G8 AND LIVE8 - GLOBAL POWER AND POLITICAL NAIVETY
Brian Mitchell [email@example.com]
"Don't forget, there are two hundred million of us in a world of three
billion. They want what we've got - and we're not going to give it to them!"
(US President Johnson.)
It is a wonderful thing that the illuminating atmosphere of the G8
conference in the UK this year, and the corresponding Live-8 concerts,
marches and demonstrations, means that millions of people took part and
millions more were exposed to the issue of poverty through the news and
publicity surrounding these events. Millions were stimulated and became
aware, perhaps for the first time, perhaps more than with any protest we
have seen for a long time. A vastly increased number of politicised new and
younger generations have added their enormous heartfelt idealism and brought
their power of numbers to bear on the age old issue of poverty. In these
times of the "Me" generation, this is very heartening for those who are on
their seventh pair of marching shoes.
Among the genuine hopes and dreams of all who demand a better world float
questions: Will it make a difference? Will anything have been done? What
could have been done? Was anything missing? Was anything important not done?
Well for one thing, as usual, not a word about how it happens that some are
so rich and many are so poor was mentioned. Not a word about imperialism and
our benefit from the plunder of the raw materials, cheap labour and economic
wealth from the far away lands of peoples for centuries - causing and
continuing their poverty, then and today, will be mentioned.
Instead; buffoons, celebrities and pop stars, Knighted or un-Knighted,
incredibly rich compared with the rest of us, graciously gave their precious
time, were again exposed to lots more beneficial publicity, and again
returned to their millionaire mansions and country estates with high walls,
spikey railings, electronic security, domestic staff, and support and
security staff, cosseted and shielded from the real world, have resumed
their luxurious lives; while the rest of us - the overwhelming majority of
millions of us - had to trapse back home to the washing up and making the
beds and getting ready for work next morning; where we put on our hospital
carer's or porter's uniforms, climbed into our white delivery vans, carried
on as usual selling Bob Geldorf records in a shop, or continued leading
similar exciting lives as supermarket check-out girls - unless four of them
can form a girl band and retire on the money in their twenties and be
televised swanning around Africa telling us all about poverty and hard,
miserable lives. Pictures of poor and dying people and children were again
shown on television. Millions of well-meaning and generous middle-class,
poor working people, children and pensioners donated their hard earned
I am not aiming or suggesting that one less person should demonstrate.
Please, as many as possible, always go, proudly take up the banner of
generations who have trodden the road before. It puts all of us on the map
and shows our interest and concern for our fellow human anywhere in our
But I do say, and not in any cynical vein, that many of us have seen it all
before; having concerted, rallied, marched, demonstrated, been on strike and
picketed, volunteered our private lives at the expense of leisure,
relaxation, quality time with our families, and most likely our health and
fitness, all our politically aware lives. We have also had a lot of time to
WHAT MADE US THINK?
Us and our forefathers know that large concerts, rallies, marches and
protest are very good for morale. Protests attract more people into protest.
More people means bigger protests. But when we think back to the history of
protest in our lifetime and that of our forefathers; we also understand that
in terms of the socio-economic gap between rich and poor, in the long term
nothing fundamental has changed, the gap is in fact widening. It just looks
Sure we have immensely socially and politically powerful choices - like
thousands of ring tones and logos for mobile phones and three meters of
supermarket shelves of designer toothbrushes of every imaginable shape and
colour. But we cannot choose our interest rate. Only the Bank of England
with permission from the US Treasury can do that. Millions of us can't even
find anything to choose to put into a bank.
In these days of freedom, democracy and choice, do we have any more power or
choice to change anything useful in our lives than our forefathers?
Has the gap between rich and poor decreased? It has been identified in
social research in universities, and even official government social
statistics when the books have been uncooked, that the UK poverty gap is now
wider than in Victorian times. I remember during the 1984 miners' strike, a
radical theatre company was called "The 7/84 Theatre Company" and had red
badges with 7/84 in large characters in the middle and when you looked
close, around the circumference was written in tiny characters "7 percent of
the people of this country own 84 percent of the country's wealth." That the
93 percent majority of us have to scrabble in the dirt for the remaining
miserable 16 percent of the national wealth. Is the ratio now 6/85? Perhaps
Do we somehow have more real freedom now than our ancestors did? Our
ancestors had access to the land in common and the means of subsistence. It
was all ours once. Who's got it all now?
"The law doth punish man or woman That steals the goose from off the
common, But lets the greater felon loose, That steals the common from the
(Anonymous, 1764, during the English land enclosures.)
Have the generations of Jarrow and other marches against unemployment and
poverty resulted in less unemployment, more job security, or any increase in
the purchasing power of our wages in real terms?
Did the Poll Tax demonstration result in lower housing taxes?
Has a history of Trade Union action resulted in stronger unions or is the
power of the unions now weaker?
After all the protest, has there been an increase in popular power? Or is it
being continuously eroded?
After the massive demonstrations against Tory cuts in the NHS, do we now
have a better health service?
Have the massive peace demonstrations we have all been on through the 60s to
the 80s resulted in a safer world?
Is US global military power now drawing in its horns and becoming less
Bush and Blair scream freedom, democracy and free speech from the rooftops.
But do we somehow have a voice, either in Parliament or Press? As Tony Benn
said long ago in my student days, freedom of speech means that anybody can
stand on a box at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park and say what they like about
the government to 25 other people, and Rupert Murdoch can buy the Sun
(newspaper?) for £35 million and say what he likes through his compliant
editors to 35 million other people. Just try saying something relevant at
Speakers' Corner and attract that many people and see how long before some
excuse like public safety is invoked with armoured personnel carriers.
We now have the vote that we did not have a hundred years ago, but has that
resulted in more popular political power? Can we vote for any useful or real
We can vote for this or that front man for capital, but who pulls the puppet
Are our elected leaders just fall guys for capital, expendable as soon as
they fail to continue take the majority of their public along the road of
the World Bank, the IMF, the World Trade Organisation, the Trilateral
Commission and the G8, supported by their shareholders and investors large
Is global finance capital somehow less powerful after all our protest?
Are we all a US Treasury fraction percentage away from being jobless and
Have the moneylenders fled the temple?
If we cannot achieve much for ourselves, what power do we have to change
anything for a hungry child in the world?
I remembered that in my real world in the 1980s during the first televised
mass famine in Ethiopia, I bought a tin of supermarket beans marked "Country
of origin: Ethiopia." I was unemployed and had not earned a penny to get
those beans; I had been given the money to buy them by my country's
government. Ironically, outside the supermarket at the time was an Oxfam
table with volunteers collecting for Ethiopia. I put my tin of beans on
their table and asked them where they thought it had come from. Their wild
guesses included every rich and poor country except Ethiopia. After some
discussion, I was contacted and invited to speak at one of their local
meetings. With the material prepared, I later wrote the following article,
which first appeared in Liberation journal in January 1988, updated and
added to here.
Who Owes Whom? Who Aids Whom? Peace Poverty Unequal Trade Finance
Capital And The Third World Debt
By Brian Mitchell
"Weary men, what reap ye? - "Golden corn for the stranger." What sow ye? -
"Human corpses that await for the avenger." Fainting forms, all
hunger-stricken, what see you in the offing? "Stately ships to bear our
food away amid the stranger's scoffing." There's a proud array of soldiers
- what do they round your door? "They guard our master's granaries from the
thin hands of the poor.""
(English poet Jane Francesca Wilde.)
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
How come the poorest peoples of the world owe a debt to the richest? Isn't
it strange when you think about it?
The first thing to make clear about this 'debt' is that the Third World owes
us nothing. Rather we owe them. As albeit unwilling participants in an
imperialist economy, we in Britain and the rest of the capitalist world have
benefited from the continuous economic plunder (it's called "free trade") of
these countries for centuries, which is the direct cause of their lack of
development, 'debt', and continuing impoverishment today.
By the 1970s the "underdeveloped" countries' foreign debts already ran to
some $500,000 million. The cost of servicing these 'debts' was $45,000
million a year, interest which 'grew' at the rate of 21% in the 1970s alone.
Without having borrowed a penny, each Latin American child born already owed
$1,000 as part of the region's debt to imperialist banks.
In the 1980s, Brazil had the biggest overall debt. But Panama, with a
population of two million and a foreign debt to the mega-rich transnationals
- which are getting richer every second - of $4.5 billion, had the largest
per-capita debt in the world. This meant that each child in Panama was born
owing foreign shareholders and small investors in transnational finance
capital, banks, building societies, insurance and pension funds some $2,250
- an amount the average Panamanian child could never earn in its short
lifetime, which is the 45 or 50 years average for such poor countries.
In 1984 Mexico was using 72% of its oil just to pay the interest on its
debt. The Philippines foreign debt in 1985 was 11 times it was in 1972: from
$2.3 billion to $25 billion.
GIFTS FROM THE WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION, THE TRILATERAL COMMISSION, THE IMF
AND THE WORLD BANK: DEBT AND POVERTY.
"...90 per cent of the workforce are now dependent on the sugar industry for
their survival. But with world sugar prices at an all-time low the industry
has become devastated... The problem began 100 years ago when the British
arrived. Self suffiency farming and a thriving fishing industry were
replaced with endless fields of sugar cane, exported as a cash crop... Under
British rule, food and goods the islanders had once produced for themselves
were imported at great expense from other countries. As a result the
islanders became dependent on the success of their single crop. .If the crop
is poor they starve; .all that can be spared is one handful of rice per
child - about 150 calories. Children expend more food energy than that just
feeding themselves. A healthy child needs 1,800 calories a day to grow.
...66 per cent of the children have malnutrition. .there is no room at the
hospital and they are turned away to die."
(News on Sunday Sept 13 1987.)
