over very well with the masses. Many workers quickly became disillusioned with Bush and his policies which blatantly favored the rich while the liberal intelligentsia continuously questioned the legitimacy of the election.
But “9/11” changed all that. It distracted the masses and silenced critics. The country had suffered a major attack on its own soil by "foreign terrorists." How could anyone criticize the "leaders" without appearing unpatriotic? Conveniently, "9/11” provided the justification for fascism and war.
Assuming the airs of bold leaders rushing to the defense of a stricken nation and demanding all necessary measures to ensure “national security,” the Junta ordered the obsequious Congress to rubber stamp the “Patriot Act,” giving the already oppressive state apparatus even more power to crush the rights and freedoms of the masses. On the other front, under the signboard of a “war on terror,” Washington unleashed the military machine for Nazi-style “pre-emptive strikes,” namely, open aggression to attack and occupy nations that according to US “intelligence” were “evil supporters of terrorism” and “threaten” the US.
The fundamental cause of these more extreme policies had little to do with “9/11” and everything to do with capitalism’s deepening general crisis and its consequences(4). One of the consequences of this crisis is continual economic disintegration and decline(5). Undoubtedly, the capitalist system is immersed in a world economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The crisis is affecting countries from the imperialist centers to the neo-colonial periphery and all sectors of capitalist economy from production and trade to finance and currency.
Like the Great Depression, the present crisis is exacerbating all class contradictions, including the contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, between the imperialist powers, and even between groups of imperialists both inside and outside their “home” countries. As a result, political crises are erupting across the globe.
Within this context, the growing contradictions between the big imperialist powers and groups are becoming especially sharp. While international monopolies are in constant running battles with each other in their endless quest to maximize profits, the weakened world economy is driving inter-imperialist rivalries to become more antagonistic as global markets shrink. Antagonisms have been further aggravated over securing key natural resources, which are in ever-diminishing supply because of imperialism’s obscene plunder and waste. The current “Trans-Atlantic Rift” between the Anglo-American bloc and Western European powers brought on by the "
Iraqcrisis" is just the latest example of how contradictions in the imperialist camp are being resolved by force in a new, ongoing struggle to re-divide the world.
The hotbeds of rivalry in this increasingly ferocious re-division are of a specific type. They are either the previous satellites of the Soviet Union or those countries that had significant financial, trade, or military ties to the Kremlin and have retained these ties with the
USSR's greatly weakened successor – the Russian Federation. So for example, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and other “Stans” (previous Soviet republics) as well as Georgiain Central Asia, Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, and Syriahave all become prey for the imperialist wolves of Western Europe and Japanwith Anglo-American imperialism fighting to drive out adversaries in the pack. Because the US and Britain had largely been outmaneuvered “diplomatically,” viz., in covert operations, by other big powers in securing new spheres of influence, especially in the oil and mineral rich Middle East and Central Asia, they turned toward to their big guns to compensate for their small brains. As one of the Junta’s Pentagon chieftains bluntly put it, the USwill no longer “try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage total war” (6).
Even before the Junta came to power, Anglo-American imperialism sought to expand its hegemony over other countries through war as well as by imposing crippling economic blockades – another act of war. Apart from Cuba, which was put under perpetual sanctions since the 1959 revolution,
Iraqand Yugoslaviawere brutalized victims of these policies throughout the 90s.
Now, however, the
USis placing war as the centerpiece of its strategy not only in dealing with countries targeted for conquest but in dealing with rival imperialists. That is why that in addition to its recent invasion and occupation of Afghanistanand Iraq, and threatening “regime change” in Iran, Syria, North Korea, etc., the USnow talks about “punishing” France, Germany, and Russia, who, because they have their own "vital interests" in these countries, are not bowing to Washington's dictate(7).
