Commentaries on current events, political economy, and the Communist movement from a Marxist-Leninist perspective.
Zigedy highly recommends the Marxist-Leninist website, MLToday.com, where many of his longer articles appear.
of Chicago professor Richard Thaler won the 2017 Nobel Prize in
economics for telling economists something that everyone else already
knew. One of the pioneers of what has come to be called “behavioral
economics,” Thaler has put forward the earthshaking, profound claim
that people do not always, or consistently, act rationally.
why would this seemingly commonsensical observation deserve a Nobel
Prize? Why would anyone believe otherwise?
the catastrophic collapse of the global economy in 2007-2008, a
significant portion of US academic social sciences was constructed on
the assumption that public, political, and economic behavior could be
understood through the prism of individual self-interest and the
presumption of rational choice. Though the crash cast a shadow over
the absolute dominance of that assumption in the field of economics,
it remains the methodological pillar of great swaths of social
scientific research today. The crisis was a much needed reminder of
the folly of investing “rationality” in economic life.
Nobel recognition will put little more than a dent in the
long-reigning ideological disposition to see the individual as
fundamental to scientific analysis, along with the individual’s
self-acquired interests and rationally-determined goals.
Anglo-American social scientists will continue to embrace individual
rational choice as the centerpiece of their explanatory framework, as
the fundamental building blocks for understanding human behavior.
Story Behind the Story
idea of the importance of individuals, interests, and reason in
explaining human action is not a new one. Aristotle’s conceptual
model-- the practical syllogism-- sought to expose the logic of human
action, basing it upon individual ends or desires and the knowledge
of how to attain those ends and desires. But Aristotle did not
believe that reason and interests determined human action with the
force of logic. Instead, he wondered why, in real experience, they
produce the expected results, why people acted differently from what
was, in fact, their best interests. He was convinced that individual
self-interest, reason, and knowledge were not sufficient to explain
how people behaved. The break in the chain of goal-setting and
deliberation was, he surmised, weakness of the will (ἀκρασία).
In this regard, Aristotle anticipated Thaler by over two thousand
the ascendancy of capitalism and its ideological superstructure, the
role of individuals, reason, and self-interest took on a new
importance. At the heart of the capitalist world view is the notion
that the individual
should have the opportunity to place satisfaction of his or her wants
at the center of her or his world and enjoy the opportunity to strive
to realize those goals without the restraint of others (what came to
be today’s popular, uncritically embraced concept of freedom).
The centrality of rights-talk in the modern era follows inexorably.
the same time, the capitalist world view required a social
component to protect and promote the opportunities afforded to
individuals. Individuals cannot pursue every whim without denying
some of the whims of others. Conflict would necessarily follow if
everyone pursued goals with no consideration of others.
the face of it, the two ideas-- individual freedom and social
constraint-- collide, since one person’s intended actions may,
indeed likely will, intersect with the realization of another’s
intended action. Hence, it would appear that guaranteeing freedom of
action in the particular is not always compatible with guaranteeing
everyone the same freedom of action at the same time.
Everyone can’t go through the same
door at the same time; someone’s freedom of action must cede to the
freedom of others.
individual freedoms became the great challenge for thinkers in the
capitalist era. The solution, exemplified canonically by the work of
Hobbes, sought to resolve the conflict between clashing “freedoms”
through the mechanism of a contract,
Reaching into the toolbox of rationality, defenders of the capitalist
ethos argued that rational individuals would see that it was
obviously in each and every person’s best interest to accept
constraints on individual actions. People would recognize that it was
reasonable to surrender complete autonomy to a common good. Thus, the
consent of individuals to forego some freedom of action would serve
as the bridge between individual choices and the common or general
will, between the individual and the social. It would be possible to
both avoid the anarchy of unrestrained freedom and to create a civil
society, while retaining individualism, rationality, and the core of
freedom as much as would be reasonably possible.
