Obama’s Cairo Speech: A Rhetorical Shift in US Imperialism

Barack Obama’s Cairo speech heralds a shift from the Islamophobic rhetoric of the Bush regime, but not from the long-term aims of the U.S. empire.

Predictably, Barak Obama’s speech in Cairo came under hysterical criticism from the right. Sean Hannity screamed that Obama gave “sympathizers of 9/11” a voice on the world stage, Charles Krauthammer derided the apologetic tone, and Sen. James Inhofe called it “un-American.” At the same time, Bill O’Reilly called the speech a “big success,” and David Horowitz wrote that conservatives should support Obama on this.

What explains this strange schizophrenia among conservatives?

At root, Obama’s Cairo speech heralds a decisive shift in the rhetoric of U.S. imperialism. It marks a recognition that the virulent Islamophobic rhetoric of the Bush regime has failed, and that it is necessary to begin a process of rebuilding the U.S.’s image in Muslim-majority countries.

But if the speech marked a rhetorical shift, it did not chart new ground in terms of U.S. foreign policy. Instead, it signals the reemergence of liberal imperialism, packaged deftly and skillfully through the person of Barack Hussein Obama.

Sections of the conservative bloc recognize the need for this shift. 9/11 presented the neoconservatives with an alibi to unleash their vision of U.S. foreign policy. They seized this unprecedented opportunity to launch a program that would reshape the Middle East and establish a new Pax Americana. Ideas that were considered off the wall by the Bush Sr. and Clinton administrations, such as the “clash of civilizations” thesis, became dominant.

So all-encompassing were these ideas that even sections of the left accepted the notion that Muslim-majority nations were mired in backwardness, and that these nations, as well as domestic Muslim communities, needed to be modernized by an enlightened West (note, for instance, the arguments about bringing democracy to Iraq, banning the hijab under the guise of secularism, etc.). The lack of a principled anti-racist position within the mainstream antiwar movement then had serious consequences for Arabs and Muslims.

It is therefore important that we begin our assessment of Obama’s speech by acknowledging the shift away from Islamophobic rhetoric.

Rejecting the “clash of civilizations” argument, Obama emphasized the shared common history and common aspirations of the East and West. Whereas the “clash” discourse sees the West and the world of Islam as mutually exclusive and polar opposites, Obama emphasized “common principles.” He spoke of “civilization’s debt to Islam” because it “pav[ed] the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment,” and acknowledged the contributions made by Muslims to the development of science, medicine, navigation, architecture, calligraphy and music.

Obama then took on many of the myths that became commonplace after 9/11. Breaking with the notion that Islam is inherently violent, Obama emphasized, several times, Islam’s history of tolerance. He quoted from the Koran to show that Islam does not accept violence against innocent people, and pointed to the tolerance shown by Muslims in Spain during the violent period of the Christian Inquisition.

He observed that Indonesia, Bangladesh, Turkey and Pakistan—all Muslim-majority states—had elected women to leadership roles and added that “the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life.” He thus cast aside the notion that the enlightened West inherently recognizes women’s rights.

He rejected the widely held view that women who wear the veil are “less equal,” stating that this should be a woman’s choice. And he argued against actions taken by Western nations to dictate what Muslim women should wear, stating: “We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.”

Obama subtly acknowledged the U.S.’s double standards. He admitted that the U.S. had acted contrary to its “ideals” by instituting torture. He also noted that one nation should not pick and choose who should have nuclear weapons, a reference to the U.S.’s opposition to Iranian nuclear ambitions and its lack of criticism of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

He further admitted to the U.S. role in the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq in 1953, and to the ways that colonialism and the Cold War thwarted aspirations in other parts of the world. Marking a shift from the traditional one-sided emphasis on Israel’s problems, he described the Palestinians as a dispossessed people.

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Yet as significant as these comments are in challenging the racist and Islamophobic rhetoric under the Bush regime, Obama’s policy in the Middle East and South Asia does not signal a break with the policies of previous administrations. While there are minor points of difference with the Bush administration, Obama’s foreign policy stays within the broader framework of US imperial aims in the region.

Consistent with previous Democratic and Republican presidents going back to 1979, Obama views Iran’s independence from, and resistance to, U.S. dominance in the region as a problem. While he has called for a halt to further settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, he champions a toothless two-state solution that emerged in policy circles in the U.S. in the early 1990s—and he says nothing about dismantling existing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

In Iraq, he proposes to withdraw U.S. combat troops while leaving about 50,000 troops still in the country to maintain U.S. control. And in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Obama “Af-Pak” strategy has only increased U.S. troops and involvement in Afghanistan and created a massive refugee crisis in Pakistan, all to further its oil/natural gas interests and geopolitical aims in the region.

What Obama’s speech represents is a repackaging of U.S. imperial aims in liberal terms. It heralds a new rhetorical approach built on the ashes of the now widely discredited cowboy diplomacy of the Bush era.

This is why the speech earned praise from even right-wing hacks like David Horowitz. In an article titled, “Fellow conservatives, admit it: Obama gave a great speech,” Horowitz argues that Obama deserves support because he defended U.S. policy in relation to Israel and the Iraq and Afghan wars. Republican Sen. Richard Lugar similarly dismissed criticisms from Republicans, calling the speech a “signal achievement.” Speaking about the Middle East peace process Lugar stated that the speech tried to “strike some of the right notes rhetorically,” while it would have little impact materially.

Indeed, Horowitz and Luger are not alone in seeing the usefulness of such a rhetorical shift. Over the last few years, in response to the plummeting U.S. image around the world, and in Muslim-majority countries in particular, a section of the political elite has sought to find new approaches to bolstering America’s image.

One such effort got underway in January 2007 under the leadership of former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, former Deputy Secretary of State (under Bush) Richard Armitage, and others. The group published a document titled, “Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World,” which received high praise from political figures like Lugar, Howard Berman and Leon Panetta, and former generals like Anthony Zinni, among others.

The “Changing Course” document states in its opening pages that distrust of the U.S. in Muslim-majority countries is a product of “[p]olicies and actions—not a clash of civilizations.” It goes on to argue that to defeat “violent extremists,” military force is necessary but not sufficient, and that the U.S. needs to forge “diplomatic, political, economic, and cultural initiatives.” The report urges the U.S. leadership to improve “mutual respect and understanding between Americans and Muslims,” promote better “governance and improve civic participation,” and help “catalyze job creating growth” in Muslim countries.

The call to action stated that it would be vital for the next president to talk about improving relations with Muslim majority countries in his or her inaugural speech, and to reaffirm the U.S. “commitment to prohibit all forms of torture.” Obama has carried out these and other suggestions, and the Cairo speech reflects many of the themes raised in this report.

*****

Yet behind this liberal veneer of promoting “better understanding” and “mutual respect” is a report that in no way, shape or form attempts to “change course” on U.S. foreign policy objectives. Instead, it simply urges the use of more subtle and diplomatic means to achieve these aims.

It states that the U.S. should engage Iran while insisting that it conform to non-proliferation standards; create a path for a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine; promote political reconciliation in Iraq and specify the U.S.’s long term goal; and renew an international commitment to stem the resurgence of extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In short, it promotes the goals of U.S. imperialism, but through means that mark a shift from the arrogant and unilateralist ways of the Bush regime.

It is no wonder then that Obama’s speech received a lukewarm reception in Muslim-majority countries. While some have understandably welcomed Obama’s gesture of goodwill and respect, many have expressed skepticism, asking Obama to match his words with deeds. The sentiment expressed in many newspaper editorials, and by ordinary people, is one that challenges Obama to change course in terms of foreign policy.