Washington imagines that the
USwill prevail, conquering countries outside its spheres of influence at will. Then, the Junta believes, the other big powers who hold positions there will lose, and if they do not cooperate in their own demise, they will lose even more. Others, who put themselves at the service of USimperialism – “the coalition of the willing” – will be rewarded a small share of the plunder (8). The USis therefore taking a much more hostile and antagonistic stand towards its “allies” that goes far beyond the pale of the realpolitik previously used by the imperialists to settle differences. One telling example was its belligerent defiance of the UN resolution on Iraq(9). This “unilateralist” policy, as its rivals are calling it, is in fact extremely dangerous to world peace and security. Yet the Junta delivers preposterous sermons about how the main objective in its “war on terror” is to bring about peace and security for the USand its “friends.” At the same time, it asserts that American-effected “regime change” will bring democracy and freedom to “authoritarian rogue states.” But we see by events in Afghanistanand Iraqthat behind this smokescreen of deceptive propaganda lies a very different reality. Peace and security are not obtained by slaughtering a country’s people with massive bombing and shelling and permanently poisoning their environment with tactical nuclear weapons. Neither are they obtained by plundering a country's resources, destroying its infrastructure, and tearing apart its social fabric. By the same token, freedom and democracy cannot be "spread" by military occupation and operations that trample on both the sovereign rights of a country and the human rights of its people. The USmilitary is not “standing tall” in these war-ravaged countries as the Pentagon commandants boast. On the contrary, it is down on all fours committing, both indiscriminately and deliberately, savage atrocities against innocent and unarmed civilians.
Increasingly, the Bushites are showing their true colors as no more than a fascist clique representing the aggressive annexationist goals of US imperialism and the biggest pack of political liars since the Hitlerites were driven from the stage of history. As the latest exposure of its false claims about
Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” proves, these American Nazis, like their German predecessors, employ the big lie technique to brainwash the people.
USneo-fascism has routinely used the big-lie technique to justify its aggression in the past, the present clique uses it to cover even bigger and more pernicious activities that are very much reminiscent of those carried out by the Hitlerites. The “9/11 attacks” provide a case in point.
There are many blatant inconsistencies and fantastic explanations in the official reports of these events. For example, the account that the Twin Towers collapsed due to fire contradicts the laws of physics as well as evidence and eyewitness reports from the scene of the disaster. Furthermore, even cursory examinations of the Pentagon and Pennsylvania attack sites readily disprove that a Boeing 757-200 struck the Pentagon (the missing plane) or that Flight 93 was deliberately crashed (debris scattered over such a large area indicates a mid-air explosion). Monstrous lies are being perpetrated on the American people to cover up monstrous deeds. Questions remain not only of how these attacks happened but also of who was behind them.
A well documented work by the French analyst, Thierry, offers valuable insights and information to answer these questions, and one of his most interesting points is a statement made by Bush himself about his activities on the morning of September 11(10). In a meeting with citizens of Orlando, Florida, on December 4, 2001 Bush described how he found out about the WTC attacks while promoting the administration’s education policy in an elementary school in that state: “… I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower – the TV was obviously on.”
The very curious thing about this statement is that there were no pictures or footage of the first crash broadcast on TV as it occurred. The mass media did not release these until hours later. If Bush is correct, and he actually did see a video of the first crash on TV, then, as Thierry points out “[it] must thus have been secret images transmitted to him without delay in the secure communications room that was installed in the elementary school in preparation for his visit.”
What are we to conclude from this? Thierry continues:
“But if the
USintelligence services could have filmed the first attack, that means they must have been informed beforehand. And in that case, why didn’t they do anything to save their fellow countrymen?”
The fact that no one in the entire media apparatus ever called Bush on his highly questionable statements is vivid testimony of its totalitarian nature. But a totalitarian media were essential to effectively cover up the crimes committed.
Here is what the Junta’s principal backer, David Rockefeller had to say at a meeting of the UN Business Council in 1994: “We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.” The “New World Order” he is referring to is one that is completely under the boot-heel of
USfascist-imperialism. Reagan and Bush “the 1st” worked frantically to bring it about, but the Clinton team, which leaned towards the interests of the "moderate" faction of the oligarchy, had different ideas(11).