this defense of the capitalist world view raises as many questions as
it answers, it met its greatest challenge from the rise of the
workers’ movement and the clash of classes. The challenge was best
articulated in the work of Marx and Engels. They argued that
individual interests and collective or common interests are
qualitatively different. They saw classes as having interests over
and above individual interests taken alone or in the aggregate. Thus,
it is possible for most workers to believe individually that it is in
the interest of each and every one of them to sign a labor contract
and work in a privately owned coal mine under barely tolerable
conditions while it is true that it is in their interest as
a class to overthrow the private
ownership of that mine and not accept the contract.
could both be true?
and Engels maintained that from the class perspective, from the
perspective of the working class as a social whole, the elimination
of the wage system and private ownership of the means of production
represents the true interest of the workers. Or, if you like, there
is a contradiction between the interests of the workers as
individuals and as
claim is not dissimilar to the classic tenet of informal logic, the
fallacy of composition: properties ascribable to each individual in a
class of individuals cannot be necessarily ascribed to the class
itself; properties of the parts are not transferred as properties to
the whole. For example, most of the poor people in the world may be
hungry, but the class of poor people
is not, in any proper sense, hungry.
intellectual defenders of capitalism seek to place shared rational
choice (a fictitious “vote”) at the center of its explanation of
civil society, of the legal, moral, and political edifice
consensually constructed to promote individual freedom. Marxists, on
the other hand, argue that individual consensus cannot exhaustively
account for class interests and the ensuing action and interactions
of classes. The realm of the social is, in important ways, autonomous
from the realm of the individual. Bourgeois social thinking, grounded
in the individual, leaves a host of social phenomena untouched,
it is not the logical divide between the personal and the social, the
gulf between the individual interests and class interests alone that
challenges the worldview erected from individualism, self-interest,
and rationality. The two centuries following the rise of industrial
capitalism saw a growth and development of the working-class ideology
with Marxism at its core.
the aftermath of the Second World War and the Chinese Revolution, the
capitalist world view lost its luster as more and more people in more
and more places seriously considered the socialist option. Newborn
countries freed from the colonial yoke considered socialist
development as an alternative to the course recommended by their
former colonial masters. The Marxist method that gave priority to
class in social analysis found new adherents worldwide. The momentum
of Communism threw capitalism into a panic, not only in politics, but
in ideology as well.
and think tanks mounted a war on the growing credibility of the
socialist option. Thinkers began to work feverishly to meet the
challenge of shoring up the capitalist ideology against the success
of class analysis.
S.M. Amadae demonstrates in her brilliant book Rationalizing
Capitalist Democracy: The Cold War Origins of Rational Choice
Liberalism (2006), much of the new
thinking to legitimize capitalism sprung from Ford Foundation
support, along with the RAND corporation and its stable of hired guns
(the Ford Foundation played a similar role in supporting the effort
on the cultural front as Frances Stoner Saunders documents in her
equally impressive book, The Cultural
Amadae is no advocate of socialism, she clearly sees the construction
of a scientifically credible theory as an increasingly urgent and
conscious effort to arm the capitalist West ideologically against
socialism’s growing popularity. Her careful research shows the
commitment to re-found anti-Marxist social science on the rock of
rational choice theory and its close variants.
than accept the existence of an explanatory framework that goes
beyond a universe of individuals, rationality, and narrow interests,
the new thinking, as embodied in the pioneering work of Nobel
laureate Kenneth Arrow, simply denies that there is any coherent
social choice beyond individual choice.
Arrow argument exhibits an interesting turn.
demonstrates (1951) mathematically that it is impossible (“the
impossibility theorem”) for the rational choice calculus to
generate coherent collective preferences from individual preferences.
For Arrow, this result supports a skepticism about social goals
expressed as collective preferences. While the import of Arrow’s
findings might have generated a healthy debate, the elevated emotions
of the Cold War era and the ideological needs of the anti-Communist
academy promoted the theory-- rational choice theory-- to the head of
the class. A theory that “rigorously” dismissed the
intelligibility of class interests was too valuable to subject to
might have equally and reasonably objected that any theory that could
not account for collective preferences was theoretically defective.