This should come as no surprise given the history of U.S. propaganda in Muslim-majority countries and the healthy skepticism that has been built up against it. To counter the influence of the Soviet Union and present the U.S. in a positive light, the U.S. developed an intensive propaganda strategy that included the use of posters, radio programs, books, pamphlets, intervening in school curricula, etc.

For instance, one short story distributed in Iran was about two boys, one who studied hard and was industrious, and the other who chose communism. Unsurprisingly, the latter met with an untimely death in a street demonstration, while the former prospered. Some of the more comical efforts include the USIS office in Iraq distributing posters of the Soviet Union depicted as a “greedy red pig,” complete with a hammer and sickle for a tail!

U.S. Cold War propaganda emphasized the Christian and religious roots of the U.S., in contrast to the godless atheism of the USSR. Concretely, this meant, for instance, the use by the U.S. embassy in Iraq of posters that featured photographs of Washington D.C.’s Islamic center, meant to depict the U.S. as an inclusive and tolerant nation. When Obama talks of a mosque in every state of the U.S., he is simply using already tried strategies.

Some of the key themes of Cold War propaganda in the Middle East involved portraying the U.S. as a beacon of freedom and democracy for the world, as a peace-loving nation, and as a friend of Islam in the “common moral front” against the USSR.1 Yet this propaganda could only be so effective, since the U.S.’s actions in toppling democratically elected regimes and supporting Islamists told a different story.

We in the U.S. need to develop a similar skepticism of imperial rhetoric. Liberal imperialism has a long history in the U.S. Starting with the Spanish-American War, political elites have argued that U.S. interventions in various countries were for humanitarian goals.

The U.S. claimed to be liberating the Cubans from Spain, yet they simply took over the reigns of power from the latter. Woodrow Wilson championed the right of nations to self-determination, but conveniently applied it only to the break-up of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires in his “fourteen points” program.

FDR claimed to be championing democracy during the Second World War, yet African Americans did not have the right to vote under Jim Crow laws. JFK claimed to want to “help” Third World countries to develop economically and to foster democracy, and created the Peace Corps for this purpose. Yet he sent more troops into Vietnam, and attempted to overthrow Castro through the “Bay of Pigs” invasion.

In short, the U.S., like all empires, has always sought to disguise its real aims behind fine-sounding phrases and goals. While Obama’s speech is a step forward in that it eschews the hate-filled Islamophobic rhetoric of the Bush regime, it does little for the real Muslims and Arabs who continue to face discrimination, harassment, rendition, torture, war and occupation.

To address these problems, a reinvigorated antiwar movement should use Obama’s rhetoric to build a struggle that can champion the rights of Arabs and Muslims around the world, and hold Obama accountable to his own words.

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  1. The material in this and the last two paragraphs are taken from National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 78, US Propaganda in the Middle East—the Early Cold War Version edited by Joyce Battle. []

Deepa Kumar is an associate professor of Media Studies and Middle East Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire: Empire Abroad and at Home and Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization, and the Ups Strike. She can be reached at: deepa_k276@yahoo.com. Read other articles by Deepa.

27 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on June 13th, 2009 at 10:21am #

    the shift in or change of rhetoric signifies that US wants at least some muslim states and some or most muslims onside.
    US needs help. If it gets moslems to kill moslems, it wld be much helpful to US conquering and subjugating muslim lands in which US had not installed puppets.

    the end goal is, of course, to finish off the ‘evil’ chinese and utterly destroy all vestiges of socialism; i.e., healthcare, free higher education, right to be informed and other poor people’s goodies.
    tnx

  2. Max Shields said on June 13th, 2009 at 1:23pm #

    Don’t we already know this?

    Barack Hussein Obama has not revealed himself; he is now what he has been since first he entered the American political stage.

    Why all this make believe, and now we see what he really is crap?

    The US has been a liberal imperialistic state since its inception, but most assuredly over the last hundred years. Obama is nothing but in and of this. Nothing new.

    That their are two faces to this imperialism (both rather liberal in nature even though the press like to make the distinction between the faux arguments of the Repubs (and their allies) and the Dems (and their allies), it has a continuity running from administration to administration.

    Bush made many of the statements in one fashion or another regarding his embrace of most Muslims. Obama has done no more. The face is different; the oratory is more refined, but there is no essential difference bey0nd that. Obama appeases a bit more because of who he is, but there is absolutely no deviation, even when there appears to be because Obama sounds “better”.

    This horse, in other words, has been beaten to death. Obama is just a continuation. The arguments of pundits and mass media be damned!

  3. John S. Hatch said on June 13th, 2009 at 1:40pm #

    Mr. Obama said in effect ‘We’d appreciate it if you didn’t complain too much when we invade your countries, kidnap, imprison, torture and murder your citizens randomly, steal your oil and natural gas, support Israel’s murderous behavior, excuse her nuclear weapons while we condemn Iran for even thinking of reasonable nuclear self defense while forgetting that we are the only nation to have dropped nuclear bombs on civilians, oh, and by the way, peace and love’.

    This is change?

  4. Don Hawkins said on June 13th, 2009 at 2:56pm #

    “Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes – goodwill among men and peace on earth.”
    Albert Einstein

    “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”
    Albert Einstein

    Wow I just realized a lot of people must have read Einstein and let me add didn’t understand what he wrote. “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” Sounds simple unless of course you are trying to understand the structure of the universe and the people we are talking about that is not there subject.

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain said on June 13th, 2009 at 3:41pm #

    Obama is just following the path blazed by Blair, Clinton and our own small, but perfectly formed, Antipodean con-man, Kevin Rudd. The trajectory of the West is relentlessly, unambiguously to the Right. Every new fraudulent ‘alternative’, every ‘Third Way’ or ‘social democrat’ bearer of ‘hope’, soon turns out to be just as Rightwing as his predecessor of the unashamed Right. I note the next stage of this charade is developing in the UK, with the Conservatives posing as more liberal, less doctrinaire, than ersatz Labor. Of course, when elected, they will show their true colours. So, just as was always inevitable in capitalist states where policies that favour the owners of the country are mandatory, but admitting so, and acknowledging the sham of ‘representative democracy’, absolutely verboten, capitalist democracy has become completely laughable and contemptible. Engaging in the farce just makes one complicit.

  6. Kahoneez said on June 14th, 2009 at 12:07am #

    He knows the average american doesn’t give a damn about the occupation of several countries , the drone bombing of civilians or the BILLIONS that are going to Empire building .

    It makes you think you’re watching the Twilight Zone , when Obama says the U.S. isn’t interested in permanent bases , or Empire building . when that’s exactly what he’s doing or continuing .
    It’s over , by the time the American people wake up , it’s going to be too late , because the combination of the dumbing down of Americans , the myth of U.S. moral authority and the need and comfort from gadgets , means Ward Churchill was correct , every American will due their mindless duty to support Imperialism and to follow leaders into the abyss .
    This spineless Colbert , so called supporting the troops by his so called entertainment and ending up on the cover of Newsweek w/ Iraq shaved into his hair , demonstrates how Americans will laugh over the dead bodies of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis , laugh while over 25,000 are in prisons run by occupation forces , laugh while people resist occupation and get blown up by drones . Laugh , laugh, laugh , laugh , because Colbert is exactly what Churchill talks about , he’s a little Eichmann , putting a happy face on the burned bodies of dead Muslims . Bill Hicks must be turning in his grave .