This, in part, explains the “right-wing conspiracy” to impeach Clinton as part of a smear campaign to discredit the entire Democratic Party and set the stage for a Republican victory in the 2000 presidential elections. The Bushites arrived in Washington ready for action, armed with a program formulated during the Clinton years - Project for the New American Century. It is a document that outlines what is needed for
USimperialism to dominate the world, and echoes Rockefeller’s view of the “major crisis” needed: “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pear Harbor.”
No surprise that Bush dictated for his diary late on the night of September 11, 2001: “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.” (12) As with his teleprompter speeches and "wired" responses at news conferences and debates, he was just following the script already laid out for him.
However, a more accurate and truthful entry would have been: “The Reichstag fire of the 21st century took place today.” The German Nazis, it will be recalled, set the Reichstag on fire and then blamed the "attack" on the Communists to stir up anti-red hysteria in the early 30s. This “catastrophic event” – quite mild in comparison to 9/11 - provided the pretext for draconian suppression of the masses’ democratic liberties, wide-scale imprisonment, torture, and executions of the German Communists, and a license to “defend” Germany by invading and occupying other countries. There is no doubt what playbook the Junta has taken pages from in its program for a “New American Century,” a neo-fascist tract aimed at eliminating any vestige of democracy at home and waging unbridled aggression abroad.
The bourgeoisie can give rise to nothing new in the world.
Thus, fascism and war are the solutions the imperialists are turning to once again for escaping the grave economic crises that is enveloping the capitalist world. They have no other answers. But these solutions will get them nowhere because no matter how determined the bourgeoisie is to make them work, they are being launched in the midst of conditions where the very system they are so desperately trying to save is crumbling beneath their feet.
Nevertheless, fascism and war bring extreme hardship and tragedy down upon the heads of the peoples of both the victim and victimizer nations. Criminal and brutal capitalist regimes do not simply collapse. Nor can they be reformed. They must be taken down.
The aggression of big states that launch inter-imperialist wars for the division of colonies and for the oppression of foreign countries cannot be defeated through pacifist tactics. We saw the stark, and for many, disappointing truth of this when despite the unprecedented size of the mass peace demonstrations worldwide against war in
Iraq, the Bushites carried out their aggression anyway. The brand of fascism we are dealing with here is pathologically belligerent and determined to achieve its goals(13). Besides, the peace movement, despite its size, was impotent to change the fascist regime’s policy by the very nature of the movement’s organization and politics.
The millions of masses who turned out for peace are not conscious of the fascist-imperialist reality and what they must do to change it. The fight for peace as it manifested itself both here and abroad was not a revolutionary movement, nor were any genuine anti-imperialist and anti-fascist forces leading it. Although significant numbers of workers participated, the movement retained its petty-bourgeois reformist character. We know from long experience that these movements can at best have only a temporary impact on imperialist war policies. Stalin put it succinctly in referring to the worldwide movement for peace that erupted in the early 50s:
What is most likely is that the present-day peace movement, as a movement for the preservation of peace, will, if it succeeds, result in preventing a particular war, in its temporary postponement, in the temporary preservation of a particular peace, in the resignation of a bellicose government and its suppression by another that is prepared temporarily to keep the peace. That, of course, will be good. Even very good. But, all the same, it will not be enough to eliminate the inevitability of wars between capitalist countries generally. It will not be enough, because, for all the successes of the peace movement, imperialism will remain, continue in force – and, consequently, the inevitability of wars will also continue in force. To eliminate the inevitability of war, it is necessary to abolish imperialism (14).