One could turn the tables and argue, as Marx would undoubtedly have,
that collectives, social phenomena were as real, as objective as
individuals. So, a calculus that could not explain class interests
was theoretically “skinny;” foundations built on individuals,
self-interest, and rationality alone were not sufficiently robust to
serve as a foundation for the social sciences. If rational choice
theory cannot account for collective preferences, then jettison
rational choice theory! But in those feverish times, Western
academia-- bourgeois social science-- would not countenance this
reductio ad absurdum
the Arrow moment, rational choice theory spread quickly to other
social sciences. Nobel laureates followed in its wake. This theory
and its variants served as a basis for “grounding American
capitalist democracy. In its guise as ‘objective’ or ‘value
free’ social science, it is difficult to appreciate the full import
of social choice, public choice, and positive political theory for
reconceptualizing the basic building blocks of political liberalism.
In light of the Cold War ideological struggle against the Soviets,
this enterprise of securing the philosophical basis of free world
institutions was critical,” in the words of S. M. Amadae.
choice theory has penetrated deeply into the pores of social science,
especially in economics and especially in the US. Its methodological
ascendance has established it as a gatekeeper against the inroads of
Marxism in Western social theory. Ironically, it has even penetrated
into Western Marxism under the guise of “Analytic Marxism;”
scholars trained in rational choice theory drew the conclusion that
methodological individualism, self-interest, and rationality were
incompatible with major tenets of Marxism-- a surprising conclusion
to all but Marxists!
struggle for a new politics based on the rejection of the dominant
capitalist ideology cannot be won without critically addressing the
failings of rational choice theory. A revolutionary socialist
ideology must confront it directly. It has left much of the social
sciences in the US a barren, but ideologically pure apologist for
capitalism. It contaminates public policy, justifying the explosion
of inequality and the obsession with public sector austerity.
Thaler’s award acknowledges its failings in a small way, but leaves
the dogma intact.
Marxists have been prolific
correspondents, engaging others in polemics and collective ideas. The
Marx and Engels correspondences, for example, number 1,386 letters!
Marxism is, or should be, a collaborative effort.
I read the recent Sam Webb/Max Elbaum correspondence
with some interest. Webb was the National Chairperson of the
Communist Party USA (CPUSA) for fourteen years until 2014. Elbaum was
a sympathetic chronicler and active leader of the so-called “New
Communist Movement” (NCM) in the 1970s. It is important to note
that the CPUSA and the NCM were bitter rivals at that time.
it is strange that they exchange warm emails today, sharing the
pleasantries of senior life--swimming, camping, time with grandkids,
and marathon running-- while adding their voices to the chorus
calling for an all-out effort on behalf of the Democratic Party in
the 2018 elections.
is it strange?
holds the dubious distinction of leading the CPUSA down the rabbit
hole of irrelevance. After the death of long-time CPUSA leader, Gus
Hall, Webb and his cohorts transformed the CPUSA into a social
democratic organization, eschewing both the legacy of the Communist
Party and much of its organizational structure. Webb further
entrenched the “lesser-of-two-evil” electoral strategy that began
with the panic over the Reagan victory in 1980. The final years of
Hall’s chairmanship and the Webb era snuffed out the last measures
of the CPUSA’s political independence, turning it into a servile
handmaiden to the Democratic Party.
resigned from the eviscerated CPUSA the year after he gave up the
career emerged very differently, but landed in nearly the same place
as Webb’s. Elbaum, like many other veterans from the 1960s student
movement, moved away from the radical democratic reformism of that
era in the direction of a more anti-capitalist ideology,
Marxism-Leninism. Unable to overcome their infection with the
anti-Communist virus of the Cold War, many were drawn to the militant
rhetoric of the Communist Party of China (CPC) that was
simultaneously befriending Nixon’s administration and roundly
condemning the Soviet Communists and most of the World Communist
Movement. With amazing chutzpah, Elbaum and the New Communist
Movement found no contradiction in the two positions. But by the end
of the 1970s, the opportunism of the CPC was more than even the most
faithful could hold their noses and swallow. China’s Communists had
sided with the US against every legitimate liberation movement in
Africa, including the ANC. The Red Guard anarchy and the Gang of Four
excesses tested the conviction of the devoted, leading to defection
for all but the most cultish.
political journey continued, but swung sharply away from Leninism.