  7. Shabnam said on June 14th, 2009 at 6:22am #

    Larry Franklin who pled guilty to passing secret information to two former AIPAC staffers and was convicted and sentenced to more than
    12 years in prison under Bus, his sentence has been drastically reduced to let him free by Obama, A ZIONIST PUPPET. Obama is trying to deceive the public and Muslim communities around the world with his nonsense doublespeak to benefit the war criminals and the most reactionary Arab puppet ‘leaders’ like Saudis where he bent in front of a reactionary dictator for financial support for his broken economic system. The Saudis influenced recent Lebanon election where brought a spy of Mossad and CIA by the name of Hariri and they try to repeat the same thing in Iranian election where was not successful. Don’t believe him. He must free himself from his chains first and then talk.

    http://jta.org/news/article/2009/06/12/1005836/franklin-sentence-reduced

  8. Tennessee-Bolivarian-Marxist said on June 14th, 2009 at 7:34am #

    USA IS FUCKED UP!! MOST AMERICANS HATE THEIR OWN COUNTRY BY VOTING FOR DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS EVERY 4 YEARS !!

    The only solution is to move out of USA before it all blows up to pieaces and takes you down with it !! move out of America while you can !!

    .

  9. Tennessee-Bolivarian-Marxist said on June 14th, 2009 at 7:38am #

    USA IS FULL OF ULTRA-RIGHT WING TERRORISTS !! Send the book “The Foundations of Leninism” to Obama by comrade Joseph Stalin which talks about how to crush the right-wing. Because i don’t want Obama to fail. If Obama fails the ultra-right will take power in 2012 !!

  10. Danny Ray said on June 14th, 2009 at 7:46am #

    Tennessee-Bolivarian-Marxist said on June 14th, 2009 at 7:34am #

    USA IS FUCKED UP!! MOST AMERICANS HATE THEIR OWN COUNTRY BY VOTING FOR DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS EVERY 4 YEARS !!

    The only solution is to move out of USA before it all blows up to pieaces and takes you down with it !! move out of America while you can !!

    .

    Tennessee-Bolivarian-Marxist said on June 14th, 2009 at 7:38am #

    USA IS FULL OF ULTRA-RIGHT WING TERRORISTS !! Send the book “The Foundations of Leninism” to Obama by comrade Joseph Stalin which talks about how to crush the right-wing. Because i don’t want Obama to fail. If Obama fails the ultra-right will take power in 2012 !!

    What do you care you will be gone, besure to have your mail forwarded.

  11. Shabnam said on June 14th, 2009 at 8:09am #

    Angry Arab’s analysis on recent elections from the zionist and imperialist, US and Israel, point of view:
    1) When the favored candidates win, the elections are free and fair. And when they lose, elections are certainly unfree and stolen.

    2) Violent protests against elections that produce winners favored by the west, are to be strictly condemned and protesters are to be called terrorists, hooligans and mobs (can you imagine if Lebanese opposition supporters were to engage in violent protests against the election results in Lebanon), while violent protests against enemies of the US when they win elections (like in Moldova) are to be admired (and the protesters in those cases are called “democracy activists”.

    3) It is not against free elections to have Western governments interfere in elections and in funding candidates through Western groups for the promotion of democracy.

    4) Candidates (or even dictators) who serve Western interests are automatically labeled as “reform candidates” (even the Saudi tyrant is referred to as “reform-minded”), while candidates who oppose Western economic and political interests are to be labeled enemies of reform.

    5) Candidates who are not strident in their language about Israel are always favored.

    6) Western observers of elections are always on hand to declare an election unfair and rigged if the favored candidates lose.

    7) The corruption of pro-US candidates (like the March 14 bunch) is preferred to the non-corruption of, say, Mugabe.

    8) The democratic credentials of dictators immediately improve if they change their policies toward the US and if they express willingness to serve US economic and political interests.

    9) Countries where dictators do a good job in serving US economic and political interests need not hold elections.

    10) If favored candidates can’t guarantee electoral victory (like the PA tool, Abu Mazen whose term has expired months ago), they don’t need to hold elections and will be treated as if they won an election anyway.

    11) It is just not logical to assume that people in developing countries can freely ever decide to make choices that are not consistent with political and economic interests of the US.
    12) Elections that are held under American and Israeli occupations are free and fair if the preferred candidates win.
    http://angryarab.blogspot.com/

  12. Brian Koontz said on June 14th, 2009 at 8:26am #

    There’s little difference between Christianity and Islam. Furthermore, the world is becoming monocultural. Even as empty rhetoric there’s little future lifespan in any “clash of civilizations” argument.

    Hopefully there will be a clash of civilizations in the near future though – a clash between the worshipers of Mammon and the worshipers of life. That’s one clash worth a lot of casualties.

  13. Tennessee-Bolivarian-Marxist said on June 14th, 2009 at 8:26am #

    Danny: Because i am a humanist. I am not like most inhumane patriot americans who are so evil that don’t care if millions of people from other countries die by famines, tsunamis, wars, by hunger while they keep binging on pizzas, cakes and burgers. even if i move out of USA some day i would care for the living standards of millions of people living in USA.

    .

  14. kalidas said on June 14th, 2009 at 8:29am #

    One thing for sure, we all got it coming..

  15. Don Hawkins said on June 14th, 2009 at 8:48am #

    I got the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still the other day the girl behind the counter said a great movie and it’s true. About twenty and most people I talk with farmers know what’s coming. I think most are starting to understand the deep do do part. Two million to start Capital calm at peace don’t play the few evil shit’s game. One voice loud and clear. We must start now and so far from both sides of so called leaders in the greatest nation on Earth they seem to know nothing just more bullshit. Go out in style so that’s what they call it. The Republicans put out there energy Bill are they the right because that Bill is very very wrong. It looks like this Bill might pass from the Democrats a watered down Bill then I do want to see the witting from some thinkers not bullshit artists. As of today the ice in the Arctic is again at record low’s and the weather not the climate begins to change even more in the coming years. Yes to late for some changes but not the real big one’s there is still time if we start today not tomorrow. Remember the Bill’s can be passed and the Earth the last time I checked is still trying to find balance an ongoing process. That illusion of knowledge high upon the hill seems to also be an ongoing process.

  16. Tennessee-Bolivarian-Marxist said on June 14th, 2009 at 11:32am #

    SOCIALISM IN 1 COUNTRY IS IMPOSSIBLE. FOR 1 COUNTRY TO BE SOCIALIST, THE WHOLE WORLD HAS TO BE SOCIALIST

    Source: wsws.org

    The proposition advanced by Bukharin and Stalin in 1924 that socialism could be achieved in the Soviet Union based upon its own national reserves and regardless of the fate of the socialist revolution internationally represented a fundamental revision of the perspective that had guided the Soviet leadership and the Communist International under Lenin. This divorcing of the prospects for the Soviet Union from the development of the world socialist revolution likewise constituted a frontal assault on the theory of permanent revolution, upon which the October Revolution of 1917 had been based.

    Trotsky wrote in his Results and Prospects: “The theory of socialism in one country, which rose on the yeast of the reaction against October, is the only theory that consistently and to the very end opposes the theory of the permanent revolution.”

    What did he mean by this? Permanent revolution was a theory that began from an international revolutionary perspective; socialism in one country was a utopian and reformist prescription for a national-socialist state.