Millions of children in this "free" - ie. capitalist - world wake up every
day of their short lives with no clean water, nothing to eat and no school
to go to. And when they get ill, through this lack of clean water, food and
education, there is no hospital for them, no doctor and no medicines to make
According to FAO figures, 40,000,000, people, half of them children, die
every year from hunger or related illnesses.
"What sort of world will we hand over to our children? What sort of life
lies ahead for those five billion mouths that we will have to feed in our
underdeveloped world, those five billion bodies that have to be clothed,
shod and sheltered, those five billion minds that will strive for knowledge,
those five billion human beings that will struggle for a decent life, worthy
of the human condition. What will their quality of life be like?
The Executive Director of UNICEF has said that in 1981 the life of a child
would be worth less than $100. If such a sum were judiciously spent on every
one of the five hundred million poorest children of the world, it would
cover basic health assistance, elementary education, care during pregnancy
and dietary improvement, and would ensure hygienic conditions and a water
supply. In practice it has turned out too high a price for the world
community. That is why, in 1981, every two seconds a child paid that price
with its life.
... there is no place for resignation or accommodation. The only solution in
keeping with man's stature is to struggle. And this is the message I bring
in my capacity as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. To
struggle tirelessly for peace, improved international relations, a halt to
the arms race and a drastic reduction in military spending and that a
considerable part of those funds be dedicated to developing the Third
(Fidel Castro, Speech at the 7th Non Aligned Summit.)
Third World debts, 600 billion dollars in 1982, incurring new debts to pay
the original debt, would amount to 1,473 billion dollars by 1990 if the
present rise in the rate of interest even stayed where it was.
"If Latin America were to abstain from borrowing any further money and would
pay these ten percent of export earnings for twenty years - at stable world
market prices - toward foreign interest charges of 6 percent, these interest
payments would amount to almost 430 billion dollars by the year 2005 while
total debt would increase to about 445 billion dollars."
(Philippine Currents, Aug 1987.)
"This is a huge, colossal battle against imperialism. They want to take $3
trillion from this hungry - starving to death - world in 20 years. This is
the battle for all of the Third World countries, for more than 100
countries. This is the battle for this hemisphere's independence... This is
the battle for the lives and future of 4 billion poor and hungry people."
(Fidel Castro, to Latin American Federation of Journalists, July 6 1985.)
At the Latin American and Caribbean foreign debt conference of 1985 in
Havana, Carlos Serrate remarked:
"Either we free ourselves of the foreign debt burden, acquired without
benefit to us or solution to our problems, or we doom three-quarters of
humankind to a future without hope... the survival of millions of human
beings who, along with a right to be born, have an obligation to pay... This
means the debt is devouring humankind, devouring peoples and nation states
that no matter what they do... find the debt grows and is, therefore,
(Carlos Serrate, Latin American and Caribbean foreign debt conference,
"That's why we say that payment of that debt is an economic impossibility, a
political impossibility. You practically have to kill the people to force
them to make the sacrifices required to pay that debt."
Not only is it an impossibility for such "debt" ever to be paid; but the
rich world governments' "creditor" banks, whether they put a morotorium on
the interest, or cancel the debt and continue to clain the interest, or even
cancel the debt and interest, they are as in quicksand - wriggle one way and
you sink, wriggle the other way and you sink, stay still and don't move at
all, and you sink - albeit a little more slowly.
And what if the banks completely release the poor countries from the debt
and interest. Starting from this base line of zero, the debt would
immediately start to accrue because of unequal capitalist trading, finance
and banking relations.
Debts are incurred by a country by the native or foreign capitalists, many
of whom invest the money obtained in the cheap labour and raw materials of
other poor countries as well as the host country. But it is not the
capitalists, but the people of these countries who suffer the expense of
"Nobody's asking the millionaires of that country - for example, a Mexican
millionaire who has his money abroad - to pay that debt. No, they're asking
the Mexican, the Argentine, the Uruguayan, the Venezuelan and the Brazilian
people - the people - to pay, taking away their medical services, their
educational services and their jobs."
(Fidel Castro, to Latin American Federation of Journalists, July 6 1985.)
It is global finance capital, in the guise of seemingly benign institutions
such as the World Bank, the Bank of International Settlements, the
International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organisation, the United
Nations and the Trilateral Commission and the G8, which has the economic
power which continues to devastate the poor countries comprising perhaps 85
percent of humanity.
"The planning of UN can be traced to the 'secret steering committee'
established by Secretary Hull in January 1943. All of the members of this
secret committee. were members of the Council on Foreign Relations. .It was,
in effect, the coordinating agency for all the State Department's postwar
(US Professors Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter, "Imperial Brain Trust:
The CFR and United States Foreign Policy." Monthly Review Press, 1977.)
"The UN is but a long-range, international banking apparatus clearly set up
for financial and economic profit by a small group of powerful One-World
revolutionaries, hungry for profit and power."
(US President Roosevelt's son-in-law Curtis Dall, in his book "My Exploited
"The Trilateral Commission is intended to be the vehicle for multinational
consolidation of the commercial and banking interests by seizing control of
the political government of the United States. The Trilateral Commission
represents a skilful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate
the four centers of power political, monetary, intellectual and
ecclesiastical. What the Trilateral Commission intends is to create a
worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation
states involved. As managers and creators of the system, they will rule the
(U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, 1964, in his book "With No Apologies.")
"The powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing
less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands
able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the
world as a whole. by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by
secret agreements, arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.
The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world
economic control and use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers
and the indirect injury of all other economic groups."
(US Professor Carroll Quigley, Georgetown University, 1966.)
What power does the UN really have?
"One hundred nations in the UN have not agreed with us on just about
everything that's come before them where we're involved, and it didn't upset
my breakfast at all."
(US President Reagan, New York Times, November 4 1983.)
THE SILENT WEAPONS OF IMPERIALISM - TRICKS OF TRADE, AID AND DEBT
"The first fundamental objective in our struggle consists in reducing and
finally eliminating the unequal exchange that prevails today and that makes
international trade a vehicle for the further plundering of our wealth.
Today, the product of one hour's work in the developed countries is
exchanged for the product of ten hour's work in the underdeveloped
countries... a historic and moral obligation of those who benefited from the
plunder of our wealth and the exploitation of our men and women for decades
and for centuries...
Why should some people go barefoot so that others may ride in expensive
cars? Why should some live only 35 years so that others may live to 70? Why
should some be miserably poor so that others may be exaggeratedly rich? .
You cannot speak of peace on behalf of the tens of millions of human beings
all over the world who are starving to death or dying of curable deseases.
You cannot speak of peace on behalf of nine hundred million illiterates...
Enough of words! We need deeds. (Applause.) Enough of abstraction! We need
concrete action. Enough of speaking a speculative new international economic
order which nobody understands! (Laughter and applause). We must speak about
a real, objective order which everybody understands."
(Fidel Castro, in a speech to United Nations, Oct 12 1979.)
The debt problem, just like poverty, cannot be looked at in isolation from
trade. By unequal trading, trade barriers, dumping surplus capital as loans,
price fixing and control, and other unequal trading methods, the imperialist
countries are depriving the 'debtor' countries of the possibility or even
earning enough money to service the debt, let alone pay it. And so the debt
In the Philippines in 1972, 1 peso was worth 15 US cents. In 1985 it was 5
cents. In 1960 a ton of coffee could buy 37.3 tons of fertiliser. In 1982 it
could buy only 15.8 tons - less than half, with the same amount of coffee as
in 1960. In 1959, 6 tons of jute could buy a truck. In 1982 it took 26 tons
of jute to buy the same truck.
Other tricks are used to differing advantages, such as the dumping of
under-valued dollars as loans, often tied to highly profitable military
contracts, and so-called 'green' dollars associated with profitable
agricultural and food contracts.
Not only are these countries poor because of a history of the rich countries
trading with them on intrinsically unequal terms for centuries; but trade
agreements have political and military conditions tied in. Then, when these
countries become poor because of unequal trade and military spending, they
become dependent on loans. Not only do these loans accrue high and
increasing interest rates; they also have political and military conditions
attached to them. And finally, when these countries become so poor that they
unsurprisingly have nothing left, the only option is to receive aid. And
guess what - aid agreements also have political and military conditions
attached to them.
In other words, whatever the rich world's relations with these countries,
whether it is in trade, loans or aid, the rich nations profit - enormously.
You don't have to be an economist to understand the causes of global
poverty. The simple every-day domestic economics of any British household
can work it out. Government ministers however, pretend not to see it, trying
to kid us that the issue is "more complicated" than that. We can address
later some obvious questions like: who "complicates" it, and how do they
think they are able to confuse and fool us.
UNDER THE BANNER OF "FREE TRADE" - ECONOMIC WARFARE IS CONDUCTED
The peoples of the Third World are not at war with the advanced nations.
Their crime is that they have 'traded' with the US, British, West European,
Japanese and other imperialist transnational monopolies. Yet after World War
II, not only were enemy countries' war reparations and debts waived, but
billions of dollars of Marshall 'Aid' was pumped into these countries to
"prevent them from going communist."
About three hundred and fifty major monopolies now control most of the
world's production. At least ten US transnational monopolies each has more
dollar assets than, say, Britain or Japan; some of them, like Standard Oil
or General Motors - many times over. Now consider the fact that Third World
debts to the West - $900 billion at 1985 figures - amount to thousands of
times the dollar assets of these ten US monopolies and you will have some
grasp of the nature of imperialism. It means more or less that we in the
advanced capitalist countries own the Third World and its economic output in
It is quite obvious that as long as this exploitation continues, poor
countries are deliberately prevented from ever developing. Otherwise they
might become economically independent, and worse for the imperialist world -
This is economic warfare, more permanently devastating than cluster bombs or
THE CHEAP FRUITS OF INTERVENTION
"I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked
fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited
people, they will arrive at a solution of their own. That they design and
want. That they fight and work for. And if unfortunately their revolution
must be of the violent type because the 'haves' refuse to share with the
'have-nots' by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their
own, and not the American style, which they don't want."