These theses still hold true today, but it must be kept in mind that the present-day peace movements are not at all the same as the peace movement referred to by Stalin. The peace movement of the 50s, while not a revolutionary movement, was part of the international democratic movement very much influenced by Marxist-Leninist or other genuinely progressive forces. That is not the case today, nor has it been the case for many years. In fact, the political reality is just the opposite. In the US anyway, the “coalitions” that place themselves at the head of all sizeable spontaneous opposition movements are heavily infiltrated by the internal security forces and generally fall under the tutelage of state's agents. They are a crucial contingent of neo-fascism’s fifth column (15). In other words, the peace movements today cannot even be spoken of as legitimate reformist movements. Such coalitions together with the government's increasing restrictions of mass demonstrations are used to achieve the exact same goal that the US continuously criticizes other countries for: "strictly controlling internal dissent." Thus, it is no surprise that these movements fail to prevent wars from breaking out. Recent examples of the first Persian Gulf War, the wars against
Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and the latest war against Iraqprove this point.
One would think that parties and groups who call and consider themselves Communists and Marxist-Leninists and who regularly participate in these movements would do everything they could to rectify this situation. Think otherwise, because they are doing less than nothing. They are not countering this state interference and manipulation of spontaneity by exposing the maneuvers of the fifth column that operate in the coalitions. They are not educating the masses about fascism, imperialism, and the inter-imperialist nature of the present wars. In other words, they are not carrying out a key task of revolutionaries and resistance fighters in these movements: raising the class-consciousness of the masses.
The unhappy fact is that there are a number of "Marxist-Leninist" and "Communist" organizations carrying out "work" in the peace and other democratic movements with the peculiar job of recruiting advanced and revolutionary-minded activists and then miseducating them so that they remain politically unconscious and confused. Once "united" into an organization on whatever level, these deceived individuals are "mobilized" in endless "tasks" of an ideological and political nature that are not only counter-productive but counter-revolutionary. They lead nowhere. As a result, Scientific Socialists have drawn the conclusion long ago that these groups are themselves contingents in neo-fascism’s fifth column and mechanisms in its subterranean state (16). Their raison d’etre is to maintain the ideological and political hegemony reaction has over the proletariat and people. As such, they function as tangential, rear guard forces that along with the coalitions "strictly control internal dissent."
The treachery of these “Marxist-Leninists” can also be seen in their silence about another contingent in the fifth column: the AFL-CIO. The yellow trade union central leadership once again exposed itself as a stooge of the fascist state when its labor misleaders voiced “unequivocal support” for
USinvasion of Iraq. Nevertheless, a good number of unions and other labor organizations resisted pressure from the AFL-CIO bureaucrats and their plea for “unity” with USimperialism and came out against the war. A significant development one might say, but the “Marxist-Leninists” have not supported it as a split from the fascist labor leadership. Perhaps along with the union bureaucrats they too thought the issue “too divisive” to even "debate" (17).
It is all too clear that the hydra-headed fifth column together with the neo-fascist state is out to liquidate the proletariat’s class struggle and secure a quiet rear that completely frees Bush to implement the oligarchy's Hitlerite foreign and domestic policies. Evidence of this is overwhelming:
· A continuous disabling and suppression of the strike movement. There have been fewer large strikes (1000 or more workers) during the Junta’s dictatorship than during a similar period of any other administration since 1947 (18).
· Relentless attacks and sabotage to bust unions and eliminate union jobs. Union membership has dropped to its lowest level in a century. As of 2002 only 13.2% of the national labor force and a mere 9.4% of the workers in the private, non-agricultural sector were unionized(19).
· The significant escalation of state violence against demonstrations where the working class participates. The police, having become increasingly militarized over the years, now routinely terrorize and brutalize popular and peaceful mass actions. In addition to its traditional means (mounted police, batons, and tear gas), “law enforcement” has been upgraded with the latest “crowd control” technology, such as rubber and wooden bullets, taser guns, stun grenades, and a variety of chemical agents. Military tactics are also employed in dealing with demonstrators, including helicopter surveillance and checkpoints where interrogation and searches are carried out at gunpoint(20).
