[Marxism] Kucinich takes a more nuanced position?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 9 23:49:32 MDT 2004


Walter wrote:
>Brian Shannon submits two quotes from the Kucinich
>campaign. Presumably sending this material to the
>Marxism list is designed to expose something wrong
>with what Kucinich's campaign is saying or doing,
>but Shannon doesn't explain what his objection to
>this material is.

Walter, Marxists have a class analysis of the United Nations. It goes back 
to what Lenin wrote about the League of Nations. We faced the same kinds of 
"dovish" solutions involving the United Nations for Vietnam in 1965 from 
outfits like Sane/Freeze and The Nation Magazine. The slogan "Bring the 
U.N. in and get the U.S. out" obfuscates the role of the UN and undermines 
the antiwar movement. At some point, when I have the time, I might write a 
brief history of the role of the UN in places like Korea and the Congo. In 
the meantime, here's some background that might be useful. It was written 
during the course of a debate on Bosnia in 1996 or so:

THE CLASS CHARACTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS

It is important to understand that just as the Zimmerwald left was the 
Third International in embryonic form, so were the allied powers in WWII in 
incipient form the future United Nations. The allies often referred to 
themselves as the United Nations. In Browder's 1942 "Victory and After," a 
defense of WWII as a "people's war," he constantly refers to England, the 
United States and the USSR as the "United Nations." For example, he says 
"The various pacts and agreement, announced on June 11 [1942], complete the 
foundations for policy required for victory of the United Nations. They 
confirm the character of the war as a Peoples' War of National Liberation. 
They consolidate the alliance of the three nations [England, US and USSR] 
whose close cooperation is essential to victory, and to rousing, arming, 
and leading the peoples of the world for that victory. They deliver a 
smashing blow against Hitler's Fifth Column. They open the perspective of a 
post-war world where it will be possible to reconstruct the shattered 
nations and an international order among nations, avoiding much of the 
unnecessary chaos and civil war that followed the armistice of W.W.I. They 
arouse the enthusiasm and fighting spirit of the people, that morale which 
the greatest military genius has always recognized as having for victory 
three times the value of armaments."

Woven into this bellicose chatter is a belief that has cropped up 
continuously in our discussion of the civil war in former Yugoslavia. Can 
this combination of England, the United States and former Soviet Union, 
which is rapidly changing its class character, along with other capitalist 
nations, help to prevent "unnecessary chaos and civil war"?

How grounded is this belief in reality?

England, United States and the Soviet Union formed the United Nations 
within the context of diplomatic jockeying over how to divide the spoils of 
WWII. These discussions took place at Yalta and Potsdam, and influenced 
completely the decisions shaping the character of the UN. Behind all of the 
human rights and democracy rhetoric accompanying the creation of the UN, 
power politics lay beneath the surface.

The United States sought to capitalize on its impending victory in the 
Pacific. Sumner Welles, under heavy criticism, disavowed charges in March 
1943 that "the Pacific should be a lake under American jurisdiction..." 
Great Britain, for its part, sought to maintain its imperial power. 
Churchill wrote Eden at the time, "If the Americans want to take Japanese 
islands which they have conquered, let them do so with our blessing and any 
form of words that may be agreeable to them. But 'Hands Off the British 
Empire' is our maxim." Stalin's goal was more modest. All he desired was a 
series of buffer states between Western Europe and the Soviet Union that 
would be under its sphere of influence. Stalin, despite all of Browder's 
happy talk, was rightly nervous about another attack from the capitalist West.

To get a flavor of United States thinking at the time of formation of the 
UN, let's eavesdrop in on a telephone conversation between War Department 
official John J. McCloy and the State Department's Henry L. Stimson:

McCloy: ...the argument is that if you extend that to the regional 
arrangement against non-enemy states, Russia will want to have the same 
thing in Europe and Asia and you will build up these big regional systems 
which may provoke even greater wars and you've cut out the heart of the 
world organization.

Stimson: Yes.

McCloy: That the whole idea is to use collective action and by these 
exceptions you would

Stimson: of course you'll, you'll cut into the size of the new organization 
by what you agreed to now

McCloy: Yes, that's right. That was recognized...and maybe the same nation 
that had done the underhanded stirring up might veto any action any action 
by the regional arrangement to stop it--to put a stop to the aggression. 
Now that's the thing that they [Russia] are afraid of, but, and it's a real 
fear and they have a real asset and they are a real military asset to us.

Stimson: Yes,

McCloy: but on the other hand we have a very strong interest in being able 
to intervene promptly in Europe where the--twice now within a generation 
we've been forced to send our sons over some

Stimson: Yes

McCloy: relatively minor Balkan incident, and we don't want to lose the 
right to intervene promptly in Europe merely for the sake of preserving our 
South American solidarity [this is not "solidarity" in the sense of 
Committee in Solidarity with the Peoples of El Salvador] because after all 
we, we will have England, England's navy and army, if not France's on our 
side, whereas the South American people are not particularly strong in 
their own right, and the armies start in Europe and they don't start in 
South America. However, I've been taking the position that we ought to have 
our cake and eat it too; that we ought to be free to operate under this 
regional arrangement in South America, at the same time intervene promptly 
in Europe; that we oughtn't to give away either asset...

Stimson: I think so, decidedly, because in the Monroe Doctrine and in- -and 
that runs into hemispherical solidarity

McCloy: Yes

Stimson: we've gotten something we've developed over the decades

McCloy: Yes

Secretary: and it's in, it's an asset in case, and I don't think it ought 
to be taken away from us....

So when we approach the UN hat in hand and implore them to "stop the 
killing" in former Yugoslavia, let's not forget that the words above 
reflect the true origins and purpose of this organization. There is no 
difference between Henry Stimson and John McCloy, on one hand, and Warren 
Christopher and Bill Clinton, on the other. All of them are representatives 
of the United States ruling class and when we appeal to them we are 
implicitly appealing to the Board of Directors of General Electric, Boeing, 
Chrysler, etc. In other words, we are addressing same war criminals that 
brought us the Korean War, the Vietnam War, nuclear brinkmanship, and a 
host of other inhumanities.



Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 





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