(General David M. Shoup, Commandant of the US Marine Corps, 1966.)
When we buy a banana or other fruit, we buy it from one of two US owned
transnational fruit companies or their subsidiaries and their control of
producers, marketers and distributers. Such companies are United Fruit of
America and General Fruit of America. These companies and their subsidiaries
not only own most of the fruit production, but also the railroads, ports,
banking and finance, infrastructure and much of the land of the African
continent, the Latin and Central American and Caribbean regions and of most
of Southeast Asia.
These are regions which seem to see most social upheaval against their
"Whenever any form of government becomes destructive .it is the right of the
people to alter it."
(The US Declaration of Independence.)
"No nation has a right to intermeddle in the internal concerns of another;
that everyone has a right to form and adopt whatever government they liked
best to live under."
"Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power, have the right to
rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits
them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right - a right which we
hope and believe is to liberate the world."
Fine words. But what is the reality?
"I am against any interference in the internal affairs of the Latin American
countries. But under certain conditions I consider exceptions possible."
These 'exceptions' seem to occur quite frequently:
In 1916 the US landed troops in the Dominican Republic and occupied till
1924. And in 1965 the US overthrew a progressive government there. US
troops occupied Cuba in 1898-1902, 1906-1909, and 1917-1923. The 1901 Cuban
constitution gave the US the right of intervention. The US practised this
"right" at Playa Giron (the Bay of Pigs) in 1961. The US still has an
illegal base on Cuban soil at Guantanamo. In 1914 the US landed marines in
Haiti and occupied till 1934. In 1954 the US overthrew the progressive
government of Arbenz in Guatemala. (See below.) US troops occupied
Nicaragua in 1912-1925, and 1926-1933 when they set up Somoza's National
Guard which murdered Sandino. The US crushed a popular uprising in Puerto
Rico in 1950. The US overthrow of Chile's progressive Allende government in
1973 is well enough known and documented. And the above incomplete list was
added to by the US invasion and continuing occupation of Grenada in 1983.
"Intervention is justified as a policy of the United States whenever its
citizens and capital is at stake."
(US Secretary of State Elihu Root, 1908.)
"Intervention is justified wherever it becomes necessary to guarantee the
United States' capital and markets."
(US President Taft, 1912.)
"We do control the destinies of Central America... Until now Central America
has always understood that governments which we recognise and support stay
in power, while those we do not recognise and support fail."
(US Under Secretary of State Robert Olds, 1927.)
"I spent most of my time being a high class muscle man for Big Business, for
Wall Street and for the bankers. I helped make Mexico. safe for American oil
interests in 1914. I helped to make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the
national city bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of
half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I
helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown
Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the
American sugar interests in 1916. I helped see to it that Standard Oil went
its way unmolested. I helped make Honduras right for American fruit
companies in 1903. ...I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he
could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. I operated on
(Testimony of General Smedley Butler, US Marine Corps, to the McCormack
Dickstein Committee. 1935.)
CHEAP FRUIT FROM NICARAGUA
The Nicaraguan word for the revolutionary organisation, the Sandinistas,
comes from the name of the popular leader Augusto Caesar Sandino, who said:
"Mi causa es la causa de mi pueblo, la causa de America, la causa de todos
los pueblos oprimidos."
("My cause is the cause of my people, the cause of America, the cause of all
With US compliance and connivance, Sandino was murdered in 1934 by the
National Guard of US preferred dictator Anastasio Somoza Garcia - "Tacho" -
a former lavatory inspector for the US Rockefeller Foundation.
"That guy may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."
(US President Roosevelt, on Nicaraguan dictator the first Somoza.)
In 1956, Luis Somoza became President. Anastasio II "Tachito" (Little Tacho)
became head of the National Guard and became President in 1967.
"Now that's the kind of anti-communist we like to see down there."
(US President Nixon, on Nicaraguan dictator the second Somoza, British
television documentary, November 15 1983.)
The country's national assets were some $3.5 million. Its foreign debt was
$1,600 millions, with an annual service charge of $600 millions.
The popular Sandinista revolution and support for the FSLN obtained power in
Managua in 1979 and was spreading to the rest of the country with socialist
policies such as literacy, education and health, and cooperative farming.
The inflence of Cuba and Nicaragua spreading to other Latin American
countries such as El Salvador frightened the US out of its wits.
"The United States could never permit another Nicaragua, even if preventing
it meant employing the most reprehensible means."
(Zbigniew Brzezinski, June 1980.)
"Mr President, have you approved of covert activity to destabilise the
present government of Nicaragua?" "Well, no, we're supporting them, the -
oh, wait a minute, I'm sorry, I was thinking of El Salvador. when you said
Nicaragua. Here again, this is something upon which the national security
interests, I just - I will not comment."
(US president Reagan, press conference, Washington, February 13 1983.)
"President Reagan may order a naval blockade of Marxist Nicaragua. His top
aides are urging him to allow US warships to intercept Communist merchant
vessels suspected of ferrying arms to the Central American country.
...Reagan has approved military action - either by air or by a commando
sabotage team - to destroy the MiGs if the Kremlin does give them to
Nicaragua. Russian arms... being delivered... go far beyond the country's
(Daily Mirror Nov 12 1984.)
"We are not doing anything to try and overthrow the Nicaraguan Government...
because that would be violating the law."
(Ronald Reagan, April 18 1985.)
The CIA organised the mining of the Nicraguan port of Corinto. And with the
power of its armaments and media support for opposition groups meant a
take-over by the Chamorra government of middle class business, property and
CHEAP FRUIT FROM GUATEMALA
One way or another, if the peoples of these countries dare to take over what
is rightfully theirs, the US will soon intervene to get it back for Western
shareholders and us compliant consumers.
Let's look at the example of Guatemala.
At one time Guatemala was virtually controlled by the US United Fruit
Company. Now other US transnational companies have moved in.
President Jacobo Arbenz, elected in 1952 with 72 percent of the votes,
instituted land reform which involved taking over land owned by United
Fruit, with compensation at a valuation United Fruit itself had made for tax
purposes: $600,000. United Fruit rejected this and the US Government on
behalf of United Fruit claimed $16,000,000. The US invaded Guatemala in 1954
and Arbenz was overthrown and land was restored to the United Fruit company.
Dulles called it "a new and glorious chapter to the already great tradition
of the American States." Justification for the invasion, as usual, was
A year before the invasion Eisenhower had said:
"Any nation's right to a form of government and economic system of its own
choosing is inalienable... Any nation's attempt to dictate to other nations
their form of government is indefensible."
(Eisenhower, April 16 1953.)
The day after the invasion the Guatemalan Government urged the UN Security
Council to be convened to deal with the events, but was turned down by the
President of the Security Council Henry Cabot Lodge - who I'll introduce you
to in a moment.
Nobody is suggesting that it might have been an 'inside job'; but Walter
Bedell Smith, Director of the CIA before Dulles, became President of United
Fruit after Arbenz was overthrown; Secretary of State J.F.Dulles had been
legal advisor to United Fruit; his brother, CIA Director Allen Dulles was
President of the United Fruit Company; Assistant Secretary of State for
Inter-American Affairs John Moors Cabot was a large shareholder of United
Fruit; and that already mentionsd unbiased US statesman, Henry Cabot Lodge,
US Ambassador to UN and President of UN Security Council was on the board of
directors of United Fruit.
Now we Western consumers still get cheap fruit, the United Fruit Company
still gets its massive profits, and Guatemalan children still go hungry.
CHEAP TIN AND TUNGSTEN FROM VIETNAM
"...I saw the helicopters... Americans moving towards our village... huge,
towering men... we sat there huddled together... American appeared at the
entrance... fired point blank at grandmother Toan. She sank slowly to the
floor... grenade... I crawled out... bodies of my sister, little brother,
uncle Duc, cousin Thu and her baby... Americans... mutilated bodies with
bayonets... baby in convulsions... I hid... heard uncle Huong's voice... I
asked him "is anyone else alive?" "No little one, everyone's killed."
Please, tell me why were they all killed?"
(Twelve year old Vo Thi Lien, sole survivor of Son My (My Lai on US military
maps) March 16 1969.)
The West answers:
"Let us suppose we lose Indochina. The tin and tungsten that we so greatly
value from that area would cease coming. We are voting for the cheapest way
that we can to prevent the occurence of something that would be of a most
terrible significance to the United States of America, our security, our
power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of the
Indochinese territory and from Southeast Asia."
(US President Eisenhower, justifying US aid to France's war against Vietnam,
Aug 4 1953.)
"It is rich in many raw materials such as tin, oil, rubber and iron ore...
This area has great strategic value."
(US Secretary of State Dulles referring to Vietnam, March 29 1954.)
"One of the world's richest areas is open to the winner of Indo-China.
That's behind the growing US concern... tin, rubber, rice, key strategic raw
materials are what the war is really about. The US sees it as a place to
hold - at any cost."
(US News and World Report, April 4 1954.)
"Geographically, Vietnam stands at the hub of a vast area of the world -
Southeast Asia. He who holds or has influence in Vietnam can affect the
future of the Philippines and Formosa [now Taiwan B.M.] to the East,
Thailand and Burma with their huge rice surpluses to the West, and Malaysia
and Indonesia with their rubber, ore and tin to the South... Vietnam thus
does not exist in a geographical vacuum - from it large store-houses of
wealth and population can be influenced and undermined."
(Former US Ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, Boston Sunday
Globe, Feb 28 1965.)
The US war against Vietnam was another war of capitalist domination of the
world's cheap labour and raw materials.