    Permanent revolution took socialism’s point of departure as the world economy and world revolution. Socialism in one country began from the standpoint of socialism as a means of national development.

    These questions were at the center of Trotsky’s 1928 critique of the draft program of the Communist International contained in the volume The Third International after Lenin. I would like to quote at some length passages from this critique, which spell out the foundations of a Marxist approach to the elaboration of perspective. The imperishable brilliance of this analysis is even clearer today—given the ever-closer global integration of capitalism, to which we have paid such close attention in the development of the IC’s perspective.

    “In our epoch,” he wrote, “which is the epoch of imperialism, i.e., of world economy and world politics under the hegemony of finance capital, not a single communist party can establish its program by proceeding solely or mainly from conditions and tendencies of developments in its own country. This also holds entirely for the party that wields the state power within the boundaries of the USSR. On August 4, 1914, the death knell sounded for national programs for all time. The revolutionary party of the proletariat can base itself only upon an international program corresponding to the character of the present epoch, the epoch of the highest development and collapse of capitalism. An international communist program is in no case the sum total of national programs or an amalgam of their common features. The international program must proceed directly from an analysis of the conditions and tendencies of world economy and of the world political system taken as a whole in all its connections and contradictions, that is, with the mutually antagonistic interdependence of its separate parts. In the present epoch, to a much larger extent than in the past, the national orientation of the proletariat must and can flow only from a world orientation and not vice versa. Herein lies the basic and primary difference between communist internationalism and all varieties of national socialism….”

    He continued: “Linking up countries and continents that stand on different levels of development into a system of mutual dependence and antagonism, leveling out the various stages of their development and at the same time immediately enhancing the differences between them, and ruthlessly counterposing one country to another, world economy has become a mighty reality which holds sway over the economic life of individual countries and continents. This basic fact alone invests the idea of a world communist party with a supreme reality.”

    Before Lenin’s death in 1924, no one in the leadership of the Communist Party, either in the Soviet Union or internationally, had ever suggested the idea that a self-sufficient socialist society could be built on Soviet soil or anywhere else.

    Indeed, in his “Foundations of Leninism,” written in February of that year, Stalin summed up Lenin’s views on the building of socialism with the following passage:

    “The overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of a proletarian government in one country does not yet guarantee the complete victory of socialism. The main task of socialism—the organization of socialist production—remains ahead. Can this task be accomplished, can the final victory of socialism in one country be attained, without the joint efforts of the proletariat of several advanced countries? No, this is impossible. To overthrow the bourgeoisie the efforts of one country are sufficient—the history of our revolution bears this out. For the final victory of Socialism, for the organization of socialist production, the efforts of one country, particularly of such a peasant country as Russia, are insufficient. For this the efforts of the proletarians of several advanced countries are necessary.

    “Such, on the whole, are the characteristic features of the Leninist theory of the proletarian revolution.”

    Before the end of that year, however, Stalin’s “Foundations of Leninism” would be reissued in a revised edition. The passage I just quoted was replaced with its opposite, affirming that the “proletariat can and must build the socialist society in one country,” followed by the very same assurance that this constituted the “Leninist theory of proletarian revolution.”

    This abrupt and gross revision of perspective reflected the growing social weight of the bureaucracy and its awakening consciousness in regards to its own specific social interests, which it saw as bound up with the steady development of the national economy.

    Moreover, the call for building “socialism in one country” struck a broader chord among an exhausted Soviet working class that had seen its most advanced elements either sacrificed in the civil war or drawn into the state apparatus. The debacle suffered in Germany as a result of the German Communist Party’s capitulation during the revolutionary crisis of 1923 had further dashed hopes for early relief from the world revolution and left Soviet workers susceptible to the promise of a national solution.

    As Trotsky spelled out in his critique of the draft program for the Sixth Congress of the Communist International and other writings, the theory of socialism in one country represented a direct attack on the program of world socialist revolution.

    Trotsky explained that, if it was indeed the case that socialism could be achieved in Russia regardless of what happened to the socialist revolution elsewhere in the world, the Soviet Union would turn from a revolutionary internationalist policy to a purely defensist one.

    The inevitable logic of this shift was the transformation of the sections of the Communist International into border guards—instruments of a Soviet foreign policy aimed at securing the USSR by diplomatic means that would avoid imperialist attack while preserving the global status quo. In the end, the policy represented a subordination of the interests of the international working class to the Stalinist bureaucracy’s own interests and privileges.

    As Trotsky warned prophetically in 1928, the thesis that socialism could be built in Russia alone given the absence of foreign aggression led inevitably to “a collaborationist policy toward the foreign bourgeoisie with the object of averting intervention.”

    This fundamental shift in the strategic axis of the party’s program was accompanied by a wholesale replacement of the old leaderships within both the Comintern and the national sections. Through a series of purges, expulsions and political coups, the Moscow bureaucracy obtained a staff that was trained to see the defense of the Soviet state, rather than the world socialist revolution, as its strategic axis.

    The USSR and the world economy

    The differences over the relation between the Russian and the world revolutions were inseparable from the conflict that had developed earlier within the party over economic policies within the Soviet Union itself.

    The Stalin leadership, pragmatically adapting itself to the immediate growth produced by the New Economic Policy, supported the preservation of the status quo within the Soviet borders as well, continuing and expanding concessions to the peasantry and private traders.

    Trotsky and the Left Opposition had put forward a detailed proposal for developing heavy industry, warning that without a growth of the industrial sector, there was a serious danger that the growth of capitalist relations in the countryside would undermine the foundations of socialism.

    Above all, Trotsky rejected the argument advanced in conjunction with “socialism in one country” that the economic development of the Soviet Union somehow could take place separately from the world economy and the worldwide struggle between capitalism and socialism.

    Bukharin had declared, “We will construct socialism if it be only at a snail’s pace,” while Stalin insisted that there was “no need to inject the international factor into our socialist development.”

    The false Stalinist conception that the only threat to socialist construction in the USSR was that of military intervention ignored the immense pressure placed upon it by the world capitalist market.

    To counter this pressure, the Soviet state established a monopoly of foreign trade. While an indispensable instrument of defense, the monopoly itself expressed Soviet dependence on the world market and its relative weakness in terms of productivity of labor in relation to the major capitalist powers. While it regulated the pressure of cheaper goods from the capitalist West, this monopoly by no means eliminated it.

    Trotsky fought for a faster tempo of industrial growth in order to counter this pressure, while at the same time he rejected the conception of an economic autarky. The development of purely national planning that failed to take into account the relationship between the Soviet economy and the world market was doomed to failure. He insisted that the USSR take advantage of the world division of labor, gaining access to the technology and economic resources of the advanced capitalist countries in order to develop its economy.

    The attempt to develop a self-sufficient “socialist” economy based on the resources of backward Russia was doomed, not merely by Russia’s backwardness, but because it represented a retrogression from the world economy already created by capitalism. In his 1930 introduction to the German edition of The Permanent Revolution, Trotsky wrote as follows:

    “Marxism takes its point of departure from world economy, not as a sum of national parts but as a mighty and independent reality which has been created by the international division of labor and the world market, and which in our epoch imperiously dominates the national markets. The productive forces of capitalist society have long ago outgrown the national boundaries. The imperialist war (of 1914-1918) was one of the expressions of this fact. In respect of the technique of production, socialist society must represent a stage higher than capitalism. To aim at building a nationally isolated socialist society means, in spite of all passing successes, to pull the productive forces backward even as compared with capitalism. To attempt, regardless of the geographical, cultural and historical conditions of the country’s development, which constitutes a part of the world unity, to realize a shut-off proportionality of all branches of economy within a national framework, means to pursue a reactionary utopia.”