Fascism must maintain the dictatorship of capital through more open forms of violence and is trying to turn the entire nation into a prison house. The curtailment of even formal democratic liberties is justified by its policy of “endless war against terrorism.” Even public meetings organized to discuss the issues of war and peace are subject to harassment by the state (21).
A prime indicator of the growing draconian nature of the state as an organ of class oppression is the enormous increase of the prison population that under the Junta’s rule has increased to over 2 million. This makes the
USthe biggest prison house among the “advanced” countries, while the disproportionately large amount of minorities incarcerated reflects its systemic racist, apartheid policies.
USimperialism gained by its turn to more extreme fascism and aggression? While the financial oligarchy appears to be succeeding in empowering and enriching itself for the moment, it is already losing and will continue to lose more than it has gained. Events at home and abroad have given the lie to the incessant neo-fascist propaganda about the USstanding for democracy, freedom, and peace. Indeed, these are difficult to reconcile with “Empire” – the title lackeys of the press have christened USimperialism because of its “unrivaled role in world affairs.” It is just such criminality and arrogance that has made the Junta despised by all progressive and peace-loving peoples in the world. Bush couldn’t even be given a decent “photo op” during his recent trip to Britain, US imperialism’s major “ally,” because of the massive outpouring of indignation and disgust over his visit.
In its vicious and insane unleashing of the country’s military might and its trampling on the most elemental human rights, the Junta has totally destroyed the already tattered veil of democracy that neo-fascism has been hiding behind for more than half a century. Now, the
USstands in all its naked deformity and ugliness, as the mortal enemy of democracy, freedom, and peace both to the American and world’s peoples. At the same time, the economy of the country, already hard-hit by internal contradictions and the worldwide crisis, is being further ravaged by unprecedented militarization as “homeland security” and “defense” budgets rise to unprecedented heights.
Such are some of the major developments occurring in the “sole superpower,” a capitalist system in chaotic decay and edging towards acute instability.
(2) State power is still wielded by the inheritors of the original Morgan and the Rockefeller "houses," which have formed definite factions with affiliate circles. This financial oligarchy is thoroughly reactionary and by and large maintains a "consensus" in government through its representatives in both major parties. But its control of state power, including control of the subterranean state, is exercised behind the scenes far from the political theater of the "democratic government." Although any number of super-rich "new entrepreneurs" have arrived on the scene since the end of World War II, none of them has become part of the oligarchy, nor are they "especially potent in politico-economic affairs" as Lundberg points out. See his work, The Rich and the Super-rich. While it was written over 35 years ago, we are not aware of any evidence that contradicts his thesis.
(3) Associated with the Morgan faction is the Mellon group as well as more subordinate circles, all of which are well represented among the Democrats while Rockefeller controls key players in the Republican party. This "deployment" can be seen in the executive branch with the Bush families' long-standing ties to the Rockefeller faction, while Gore, Kerry and Clinton are indirectly connected to Morgan through the Mellon group. Historically, the Morgan and Rockefeller factions have regularly reached a "consensus" politically as they did in this election. Facts also show that they have "cooperated" financially in the past, e.g. AT&T (circa 1920s) right up to the present e.g. J.P. Morgan Chase (2000). Nevertheless, as Rochester analyzed "there is an undercurrent of competition, each group striving for greater power and privilege." See her work Rulers of America. This is an even older study (1936) than Lundberg's but an excellent source of information on the ruling circles and how they operate in the economic and political spheres.
(4) The general crisis emerges during the imperialist stage of capitalism and results from the intensification of major contradictions in all spheres with the economic crisis at the base. For a detailed explanation see Scientific Socialist Volume 1, Number 2.
(5) However, the classical boom-bust cycles that existed during the industrial epoch of capitalism are history Ibid. Also, see Scientific Socialist Volume 4, Number 1.
(6) Richard Perle, qtd. by John Pilger.