"The United States anticipates that this Agreement will usher in an era of
reconciliation with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. will contribute to
healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction. without any
political conditions. The US contribution will fall in the range of 3.25
billion dollars of grant aid over 5 years."
(Agreement on ending the Vietnam war (The Paris Agreement) 1973.)
Not one cent was paid. Four years later, in 1977, Vietnam had to start
paying some $145 million of US aid debts of the US puppet government of
South Vietnam demanded by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund,
and other US global financial institutions.
"Well, the damage was mutual. We owe them nothing."
(US President Carter, on Vietnam, 1978.)
"United States policy is exactly to squeeze Vietnam. If Vietnam suffers
economic hardships, I think that is just great."
(Roger Sullivan, US National Security Council, April 1980.)
BUT NO MORE CHEAP ANYTHING FROM CUBA
Cuba can afford to host Third World Debt conferences because, as a socialist
country, Cuba is least affected by the problem:
"Our trade with the Western world is insignificant; 85% of our trade is with
the other socialist countries. This crisis affects only 15% of our trade;
we're the ones least affected. This is why we can be the standard-bearers of
this cause and speak with complete freedom. .we can feel secure because,
fortunately, we depend very little on the Western world, and we don't depend
at all on economic relations with the United States. I wonder how many other
countries in the world can say the same."
Cuba before 1960 was a very poor and exploited country:
"It makes the water come to my mouth when I think of the State of Cuba as
one in our family."
(US financier, 1895.)
"More than half our most productive land is in the hands of foreigners. In
Oriente, the largest province, the lands of the United Fruit Company and the
West Indies Company link the northern and southern coasts. There are two
hundred thousand peasant families who do not have a single acre of land to
till to provide food for their starving children... Ninety percent of the
children of the countryside are consumed by parasites... Society is moved to
compassion when it hears of the kidnapping or murder of one child, but it is
criminally indifferent to the mass murder of so many thousands of children
who die every year through lack of facilities."
(Fidel Castro, in court in 1953; on trial for "subversion.")
Despite several attempts by the US to crush Cuba, including the Bay of Pigs
invasion, chemical and biological warfare, and a complete trade and aid
blockade by the imperialist nations coerced by the US, Cuba has been able to
solve its basic poverty, agricultural, housing, social, education and health
SPREADING FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY AROUND THE WORLD
"To see freedom sent around the world, this is our mission... It was God's
charge to us."
(US Senator Barry Goldwater.)
What is this "freedom" they talk about in every speech; that they must arm
themselves to the teeth for? What are these "vital American interests" which
they say they must "defend" in every corner of the globe?
One fear of the US is that, since capitalism inherently tends to stagnate,
it could end up as an isolated island of capitalism, reduced to having only
its own labour and raw materials to exploit. So it exports its massive
surplus of profit-seeking capital to the poor countries, where the largest
profits are made, where it can control prices at which raw materials and
commodities are bought and sold on the world market; all of which it is only
able to do as a global military power with many billions of dollars of
Around half an hour before I edited this a tevision news broadcast noted
that Coca Cola makes the biggest profits for its shareholders in Africa.
It's amazing that people do not make the connection that capital makes its
biggest profits by investing in the cheapest labour, and cheap labour tends
to be found where there is poverty.
The loss of Cuba meant enormous losses to the United Fruit and the General
Fruit companies of the US who between them more or less owned the whole
island before the Cuban revolution.
How long can transnational finance capital and its investors, large and
small, tolerate such losses? If these countries keep insisting on taking a
non-capitalist road to their future; where will capital go to make profits
for its owners and shareholders?
No! Says capital. This must stop! The free world cannot tolerate these
threats to its liberty.
The demands of the overwhelming majority of the world's population for
genuine and meaningful freedom and equality are seen by the capitalist
champions of "freedom" as a subversive encroachment on their freedom to
When the capitalists talk of peace they mean only the continuation of a
peace that will never be and never has been; a "peace" which belongs in the
museum of man's social and economic history - the "peaceful" exploitation of
man by man; the "peaceful" economic plunder of nation by nation.
What hypocritical human rights do they talk of - the big finance capitalists
and bankers and those unwitting and unknowing "I'm not a capitalist" small
investors whose collective billions of pounds and dollars are invested
through banks, building societies, pension funds, and private and privatised
public companies, in the immensely profitable cheap labour, raw materials
and markets of the Third World - in South East Asia, where for instance
thousands of poor families live in Tondo's Smokey Mountain - a vast rubbish
tip outside Manila, Central Asia or Latin America where millions of children
sleep in cardboard boxes on the streets of Calcutta or Sao Paulo; or in
Africa where the majority of black people have no rights, no home other than
a tin shed, an old coke can for a drinking mug, and a plank or an old door
for a bed, no right to a job, own no land, own no workplaces, can't stand
for parliament or elect one, are not allowed to form trade unions, have no
access to medical treatment or education, and no access to press, radio or
television to tell the world their plight; where the vast majority are
deprived and silenced?
The "free" world the US defends is the unhindered freedom of capital to
exploit the labour and cheap raw materials of the rest of the world, a
"free" world of several million children who will starve to death this year;
of hundreds of millions with no medicine or health care; millions of
illiterates; the millions of unemployed and homeless, and the millions of
unemployed, destitute and homeless, thopusands of whome you can also see
every night even under the bridges on the banks of the Thames, the Seine or
the Potomac and in all the other 'advanced' industrialised nations of the
When capitalists can justify their murderous social-economic system to the
poor and hungry children; and their murderous wars against humanity in all
the small and weak nations of the world; then they can talk of peace. When
they can justify their denial of the most basic human rights to the majority
of people of the world; then they can talk of human rights, democracy and
the freedom that US presidents talk about in every speech.
How dare they talk of human rights and "freedom" when they have sucked the
wealth out of all the small nations for hundreds of years and then say that
these nations are in "debt" to the imperialist world - including us British
shareholders and investors, large and small? How dare they scream so loudly
about 'human rights' in the socialist countries when they support and retain
the most horrific regimes all over the world? How dare capitalists and small
investors talk of human rights and freedom when they are 'owed' millions of
dollars by every hungry child in the world?
We hypocritically scream about "human rights" in socialist countries; but it
is our own imperialist way of life which murders thousands every day.
Children's flesh is turned into flame in order that we might have cheap tin.
Hospitals, schools, nursery schools, kindergartens, polyclinics, pioneer
camps and miners' clubs are all blown away in order that we might have cheap
tungsten. Chile is drenched in blood in order that ITT can have cheap copper
for the US military-industrial complex and we can have cheap aluminium
windows, cooking pots, cooking foil and coke cans. Central America is raped
in order that we can have cheap bananas, sugar, coffee and tobacco. Thai and
Filipino children starve on rubbish dumps so that we can have cheap rice,
cocoa, rubber, sugar and palm oil. Black people in Apartheid South Africa
were oppressed and murdered in order that we could have cheap uranium,
diamonds, gold, copper, phosphates and other minerals.
This is the cost of the economic Third World war, which we are waging
against the poor every day of our lives. We demonstrate against one kind of
Third World War while we perpetrate another; we demonstrate against a
military one while we continue to wage an economic one.
EXCUSES EXCUSES - AND THE NOT SO NAIVE ROLE OF ACADEMIA AND THE MEDIA
Some excuses for not thinking about the poor:
We give them aid don't we?
We gave them. education, civilisation, railways,
We can't give them aid because they have corrupt leaders, terrorists,
irresponsible, undemocratic governments.
Poor areas are too remote for our transport to reach.
All these and other excuses are presented to a dumbed down uneducated,
unthinking, uninformed public every hour of the day by the media, even
"serious" documentary academic discussions where they wheel out some
professor of this or that from sime tin pot university.
Now children, I'm sure you can think of some more.
BUT WE GIVE THEM AID DON'T WE?
"I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure
myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by
all possible means - except by getting off his back."
Most people seem to think that Western so-called 'aid' is charitable and
Every dollar of this 'aid' invested in the 1970s in 'underdeveloped'
countries returned some four dollars to multinational corporations in the
'charitable' capitalist world. During 1970-1979 US multinationals invested
11.446 million dollars and realised 48,000 million dollars in profits in
these countries - $4.20 for every dollar 'invested'.
"Before people can do anything they have got to eat. And if you are looking
for a way to get people to lean on you and to be dependent on you, in terms
of their cooperation with you, it seems to me that food dependance would be
(US Senator Hubert Humphrey, 1957.)
"Food aid is a fertiliser which grows a rich crop called hunger. It is a
contradiction in terms."
(African leader Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia.)
But of course; we British are so charitable aren't we?! We give a few pounds
and put some old clothes in a box on the high street for the Third World and
congratulate ourselves that we have done something for the poor.
But we have done absolutely nothing to alleviate poverty. We are not asking
the right questions.
"The question to be asked is not what we should give to the poor but when
will we stop taking from the poor."
(Jim Wallace, Sojourners, USA.)
Instead of asking: "What can I give to the poor", we should be asking
different questions, like "Why are they so poor?", or what is their economic
relationship with us who eat food from every poor country on earth?, how is
it that when I was unemployed and producing nothing I could get a tin of
beans from Ethiopia during a terrible Ethiopian famine?
WE GAVE THEM. BUILT THEM.
Oh but we helped them. We gave them education, transport, railways,
government and civilisation. We've "educated" them. Then, only after gaining
full control of their commerce, banking and finance, raw materials, their
agricultural business, industry, transport and infrastructure, we said "Now
you can have independence and govern yourselves." And you can buy nice
things from us, like refined sugar to rot your children's teeth, and when
we've ruined your agriculture and turned it into a desert - fertiliser and
Oh but we build them railways! Look on the map and you will find these
railways we 'gave' them just happen to run straight from areas of raw
materials and production to the sea ports and harbours that we also 'gave'
them - full of our big ships to take all their wealth away.