    The Stalinist leadership’s struggle to impose the ideology of “socialism in one country” inevitably took the form of a vicious struggle against “Trotskyism” and in particular the theory of permanent revolution.

    In his autobiography, My Life, Trotsky explained the political psychology of what he described as “the out-and-out philistine, ignorant, and simply stupid baiting of the theory of permanent revolution”:

    “Gossiping over a bottle of wine or returning from the ballet,” he wrote, “one smug official would say to another: ‘He can think of nothing but permanent revolution.’ The accusations of unsociability, of individualism, of aristocratism, were closely connected with this particular mood. The sentiment of ‘Not all and always for the revolution, but some thing for oneself as well,’ was translated as ‘Down with permanent revolution.’ The revolt against the exacting theoretical demands of Marxism and the exacting political demands of the revolution gradually assumed, in the eyes of these people, the form of a struggle against ‘Trotskyism.’ Under this banner, the liberation of the philistine in the Bolshevik was proceeding.”

    The reaction against October 1917

    The campaign against permanent revolution was a necessary expression of the growth of nationalism within the Bolshevik Party and the beginning of the reaction against the October Revolution, which had been carried out based upon this theory.

    Those like Stalin who denounced Trotsky in 1924 for failing to believe that Russia could build “socialism in one country” had between 1905 and 1917 condemned him as a utopian for asserting that the Russian proletariat could come to power before the workers of Western Europe. Russia, they insisted at the time, was too backward.

    Trotsky had grasped that the nature of the Russian Revolution would be determined in the final analysis not by the level of its own national economic development, but by the domination of Russia by world capitalism and its international crisis. In countries like Russia with a belated capitalist development, integration into the world capitalist economy and the growth of the working class made it impossible for the bourgeoisie to carry through the tasks associated with the bourgeois revolution.

    As Trotsky summed up his theory in the 1939 article “Three Conceptions of the Russian Revolution”: “The complete victory of the democratic revolution in Russia is inconceivable otherwise than in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat basing itself on the peasantry. The dictatorship of the proletariat, which will inescapably place on the order of the day not only democratic but also socialist tasks, will at the same time provide a mighty impulse to the international socialist revolution. Only the victory of the proletariat in the West will shield Russia from bourgeois restoration and secure for her the possibility of bringing the socialist construction to its conclusion.”

    Rejecting the internationalist foundations of this theory—verified in the experience of the October Revolution—the Stalin leadership based itself on a formal nationalist approach, dividing the world into different types of countries based upon whether or not they possessed the supposed necessary prerequisites for socialist construction.

    Trotsky denounced this approach as doubly wrong. He pointed out that the development of a world capitalist economy not only posed the conquest of power by the working class in the backward countries, it also made the construction of socialism within national boundaries unrealizable in the advanced capitalist countries.

    He wrote: “The draft program forgets the fundamental thesis of the incompatibility between the present productive forces and the national boundaries, from which it follows that highly developed productive forces are by no means a lesser obstacle to the construction of socialism in one country than low productive forces, although for the reverse reason, namely, that while the latter are insufficient to serve as the basis, it is the basis which will prove inadequate for the former.”

    That is, the colonial countries lack the economic/industrial base, while in the advanced capitalist country, the capitalist economy has already grown beyond the confines of the national boundaries. Britain, as Trotsky pointed out, because of the development of its productive forces required the entire world to supply it with raw materials and markets. An attempt to build socialism on one island would inevitably spell an irrational economic retrogression.

    Socialism in one country and China

    While time does not allow a detailed examination of the implications of the policy of “socialism in one country” for the sections of the Communist International, I think it is necessary to refer, even if only in a summary fashion, to the betrayal of the Chinese revolution of 1925-1927. This betrayal unfolded in the midst of Trotsky’s struggle against Stalin’s retrograde theory and provided a grim confirmation of his warning that it could only lead to catastrophic defeats for the international working class.

    Writing in 1930, Trotsky described this “second” Chinese revolution as the “greatest event of modern history after the 1917 revolution in Russia.” The rising tide of revolutionary struggle by the Chinese working class and peasantry and the rapid growth and political authority of the Chinese Communist Party after its founding in 1920 provided the Soviet Union with the most favorable opportunity for breaking its isolation and encirclement.

    Having repudiated the permanent revolution and resurrected the Menshevik theory of the “two-stage” revolution in the colonial and semi-colonial countries, the Stalin leadership insisted that the Chinese working class had to subordinate its struggle to the bourgeois nationalist Guomindang led by Chiang Kai-shek.

    Against Trotsky’s opposition, the Chinese Communist Party was instructed to enter the Guomindang and submit to its organizational discipline, while Chiang Kai-shek was elected as an honorary member of the Comintern’s executive committee, with Trotsky casting the sole opposing vote.

    The Stalin leadership defined the Guomindang as a “bloc of four classes” consisting of the working class, the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie.

    It was Stalin’s position that China was not yet ripe for a socialist revolution, that it lacked the “sufficient minimum” of development for socialist construction. Therefore, the working class could not fight for political power.

    As the February 1927 resolution of the Comintern stated: “The current period of the Chinese revolution is a period of a bourgeois-democratic revolution which has not been completed either from the economic standpoint (the agrarian revolution and the abolition of feudal relations), or from the standpoint of the national struggle against imperialism (the unification of China and the establishment of national independence), or from the standpoint of the class nature of the state (the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry)….”

    Trotsky pointed out that everything in this resolution on China echoed the positions held by the Mensheviks and much of the leadership of the Bolshevik Party—Stalin included—in the aftermath of the February 1917 revolution in Russia. They insisted then that the revolution could not leap over the bourgeois democratic stage of its development and called for conditional support to the bourgeois Provisional Government. They opposed as “Trotskyism” Lenin’s thesis enunciated in April 1917 that the essential tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution could only be completed by the working class seizing power and establishing its own dictatorship.

    The Stalin leadership insisted that the imperialist oppression of China—and indeed in all the colonial and semi-colonial countries—welded together all classes, from the proletariat to the bourgeoisie in a common struggle against imperialism, justifying their unification in a common party.

    Against this conception, Trotsky established that the struggle against imperialism, which enjoyed myriad ties to the native bourgeoisie, only intensified the class struggle. “The struggle against imperialism, precisely because of its economic and military power, demands a powerful exertion of forces from the very depth of the Chinese people,” he wrote. “But everything that brings the oppressed and exploited masses of toilers to their feet, inevitably pushes the national bourgeoisie into an open bloc with the imperialists. The class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the masses of workers and peasants is not weakened but, on the contrary, it is sharpened by imperialist oppression, to the point of bloody civil war at every serious conflict.”

    Stalin was able to impose the Menshevik policy on China—against the will of the Chinese Communist Party, which was instructed to restrain both the workers in the city as well as the agrarian revolution in the countryside. In the end, it was ordered to surrender its weapons to Chiang’s army. The result was the massacre of some 20,000 communists and workers by this army in Shanghai on April 12, 1927.

    The Stalin leadership then insisted that the massacre had only confirmed its line and that Chiang only represented the bourgeoisie, not the “nine-tenths” of the Guomindang made up of workers and peasants, whose legitimate leader was proclaimed Wang Ching-wei, who headed the “left” Guomindang government in Wuhan, to which the CP was again ordered to subordinate itself. In July 1927, after Wang reached an accommodation with Chiang, he repeated the massacre of workers and Communists seen in Shanghai.

