[Marxism] Fw: reflections on WWII
cuibono at rcip.com
Sat Jul 24 12:10:04 MDT 2004
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, July 23, 2004 6:05 PM
Subject: reflections on WWII
Re Paulsen's objections to what Proyect posted:
To say that an analysis is "too conspiratorially minded" strikes me as a
simplistic kneejerk regurgitation of a favorite rulingclass buzz-phrase, an
unfortunate reinforcement of rulingclass propaganda mythology.
The history of social power in class societies the history of conspiracies.
What was Tonkin Gulf but a conspiracy? We daily are witness to the effects
of the "Iraq has WMDs" conspiracy. What was the Florida 2000 "coup d'etat",
but a conspiracy?
Does Paulsen seriously hope to contend that ruling classes or segments
of/elements within them never or seldom conspire vs. the subaltern classes,
or vs. rivals?
It is true that the author of the piece focussed solely on the Social
Control motive for launching war, without dwelling on other factors like the
desire to eliminate/weaken rival imperialist powers, control markets &
resources. The Keynesian strategy of reviving the domestic economy via
massive public spending was another factor; the fact that the deficit
spending was for a war made it possible to convince conservative business
circles to go along with policies which violated their "principles" &
understanding of "economics".
The decision to go to war -- actually to enter a war which had been going on
for about a decade* -- was not made in 1941. It was largely the Roosevelt
admin adoption of an anti-Hitler stance that determined the CPUSA's decision
to come out in support of Roosevelt, eventually leading to the No Strike
So the ruling class fears generated by the things like the 1934 Gen Strike,
the textile workers in the South, the spread of Red (and/or "Anarchista")
ideas & influence, evidence of wide-spread general working-class
dissatisfaction with "the system", etc, quite likely had considerable
influence on Roosevelt's policy choice to find a war to get into.
Finally, it should be kept in mind that ruling class decisions to make war
are not always made on the basis of a completely sober & rational
calculation -- the decision to fire on Fort Sumter being the classic
At the moment the first cannonball was fired at Old Glory, the fate of the
Confederacy was sealed, and with it the fate of the ante-bellum social order
based on chattel slavery. Of course the social order implanted at the close
of Reconstruction did show a lot of resemblance to the pre-Civil War
South -- but that development wasn't part of Confederate thinking in 1861.
The point is that if the Confederates had just sat tight, with the status
quo as of April 1961, they might well have preserved the slavery system in
the territory they then controlled. They might well have been able even to
negotiate some kind of semi-autonomous status for their nascent political
entity. The Northern industrialists were not Abolitionists; they were
perfectly content -- as they had been for decades -- with cheap cotton
produced by slave labor. Their objections were to Southerner plans to extend
the slave system into the soon-to-get-statehood western territories.
So the decision to fire on Sumter was idiotic, "national suicide" for the
Confederacy. But there were cultural/ideological factors in play which
overwhelmed any attempt at rational strategic calculation**.
Similar factors seem to be in play today. How much the Kushies & the Berrys
believe their own PR -- or rather how high in the decision-making structure
the True Believer syndrome extends -- is one of those questions about which
we have very little solid information.
But there does seem to be a "South Shall Rise Again" ideological factor at
work among an important element in the currently dominant rulingclass
coalition. It is perhaps curious that this element should have found its way
into such a close alliance with the element for which the Zionist mythology
is such a binding force.
It seems to me quite probable that the attack on Iraq, the drums beating for
"regime change" in Saudi Arabia, for war vs Syria, Lebanon, Iran, the whole
"War On Terror" PR campaign/cum colonial wars -- are all at least partly
motivated by factors other than strictly "bottomline" business
*the Ruhr, Manchuria, Austria, Ethiopia, Spain, Sudetenland, Finland etc.
** Another contemporary example is the "Martyr Mission" non-strategy so
prominent in the Palestinian "Second Intifada", which has done so much to
turn "shaking off" into a "shaking-on" of Zionist oppression, and to turn
the US public & much of the antiwar movement off on the Palestinian cause.
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