"Oh, where are you going to all you Big Steamers? 'We are going to fetch
you your bread and your butter, Your beef, pork and mutton, eggs, apples
and cheese... We fetch it from Melbourne, Quebec and Vancouver - Address
us at Hobart, Hong Kong and Bombay.'... 'Then what can I do for you, all
you Big Steamers, Oh, what can I do for your comfort and good?' 'Send out
your big warships to watch your big waters, That no one may stop us from
bringing you food'."
Oh but we gave them independence. We kindly gave these countries nominal
independence - an 'independence' which is meaningless since we continue to
control their finances, banking, trade, commodity prices, and in some cases
own their productive land.
AH! IT'S THE POOR COUNTRIES' CORRUPT OR TERRORIST LEADERS
This is an excuse the rich leaders love to float.
Two contradictory but equally 'preferable' outcomes follow from it. The
first is direct: so there's nothing we can do. The second is even better:
regime change - let's invade them and civilise them.
If there's nothing we can do about corrupt leaders, why was Iraq invaded and
Saddam put on trial?
Why did we not change the corrupt terror regimes of Suharto of Indonesia,
Chile's Pinochet, Diem and the series of US puppet dictators of Vietnam,
Cambodia's Pol Pot, Nicaragua's Somosa brothers, Cuba's Batista, the regimes
of Burma or East Timor, and invade them and put them on trial?
We can't waste British taxpayers' money on rich leaders living in luxurious
palaces defended by armies and weapons. After all, we wouldn't tolerate that
here in Britain would we?!
And wait a minute - wasn't British Parliamentiary democracy brought about
through civil wars and acts of terror?
A couple of days before I edited this, some no-brain television presenter
with a Tellytubby degree in media studies remarked in that it was "difficult
to get aid to remote areas." Wait a minute - they have jeeps and
helicopters don't they? They have no difficulty getting bombs and missiles
to remote areas. They have no difficulty testing nuclear weapons in the
remote native areas of Australia or Pacific Islands and depriving people who
have lived there thousands of years before the Europeans came with their
civilised way of living, oh and cheap hooch.
CORRUPT LEADERS OR OUR SONS OF BITCHES? - WHICH REGIMES REALLY GET CHANGED
There have been corrupt leaders and elusive terrorists throughout the world.
But why are they treated differently from each other? If some corrupt
leaders stay in power, we have to ask: How and why? Who put them in power,
and how do they stay in power? Who maintains them? Who arms them?
Menachim Begin blew up half the British Army in the King David hotel in
Jerusalem and became the leader of Palestine with full British respect. Why
didn't we invade Palestine? Instead we created Israel and gave it to
When capital ruled in the emerging socialist countries, no one said a word
about human rights in those countries. They never called for "free and fair"
elections in these countries while they were under the direct domination of
transnational capital and protected by fascist puppet military dictatorships
backed up by the imperialist world and its military supplies.
When the Vietnamese people were to have elections in 1956, it was obvious
and admitted by the US and Britain that Ho Chi Minh's Communists would win
overwhelmingly. The elections were cancelled and the US tried to bomb
Vietnam back into the Stone Age. They did not call for democracy in Cuba
during the 70 years of US puppet dictatorship when millions of Cuban
children were dying of starvation, disease and illiteracy, calling for
democracy only when Fidel Castro's Communist Government took power in 1960
and achieved full employment, many more doctors per head of population than
the US or UK, where, at 96 percent literacy against the US's paltry 76
percent, most children have a higher reading level than at least two US
presidents. They are only calling for the freedom of the reimposition of the
rule of capital in socialist countries which have already eliminated the
poverty and hunger and illiteracy imposed by their previous domination by
British democracy, defending our human rights and freedoms in all parts of
the world, continued each year to vote on our behalf for the so-called
"Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea" - the murderous Right Wing
Khmer Rouge clique of Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan, Son Sann, Ieng Sary and
ex-Prince Sihanouk to represent the people of Kampuchea at the General
Assembly of United Nations, and refused to recognise the Kampuchean peoples'
choice of Heng Samrin as the legitimate and de-jure government of Kampuchea.
When Cambodians cried out to the world for help, only Vietnam came with
support from its own US war devastated resources. The British Government
showed its contemptuous disregard for over three million murdered Cambodians
while screaming about Vietnam's "invasion" of Kampuchea. And while British
children in 1979 donated their pocket money to starving Cambodia, their
Government continued to support Pol Pot.
"...by and large a passive and docile people... The Khmers cannot be counted
upon to act in any positive way for the benefit of US aims and policies."
(From a 1959 US Defense Department Pentagon report describing the Cambodian
people. New Statesman Sept 21 1979.)
"Cambodia is a country of about seven million people. It's of no real
strategic value. As far as Britain is concerned, it's expendable."
(British Embassy diplomat in Thailand, June 1989.)
"Pol Pot is on our side and supports the West."
(Tory MP Nicholas Ridley.)
Did anyone hear the rich world and its media scream loudly for the end of
apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela and free elections in South
Africa. Nore do I hear them calling for freedom and human rights in El
Salvador; nor were they calling for the freedom and human rights of
Palestinians, Indonesiand under Suharto, the people's of the Philippines
under Marcos, .
They did not call for free elections when Burma (Myanmar) had no elections
in the 30 years before 1990; and they have not called for the freedom of
Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of numerous international awards including the
United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, under arrest under martial law
which allows detention without trial, since she won 82 percent of the votes
in those elections.
Instead, when Maurice Bishop's popular and socialist oriented government of
the tiny Caribbean Island of Grenada was overthrown and the US invaded. The
US overthrew the socialist inclined government of Arbenz in Guatemala.
British interests murdered the popular government of Patrice Lumumba in the
Congo (Zaire) and installed Mabutu for 40 years. The Nicaraguan peole's
popular leader Augusto Sandino was murdered by the US financed National
Guard of the Samoza brothers. When the Sandinista popular revolution of 1979
carried its socialist policies forward, CIA covert bombings and support led
to the business and agricultural landowning government of Chamorra taking
power. In 1953 the CIA also overthrew the constitutional government of
Mossadegh in Iran and installed the Shah. US copper interests covertly
financed and armed the Chilean dictator General Pinochet's military coup
against the popular socialist government of Salvador Allende. They put
Saddam on trial. But Pinochet is Thatcher's guest in a luxury Surrey estate
when he came to Britain.
Who's next for regime change or invasion? (Both is better - more secure)?
Any people sitting on lots of oil it seems - especially if they are selfish
enough to want it for themselves.
Well Venezuela has lots of oil. Venezuela's Chavez government is also
progressive and socialist minded. I'd say this definitely puts Venezuela
high on the list.
Or will it be Iran?
CONTROLLING OUR HEARTS AND MINDS - THE ROLE OF EDUCATION AND THE MEDIA
"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our
(Bob Marley "Redemption Song.")
As I write this on the day after the London bombings, a main London radio
station was discussing the issues arising. The host continually elicited
calls centred on people's horror and experiences. When a phone-in respondent
drew attention to the wider issues, the host refused to accept any more,
saying that with people still lying in hospital beds this is "not the time
to discuss wider issues" before cutting the caller off with a disparaging
remark. If the wider issues had been widely discussed in the British media,
people might not have been lying in hospital beds.
Why aren't the wider issues discussed?
After the London bombings came reports of racist abuse against anybody with
a black skin, turban, especially both with a beard, anybody wearing abaya,
hijab, any kind of Islamic, Sikh, Pakistani, Indian, Arabic or perhaps even
African clothes. Any of these could be spat at or called "suicide bomber" or
Bin Laden. As was confirmed by my (quickly terminated) teaching experience
in a British college of 'Further Education', such is the level of endemic
worldly ignorance born of a British Tellytubby level education and dumbed
But that's just my own experience and bias. Perhaps the following might
offer a clue to why "wider issues" are not discussed:
"The effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires
some measure of apathy and non-involvement."
(The Trilateral Commission, 1977.)
"That a principal function of the press and the rest of the media is to
limit news and public debate within an established 'consensus' seems, to me,
beyond doubt. The narrowness of the British media, our primary source of
information, is a national disgrace. This is in part the result of. 'total
television', in which vast amounts of repetitive information are confined to
a narrow spectrum of 'thinkable thought'. And the vocabulary of state and
vested interest manipulation is elevated above that of free journalism."
(Australian journalist in Britain John Pilger. )
"We must. learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies. It may become
necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand and
support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy."
(US Government report on CIA activities, 1954.)
"The people are in general inadequately educated and have little experience
in philosophical and political reasoning, and so it is possible to
misinform, divert, and delude them. "
(US writer Bernard Smith.)
"It is chiefly intended that the practical lesson, that they (the working
classes) are destined to earn their livelihood by the sweat of their brow
shall be inculcated."
"We are in a period of considerable social change. .but if we have a highly
educated and idle population we may possibly anticipate more serious social
conflict. People must be educated to know their place."
(British Department of Education official, secret report on rationalising
school curricula, 1984.)
"Education is dangerous. It is enough if they can count up to a hundred. At
best an education which produces useful stooges for us is admissible."
"An educated proletariat is a constant source of disturbance and danger to
(US educator, Nobel Prize winner Nicholas Murray Butler.)
"With politics let loose among those peoples, we may have a wave of disorder
and wholesale Communism set going all over those parts of Europe."
(South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts.)
"In the newspapers I often read this pitiful sentence: "The people must be
taught to read," and I say to myself, What shall they read? It is education
and undesirable literature, these are our enemies. The more educated people
are and the more they know, the greater their expectations. And that is
dangerous for the State and our economy."
(Fascist dictator of Portugal Antonio Salazar.)