    It is worth noting that this leader of the “left” Guomindang—proclaimed by Stalin the head of a “revolutionary democratic dictatorship”—went on to become chief of the Japanese occupation’s puppet regime in Nanking.

    In a bald attempt to cover up the catastrophic consequences of the opportunism of the Comintern in Shanghai and Wuhan, Stalin insisted that the Chinese revolution was still in its ascendancy and sanctioned an adventurist uprising in Canton that ended in yet another massacre.

    The result was the physical annihilation of the Chinese Communist Party and the loss of what had been the most promising revolutionary opportunity since 1917.

    The opportunism of the Stalin leadership in China was based upon the conception that the success of the Guomindang could serve as a counterweight to imperialism and thereby give the Soviet Union breathing space for the project of building “socialism in one country.”

    But the anti-Marxist and opportunist policy in China grew out of the nationalist underpinnings of the theory of socialism in one country. Applied to China, this method analyzed the national revolution in isolation from the world revolution. It thus, on the one hand, saw China as insufficiently mature for socialism while, on the other, endowed the national bourgeoisie and the nation-state form itself with a historically progressive role.

    Trotsky rejected both conceptions, insisting that the character of the Chinese revolution was determined by the world development of capitalism, which, as in Russia in 1917, posed the taking of power by the working class as the only means of solving the revolution’s national and democratic tasks.

    Trotsky’s warnings about the consequences of the policy of “socialism in one country” had been vindicated, but as he warned those in the Left Opposition who saw this as a mortal defeat for Stalin, the objective impact of the defeat in China upon the masses of Soviet workers would only strengthen the hand of the bureaucracy. In the aftermath of the defeat, he himself was expelled from the party in November 1927 and banished to Alma Ata on the Russo-Chinese border several months later.

    The political significance of the adoption of the Stalin-Bukharin perspective of “socialism in one country” combined with the campaign against permanent revolution and the suppression of Trotsky and his co-thinkers was well understood by the most class-conscious organs of the world bourgeoisie.

    Thus, the New York Times published a special report by its ineffable Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty in June 1931, stating, “The essential feature of ‘Stalinism,’ which sharply defines its advance and difference from Leninism…is that it frankly aims at the successful establishment of socialism in one country without waiting for world revolution.

    “The importance of this dogma which played a predominant role in the bitter controversy with Leon Trotsky…cannot be exaggerated. It is the Stalinist “slogan” par excellence, and it brands as heretics or “defeatists” all Communists who refuse to accept it in Russia or outside.”

    Duranty continued, “[T]he theory of ‘Soviet Socialist sufficiency,’ as it may be called, involves a certain decrease of interest in world revolution—not deliberately, perhaps, but by force of circumstances. The Stalinist socialization of Russia demands three things, imperatively—every ounce of effort, every cent of money, and peace. It does not leave the Kremlin time, cash or energy for ‘Red propaganda’ abroad, which, incidentally, is a likely cause of war, and, being a force of social destruction, must fatally conflict with the five-year plan which is a force of social construction.”

    Similarly, the French newspaper Le Temps commented two years later, “Since the removal of Trotsky, who with his theory of permanent revolution represented a genuine international danger, the Soviet rulers headed by Stalin have adhered to the policy of building socialism in one country without awaiting the problematic revolution in the rest of the world.”

    The paper went on to counsel the French ruling class not to take the Stalinist bureaucracy’s revolutionary rhetoric all too seriously.

    Trotsky proposed during this period the creation of a “white book” compiling such endorsements of “socialism in one country” on the part of the bourgeoisie and a “yellow book” including declarations of sympathy and support from the social democrats.

    Eight decades later, the implications of the struggle between the theory of permanent revolution and socialism in one country are plain to see. Trotsky’s precise and prescient warnings that the attempt to separate the socialist development of the Soviet Union from international developments and world revolution could only lead to catastrophe have been confirmed in the redrawing of the map of the world and in the vast impoverishment of the working people of the former USSR.

    In addition to the split in the IC, this year also marks the twentieth anniversary of Mikhail Gorbachev’s initiation of the program of perestroika. This policy marked the completion of Stalinism’s betrayal of the October Revolution. Behind the Marxist verbiage, the bureaucracy had long seen socialism not as a program for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, but rather as a means of developing a national economy that was the base of their own privileges.

    It was to defend those privileges that it turned to a policy of capitalist restoration that unleashed a disaster of world historic proportions on the Soviet people. The starkest manifestation is a population implosion—in the last 10 years the population of Russia alone has dropped by 9.5 million, despite the many thousands of Russians returning from former Soviet republics. The number of homeless children is greater today than in the worst days of the Civil War or the aftermath of World War II.

    The Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the USSR—a response to the growing pressure from globally integrated capitalism upon the nationally isolated Soviet economy—represented the failure not of socialism or Marxism, but rather that of the attempt by the Stalinist bureaucracy to maintain an isolated, self-sufficient national economy—i.e., the perspective of socialism in one country.

    The struggle waged by Trotsky against the theory of socialism in one country provided a profound analysis of the causes of the reaction against October and its significance for the international working class, in the process elaborating a comprehensive program for the building of the world party of socialist revolution.

    Trotsky’s defense of permanent revolution and the fundamental conception that world economy and world politics constitute the only objective foundation for a revolutionary strategy represents the theoretical cornerstone of the internationalist perspective of the International Committee of the Fourth International today.

  17. Tennessee-Bolivarian-Marxist said on June 14th, 2009 at 11:49am #

    THE ILLUMINATI CAPITALIST BANKERS INSTIGATED WORLD WAR I
    June 9, 2009

    Source: henrymakow.com
    Henry Makow Ph.D.

    When we left off, we were exploring the proposition that the New World Order is the British Empire repackaged, and this empire was literally a marriage of effete British aristocracy and virile (or virulent) Jewish finance.

    Webster Tarpley is a gifted historian who generally eschews mention of Jewish bankers in favor of euphemisms like “Venetians.” Therefore it is unusual for him to state bluntly that King Edward VII was in the pay of the Rothschilds and was responsible for World War One.

    Edward VII didn’t become king until 1901 when he was 60 years old. As Prince of Wales, he was estranged from his mother, kept on an allowance and deeply in debt. He allowed a “series of Jewish bankers to manage his personal finances.” These included Baron von Hirsch and Sir Ernest Cassell. “Edward also cultivated the Rothschild and Sassoon families. In short, Edward’s personal household finance agency was identical with the leading lights of turn-of-the-century Zionism.”
    (King Edward VII: Evil Demiurge of the Triple Entente & WW1.)

    Tarpley is equally forthright in stating that “Edward VII, far more than any other single human being, was the author of the First World War…the most destructive single event in the history of Western civilization” which opened the door to Communism, Fascism, the Great Depression and World War Two. Tarpley falls into the trap of establishment historians by attributing great events to single personalities. These personalities are invariably puppets of the people who pay their bills.

    Tarpley goes into some detail about how King Edward and his Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, the son of Edward’s horse master, engineered World War One. Essentially, they deceived Germany into believing that England would remain neutral. To prevent the war, all they had to do was clarify this point. Germany would have backed down and reined in Austria.