The hyper-sectarian model embraced by NCM generated a sharp reaction,
an extreme swing away from the classic Leninist notion of a vanguard
party with a centralized, but democratic structure. Having little or
no experience with Leninism apart from the brief heyday of the NCM,
Elbaum began a steady retreat towards social democracy, a trend
expressed in the US by investing in the perceived positive,
progressive potential of the Democratic Party. Where Webb argues for
unquestioned conformity to the Democratic Party leadership, Elbaum
opts for a more critical attitude with the hope of steering the
by the odyssey of Sam Webb and Max Elbaum, many roads lead
disillusioned radicals, Marxist short-timers, and weak-kneed
Communists back to the Democratic Party. Of course, many of the
privileged (and violence-prone), elite-school New Lefties have been
welcomed back to the Democratic Party as well.
retrospect, two notions have provided excuses for disillusioned
Marxists to retreat to the social democratic camp: first, the
perceived threat of fascism as present or around the corner and,
secondly, the firmly held conviction that resistance to fascism
necessitates some kind of broad, anti-fascist front. Both notions,
though widely cited, belong to the theoretical legacy of the
Marxist-Leninist left. And both were elaborated most clearly and
authoritatively by the Communist theoretician of fascism, Georgi
on Fascism and Anti-fascism
a day goes by without someone on the left raising the shrill alarm of
fascism. As Diana Johnstone reminds us in her brilliant essay
on Antifa, “...historical fascism no longer exists.” What does
exist, however are movements, formations, and personalities that bear
various common features with historical fascism. Of course, we should
not diminish the active role of these movements, formations, and
personalities in their vicious attacks on the democratic and economic
gains won by working people.
these elements have always been a part of the political landscape of
the US, both before, during and after the era of historical fascism--
the Know Nothing Party, the Ku Klux Klan, the Liberty League, Father
Coughlin, Joseph McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, the John Birch Society,
George Wallace, the Tea Party, Trumpets and Trumpettes, etc. It is
far harder to identify a time in US history when the fascist-like
elements did not
exist as a significant force. For that reason, vigilance and militant
resistance is always important. But that is a far cry from urging
that something identical with historical fascism is now imminent. If
the wolf is always
lurking in the shadows, is it helpful to cry “wolf”?
should in no way be construed as a dismissal or underestimation of
many of the forces arrayed around and unleashed by President Trump.
They, like their predecessors, are present as a reserve army for the
ruling class should political matters get out of hand. They should be
met with the same resolute resistance as the left has mounted in the
past against rabid hate-mongers and right-wing terrorists.
fascism arose as a response to the success of revolutionary
socialism, in Dimitrov’s words:
to power as a party
on the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, on the mass of the
people who are in a state of unrest…” Clearly,
there are, with perhaps a few exceptions, no serious threats to
capitalist rule today, certainly not in the United States; there are
few revolutionary movements contesting state power. There can be no
terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and
most imperialist elements of finance capital”
when there is no revolution to counter.
Dimitrov warns of the dangers of fascistic tendencies and urges their
resistance, he reminds us that: “The
accession to power of fascism is not an ordinary
succession of one bourgeois
government by another, but a substitution
of one state form of class domination of the bourgeoisie -- bourgeois
democracy -- by another form -- open terrorist dictatorship.” Few
of the harbingers of fascism today acknowledge this point. Since the
right in the US manages its agenda well within the confines of a
corporate dominated two-party system, why would it need to move to an
open terrorist dictatorship?
a real sense, the premature cry of “fascism!” disarms the
revolutionary left, the advocates of socialism. Instead of building
an alternative to the failed two-party system, a system that
demonstrates a constant rightward shift, Webb, Elbaum, and far too
many on the left argue for compromise with those who have been fully
compliant with this rightward drift. They misunderstand or distort
much of what we have learned about historical fascism.
to the vulgar distortion of Dimitrov's views, fascism did not come to
power in Germany because sectarian Communists refused to work with
Social Democrats. Dimitrov is clear on this: “Fascism
was able to come to power
primarily because the working
class, owing to the policy of class collaboration with the
bourgeoisie pursued by Social Democratic leaders, proved
to be split, politically and organizationally disarmed,
in face of the onslaught of the bourgeoisie...” andowingto
“...their campaign against the Communists and [failure]
to accept the repeated proposals of the Communist Party for united
action against fascism.”