"There is no such thing in America as an independent press... There is not
one of you who dare to write his honest opinions, and if you did you know
beforehand they would never appear in print... We are the tools and vassals
of rich men... they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents... our lives
are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."
(US newspaper editor John Swinton, 1883.)
"We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine
and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and
respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have
been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been
subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the work
is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world
government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world
bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in
(David Rockefeller, Trilateral Commission, June, 1991.)
"Those fellows in the CIA don't just report on wars and the like, they go
out and make their own... They spend billions of dollars on stirring up
trouble so they'll have something to report on... It's become a government
all of its own and all secret. They don't have to account to anybody."
(Harry Truman, quoted by Merle Miller in "Plain Speaking.")
"President Reagan and his news handlers have been making, shaping and faking
news. This is an administration that has thought as much about news
management, and practised as much disinformation as any in peacetime
history. The milestones of its progress _ yellow rain, the El Salvador White
Paper of 1961, the Pope plot, KAL 007, Sandinista gun running, stretch
through the years."
(The Wall Street Journal.)
"In this capture of the mind by our industrialised autocracy as the means to
economic and social subjugation, the most powerful instrument of all is the
modern industrialised Press. Through it our economic Prussianism can control
the nation's mind, form its opinions, direct its passions, determine its
(Sir Allen Lane. The Press and Organisation of Society. 1933.)
"Contrary to the belief of most people, Americans are the most misinformed
people in the world. The unceasing daily flow of half-truths, distortions,
slanted news stories, and downright lies from the big-business controlled
press and radio does not enlighten. It serves only to confuse and befuddle;
foments unreasoning hysteria; spreads baseless prejudices... Until America
develops an educational system that teaches citizens to spot the phony
columnists and commentators, and not to parrot the propaganda they read and
hear, the people cannot be truly educated. Without the light of truth, wise
and proper decisions are impossible. The shame of America is that Americans,
despite all their technological marvels, know more things that are not true
than any other people on earth."
(Thomas Ogilvie, Editor, Jersey Times Feb 26 1949.)
"The publisher who has succeeded... is necessarily a capitalist... The press
of this country is now and always has been so thoroughly dominated by the
wealthy few of the country that it cannot be depended upon to give the great
mass of the people that correct information concerning political,
economical, and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of the
people shall have, in order that they shall vote and in all ways act in the
best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the
ruling and employing class. I have sought to give these people all the
information which will strengthen them in their unequal contest with their
(US newspaper boss Edward Scripps.)
People seem comfortable to languish in the mistaken belief that the press is
free, objective and independent. Is it really such complicated reasoning
that, like all publishing, including the enterprises which publish
educational syllabus books and material, television series, films and
'educational' documentaries and late night 'academic' discussions, the press
is capitalistically owned. Capitalist enterprises exist solely to make and
increase profits for their owners and shareholders. Newspapers cannot
possibly exist on their cover price; it is only by income from advertisers
that a newspaper survives. Advertisers are other capitalist enterprises
interested only in profit. Just as it was a twisted accusation against the
communist press that it doesn't represent the interests of private ownership
of capital, and who would expect it to? - only an imbecile could expect any
capitalist media to express anything favourable to the interests of the
working class and give it the power of knowledge.
This is an essential and fundamental point necessary in our struggle to help
people understand how their imagined reality is somebody else's connived
product, and that truth must be found to be available elsewhere.
POLITICAL NAIVETY VERSUS THE REAL WORLD
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our
problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the
dictates of the leaders of their government. Our problem is that people are
obedient all over the world. Our problem is that people are obedient while
the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are
running the country. That's our problem."
After G8 and Live-8, the outcome of the massive increase in awareness of the
issue of global poverty will be determined by into what direction this
enormous and increasing concern and popular power is guided and directed if
it is not to result in the obvious continual failure of previous such
Fundamental to this is whether knowledge and understanding of the reasons
and the cause of world poverty will be imparted among so many well meaning
minds - to the greatest number of people. This will determine whether their
will is to prevail and how effective it will be.
Will people's generous energies again be misdirected into completely
ineffective channels, resulting in wasted effort and potential burn out,
with the rich and powerful clapping their hands all the way to the bank?
Bob Geldorf and other rich celebrities can go on television and pretend to
shame government leaders and coerce mega rich pop stars. In the end, he is
one of the mega rich who has benefited enormously from capitalism and will
eventually suck up to his interests personified in Blair and Bush and the
G8. They too can clap their hands all the way to the bank.
After looking around at the various ideas for protest suggested by various
organisations and groups; I find it incredibly naive to think that writing
millions of "Remove Bush" cards to the White House is going to remove a dumb
president; apart from involving a lot of well intentioned people in wasting
their hard-earned resources. The negative effect will have a strong effect
on demoralising and eventually burning out young people entering political
action. It has been said that if Adolf Hitler had been run over by a tramcar
in Vienna, the ruling classes of Europe would have found another Hitler. And
if Bush goes, transnational capital will simply find another Bush. US
Presidents are puppets and only as powerful as the economic interests that
put them in power. World protest against Bush will not make any difference
except that imperial propaganda will simply rationalise its activities and
cover up even more.
As for investigating US government leaders for conflict of interest, that's
equally laughable, as the private interests of US Government officials
involved in the US overthrow of the Arbenz government of Guatemala described
above will surely show.
As for the global environment and climate change; it is also extremely naïve
to expect Americans (and for that matter British middle classes) to do away
with their energy-hungry easy way of life. We in the US and UK consume some
80% of the world's oil and electricity resources; and pretty much everything
else. Or to put it another way, a US or middle class British baby consumes the world resources of 25 Iraqi, Indian, Philippine or Guatemalan babies.
"Military needs have now become the single dominant factor in American
economic policy overseas."
(The Times Sept 17 1951.)
Does anybody think that the US economy - largely dependent on the US
military industrial complex and oil consumption, is going to be bothered
about the environment or climate change? Tony Blair, with his a 'moderating
influence' on George Bush, said on television the day before I wrote this
that it is impossible to persuade the US to implement the Kyoto agreement on
climate change; and on today's news as I write, President Bush tell's his
best friend Blair not to expect cooperation on environmental and climate
change in exchange for Britain's support in the war in Iraq. Tell that to
the people flooded out of their homes in Britain in the last few years. I
hope none of them have lost sons or husbands in Iraq as a favour for Bush's
increasing oil supplies for Americans.
Naïve anti war demonstrators just don't understand us middle class families
in our 4x4 battle wagons. They certainly don't understand why it was
necessary in the first place to divide the once great Arab world into
manageable bite-sized pieces like Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi, and of course get all
those Koran thumping Arabs out of Palestine and give it to the
Judeo-Christians. That's why we have to support the Israelis with resolution
001 of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which as we know, says that if Moses had turned
to the left instead of right when he came down from the mountain, we'd have
had all the oil and the Arabs would have had all the sand and oranges.
Of course we needed to make war on the Iraqis - after first completely
disarming them of course. After all, we don't want Iraqis hitting our
unemployed sons of unemployed miners, steelworkers and shipbuilders from
Clydeside or Tyneside.
Anti war demonstrators need to understand that we need all this oil burning
electricity and gas guzzling jeeps with their bull bars for protection
against working class riff raff in white vans with Sun newspapers on the
dashboard, to say nothing of terrorists.
How else are we going to be able to clean our teeth, mix the baby food or
carve the Sunday roast without oil and electricity? And we need Iraqi oil
for our gas guzzling jeeps with their four wheel drive, high ground
clearance and chunky tyres to take our kids to the local Grammar School,
which as we know is half way up Mount Killimanjaro.
Looking through my favourite web groups last week I came across further
frightening examples of anti-logic amid the demand and clamour for poverty
to be eliminated from the world. One suggestion was:
"We must leave the "Them and Us" paradigm back in the second millennium
where it has already created too much havoc. The time has come for us to
move together in partnership for "Our world working for all of us without
exception." In my opinion, this is what we are demonstrating about. If we go
to Edinburgh with hatred, negativity and blame in our hearts and minds, we
will be part of the problem, not the solution. The result will be more of
the same if not worse. "There is nothing wrong with our world. Our New World
Order IS Love."
This is the kind of ridiculous anti-logic that ruling classes throughout
history have always encouraged the ruled to adopt. Tory leader Margaret
Thatcher used the classless society myth marvellously when she talked of
"Peoples' Capitalism." Apart from being a contradiction in mutually
exclusive terms, it basically leaves only one conclusion: "Carry on being
ruled and exploited and never hope for any real power to change anything."
Let's try and follow the wonderful Thatcherite logic of this devastatingly
powerful notion as a weapon against global poverty:
So there isn't a them and us? There aren't any capitalists?
It follows that if there are capitalists, there must be people who are not
capitalists. How can those who are not capitalists earn a living? Only by
working for capitalists - to have somebody else's capital invested in our
labour so that the private owners of capital can make private profit out of
our labour. And what do we do with the wages we are paid by owners of
capital? We buy back their products at higher values than the labour we have
already used to make the product.
Isn't that a society with two classes with completely opposite interests -
the one striving for lower wages and higher prices, the other needing higher
wages and lower prices? Isn't that a them and us society? Is the US military
- finance - industrial complex going to "move together in partnership - for
all of us without exception" with peoples who live on top of oil reserves?
If that is what anyone goes to Edinburgh to demonstrate about then they
should support capital. Blair, Bush, the Tories or the US Neo-Cons, or
Enron, Texas Oil or Haliburton, or they should invest their money in US
military or global capital to create the US New World Order.
(Regarding the New World Order see their quotations below.)
OK; so we stop using our armoured jeeps and clean our teeth, mix the baby
food and carve the Sunday joint all by hand; and we do without the next
Harry Potter or Batman blockbuster films, saving the several billions of
pounds cost of their production; and with the money saved we wipe the Third
World's debt to our banks.