    In August 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm realized he had been fooled: “England, Russia and France have agreed among themselves … to take the Austro-Serbian conflict as an excuse for waging a war of extermination against us…That is the real naked situation slowly & cleverly set going by Edward VII…The net has been suddenly thrown over our heads, and England sneeringly reaps the most brilliant success of her persistently prosecuted anti-German world policy against which we have proved ourselves helpless, while she twists the noose of our political and economic destruction out of our fidelity to Austria, as we squirm isolated in the net.”

    BACKGROUND

    “England’s” animosity against Germany was part of an agenda to use a catastrophic war to undermine Western civilization, and advance the Judeo-Masonic New World Order. Three empires disappeared in that inferno while Communism and Zionism rose like the phoenix.

    The decadent British aristocracy is totally complicit in the cabalistic bankers’ plan to degrade and enslave mankind. Who are these “aristocrats?” In an essay, “Breeding Concubines,” Greg Hallett makes some astonishing, some might say ridiculous, claims. I present them here without judgment, to be proven or discredited as evidence emerges.

    Edward VII was the mentally deficient product of the marriage between Queen Victoria and her first cousin Albert. He was the oldest male of her nine children. He married in 1863 and had five legitimate children between 1864 and 1869. His eldest son, Clarence, was mentally deranged and the prime suspect in the Jack the Ripper murders.

    Edward VII routinely and openly cheated on his wife. He had dozens of mistresses, some as young as age 14. One of these was the Jewish-born Lady Randolph Jennie Jerome Churchill. Hallett believes Edward VII was Winston Churchill’s real father.

    Hallett claims that Queen Victoria had children with Lionel de Rothschild and that two of Edward’s sisters, Helena and Beatrice, were Rothschilds. He claims the British Royal family is “a biological, financial and moral subset of the Rothschild international bankers.”

    “Interbreeding amongst the British royal family over generations has created concubines, illegitimate children and agents of war. The British Royal family are then shamed by these events and then manipulated into any activity their owners require…This gave [the Rothschilds] consummate power over the British Royal family, and any others they interbred with, which was all the royal families of Europe…” (“Breeding Concubines” in “Stalin’s British Training,” 2007, pp. 1-38.)

    CONCLUSION

    These claims seem far fetched yet it is plain to see that something is wrong with the Royals. It is widely acknowledged that Edward VII was dissolute. If Hallet’s claim that “the British Royal family are a subset of the Rothschild family and are utilized as part of the Rothschild business as a money-making venture to create war,” it would explain King Edward VII’s role in starting World War One.

    The reports of homosexuality, drugs, pederasty, promiscuity, occultism in the history of the British aristocracy are consistent with what we know about the Illuminati. They are depraved yet somehow able to subvert mankind without serious resistance.

    What a tawdry tale is modern history! Instead of grasping greatness within reach, the human race is paralyzed by the morbid spell of a Satanic cult, the Cabalist (Illuminati) bankers.


    See Letter from Greg Hallett, Below

  18. bozh said on June 14th, 2009 at 3:50pm #

    yes, the people were always divided into les miserables and les admirables.
    in US also. We have there the admirers and the admirables

    well, the reality is odder than an udder. For one thing, it never makes the same mistake twice. So, that’s good news: we will never ever get another Bush or hillary.
    the poor girl, believe it or not, didn’t even know she was sex-starved because clinton was feasting elsewhere. That’s udderly strange. tnx

  19. Tennessee-Bolivarian-Marxist said on June 14th, 2009 at 5:09pm #

    THE US ECONOMY IS SINKING LIKE THE TITANIC

    THE ECONOMY THE TITANIC & THE LIFE RAFTS OF GOLD AND SILVER

    source: financialsense.com

    What has happened to America, the destruction of what was recently the most powerful economy in the world could not have happened without the complicity of politicians of both parties who aided the bankers in their parasitic plundering of America’s wealth, productivity and future.

    The Republicans were the primary tool—and natural home—of the bankers but the bankers could not have achieved their enormous power and influence over America’s domestic and foreign policy without the complicity of Democrats along the way.

    It was Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who signed into law the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 that gave private bankers control over US currency, control that was to indebt our nation, businesses and people into perpetual indebtedness.

    It was Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt who outlawed the possession of gold in 1933 by US citizens thereby trapping Americans into the paper assets of bankers just as the bankers wished, putting beyond Americans’ reach the gold that would have otherwise protected them from the banker’s debasement of the US dollar.

    And it was Democrat Bill Clinton who signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, thereby repealing the safeguards set up in 1933 to prevent another Great Depression and allowed investment banks, insurance companies and commercial banks to co-mingle America’s savings in what was to be soon the greatest destruction of wealth on a scale never before seen.

    AND, NOW, ANOTHER DEMOCRAT IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE

    We now have a another Democrat in the White House who has the dubious honor of inheriting a nation in tatters, its reputation and economy virtually destroyed by its previous occupant who allowed the nation to sink to previously unimaginable lows in both fiscal irresponsibility and illegal acts.

    I guess that’s to be expected when a fraternity boy moves into the same house his father once lived in and brought in friends such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who sent the nation into a war based on lies and then had legal hacks such as Alberto Gonzales and John Woo justify torture if done in the name of freedom.

    Illegal voting machines aided by the US Supreme Court and a Democratic Party that rolled over as easily as a drunken sorority girl at a frat party allowed Paulson and Wall Street bankers and Washington DC power brokers free reign at the White House from 2000 to 2008, more than enough time to apply the coup d’état to a once great nation.

    What happened between 2000 and 2008 in the White House is so much more egregious than the few blow jobs that Clinton got from Monica Lewinsky (all that money spent and we still never got an exact accounting) and yet the crimes of Bush and Cheney et. al. will probably never be investigated nor will justice ever be served on those who so callously used their power to serve it to others.

    The pursuit of Bill Clinton over a blow job and the non-pursuit of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for their callous disregard of the truth and the US Constitution is an indictment of America itself.

    What America chooses to prosecute and what America chooses to deny is a direct indictment of America and the “values” it so loudly proclaims to others. In the future, America should be more careful as the world is not as swayed by the distorted reflection America sees in its own media.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

    I don’t know President Barack Obama nor did I know any of America’s previous presidents but I do know that I don’t envy the man or the task he has in front of him. It is never easy to lie to a nation (although politicians do a far better job than most) but Americans have never seemed to really want the truth which is perhaps one reason it has rarely been disclosed to them.

    The America of today grew up on bankers’ easy credit. The America of tomorrow will be buried by it. I don’t know if President Obama knows this but I do know the men he has appointed to counsel him in economic affairs know it and don’t care.

    Paul Volker, the hero of another age, salvaged the bankers’ paper money game for another generation but he did so at the expense of what could have saved the nation. Volker later said he regretted not having earlier managed the price of gold and if his actions in saving the parasitic system of bankers are to be lauded, then so be it.

    But perhaps the least of all the men Obama has surrounded himself to counsel him on the economy is Lawrence Summers, Obama’s Chief Economic Advisor. Summers is the former Chief Economist at the World Bank who at the time suggested that polluting industries should be moved to 3rd world countries where the human toll would be less costly, and was also later fired as President of Harvard University for his statement that women were intellectually inferior to men.

    But Summers’ greatest transgression against true economic freedom guaranteed by gold and its protection against government power is his 1988 paper he co-authored with Robert Barsky, Gibson’s Paradox And The Gold Standard wherein Summers argued that manipulating the price of gold would have a favorable impact on interest rates and the price of paper assets.