and Elbaum neither understand the historical basis of fascism nor
grasp the Marxist theory of united front designed to meet the fascist
danger when it arises. Rather than viewing the united front as a
specific historical response to a specific historical development,
they generalize the united front tactic to a universal response to
the ascendency of the right.
fascism is on the horizon, they argue, then we need to adopt a united
front policy that brings together any and all forces willing to stand
in its way. But that is not the lesson that Georgi Dimitrov-- the
Communist who stood against and defied the Nazi judiciary when
charged with the Reichstag fire-- drew from the experience of
Whether the victory of fascism
can be prevented depends first and foremost on the militant activity
of the working class itself, on whether its forces are welded into a
single militant army combating the offensive of capitalism and
fascism. By establishing its fighting unity, the proletariat would
paralyze the influence of fascism over the peasantry, the urban petty
bourgeoisie, the youth and the intelligentsia, and would be able to
neutralize one section of them and win over the other section.
it depends on the existence of a strong revolutionary party,
correctly leading the struggle of the working people against fascism.
A party which systematically calls on the workers to retreat in the
face of fascism and permits the fascist bourgeoisie to strengthen its
positions is doomed to lead the workers to defeat… [my
Webb and Elbaum have long given up on building “a strong
revolutionary party,” either for its own sake or for a battle
against fascism. Instead, they take their lead from the Democratic
Party, a pathetic answer to the rightward shift of the last four
fail to grasp the application of the united front strategy to US
conditions. Rather than tail the Democrats, Dimitrov, writing
specifically in 1935 about the US, called for the creation of a third
party and for a decisive break with the bourgeois parties (the
Democrats and the Republicans):
It is perfectly obvious that
the interests of the American proletariat demand that all its forces
dissociate themselves from the capitalist parties without delay. It
must find in good time ways and suitable forms to prevent fascism
from winning over the wide mass of discontented working people. And
here it must be said that under American conditions the creation of a
mass party of the working people, a Workers'
and Farmers' Party, might
serve as such a suitable form. Such
a party would be a specific form of the mass People's Front in
America and should be put in
opposition to the parties of the trusts and the banks, and likewise
to growing fascism. Such a party, of course, will be neither
Communist. But it must be
an anti-fascist party and must
not be an anti-Communist
course, this was written at a moment when historical fascism was at
its zenith internationally. Today, without the imminent threat of
fascism, the prescription for a break with the Democrats is even more
is not simply a question of stopping fascism, but a question of
winning people away from it with a peoples' program.
who confuse the anti-fascist united front with capitulation to the
leadership of liberals or social democrats often see the problem of
united action as left-sectarianism. Certainly, sectarianism,
characterized by Dimitrov as finding “...expression
in overestimating the revolutionization of the masses, in
overestimating the speed at which they are abandoning the positions
of reformism, and in attempting to leap over difficult stages and the
complicated tasks of the movement...”
was then and remains a significant obstacle to building a Communist
Party or a third party. But Dimitrov gave equal attention to the
dangers of right opportunism:
...we must increase in every
way our vigilance toward Right opportunism and the struggle against
it and against every one of its concrete manifestations, bearing in
mind that the danger of Right opportunism will increase in proportion
as the broad united front develops. Already there are tendencies to
reduce the role of the Communist Party in the ranks of the united
front and to effect a reconciliation with Social-Democratic ideology.
Nor must we lose sight of the fact that the tactics of the united
front are a method of clearly convincing the Social-Democratic
workers of the correctness of the Communist policy and the
incorrectness of the reformist policy, and that they are not
a reconciliation with Social-Democratic ideology and practice.