Africa, for example, will live in slightly less poverty for a moment or two.
But from that datum line, unless they adopt socialist interdependent
economic relations avoid exploitative capitalist relations, the relapse into
debt and poverty will immediately begin, because our trading, including our
financial, banking and currency trading, will still be in our favour and
profit on our terms and not theirs, and the process by which capital begets
profit by expropriating labour continues on its immense and exponential
rise, creating poverty as it always has.
IMPERIALISM - WHO LED THE WAY
"Fate has written our policy for us; the trade of the world must and can be
ours. And we shall get it, as our Mother England has told us how... We will
cover the ocean with our merchant marine. We will build a navy to the
measure of our greatness... Our institutes will follow our trade. American
law, American order, American civilisation, and the American flag will plant
themselves on shores hitherto bloody and benighted, by those agencies of God
henceforth made beautiful and bright."
(US Senator Albert Beveridge, 1898.)
The intellectual paucity, or is it intellectual dishonesty?, of University
Professors wheeled out on television news programs during the June 2005
G8/Live8 reporting tells us that in the "long term. helping Africa to trade
its way out of poverty" will solve the problem. In other words, the
vaguaries of the market decide.
That's the problem. The market has been deciding for poverty stricken
generations. It is the cause of poverty. The market always decides in favour
of profits for the owners of capital, shareholders and small investors.
The poor countries have traded with the rich countries since Europeans
landed on their shores, bible in one hand, musket in the other, saying to
the friendly and hospitable natives: "You likee plenty glass beads? Great
White King likee plenty phosphates - sign here!" The puzzled natives,
thinking we were mad to want piles of fermented bird shit, signed away their
posphates, and then their coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, copper, oil, and the
land on which it was found; and thus we became owners of two thirds of the
"I was in the East End of London yesterday and attended a meeting of the
unemployed. I listened to the wild speeches which were just a cry for
"bread, bread, bread", and on my way home I pondered over the scene and I
became more than ever convinced of the importance of imperialism... My
cherished idea is a solution for the social problem. i.e: in order to save
the 40,000,000 inhabitants of the UK from a bloody civil war, we colonial
statesmen must aquire new lands to settle the surplus population, to provide
new markets for the goods produced by them in the factories and mines. The
Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter problem. If you want to
avoid civil war, you must become imperialists."
(Millionaire financier Cecil Rhodes, 1895.)
"Believe me, the loss of our domination would weigh first of all on the
working classes of this country. We should see chronic misery let loose.
England would no longer be able to feed her enormous population."
(Joseph Chamberlain, British Colonial Secretary, 1895.)
"The income which we derive each year from commissions and services rendered
to foreign countries is over £65 million. In addition, we have a steady
revenue from foreign investments of close on £300 million a year... That is
the explanation of the source from which we are able to defray social
services at a level incomparably higher than that of any European country or
(Winston Churchill, Budget speech, April 15 1929.)
"Those who could not look beyond their personal interests should remember
that their employment and standard of living depended mainly on the
existence of the Empire."
(Daily Telegraph Oct 23 1943.)
"We are great friends with the jolly old Empire and we are going to stick to
(Labour Foreign Secretary Herbert Morrison, January 1946.)
"I am not prepared to sacrifice the British Empire because I know that if
the British Empire fell... it would mean that the standard of life of our
constituents would fall considerably."
(Labour Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, House of Commons, Feb 21 1946.)
"His Majesty's Government must maintain a continuing interest in that area
if only because our economic and financial interests in Middle East were of
vast importance to us... If these interests were lost to us, the effect on
the life of this country would be a considerable reduction in the standard
of living... British interests in the Middle East contributed substantially
not only to the interests of the people there, but to the wage packets of
the workpeople of this country."
(Labour Foreign Secretary Bevin, House of Parliament, May 16 1947.)
"The whole future of the stirling group and its ability to survive depend,
in my view, upon a quick and extensive development of our African
(Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Stafford Cripps, House of Parliament, Nov
"The development of primary production of all sorts in the colonial
territories and dependent areas in the Commonwealth and throughout the world
is a life and death matter for the economy of this country."
(Food Minister Mr. Strachey, House of Parliament, Jan 20 1948.)
"Western Europe cannot live by itself as an economic unit. Hence the desire
for wider integration with Africa and other overseas territories."
(British Labour Prime Minister Attlee, Houses of Parliament, Jan 23 1948.)
WHERE BRITAIN'S SCEPTRE WENT - A VERY SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
The British Government, having lost their gamble with the Nazis in the
pre-war Munich deals, and having had to run cap in hand to the US for
economic aid, had to cede Britain's overseas assets and military bases to
Wall Street and submit to US demands for bases in the UK in order to bring
our wartime allies, the Soviet Union, within range of US nuclear bombers in
the US led Cold War, without any British control.
"The question of leadership need hardly arise. If any permanently closer
association of the two nations is achieved, an island people of fifty
millions cannot expect to be the senior partner. The centre of gravity and
the ultimate decision must increasingly lie with America. We cannot resent
this historical development."
(The Economist Oct 19 1940.)
"...to set forth the political, military, territorial and economic
requirements of the United States in its potential leadership. including the
United Kingdom itself as well as the Western hemisphere and the Far East.
The first and foremost requirement of the United States in a world in which
it proposes to hold unquestionable power in the rapid fulfilment of a
programme of complete re-armament... to secure the limitation of any
exercise of sovereignty by foreign nations that constitutes a threat to the
minimum world area essential for the security and economic prosperity of the
(Economic and Financial Group of the US Council of Foreign Relations. 1940.)
"Whatever the outcome of the war, America has embarked on a career of
imperialism in world affairs and in every other aspect of her life... Even
though by our aid England should emerge from this struggle without defeat,
she will be so impoverished economically and crippled in prestige that it is
improbable that she will be able to resume or maintain the dominant position
in world affairs that she has occupied for so long. At best, England will
become a junior partner in a new Anglo-Saxon imperialism in which the
economic resources and the military and naval strength of the United States
will be the centre of gravity. The sceptre passes to the United States."
(President of the US National Industrial Conference Board Virgil Jordan, to
the Annual Convention of the Investment Bankers' Association of America,
Hollywood, Dec 10 1940.)
"My dear Americans, we may be short of dollars, but we are not short of
will... We won't let you down. Standards of life may go back. We may have to
say to our miners and to our steel workers: "We can't give you all we hoped
for. We can't give you the houses we want you to live in. We can't give you
the amenities we desire to give you." But we won't fail."
(British Labour Foreign Secretary Bevin to the American Legion, Savoy Hotel,
London, Sept 10 1947.)
"Today Americans know that they are the dominant Power in the world. and
they expect the rest of us to respect their leadership."
(Tory Lord Woolton, Sunday Times, July 16 1950.)
"Mr. Bevin went to New York, determined to prevent the precipitate
rearmament of Germany... He failed... Faced with an American ultimatum... he
toed the line."
(New Statesman and Nation, Dec 2 1950.)
"We British must recognise that American policy must prevail, if there is an
honest difference of opinion between us as to what to do next in the world
struggle. He who pays the piper calls the tune."
(Labour MP Commander King-Hall, National Newsletter, June 28 1951.)
"Do we need Britain? The British Empire, for all its reduced power, has a
valuable string of naval bases around the world - Gibralter, Hong Kong,
Malta, Suez, Aden, Singapore, to mention the most important... The colonies
take one into the economic sphere - tin, rubber, uranium and other raw
materials... We need Britain."
(New York Times, Jan 9 1952.)
And what do they care about us?
"The US is leader of the free world, and under this administration is
beginning to act like it. If the Europeans don't like it, that's too bad,
it's too late to do anything about it now."
(US Vice President George Bush, Chicago, August 16 1982.)
"It takes a man and a gun to fight. The United States is providing the gun,
Europe the man."
(US General Eisenhower, Paris, August 1951.)
"We prefer to fight our wars, if they be necessary, in someone else's
(From US national security document JCS 1946.)
"It is cheaper to fight with soldiers of other nations even if we have to
equip them with American arms, and there is much less loss of American
(US Senator Taft, Washington, May 19 1951.)
WHOSE WORLD ORDER NOW?
"The central concern of the foreign policy of the United States must be the
creation of a world order which is oriented to the broadest possible extent
towards our national interests as a free, democratic and capitalist great
(US Wall Street Journal.)
Now we have US led and dominated transnational capital (imperialism), which,
unlike colonialism, does not even recognise national boundaries or sovereign
states, and is in fact a sovereign state only unto itself.
The US claims its "right" to defend what it calls "vital American
interests", which it defines as the interests of the "free" world. The US
claims to defend these "vital American interests" in the Indian and Pacific
Oceans, in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, in the Persian Gulf, the
Middle, Near and Far East, in South East Asia, in the Atlantic, the Baltic
and the Antarctic - wherever there is oil, uranium, copper, fruit, or tin
and tungsten, cheap labour or anything else the US needs.
"Our aim is not simply to appropriate oil in one way or another (say in
easily accessible Nigeria or Venezuela) but to crush OPEC. Therefore we have
to use direct force in order to get hold of large and concentrated oil
deposits which can be opened up rapidly so as to put an end to the
artificial oil shortage and thus to lower the price... Since this is the
ultimate and there is only one target possible: Saudi Arabia... Fortunately,
these are not only rich oilfields but they are also concentrated in a very
small area, a fraction of the Saudi Arabian territory... While Vietnam was
full of trees and brave people and our national interest was almost
invisible, what we have here is no trees, very few people and a clear
(Advisor to the US Defence Department Professor Miles Ignotas, March 1975.)
"The economic health and well-being of the United States, Western Europe,
Japan depend upon continued access to the oil from the Persian area."
(President Carter, Department of State Bulletin, April 1978.)