    Summer’s paper served as the basis for further US government manipulation of the gold market and does not speak well for future US policy in that regards. Newly appointed US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also comes with as much baggage as Volker and Summers in respect to his relationships with the investment bankers who have raped and pillaged our nation.

    Timothy Geithner was the man who last fall stood shoulder to shoulder next to Henry Paulson as Paulson looted America’ treasury for the benefit of his Wall Street friends and cronies and insured that he would never be called to task for what he would do.

    Geithner is described in Wikipedia as having Lawrence Summers for his mentor but other sources call him a “Rubin protégé”, neither man a positive role model. It should be remembered that Robert Rubin, former Goldman Sachs partner and US Treasury Secretary, lobbied for the deregulation of financial instruments such as derivatives, an effort that later helped to destroy our financial system.

    Rubin was also instrumental in the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the Act passed to prevent another depression and he played an important role in the $4 billion payout from the US Treasury to Goldman Sachs indemnifying Goldman Sachs bondholders from any losses on their Mexican bonds in 1995.

    Geithner, as a Rubin “protégé”, obviously comes highly recommended and well connected to the same core of investment bankers who have done yeoman’s work in destroying America’s economy while at the same time lining their own deep pockets.

    It is my belief that President Obama should fear both the enormity of the task in front of him and the counsel of those he has surrounded himself; and, while I wish him the best I cannot help but suspect the wisdom he will receive from men like Lawrence Summers, Paul Volker, and Timothy Geithner will do little to serve the national interest.

    Three out of three, the odds aren’t good and we should not take false refuge in what the US government may or may not do—or even can do in these perilous times. The guard rail designed to protect us from another depression was removed in 1999 and we are now sliding rapidly out of control towards the precipice ahead.

    THE GREAT DEPRESSION

    Although my parent’s generation grew up in hardship during the Great Depression, the family as a whole did remarkably well considering the circumstances. Most graduated from college no small feat during those difficult times and all raised families and achieved more than a measure of personal success.

    It would do us well to remember the achievements of those before us as we again move into more difficult times, times that will test our inner strength as well as our character. The life of ease afforded us by easy credit is a thing of the past. What will replace it we do not yet know. It will be, however, far different than what we have known.

    THE PRICE OF GOLD AND SILVER

    The price of gold and silver has now made significant moves towards its previous highs, gold pushing above $900 and silver above $12 but there remains much volatility between now and their ultimate ascent, an ascent guaranteed by the accelerating debasement of fiat paper currencies as governments attempt to shock their moribund economies into life with unlimited amounts of fiat money and credit.

    Whether gold and silver’s recent moves are a portent of more shortly to come or if they will be met again with renewed resistance from central banks remains to be seen. Either way, rest assured that the battle between the paper boys of Wall Street, the power brokers of Washington DC and the free market is still in progress.

    Wall Street may be but a badly damaged shadow of its recent past but its co-conspirators in manipulating the markets, the central bankers and their enablers in government are still committed to maintaining their fiefdoms no matter how high the cost—as long as those costs are born by the taxpayers.

    Someday, in the future however, a future that is closer today than it was yesterday, gold and silver will triumph despite the best efforts of central bankers and government manipulators to prevent it

    For central bankers and those in government are up against the market itself and no matter how much paper they have at their disposal, their supplies of gold are limited. Each ounce bought takes another ounce out of the arsenal governments use to suppress gold’s price, an arsenal comprised of our central banks.

    Buy gold. After all, it was yours and still for only a short while, it is being subsidized by your government as it continues its fight against your interests and a free market unfettered by bankers’ credit.

    Have faith and buy gold and silver until better days arrive.

  20. Tennessee-Bolivarian-Marxist said on June 14th, 2009 at 5:28pm #

    CHAVEZ: NEXT GIFT FOR OBAMA AUTHORED BY VLADIMIR LENIN

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – President Hugo Chavez says he has a new book for President Barack Obama: “What is to be Done?” by communist Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet state.

    Chavez says he’ll “give it to Obama at the next meeting.”

    “What is to be Done?” is Lenin’s political treatise on the role of intellectuals and the proletariat in promoting revolution, written more than a decade before he led the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917.

    Chavez gave Obama a copy of “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent” by Eduardo Galeano at an April summit.

    The book jumped the next day to the No. 2 seller on Amazon.com.

    Chavez spoke Friday on a marathon, anniversary edition of his “Hello President” television show.

  21. lichen said on June 14th, 2009 at 8:12pm #

    Do you even read the twenty-page shit you post before spamming it here, TBM? Do you bother to think about it? And LOL at that stupidity; if the entire world has to “become socialist” then obviously there is no hope in the world, as that is never going to happen outside the mind of a deluded ideologue; like the rest of your fantasy-land dogmatic predictions about what “has” to happen. Like Saudi Arabia and Columbia are about to collapse in response to a global red army. But yes, you can have social benefits, local democracy, and a new way of life in only one state; not only that, you can have it isolated within a state, as The Mondragon Cooperatives have proven.

    You should seriously be banned for posting some foreign article of that length; if people want to visit wsws, or as can be dubbed ‘everything sucks’ (as there is no party, no movement, no politician, no advance in the world that they will not tear apart and drag down, except for their own little petty non-existent party and their god trotsky; everyone else is a stalinist or a fake for them.) than they will go there themselves.

  22. lichen said on June 14th, 2009 at 8:15pm #

    In fact that is Milton Freidman’s motto as well; he couldn’t just have radical capitalism in one country, he had to send his followers around to overturn democracy, murder, and pillage in all countries around the world. People can come up with their own local models and solution outside of ideology and the dreams of global dominance.

  23. Deadbeat said on June 15th, 2009 at 12:55am #

    lichen writes …

    People can come up with their own local models and solution outside of ideology

    And what ideology are People going to use develop “their own local models?” Oh that right according to lichen and Max Shields they won’t have any. What is with this idea of “no ideas”?

  24. Mulga Mumblebrain said on June 15th, 2009 at 2:03am #

    My congratulatons to shabnam. His outline of the putrid sham of Western support for ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, but only where a pro-US stooge is allowed to triumph, was right on the money. Absolutely essential to the process is the role of the human sullage of the Western media, who, true to form, are approaching the Iranian election result with that combination of mendacity and hypocrisy we are so used to seeing. Not to forget the sneering contempt of the real Western racial and civilizational supremacist.

  25. bozh said on June 15th, 2009 at 5:50am #

    deadbeat,
    not having an opinion about an opinion is an opinion! Isn’t a nonvote also meaningful/aimful vote?
    and not having thoughts a thought? Isn’t not having an idea about another idea also an idea?

    if one lives in a fascist [best ever, too] empire without free higher education, healthcare, right to be infromed but lives in the best structured locality, isn’t one largely or near-completely a prisoner? tnx

  26. lichen said on June 15th, 2009 at 2:14pm #

    People can use what they want, what they need through cooperation and local, direct democracy to find out what their models will be. Not using ideology, but going out there and doing the work themselves; which is much different than posting stupid trotskyist articles all over the place. It is possible to have political action without basing it on the words of crusty old corpses who have never seen our modern world.

  27. GR said on June 16th, 2009 at 8:34am #

    People have been talking about “democracy” since 400 BC, it seems to me to be number one on the list of failed ideologies. Everything from the American Indian genocide, the slave trade, colonialism to all 20th century wars up to the criminal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, were committed under the banner of “democracy.” Okay, democracy has never been “fully implemented,” but can’t we move past the ramblings of crusty old Greek philosophers and white supremacist slave traders?