(7) Defense Secretary Rumsfeld called the “willing” states of Europe the “New Europe,” and the unwilling, viz. France, Germany, and Russia the “Old Europe,” not surprisingly the same labels used by Goebbels to distinguish the Nazi's friend from foe in Europe during the 30s.
(8) A very important related point is the role the
USstate has played in seizing and dividing up the spoils of war. Soviet economist Varga explained the Leninist view that “in the period of the general crisis of capitalism when the class interests of the bourgeoisie are in the sharpest contradiction to the interests of the further development of society, the regulating intervention of the state in the economic life extends more and more to the smallest details” Two Systems, Socialist Economy and Capitalist Economy, 1939. Indeed, the Junta is micro managing the economic policy in the annexed countries, employing extraordinary measures to insure that its monopolist sponsors get the most lucrative contracts in the ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq and Afghanistan. Rival monopolists are so bitter about this that the haggling, usually kept behind the scenes, has been publicized, but this is not surprising because: “… there is always going on a constant struggle within the ruling classes, among the different strata and groups, about the amount and the content of this intervention (into the economy, Ed.); since every intervention of the state means a shift in the division of income.” Ibid.
(9) While the biggest “doves,” namely,
France, Germany, and Russiaopposed the war, they quickly voted UN approval of the USoccupation of Iraqshortly after “major combat operations” ended, thus exposing their stand as one of expedience suited to their own rapacious interests and not one of principle against imperialist aggression and wars of conquest
(10) The Big Lie.
(11) The Clintonites had their own reactionary program to defend American finance capital through draconian anti-worker policies at home (e.g. NAFTA and scrapping social benefits for the poor and oppressed) and brutal aggression abroad (e.g. the bombing of Iraq, and the bombing and occupation of Yugoslavia).
(12) Bush at War by Bob Woodward.
(13) The deranged reactionary ideology of the Junta is grounded in Puritan and Calvinist religion that advocates ideas such as a “Holy Commonwealth” and “Wars of the Lord,” which justify tyrannical theocracies and bloodthirsty aggression as being ordained by God. See, for example, H.W. Schneider’s The Puritan Mind, 1930. Bush himself has openly stated that he has been “chosen by the grace of God to lead,” and reportedly told the prime minister of
Pakistanthat God instructed him to attack Afghanistanand Iraq. It’s a win-win situation for the “godly leader” because even if such adventures result in the atomic conflagration of world war, Bush believes it would be the Armageddon and the second coming of Christ he and his fanatical brethren have all been praying for. This theo-fascist thinking of the Junta reflects the dementia of the bourgeoisie at an advanced stage of decay and clearly shows just how dangerous USimperialism is to the American and world’s peoples.
(14) Economic Problems of Socialism in the
(15) Although many liberals cannot fathom this reality, it is hardly a big mystery, for even the more perceptive activists on the left are aware of such infiltration and form “closed groups” to prevent spying and sabotage by the state.
(17) Indeed, “Marxist-Leninists” and especially those of the “modern” variety have refused to wage their “struggle against opportunism and revisionism” for quite some time. This is not surprising, for such a struggle assumes defending principles of Marxism-Leninism and their scientific application to concrete conditions in one’s country to formulate a program of socialist revolution - two major tasks our “Marxist-Leninists” are decidedly not interested in.
(18) A total of only 48 strikes for 2001-2002 according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics qtd. in Labor Research Association Online. This sets a record for the steady and dramatic decline in strike activity under all administrations since Carter’s. Cf. Reagan’s first two years in office (80-81) with 332 and the elder Bush’s (89-90) with 95.
(19) Bureau of Labor Statistics and www.demographia.com
(20) See “Anti-War Protesters, Unionists Injured as Cops Open Fire” by Barry Sheppard. Green Left Weekly Online Edition. Also, “The War On Dissent” by Naomi Klein. Toronto Globe & Mail, November 25, 2003.
(21) E.g. the meeting at Drake University in January. See National Lawyers Guild web site, NLG.org.