[Marxism] The US SWP and the British anti-war movement

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Tue Nov 25 05:57:52 MST 2003


Fred Feldman, whom I respect a lot, says:

"Why does the British government and ruling class accept subordination to
Washington? Its because the British ruling class is too weak to contend on
its own."

I think we should add, that investments by the British in the USA are large
(they are the second largest foreign investor after Japan) and likewise
American investments in Britain are very large. In addition the volume and
value of trade, and transfers of income (including a large portion of
interest income) between the USA and Britain is also very large. I would say
therefore that we have to think of material interests.

Generally, the British elite considers Britain to be sufficiently strong to
take an intermediate position between Brussels and Washington, but,
ultimately of course that intermediate position becomes a weakness, it is
only a tactic, since the continental European economy and the American
economy are just larger and more powerful. The British "hedging" is
sustained by superior political ability and political influence (Tony Blair
for example is quite simply a very skilled politician), but in the final
analysis, economics always motivates or "drives" politics, and politics must
follow economics. This was admitted even by Lenin, who said that, generally
speaking, "politics is concentrated economics". In bourgeois society, all
official political arguments ultimately always reduce to arguments for the
defence of the freedom to accumulate private property, i.e. "it's mine,
hands off" and private property, as distinct from shared ownership, is
thought to be the general foundation of an ideal human existence.

Personally, I have never been a believer in politically supporting the mass
bourgeois parties, although you can say that on some topics we can agree
with them perfectly well, and many Republicans or Democrats would be
perfectly good people even if we politically disagree about essentials.

But objectively speaking, a Democratic victory in the next American
Congressional and Presidential elections would have at least one important
tangible benefit: there would be a "changing of the guard" throughout much
of the apex of the government hierarchy, and therefore e.g. people
squandering loads of taxpayers money by throwing it at vague targets with
rants such as "a terrorist scare" which might or might not exist, and which
is insignificant compared to much more scary trends, would be removed from
office.

In that sense, I think Americans would be better off with a Democratic Party
administration, and my hunch is that the Democratic financial specialists
are also marginally better financial administrators than the Republicans as
well, quite possibly precisely because they have less money than the
Republicans do. The observation some Dutch people make about this idea is as
follows: if you have (let's say) 20 million dollars, and half a million
dollars goes missing, then that's very annoying but okay, you still have
19.5 million dollars so although the loss is an annoying crime, you can get
over it, you just take a holiday to the Bahamas etc. to get back into a good
mood. But if you are an ordinary worker earn 30,000 dollars and and 750
dollars goes missing, well, you feel that much more, it's a much bigger
problem. In the theory of the leisure class, of course, culturally speaking
the elite is supposed to prove how careful they are with their money and do
not overspend or fritter away money like the plebs. But in practice they
spend money on frivolities which they think are highly meaningful and
important.

If an American said to me, if you have the choice of a Democrat government
or a Republican government in the USA, who would you vote for ? then I would
vote for the party with the least money. But I hope that the Greens,
socialists and libertarians will be there in the elections, so that you get
a different sound happening in American politics, the sound of freedom and
justice for the ordinary bloke who's left paying for a whopping bill on
account of a war conducted on false pretenses by their own government.

It is time that Americans should begin to see the US Government as their
employer, whom they pay very big money, and that an employer cannot just do
anything to you, that they like.

Yesterday I have been looking at US Inland Revenue data for my analysis of
the political economy of taxation. The US Inland Revenue provide very good
data on income & expenditure, even if data on some topics is not up to date.
Just have a look for yourself, we are talking big, big money. That money
translates into big, big political power, and if as a socialist you don't
bother to understand it, then, with due respect, you're a fool.

Let me finish with a quote from Mr Peter Fischer, a very intelligent
ex-Treasury official for the US Government, who sums up where it's really at
in American capitalism: "Does anyone actually think that a small group of
Treasury officials is better than the market at forecasting long term
interest rates?  Regular and predictable issuance assures the market that we
will not make the mistake of trying."

Jurriaan






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