A successful struggle to establish the united front imperatively
demands constant struggle in our ranks against tendencies to
depreciate the role of the
Party, against legalist
illusions, against reliance
on spontaneity and automatism,
both in liquidating fascism and in implementing the united front
against the slightest
vacillation at the moment of decisive action.
it is a mistake to surrender the revolutionary program to appease
tactical alliances or coalitions. Joint action is possible, maybe
essential at times, but without sacrificing the integrity and
revolutionary ideology to tactical partners. This is a nuance lost on
those rushing to uncritically embrace the electoral slates of the
Democratic Party and to hide the goal of socialism under a basket.
abandoning the struggle against capitalism, for socialism, should be
honest about their change of heart. They should not hide behind an
inflated threat or a misrepresented tactic.
fascism was a mortal, worldwide threat in the 1930s and 1940s.
Communists devised special tactics to broaden and deepen the fight
against it. They did so without illusions about the commitment of
other forces or without corrupting or compromising their principles.
They led and won that fight, except, unfortunately, in Spain.
similar threat may arise again when revolutionary forces present an
existential challenge to the conventional rule of the capitalist
it may not. That will depend, as Dimitrov points out, on the balance
of forces between revolutionaries and their adversaries.
those who imagine a world without capitalism should not be misled by
false prophets who pretend to find a road to socialism through the
Democratic Party. Those who aspire to socialism should not be seduced
by naysayers who insist that the struggle for socialism should be
postponed until all of the specters and ghouls of the right are
not yet anesthetized by the anti-Russia hysteria, should read Robert
Rise of the New McCarthyism.
The estimable Parry argues for similarities between today’s
overheated political antics and those of an earlier time. He likens
the relentless Russia-baiting of 2017 with the red-baiting of the
post-war period often identified with Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy.
that is not quite right. Labelling the post-war delirium,
characterizing the anti-Communist frenzy of the period as
“McCarthyism” places far too much weight on that sole figure.
True, Joe McCarthy exploited the climate, pushing the absurdity of
the times to even more absurd levels. Yet we overlook the causes of
the poisoned atmosphere just as surely as we would if we labelled
this moment we live in as “Maddowism,” after the woman committed
to exploiting the mania for ratings, after Rachel Maddow’s prodding
anti-Russian sentiment to ever greater heights.
fever, like that of 1919 in the US, 1920-22 in Italy, the 1930s
throughout Europe, 1946 and 2003 in the US, and again today in the
US, is usually driven by crises-- threats or perceived threats to the
system. It reflects weaknesses or vulnerabilities resulting from
economic distress or international conflict. Whether the threat is
real or perceived, identifiable or mythical, ruling classes use a
crescendo of fear and alarm to foster an atmosphere of conformity and
and after World War I, the Bolshevik revolution frightened the US
ruling class into its first “Red scare,” an orgy of war-induced
patriotism and media-crazed fear of mythical Red barbarity, an orgy
resulting in mass arrests and deportations.
the victory of the Soviet Union, the expansion of socialism, the
intensifying struggles for national liberation, and a domestic left
third-party challenge to two-party hegemony spurred the ruling class
to spark a second Red scare. A critical mass of consensus was quickly
achieved, persisting throughout the Cold War. Thus, it is misleading
to say, as Parry does, that “...the 1950s version was driven by
Republicans and the Right with much of the Left on the receiving end,
maligned by the likes of Sen. Joe McCarthy as ‘un-American’ and
as Communism’s ‘fellow travelers.’”
fact, except for the “fellow travelers,” most of the
non-Communist left and most liberals gleefully joined the red-baiting
hunting party for “subversives.” Those who didn’t
enthusiastically join the mob did little or nothing to diminish the
campaign. Certainly, when the purges began to target the moderate
anti-Communists, liberal voices did pathetically stir.
those familiar with the history of Cold War US repression are not
surprised by liberal complicity in the anti-Russia madness today. It
should be no surprise that the liberals and the petty-bourgeois left
betray the truth, make common cause with the forces of hate,
distrust, and prejudice. In times of crisis, that’s what they too
of a few notable voices, liberal/left intellectuals are buying the
anti-Russia frenzy. Despite the fact that US security services have
an unbroken record of lies and manipulations, they are today
manufactured to be the saviors of US “democracy.” The
entertainment industry has cast “deep throat” Mark Felt-- a
crazed, disgruntled FBI official, bitter because he didn’t inherit
the directorship from J. Edgar Hoover-- as the hero of the Watergate
debacle. Industry moguls stretch credulity to portray him as the
courageous forerunner of the sleazy James Comey.