"Western industrialised societies are largely dependent on the oil resources
of the Middle East region and a threat to access to that oil would
constitute a grave threat to the vital national interests. This must be
dealt with; and that does not exclude the use of force if necessary."
(US Secretary of State Alexander Haig, March 11 1981.)
"As outlined in the paper, the strategy for Southwest Asia, including the
Persian Gulf, directs American forces to be ready to force their way in if
necessary, and not to wait for an invitation from a friendly government,
which has been the publicly stated policy."
(US Defense Dept, in New York Times May 30 1982.)
"In the future, we are more likely to be involved in Iraq-type things,
Panama-type things, Grenada-type things. Our position should be the
protection of the oilfields. Now whether Kuwait gets put back, that's
(Chairman of US Armed Services Committee Les Aspin, 1990.)
"They know we own their country [Iraq]. We own their airspace. We dictate
the way they live and talk. And that's what's great about America right now.
It's a good thing, especially when there's a lot of oil out there we need."
(US Brigadier General William Looney, Washington Post, August 30 1999.)
"US aid is to "improve US-Kazakh military cooperation while establishing a
U.S.-interoperable base along the oil-rich Caspian."
(From a U.S. State Department Report, 2002.)
"In oil's name, the United States is immersed in a new kind of colonialism,
for the resources that lie under foreign feet."
(U.S. Dept of State, Congressional Budget Justifications: Foreign
Operations, Fiscal Year 2003.)
"The United States will in fact have no other choice but to establish a
world order it is able to live with, a world where there is relatively free
access to the world's resources."
(US Wall Street Journal, Nov 26 1979.)
"Over two-thirds of the globe, along the great area stretching from Europe
to Japan, no treaty can be signed, no alliance can be forged, no decision
can be made without the approval and support of the United States
(The Times Aug 29 1951.)
"By the use of economic aid we succeeded in getting access to Iranian oil
and we are now well established in the economy of that country. The
strengthening of our economic position in Iran has enabled us to acquire
control over her foreign policy and in particular to make her join the
Bagdad Pact. At the present time the Shah would not dare even to make any
changes in his cabinet without consulting our Ambassador... at a later
stage, to step up both our political price and our military demands.
.economic relations with these countries would ultimately allow us to take
over key positions in the native economy."
(From a letter from US Council on Foreign Relations member millionaire
Nelson Rockefeller to President Eisenhower, January 1956.)
"Power must be there, with the known readiness to use it, whether in the
indirect form of paralysing economic sanctions, or in the direct explosion
of bombs. 'Independence' and 'freedom' are after all abstractions."
(US theorist James Burnham, Life magazine 1947.)
"The conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank with a great deal of
clout in Mr Reagan's White House, argues that Vietnam, Kampuchea, Libya,
Laos, Angola, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Iran are ripe for covert
American activity aimed at destabilising their governments."
(The Guardian November 22 1984.)
"Many of the resources that we need for energy and many essential strategic
minerals are found thousands of miles from our shores... If we are to
safeguard our access, and the access of the free world, to these resources,
we must increase our military and naval strength."
(US Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger, April 28 1981.)
"We are at present working discreetly with all our might to wrest this
mysterious force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local nation
states of the world."
(Professor Arnold Toynbee, Institute for the Study of International Affairs,
Copenhagen, June 1931.)
"In the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states
will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn't such
a great idea after all."
(US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbot, Time, July 20, 1992.)
"We must be prepared for waging a conventional war that may extend to many
parts of the globe. Many of the resources that we need for energy and many
essential strategic minerals are found thousands of miles from our shores...
If we are to safeguard our access, and the access of the free world, to
these resources, we must increase our military and naval strength."
(US Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger, April 28 1981.)
"We will be looking increasingly toward Africa and the Middle East, as well
as South America, for the materials required for our industrial economy...
We will require free access and intercourse with many far distant nations of
the world in order to remain a leading export - import nation... It will
become increasingly difficult in the near future to protect US overseas
interests with conventional weapons... I think in the future we may get into
areas where it will be increasingly difficult to maintain stability with
conventional forces, and nuclear weapons will be our only alternative."
(US Vice Admiral Gerald E Miller, Congressional Testimony, March 18 1976.)
"The United States, as an island nation heavily dependent on overseas raw
materials, must continue its forward deployment of forces in Asia and the
Pacific region. There is no cheaper way to American security."
(US Defence Secretary Frank Carlucci.)
"Fundamental national interests require the United States to use military
force in defense of our interests with comparative freedom if it should
become necessary to do so not only in Europe, but in other strategically
critical parts of the world. In my view - and I speak for President Reagan -
this must remain the minimum goal of our nuclear arsenal."
(Former Director of US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Eugene Rostow.)
"Geographically, our territory extends to the Aleutians, Hawaii and Guam in
the middle of the Pacific Ocean... We are a global power with global tasks.
We have to be prepared to fulfil the tasks facing us in Asia in the same
ways as we are prepared to fulfil them elsewhere."
(Former US Defence Secretary Brown.)
THE NATURE OF THE BEAST: AND THE WORD IS.
"And the word is capitalism. We are too mealy-mouthed. We fear the word
capitalism is unpopular. So we talk about the "free enterprise system" and
run to cover in the folds of the flag and talk about the American way of
(US movie executive, diplomat, Eric Allen Johnston, New York Times Jan 26
"Capital... just as Nature was formally said to abhor a vacuum... A certain
ten percent will ensure its employment anywhere; 20% will produce eagerness;
50%, positive audacity; 100% will make it ready to trample on all human
laws; 300% and there is not a crime it will scruple, nor a risk it will not
run, even the chance of its owner being hanged."
(British economist T.J.Dunning.)
"No longer could I resist the conclusion that capitalism was doomed. No
longer must the livelihood of the community rest in irresponsible hands;
blast furnaces remaining cold, mines undug and houses unbuilt, unless
somebody's private profit set forward the lighting, the digging and the
building. Shivering miners could not dig the coal they needed, naked men
could not weave their shirts and coats, nor could the man who lived seven in
a single room enter a brickyard and build himself a house; though he kicked
his heels for a dozen years in idleness, he must remain in misery if no one
could make a profit from his labour. The public that needed these things and
could produce them had no access to the land and machinery of production.
Private profit took precedence of human life. Christian morality, if it was
to be true to its mission, must find these things intolerable and demand
(Dr. Hewlett Johnson, Dean of Canterbury 1931-1963.)
Nothing will be done for the majority except for the private profits of a
minority. If no private profit for the capital invested by its owners or
shareholders can be made, it will not be done. The hungry will go unfed, the
homeless with sleep in cardboard boxes, the ill will become worse and die,
all of that will happen unless private profit can be made out of it.
"The social system in which a man, willing to work, is compelled to starve,
is a blasphemy, an anarchy, and no system."
(Irish revolutionary writer Thomas Devin Reilly.)
Capitalism can never be an equal, fair, or un-predatory socio-economic
system for the simple reason that all cannot be capitalists. If all in a
socio-economic system were capitalists it would not be capitalism, it would
be socialism. There can be no such thing as Mrs Thatcher's "Peoples'
Capitalism." The essence of capitalism is that only a relatively small
minority can be capitalists. For capitalism to exist, a small minority of
owners of capital must continue to expropriate the products of the labour
and cheap raw materials of a vast majority of labour and potential labour.
"Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality .for one very
rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor."
(The Tories' favourite economic theorist, Adam Smith (1723-1790).
"Poverty and wealth are comparative sins."
"There is no way of keeping profits up but by keeping wages down."
(English economist David Ricardo, 1820.)
What we are in effect asking for if we speak of a fair and equal capitalist
world is not a world of capitalist or imperialist socio-economic relations,
but socialist ones.
"Governments are corporations and corporations have no souls... Commercial
and industrial predominance forces a nation to seek markets, and where
possible to control them to its own advantage by prepondering force, the
ultimate expression of which is possession... An inevitable link in a chain
of logical sequences: industry, markets, control, navy bases."
(US naval historian Alfred Mahan.)
It is essential to know that for capitalism to continue and not stagnate,
capital must keep moving and therefore it must be predatory. Capitalist
economies cannot stand still. There must be a movement of profit-gaining
capital one way or the other - either in or out of whatever country. This
implies a gross national gain or loss. In context this means that although a
country can show a gain, this is tilted in that a small number of local
capitalists, the puppets and agents of the dominant imperial transnational
capital, making an overall gain by exporting the labour product of those who
receive almost nothing of their gross national product.
Whether we like to hear the word or not; it is largely a capitalist world,
even perhaps more so now that the USSR and European socialist states have
temporarily embraced those great benefits of capitalism - social decay, mass
organised crime, unemployment, and kids living on the streets.
Capitalism is predatory. Crucial to any useful understanding of poverty is
to understand that capital, to continue to make profits for its owners,
investers and shareholders, must continually grab ever larger amounts of
ever cheaper raw materials from the poor countries (which hope one day to
need their raw materials for themselves - if there's any left.) Capital must
therefore also continually exploit ever cheaper labour, increasingly
overseas - and invest in non-purchasing technology, creating unemployment at
home. Thirdly, capital must continually expand into new markets - which in a
shrinking economic world have diminishing purchasing power. That's why,
hitherto national, capitalism had to turn into colonialism; one aspect of
which was that we raped the poor countries for their raw materials,
prevented them from their own manufacture, and sold the finished products
back to them at inflated prices - eg: rubber from Malaya and selling them
tyres, healthy raw cane sugar from the West Indies and Polynesia, selling
them tooth-rotting 'refined' sugar. Ancient skulls found on Polinesian
islands have healthy teeth until the date of introduction of refined sugar.
Third World countries, for want of a better term, even from me, are also
often called "developing" countries, usually by those who imply capitalist
development. But capitalist development, as the history of the "developed"
capitalist world has shown, is necessarily colonial and imperialist
development. The qu...