quickly the liberals have forgotten the shame of 2003, when a ruling
class-induced frenzy of lies and distortions prompted an unprovoked
US invasion of a sovereign country. Have the scoundrels fabricating
“evidence” against Iraq left or have they been removed from the
State Department, the CIA, the FBI, etc.? Or are they still there,
now busy spinning lies against Russia?
and the weasel-left should heed Parry’s warning: “Arguably, if
fascism or totalitarianism comes to the United States, it is more
likely to arrive in the guise of “protecting democracy” from
Russia or another foreign adversary than from a reality-TV clown like
Donald Trump.” Apart from flirting with war, the new consensus
against Putin and Russia further erodes the remaining vestiges of
democratic life in the US. Fear has brought us an Orwellian
destruction of privacy and freedom, along with a murderous foreign
policy and, now, a shamefully uncritical conformity.
by Other Means
“The New McCarthyism” is an inaccurate description of our times,
what would be more suitable? Perhaps “The New Cold War” would be
more appropriate since US aggression is both global and endless. The
US is conducting war or war-like actions in Africa, the Middle East,
South America, the Caribbean, and in Asia. Any and every country that
fails to accept US global leadership becomes a target for US
constitutes a desperate attempt on the part of US elites to maintain
their place at the top of the hierarchy of imperialism, their
ultimate mastery over all global affairs.
the arrogant declaration of victory in the Cold War and the
presumption of global governance, matters begin to fall apart for the
champions of US global dominance. Former clients like Al Qaeda, the
Taliban, and Saddam Hussein began to defy US hegemony. States like
Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador choose paths independent of the US
template for the global economy. Other states like Yugoslavia, Cuba,
and DPRKorea refused to acknowledge that socialist economic relations
were outlawed in the post-Soviet era. Still other states like Iran,
post-Yeltsin Russia, Libya, and Syria reject US interference in their
and their neighbors’ affairs. And, of course, the world’s largest
economy (PPP)-- PRChina-- does not accept a subordinate role in global
short, the US role as self-appointed world policeman has been
answered with far-from-servile acceptance by the world’s people.
US response to resistance has been violence. Uncountable deaths and
injuries from invasion, occupation, and remotely-mounted attacks have
been visited upon combatants and civilians alike. The stability of
numerous countries has been disrupted, usually under the cynical
banner of human rights. Over the last two decades or so, US
imperialism has restructured its aggression, relying more and more on
surrogates, drones, and economic aggression, but with the same deadly
cabal of liberal interventionists has refined and expanded the tactic
of imposing international sanctions, a particularly brutal, but
seemingly high-minded form of aggression.
should not deceive ourselves. International sanctions may masquerade
as a mechanism of civil enforcement, but they are, in fact, acts of
war-- war by other means. The current world balance of forces allows
the US to cajole, intimidate or manipulate UN member states to
endorse strangling the economies of US adversaries under the guise of
UN sanctions. The UN virtually rubber stamps the US initiatives to
cut the lifelines of countries, organizations, even corporations that
dare to ignore US dictates Similarly, the EU and NATO act as sanction lapdogs.. The consequences of sanctions can be just
as destructive, as death-dealing, as overt military aggression.
Shamefully, even Russia and PRC-- the victims of sanctions-- have
collaborated on these sanctions in recent years, an opportunistic
approach meant to ingratiate themselves with US leaders.
the same time, no UN economic sanctions have been imposed upon the serial human rights violator, the apartheid state of Israel-- merely
calls, resolutions, and condemnations.
a toxic atmosphere of incredulous “sonic” attacks charged to
Cuban authorities, provocative claims of Russian government meddling
in everything from the electric grid to Facebook, allegations of
Venezuelan drug trafficking, suspicions of Chinese espionage, and the
many other marks of induced paranoia, the fight for truth is the only
escape, the only response to the ugly throes of a diseased, embattled
empire. Most assuredly, the empire is in decline, though most of its
citizens are unaware, sheltered by a thick curtain of deceit.